A the great round tower was allegedly built by Theobald Blois of Champagne (1102-52) about 1140.  However in 1020 a charter to Marmoutier abbey mentioned the place as Castrum Rainaldi which indicates that a castle already stood here.  A later charter to Vendome abbey mentioned it under the same name.  Tradtionally the castle was burned around 1140 by Sulpice II of Amboise and then rebuilt by Theobald (d.1152) with the round keep.  However, the keep's similarity to Freteval may well suggest that both are eleventh century.  At least thirteen other round tower keeps over 50' in diameter exist in the British Isles.

The round tower keep on the low motte stands
62' high, is 48' in diameter and has walls 10' thick.  Entrance to the keep was at first floor level, there being 5 floors in all, of which the upper one has disappeared.  The north side of the tower has collapsed.  It is possible that the round keep stands on a possible motte within the remains of a shell keep around it.  Such a style is repeated in the British Isles at Tretower as well as in France at Chatillon sur Indre and Freteval

At Chateau Renault a later castle of the fourteenth century stands on the site of the bailey.  Recently, the back of the fourteenth century gatehouse collapsed, but was rebuilt in 2015.

Other early French round tower keeps stand at
Brosse, Neufles and Freteval.

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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