If, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, the purpose of castles was above all to ensure the protection of their occupants and, if necessary, of the population who could take refuge there, their function have evolved with the arts of war until making them abandon their military defensive character. No longer able to face the power of the guns, they have gradually preserved, through their architecture, only the affirmation of the authority and prestige of the lord of the place. When we carefully observe these buildings, the different stages of this evolution become clear.
© Nicole Madec: Typical Breton manor. Private collection
A monumental porch and high walls affirm the authority and power of the lord. Around the well and a paved courtyard, several buildings are built, the walls of which form ramparts. The entrance to the main house is marked by the family coat of arms. It gives access to a large reception room. The staircase, usually with straight volleys, is located in a tower. The other buildings are intended for servants and stables. You will notice the presence of the bread oven. The other buildings, water mill, chapel, dovecote are outside. However, the chapel can also be included in the main dwelling or be adjacent to it.
But most of the castles and manors in the region of Leon are still inhabited. Few of these, and this is understandable, are opened to visitors. In the Iroise country, as everywhere else, there is a quantity of exceptional buildings which it is useless to point out to the public because the latter cannot access them. Of course, we can regret this state of affairs, but it is also on this condition that the owners undertake to maintain and preserve them. Everyone must respect their choice.
However, during certain events or during heritage weekends, it happens that castles and mansions closed to the public the rest of the year finally open to visitors. From then on, these buildings can be indicated on this site, this exceptional opening being obligatorily mentioned.
We recommend reading
Edition de l'Encre 2019
the book below
of Serge PRINCE
and Anne-Marie TOPORKOFF
20 pages in 14.5x21 cm format
The reader will find informations about some forty castles and mansions in the Iroise Country, that are rarely and sometimes never open to the public.
This small book, in limited edition, is available at the bookstore A l'Encre in Le Conquet.
Click on the image:
The castle of Trémazan
The castle of Kergroadez
in Brélès (web link)
The manor of Kerenneur
The manor of Bel Air