St. Vérain Castle

St. Vérain Castle, locally known as Donjon de Saint-Vérain, lies next to the village of the same name, in the Nièvre department in France.

Saint-Vérain is now a small village but around 1000 it was a strategic spot, controlling passage on the road between Dony and Saint-Amand. At first the village was fortified with a wooden palisade but during the late 12th century, when the village had grown into a town, this was replaced by stone ramparts by the powerful Lords of Vérain, who were direct vassals of the Bishop of Auxerre. What we see today is actually just the keep of the castle that defended the town.

The castle was built on a motte on the highest point of the town and consisted of a circular keep surrounded by small enclosure with 5 towers. It was connected to a larger enclosure with 10 towers which held the seigneurial chapel and several outbuildings. This larger enclosure was in its turn connected to a 3rd enclosure which encircled the town. This largest enclosure had towers every 80 meters and 3 heavily fortified gates. Because its lords at the time had been on crusade, it is said that the whole fortification was built to a similar plan as that of Margat Castle in Syria.

In 1320 the last Lord of Vérain died without a male heir and the castle went to Hugues I of Amboise, lord of Chaumont, because of his marriage with Jeanne of Saint-Vérain. The Amboise family however only installed a captain at the castle to manage their affairs. During the Hundred Years' War the area was ravaged by English troops in 1356, 1367 and 1423 before the town and castle were taken in 1434 by the troops of Perrinet Gressard, a mercenary for the English and Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who already held the castles at La Charité-sur-Loire and Passy-lès-Tours, amongst others.

In 1489 the fiefdom was acquired by the Count of Nevers and it was incorporated into his domains. He appointed attendants to manage his affairs. This ended the importance of the town and it gradually fell back to being an anonymous village. 

At present St. Vérain Castle can not be visited because of the danger of falling masonry but it can easily be seen from the public road. A very nice village castle. Of the different enclosures only small portions remain, often on private property.


Gallery

St. Vérain Castle

St. Vérain Castle, locally known as Donjon de Saint-Vérain, lies next to the village of the same name, in the Nièvre department in France.

Saint-Vérain is now a small village but around 1000 it was a strategic spot, controlling passage on the road between Dony and Saint-Amand. At first the village was fortified with a wooden palisade but during the late 12th century, when the village had grown into a town, this was replaced by stone ramparts by the powerful Lords of Vérain, who were direct vassals of the Bishop of Auxerre. What we see today is actually just the keep of the castle that defended the town.

The castle was built on a motte on the highest point of the town and consisted of a circular keep surrounded by small enclosure with 5 towers. It was connected to a larger enclosure with 10 towers which held the seigneurial chapel and several outbuildings. This larger enclosure was in its turn connected to a 3rd enclosure which encircled the town. This largest enclosure had towers every 80 meters and 3 heavily fortified gates. Because its lords at the time had been on crusade, it is said that the whole fortification was built to a similar plan as that of Margat Castle in Syria.

In 1320 the last Lord of Vérain died without a male heir and the castle went to Hugues I of Amboise, lord of Chaumont, because of his marriage with Jeanne of Saint-Vérain. The Amboise family however only installed a captain at the castle to manage their affairs. During the Hundred Years' War the area was ravaged by English troops in 1356, 1367 and 1423 before the town and castle were taken in 1434 by the troops of Perrinet Gressard, a mercenary for the English and Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who already held the castles at La Charité-sur-Loire and Passy-lès-Tours, amongst others.

In 1489 the fiefdom was acquired by the Count of Nevers and it was incorporated into his domains. He appointed attendants to manage his affairs. This ended the importance of the town and it gradually fell back to being an anonymous village. 

At present St. Vérain Castle can not be visited because of the danger of falling masonry but it can easily be seen from the public road. A very nice village castle. Of the different enclosures only small portions remain, often on private property.


Gallery