I’ve been doing some research to discover the history of the chateau and its owners. With limited (but improving!) French it is not an easy task.
I was lucky that a member of the Faure family, who lived in the chateau for 66 years, had produced some Bi-annuel booklets. The booklets recount stories of their ancesters and living relatives as well as their time at the Chateau.
A number of the articles in the booklet are not related to life at the chateau, and were therefore not as relevant for my research. However there are some real gems in there. Of particular interest to me was the time during the second world war when the family helped to shelter and hide people fleeing from the German army.
The two anecdotes recounted by Jean-René, the son of the owner of the house Simone, tell of spring 1943 when the Germans occupied the region. In the first story three armed soldiers came to the house asking to stay there . Simone explained that the house was full of children and their families but, as they were part of the French resistance, she allowed them to stay some distance from the house where they didn’t disrupt the running of the house but she could keep an eye on them. When a German soldier then arrived asking for a sheep for the commandants birthday Simone sent them away saying that as the chateau was full of families, who all needed feeding, and her father was killed by the Germans in the first world war they were not getting anything. Luckily the soldiers did as she asked and left empty handed.
In the second story in June 1944, just after the tragedy of Oradour-Sur-Glane. The family were all at their local village church for the Sunday service when a convoy of German army trucks came by. The French resistence had compromised a bridge over the Vienne river so the German soldiers were forced to divert through St Just-le-Martel. The refugees fled the church quickly and although the Faure family stayed in the church the service was finished in record time allowing them to return to the chateau quickly. Thankfully the atrocity of Oradour-sur-Glane was not repeated.
There are other great articles in the booklets about how Simone managed to learn how to look after the animals, become a seamstress, a nurse, a cook etc as was necessary during the difficult war period and following. In addition having 7 children, 33 grand children and at the last count 96 great grandchildren meant she had to have been a very strong woman.
The booklets make for interesting reading and spoilt me a little in that I am going to have to do a lot more research to find information on the chateau for the period prior to 1939. I did manage to find a couple of pictures online in the Departmental Archives of the Haute-Vienne which shows that during the 1st world war the chateau was used as a vacation place for recovering soldiers and orphans. However I don’t know who owned the chateau at this time, who the Faure family inherited the chatea from, or even who commissioned it to be built. I definetely need to do a little more digging!