Gaillard Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Gaillard Castle

Les Andelys, Normandy, France

History Hit

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Gaillard Castle

Gaillard Castle is a ruined medieval castle, located above the commune of Les Andelys in Normandy, France.

Construction began in 1196 under the auspices of Richard the Lionheart, who was simultaneously King of England and feudal Duke of Normandy. The castle was expensive to build, but the majority of the work was done in an unusually short period of time. It took just two years and, at the same time, the town of Petit Andely was constructed.

The castle has a complex design, and uses early principles of concentric fortification; it was also one of the earliest European castles to use machicolations. The castle consists of three enclosures separated by dry moats, with a keep in the inner enclosure.

Captured after a lengthy siege by Philip II of France in 1204, Gaillard Castle came into the control of the French monarchy. In the mid-14th century, the castle was the residence of the exiled David II of Scotland.

The castle changed hands several times in the Hundred Years’ War, but in 1449 the French captured the castle from the English king definitively, and from then on it remained in French hands.

Henry IV of France ordered the demolition of Gaillard castle in 1599; although it was in ruins at the time, it was felt to be a threat to the security of the local population.

The castle ruins are listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. The inner bailey is open to the public from March to November, and the outer baileys are open all year.

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