Nesles Castle

Nesles Castle, locally known as Château de Nesles, lies next to the hamlet of the same name, in the Aisne department in France.

Nesles Castle was founded in 1226 by Robert III, Count of Dreux and Braine and great grandson of Louis VI of France. He built the castle to get his own place because after his father Robert II had died in 1218, his younger brother Peter I, Duke of Brittany, had inherited his father's castle at nearby Fère-en-Tardenois.

The castle was modelled after the royal castle of Dourdan. It is built in the style of French military architecture at that time, called "Philippian" after Philippe Auguste (Philip II of France). It consists of a square enclosure with round towers at its corners and halfway its curtain walls. The circular keep stands detached from the enclosure on its own little islet.

In 1280 Nesles Castle goes to Gaucher V de Châtillon by his marriage with Isabeau de Dreux. Gaucher was Constable of France under 5 different French kings. Around 1370 his descendants ceded the castle to Jehan II de la Personne, Viscount of Acy and the 1st Governor of the Bastille.

Between 1421 and 1423, during the Hundred Years' War, the castle was almost continously besieged by the English after which it surrendered to the Earl of Salisbury.

In 1436 Blanche d'Overbreuc, heiress of Nesles Castle married Guillaume de Flavy, Governor of Compiègne; she was 9 at the time, he 30 years her senior... Apparently the marriage was not entirely out of her free will, for Guillaume had her father imprisoned in the castle until he died so she would be the heiress. In 1449 Blanche had her revenge and had Guillaume murdered before her eyes by her lover in the castle. She and her lover, Pierre de Louvain, were shortly imprisoned for this murder but married after their release. In 1464 however Pierre was brutally murdered in revenge by a brother of Guillaume.

Blanche then married for a 3rd time, this time with Pierre Puy. To be able to marry her Pierre Puy had quickly divorced his wife and taken custody of his son. He then advised his son to murder his sons-in-law; the sons of Blanche and Pierre de Louvain. He then suffered the revenge of his sons-in-law. They took him hostage in the keep of Nesles Castle, only setting him free after forcing him to admit being a traitor to the king after which he was jailed for 7 years.

In 1529 Nesles Castle was bought from the Louvain family by Anne de Montmorency who was already owner of Fère Castle and who probably wanted to extend his hunting grounds. During the French Wars of Religion, in the 2nd part of the 16th century, the castle was taken and retaken several times.

After going through the hands of several owners the castle was acquired in 1656 by Philippe de Clérambault, whose descendants owned it until 1806. Somewhere during the 17th century Nesles Castle was dismantled and turned into a farm.

During World War I the castle was occupied by German forces. It was freed, after 3 days of fierce fighting, by the US 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division led by General Douglas MacArthur.

Since 1970 the castle has been restored.

At present Nesles Castle is private property but it can be visited for a fee. Apparently it is mainly used as a venue for wedding parties. What can be seen inside I don't know, for it was closed when I came by. I am especially curious about the interior of the keep. A very nice small castle.


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Nesles Castle

Nesles Castle, locally known as Château de Nesles, lies next to the hamlet of the same name, in the Aisne department in France.

Nesles Castle was founded in 1226 by Robert III, Count of Dreux and Braine and great grandson of Louis VI of France. He built the castle to get his own place because after his father Robert II had died in 1218, his younger brother Peter I, Duke of Brittany, had inherited his father's castle at nearby Fère-en-Tardenois.

The castle was modelled after the royal castle of Dourdan. It is built in the style of French military architecture at that time, called "Philippian" after Philippe Auguste (Philip II of France). It consists of a square enclosure with round towers at its corners and halfway its curtain walls. The circular keep stands detached from the enclosure on its own little islet.

In 1280 Nesles Castle goes to Gaucher V de Châtillon by his marriage with Isabeau de Dreux. Gaucher was Constable of France under 5 different French kings. Around 1370 his descendants ceded the castle to Jehan II de la Personne, Viscount of Acy and the 1st Governor of the Bastille.

Between 1421 and 1423, during the Hundred Years' War, the castle was almost continously besieged by the English after which it surrendered to the Earl of Salisbury.

In 1436 Blanche d'Overbreuc, heiress of Nesles Castle married Guillaume de Flavy, Governor of Compiègne; she was 9 at the time, he 30 years her senior... Apparently the marriage was not entirely out of her free will, for Guillaume had her father imprisoned in the castle until he died so she would be the heiress. In 1449 Blanche had her revenge and had Guillaume murdered before her eyes by her lover in the castle. She and her lover, Pierre de Louvain, were shortly imprisoned for this murder but married after their release. In 1464 however Pierre was brutally murdered in revenge by a brother of Guillaume.

Blanche then married for a 3rd time, this time with Pierre Puy. To be able to marry her Pierre Puy had quickly divorced his wife and taken custody of his son. He then advised his son to murder his sons-in-law; the sons of Blanche and Pierre de Louvain. He then suffered the revenge of his sons-in-law. They took him hostage in the keep of Nesles Castle, only setting him free after forcing him to admit being a traitor to the king after which he was jailed for 7 years.

In 1529 Nesles Castle was bought from the Louvain family by Anne de Montmorency who was already owner of Fère Castle and who probably wanted to extend his hunting grounds. During the French Wars of Religion, in the 2nd part of the 16th century, the castle was taken and retaken several times.

After going through the hands of several owners the castle was acquired in 1656 by Philippe de Clérambault, whose descendants owned it until 1806. Somewhere during the 17th century Nesles Castle was dismantled and turned into a farm.

During World War I the castle was occupied by German forces. It was freed, after 3 days of fierce fighting, by the US 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division led by General Douglas MacArthur.

Since 1970 the castle has been restored.

At present Nesles Castle is private property but it can be visited for a fee. Apparently it is mainly used as a venue for wedding parties. What can be seen inside I don't know, for it was closed when I came by. I am especially curious about the interior of the keep. A very nice small castle.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/nesles-castle#sigFreeId28d323631a