Le Château de Curzay's History

Arnould de Curzay (Arnulfus de Cursiaco) was one of the first Lords of Curzay and has been the witness, towards 1025, to a charter signed by Hugues de Lusignan, returning a house situated in the town of Lusignan to Saint Cyprien de Poitiers.

Two centuries later, William II of Curzay followed John Lackland in the Wars against the King of France. He died in 1218 leaving his son, Willliam III, to build the first construction of a series on the Landonnière site overlooking the River Vonne. These buildings formed the actual Castle. The other buildings composing the estate should probably be attributed to Denise de Curzay in the 14th Century in particular, who made a formal acknowledgment of the feudal tenure of the domain of Curzay to the Count of Poitiers in 1258.

The following extract will explain the entitlements and duties incumbent upon the vassal: "a liegeman shall be a warrior with mount and sufficient arms to be and remain at his own expense for forty days in charge of guarding and defending the said castle of Landouinière, its accommodation and Motte, town and estate of Curzay, with its appurtenances and dependencies, including accommodation, houses and cultivated land... Curzay, meadows, pastures, woods, vines, rivers, tithes, produce tithes, customary rights, wheat revenue, mite, poultry and similar, men, homage, entitlements, services, fishing rights, both for the River Vonne and the River Ryvct; Curzay forest and the entire Curzay parish, he has acknowledged entitlement to all fallow and black animals, hares and rabbits, partridges and all other beasts and birds. All rights of justice and jurisdiction at all levels as he and his predecessors customarily have had the right and custom to employ".

Artus Ratault, lord of Curzay, exercised his duty with the construction in 1517 of the parish church of the village, charmingly baptised "la Chapelle de Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrances".

It was both a fortified residence, or castle, the dwelling of the Manor's Lord and a functional estate building. The large briddle path facing the château did not exist at that time.

It was subsequently sold to Pierre Riout by auction on 6 June 1682 for the amount of 105,100 pounds...

His widow, Marie Metayer then married François de Galucio, Marquis de l'Hôpital, Lieutenant General Gouvernor for the King of towns, country and County of Toul.

She thus became Marchioness de l'Hopital by marriage and undertook the construction of the Castle as we know it today. This extremely active lady, fully capable of looking after her own business, checked and signed the accounts.

She was widow for the second time when the building was finished in July 1710. Directing work in various parts of the estate, she was present in 1713 at the blessing of the chapel adjoining the south wing of the Castle by the priest, Mr. Richard, the minister of Saint Paul de Poitiers.

The present buildings, as far as the exterior is concerned, were those left behind her by the Marchioness de l'Hopital. Three centuries later, from the original interior designed by the Marchioness, only the two dining rooms have kept the same shape and materials.

The following seven generations up to the death of Elie de Cursay in 1939 have been taking the same care to maintain the original harmony and environment of the Castle, including the magnificent trees, the oldest of them is from 1770.

The most famous of the descendants, François Borcelas Casimir de Curzay, whose full-length portrait hangs in the “grand salon”, was thrown into prison with his father in 1795 because they had hidden Monseigneur Beauregard, a priest being hunted down during the Revolution, in the Curzay caves. Withdrawn from the list of wanted émigrés in 1797, he became, in turn, Chief Administrative Officer of the Deux-Sèvres region (1815), Knight of the Légion d'Honneur (1822), Maître des Requètes, Député (MP) of Vienne (1824), raised to the noble rank of Viscount, Gentleman of the King's Chamber (1825), Officer of the Légion d'Honneur (1826) and Chief Administrative Officer of the Gironde (1829). The 1830 Revolution did not put an end to his loyalty to King Charles X. Sword in hand, with seven head wounds and a dagger wound in his side, he fought to defend the Bordeaux Préfecture (Administrative Building).

In 1940, the château was requisitioned during the exodus for the Belgian Royal Family then occupied until 1942 by the German army.

Colonel L'Hotte, whose wife was the direct heiress of to the estate, and his descendants were responsible for the historical record of the Castle's History.

The enhancement work of the estate and the restoration of the buildings started in 1994. Now member of the Relais & Châteaux Association, Le Château de Curzay will continue to be a stronghold of Nature and Culture - at the gateway to the future.