Although the oldest existing document concerning the village of Ternay dates from 1046, the first traces of life on this plateau dominating the valley of the Dive certainly date back much earlier.
There is no documentary evidence of any defensive construction on the plateau during the Middle Ages but oral tradition relates that a fortress had been destroyed during the Hundred Years' War and the foundations of the existing building appear to be very ancient.
Bertrand de Beauveau, Lord of Précigny (1382 - 1474)
Armes: "d'argent à quatre lionceaux de gueules couronnés d'azur, lampassés et armés d'or, une étoile d'azur en abîme."
His military deeds, his career as diplomat and creditor to the court of the dukes of Anjou and the kings of France, allowed Bertrand de Beauveau to amass a considerable fortune. Friend of Jacques Coeur and of king René d'Anjou, his judgement was deferred to in all artistic matters.
In 1439 construction work began on his chateau at Ternay: in the form of an irregular quadrilateral enclosing an interior courtyard, a tower at each corner, the whole encircled by a deep ditch and a strong wall.
- The tower (donjon): a hexagonal construction of remarkable proportions.
- The chapel: a marvel of Gothic art, fine stone tracery.
- The interior courtyard: galleried on two stories, fine and delicate stonework
The War of Religion
The huge defences of the chateau were much damaged by successive battles around Ternay during the Wars of Religion in 1569.
Claude de Beauveau, protestant lord of Ternay, assassinated his Catholic neighbour Jacques d'Arsac on 7th April 1574. Though religion may seem to have been the principal motive for the crime, there was much jealousy between the two concerning their adjacent lands.
Maturine the Rich, widow of the assassinated Jacques d'Arsac, embarked on a court case which was to last 27 years, resuiting in Claude de Beauveau being condemned to death in his absence and his property seized.
The lordship of Ternay passed into the hands of the d'Arsacs in 1606.
Aveu de dénombrement 1491
The d'Arsacs of Ternay
Armes: "de sable à l'aigle éploée d'argent becquée et onglée de gueules".
At the end of the 17th century the d'Arsac family undertook work on the west wing of the chateau: construction of a building with Mansard roof to increase the habitable area.
The Chevalier d'Arsac de Ternay spent his childhood at the chateau before pursuing a distinguished career in the Royal Navy. After many exploits on the oceans of the world, he was made Admirai of the Fleet by Louis XVI. He successfully transported Rochambeau's troops to the New World to help the Americans in their war against the English. He died at Newport in 1781.
Gabriel d'Arsac, his eldest brother (1721-1796) represented the nobility of Poitou at the States General in 1789 then emigrated. The chateau was sold as national property in 1792. He later enlisted in the Army of the Princes and died on the 21 July 1796. His wife, Marie Adelaide Cantineau de Commacre, bought back the chateau in 1804. Their only son died in Portugal in 1813.
Now without on heir, the widow recalled a former alliance in 1647 with the family of d'Aviau de Piolan, the ties of which remained very strong. She bequeathed the chateau to Charles Marie d'Aviau de Piolan charging him with "restoring the names, titles and arms of the d'Arsac family".
The d'Aviau de Ternay family
Armes: "de gueules au lion d'argent à la queue fourchée, nouée et passée en sautoir".
Charles Marie d'Aviau de Ternay, the first to hold the title, undertook extensive work under the guidance of the architect Ojam:
- Construction of new stables (1 864)
- Destruction of the remains of the wali and infilling of the moat on the west side
- Modification of the west wing of the chateau removing the Mansard roof
- Modification of the openings in the north and south wings
The work was completed in 1880 resulting in the chateau as we see it today.
Haut de page
Château de Ternay, 9 rue du Château, 86120 Ternay. Tel. : 05 49 22 97 54, email@example.com