Jumilly Castle

Jumilly Castle, locally known as Château du Diable or Château de Jumilly, lies north of the town of Domfront, in the Orne department in France.

It is not known when Jumilly Castle was founded. The House of Jumilly was already mentioned in the mid-13th century. The castle itself was first mentioned in the 17th century when it was described in detail as follows.

"By the avenue of magnificent elms which preceded it, one reached by means of an iron gate a 1st courtyard surrounded by walls where were on the right the stables and an entrance on the garden, on the left the housing of the concierge. This courtyard, by means of 2 parallel and contiguous drawbridges, communicated with the main courtyard of square shape, enclosed by thick walls, flanked by large towers. The house was at the back with its 2 floors, the rear directly overlooking the waters of the pond. The ground floor included a kitchen, storage rooms and the cellar. A stone staircase led to the 1st floor; from a large hall, to the right, was a bedroom, to the left a company room and a dining room. The second floor contained an antechamber with a bedroom and its cabinet on the left, two bedrooms and two separate cabinets on the right. The third, with sloping ceilings, could be occupied by castle personnel. On the right of these constructions, on an island between the perimeter wall of the main courtyard and the garden, was the chapel to which the access was only by means of a footbridge connecting it to the castle. The lintel of its door was adorned with an escutcheon with the arms of Barré de Jumilly, which would lead us to believe that the dwelling was raised or at least restored at the beginning of 1600, probably by Henri I de Jumilly (Barré)."

During the French Revolution, the abandoned castle was ransacked by looters. In 1854 it was a ruin with a farm established within its walls. Later the ruined castle was used as a quarry for cheap building materials by the locals. At present only part of one corner tower remains on the still partly moated island.

There are several legends concerning its nickname 'Château du Diable', which translates to 'Castle of the Devil'.

One tells about a impoverished lord who tried to sell the soul of his soon-to-be-born child to the devil for cash. His wife overheard his negotiations with the devil and intervened, demanding the lord would sell his own soul, which the devil could come for after a period of her choosing. That period would be the time it would take for a candle to burn. She then lit the candle and threw it in the moat. The cheated devil could not touch the candle, which had been blessed and departed angrily. The lord died of shock instantly after which the devil returned and took his body as compensation for the lost soul.

Another one tells about a partying lord who, during a discussion at a party, yelled: "May the Devil take me!". His 'wish' was instantly granted and the remaining party guests were entombed.

Yet another one tells about a white sheep that ventured into the ruined castle. When it returned it was black and its roasted wool bore the imprint of the fiery hand of the devil.

The first 2 legends originated in the early 18th century. Around that time Jumilly Castle was owned by Christophe Alexandre, Lord of La Rivière. He had large debts and died in the castle in 1729. Legend has it that, in fact, he didn't die but expatriated while placing a tree trunk in his coffin. When the wooden replacement was discovered the locals agreed the devil must have carried him away.

At present the remnant of Jumilly Castle can freely be visited. Just a small ruin. Domfront Castle is nearby.


Gallery

Jumilly Castle

Jumilly Castle, locally known as Château du Diable or Château de Jumilly, lies north of the town of Domfront, in the Orne department in France.

It is not known when Jumilly Castle was founded. The House of Jumilly was already mentioned in the mid-13th century. The castle itself was first mentioned in the 17th century when it was described in detail as follows.

"By the avenue of magnificent elms which preceded it, one reached by means of an iron gate a 1st courtyard surrounded by walls where were on the right the stables and an entrance on the garden, on the left the housing of the concierge. This courtyard, by means of 2 parallel and contiguous drawbridges, communicated with the main courtyard of square shape, enclosed by thick walls, flanked by large towers. The house was at the back with its 2 floors, the rear directly overlooking the waters of the pond. The ground floor included a kitchen, storage rooms and the cellar. A stone staircase led to the 1st floor; from a large hall, to the right, was a bedroom, to the left a company room and a dining room. The second floor contained an antechamber with a bedroom and its cabinet on the left, two bedrooms and two separate cabinets on the right. The third, with sloping ceilings, could be occupied by castle personnel. On the right of these constructions, on an island between the perimeter wall of the main courtyard and the garden, was the chapel to which the access was only by means of a footbridge connecting it to the castle. The lintel of its door was adorned with an escutcheon with the arms of Barré de Jumilly, which would lead us to believe that the dwelling was raised or at least restored at the beginning of 1600, probably by Henri I de Jumilly (Barré)."

During the French Revolution, the abandoned castle was ransacked by looters. In 1854 it was a ruin with a farm established within its walls. Later the ruined castle was used as a quarry for cheap building materials by the locals. At present only part of one corner tower remains on the still partly moated island.

There are several legends concerning its nickname 'Château du Diable', which translates to 'Castle of the Devil'.

One tells about a impoverished lord who tried to sell the soul of his soon-to-be-born child to the devil for cash. His wife overheard his negotiations with the devil and intervened, demanding the lord would sell his own soul, which the devil could come for after a period of her choosing. That period would be the time it would take for a candle to burn. She then lit the candle and threw it in the moat. The cheated devil could not touch the candle, which had been blessed and departed angrily. The lord died of shock instantly after which the devil returned and took his body as compensation for the lost soul.

Another one tells about a partying lord who, during a discussion at a party, yelled: "May the Devil take me!". His 'wish' was instantly granted and the remaining party guests were entombed.

Yet another one tells about a white sheep that ventured into the ruined castle. When it returned it was black and its roasted wool bore the imprint of the fiery hand of the devil.

The first 2 legends originated in the early 18th century. Around that time Jumilly Castle was owned by Christophe Alexandre, Lord of La Rivière. He had large debts and died in the castle in 1729. Legend has it that, in fact, he didn't die but expatriated while placing a tree trunk in his coffin. When the wooden replacement was discovered the locals agreed the devil must have carried him away.

At present the remnant of Jumilly Castle can freely be visited. Just a small ruin. Domfront Castle is nearby.


Gallery