Peyrelade Castle (France)

Occitania     See list of castles in Francia

Castle Peyrelade was one of the most important fortresses of Rouergue. By its location, it controlled the valley and the gorges of the Tarn and its influence extended to the limits of Séveragais, Languedoc and Gévaudan.

The name comes from the Latin Peyrelade "Petra Lata" which means "large stone". Some objects discovered suggest that the site was frequented by prehistoric man.


The castle existed in the XII century and belonged then to Ahenric. After many disagreements, lawsuits and wars, many lords will follow one another and after Séverac, the Anduze (1129), the viscounts of Creissels, the Roquefeuil, the four lords shared.

During the Hundred Years War, the Treaty of Brétigny (1360) gave the Rouergue to English. The region experienced war.

In 1367, the castle was taken by road which were driven by the same year the English. In 1369, Guy de Séverac drove them from the region.

In 1385, Bernard d'Armagnac burned Peyrelade after three months of siege.

In 1390, a road company moved to Peyrelade and plundered the countryside.

During the Wars of Religion, Peyrelade was successively occupied by Catholics and Calvinists (1580), which did shatter the door of the tower with an explosive device called a "firecracker" and then taken again by Catholics (1581 ). There was a lot of robbery during this period.

backyard; the gate is located just below the tower to open throat
When it was dismantled in 1633, he belonged to the family of Puel. It is now owned by the municipality of Rivière-sur-Tarn.

The village where lived the serfs and peasants was built at the foot of the great rock, sheltered from northerly winds.

Peasant life was very painful. Travel and transportation was by mule.

In the twelfth century, there were 89 inhabited houses; under Louis XI in 1480, there were 70 and in 1920 there were only four families.

The last inhabitant, born on the site, left the village in 1963.


The site is dominated by a large anvil-shaped rock, 50 meters high and wide from 10 meters. Its summit, 600 meters above sea level is 200 meters above the Tarn.

Three pregnant thick walls around the dungeon. The outer enclosure was about 250 meters long and 10 meters height. Its thickness reached 2.10 meters and surrounded the village and the castle. This great wall was thicker North side because more vulnerable to attacks and war machines to cannons.

Two doors gave access to the first enclosure: the door of Boyne which still existed in 1930 and that of Fontaneilles disappeared.

It still distinguishes Coursières and traces the walkway.

To the east was the Place d'Armes where the festivities were held and sometimes executions or punishments. it also proceeded to the election of Consuls or Trustees, who swore to the Lord on a stone cross.

lata petra shaped anvil
In the woods of Elzède (name of oak in Occitan) and outside walls are the ruins of the chapel "Saint-Christol" which served as outpost.

Another chapel was probably lie within the castle, but archaeological excavations do not allow the place.

Several houses where people lived the castle lords other than (notaries, clerks, judges, police officers ..) were in the first enclosure (yellow dot) on the north side of the castle.

The second enclosure protected the Hostel or noble house. It was the abode of the lords who are not residing permanently.

The walls of the third chamber are barely visible. They were the last bulwark around the turriforme rock. The castle was probably dismantled in 1633 by order of Richelieu, to make them lords less powerful and more subjected to the king. However, the biggest destruction was caused by villagers who took pierrres to build the villages of Boyne and Rivière-sur-Tarn.

The backyard was a refuge for the villagers who brought them their animals and equipment in case of attack before climbing the battlements. As a last resort, we took refuge in the dungeon consists of the rock. It was a natural defense crowned by the house.

The round tower adjoining the rock is only for access to the dungeon, its unusual openings make it very archaic and difficult to date.

The door placed at mid-height, accessible by a drawbridge, allowing to reach the top of the rock via wooden ladders connecting three floors.

Normally, we do not live the dungeon which was in fact a watchtower and ultimate refuge in case of war. The equipment of the keep and tower allowed the besieged to take several weeks. A porterne allowed refueling or outputs without being seen. At the bottom of the tower, a cell was used to shut criminals.

A tank recovering rainwater from the roofs (6,000 liters). A room was provided with a bread oven. Access to the dungeon was protected by stunners which we threw projectiles at the assailants arrived in the tower after pushing the door.

The hoardings holes suggest that a wooden gallery was a walkway around the tower which was probably covered.

In his defense, this fort required five to six hundred men.


During the 1970s, the town on the Tarn River decided to excavate and heavy backup and restore program that continues today. That same year, new residents undertook the rehabilitation of ruined village to make their principal residence.

Today, two families living there are in the year on the site.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 44.19502
Longitude: 3.148559
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Map of Peyrelade Castle