Year of visit

  • 2012

Location

Adress: At the beginning of Rue du Bel, Arques-la-Bataille, France.

Website

Arques-la-Bataille Castle

Arques-la-Bataille Castle, locally known as Château d'Arques-la-Bataille, lies next to the village of the same name, in the Seine-Maritime department in France.

Arques-la-Bataille Castle was first built by William of Talou, Count of Talou (a.k.a. Arques) shortly after 1037. This castle consisted of a keep on a motte, circled by an ovoid stone enclosure and a deep ditch. By then it was just known as Arques Castle. In 1052 William revolted against his nephew; William the Conqueror. This led to a year-long siege, led by Walter Giffard, Lord of Longueville, in which the inhabitants of the castle were starved out after which the latter took the castle.

Around 1123, under the rule of Henry I of England, a new Norman-style keep was built, rectangular with strong buttresses, and a gate building. During the remainder of the 12th century Arques Castle was frequently fought over and suffered several sieges.

In 1204 Arques Castle was the last Norman stronghold to surrender to Philip II of France, who had fruitlessly layed siege to it 2 years before.

During the Hundred Years' War the castle proved impregnable and only fell into English hands in 1420 after Normandy was ceded to them in the Treaty of Troyes. Joan of Arc stayed at the castle in 1431 before being judged and sentenced in Rouen.

In 1449 the castle was again taken by the French and became royal property. Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, torched the town and besieged the castle without succes in 1472.

Under the rule of Francis I of France Arques Castle was adapted to the use of firearms. In 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, the Duke of Bouillon took refuge in the castle. In September 1589 the Battle of Arques took place beneath its walls. During that battle Henry IV of France, with his army of 7000 men, victoriously fought off a 30.000 men strong army of the Catholic League. After that the castle recieved its name Arques-la-Bataille, in honor of that battle.

In 1688 the castle was no longer garrisoned and lost its military purpose. By 1708 it was declared 'unfit for service' by Louis XIV of France. It was finally decommissioned by Louis XVI in the mid-18th century and turned into a stone quarry. In 1792 it was sold as National Property to a civilian who stopped the demolition of the ruin.

In 1836 the Black Band (speculative, asset-stripping syndicates that bought ancient castles at knockdown prices in the wake of the French Revolution, only to demolish them and sell off the building materials) had their eyes set on the ruin of Arques-la-Bataille Castle. To prevent this, it was bought by a group of people, amongst whom were an antiquarian and a politician. Later that century a museum was installed in the castle, which operated till after World War I.

During World War II the castle was occupied by German forces. They installed anti-aircraft guns and used it as an ammunitions depot, which they blew up when they retreated at the end of the war.

Until the 1970's Arques-la-Bataille Castle could be visited during guided tours but the gates were finally closed in 2000 for security reasons.

At present Arques-la-Bataille Castle is closed for visitors due to the risk of falling stones. You can walk around it freely to view its exterior. Too bad, I am very curious about its interior. There is a foundation which is aimed at restoring and re-opening the castle. i hope to be able to return when that happens.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/arques-bataille-castle#sigFreeId7ced6706d6

Year of visit

  • 2012

Location

Adress: At the beginning of Rue du Bel, Arques-la-Bataille, France.

Website

Year of visit

  • 2012

Location

Adress: At the beginning of Rue du Bel, Arques-la-Bataille, France.

Website

Arques-la-Bataille Castle

Arques-la-Bataille Castle, locally known as Château d'Arques-la-Bataille, lies next to the village of the same name, in the Seine-Maritime department in France.

Arques-la-Bataille Castle was first built by William of Talou, Count of Talou (a.k.a. Arques) shortly after 1037. This castle consisted of a keep on a motte, circled by an ovoid stone enclosure and a deep ditch. By then it was just known as Arques Castle. In 1052 William revolted against his nephew; William the Conqueror. This led to a year-long siege, led by Walter Giffard, Lord of Longueville, in which the inhabitants of the castle were starved out after which the latter took the castle.

Around 1123, under the rule of Henry I of England, a new Norman-style keep was built, rectangular with strong buttresses, and a gate building. During the remainder of the 12th century Arques Castle was frequently fought over and suffered several sieges.

In 1204 Arques Castle was the last Norman stronghold to surrender to Philip II of France, who had fruitlessly layed siege to it 2 years before.

During the Hundred Years' War the castle proved impregnable and only fell into English hands in 1420 after Normandy was ceded to them in the Treaty of Troyes. Joan of Arc stayed at the castle in 1431 before being judged and sentenced in Rouen.

In 1449 the castle was again taken by the French and became royal property. Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, torched the town and besieged the castle without succes in 1472.

Under the rule of Francis I of France Arques Castle was adapted to the use of firearms. In 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, the Duke of Bouillon took refuge in the castle. In September 1589 the Battle of Arques took place beneath its walls. During that battle Henry IV of France, with his army of 7000 men, victoriously fought off a 30.000 men strong army of the Catholic League. After that the castle recieved its name Arques-la-Bataille, in honor of that battle.

In 1688 the castle was no longer garrisoned and lost its military purpose. By 1708 it was declared 'unfit for service' by Louis XIV of France. It was finally decommissioned by Louis XVI in the mid-18th century and turned into a stone quarry. In 1792 it was sold as National Property to a civilian who stopped the demolition of the ruin.

In 1836 the Black Band (speculative, asset-stripping syndicates that bought ancient castles at knockdown prices in the wake of the French Revolution, only to demolish them and sell off the building materials) had their eyes set on the ruin of Arques-la-Bataille Castle. To prevent this, it was bought by a group of people, amongst whom were an antiquarian and a politician. Later that century a museum was installed in the castle, which operated till after World War I.

During World War II the castle was occupied by German forces. They installed anti-aircraft guns and used it as an ammunitions depot, which they blew up when they retreated at the end of the war.

Until the 1970's Arques-la-Bataille Castle could be visited during guided tours but the gates were finally closed in 2000 for security reasons.

At present Arques-la-Bataille Castle is closed for visitors due to the risk of falling stones. You can walk around it freely to view its exterior. Too bad, I am very curious about its interior. There is a foundation which is aimed at restoring and re-opening the castle. i hope to be able to return when that happens.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/arques-bataille-castle#sigFreeId7ced6706d6

Year of visit

  • 2012

Location

Adress: At the beginning of Rue du Bel, Arques-la-Bataille, France.

Website