About Domfront Castle
Domfront Castle is a ruined medieval fortress in Normandy, France. The ruins include the castle keep, the enceinte, ramparts, towers, casemates and the former Sainte-Catherine et Saint-Symphorien chapels.
Domfront Castle history
Already an important fortification in the 11th century, the castle was besieged by William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, in 1051. By 1092 it fell under the ownership of William’s third son, Henry I. The castle has served as a meeting point for Henry II and Thomas Becket to resolve their issues.
In the year 1204, Chateau de Domfront was captured by John Lackland. However, the victory was short-lived as John Lackland lost Domfront to Renaud de Dammartin, who later lost it to Phillippe Hurepel. After a few years in 1251, Domfront was returned to the Kingdom.
Due to events in the year 1342, Philip VI of France gave up Domfront to the count of Alencon, who later in the year 1367 united Domfront and Alencon. During the winters of 1417, the castle was besieged by the English, who were commanded by the Duke of Clarence. The castle fell into the hands of English on 10 July 1418. However, it was recaptured by the French in 1430 but the English regained control in 1450.
From the year 1574, the last days of the castle began. During these years, the castle was serving as a refuge for the Count of Montgomery. The castle was later captured and the count beheaded. Later in the year 1608, Maximilien de Bethune ordered the demolition of the castle.
After falling under the stewardship of a number of important English and French nobles, it changed hands between the English and French a number of times over the High Medieval period, eventually remaining in French possession. Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully ordered the demolition of the castle in 1608.
Domfront Castle today
The castle has been protected as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1875. Today, the ruins stand in a public park and are open to the public.
The ruins of the castle today include the ramparts, casements, keeps, towers, and chapels. The ruins are located in a public park and the people are allowed to explore them free of charge.
Getting to Domfront Castle
The easiest way to Domfront castle is to drive. The castle’s grounds, which are separated from the town by a wide and deep ditch have been converted into a car park. La Saucerie Manor is nearby which visitors may also be interested in seeing.
As one of the great historic regions of France, Normandy is bursting with a number of stunning castles with equally compelling histories to match. Here's our pick of 10 of the best.