Here’s a nice Classical castle in the middle of Morbihan, near Vannes, where the General Council of Morbihan opened a modern art centre. But our castle is pretty old! The viscountcy of Bignan, where an old manor existed since the 16th century, was owned in 1703 by two Swiss bankers, Daniel and Marc-Frédéric Hogguer.
The two chaps, shareholders in the West India Company in Lorient, completely re-raised a modern castle based on plans by architect Olivier Delourme, from Vannes. Kerguehennec is a pure 18th century’s style castle, with its sober but elegant façades! In 1732, Guy-Auguste de Rohan-Chabot, King’s army marshal, owned the estate before the French Revolution: then, the castle was abandoned…
In the 19th century, Paul-Henri Lanjuinais, president of the General Council of Morbihan, restored the house he inherited from the family de Janzé: a vast courtyard with a huge pond were created, and the park was laid out from 1872, designed by the Swiss landscaper Eugène Bühler; he added a pediment on the façade, sculpted with the Lanjuinais’ coat of arms… Ernest Trilhe, disciple of architect Félix Duban (he was himself the disciple of the famous Viollet-le-Duc, whoa!) entirely refit out the apartments in Renaissance style.
In the former manor preceding the current castle, bishop of Vannes Sébastien de Rosmadec (that we met in the castle of Plessis-Josso, which belonged to his father), met a peasant, Yves Nicolazic, in 1625. Do you remember him? This chap saw the Virgin Mary several times, in the village of Ker-Anna (current Ste-Anne-d’Auray)!
So, Sébastien started an inquiry, to see if Yves told the truth… He questioned him for a long time, then, convinced of his good faith, he went to Ker-Anna to say the first Mass of the sanctuary (who will later become the most famous Breton pilgrimage… Ste-Anne-d’Auray!)
1793. The French Revolution turned up, a real slaughter! Not only in Paris and Versailles, but also in provincial France: people rebelled too, they had enough! Especially in Western France: it was called the chouannerie, a civil war between Republicans and Royalists, the famous Chouans. Pierre Guillemot was one of them.
Everyone knew Guillemot, in the land. They even called him the “king of Bignan” because he was born in this little village, near Kerguéhennec. So that’s why he took shelter in a hiding place in the castle… in 1792, with his friend Le Chiers, he was wounded by an explosion of a powder storeroom.
Completely disfigured, he went to ground and waited… while the Chouans kept going the war, helped by the émigrés landed in Quiberon. Hey, during this landing, we had the husband of the famous plotter Louise de Grégo, the traitress of the castle of Trévarez...