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    10 centuries


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    the Vessel

    of Cevennes

History of the Castle of Portes

Erected by the Anduze Barons in the XI - Xllth Century, it was a guard post to pro­tect the pil­grims taking the Regordane, a Celtic route going from Orléans to St Gilles. The family didn’t live in the castle and owned it until the XIVth. At the end of the Xlllth, by mar­riage and her­itage, the castle passed into the hands of the Randon-Polignac family. In 1314, Guillaume de Randon Polignac, in debt, mort­gaged Portes. The cred­itor: the Budos family from Aquitaine became the soul owner of Portes in 1320. They set­tied here and reor­ga­nized the castle. They passed it from father to son.

At the begin­ning of the XVlth, Jean inherited the prop­erty. Raymond Guillaume de Budos, served François Ist, fought with the king in Italy. When he came back, he added some renais­sance ele­ments to the castle. When he died, Jacques, his son, suc­ceeded him. He served five French kings : Henri IInd, François IInd, Charles IXth, Henry IIIrd, and Henry IVth. Under Charles IVth, he was dubbed a knight of the St Michael Order; under Henry IIIrd, the prop­erty was raised to a vis­county ; under Henry IVth, he was dubbed a knight of the Holy Spirit Order.

When seven, his son, Antoine Hercule (born in 1589) went and lived at Court; close to Louis Xlllth, he was priv­i­leged. In 1613, the prop­erty was raised to a mar­quisate. The same year, he was pro­moted to Vice Admiral of France. He became Lieutenant of the king in Languedoc and Gévaudan. He fought against the Protestants and died in 1629 during the Privas siege.

Before he died, he built the "Château-Neuf’” the new castle, in the South-East corner. This new castle was built in the XVllth but in the XVlth style (renais­sance). The castle forms a sharp angle (49 degrees), looking like a prow because of Antoine-Hercule de Budos’ respon­si­bil­i­ties. This point is turned towards Alès, the city of his enemy: the Duke of Rohan (a protes­tant leader). When Antoine-Hercule died, he left a widow (Louise de Crussol) and two daugh­ters (Marie-Felice, Diane-Henriette).

Marie-Felice, when ten, went into a con­vent. She took a vow of purity. She left the con­vent five years later saying that she only wanted to serve God. In order to marry her off, her mother annulled the vow but Marie-Félice took an inalien­able second vow of chastity.

Her sister mar­ried the Duke of St Simon. Their daughter mar­ried the Duke of Brissac but didn’t have any chil­dren. The niece and the sister of Marie-Félice died before her. She fought against the Protestants and died in 1693.

The Princes of Conti (younger branch) inherited Portes. In 1782, the last of the Conti sold the prop­erty in 17 parcels. Louis XVlth bought it and gave it to his brother, the future Louis XVlllth. During the Revolution, it was used as a state prison. In 1805, the com­mune sold it. In 1841, Pagese de la Vernède bought it and restored it in the XIXth style.

The castle is still a pri­vate prop­erty. The castle was undam­aged in 1929 but it was ruined because mines dug for coal (during the First World War) caused the foun­da­tions to col­lapse. Since 1968, the asso­ci­a­tion “Renaissance du Château de Portes” (R.C.P.) restores the castle thanks to vol­un­teers.

The castle was declared an ancient mon­u­ment in 1984.

Castle coat of arms

blason budos