6 - MARTELET
- Built during the 15th century, a complex network of underground
galleries and quarries dug out during the 11th century. 27 metres
deep, four stories of dungeons were built here to house political
prisoners. Personages of distinction, whom the king incarcerated to
neutralise their influence, 'enjoyed' special conditions of detention,
according to their rank and supposed fault. However, each prisoner
had the right to a minimum of comfort. Furniture, latrines, even a
fireplace. And for nurture, the 'king's bread'. Like the Bastille
in Paris, Loches welcomed many famous prisoners, among the best known
was Ludovico Sforza.
-- LUDOVICO SFORZA'S DUNGEON
- Ludovico Sforza, known as the 'Moor', Duke of Milan, was captured
by Louis XII in 1500, during the Italian wars. Imprisoned in this
dungeon from 1504 to 1508, he was treated with a certain distinction.
Not only was his cell equipped with furnituce and a latrine but it
was also heated. His fool kept him company. Some visits were authorised
and he was allowed exercice in the court-yard. A lover of the arts,
this protector of Leonardo da Vinci decorated the walls with frescoes
which you can admire on your right on entering the dungeon. On the
day of his release the sunlight was so bright and the excitement of
freedom so great that he fell down dead, they say. Next to the stars,
cannon and helmets may be seen a phrase in old French, hardly surprising
in the circumstances: 'Celui Qui nest Pas Contan' (He Who is Not Content).
-- THE BISHOPS' DUNGEON
- Antoine de Chabannes and Jacques Hurault, bishops of Puy and Autun
respectively, were imprisoned in Loches in 1523, following the affair
of Connétable de Bourbon, who tried to depose king François
I. They were incarcerated for six months and found refuge in prayer.
Perhaps they carved the cross, which served as an altar, just opposite
-- UNDERGROUND GALLERIES
- We are 20 metres below the level of the courtyard. This gallery
was hollowed out of the rock in the 11th century to extract the tufa
stone, used in the construction of the Dungeon. During the middle
ages some of these passages were used as refuges and they allowed
people to leave the fortress during times of siege. Today, this underground
passage will lead you to freedom...
7 - TOUR A BEC
- Built on the southern side at the beginning of the 13th century,
these 9 metre diameter towers contain three stores. Equipped with
long arrowslits rare stirrup-shaped openings at the base allowing
the archers to shoot down onto the foundations of the walls. This
type of construction remains rare and exceptional.
8 - DRY MOATS
- Hollowed out of the rock during the 12th and 13th centuries, these
moats are 25 metres wide and 20 metres deep. They were filled in during
the 19th century, thus concealing the Caponnières, low defensive
works on the floor of the moats, backing onto the wall.
9 - THE COURTINE (outer defensive wall)
- In the second half of the 12th century Henry II, Plantagenêt (father
of Richard I 'the Lionheart'), reinforced the defences by building
this surrounding wall that enclosed the medieval city. This rampart
is 1500 metres long.
10 - THE CHEMISE (inner
defensive wall) - This rampart was
built from 1140-1150 to ensure the protection of the dungeon walls.
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