Beaugency was a site of some importance along the Loire, set between Orleans and Blois, protecting the former from the latter.  In 1104 the first council of Beaugency again excommunicated Philip I (d.1108), who had repudiated his queen, Bertha of Hainault, on the grounds she was too fat.  This had allowed him to abduct and bigamously marry Bertrada Montfort (d.1118), Count Fulk Rechin (d.1114) of Anjou's wife.  This abduction had occurred as early as 1092.  After this council Philip publically put Bertrada aside, but never actually parted from her.  In April 1152, the second council of Beaugency allowed Philip's grandson, King Louis VII (d.1180), to divorce Eleanor of Aquitaine.  She then fled from Beaugency, avoiding an ambush from the count of Blois, who intended to forceably marry her, and then avoided a second ensnarement from the brother of Henry of Anjou.  Henry Plantagenet (d.1189) finally married her at Poitiers that May in defiance of the allegance he owed King Louis. 

The castle was later acquired by King Philip le Bel (d.1314) and changed hands four times during the Hundred Year's War, before finally being surrendered to Joan of Arc in 1429 after the relief of Orleans.  In 1442 it passed to the count of Dunois who rebuilt the fortress.  In this he was copied by Cardinal Le Longueville in 1530.  Finally the castle was burned by the Protestants in 1567 during the wars of Religion.

The main remnant of the castle is now a tower keep of five stages, 120' high, with walls 12' thick at the base.  This was once emmotted, but the mound was removed in 1827.  Originally the keep was probably a hall house of the eleventh century, which was subsequently raised in height, just as occurred at Loches and Montrichard.  Slight remains of a bailey wall date to the thirteenth century as would the fortified bridge over the river if it had survived.

Why not join me here and at other French castles?  Information on this and other tours can be found at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry

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