Sailhant Castle

Sailhant Castle, locally known as Château du Sailhant, lies above of the hamlet of the same name, in the Cantal department in France.

The first fortification at this site, a basaltic spur of triangular shape, would have been a wooden tower, from the 9th or 10th century, on the end of the spur. It was protected by a palisaded wall and a dry moat.

In the beginning of the 11th century the wooden tower was replaced by a square stone keep by the Saillans family who were Lords of Sailhant. The Saillans continuously updated their fortress and by 1250 it was completely built out of stone with high stone walls following the the outline of the spur. The spur was closed off by a curtain wall with ramparts and 2 towers and a deep, dry moat spanned by a drawbridge.

In the early 14th century Sailhant Castle passed to Bertrand I de Rochefort d’Aurouze through marriage. Later that century, during the Hundred Years' War, the castle was occupied by the English several times. In 1398, following the death of Françoise de Rochefort d’Aurouze Dauphin, the castle went to her son Béraud Dauphin I de Saint-Ilpize.

In 1436 it went, through inheritance, to the Lespinasse family. That same year the castle was taken again by English troops. They stayed until 1439. It was subsequently seized by Rodrigue de Villandrando, a Spanish pillager. It was later returned to the Lespinasses.

Through inheritance the castle passed to the d'Amboise family in 1482. They placed a castellan in charge of the castle, which they kept until 1540 when it was sold to the Protestant Dubourg family. They updated it and made it their residence. During the French Wars of Religion the castle was taken over by Catholic troops twice. 

In 1616 Sailhant Castle passed to the d'Estaing family through marriage. They mostly leased it out and resided elsewhere. During the 17th century the old 11th century keep was lowered and turned into a pavilion. Also the walls of the enclosure were leveled. The castle even served as a farm for 40 years.

The d'Estaing sold the castle by auction in 1753 to Francois Jean Roger, squire, Lord of Colombelle and financial advisor and secretary to King Louis XV, who started to restore it. Later it was sold and again leased out. During the French Revolution the castle was confiscated and later sold. By that time it was in a dilapidated state.

In the 19th century several other owners followed while the castle deteriorated further and some parts were demolished. This was stopped in 1881 when the castle was bought by a Mr. Raynaud. He started an extensive restoration and added towers to the castle. He went bankrupt before completion and it was bought by the Delbet family.

In 1997 Sailhant Castle was bought by the American architect Joseph Pell Lombardi from New York. He meticulously restored it to its present state and now uses it as a private holiday residence.

At present Sailhant Castle can be visited for a fee. Photography of its interior is not allowed. A very nice castle. Quite a nice holiday home, me thinks.


Gallery

Sailhant Castle

Sailhant Castle, locally known as Château du Sailhant, lies above of the hamlet of the same name, in the Cantal department in France.

The first fortification at this site, a basaltic spur of triangular shape, would have been a wooden tower, from the 9th or 10th century, on the end of the spur. It was protected by a palisaded wall and a dry moat.

In the beginning of the 11th century the wooden tower was replaced by a square stone keep by the Saillans family who were Lords of Sailhant. The Saillans continuously updated their fortress and by 1250 it was completely built out of stone with high stone walls following the the outline of the spur. The spur was closed off by a curtain wall with ramparts and 2 towers and a deep, dry moat spanned by a drawbridge.

In the early 14th century Sailhant Castle passed to Bertrand I de Rochefort d’Aurouze through marriage. Later that century, during the Hundred Years' War, the castle was occupied by the English several times. In 1398, following the death of Françoise de Rochefort d’Aurouze Dauphin, the castle went to her son Béraud Dauphin I de Saint-Ilpize.

In 1436 it went, through inheritance, to the Lespinasse family. That same year the castle was taken again by English troops. They stayed until 1439. It was subsequently seized by Rodrigue de Villandrando, a Spanish pillager. It was later returned to the Lespinasses.

Through inheritance the castle passed to the d'Amboise family in 1482. They placed a castellan in charge of the castle, which they kept until 1540 when it was sold to the Protestant Dubourg family. They updated it and made it their residence. During the French Wars of Religion the castle was taken over by Catholic troops twice. 

In 1616 Sailhant Castle passed to the d'Estaing family through marriage. They mostly leased it out and resided elsewhere. During the 17th century the old 11th century keep was lowered and turned into a pavilion. Also the walls of the enclosure were leveled. The castle even served as a farm for 40 years.

The d'Estaing sold the castle by auction in 1753 to Francois Jean Roger, squire, Lord of Colombelle and financial advisor and secretary to King Louis XV, who started to restore it. Later it was sold and again leased out. During the French Revolution the castle was confiscated and later sold. By that time it was in a dilapidated state.

In the 19th century several other owners followed while the castle deteriorated further and some parts were demolished. This was stopped in 1881 when the castle was bought by a Mr. Raynaud. He started an extensive restoration and added towers to the castle. He went bankrupt before completion and it was bought by the Delbet family.

In 1997 Sailhant Castle was bought by the American architect Joseph Pell Lombardi from New York. He meticulously restored it to its present state and now uses it as a private holiday residence.

At present Sailhant Castle can be visited for a fee. Photography of its interior is not allowed. A very nice castle. Quite a nice holiday home, me thinks.


Gallery