History of the castle
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
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).
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 )