Château de Chaumont

Château de Chaumont in 2008

The Château de Chaumont (or Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire) is a castle in Chaumont-sur-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, France. The castle was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois.

Passed to the Norman knight Gelduin (or Hilduin), that consolidated the all the fortifications. His great-granddaughter, Denise de Fougère, it came as a dowry to her husband Sulpice d'Amboise and the castle passed into the hands of Amboise family for five centuries.

After Pierre d'Amboise rebelled against Louis XI, the king ordered the castle's destruction. Later in the 15th century Château de Chaumont was rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise. Protected as a monument historique since 1840, the château was given into state ownership in 1938 and is now open to the public.

The origins

Château de Chaumont stands above the River Loire.

The name Chaumont derives from the French chauve mont, meaning "bald hill"[1] The first castle on this site, situated between Blois and Amboise, was built by Odo I, Count of Blois († 995), Count de Blois, Lord of Reims, Tours, Chartres, Châteaudun and Provins (982-995), son of Theobald I of Blois and groom Bertha of Burgundy, daughter of King of Arles Conrad III of Burgundy and future Queen Consort of France, in the 10th century, with the purpose of protecting his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou.[2]

On his behalf in 1037 to the Norman knight Gelduin (or Gelduin, Guelduin, Ilduino), Lord of Maillé (Vienne) (caled Luynes next XVII century), Viscount of Chaumont, Lord Chartres, and Vexin, brother of Hardouin,[3] and of Tichildis married with Geoffroy le Fort, Lord of Treves (west of Saumur), received it, improved it and held it as his own. It is documented that I Hilduin of Maillé, will allow the nephew Hardouin Treves to give a major donation to the Abbaye Saint-Nicolas d'Angers and has six children, Hilduin II his successor and heir, Garnier still alive in 1075, Gosbert, Hugues, Achard, mentioned the son Aldrade through the papers of 1077 and Foucher. Follow to be the owner of the castle's descendants of Hilduin I, Hilduin II (+ ca. 1080), husband of Agnès that obtains the lordship of Lisle in Vendômois that belonged to the family des Fulcherides, with whom he had six children, his heir Hardouin I, Hervé, Hildéric, Geoffroy, Foulques, who took part in the First Crusade of 1096 and that Pierre had to son Odone still alive in 1108. Hardouin I in 1085 gave the two asks Maillé (Luynes), Saint Venant and Saint Solenne, the Abbey of Marmoutier and married Beatrix, sister of Odon, the dean of the Abbey of Saint Martin de Tours, with whom he had six children: Jacquelin, Hardouin alive in 1106, Gilbert (died in 1124) who became Archbishop of Tours in 1117 after his maternal uncle Raoul II, and attended the council of Reims in 1119, Raquel, who married Hugues Alix here épouse Alix de Vendômois, Richard and Bernard. Jacquelin born about 1085, he married Adelaide which brings with it the Lordship of Rillé in the North East of Touraine, was on the battlefield in the wars of the counts of Anjou against Henry I of England, Duke of Normandy and King of England, had three children Hardouin II, Geoffroy live in 1138 and Jacquelin, who became a Knight Templar and fought in the Crusades in the Holy Land dying in the battle of Tiberias in 1187. Hardouin II, Lord of Maille and Rillé, had two children: Hardouin III and Richard who lives in 1216. Hardouin III part to the Holy Land in 1201, and has three children, Hardouin IV, Hérard live in 1243 and Pierre married Jeanne de Marsay. Hardouin IV, Baron de Maille, and Lord of Rillé in 1233 was appointed Sénéchal of Poitou, married Jeanne de Thouars, Lady of La Roche sur Yon and de Lucon, daughter of Aimery VIII et de Thouars of Beatrix de Machecoul, which he had four children: Hardouin V, Jacquelin, Jean Payen and Josbert alive in 1285.

Hardouin V (+1285), Lord of Rillé and Chançay, will be part of the royal army of Louis IX of France, who left for the Holy Land in 1248, he married Jeanne de Beaucay, daughter of Hugues IV de Beaucay lord of La Mothe and Alix de Chatillon, with whom he had six children: Hardouin VI, Jean Lord of Chançay and Clairvaux, Payen (Péan), which take the place of his wife Jeanne de Lestang in 1318, will become lord of Brézé creating the strain of Maillé-Brézé. Péan who became Senechal of Périgord and died in 1347, Isabeau wife of Pierre de La Brosse, Dame Catherine de Chaveignes and N that married with Guillaume de Maulévrier.

Jean I de Chancay (+1347), Lord of Chançay and de Clairvaux, married Jeanne de Parthenay, daughter of Jean I de Parthenay and Marguerite de Meslay, Loir-et-Cher. They had a son Jean II and two daughters Jeanne, married to Bonabès de Derval and Aliénor married to Amaury de Beaucay. Jean II was Bailli of Touraine (the province that include Tours capital) from 1351 to 1353, he married il Jeanne de Villeblanche, they had a son named John III. John II died in 1387. Jean III married his cousine Anne de Maillé daughter of Jean de Maillé Lord of La Roche Bourdeuil, Narcay and Cravant, Yonne and d'Henriette Ourceau. Jean III died in the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Château de Chaumont was for generations of descendants of the noble knight Hilduin, until his great-granddaughter, Denise deFougère, it came as a dowry to her husband Sulpice d'Amboise and the castle passed into the hands of Amboise remaining there for five centuries.

Next 1455

In 1455 the castle was on fire and razed to the ground by Louis XI, what punishment to Pierre d'Amboise (1408-1473) for his participation in the League of the Public Weal. Amboise forgiven him by the king, they contributed financially to the reconstruction of the castle, made between 1465 and 1475 by the son of Pierre d'Amboise, Charles I d'Amboise (1430-1481), who had also added a wing to the north (which no longer exists).

The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1560.[4] There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers.[5] Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

A staircase within the château

In 1594, at the death of Diane's granddaughter Charlotte de la Marck, the château passed to her husband, Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon, who sold it to a tax farmer Largentier, who had grown rich on gathering in the salt tax called the gabelle. Largentier eventually being arrested for peculation, the château and the title of sieur de Chaumont passed into a family originating at Lucca, who possessed it until 1667, when it passed by family connections to the seigneurs de Ruffignac.

Paul de Beauvilliers, duc de Beauvilliers and later duc de Saint-Aignan, bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. His eventual heir was forced to sell Chaumont to pay his debts to a maître des requêtes ordinaire to Louis XV, Monsieur Bertin, who demolished the north wing built by Charles II d'Amboise and the Cardinal d'Amboise, to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

Aerial view

Madame de Staël acquired the château in 1810. The comte d'Aramon bought the neglected château in 1833, undertook extensive renovations under the architect Jules Potier de la Morandière of Blois, who was later inspector of the works at the château de Blois;[6] M. d'Aramon installed a museum of medieval arts in the "Tour de Catherine de Médicis". By 1851 the "Chaumont suite"[7] of early-16th century Late Gothic tapestries with subjects of country life emblemmatic of the triumph of Eternity, closely associated with Chaumont and now at the Cleveland Museum of Art, was still hanging in the "Chambre de Catherine de Médicis"; the tapestries had been cut and pieced to fit the room.[8]

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture.[9] Marie-Charlotte Say, heiress to the Léon Say sugar fortune, acquired Chaumont in 1875. Later that year, she married Amédée de Broglie, who commissioned the luxurious stables in 1877 to designs by Paul-Ernest Sanson, further restored the château under Sanson's direction and replanted the surrounding park in the English naturalistic landscape fashion. She donated Château de Chaumont to the government in 1938.[10] The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.[11]


See also


  1. Blackie, Christina (1968), Geographical etymology: a dictionary of place-names giving their derivations, Gale Research, p. 39
  2. Hansmann, Wilfried (1986), Loire Valley, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, p. 87, ISBN 9780941434621
  3. "Le Chateau de Chaumont dans l'historie et les arts", di Louis Auguste Bosseboeuf, Ed. A. Mame, 1906
  4. Garrett, Martin (2010), The Loire: a Cultural History, Oxford University Press, p. 93, ISBN 9780199768394
  5. Garrett, Martin (2010), The Loire: a Cultural History, Oxford University Press, pp. 93, 108, ISBN 9780199768394
  6. Françoise Boudon, "La correspondance de Duban ou les trois humeurs de l'architecte", in Félix Duban: les couleurs de l'architecte, 1798-1870, Bruno Foucart, ed., 2001:9; M. Melot and J. Melet-Sanson, Le Château de Chaumont, 1980.
  7. Interlaced Cs on the château depicted in the tapestries, with the flaming mountain (chaud mont) emblem of Charles [d'Amboise] de Chaumont strengthen the traditional link with Chaumont (Dorothy G. Shepherd, "Three Tapestries from Chaumont", The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 48.7 [September 1961:159-177], p. 165)
  8. Shepherd 1961:163f; allegory identified, 172ff.
  9. Monuments historiques: Domaine du château de Chaumont, Ministry of Culture, retrieved 18 May 2012
  10. Garrett, Martin (2010), The Loire: a Cultural History, Oxford University Press, p. 93, ISBN 9780199768394
  11. Official website.

Further reading

  • Bosseboeuf, Louis Auguste (1906), Le Chateau de Chaumont dans l'historie et les arts (in French), A. Mame 
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Coordinates: 47°28′45″N 1°10′55″E / 47.47917°N 1.18194°E / 47.47917; 1.18194

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