Château de Bouteville

Bouteville Castle was one of the most important strongholds of Charente in the Middle Ages and one of its most sumptuous castles in the 17th century. Abandoned since the 19th century, it has just been selected as part of the Bern “Heritage in Danger” mission and a major project is now opening up to safeguard it. You can participate in the rehabilitation of Bouteville Castle by making a donation.

Selected as part of the Bern mission alongside 250 other monuments to benefit from funding from the lotto and the “Mission Heritage” scratching games, Bouteville Castle was selected because of its heritage interest, but also because of its heritage interest the urgency of its preservation. It is the only monument in Charente to have been selected as part of this mission.

The financial support that will be allocated to Bouteville Castle as part of the Bern mission is not known to date. It will depend on the success of the lottery and scratch games, the final results of which will be known at the end of the year. This support will include a fixed share, but also a bonus related to the outcome of the collection.  

Listed as a historical monument in 1984, Bouteville Castle is a major part of the country’s historic heritage. In the heart of the Grande Champagne region (1st vintage of cognac), it dominates the plain and vineyards.

Occupied from the Gallo-Roman period for its dominant position, the hill was fortified in the middle of the 9th century by the first Counts of Angoulême to protect themselves from viking incursions. The fortress was taken over during the Hundred Years’ War by the French in 1392 and then razed. It was John of Angoulême, said the good Count Jean and grandfather of Francis I, who completed the construction of a new castle.  Bouteville was repeatedly ravaged during the struggles between the Earls of Angoulême and the Duke of Aquitaine Richard the Lionheart, future King of England. In the middle of the 14th century, Bouteville passed into english hands. Edouard de Woodstock, also known as the Black Prince, stayed there regularly and had the walls consolidated.

In 1540, the lordship of Bouteville returned to Claude de Montmorency. Although they only stayed in Bouteville for about ten years, the Montmorencys imbued Bouteville’s memory with the name Montmorency-Bouteville. In the 16th century, the castle was once again a strategic site for Catholics and Protestants. He too will end the century in ruins. In 1593, the lordship of Bouteville was engaged to Bernard Béon du Massés, governor general of Aunis, Saintonge, Angoumois and Limousin. Rather than raise the old fortress, he had the present castle built in an Angoumois style. It is a castle of pleasure, which still has some elements of defense: drawbridges, stilts, murderes. Construction was completed in 1624. The Béon du Massés Luxembourg occupied Bouteville for more than 130 years.

In 1726, the lordship passed to Henri de Bruzac Hautefort, advisor to the king. He carried out numerous works to modernize the castle: the removal of the drawbridges, the stilt, the reconstruction of the living wing to the north and the common wing to the west. Subsequently, the management of the estate was entrusted to the farmers who attached little importance to the maintenance of the castle, especially since in 1773, the county of Angoulême and the lordship of Bouteville fell within the prerogative of the Count d’Artois, brother of Louis XVI. It was not until 1787 that the Count of Artois took possession of the estate, the castle was already in very poor condition. Important works began as early as 1788, but the Count of Artois went into exile in July 1789 and the castle was requisitioned as a national property in 1791.

In 1793-1794, it served as a prison for more than 300 prisoners of war, mostly Spanish. In 1803, it was sold as a national property to Antoine Marcombe, a merchant in Angoulême. Throughout the 19th century, the Marcombe family sold the castle stones: crenellation macaroons, gargoyles, ox-eye, chimneys, etc. The most beautiful rooms will be used to embellish the Château de Bourg-Charente and the Flaville house. The 20th century also saw its share of degradations, but on February 28, 1984, the castle was declared a historical monument. It will be donated by its owner for the symbolic franc to the commune of Bouteville in April 1994.