#175 Château de Villandraut
Villandraut, Gironde, France
1305 - 1312
This is NOT an official Lego site

The imposing château at Villandraut, France has always been known as "the castle of Pope Clement", so it seems appropriate that this first paragraph should be dedicated to him.  Raymond Bertrand de Goth was born in 1264, the son of Bérand de Goth, Lord of Villandraut, and Ida de Blanquefort, presumably daughter of the lord of that town, also near Bordeaux.  While the couple likely had other children, the only one mentioned is their first son, also Bérand de Goth, who was born in 1250, 14 years before Raymond. It is important to note from the beginning that Bérand [the brother] was Archdeacon of Auch before he was made Archbishop of Lyon in 1289, and in 1297 [the year he died] he also became Primate of All Gaul and Duke of Lyon.  His younger brother, Raymond, studied arts and law at Toulouse, Orléans and Bologna, and was canon at the Cathedral of Saint André in Bordeaux, when his brother appointed him his Vicar-General [principal deputy]. When Bérand was elected Cardinal-Bishop of Albino [Italy] in 1294, Raymond became Bishop of St-Bertrand-de-Comminges, and soon was chaplain to Pope Boniface VIII, who, in 1297, appointed him Archbishop of Bordeaux.  Following the death of Pope Boniface IX in 1304, the nearly evenly split Italian and French cardinals elected Raymond pope in June 1305 and he was consecrated on November 14 of that year. Taking the name Clement V, the new French Pope headed the Roman Catholic Church until his death in 1314.  One of first official acts was to create nine new French cardinals, including his wealthy nephew, Gaillard de la Mothe, who immediately began construction of his own castle-residence in nearby Roquetaillade [see my #27 & 137!]  Nepotism run rampant, unfortunately.  Now on to the castle.
Immediately upon his election, Pope Clement V began construction of his new residence in hometown of Villandraut.  It is not stated who designed the château or when it was commissioned, but construction began in the same year as his election/consecration, and was mostly completed by 1312, due to Clement's newfound wealth and the increasing power of the Goth family.  The castle measures approximately 200' by 220' with its six towers each about 40' in diameter and 72' tall!  The castle rests in a dry moat which is 21' deep and 50' wide.  The three residential ranges, for the Pope, his entourage, and guests, completely cover the east, north and west walls of the castle, with a large central courtyard containing the well.  Construction was so rapid that the Pope was able to stay at the castle several times during this nine years as head of the Church.  The kitchens, stables and storage, as well as residences for staff and guards was on the ground floor level, with the clergy and nobility residing above.  The main reception and justice halls were located in the western wing.  The castle featured 21 fireplaces and 19 latrines.
Following Clement's death in 1314, the castle passed to the Viscount of Lomagne, another nephew of the Pope, but within about 10 years but inheritance and marriage disputes caused the castle to be sold, and there were many owners over the next several hundred years.  The castle was looted in 1572 and 1577, and in 1592 Holy Leaguers took possession during the French War of Religion.  The army brought cannon to rout the occupiers with the result that the southeast tower collapsed, never to be rebuilt. The Parliament of Bordeaux ordered the complete destruction of the castle, but fortunately King Henry IV vacated their decision. In 1600 the Lord of Lalanne purchased the castle and made many small improvements. In 1739 the Marquis de Pons retired and bought the castle, but then the château gradually deteriorated while under the ownership of the family of Sabran-Pontevès, having been made a historic monument in 1886.  The ruin was purchased by a Bordeaux real estate developer in 2007.  He is actively overseeing excavations and restoration.  Six of the photos were taken by me in September 2016.
The courtyard looking back
at the entrance
Turning to your left, the view
looking east
The north view, where the
entire face of the residential
range is gone.
And finally, the courtyard,
looking west
Plan of the entire castle at its peak Plan with the old chateau
layout still present
The plan of the first
(entrance) floor.

 

Photos of the Lego Model
under construction in October-November, 2021
On October 22, the castle is laid out The view from the north... By the next day , the plinths that support
the entire front of the castle are built!
With Oct. 24th pretty much spent working
on the webpage, we jump to the 25th.
Both the south and then north corner towers
are raised tall enough to include the ground
level arrowslits.
On October 26th, the courtyard is
laid out.  First 6 brick tall supports...
...followed by rows of 2x2x16 support
beams running north-south.
Atop these, running east-west, are
dozens more support beams, each
set to accommodate 6-wide plates.
The entrance passageway, beginning
with the modest gatehouse, is built -
allowing further work on the towers.
The next day is spent working both
on the gatehouse, and on the south
and west faces of the courtyard.
Here is the day's progress: four
of five arches on the south and
grand staircase, cellar  & stable
doors, etc. on the west.
On October 28 and 29, we
continue work on the outer
walls, towers and courtyard.
Here's the south [front].
And the west view... The castle from the north... And finally the east view. By November 1 we've moved up to the
first story where the clergy and nobles
will reside: hence larger windows!
And the west view... The castle from the north... And finally the east view. The
And the west view... The castle from the north... And finally the east view. The

 

Photos of the Lego Model
Completed November 18, 2021
Soon!! And fro The The i
A c The A cl The
The The And t ...the

 

Build Your Own
I originally designed this castle model in 1993.  It was to measure 126 x 137 studs (~0.64 Minifig Scale).
I redesigned the castle model in February 2008, still planning to use 3x3x6 corner panels for the six octagonal towers,
enlarging the model to 147 by 161 studs (~0.71 scale).  A plan and six detailed elevations and cross-sections were drawn.
But when I decided a couple months ago to actually construct the model, I decided to 'upgrade' the octagonal towers to
16-sided, hinged towers and the model size increased to 172 x 186 studs to align with the 32 stud diameter towers
(overall scale 0.80).  A plan was draw but no elevations or cross-sections.  I've relied solely on photographs for wall heights,
window sizes and shapes, etc., making the cannon damaged SE tower the mirror image of the SW tower.  Unfortunately
the plan is too large for me to copy, so I apologize for below.  The ensemble, including the Minifig-Pope, seem pleased.
Lego Plan
East Elevation
South Elevation
North Elevation
West Elevation


Other Château de Villandraut pages:
https://www.chateaudevillandraut.fr/welcome/
https://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/cultural-heritage/chateau-villandraut.html
https://www.france-voyage.com/tourism/villandraut-castle-2214.htm
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1055937-d6611947-Reviews-Chateau_de_Villandraut-Villandraut_Gironde_Nouvelle_Aquitaine.html

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Castles created by Robert Carney
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Robert Carney