In 1035 Usson marked the eastern boundary of the territories of the counts of Foix, while in the twelfth century it became the caput of the Donezan region.  Indeed, before the defile was cut through the mountains to link Quillan to Axat, Usson was a barely accessible outpost.  As such it provided succour for both the faydits and other Cathars.  The castle was owned by the Alion family who in the thirteenth century took the name Usson.  Thus in 1226 Bernard Alion and his brother Arnaud Usson paid homage to King Louis VIII of France (d.1226).  This did not stop them from continuing to support the Cathar cause.  Before the fall of Montsegur in March 1244, the brothers sent arms and supplies to the garrison.  On 15th March 1244, the day before the surrender of Montsegur, four Parfaits left that castle for Usson.  They are supposed to have taken or escorted the undefined Cathar treasure to the fortress.  The castle was eventually taken by the French Crown and Bernard Alion of Usson was burned alive at Perpignan in 1258.  Finally the castle was granted by Louis XIV (d.1715) to a new Marquis Usson.  It was seized by the government in the French Revolution and destroyed for its stone.

The castle consists of a rocky crag covered in three wards.  To the SE are the lower courses of a rectangular enclosure that blocked the approach to the castle.  This has a house built in its northern third.  Above this to the west is the main ward, commanded by an internal hexagonal tower to the east.  This is set on the end of a much ruined hall-block, which in turn is surrounded by a polygonal enceinte that consists of a herringbone masonry wall with quoins and narrow loops.  This ward is accessed via a long barbican to the south with two small rectangular gatehouses, the upper one of which has been made partially out of a projecting buttress from the upper ward.  The entrance steps pass along the rock to the entrance to the main E-W running ward at its SE end.  Behind this to the north is another irregular rectangular ward with a twin apsed hall or chapel to the NW.

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