Champvent Castle (Switzerland)
Located on the hills elevated dominating the large valley of the Thièle, the Château de Champvent is among the Vaud fortresses which have most purely preserved their medieval character. The current construction includes more, the is true, than the entrenched castle erected towards the year 1250. The entrenched castle includes a rectangular enclosure flanked by round towers, one of them being converted into a dungeon, the dwellings leaning against the inside the surrounding wall encloses a central courtyard. The door, transformed later, was defended by an oriel lined with machicolations. Over the years, the interior of the buildings has been altered more than once and thus adapted to the taste and style of living of different eras. With its rectangular surrounding wall and its four circular corner towers, the work corresponded, as a whole, to a type of French-inspired fortified castle widely used in French-speaking Switzerland and introduced in our country around the middle of the 13th century. century by the Dukes of Savoy.
This building plan obviously has its origins in Byzantine architecture and undoubtedly made its appearance in Western Europe during the time of the Crusades. In general, this is the pattern of castles built on a plain, where the flat ground facilitated the picketing of a regular plan. The fact that it was adopted for the Château de Champvent, perched on the heights, must therefore be considered as an exception; the builder of the time undoubtedly made a point of not deviating from the fashion requirements of his time.
The first mentions of a seigneury of Champvent appear around the year 1100. The village of Champvent, already mentioned in the early 12th century by manuscripts, must have belonged to the kings of Upper Burgundy. What is certain is that the lords of Grandson were already established in the Champvent region before the beginning of the 12th century and had founded a considerable seigneury there. Champvent belonged to the family property of this house until the 13th century. The seigneury, meanwhile, was created after Ebal IV, Lord of Grandson and La Sarraz, had, at the beginning of the 13th century, shared his property between his heirs. It returned to his son Henri and then included the lands of Champvent, Mathod, Suscévaz, Essert, Orges, Vugelles-la-Mothe, Vuiteboeuf, Sainte-Croix and Bullet. It therefore extended well beyond the isolated area of the Vaudois Jura and undoubtedly owed a large part of its importance to the intense colonization activity carried out by the house of Grandson Subsequently, other fortified castles were built on the territory of the seigneury of Champvent, as well as the two castles of the Mothe and Covatanne near Sainte-Croix. But the center of the seigneury always remained the fortress of Champvent erected under Charles de Grandson.