From its origins to the 15th century
In 1194, Philippe Auguste, the King of France, had a fortress at Gaillon, a strategic stronghold
on a promontory jutting into Norman territory, originally established by his Plantagenet rival,
Richard the Lionheart.
The following year the Treaty of Louviers marked a truce in the hostilities between the two kings.
It also confirmed the château as the property of the French crown. A few decades later,
in 1262, after peace had been established, Saint Louis (Louis IX) passed the seigneury of Gaillon
to Archbishop Eudes Rigaud in exchange for mills in the Rouen area. The archbishop and
his successors were to make the château their favourite residence up to the Revolution.
Meanwhile, during the Hundred Years War, the site – which had preserved its military functions
– was besieged and taken by English troops. On 16th July 1424 the Duke of Bedford,
the English Regent, decided to partially raze the fortifications "so that the great tower
and other towers, walls, bridges, gates, turret and sentry posts be cast down and
trampled underfoot and the ditches be filled level.
"This order does not seem to have been carried out, since in 1432 the duke issued
further letters patent giving orders to "demolish and cast down the fortress
at the place called Gaillon in such a way that there remain no fortification".
At the end of the war, the new Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville,
restored the Gaillon seigneury and its principal buildings. However, in reality
the destruction wrought in 1424 and the limited renovation undertaken on the cardinal's orders
after the war simply prepared the way for the grandiose transformation that the site
was to undergo at the turn of the century.
Time of Guillaume d'Estouteville(1459-1466)
Time of Georges Ier d'Amboise(1498-1509)
Time of François de Harlay(1624-1651)
Time of de Jacques-Nicolas Colbert(1691-1707)