About Ruthie Castle
The Château de Ruthie is a castle in the commune of Aussurucq in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France, not far from the Spanish border. It was listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture on 30 April 1925, giving protection to its internal decoration and is the property of the commune.
Ruthie Castle history
The first structure was constructed in the 11th century when the nearby Abbey of Roncesvalles founded a hospital for the pilgrims following the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostella. The pilgrimage route was one of the most significant to European Christians during the later Middle Ages.
The Lords of Ruthie or Urruty in this period included Sanche-Arnaud de Ruthie who in 1256 went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to repent killing Tardets men in territorial conflicts. Additionally, in May of 1327, Arnaud-Raymond Lord of Ruthie of Aussurucq was mentioned as a supporter of the King of England during the Hundred Years’ War, and later negotiated the taxes locals paid to Navarre.
In the 16th century, much of Ruthie Castle, then owned by Peyrot de Ruthie, was destroyed by the Baron of Senegas who set fire to noble houses in the region. This destruction was likely a reflection of conflict between France and and Spain, as Spain invaded the French fief of Navarre in 1519, and a war began for Italian territory.
Over the following centuries, successive Lords of Ruthie added to the castle, including Pierre de Ruthie’s stone windows and the entry lintel, whose name and coat of arms was hammered off the building during the French Revolution.
Ruthie Castle today
Today, Ruthie Castle is one of the lesser known castles in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The current castle consists of two main buildings constructed in the 17th or 18th century, flanked by two large towers from the 15th century.
The castle houses the premises of the town hall. The front door opens onto a beautiful staircase leading to the first floor where there is an apartment for rent. The large dining room is adorned with beautiful oak decorations from the 18th century.
Be sure to also visit the superb oak fireplace in the castle’s great hall, providing you with a real sense of the castle’s former opulence as home to a noble family.
Getting to Ruthie Castle
Ruthie Castle is situated in the remote Pyrénées region, and is best accessed by car. From Toulouse it is a 3 hour drive via the A64. There is parking on-site.