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Thil Castle

Château de Thil

Thil Castle, locally known as Château de Thil or Forteresse de Thil, lies on a mound between the villages of Précy-sous-Thil and Thil-la-ville in the Côte-d'Or department in France.

Thil Castle is situated on the southern end of an almost 500 meters high mound, called Butte de Thil, overlooking the Serein valley to the west and the Armançon valley to the east. The northern end of the mound is occupied by the ruined 14th century Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity of Thil.

A castle at this site was first mentioned in 886 A.D when it was offered to the Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre. At that time it would most probably have been an entirely wooden and earthen construction. Although evidence is lacking, some authors think a Celtic oppidum or Roman armypost might have stood here earlier.

The first known owner of the castle is a Milo or Miles of Thil, mentioned around 1007. The Thil family were loyal to the Duke of Burgundy and held high positions at the court of the duchy. Odon of Thil rebuilt the castle in 1198 after it had been ruined during local conflicts. By this time the old castle had probably already been transformed into a stone fortress. Hugues and Ponce of Thil, grandsons of Odon, took part in a crusade in the 2nd half of the 13th century. Ponce had recieved the domain of Bourbilly as a dowry from his wife.

Around 1340 Jean I of Thil founded the collegiate church at the opposite end of the mound. In 1366, during the Hundred Years' War, Thil Castle was besieged and taken after an attack by Écorcheurs; a band of unemployed mercenaries roaming the countryside. The Thil family retrieved their castle only after paying a ransom and the castle was restored. In the last part of the 14th century the Thil family converged with the Châteauvillain family.

By 1444, however, the castle had apparently lost its military vocation and was described as just a simple stately home to the Châteauvillains. The Thil family line died out in 1507. Around 1590 Thil Castle, already partly ruined, was taken by troops of the Catholic League of France, led by Gaspard de Saulx, Count of Tavannes.

In 1640 the castle was dismantled on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu, as were many others in the Auxois area, to prevent it being used to oppose the royal authority of King Louis XIII of France. After that the Count of Thil abandoned the castle. The ruined castle changed hands several times during the next centuries. In the late 20th century the ruins were cleared and partly rebuilt.

In 2007 it was bought by the present owner. He is diligently keeping the castle alive, carrying out restorations, organizing fairs and opening up his castle to the public. He actually resides in one of the restored towers.

At present Thil Castle can be visited for a small fee. A very nice castle. Recommended.


Gallery

previousnext

Thil Castle

Château de Thil

Thil Castle, locally known as Château de Thil or Forteresse de Thil, lies on a mound between the villages of Précy-sous-Thil and Thil-la-ville in the Côte-d'Or department in France.

Thil Castle is situated on the southern end of an almost 500 meters high mound, called Butte de Thil, overlooking the Serein valley to the west and the Armançon valley to the east. The northern end of the mound is occupied by the ruined 14th century Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity of Thil.

A castle at this site was first mentioned in 886 A.D when it was offered to the Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre. At that time it would most probably have been an entirely wooden and earthen construction. Although evidence is lacking, some authors think a Celtic oppidum or Roman armypost might have stood here earlier.

The first known owner of the castle is a Milo or Miles of Thil, mentioned around 1007. The Thil family were loyal to the Duke of Burgundy and held high positions at the court of the duchy. Odon of Thil rebuilt the castle in 1198 after it had been ruined during local conflicts. By this time the old castle had probably already been transformed into a stone fortress. Hugues and Ponce of Thil, grandsons of Odon, took part in a crusade in the 2nd half of the 13th century. Ponce had recieved the domain of Bourbilly as a dowry from his wife.

Around 1340 Jean I of Thil founded the collegiate church at the opposite end of the mound. In 1366, during the Hundred Years' War, Thil Castle was besieged and taken after an attack by Écorcheurs; a band of unemployed mercenaries roaming the countryside. The Thil family retrieved their castle only after paying a ransom and the castle was restored. In the last part of the 14th century the Thil family converged with the Châteauvillain family.

By 1444, however, the castle had apparently lost its military vocation and was described as just a simple stately home to the Châteauvillains. The Thil family line died out in 1507. Around 1590 Thil Castle, already partly ruined, was taken by troops of the Catholic League of France, led by Gaspard de Saulx, Count of Tavannes.

In 1640 the castle was dismantled on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu, as were many others in the Auxois area, to prevent it being used to oppose the royal authority of King Louis XIII of France. After that the Count of Thil abandoned the castle. The ruined castle changed hands several times during the next centuries. In the late 20th century the ruins were cleared and partly rebuilt.

In 2007 it was bought by the present owner. He is diligently keeping the castle alive, carrying out restorations, organizing fairs and opening up his castle to the public. He actually resides in one of the restored towers.

At present Thil Castle can be visited for a small fee. A very nice castle. Recommended.


Gallery