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Montcornet Castle

History of the castle

One knows little the beginnings of the castle of Montcornet but it is not always the legend which lies, and we enjoy to imagine the Emperor Charles or his son, Débonnaire resting and making merry feasts in their "Hunting lodge" of "Mount-horned", after hard rides in the forest of Ardenne, since their royal "villa" of Attigny or Douzy, with the continuation of the stags, wild boars or of the bears...

With the wire of, names of Guillaume, Pierre, Gilles, Hugues or Jeanne de Montcornet, enamelling their generosities foundations of the abbeys of Braux (846?), of Orval (1188) of Mazures (1350), of Signy (1288) or Public fountains, attest that an already powerful family occupied the famous site, this barred spur, expensive with the old habitats. What remains of their stone and wood castle, which made their successors, Miles of Walnut trees and Dreux de Mello? We hope for the knowledge soon.

The restorer of the castle, that which did of them what let us know we, was Antoine de Croy, who bought it in 1446 (however that his/her Jean brother bought Chimay). It was called the Large one, it had 23 districts of nobility, was on the list of creation of the Golden Fleece, First Chamberlain of the Duke of Burgundy in 1463 Large Master of France. It is him which carried the Holy Bulb to the sacring of Louis XI to Rheims. It was the first of this famous line which during 167 years made live with the austere fortress hours of ostentation.

Before Croy, miseries of war the one hundred year old, with Antoine II Calviniste, dramas of the wars of religion and then the debts of Charles II of Croy which allowed Charles de Gonzague, duke of Nevers and Mantoue, the purchase of Montcornet in 1613. But with died of that which, all parts, had built an exemplary city, one had to seize his goods and the seigniory, become, thanks to him Marquisat passed in 1674 in the hands of Armand-Charles of the Door of Meilleraie, husband of Hortense Mancini, the niece extremely well equipped with very powerful Mazarin.

Then by the play of heritage or alliances, the field came to the Pivot, with Armand Duplessis... It is its family which dismantled the castle, at the time of the construction of the current Church (1760). Lastly, the ruins passed to the marquis de Chabrillan whose allied family in Grimaldi had, to Montcornet joined again of the secular bonds with Croy. And, it is his/her daughter, Madam the Countess of Caumont the Force which in May 1961 agreed to yield to me these two hectares of stones in charge of history. The clearing and the restoration of this "feudal Colysée" where Michelet admitted having found its vocation of historian have been thus for thirty years carried out with passion and courage by a group of friends and thousands of young people of France and from Abroad who saw their efforts crowned by the Price of most beautiful France, the Price of honor of the of the Ardennes Studies and the Price of the Heads of Work in danger (1972).

Registered voter with the additional inventory of the historic buildings since 1926, this "Fortress with the steps of the Kingdom" still jealously maintains the secrecy of his "small history".

It is with this research that we harnessed ourselves, because what would be a History if it were not also that of the everyday life, that of the sufferings and happinesses of the lords of impregnable "Mount-Horned"?

Text of Bernard LUSSIGNY ( But not translated by the author )


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