Ainay-le-Vieil Castle

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle, locally known as Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil, lies of the village of the same name, in the Cher department in France.

The site of Ainay-le-Vieil was first occupied by the Gallo-Romans. Situated in a border region the site was first fortified in the 12th century and belonged to the House of Bourbon. 

The present castle was built, over the earlier motte-castle, during the 2nd half of the 13th century, probably by the House of Sully. Jean de Sully gave the castle its present appearance during a rebuilding around 1330. It was built as an irregular, octagonal enclosure surrounded by a wide moat. It was flanked by 7 round towers and an entrance gate with 2 towers. Lacking any natural defenses it was originally circled by a 2nd wall with a double moat and drawbridge. This 2nd enclosure has now disappeared.

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle served as a bridgehead to harass the English during the Hundred Years' War. After the French lost the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, it became the only castle in the region to remain in French hands. Similarly, it lost all military importance with the French victory at the end of the Hundred Years' War.

In 1435 Ainay-le-Vieil was bought by Jacques Cœur, treasurer of Charles VII of France. It was confiscated, together with all Jacques' other possessions and wealth, in 1450. Having been restored to his son after his death, his son sold it to Charles de Chevenon, Lord of Bigny, in 1467. Inside the inner enclosure Charles built a lodging of brick and stone in pre-Renaissance Louis XII style, between 1500 and 1505. Later the castle was embellished and gardens were laid out turning it from a former military complex into a comfortable residence.

During the French Revolution, at the end of the 18th century, the castle was spared from destruction but the Marquis of Bigny was beheaded, his wife fled to exile in England and his son died in the Battle of Quiberon, fighting against revolutionary troops. Nevertheless the castle stayed in the hands of the Chevenon family and the new Marquis of Bigny restored the castle and garden in the mid-19th century. The descendants of the Chevenon family still own the castle today.

At present Ainay-le-Vieil Castle can be visited for a fee. A beautiful castle. Sadly enough the 16th century, pre-Renaissance lodgings were under construction and covered in scaffolding when I came by. A beautiful and interesting castle with nice gardens.


Gallery

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle, locally known as Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil, lies of the village of the same name, in the Cher department in France.

The site of Ainay-le-Vieil was first occupied by the Gallo-Romans. Situated in a border region the site was first fortified in the 12th century and belonged to the House of Bourbon. 

The present castle was built, over the earlier motte-castle, during the 2nd half of the 13th century, probably by the House of Sully. Jean de Sully gave the castle its present appearance during a rebuilding around 1330. It was built as an irregular, octagonal enclosure surrounded by a wide moat. It was flanked by 7 round towers and an entrance gate with 2 towers. Lacking any natural defenses it was originally circled by a 2nd wall with a double moat and drawbridge. This 2nd enclosure has now disappeared.

Ainay-le-Vieil Castle served as a bridgehead to harass the English during the Hundred Years' War. After the French lost the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, it became the only castle in the region to remain in French hands. Similarly, it lost all military importance with the French victory at the end of the Hundred Years' War.

In 1435 Ainay-le-Vieil was bought by Jacques Cœur, treasurer of Charles VII of France. It was confiscated, together with all Jacques' other possessions and wealth, in 1450. Having been restored to his son after his death, his son sold it to Charles de Chevenon, Lord of Bigny, in 1467. Inside the inner enclosure Charles built a lodging of brick and stone in pre-Renaissance Louis XII style, between 1500 and 1505. Later the castle was embellished and gardens were laid out turning it from a former military complex into a comfortable residence.

During the French Revolution, at the end of the 18th century, the castle was spared from destruction but the Marquis of Bigny was beheaded, his wife fled to exile in England and his son died in the Battle of Quiberon, fighting against revolutionary troops. Nevertheless the castle stayed in the hands of the Chevenon family and the new Marquis of Bigny restored the castle and garden in the mid-19th century. The descendants of the Chevenon family still own the castle today.

At present Ainay-le-Vieil Castle can be visited for a fee. A beautiful castle. Sadly enough the 16th century, pre-Renaissance lodgings were under construction and covered in scaffolding when I came by. A beautiful and interesting castle with nice gardens.


Gallery