Conches-en-Ouche Castle

Conches-en-Ouche Castle, locally known as Château or Donjon de Conches-en-Ouche, lies in the town of the same name, in the Eure department in France.

Conches-en-Ouche Castle was founded in 1034 by Roger I of Tosny, a Norman nobleman who took part in the Reconquista of Iberia.

In 1199 the castle was taken by Philip II of France who, in 1202, entrusted it to his cousin Robert of Courtenay, Lord of Champignelles. Robert enlarged the castle and added flanking towers to the outer enclosure, before he went on crusade to the Holy Land in 1228 where he died 11 years later.

By the 14th century the lordship of Conches was in the hands of the House of Artois and thus served as a stronghold of Robert III of Artois, who probably helped to trigger the Hundred Years' War. 

In 1354, after the Treaty of Mantes, John II of France gave the town and castle to Charles II of Navarre. Charles entrusted it to Jean III de Grailly, who in turn entrusted it to his uncle Archambaud. Two years later, in 1356 the town and castle suffered from a raid by Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster.

In January 1371 Conches-en-Ouche Castle was besieged by Bertrand du Guesclin under the pretext that Jean III de Grailly had chosen to side with the English. This siege led to the evacuation of the castle by the Navarrese forces after they surrendered following an agreement. This surrender, 7 years before the conquest of Navarrese properties in France by Charles V of France, caused the castle to escape destruction, during that conquest.

In 1420 the castle was taken by Henry V of England. The French managed to retrieve it in 1440, only to lose it to the English again the year after. The English were later finally driven out by Robert de Flocques, bailiff of Évreux, in 1449.

In 1591, during the French Wars of Religion, the castle served as a refuge for members of the Catholic League of France. After they were driven out, the castle was slighted to prevent it from being a future stronghold for enemies of the French Crown.

The castle consisted of a round keep which would have been at least 3 stories high, on a motte on the edge of a ridge. The keep was circled by a wall with several flanking towers and one strong round tower on a square base. That tower, called the Captal Tower, served as a 2nd keep and was added in 1363. Of the outer enclosure the main remnant is a gate building which allowed entrance from the town.

At present the outer enclosure of Conches-en-Ouche Castle can freely be visited. The buildings are used as a library and town hall, the space as a small public park. The keep in the inner enclosure is closed off due to the danger of falling masonry, A beautiful castle ruin in a sleepy little town.


Gallery

Conches-en-Ouche Castle

Conches-en-Ouche Castle, locally known as Château or Donjon de Conches-en-Ouche, lies in the town of the same name, in the Eure department in France.

Conches-en-Ouche Castle was founded in 1034 by Roger I of Tosny, a Norman nobleman who took part in the Reconquista of Iberia.

In 1199 the castle was taken by Philip II of France who, in 1202, entrusted it to his cousin Robert of Courtenay, Lord of Champignelles. Robert enlarged the castle and added flanking towers to the outer enclosure, before he went on crusade to the Holy Land in 1228 where he died 11 years later.

By the 14th century the lordship of Conches was in the hands of the House of Artois and thus served as a stronghold of Robert III of Artois, who probably helped to trigger the Hundred Years' War. 

In 1354, after the Treaty of Mantes, John II of France gave the town and castle to Charles II of Navarre. Charles entrusted it to Jean III de Grailly, who in turn entrusted it to his uncle Archambaud. Two years later, in 1356 the town and castle suffered from a raid by Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster.

In January 1371 Conches-en-Ouche Castle was besieged by Bertrand du Guesclin under the pretext that Jean III de Grailly had chosen to side with the English. This siege led to the evacuation of the castle by the Navarrese forces after they surrendered following an agreement. This surrender, 7 years before the conquest of Navarrese properties in France by Charles V of France, caused the castle to escape destruction, during that conquest.

In 1420 the castle was taken by Henry V of England. The French managed to retrieve it in 1440, only to lose it to the English again the year after. The English were later finally driven out by Robert de Flocques, bailiff of Évreux, in 1449.

In 1591, during the French Wars of Religion, the castle served as a refuge for members of the Catholic League of France. After they were driven out, the castle was slighted to prevent it from being a future stronghold for enemies of the French Crown.

The castle consisted of a round keep which would have been at least 3 stories high, on a motte on the edge of a ridge. The keep was circled by a wall with several flanking towers and one strong round tower on a square base. That tower, called the Captal Tower, served as a 2nd keep and was added in 1363. Of the outer enclosure the main remnant is a gate building which allowed entrance from the town.

At present the outer enclosure of Conches-en-Ouche Castle can freely be visited. The buildings are used as a library and town hall, the space as a small public park. The keep in the inner enclosure is closed off due to the danger of falling masonry, A beautiful castle ruin in a sleepy little town.


Gallery