Chateau History

Here is a little information of the Chateau's impressive history from its early Templar Knight days to the present.

A Historic Summary

Seal of the Master of Templar Knights Rainaldus de Vicherio

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"D'or à un sureau de sinople fleuri d'argent"

(Coat of Arms of the Castle of Méouilles)

It was during the 12th century that the Castrum de Mezella was erected by the Templar Knights to defend the Verdon valley against the marauding Moorish invaders of Arabia. Due to it's strategic position overlooking the surrounding countryside, the knoll of Méouilles had been inhabited by numerous settlers, most notably the Celts who left many artifacts, including tombs and many bronze items.

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The Templar Cross

In 1125, local records show that a certain Raimon Béranger visited the castle of Méouilles on Saint Nicholas day to substantiate legal proceedings against M. Guilhem de Rumoules.

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Coat of Arms of the Ailhaud de Meouilles

Following the destruction of the Templar knights ordered by the French King Philippe le Bel in 1307, the castle and its surrounding lands was purchased by a rich local family, the Ailhaud de Méouille, who reigned on the territory of Méouilles for many centuries. The castle was greatly modified under their ownership, with extra rooms built, and the castle gaining a more civilian rather than military architecture.

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Map of Meouilles (Cassini 1750)

During the 13th century, the inhabitants of Méouilles founded the nearby village of Saint André, which nowadays boasts a population of nearly 1000.

Adjacent to the castle, is Saint Martin's church. The parish of Méouilles was part of the diocese of Senez, famous for its 17th century Jansenist bishop, Jean Soanen. Many bishops lodged in the castle during the colorful religious ceremonies, and in one case, local parish records recount the visit of a bishop in 1891, accompanied by the holy relics of Saint Peter and Saint Paul prior to them being enshrined in the altar stone of the small church.

 

In 1892, the two statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul were erected during the patron's saint feast day the 29th of June.

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In 1912, the castle was used as a Girl's holiday camp.