Bricquebec Castle, locally known as Château de Bricquebec, lies in the town with the same name south of the city of Cherbourg in the Manche department in the Normandy region in France.
Tradition has it that the first castle at this site was built by a certain Anslech, of Scandinavian origin, who was related to the Duke of Normandy; William Long-Sword.
Later Bricquebec Castle was owned by Robert I Bertran, who accompanied William the Conqueror in the conquest of England in 1066. His son, Robert II Bertran, is believed to have taken part in the taking of Jerusalem during the First Crusade in 1096. After the annexation of Normandy by the King of France, Philippe II Auguste, in 1204, the Bertrans did homage to him, for fifteen noble fiefs held from their barony of Bricquebec.
Myth has it that in 1270 the Knights Templar, who already had numerous other possessions in the area, founded a commandery in the castle, based on the architectural layout of the castle. The 13th century, 22 meters high, 11-sided keep stands on a 17 meters high motte and its outer walls resemble the octagonal geometry which was characteristic of the Order.
Robert VII Bertran, who had risen to become Marshal of France, played an important role during the beginning of the Hundred Years' War. Having obtained for his son the hand of a rich heiress, he aroused the wrath of another suitor, Godefroy d'Harcourt, Lord of St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte, who out of vengeance engaged in a private war against his rival. Sentenced for these doings, Godefroy d'Harcourt took refuge at the English court and there incited King Edward III to invade Normandy. Robert VII Bertran, nicknamed "the Knight with the Green Lion", attempted in vain to resist the English army which landed in St. Vaast-la-Hougue on the 12th of July 1346.
After the death of the last of the Bertrans, Bricquebec Castle went to the Paisnel family through marriage. During the 14th century the plague and famines ravaged the Cotentin peninsula and it was also the scene of multiple skirmishes between French, English and Navarrian troops. In 1418 the castle was occupied by the troops of King Henry V of England. Given to William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, then sold by him to captain Bertin Entwistle, the castle stayed under English rule until 1450. In 1452 Louis d'Estouteville took possession of the castle.
In the 16th century the barons of Bricquebec abandoned the castle in favor of their newer manors. In 1857 the castle was visited by Queen Victoria of England and in 1957 by Field Marshall Montgoméry.
At present there is a hotel inside the castle. The keep, amongst other parts of the castle, can be visited during summer months. An impressive castle, too bad the keep was closed when I visited.