Château de Bellocq dates from the end of the 13th century and consists of an irregular quadrilateral reinforced by seven towers, linked to the fortified house built in 1281. It was remodelled during the 14th century. The castle was burned down by Louis XIII in 1620 to prevent it being used by Protestants.
At the end of the 13th century, Bellocq was at the frontier with English controlled Guyenne. Gaston VII Moncade de Béarn built the castle on the Gave de Pau, the main river access to Béarn, to fortify his territory. Construction took place between 1250 and 1280. From the beginning, the castle was intended to house a large garrison. The simple plan of an irregular quadrilateral without a keep had four round towers, a semicircular tower and two square towers, one of which formed the main entrance. The curtain walls were pierced with cruciform arrow slits.
A year after completion of the castle, Gaston VII built a bastide close by and this, as well as the fortified church of Bellocq, became integral parts of the complex.
In 1370, Gaston Fébus reinforced the castle and built new strong points in order to preserve his territory's independence from the powerful kingdoms of France, England and Navarre.
In 1542, Henri II d'Albret (Henry II of Navarre) repaired the castle, in case of a Spanish invasion. From this date, the kings of Navarre sometimes left their castle at Pau for the country of Bellocq. Jeanne d'Albret stayed there regularly in the 16th century while she took the waters at Salies-de-Béarn.
In 1568, the French king Charles IX sent the baron of Terride to subjugate and govern the Béarn, then largely Protestant. Terride's troops occupied the region and re-established the Catholic hierarchy. The following year, Jeanne d'Albret asked count Gabriel de Montgomery to form an army of resistance - the castle at Bellocq passed into Catholic hands. It resisted a short siege by Montgomery. In 1620, the Béarn Protestants once again gaining power, Louis XIII had the castle burned down to prevent it being of use to them in the future.
From 1620, the castle played no further role in the history of the region and fell into disrepair.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.