Before entering the Château, a look at the outside shows the various stages of its’ ediﬁcation. In summarizing the history of this home, one can say that it grew over the centuries from a modest XIVth century manor house to the more sizeable château as it appears today.
A stronghold bearing the name of «La Barre» existed in this région as early as the XI th century, but it is impossible to say whether it was on the same spot. During the XIVth century, this small château was a dependancy of the Manorhouse of «la Cour du Bois», another château in Conflans-sur-Anille. According to Pesche, the name of «La Barre» comes from the fact that toll fees were paid here and justice was given. This manor house belonged to the family Bellanger, then Chouët and came into the Vanssay family, who still own it, by marriage in 1404.
On the XVIth century, embellishments in the new taste of the Renaissance were added to the staircase tower by Jean de Vanssay. During the troubled times of the «Ligue» and the religious wars, at the end of the XVIth century, his son, Marin de Vanssay, brother in law of the Maréchal de Souvré, his neighbour in the château of Courtanvaux, enlarged and fortiﬁed his manorhouse.
The main entrance to the château was via the farm, which is called « la Terrasse » and an initial checkpoint was before the North West defense tower. Then one entered the lower court yard, where the present stables are located, before crossing a draw bridge, to access the Château. The invoice for this draw bridge is still in the family archives of La Barre, but apparently, the guarantee has expired : a shame !
A chapel was situated to the left of the draw bridge, a gallery to the South and the stables were then at the East, all of these buildings overlooking the dry moat walls. Such a defensive system dating from this period is, as far as we know, fairly rare in our region, where most manor houses were generally protected by less elaborate constructions. Marin de Vanssay ﬁnally rallied Henri IV, who granted him the permission to maintain these fortiﬁcations in 1602, which can be seen today, with their square defense towers and rounded turrets, one of which still stands.
During the XVIIth century, a wing in keeping with the classical style was added to the main building. Observing the Western rooﬂine, with its’ renaissance style hooks and decorations, one can see that this new wing was more stuck onto rather that added to the main building, and the rooftops are not alined. Finally, during the XIXth century, various restaurations and additions brought the château to its’ present appearance. During the ﬁrst half of the century, a chapel was built on top of the former North West defense tower, then a cottage was built at the East of the Château. During the second half of the XIXth century, two little towers were added to the NorthEast wing, two windows on the second ﬂoor of the Eastern Wing, and the existing windows were enlarged and replaced by «fenêtres à menaux».
Finally, behind the château to the East, an interesting building was erected which served as a laundry house and dryer.
Discover the history of the Château de la Barre through centuries. Ask Guy for a tour of the chateau. He has plenty of stories about his ancestors whose faces dot the walls, after all this is the house he grew up in!
Enter the castle and travel back in time through the reception rooms. The great care and taste brought to the restoration of the premises, provides a unique experience of a refined and joyful French art of living.