The history of a once upon a time “castle” turning into a farm.
Come one, come all! Honorable travelers for a day or for a month! Pass through the stone pillars, vestiges of a bygone era, and enter into the Gaucherie aux Dames, place of history and mystery!
When you walk around the Gaucherie aux Dames, you can’t miss the water surrounding a part of the farm (the old moat), nor the big blocks of stones appearing over the pond and in the wall of the house.
You are actually walking in the ruins of an old castle.
The written traces which remain today about the history of the Gaucherie aux Dames tell us that once stood a small castle on the edge of the communes of the Voide and Montilliers (the place of the farm today). In 1412, it belonged to Philippe de Montsoreau, (Château de Montsoreau?) then in the XV-XVI century to the Deshommes family.
Before the French Revolution the castle was part of the town of Montilliers. The lords were nevertheless buried in the church of the nearby village of the Voide. There are stories about why this happened, but ask the owners for more info!)
In 1602, Nicolas de Sainte Cécile, husband of Jeanne de Lescalle became the owner. The family of Saint Cecilia would own the castle until the middle of the 18th century. It was then passed on to Louis Jacques de Jousselin officer of the armies of the king. (Monarchist in a time of the French Revolution!)
Without having specific dates, we know that the castle was burned shortly after the French Revolution and its squire guillotined .
The letters today tell us that there was a chapel at the Gaucherie but its location remains one of the unresolved mysteries.
The chapel, however we do know, was dedicated to Sainte-Emerance and was presented by the Lord of the Gaucherie to the Bishop of La Rochelle. In 1723, Monseigneur de Chamflour made a pastoral visit. He wrote: “a chapel in good condition and provided with the necessary, its temporal is estimated at 36 pounds, and it is charged with a mass per week”. The chaplain was then parish priest of Saint-Georges-Châtelaison. In 1772, it was the priest of Vernantes, René du Belluere du Tronchet.
The castle was rebuilt in 1854. The exact location of its location is not known but it would have been rebuilt above the old site where is now the farm of La Gaucherie and had a triple main building. The Gaucherie aux Dames would have become at that time a castle farm and the property that belonged in the nineteenth century to Mr. Deschamps de Cholet then Mr. Hector. It is now a farm and a guest house.