Black Madonna- Villeneuve Loubet
(Translated by google)
EXCERPT FROM THE "STORIES AND LEGENDS OF THE BALCONIES OF AZUR": LA GAUDE, SAINT JEANNET, GATTIÈRES, CARROS, LE BROC, BÉZAUDUN, COURSEGOULES, TOURRETTES SUR LOUP, VENCE, SAINT PAUL DE VENCE, LA COLLE, VILLENEUVE LOUBET , CAGNES ...
THE TRAGIC DESTINY OF THE CHATEAU DE LA GARDE.
About four kilometers from Villeneuve Loubet, on the road to Grasse, on the left, stands a tower surmounted by a statue of the Virgin: it is the old castle of La Garde, baptized since Tour de The Madonna. To reach it in a quarter of an hour on foot, leave your vehicle at the height of the campsite, cross the stream of Mardaric and follow the path that climbs towards the summit of the hill.
This castle of the first half of the XIIIth century, has a square keep high of 14 m measuring at the base 4.68 m by 5.25 m A point advances of 2, 10 m The walls go of width of 0.80 m to 1 m and 2.10 m A logis built in a row takes shelter behind the dungeon, only traces remain. To the north, north-west a platform below was a barnyard. Although born of a couple castle-village, the old village of La Garde disappeared.
The castle of La Garde penetrates history in the midst of the dark 14th century, the beginning of an evil era which, fifty years later, will spread an endless succession of suffering: plague, famine, pillaging, destruction. This fatal period almost coincides with the reign of the celebrated Queen Jeanne. The country will go out bloodless and ruined by these terrible ordeals, in which the regular troops, the truck drivers, the brigands are constantly threatening the populations.
Thus in 1341, the Prior of Roquefort and of the Garde commits acts of brigandage. He went so far as to besiege Draguignan that he was burning.
King Robert then ordered the community of Grasse to put an end to it. But the helpless Grasse militia was repulsed before Roquefort and was badly beaten. The King then appealed to those of Saint Paul. Here is the relationship of the events according to the archives of the Saint Paul community:
"Feraud de Cabris, a monk and prior of Rochefort, having assembled a large number of men-at-arms in the castles of Rochefort and La Garde, made great villains against the neighbors and passers-by, and having enlarged his troops, The chateau of Draguignan, where he set fire to and burned those who were dedanz, and continuing his races and violence throughout the whole of Provence, King Robert ordered the community of Grasse to seize it or take it off; Who, having gone to Rochefort to execute the order of the king, were repulsed and ill-treated, which the king had taken, gave the commission to the community of St. Paul, who having foreseen the time that his world had gone to the little war, and that he And the inhabitants of St. Paul, men, women, and children, lived there, putting on the chasteaus of all the wreaths, and, having put themselves in defiance, can not prevent them from setting fire to the chastity And that they were not burned with all those who were in the way, as he had done at Draguignan. "
This document, revealing the manners of the time, presents the owner of the castle of La Garde as a monk who has become a highwayman, organizing large-scale raids, followed by a faithful population until the crime before being carried away by A repression as savage as radical. Let us note that an article of the Statutes of 1353 of the monastery of Lérins prohibits later to the religious to carry publicly the arms, if not under the dress ...
In 1367, the states of Provence gathered in Sisteron, unable to count on the aid of Queen Jeanne to defend the country, "ordered the inhabitants of the country to retire to the fortified places and to destroy the villages which were not Defended by some walls or some fort. " In application of this measure the inhabitants of Biot evacuated their village and took refuge in La Garde.
By a letter of September 8, 1391, Queen Marie exposed the assassinations committed by "certain brigands" again assembled at La Garde, and commanded, under penalty of a thousand marks of silver, to "demolish and flatten to its foundations The place or tower surnamed of Garde with its walls ". The order was indeed executed during the following month, by inhabitants of Cannes, Mougins and other places, but the tower resisted. There were political reasons for this, as the castle of La Garde was located in a disputed area between the Duras and Anjou mansions.
The chronicle also indicates that Cagnes sends his herds on the pastures of La Garde now become an "unhabited" place.
Then the silence settles, leaving us as witnesses only to this agitated century a few sides of walls hung on an isolated tower on the top of a hill.
Taken from "Land of Aqui" blog-
The installation of the castrum on the site seems to date from 1227-1230. The construction of the tower must probably be attributed to Romée de Villeneuve between 1227 and 1230.
The creation of the new church could date to around 1351.
The castle was occupied for 150 years, until its destruction ordered in 1391 by Queen Marie, Countess of Provence, guardian of Louis d'Anjou, to drive out the brigands who had settled there and also, for political reasons This territory was disputed between the House of Savoy and the County of Provence.
The castle was besieged and destroyed by the militias of Saint-Paul, Grasse, Cannes and Mougins.
The church will suffer from this attack, and then from the abandonment that will result.
Only the tower will survive and will be restored in the 19th century.
Constructed of blocks of white limestone, they reveal an aesthetic will because the terrain here is volcanic. The local stone is the andesite, volcanic rock of gray color. The limestone brought to the site comes from a rather remote place.
The north wall and the remains of the choir present a seated apparatus, often reworked with the use of andesite.
The church was built after 1200, and reworked in modern times. It will fall into ruins after the revolutionary period, but at the beginning of the 20th century, a rural mass was celebrated annually there.
It is assumed that the site has probably undergone several rearrangements because there are blocks of white limestone in probable re-use in certain walls.
The tower is a construction attributed to Romée de Villeneuve between 1227 and 1230, a little before it raises the keep of its castle, presumably to serve as signaling relay.
It is a pentagonal tower, 14m high, whose point is directed towards a possible attack to the south, according to a technique of fortification characteristic of the thirteenth century according to Mr. Poteur.
The door, deliberately inaccessible, is situated on the steep side. A ladder was needed to achieve this, a scale which could easily be removed in the event of an attack.