Mesnières Castle, locally known as Château de Mesnières-en-Bray, lies in the village of Mesnières-en-Bray, in the Seine-Maritime department in the Upper Normandy region in France.
The first mention of a Lord of Mesnieres was in 1043.
In 1500, the then Lord of Mesnières, Louis de Boissay, initiated the construction of the Renaissance castle we see today. His son, Charles de Boissay, continued the construction. He married Madeleine Le Picart, granddaughter of the guardian of his father. Charles desired to build a castle that would rival that of his family-in-law; Etelan Castle. After his death Madeleine remarried to Charles de Créqui, Lord of Moreuil.
In 1550 Mesnières Castle was completed. By then it was in the hands of the Fautereau family, an old noble family. In 1648 the County of Mesnières was elevated to a March. In 1713 the castle was bought by the Durey de Bourneville family. In 1763 the fortune of this family had been gambled away and the castle was sold again. This time to the Biencourt de Poutrincourt family. In 1791 the Marquess, Adélaïde Lucas de Biencourt, fled to England. The castle was then turned into a detention center for the villagers.
In 1804, Charles-Nicolas de Biencourt, inherited the, by then dilapidated, castle. He then restored the castle. When he died without heirs in 1833, Mesnières Castle was again put up for sale to pay his debts. In 1835, when the castle was threatened with destruction, it was bought by the Community of the Brothers of Mercy and transformed into an orphanage and boarding school. In 1878 the castle was given over to the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, due to financial difficulties. They managed the school until 1903.
In 2004 Mesnières Castle suffered from a large fire which destroyed large parts of the castle. Presently, the castle still being reconstructed.
At present Mesnières Castle houses a foresters school. The castle and gardens can be visited for a fee. When I visited, the castle had just closed so I just took a stroll through the gardens. A nice castle reminiscent of castles in the Loire valley.