Our wonderful host in France, Lizzie Ezekiel, has written up the provenance of Chateau Dumas - our home for the Chateau Getaway this summer - hope you enjoy a little history...
Chateau Dumas: 1300-1800
Chateau Dumas is a stunning property with an intriguing past, but piecing its history together is no easy task. When we bought the Chateau five years ago we inherited a history file and from that we established that there was a Lord Pons of Auty in the 13th century, but we know nothing more about him. The first official record of the Chateau dates from 1347 when Auty village and the surrounding land were given to Bertrand de Prez, Lord of Montpezat to repay him for services rendered during the Battle of Crecy.
We assume he built a Chateau because of references to it over the next 400 years. It seems to have stayed in the same family until 1777 when it passed to Jacques de Beaumont de Verneuil. He had 12 happy years there until disaster struck in 1789 when the Chateau was set on fire and all but destroyed during the French Revolution. Fortunately Jacques de B was away at the time, but he vented his feelings fully in a letter he wrote to the authorities. Even though it’s a copy of the original, it’s wonderful to see his beautiful, flowing handwriting written with a quill pen.
We’re pretty sure that some architectural elements survived the fire - such as the big stone staircase pictured here - and these we think were incorporated into the new Chateau when it was rebuilt in the neo-classical style favoured by Napoleon.
At some point the Chateau was declared as ‘national goods’ by the administration (quite common post-Revolution) and sold off and this is where the de Cruzy family enter the picture. Thanks to the records they kept we know a lot about how they lived and the servants they kept from Calinou Lagane, the wet nurse to Poncet, the groom, but I’ve run out of room here so you’ll have to wait until the next post to hear about them!