Château de Beynac


Narrow vertical slit cut into a wall to fire arrows.

Narrow horizontal slit cut into a wall to fire arrows.

Forward extension of a castle gateway constructed to defend the drawbridge, which acted as the principal entrance of the fortification.

Horizontal hole for timber bar used as a door-bolt.

A small tower at the end of a curtain wall or in the middle of the outside wall; a structure of solid masonry that served a purpose that was more structural than habitable.

A book comprising the original copies of the legal deeds belonging to either a lord or a medieval religious administration. It is in the cartulaire of the abbey of Cadoin, that the lord of Beynac is first mentioned in 1115. This was due to the land offered by a number of Perigordian lords, including Mainard of Beynac, to Robert of Arbrissel, founder of the abbey of Fontevraud. It is on this land, in the middle of a forest, that in the same year, the abbey of Cadouin is founded, a few kilometres from the fortress of Beynac.

Derived from the Latin word castellum, a castrum from the 11th to the 13th century designated a fortified position – often at a certain height – that unlike previous fortifications also constituted an agglomeration of settlements. Protected by an outer wall, the castrum included the lord’s hall and the homes of his peasants. The peasant’s houses were separated from the lord’s home by seigniorial towers – fortified homes belonging to the knights responsible for upholding the law in the lord’s domain. The majority of these fortified seigniorial homes are what we now call fortresses.

Narrow opening in a terraced wall to allow for the drainage of water. Not to be confused with the arrow loops on the battlements of the castle.

Near the little village of Sireuil, not far from Eyzies, the castle of Commarque becomes officially property of the lords of Beynac from the 13th century onwards. The family of Commarque conserved a fortified tower within the walls of the castle until the end of the 16th century. This coexistence between multiple lords on the same site, was often difficult and underlines that a fortress was not necessarily destined to a single lord, no matter how great his power. The abandonment of the site at the end of the wars of religion make Commarque one of the most well-preserved castles in the Perigord region.

Semi-professional soldiers organised into gangs. The gangs of routiers often served at the behest of powerful lords, as was the case with Mercadier for Richard Lion Heart, a service the king recompensed by gifting him the castle of Beynac. The routiers were especially famous for their tendency to pillage the surroundings in which they found themselves after battle.

Stone or wood piece projecting out from a wall to carry a super-incumbent weight, like a parapet or platform, or even latrines.

In architecture, it is a term applied to objects grouped by two without being directly in contact. At Beynac, this technique can be witnessed in the windows of the spur building.

rich lord from the Ile de France region who, having participated in the fourth crusade, takes part in the Albigensian Crusade as the leading military commander. One by one, he conquers the lands of the lords of Langudoc; after nine months of siege in front of Toulouse, he is killed by a rock boulder thrown from the ramparts of the town. Having also captured Beynac, he most probably spared the building at the request of the King of France, the lords of Beynac having remained loyal to the French crown while fighting the English.

in a castle, the small chapel reserved from prayer.

A pointed arch made of intersecting transversal ribs of arches that establishes the surface of a Gothic vault ceiling. Commonly used in the designs of some of Europe’s most famous cathedrals, the ogive is a defining characteristic of gothic architecture.

An area by a river dedicated to fishing. Formed by two series of stakes forming a V shape of which the extremities are situated upstream on either side of the riverbed, while the point, centred in the middle of the river, holds a net in order to capture the fish. The traditional form and number of fisheries began to disappear from the beginning of the 18th Century due to the obstruction they presented to the circulation of vessels also using the waterways.

Known in French as a “pont dormant”, or sleeping bridge, it was a fixed structure, in opposition to the drawbridge that was adjustable on demand.