La Hunaudaye: murder, robbery, and a doe for Anne of Brittany

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The castle - ©MFSG / WikimediaCommons / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©MFSG / WikimediaCommons / CC-BY-SA
La Hunaudaye castle Castle Festivities Robbery Homicide Imprisonment Abduction Anne of Brittany Wars of Religion

All mod cons!

We’re in the fief belonging to the family of Tournemire, mighty lords coming from England: yes! We already know them, we met them in their castle of Anjony (Cantal), fighting with a complicated and gory family story… Olivier de Tournemire probably raised the first fortress, in 1220.

But the construction was entirely damaged by the Breton war of Succession, between 1341 and 1365… The brand new duke of Brittany gave 300 crowns to Pierre II de Tournemire, the new owner, to rebuild his castle. The thing was done in 1405! Architect Hersart added chimneys, latrine, vast living rooms in the main building which’s today in ruins. All mod cons in the middle of the forest, pretty nice! Ooo, that forest…

Dark forest

The castle stands in the middle of a big and dark forest… brr, lots of legends, here, and news stories! The Tournemire was cruel and looter lords. They held a ransom to a bishop from St-Brieuc, in 1384: they stole everything, carriage, horses, gold! Then, a hunting ended in a bloody way: Marie de Villiers, Gilles de Tournemire’s first wife, lose her husband in 1474.

She remarried with Jean Eder de Beaumanoir but it didn’t suit to her sons born from her first wedding: those one murdered the step-father during a hunting… Finally, the legend said that a Tournemire held a ransom to the famous duchess Anne of Brittany, near the castle… Really?! Yes, let’s see that…

The duchess Anne

A veal on 4 legs

So, Anne of Brittany came in the castle, in 1505. Just imagine the joy and the effervescence! People cooked, roasted meat, put trestles in the vast dining room…

The Diary written by Olivier de La Roche (Tournemire’s chronicler) told about the party and the feast: “When evening came, two men wearing wolves’ pelts came to greet the duchess in the forest: they brought a dead doe to her feet, which was a pretty unhappy moment for her. Then she arrived in the castle, where she found the diner ready.

On this table, there were golden glasses full of wine. 4 times, they brought 36 meals full of meats, especially a big veal standing on his 4 legs with an apple in the mouth, carried by 8 squires. When this meal came, trumpets started to ring. And when people saw this veal, each one wanted to have his own piece…”

The dead doe

The next morning, Anne was kidnapped by the lord of La Hunaudaye! He said that he was allowed to do that, to capture people who crossed his wood and steal money from them. Hey… maybe that’s why he asked his men to disguise themselves into wolves, bringing a dead doe in front of Anne? A macabre foretaste of her capture… Fortunately, the lord didn’t hurt her and just asked her money, since he was allowed!

Fire!

And then… bye bye, family of Tournemire! When they died out in 1591, Sébastien de Rosmadec (bishop of Vannes we met in his family manor of Le Plessis-Josso) owned the castle. In 1793, the place became dangerous because it was a hiding place for revolutionaries: so the count of Talhouët ordered the demolition. He burnt it with furniture and tapestries… In 1904, new affront! The new owner, Henri Fournier de Bellevue, used the fortress’ stones to raise his own house.

A monk in jail

Let’s finish with a little news story! During war of Religion, a godawful mess ruled in the area. Abbot François de Launay took advantage of the situation and decided to steal money from his St-Aubin-des-Bois abbey, near La Hunaudaye. He found no one among the monks to help him in his diabolic plan, so he finally asked Protestants, occupying the castle, to help him.

He ordered them to kidnap a monk called Richard (especially sent on the spot to see what’s kind on) and locked him in jail, in the fortress. De Launay, for his part, moved in La Hunaudaye and became a real tyrant… Today, some say that we still can see pious drawings carved on the stone, in the jail… done by Richard himself!