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The house of Lords

or Poncelin house

(Municipality of Le Conquet)

GPS : 48°21'40 N  4°46'28 W

Access : This fortified house is located on the port of Le Conquet. To get there from the city centre, take rue Clemenceau, turn right at the first street and park at the bottom on Drellac'h dock. The Poncelin house, called "house of Lords", overlooks the sea. It's private property, it can't be visited.

    From the ria's banks of Le Conquet, the eye is drawn to this fortified house with three towers. An act kept at the Loire-Atlantique Departmental Archives, and dated from 1540, indicates that Jean Poncelin's father had made it "edified thirty years earlier", which would date it from around 1510.
In fact, this fortified house was part of a complex designed to protect the port against the very frequent enemy incursions since the 13th century, as well as to facilitate the collection of the tolls imposed on the ships.
The system consisted of three staggered watchtowers along the south bank of the ria. Of these buildings there remain ruins of one, and another is converted into dwelling. These towers predated the Poncelin house.

  The Poncelin house is probably located at the entrance of a fortified complex. While coming from the sea, the visitors crossed a gate that is still visible of the estuary.

The marine gate

The coat of arms engraved above the sea gate

  After the checking point, people would arrive in what is now the street.

The current facade on the street side

    The building is built directly on the rock whose crevasses were filled by slabs of schist extracted from a quarry located behind the Drellac'h inn. The facings are made of Aber-Ildut granite.

Below the house,
the rock is pierced to allow ships to moor

    The fortified complex was bordered on the east by a ravine dug by a stream descending from the plateau. This partially filled gully was for a long time known as the "Daredevil". Nowadays it is the Lombard ramp. To the east, the current dwellings occupy an old meadow from which one could see anyone approaching. To the west, an alleyway led to the strike by a staircase carved into the rock of the cliff. This side, closed by the west wall of the alleyway, bordered a meadow which has been subdivided since.
To the south, Lagadec / Briant Street and Saint-Christophe Street were the weak points of this defence. That is apparent from terms read in an edition of Chronicles of Froissart about the castle of Conquet : It has been taken by the French during reign of King John, but they would have demolished it " because it was not worth taking or keeping.
This building belonged to sir Kerlech's, captain of Banners and Backbenchers. It belongs to the same family since the last half of the XIXth century.



Hubert Michéa, "Tour de ville au Conquet,
les pierres parlent à qui sait les entendre"

106 p, broché, 2017. Illustrations made by the author.
Available in bookshops at Le Conquet.

Well documented and abundantly illustrated, this book offers the reader to open his eyes by exploring the streets and alleyways of the city. An invitation to listen to what the stones say...

    Read about the Jean-Pierre CLOCHON's blog , Conquet historian,
the point of his research concerning Faustin Rigollet,
former mayor and shipowner,
who bought the House of the Lords at the end of the XIXe century.


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