French Sleeping Beauty: The castle left to deteriorate… No funds

Worldwide there are historical buildings at risk of either falling into ruins over time or being destroyed for the sake of modern expansion.

One of those buildings is the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in Les Trois-Moutiers in Poitou-Charentes, France.  This beautiful castle is still surrounded by an ancient moat that is wasting away over time.

Although the castle is not the biggest out there, it looks serene in the photos and has been left untouched for centuries.

Over time, the ceilings are slowly caving in.  The building dates back to the 13th century and was once owned by the Baucay family, which was in charge of reporting back to the King directly.

Located in the midst of a large wood stands the Château de la Motte-Chandeniers a former stronghold of the illustrious Bauçay family, lords of Loudun. source
Located in the midst of a large wood stands the Château de la Motte-Chandeniers a former stronghold of the illustrious Bauçay family, lords of Loudun. source

The castle was taken twice by the English during the Middle Ages and was then repatriated to become a popular sight known everywhere for great parties.

It was then sacked again during the French Revolution.  In the 19th century, a wealthy businessman restored it and eventually added a vineyard to it.

It was then passed on to a baron and esquire of Napoleon III, who rebuilt it in 1870 in a more romantic style, resembling those in the Loire Valley.

The stronghold dates to the thirteenth century and was originally called Motte Bauçay (or Baussay). The Motte Baussay was taken twice by the English in the Middle Ages and devastated during the French Revolution. source
The stronghold dates to the thirteenth century and was originally called Motte Bauçay (or Baussay). The Motte Baussay was taken twice by the English in the Middle Ages and devastated during the French Revolution. source

In 1932, the Baron Lejeune Edgar had central heating installed and a terrible fire broke out in the winter.  The chapel, outbuildings, and dovecote were spared from the vast fire, but the overall damage proved to be devastating.

A library that held rare books, Gobelins, tapestries, antique furniture, and valuable paintings were all destroyed.  If a person would go visit the castle today, it would look quite run down, as it was left fairly untouched after the fire.

For the longest time the castle stood empty and withering from neglect.  In 1981, a math teacher named Marc Demeyer bought it, hoping to fix it up and see its full potential once again.

In 2013, he reported that he had spent two years working on the house, putting much effort into it, only to be “sabotaged” (he never revealed what was sabotaged during his repair efforts).

It was bought in 1809 by François Hennecart, a wealthy businessman who undertook to restore its former glory. But it passed in 1857 to Baron Joseph Lejeune. source
It was bought in 1809 by François Hennecart, a wealthy businessman who undertook to restore its former glory. But it passed in 1857 to Baron Joseph Lejeune. source

Before Demeyer bought the castle, the forest and surrounding land was owned by a French bank, which then sold it to several owners.

Today, the land and castle still have several owners.  Some of those owners still live on the property, having built outside of the moat.

Some believe that a nearby hotel that was recently built was actually built on some of the Chateau’s land.

If those rumors are true, this is most likely what Demeyer was talking about when he complained of sabotage – since there was so much land, it would have been impossible to own every bit of it and still have enough money to restore the castle.

In 1932, a major fire destroyed most of the buildings in the castle. It has been abandoned ever since
In 1932, a major fire destroyed most of the buildings in the castle. It has been abandoned ever since. source

Demeyer hasn’t been in contact with anyone as far as the ownership of the castle.  It is most likely that he gave up on it, perhaps even sold it.

With that, there is a small group of people in France who are willing to work towards the preservation of what is left of the castle.

They call themselves the Friends of the Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers.  If they had enough money and support, they would open up the castle for tours.

However, their fundraising efforts have been turned down and few are willing to help the group out.

A recent message from the group said that they, too, are giving up on the project due to lack of funds and interest.  This will leave the castle to sit in ruins and most likely fall apart sooner rather than later.

The group will still do its work as long as they can get enough money raised to make it happen.

People are still trying to get legal and administrative help, but some believe that they are not making the issue public enough.  If they did, they would have hope for worldwide attention for saving the castle.

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