This castle lair, which could also easily be called a fortified
seigniorial house (due to its smaller size), is located in the small valley
of La Roque.
The site, lacking any natural defenses, was the reason for this defensive refuge. Although not centrally located, the castle site inhabits an isolated position with, just nearby, a lively agricultural exploitation (Le Bousquet).
The troubled periods in our local history, but also our political and social evolution, correspond to the expansion of these castle refuges, the construction of which were principally spread out from the 12th to the 17th centuries.
The origin of La Roque's castle seems to be the 15th century, following the end of the hostilities of the Hundred Years War.
The castle, during the 15th and 16th centuries, was under the control of the lords of Brusque (Clermont-Lodève family), then it fell into the hands of the Comeilhan family. It was a sort of advanced lookout post for Castellas, used to defend the valley. On the contrary, the Chateau de Fayet was a pleasurable, castle retreat for the lords of Brusque.
The original building appears to have been reduced to a single room with
a unique projecting tower and spiral staircase, forming a ram-like protuberance
and terminating at its summit in a square figure. The passage consists of sharp
angles, the procession slightly broken on its upper side, and passes beneath
two sets of triple consoles (S-shaped supportive and ornamental structures).
It then passes successively between double and triple projections that are on
its exterior, outward side. These S-shaped console supports ornament the central
bridge across its entire length, with double watchtowers posted at either side.
The tower served as a seigniorial symbol and was essentially defensive, as we can see with its various arches, harquebus, or firing holes, and served as an ambushing post.
Later on, it was encircled by fortifications that would then be torn down in 1950, along with the eastern tower.
A second period of works may be precisely dated thanks to a small cannon-rigged
ship inscribed with the date 1577 and the addition of defensive elements that
flank the western façade - the suspended structures supported only by three
consoles and two overhangs, and the elegant watchtower forming a whole in the
shape of a parallelogram. The end of the Renaissance period also brought to
the castle a turret-like meridian façade of lintels with broken arches. These
medieval renovations fortunately avoided overly outrageous transformations,
which would have altered the castle's authenticity.
The overriding goal during construction on the castle in the 18th and 19th
centuries was to transform the smallish building into a castle - the castle's
modest size incidentally made it a highly agreeable residence. A fine job of
furnishing shows the remarkable concern for decoration and "art de vivre" during
this period of renovation: paintings from the 18th century with coats of arms,
French-style ceilings, monumental worked chimneys and marble topped with alabaster…
The disappearance of the windows is the single negative factor in the castle's transformation. They were removed to make room for new structures, as perhaps was a gallery overlooking the courtyard, a supposition arising from the series of cut columns that must have led to the park.
The park was the object of particular care in the 18th century, offering within its diminutive space a variety of landscapes: a romantic area to the north, planted with centenary trees and boasting a large basin whose source is a neighboring stream, as well as two other basins (one in rock, the other in stone covered by an arch).
Another part was built in stages with the goal of making a French garden with boxwood and holly and diverse, old varieties of roses. With this in mind, the garden will soon be replanted, for in the past few decades it has rather contained a vegetable garden planted with fruit trees - renewing perhaps by chance the medieval science of gardening. This rectangular space contained, as a matter of fact, several gardens with well-defined characteristics: herbularius (medicinal plants), hortus (vegetables), the orchard (also housing graves). These spaces, protected as they are by walls, will evoke a cozy paradise to some. A better view is from the top of the butte, permitting one to contemplate the ensemble from on high.
Traduit en anglais par G.J. Traduction.