Little histories about Conros castle

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The castle - ©Danièle de Sagnabous / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©Danièle de Sagnabous / CC-BY-SA
Conros castle Castle Wars of Religion Crusades Siege

Astorg d’Aurillac, troubadour

Astorg, born in Conros

In 1130, Astorg I d’Aurillac (the legend says his ancestor was saint Géraud’s sister, who founded the city of Aurillac in the 10th c.) raised a big tower above the river Cère: the basis of the current castle of Conros!

The most famous guy of this very old family was the troubadour Astorg VII d’Aurillac: a brave knight but also a delicate poet! He was born in Conros in 1225. King saint Louis knighted him in 1267, and besides: they went both for the 8th crusade.

Trauma...

There, in Tunis, he witnessed the king’s brutal death in August 1270. It was a terrible loss for all the Christianity… Astorg never get over this pain: back in Auvergne, he was bitter. He wept his king, cursed the crusade and the one who organized it, meaning the pope and God!

Too much blood, too much dust still glued his mouth, letting him a taste full of reproaches. He saw slaughters, there… He even encouraged Christians to change religion:

« Ah, Dieu ! Pourquoi as-tu causé un si grand malheur à notre roi, généreux et courtois ? Car il essayait constamment de trouver comment bien te servir, Car il y mettait son cœur et son savoir, A te servir la nuit et le jour, Et, autant que possible, à faire et dire ton bon plaisir.

Bien mauvaise récompense tu lui as donné. Ah ! Belle troupe si courtoise, Vous qui fîtes passer outre-mer un si bel équipage, Jamais nous ne vous verrons revenir ici, et j’en suis désolé, Et dans le monde un grand deuil s'est répandu, Maudite soit Alexandrie ! Maudit soit le clergé !

Maudits soient les Turcs qui vous ont fait rester là-bas, Dieu a mal agi de leur avoir donné ce pouvoir. Je vois la chrétienté complètement mise à mal. Je ne crois pas qu’elle n’ait jamais subi si grande perte : Aussi est-il normal qu’on arrête de croire en Dieu.

Nous devrions adorer Mahomet là où Dieu se trouve. Tervagan et sa compagnie, Puisque Dieu veut, ainsi que Sainte Marie, Que nous soyons vaincus contre tout droit, Et qu'il permette aux incroyants de rester couverts d'honneur. »

The Biron in the castle of Conros

1445. Other era, bye bye, troubadours! Alix d’Aurillac married Louis I de Courcelles: but their son Louis II suddenly passed away childless, his widow Isabeau de Langeac re-married Jean d’Urfé in 1465.

This one altered the main building by adding the nice Renaissance staircase and the Guards’ Room. You know what? We also meet those d’Urfé in their castle of La Bastie d’Urfé, fief of the famous French poet Honoré!

1514. Jean’s grandsons gave the castle to Pons de Gontaut, lord of Biron, do you remember him? He added the curious roof with a lantern shape, at the top of Conros’ keep. His son the marshal of France Armand de Gontaut-Biron will sell the castle, soon...

Attack kicked away!

Yes, the sale happened in 1566: Conros fell to Rigaud de St-Martial. 4 years later, during war of Religion, a Protestant troop rushed towards the castle. They knew that the owner, Rigaud, wasn’t here. They had to attack! But inside, there was his wife, Françoise de Puy-de-Val…

The book Dictionnaire statistique du département du Cantal by Deribier-du-Chatelet says she was ″of great virtue and with an exceptional courage for her sex. In 1570, local protestants led by Antoine de Pouzols, seized by surprise the castle of Conros. They plundered everything. The lady gathered all her friends and vassals and succeeded in expelling them″!

Kipling’s translator

The Saint-Martial kept Conros until 1838: there, the d’Humières owned it. The current big park was created at that time and some rooms inside were completely altered, like the current Guards’ Room. Robert d’Humières, who died in 1915 during the World War I, was the first French translator of Rudyard Kipling, with ″The Jungle Book″ and ″Just So Stories″!


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