Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

Two medieval knights battling over a castle ( Smulsky/ Adobe Stock)

The Bloody Feud Over the Coveted Castle Of Ivry

The history of the Castle of Ivry is one of betrayal and bloodshed. Its very construction ended in violence. Countess Aubrée, who had the castle built, was so impressed with it that she had the architect Lanfred killed to prevent him from building another fortress like it. She herself was in turn killed by her husband who wished to possess the castle himself. The impressive castle on the border between the Duchy of Normandy and the Kingdom of France remained at the centre of many feuds, none bloodier and crueller than that between William de Breteuil and Ascelin Goël at the end of the 11th century.

The ruins of the donjon at Château d'Ivry-la-Bataille (Nitot/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

The ruins of the donjon at Château d'Ivry-la-Bataille (Nitot/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Coveted Castle of Ivry

At the time of the 11th century the border between Normandy and France was not a clear line on the map. It was not defined by significant geographical obstacles, nor was there a language barrier. People, then as now, continually crossed and re-crossed these borders, working, trading, and living on either side of it, and noblemen like Robert Beaumont, Count of Meulan, held land both in Normandy and France owing allegiance to both the King of France and the Duke of Normandy. The control of the Duke of Normandy over his territory – particularly along the border – therefore depended on which of the noblemen were willing to follow his lead rather than that of the King of France. This caused constant friction between the two rulers, giving even smaller lords who held border castles leverage to greatly enhance their power and influence and it made border castles highly desirable places to hold.

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