The Château

The Château

IMG_9692_-_Copie IMG_9499 IMG_9675 IMG_9698 salle_repas salle_billard

The current “Castle of Damigny” where we welcome you is an old Anglo-Norman dwelling and is one of the lasts remains of the medieval Fort of Damigny.

An authentic baker’s oven, a defence tower and some moats of the medieval times still exist today. The history of the castle of Damigny and of its owners is surprisingly well-known from the 12th century AD. Located in the parish of Nonant, it was then called “Château d’Amigny” (Amigny’s castle).

In 1150, Guillaume de Clos sold the castle and its fief to a Sir called Robert. His granddaughter, Mabille, wed Gauthier du Plessis who became the first Lord of a line of Lords of Damigny. The Du Plessis family reigned on the castle until 1380s.

In 1339, Guillaume du Plessis built a chapel dedicated to Virgen Mary, inside the castle, and also built a Church in Nonant, in the same architectural style. The chapel inside the castle was demolished in the XVIIIth century.

In 1372, a defence tower was built to protect the fort of Damigny. Indeed, the fort was lying on a small island of thirty meters large. The defence tower was used to control the entry and access to the drawbridge. The water surrounding the island was alimented by a big source with an important debit (12 cubic metres an hour!). This source is still supplying with water the basin at the entrance of the castle.

In 1380, Lucas de Longaulnay, issued from a noble family of Brittany, wed Agnès du Plessis, who gave as a dowry the Castle of Damigny. Thanks to good alliances and military qualities, the Longaunay family became throughout the generations a powerful family. They began a long tradition of serving the King of France. Agnès and Lucas de Longaulnay’s son, Hervieu de Longaunay, served the kings Charles VI and Charles VII. He wed Jeanne d’Octeville in 1416. Their own son, Jean I de Longaunay, became the King’s Chamberlain in 1416. Hervé III de Longaunay, Jean I’s son, got married with Blanche d’Esneval on 10 August 1484 and served three French kings: Charles VII, Louis XII and François the First. Loyal to the king, the Longaunay served him during the Franco-Italian wars, or dedicated to God.

In 1553, Hervé III de Longaunay’s grandson, Hervé IV de Longaunay, wed Catherine de Sureau. After the Hundred Years’ War, which ended in 1450, peace came back but the reformed religion, professed by Luther and Calvin, spread from 1530 in Normandy.

In 1562, the Edict of Saint-Germain (an edict advocating tolerancy) allows the freedom of cult. On 1 March, the massacre of Vassy starts the religious wars. On 15 and 16 April, the Huguenots seize the Castle of Damigny. It is said that Hervé IV de Longaunay, after Saint-Bartholomew’s Day massacre, would have join the Huguenot’s side. Hervé IV’s son, Jean III de Longaunay, rules on the Castle of Damigny. He offers passports to Huguenots who want to leave the kingdom. The Longaunay dystany ends in Damigny with Jean III’s death, probably in 1619. Jean III’s widow, Suzanne aux Epaules, married François de la Guiche de Saint-Géran and gives the fief of Damigny as a dowry. At Suzanne’s death in 1679, Damigny goes to Suzanne’s step sister, the Duchesse of Ventadour. The next generations of lords of Damigny do not live there anymore; they just make regular stays there. Only a priest still lives in the castle at that time.The Duchesse of Ventadour is indeed very close to the great king Louis XIV.

In 1714, the owner of the castle, le Prince de Rohan, sells the domain to the Marquis de Magny. But the Marquis travels abroad frequently and the castle is neglected. When his wife dies in 1755, the domain of Damigny goes to his children but the Marquis, still usufructuary, does not take care to the decay of his castle. When he dies in 1772, at 95 years old, the castle is a ruin. As his children were dead before him, a cousin of them, Charles Arnaud de la Briffe, inherits of the castle. The French Revolution occurs in 1789. The family de la Briffe emigrates, threatened by The Terror (period of violence that occurred on the onset of the French Revolution, and marked by mass massacres of the “enemies of revolution” – royal family, nobles and religious notably). Their goods are confiscated by the Convention. The property of Damigny is divided in more than a hundred parts, most of them given to peasants. In the public register of lands published in 1807, the defence tower and the bread oven, built at the end of the XVIth century are mentioned. However, the water surrounding the island has disappeared, except for the moat which still exists. During the Bourbon Restoration (from 1814 to 1830, a constitutional monarchy was re-established in France under the Bourbon dynasty), the whole property belonged to the Carpentier family – they were called “Carpentier de Damigny”. Sir Carpentier rebuilt the old dwelling that has become the current castle. The building is larger to the north. It is a typical XIXth century castle, flanked with greenhouses to grow vines and with a circular basin.

From 1914, the castle became a summer house for seminarists. Then, it became a stud farm for the Marie family who sold it to the cartridge store of the Lebisey family in 1936.

In 1990, the western part of the property including the park, the castle, the meadow, the defence tower and the wood were sold to the Heimdal Editions. The publishing house sold the Castle of Damigny in August 2009 to M. Vincent Capon and Miss Corinne Matton, who completely restored the castle and its surroundings. Corinne, Vincent and their son Paul are pleased to welcome you to this historic property of Damigny.

Key dates

1150: Guillaume du Clos sold the Castle of Damigny to one Mr. Robert.
1200: Robert’s granddaughter, Mabille, marries Gauthier du Plessis
1339: Guillaume du Plessis, one of Gauthier’s descendants, built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary inside the Castle
1380: Agnès du Plessis weds Lucas de Longaulnay and gives Damigny as her dowry. Damigny becomes the property of the Longaulnay for a few generations.
1484: Hervé III de Longaunay builds the defence tower of Damigny.
1553: His son, Hervé IV, marries Catherine de Sureau.
1619: Jean III de Longaunay’s death marks the end of the Longaunay’s rule on Damigny.
1679: Damigny goes to the Duchesse de Ventadour, born Marie de la Guiche.
1714: the Castle is sold to the Marquis de Magny
1772: The Marquis de Magny dies. The castle is ruined and given to the family de la Briffe.
1789: French Revolution: the De la Briffe emigrate and the property of Damigny is divided in more than 100 parts.
1815: Bourbon Restoration: Sir Carpentier rebuilds the old dwelling of Damigny.
1914: Damigny becomes a summer house for seminarists, then a stud farm.
1936: A cartridge store buys Damigny.
1990: the main part of the property of DAmigny is sold to the publishing house Heimdal.
2009: this property is sold to Mr. Vincent Capon and his companion, Miss Corinne Matton.
2011: After a deep restoration of the castle, Damigny begins a new life and hosts “bed and breakfast”.