A little history of Sillé-le-Guillaume castle
A big fortress from Maine
One thing has to be said: the castle is impressive! A big quadrilateral flanked by 4 towers and main buildings (17th century).
The walls are 3,50 metres thick and 38 metres high! Here, we have the keep, on 3 floors, with cells on the ground floor. A medieval keep with all mod cons!
But wars were its daily life: the stronghold, mentioned since the 11th century with Guillaume de Sillé, fell to William the Conqueror at the end of the 11th century. During Hundred Years War, it was divided between France and England.
Sieges followed on from one another: count of Richemont in 1412, count of Arundel in 1422 then Gilles de Laval (the famous Bluebeard, cousin with the Sillé family) released it...
Victory? Not at all! The English besieged the fortress in 1432, one more time. Damned... Finally, Ambroise de Loré, captain of the neighbour castle of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, set it free... definitively.
The current castle
In 1463, Bertrand de Beauvau owned the fief.
3 years later, he raised the current castle on the foundations of the old fortress.
A castle cut out or war! In the ground floor, they opened hole in order to add culverins; a covered way was added at the top of the walls; we even found latrines!
Sillé then fell to several families, like the marshal of France Charles de Cossé-Brissac, then duke de La Meilleraye.
In 1684, Louis XIV owned the castle and gave it to his daughter, princess de Conti. The lady raised a main building and then... every owners abandoned the place: dukes of La Vallière, dukes of Uzès... The city hall bought the castle but we can visit it!