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Moncontour: two Bretons for help and a gory battle

The keep | Sanao / Public domain
Fortification Hundred Years War Wars of Religion Siege Massacre Bertrand du Guesclin Foulques Nerra Olivier V de Clisson Catherine de Medici Moncontour keep

Foulques in Moncontour

The keep was raised in 1040 by Fulk Nerra (Foulques in French), the famous builder count of Anjou. Here, this tower looks like every keep Fulk raised in France.

Two Bretons rallied round!

Clisson turned up

1372. The chronicle says that the English, occupying Moncontour, used to bully all the area near Loudun. The king of France sent his loyal Bertrand du Guesclin, to kick out those filthy swines. The Breton, for his part, asked Olivier V de Clisson to go there, to gauge the place. Do you remember Olivier? The famous Breton constable we met in his castle of Josselin (Morbihan)… Olivier besieged the castle of Moncontour and was wounded.

The English tried to pick a quarrel

In the castle, there was an English man Bertrand knew: he quarrelled with him in the past.

During the siege, this English decided to steal Bertrand’s flag with his coat of arm on it, and put it upside down on a tower: miscreant!! Olivier’s heart missed a beat: he had to strive doubly hard to finish this damned siege! But in all the neighbouring cities occupied by the English, they knew that they needed help in Moncontour. The enemies were getting ready to attack Olivier… Du Guesclin, who was in the know of the enemies’ plan, arrived in Moncontour before them and forced them to retreat. It was a “proud and amazing assault”, said the chronic! Then, Olivier hanged the English who smeared Bertrand’s flag…

Gory war in Moncontour

A massacre

You though medieval wars were too gory? Wait and see… The keep literally went through hell during war of Religion, especially during the terrible battle of Moncontour: it took place on October 3th 1569, with the victory of the Catholics, led by the future Henri III of France (duke of Anjou at that time). The siege lasted few hours, but the struggle was hard and ended by a real bloodbath. Hey, we found famous people, during this battle: the brave Crillon of king Henri IV, the marshal of Saulx-Tavannes (that we met in his castle of le Pailly), the admiral de Coligny (in his castle of Tanlay)…

She knew it...

You know what? We knew that the queen Catherine of Medici (Henri III’s mum) was fond of occult stuffs and divination. Well, can you believe it, she predicted her son’s victory, with precise details on the battle. So, when a rider came to announce his victory in the Louvre palace, she only sighed: “I knew it…”

About the the author

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