Châlucet

(Lawrence called it Chalusset). These fortifications, once of great strategic importance, are to be found in wooded and hilly terrain ten kilometres to the south of Limoges. Lawrence was exhilarated to see the profile of a 32.5 metre high keep (Figs. 21 and 22), writing in a letter to his friend Beeson back home “…. fine castle, with donjon of xii cent. and a large beak on the front of it. ‘Eureka’ I’ve got it at last for the thesis: the transition from the square keep form.” This tall slender keep stands within the central court of a fortified palace that was built between 1270 and 1280 by Géraud de Maulmont, counsellor to two French Kings.41 The luxurious château became a royal residence of King Philippe (IV) the Fair (1268-1314). In the late fourteenth century, during the Hundred Years War, it was a base for English routiers and, some years later, for Gascon routiers. Lawless and accursed, routiers were footloose mercenaries who formed organised bands and terrorised the countryside. The quadrilateral of the château, now closely framed by trees, is set on the highest ground of a ridge. Impressive high walls survive but they are in a precarious state and undergoing restoration, hence at present one can only view them and Lawrence’s tour à bec from within a special viewing cage.

Fig. 21 – Castle of Châlucet, Limousin

Fig. 22 – The ‘beaked’ donjon at Châlucet

  1. Bienvenue à Châlucet! Conseil General de la Haute-Vienne, Direction du Développement, 43 Avenue de la Libération, 87031 Limoges. []