Montbrun Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Montbrun Castle

Chalus, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The Château de Montbrun is a castle in the commune of Dournazac in the Haute-Vienne département of France. The castle was built in the 12th and 15th centuries, and was restored in the late 19th.

Amy Irvine

21 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Montbrun Castle

The Château de Montbrun is a castle within a deep valley in the commune of Dournazac in the Haute-Vienne département of France.

History of Montbrun Castle

The castle (then called Trados) was built in 1179 by Aymeric Bruni (also called Brun) on his return from the Second Crusade. It was constructed on the orders of Henry II, King of England, to defend the borders of the Duchy of Aquitaine, which was in his possession at that time. In 1199, during a siege of nearby Castle Chalus, Richard the Lionheart (King of England and Henry II’s son), was wounded by a crossbow and died 12 days later, probably at Montbrun Castle.

The Brun family, (Montbrun after 1366), remained owners until 1516. At the start of the Hundred Years’ War the castle was occupied by the English, but retaken by the French in 1353. At the end of the century it was taken again by the English and partially destroyed. Between 1433-1438, the castle was rebuilt. Square towers at each corner were replaced with round towers and the castle took on its present form, retaining its moat, high walls and a narrow 40 square metre Romanesque keep situated close-up against one of the towers.

In 1562, Montbrun was attacked by Protestant Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. Although not captured, a fire raged through the castle. During the French Revolution, the castle was pillaged and destroyed and the archives were burned.

Restored by the de la Bonne familyin 1871, it suffered another serious fire in 1916. A second restoration was carried out between 1964-1966.

Montbrun Castle today

The castle is now a protected monument historique listed by the French Ministry of Culture.

At the end of the 20th century, Maarten Lamers bought the property and restored the castle to its former splendor. It now includes 16 bedrooms, a library, a billiard room, 3 dining rooms and approximately 4,000 square meters of land.

The castle is open every afternoon from 3-6:30pm except Thursday’s, with guided tours available.

Getting to Montbrun Castle

Montbrun Castle is situated in the Parc naturel régional Périgord Limousin, approximately 28 miles south-west of Limoges, near the Dordogne. It’s easiest to travel here by car. From Limoges, take the N21. The nearest city is Poitiers. From here, the Castle is around 78 miles south – a 2 hour drive along the D741.

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