Archaeological digs in the area have established that there was human presence here as early as 1200BC. More recent Gallo-Roman period tiles were also uncovered suggesting that there may have been a rudimentary structure designed to monitor movement along the road pictured below, which at the time was the only route into Burdigala (Bordeaux) from the north.
|This was once the main road into Bordeaux from the Médoc!|
By now, the region had passed under English control and the castle and its land were acquired in two lots, first in 1257 by Henry III, King of England, then by his son Prince Edward in 1270 (two years before he hmself became crowned King Edward – he was to reign until 1307). The central residential section of what was now a royal fortress was now strengthened by six towers. A stone wall and turrets had also been erected where a wooden palisade had probably previously stood. The overall structure was now a bona fide fortress and became the cornerstone of the area’s system of defence, as a means of regulating overland access from the north and controlling boat traffic on the Garonne. At the time, between 20 and 30 soldiers were permanently stationed here.
|The grand entrance as added in the 15th century.|
|Inside, traces of a spiral staircase on the walls.|
|The way it was: 1632 picture of the fortress as drawn by the Dutch artist Hermann Van der Hem (source: GAHBLE information panel).|
|Wartime round shot remnants!|