An abbreviated history of Chateau Lamothe, 47370 Tournon d’Agenais
The castle is situated on a hill overlooking the valley of the river de Boudouyssou.
The most ancient part of the castle comprises caves (vaults) that lie partially underground. These were apparently built during the eleventh century. They are still found in their original state today. During this age it was customary to use wood to build on top of the caves.
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the castle was owned by the noble family d’Anthé. The family appropriated the parishes Bourlens, Tourreil, Dausse, Saint-Leger, Saint-Felix and Saint-Andre-de-Carabaisse. When the parishioner refused to tithe the ten percent as taxes to the diocese of Agen, the parishioner and his family members, through various councils under the Council of Latran in 1179, were excommunicated. Later, the two brothers Raymond and Roquebrune d’Anthé came to an agreement and took the responsibility upon themselves to pay the tithe. The estate was extended through the marriage of Sibille d’Anthé to the nobleman d’Orgueihl.
In the thirteenth century the castle Lamothe was built from stone comprising a number of rooms and a tower. One can still find the hole in the wall of the tower intended for bow and arrow to protect those living in the castle from marauders.
At the end of the hundred year war, the castle came into the possession of the family de Lustrac through the marriage of nobleman Arnaud de Lustrac Naudonnet to Catherine d’Anthé the heiress of the estate Anthé. The hugely influential family de Lustrac owned an important part of Aquitaine, with various castles and much land. They obtained their wealth and acquisitions through the recovery of the territory of Aquitaine from the English at the end of the hundred year war. Between 1470 and 1530 extensions were made to castle Lamothe and a chapel was built as part of these extensions. Also, about 150 m from the castle, the small church l’église de Saint Andre de Carabaisse housed in a valley, was enlarged to house a choir and a nave where the burial vault of the family de Lustrac lies. There are superb ceiling murals depicting the four evangelists. Most of the other paintings have been discovered behind white plasterwork that had been used to cover the paintings in some modernising stage. Due to the fact that chapel and the church were built at the same time, the two buildings show many similarities, for example the windows and the door styles.
Through marriage in 1625, Gilbert de Carbonnieres came into possession of the castle and it remained the possession of the family Carbonnieres until the revolution in 1789. In the seventeenth century the entrance and the door of the chapel were changed.
An extract from a report written in 1662 indicates that the castle and estate Lamothe was owned by Philibert de Carbonnieres. In the description held in the writing the following formed the castle and estate: towers, rooms, halls, horse stables, chicken coops, barn, drawbridge, orchard, dovecote, agricultural ground, vineyards, pastures, rabbit hutches, bush and brushwood. Also included were the farms of Romani and Loustalet, situated in the community area of Lamothe and Tourrel The description indicates that the castle was fortified against enemies, marauders and wandering robbers.
Castle Lamothe is one of the few aristocratic residencies where a small village was birthed close to the castle to afford the villagers protection. The village is situated on the Southside of the hill on which the castle stands, and was already in existence in the fifteenth century. The cadastral map of 1831 shows that the village still existed. Today the ruins remain, in the middle of which one restored building still stands. In earlier days the restored building served as a municipal house and bakery. Until the sixties in the twentieth century there were some families living in the houses that now lie in ruins.
In the eighteenth century the family Arlan became the owners of castle Lamothe. The building was once again extended with some additional rooms and in the Northern wall a number of French windows were added.
Finally, in the nineteenth century the West-wing of the castle was built and the courtyard enclosed by the erection of a wall between the East- and West-wing. A tower was added to the West-wing. Thus the castle is now U-shaped.
In 1938 the artist Michelin, who fled from Italy from Mussolini, painted the fresco’s in the hall, the chapel, the dining hall and library. On the ceiling of the chapel are symbols of the four evangelists as an analogy of the church of Saint-Andre-de-Carabaisse. In the dining hall portraits of the family are painted. The other fresco’s depict scenes from Roman mythology.
In the year 2000 the castle became the property of its present owners who, with the help of architect François Brichet and the Architect de France, are committed to the restoration of the castle.
The history of castle Lamothe and her owners over almost a millennium, is known through the large clerical archives that hold the wills and testaments of the previous owners, the grossing of the ten percent tithe that had to be paid to the diocese of Agen and accurate written accounts by priests and monks.
Lamothe today still has twelve farms. Farmer families have been owners since the French Revolution. For the most part the families have lived on the same farms for generations leading to deep family ties between the families. Although Lamothe is part of a greater community, the inhabitants of Lamothe remain a separate community in which the castle and the church fulfil a pivotal role. Thanks to the recent restoration of the castle, its preservation is secured.