Chateau du Breuil Rochereaux, Seigneurie of Saint Michel
Chateau du Breuil (Rochereaux), part of the Seigneurie de St Michel ,was an entirely separate entity from Chédigny and appertained to the Castle of Loches on liege fealty with rights of low, middle and high justice.
The Middle Ages
During the second half of the 13th century, religious orders were acquiring property (through donations or purchase) to increase their estates.
In Chedigny for example the St Pierre Church and the fief du Chambrier, were property of the Abbey of Villeloin, the Jarry Chapel property of the Beulieu Benedictins, St Agnes of Orfeuil property of the Benedictine Monastery of Orleans. Later in 15th century La Hubaudière was leased on a long lease by the Chartreux du Liget, subject to conditions etc.
In St.Michel too, land was acquired by religious orders, namely the Cartusians (Chartreux) following the founding by Henry II King of England in 1178 of a Carthusian monastery at Liget in Touraine.
The earliest known seigneur of St Michel - Bouchard de Saint Michel ,chevalier banneret- is recorded to have donated land to the Chartreaux in 1202
In the early part of the 14th century, (contemporaneous with the Bergeresse of Azay sur Indre) Cartusians acquired land at le Breuil St Michel where they constructed their “Domus” (also referred to as arellum, house, or after the Revolution as Pavillion) which now forms the oldest part of the Chateau du Breuil. Nearby there a church and the Annunciation chapel, were both in the gift of the Seigneur du Breuil. Only the chapel survives converted to residential use.
The Ancien Régime.
Amongst other owners were :
René de Rasines,
Around 1515 the fiefs of La Follaine and Saint Michel were awarded to Jean François de Cardonne,
Charles de la Roche-Aymon,
the Knight Pierre Couraud , (a transcript of his 1662 Oath of Allegiance for the fief of Saint Michel to the Seigneur of Azay sur Indre (François de Vonne) has survived and a copy can be seen in the salon).
The Le Breton family owned it between 1715 to 1784,
At the revolution, the Le Breuil Rochereaux and church were ransacked and the all the property deeds of the Castle, Church and land were confiscated and ceremonially burned by the “revolutionaries” of Chedigny, apparently vexed by the Curate's refusal to hand over the deeds. Transcripts of the minutes of revolutionaries’ meetings to this effect can be consulted at the Departmental Archives as well as a detailed lists of the confiscated church plate. The Statue of St Michel can now be seen in the St Peter Church in Chédigny. The church was sold as state property
The Parish and vicarship of Saint-Michel were suppressed and became part of Chédigny that took charge. In 1792 land and buildings were put up for sale. The church was demolished,? the chapel fell into disrepair and was later converted for residential use. Some of Chateau du Breuil’s seigneurs are buried in the cellar crypt of this house.
Jacques Jean Baptiste Odard was the last seigneur of Le Breuil St Michel, acquiring it from the previous owner’s (Pierre Le Breton) inheritor in 1784. He remained the owner after the Revolution until 1818 when he sold to Mme Benoist (widow).
The 19th century
In 1879 Henry Beaussier, former magistrate, became the owner through his mother’s donation. He initiated substantial alteration works: the outbuildings were demolished and new
ones were built further away. The main castle building was extended and modernised. The Estate Manager’s records at that time have survived giving an interesting insight on the works, workmen and
suppliers. Of particular interest are Architect’s (Léon Massé ) instructions and trademen’s Invoices (some paid 7 years after the work was completed !).
In 1890, the work not quite finished, Henry Beaussier runs out of funds and sells to Albert Dauprat who became rich as a result of his and his father's association with Ferdinand de Lesseps during the construction of the Suez and Panama Canals. In an article published in 1905 in the “Science Sociale” magazine, Albert Dauprat records that the original building was “an old Priory”. He was very pleased with himself about acquiring the castle and being lucky to be able to take advantage of “someone else’s folly”! Alas, he found himself impoverished by unsuccessful attempts at agricultural innovation and loosing investments in the Russian railways.
Sold to a local farmer by the last surviving member of the Dauprat family, shortly before her death, the castle, unloved and unappreciated was sold again in 1988 in a sorry state after years of neglect (whith only mice, bats, owls and hornets in residence).
The current owner, who acquired the property in 1988, has been undertaking considerable work of restoration, refurbishment and modernising ever since.
Château du Breuil St.Michel, offers self -catering accommodation in the oldest part of the castle for groups of 4, 6 or 8 persons from 15€ to 25 € / person / night, (subject to season and group size), in a historic setting.
Chateau du Breuil St.Michel, has been listed by The Times newpaper as one of the “Best 50 Holiday destinations in France” 2017,
The nearby village of Chédigny, with its 700 rosebushes and the recently re-created Vicarage garden, is one of the new attractions in the Loire Valley well known for its gardens.
Château du Breuil St.Michel propose des hébergements en gîte dans la partie la plus ancienne du château pour groupes de 4, 6 ou 8 personnes (15 € à 25 € / personne / nuit, selon saison et taille du groupe), dans un cadre historique.
Château du Breuil St.Michel était classé par le journal THE TIMES parmi les «50 meilleures destinations de vacances en France».
A quelques pas, le village de Chédigny avec ses 700 rosiers et le récemment recréée jardin du Presbytère est l'une des dernières attractions de la Vallée de la Loire, bien connue pour ses jardins.