The only known mention of this castle during the ducal epoch is found in a charter of the 1080s. This concerns the donation, to the Bec-Hellouin Abbey, by Hughes de Gournay and his wife Basilie, of the Saint-Pierre de Longeuil church, “with the chapel found inside the church “. These possessions, from the dowry of Basilie, the daughter of Gérard Fleteil, the pilgrimage companion of Robert the Magnificent in the Holy Land, who entered the Saint-Wandrille Monastery in 1036. At the beginning of the 12th century, the domain of Longueil – and undoubtedly the castle, was commanded by Gautier II Giffard, Count of Buckingham. His father, Gautier I Giffard, who died soon after 1066, was also married to one of Gérard Fleteil’s daughters.
The site, now private property, contains the vestiges of a castle standing on a hilltop to the south-east of the parish church. The well-conserved rampart of a large crescent-shaped earth enceinte can be seen, sloping progressively down the hillside. It probably belongs to an original fortification from the first half of the 11th century. In 1927, during the construction of the villa, which is inside the enceinte, the basement of a quadrangular keep with buttresses was found, undoubtedly dating from the beginning of the 12th century. At the southern side, one can see the exceptional remains of a chapel and kitchen with fireplaces and the original places of tables or stone sinks; these two buildings can also be dated to the 12th century. The complete destruction of these vestiges, despite the indignation of the scientific community, has deprived us of a remarkable testimony of Norman military architecture at the time of Henri I, Beauclerc.
Jacques Le Maho
- J. le
Maho, “Notes de castellologie Haut-Normandie: châteaux à motte, enceintes et églises fortifiées
(XI-XII)”, Autour du château médiéval, Société Historique et Archéologique de
l’Orne, Mémoires et documents n° 1, 1998, p. 219-226.