A little history of Romefort castle
A fortress near river Creuse
A keep against the English
Located near river Creuse, flanks by 4 cylindrical towers, the fortress is pretty impressive! It was completely restored and transformed in the 19th century, but it’s the oldest keep in France, with Niort and Beaugency towers.
But why did they raise a castle here, in this lonely place? Are they loony? Well, not at all! In the Middle-Ages, Berry was, with Limousin and Poitou (neighbouring areas), English lands! So kings of France constantly tried to pick a quarrel with their enemies.
So, they had to protect their land, like here, in Ciron: fortunately, river Creuse was a pretty nice natural rampart.
A fabulous stony monster
Gaudin, lord of Ruffec's son (first lord of Romefort), raised this keep. We were at the end of the 12th c. Three huge ramparts were raised in order to protect the tower.
Those walls are still standing...
The keep (12 metres large and 30 metres high) was completely transformed in the 19th c.! Well, it was completely damaged, damp and abandoned: no more roofs, furniture... The ground floor was intact, but the whole castle was in ruin.
The neogothic takes part!
Family Bondy saved the castle between 1872 and 1877. Architect Harveuf, famous Viollet-le-Duc’s disciple, restored Romefort. But at that time, people liked a particular style, neogothic style: a kind of pastiche of Middle Ages...
Purists used to yell! The architect added big Romanesque windows in the walls, refit out the rooms... Romefort started to lose his defensive medieval look.
Inside, he fit out a library, by joining together the 2nd and 3d floors. This room is very, very high, flanks by a mezzanine with balustrade. In the Middle Ages, this room used to house the “gathering hall” and led to the lord’s rooms and latrines.
Visit one day in the year!
Well, Romefort is a private estate... but we can visit it one day in the year, during French Journées du Patrimoine, in September! Don’t miss this lovely rendez-vous.
We can visit several rooms, the high library included.