Cléron Castle

Cléron Castle, locally known as Château de Cléron, lies in the village of the same name in the Doubs department in France.

The first structure on this site, a rocky outcrop on the bank of the river Loue, was a Gallo-Roman castrum. The site was strategic as it protected a ford through the river, which was part of a main salt route. The Lords of Cléron succeded the Lords of Scey in protecting this bridge already before the 12th century.

In 1320 Humbert de Cléron, a vassal of the Count of Burgundy, had the present castle built, almost certainly replacing an earlier medieval fortification. In 1384 the ford was replaced by a wooden bridge.

Legend has it that in the mid-15th century the village was sacked by a band of brigands who also kidnapped a villager. Simon de Cléron then killed the brigands in a punitive expidition but their leader escaped to Switzerland. In the melee the kidnapped man also died. His grieving wife then fell into madness and was locked up in a tower of the castle. In 1480 the castle was besieged by French troops. During the siege the keep caught fire and a wounded Simon de Cléron tried to escape the fire by traversing a frail wooden footbridge to the tower of the mad woman. He was then attacked by an enemy soldier which turned out to be the escaped brigand leader. The mad woman, recognizing the man responsible for the death of her loved one, then shook the footbridge, causing the brigand to fall to his death. Simon de Cléron then managed to safely escape the castle. The mad woman however refused to follow him and died when her tower collapsed. Simon rebuilt his castle in 1490.

During the Ten Years' War the castle was besieged and the village destroyed. First in 1639 by Swedish mercenary troops for Cardinal Richelieu and again in 1641 by French troops.

In 1691 the castle was sold to the Terrier family who modified it to the standards of their time during the 18th century. During the French Revolution, in 1789, mr. Terrier was imprisoned and the castle confiscated and transformed into a farm. After the Revolution, the impoverished mr. Terrier married a rich heiress which allowed him to restore the castle.

After 1840 the castle was substantially rebuilt, emphasizing its medieval appearance. It passed to the Montrichard family, the current owners, in 1890, by marriage.

At present the gardens of Cléron Castle can be visited for a fee during summer. Sadly enough not the interior of the castle itself as it is still a private residence. A beautiful castle.


Gallery

Cléron Castle

Cléron Castle, locally known as Château de Cléron, lies in the village of the same name in the Doubs department in France.

The first structure on this site, a rocky outcrop on the bank of the river Loue, was a Gallo-Roman castrum. The site was strategic as it protected a ford through the river, which was part of a main salt route. The Lords of Cléron succeded the Lords of Scey in protecting this bridge already before the 12th century.

In 1320 Humbert de Cléron, a vassal of the Count of Burgundy, had the present castle built, almost certainly replacing an earlier medieval fortification. In 1384 the ford was replaced by a wooden bridge.

Legend has it that in the mid-15th century the village was sacked by a band of brigands who also kidnapped a villager. Simon de Cléron then killed the brigands in a punitive expidition but their leader escaped to Switzerland. In the melee the kidnapped man also died. His grieving wife then fell into madness and was locked up in a tower of the castle. In 1480 the castle was besieged by French troops. During the siege the keep caught fire and a wounded Simon de Cléron tried to escape the fire by traversing a frail wooden footbridge to the tower of the mad woman. He was then attacked by an enemy soldier which turned out to be the escaped brigand leader. The mad woman, recognizing the man responsible for the death of her loved one, then shook the footbridge, causing the brigand to fall to his death. Simon de Cléron then managed to safely escape the castle. The mad woman however refused to follow him and died when her tower collapsed. Simon rebuilt his castle in 1490.

During the Ten Years' War the castle was besieged and the village destroyed. First in 1639 by Swedish mercenary troops for Cardinal Richelieu and again in 1641 by French troops.

In 1691 the castle was sold to the Terrier family who modified it to the standards of their time during the 18th century. During the French Revolution, in 1789, mr. Terrier was imprisoned and the castle confiscated and transformed into a farm. After the Revolution, the impoverished mr. Terrier married a rich heiress which allowed him to restore the castle.

After 1840 the castle was substantially rebuilt, emphasizing its medieval appearance. It passed to the Montrichard family, the current owners, in 1890, by marriage.

At present the gardens of Cléron Castle can be visited for a fee during summer. Sadly enough not the interior of the castle itself as it is still a private residence. A beautiful castle.


Gallery