The terrible Bernard VII d'Armagnac in Peyrelade castle
Peyrelade, at the top of its rock, became after its foundation in the 12th century a very strategical and coveted place: its lands stretched out until Languedoc and Gévaudan borders... Several families succeeded one another: Ahenric, Séverac, Roquefeuil...
Until a naughty chap turned up and besieged the place in 1402: Bernard VII, count of Armagnac and Rodez. He was «a Devil under a man’s skin» said people at that time. Do you remember? We met him in his Brousse castle, plotting against his family.
During the Hundred Years War, he supported the French party against he English: the party known as Armagnacs (enemy of the Bourguignons) was named after him! The civil war of Armagnacs and Bourguignons, caused by king of France Charles VI’s madness...
Hey, everybody wanted the crown! Bernard had blood on his hands: in Paris, he slaughtered Bourguignons... Peyrelade’s name comes from Latin petra lata, which means «broad stone», pierre large in French. Broad? Yes, because the place overlooks the river Tarn since the Prehistory, sits on its huge limestone rock!
The fortress was founded in the 12th century and mentioned for the first time in 1147. A triple wall used to surround it. In middle of the third one, a natural keep, a high rock about 50 metres high, said the famous French speleologist Edouard-Alfred Martel in his book Les Cévennes et la région des causses. 500 soldiers could live inside.