Blandy-les-Tours (Seine-et-Marne): Women´s Interventions in the Castle and Village

Marie-Claire Coste, Conseil Général de Seine-et-Marne,

Blandy-les-Tours is a fortified castle situated 50 km from Paris, near the royal city of Melun. This castle was built in the thirteenth century by the viscounts of Melun. The first viscounts belong to the family of Chailli, but soon, through alliances with illustrious families, they rose in importance and became close to the king of France. Having entered the family of Tancarville with Marguerite de Melun, they became allied to the family of Harcourt in 1417. Then in 1429, Marie, a woman of the Harcourt family, married Jean (the illegitimate son of the royal family of Orléans), called “Dunois”.

            But the role of women at Blandy really took off with Agnès of Savoy, the widow of François I of Orléans (d. 1491), count of Dunois and Longueville, who in 1508 drew up a 600-page document, called a terrier, which is the only written documentation to have reached us concerning the seigneury of Blandy. Their son, Louis I of Orléans, married Jeanne de Hochsberg, marchioness of Rothelin-en-Brigsau, in 1504. Jeanne brought the castle up to date in accord with current tastes, transforming it into a pleasant Renaissance residence (wall paintings, tin glazed stone floors) with all modern comforts (ceramic frying pans brought from her original region, the county of Neuchâtel).

            Finally, Jacqueline de Rohan, widow of François III of Orléans, who was converted to Protestantism in 1548, enlarged the parish church of Blandy where, in spite of her religious affiliation, she was interred.
            With written sources and archaeological evidence, therefore, it is possible to recognize several women’s contributions to the architecture of this castle and village in the late Middle Ages.