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Loudun keep: all roads lead to Foulques Nerra, a king in the moats

The tower | Père Igor / CC-BY-SA
Fortification Foulques Nerra Charles IX Loudun keep

Foulques Nerra in Loudun!

All roads lead to Loudun

This keep is a pretty rare instance of medieval architecture, the only remain of the former castle raised in the 11th or 12th century to defend Loudun: counts of Poitou and counts of Anjou often fought over this city.

Oh, by the way, since we’re talking about counts of Anjou, you know what?

The square keep was built by the famous Foulques Nerra! His father Geoffroy Grisegonelle (“Grey coat”) had just died.

Foulques inherited his lands in Touraine, Anjou, Poitou, Loudun included. He was free to extend his estate, and he was ready to fight for this…

But why did they raise a keep here? Like Foulques’ other keeps, the one of Loudun was located in a very strategical place, near old roads linking Poitiers to Angers and Poitou to Touraine, his favourite lands…

And from the top of the keep, he could keep an eye on enemies’ raids…

A king in the moats!

The current tower is about 31 metres high and 5 metres large, with walls 3 metres thick!

But you have to imagine a biggest fortress, originally, with 5 drawbridges! We had 4 fortified gates in the rampart.

And to defend the city, just imagine a wall 3 kilometres long, protected by moats 8 metres deep!

You know what? In those moats they put a real tennis court: when king of France Charles IX visited Loudun in 1565, he didn’t play tennis, no, but he trained himself to crossbow…


Philip Augustus, at war with John the Lackland, also besieged Loudun, seized the castle and gave it to his neighbour, viscount of Thouars.

Given back to the Crown, Loudun became a royal fortress and so, an important place in Poitou!

Wars of religion disturbed a lot Loudun castle: we witnessed a surge of protestants’ conversion. Many Huguenots took over the fortress, but not for long...

Massacres, pillages, destructions took place, then Catholics retook Loudun, then Protestants, and so on until the end of wars...

In the 17th century, Richelieu decided to destroy every medieval and useless fortresses in France, Loudun included...

About the the author

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