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Manoir du Hilguy

Brittany, France

The history of Le Manoir du Hilguy in Brittany

Posted by Luci Ackers on Aug 10, 2016
The history of Le Manoir du Hilguy in Brittany

The history of Le Manoir du Hilguy is a long and interesting one.

It's thought that the original structure was probably little more than a modest tower house or timber-framed hall. But in the 17th century, the current lord, François de Visdelou decided to rebuild the château in a way that more suited his family and the grandeur of his title.

Being continually passed from hand to hand throughout its lifetime, Hilguy went through a quarter of a century completely uninhabited. This meant that by the time Elisabeth de la Fontaine inherited the château in the early 1800s with husband Charles le Bastard, it was ready for a redesign. What had been a very grand Louis XIV château was razed to the ground and a more modest building was constructed in its place: a handsome manoir with an 8-bay façade.

This picturesque, 19th century building remained much the same, right through until the war years when Brittany was occupied by German soldiers. Though the liberation occurred in 1944, soldiers remained in nearby Brest a little longer, and the Manoir du Hilguy was being used as a German officers' mess for the duration.

It was upon their departure that soldiers became angry that a comrade appeared to be missing or dead and they rampaged the area, shooting into the empty manoir building. Their bullets struck an ornate mirror that was hanging inside, and you can still see the damage today. The mirror remains in Le Manoir du Hilguy, hanging in the apartment Corneille and representing a part of this beautiful building's history. There's something very haunting about the holes in the glass and the web of cracks they caused.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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