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La Bussière: gory necklaces made of ears

The castle | Gilles Messian / CC-BY
Castle Wars of Religion Siege Massacre La Bussière castle

Brick and stone castle

Near Gien, here’s the castle de La Bussière, made of brick and stone: a typical Renaissance dwelling, a real château de la Loire! The first owners were lords de Feins in the 13th century, who re-raised a fortress to defend themselves against the Burgundians. The castle fell to family du Tillet in 1518: rich lords who owned several local estates, like Pont-Chevron for instance.

The current La Bussière was raised by Jean II du Tillet. The dwelling’s tower entrance dates back to 1150. The outhouses were built in 1580. The biggest part of the castle dates back to 1567, after the destruction made by the Protestants during war of Religion… Destruction and slaughters, we’ll see it.


The pieds-nus attacked

Yes! Let’s talk about this dark era… Protestants, at that time, ruled supreme over Orléans area. Their hobby? To plunder churches, again and again… But it remained the city of Gien. This good old city, with all those churches to destroy… Lambert Daneau, a Protestant from Beaugency, prepared the raid. To help him, he called guys also known as the pieds-nus de Bourges, ″Bourges’ barefoot″, looters who feared neither God nor man… Gossips said they were Catholics in the pay of Protestants! A real steamroller, anyway: all churches in Gien were damaged...

Ears necklaces

But some priests and bourgeois succeeded in running away and took shelter in La Bussière. ″We are in a safe place!″ they thought. It was solid fortress… but of course, the castle was besieged by Huguenots. A terrible siege! After few days only, they surrendered, in La Bussière. There, the horror moved up a peg: Protestants slaughtered the besieged persons, after, they cut them their ears and genitals. Some made necklaces with those, some kind of rosary they proudly wore upon chasubles they found. And, like sinister silhouettes, they roamed in the area, yelling: ″Papists’ rosaries, 5 pennies the Bussière’s Mass, 5 pennies!″ They threw the corpses in the moats. And several centuries after, the owners found bones during excavations: maybe the martyrs’ remains...

The visit of La Bussière

Since 1962, the castle houses collections of the ″Fisherman’s castle″! In the rooms (lovely furniture!), we discover fishes’ fossils, collections of artificial flies, engravings and China vases, with a same theme: fishes and fishing. Nice, pretty unusual! Don’t miss the kitchen and the laundry in the cellar, but also the vegetable plot in the garden.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!