#152 Ch‚teau de RanrouŽt
Herbignac, Loire-Atlantique, France
1125 through 17th century
This is NOT an official Lego site

The Ch‚teau de RanrouŽt began as a wooden tower on a motte somewhere between 1000 and 1125.  It guarded a major salt trade road through marshy land on the Guťrande Peninsula of Brittany, which protruded into the Bay of Biscay.  The feudal structure was replaced by a stone castle in 1250 by Alain, Lord of Assťrac. In the late 13th century RanrouŽt became the property of either Guillaume or Thibaud de Rochefort by marriage. In the mid-14th century, Guy de Rochefort, Lord of Henleix, further fortified RanrouŽt with the addition of a moat, which was filled by diverting marshland waters, and adding the semi-circular barbican, all done due to the new cannon threat.
In 1374 Baroness Jeanne de Rochefort married John II, sire of Rieux, and the castle became the property of the House Rieux.  The castle was severely damaged in 1488 in the war of the League of Public Good against King Louis XI. However, Jean IV de Rieux, Marťchal of Brittany, was guardian and tutor of Anne of Brittany, who became Sovereign Duchess of Brittany in 1488 upon her father's death. She gave Jean de Rieux 100,000 crowns to rebuild RanrouŽt and it became a virtual palace. In 1593 John VIII de Rieux was hanged by the king of France and RanrouŽt became garrisoned for the French monarch. In 1618 King Louis XIII ordered the castle slighted.
However, Jean IX of Rieux rebuilt the Ch‚teau de RanrouŽt, with work completed in 1639. But the castle was again dismantled in 1676 on orders of Cardinal Richelieu and became the property of the Lopriac family, whose last Marquis was hanged during the French Revolution. A republican army was sent to the Guťrande Peninsula and RanrouŽt was looted and burned. Abandoned, it served as a stone quarry until 1929, when the ruin was bought by a private family and partially restored. It was given to the General Council of Herbignac in 1989, and is open to the public.
Me about to enter
RanrouŽt's Gatehouse
The Gatehouse and North
looking north
My wife Judy surveying the
castle courtyard (the camera
is looking SSE)
Drawing from one of the
web pages below
Drawing from
Drawing of RanrouŽt as it might
have looked in the 17th century
Ground Plan of the Barbican and
Castle, partly drawn by me
Ground Plan from the official Guide
Close-up of the North Tower\
showing spherical "bezants"
used to decorate the towers
The crest of the Family
Rieux, matching the bezant
pattern on several towers!


Photos of the Lego Model
under construction Spring 2016

RanrouŽt is going to be a unique
project. The barbican was built
in early March in anticipation of
the grandchildren visiting over
Easter break.
On April 13 the main castle
is laid out - arranging the
pentagonal structure is a
task - AND it must be in
transportable sections for
Brickworld in Chicago in June.
Much of April 14 in dedicated to
strengthening the baseplate
substructure so moving the sections
can be accomplished several times.
The castle also rose slightly
1 to 4 bricks high.
The very unusual gatehouse and its range
will pose a major construction challenge!
A lot of progress is made over the weekend, with the model
sprouting arrow slits and gun ports -- and courtyard!
On Monday, April 18 its the gate-
house range which receives my
final attention - as my wife and
I pack for our imminent trip to
Australia-New Zealand!
By May 7 we are back from down under, jet lag is
mostly gone, and work has resumed!  The
temporary bridge from the barbican to the main
castle is now permanent.
The Rieux family bezants have been
completely redone on the North an
Southeast towers...
...and placed on the East Tower.
By May 10 the pedestrian
drawbridge is in place and
The towers of the curtain wall... ...are continuing their advance upward. But most impressive is the
residential range, a work in
in progress but modeled
after Ch‚teau de Josselin.
Construction continues by May 14, as
towers near their final height.
The Gatehouse is
3 stories tall.
The East and Southeast Towers
are close to being covered...
...and merlons are springing
up on all the curtain walls.
By May 25 the castle is
almost finished!
I'm awaiting a few pieces
to complete the Gatehouse.
The North needs a roof. And the land from which the
barbican is entered needs to
be rebuilt. See below for the
finished castle - soon!


Photos of the Lego Model
Built March - May, 2016

The castle is completed on
May 31, and is quickly
occupied by family, staff
and soldiers
The view of RanrouŽt from the
north shows the castle not only
protected by the huge barbican,
but the flooded marsh as well.
The north tower is the largest, and one
of two displaying the triangular bezant
of the Rieux family.
The view from the ESE
highlights the towers of
the residential range, and
the protected postern door.
From the south one can
appreciate the strategic layout
of the castle.
The view from the southwest high-
lights the gate to the barbican, set
at right angles to the main castle.
This detail shows just a bit
of the land which surrounds
the entire castle.
This view of the barbican
from the west shows lots
of activity...
...as a contingent of soldiers
prepares for an excursion
into surrounding forests.
The cannon are cleaned,
and loaded in anticipation
of trouble.
The unique pedestrian gate
is nicely counterweighted,
and can be raised at a
moments notice.
I've capped the unusual
gatehouse with roofs over
both towers, and a stair
turret, now gone.
This detail of the East Tower
shows the Rochefort family
bezants.  It is the only tower
so far converted to gunports.
Here is a view of the court-
yard showing my concepts
of the gatehouse range.
The courtyard from the north-
west details the completed
and luxurious residential range.
The inside of the
unusually shaped
North Tower.  And
it's off to Brickworld!


Build Your Own
Lego Plan
 West Elevation
Cross-section of the Gatehouse
Range looking west

Top-down of the Gatehouse
Southwest Elevation
Southeast Elevation
Southeast cross-section looking
at the main Residential Range
North Elevation including the Barbican

Other Ch‚teau de RanrouŽt pages:

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney