FALAISE CASTLE
«June 2014»

Photos © Ruud Leeuw


 
Last year we went to Caen and Bayeux to explore our historic interest in William the Conqueror. This year we found it on our way to visit Falaise castle, Château de Falaise, where Guillaume le Conquérant grew up.
The curators of this castle had done everything to bring history alive here, well done.

Falaise castle
Truly and awe inspiring sight here!

The Château de Falaise (Falaise means "cliff" in French) in the Calvados département of Calvados, in the region of Normandy, France.
William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born at the castle in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France.
Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.

 


 

 

Falaise castle
Several historic figures such as William the Conqueror were portrayed life size, telling their history.
This castle had used every modern gadget to portray history, even handing out tablets. Very innovative.

On the death of Richard II, Duke of Normandy, in August 1026 his son (also called Richard) succeeded to the duchy. The inheritance however was disputed by Richard III's younger brother, Robert.
Not content with his inheritance of the town of Exmes and its surrounding area, Robert rebelled and took up arms against his brother and he captured the castle of Falaise.
Richard besieged the castle and forced Robert to submit to him, however the duke died from unknown causes in 1027 and was succeeded by his brother.
Robert fathered an illegitimate son by a woman named Herleva, who was from the town of Falaise and the daughter of a chamberlain. The child, William, was born in about 1028.

 

Falaise castle
'Willem' is just one way of spelling his name, here he's portrayed on the Bayeux Tapestry (my 2013 report)


 

 

Falaise castle

Falaise castle
A very interesting display of siege instruments.

Falaise castle

Falaise castle
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falaise_Castle


 

 

Falaise castle

In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, then held by his childless first cousin once removed Edward the Confessor.
There were other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, who was named the next king by Edward on the latter's deathbed in January 1066.
William argued that Edward had previously promised the throne to him, and that Harold had sworn to support William's claim.
William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14Oct1066.
After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London. He made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy.
Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, but by 1075 William's hold on England was mostly secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent.
Wikipedia

 

Falaise castle


 

 

Falaise castle
The village square, seen from the castle. Let's have a closer look at that statue and the church.

Falaise castle
The statue of William the Conqueror expresses that raw- and war-like energy he must have had.


 

 

Falaise WW2
Talking about war. World war Two brought huge devastation by Alllied bombardments to Falaise.

Falaise WW2

Falaise church
Two-thirds of Falaise was destroyed by Allied bombing before the town was taken by a combined force of Canadian and Polish troops. Falaise was largely restored after the war.


 

 

Falaise church
It is a miracle that the church survived such devastion and has been restored to much of its former glory.

Falaise church

Falaise church

Falaise church