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The castle

The Castle of La Roche Goyon  also called the  Fort La Latte was built in the 14th century .
Why ?

  • The context is troubled, the War of the Succession of Brittany is raging ( 1341-1364 ). At that time, fortified castles were reworked or built (Tonquédec, La Roche Goyon, etc.).

  • Étienne Goyon , Lord of Matignon , the builder of the castle, received from his suzerain (first Charles de Blois , then Duke Jean de Montfort, Jean IV ) the authorization to fortify and the means to ensure this fortification.

A fortified castle is loaded with symbols, it has several functions:
  • a military function : one takes refuge there, one makes the seat.

  • a residential function : the lord lives there with his family, the construction testifies to the lord's power.

  • a political function : the castle is the seat of power (royal, ducal, seigneurial).

  • an economic function : it is a center of activities.

  • The fortified castle has been altered over the centuries but the architectural elements of the 14th century , whether they reflect an ornamental concern or a defensive concern, are still in place.
    The castle must flatter the taste of the builder .

  • Broken arch said in third point of the doors (1st drawbridge, 2nd drawbridge, entrance to the keep).

  • A sculpture presents:  Trilobed or stylized clover decoration on the lintels of the keep's walkway and triple- projection corbels supporting the parapet of this same keeper's walkway.

  • The symbols of the Evangelists carved into the masonry of the keep indicate the cardinal points , they are also the symbols of Christendom . Angel of Saint Mathieu to the west, lion of Saint Mark to the south, eagle of Saint John to the east, ox of Saint Luke to the north.

  • The angel and the ox are remarkably preserved.

Third point arc

(first enclosure on the courtyard side, 14th century)



(Lord's room - private part)





The angel of St Mathieu

indicating west

ange st mathieu.JPG
The residence

The large room of the keep on the 1st floor serves as a place of residence for the lord and his relatives . She  is fitted out for the everyday life and the comfort (of the time) of its inhabitants:

  • The latrines (toilets) in the thickness of the wall of this stately room.

  • For comfort , a large window is pierced to the south in this room with cushions on either side of the doorway.

  • The coussièges are stone benches fitted out in the embrasures of the windows in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance.

  • For warming, a large fireplace whose sculptures (polygonal base and small columns) decorating each side are characteristic of the 14th century .

The chapel , dedicated to Saint Michel (the saint of the men at arms), was founded in 1420 and served by a chaplain reporting to the Abbey of Saint Aubin des Bois. This Cistercian abbey was located in the forest of Hunaudaye, in Plédéliac. The Goyons were important donors . We do not know the location of this first chapel. The siege of 1597 during the wars of the League caused great damage to the fortified castle and its transformation into a coastal defense fort between 1690 and 1715 contributed to the appearance we know it today.

The current 18th century chapel was desecrated during the last war and its furniture burned . The current altarpiece is composite with elements from the 18th century (twisted columns) and the early 19th century (parts supporting the columns).

The altar is from the 19th century . She was returned to worship in 1959 .

The room  lordly




(1st floor of the dungeon)

la marmite du donjon fort la latte.JPG

The room  lordly

(Coussiège du logis seigneurial - private part)



Stately room - dungeon


Interior of the current chapel

The altarpiece


Stained glass

Interior side of the chapel



(1st floor of the dungeon)


Latrine with lantern

(1st floor of the dungeon)



Stately room - dungeon


The interior vault

Interior arched vault in the dungeon



Saint Margaret


Since the attackers are always more numerous than the besieged , a fortified castle must be able to withstand sieges and assaults . Natural defense is highly sought after (fords, bridges, promontories) La Roche Goyon has all the defensive elements:

  • it follows the shape of the peninsula on which it was built,

  • a first courtyard ( barbican *) before reaching the main part of the castle,

  • the doors are particularly defended by a drawbridge , a portcullis and behind it the stunner *. The drawbridge * is counterweight allowing rapid maneuvering,

  • behind the bridge, the harrow blocks the way,

  • the archers (or loopholes ), are intended for archery or crossbow shooting,

  • high parts ( walkways or tops of towers ) where  the defenders can shoot at those who have crossed the previous obstacles,

  • through the machicolations * of the keep and the towers, stones are thrown or one shoots with a bow and a crossbow .

Black powder grinding wheel

Ground floor of the keep.

Meule à poudre noir chateau de la roche goyon fort la latte bretagne médiévales moyen age


At the second drawbridge.


Second drawbridge

Seen on the barbican

22 mars 2017 fort la latte pont levis .JPG


First drawbridge.

LOGO contre poids pont levis.JPG

Tower crossbow

In the powder magazine of the dungeon

arbalète à tour château de la Roceh Goyon - fort La latte médiévales moyen age armes


2nd floor of the keep, west side.

meurtière chateau roche goyon fort la latte donjon_intérieur_extérieur_travaux_gros_mur_joint_brume_cousiège15.j

The Barbican

From the ramparts of  second  châtelet

la barbacane avec un beau ciel.JPG

* Barbican: designates any external structure linked to the main structure.
* Stunner: opening in the vault, in front of or behind a door, allowing shooting (from top to bottom) or stone throwing at the attackers. There are two stunners at the Château de la Roche Goyon, the first which is blocked behind the second drawbridge, the second above the door of the keep, on the walkway.
* Drawbridge: Towards the end of the 14th century the counterweight replaces the winch and allows a maneuver in less than a minute.
* Mâchicolis: exterior stone gallery running along a rampart walk. The machicolations are composed of corbels with several projections (3 at Roche Goyon, linked together by lintels or arches which carry the parapet (lintels at Roche Goyon).

Siege weapons

We are at Roche Goyon in 1379 , the King of France would like to annex Brittany . The castle can only be taken by a siege . A squad detached by Du Guesclin laid siege near the castle, if they were few in number , the defenders were even less so. Our high walls protect us. We have specialists who defend us: they are the archers and crossbowmen .

From the top of the rampart walk rains of arrows flood the archers of the King of France ( Charles V ) . The bow is a throwing weapon that dates back to ancient times. However, our archers are very trained and efficient men at arms. The most skilful among them manage without difficulty to reach a rather distant target ( 90-100 meters ) and shoot 12 arrows per minute They are skilful enough to dissuade the enemy from approaching.
Crossbowmen are formidable and feared fellows. The crossbow is such a deadly weapon that the Church has attempted to limit its use . At the Lateran Council ( 1139 ), it was banned between Christian armies but allowed against infidels ... We use it because it is very sophisticated. To tighten the bow , pass the right foot through the stirrup and lodge the bowstring in the hook suspended from the belt. A straightening of the kidneys brings the rope into the notch of the nut. If the crossbowman only shoots two bolts per minute , he rarely misses his target. The range is approximately 90 meters . Like the bow, the crossbow is a throwing weapon .
If the enemy equipped with ladders arrives at the level of the covered way, our polearms take over. It is not the arrows or the crossbow bolts that will succeed in bringing down the ladders. Polearms often have curves that allow an object to be grabbed or dropped .
Polearms are weapons with a long handle like a spear . These weapons are also used to unseat riders. They are also called falcons because they look like fakes .
A mace of weapon enabled us to disable an enemy who had wanted to return by surprise. To knock out her man she has no equal.
Axes , daggers and swords complete our weaponry. When the enemy is in the place we do not give him a quarter. Jeanne de Dinan , the noble Lady of the Lord ( Bertrand II Goyon , Lord of Matignon), will not hesitate, through the battlements and machicolations of the towers of the châtelet of the second entrance, to stone the assailants who venture into the fault in below.
The dungeon is the last refuge . The lord and his family are safe there .

It is accessed by a raised drawbridge . The staircase that accesses it today only dates from the 18th century, but traces of the drawbridge are still visible: articulation of the deck and slits to accommodate the arms of the part which rises.

The entrance forms a mousetrap : small harrows prevent access to the staircase and to the archers room on the ground floor; above the trap door of the stunner is wide open and a shower of stones and heavy objects falls on whoever dares to cross the threshold.

The spiral staircase winds up to the right . The attackers holding their sword in the right hand will thus be in a position of weakness .

Another staircase in the wall provides access from the ground floor to the first floor.

In the stately room , the family of Lord Bertrand is very protected : below the archers room and above the beautiful vaulted room where the guards in charge of the watch and defense are located .

Tired of war we surrender. Maybe because Bertrand Du Guesclin is also a friend : we held his banner at the Battle of Cocherel against Charles the Bad and accompanied him to Spain in the first campaign against Peter the Cruel . We almost died in Spain. We even wrote our will there.
The King of France will confiscate the castle which will not be returned to its owner until 1381 by the second Treaty of Guérande which puts an end to the war of succession . Bertrand II's son, Bertrand III , will not have to defend his castle. He will take those of Caërmarthen and Cardigan in Wales where he will die fighting for Owen ap Griffith Fychan , Lord of Glunyfrdwy, supported by the Duke of Orleans . We travel a lot at that time.
In the 14th century, a war machine began to appear which made a lot of noise but not yet much effect, much less than our crossbowmen: the cannon . We have not yet seen this fire-breathing machine but we have heard that it is especially feared by those who handle it ...
This noisy machine will have a bright future. From the 15th century , it will become more and more efficient . Fortified castles will no longer have a reason to exist: the cannons will manage to pierce the walls and break down the doors . Other fortifications will take over. Another page of history will open.

The feudal castle of Roche Goyon will thus be transformed into a coastal defense fort under Louis XIV .

In the 16th century , it will take the name of Laste or Latte (name of the neighboring hamlets) and in the 17th century , it is known by the name we know it today: The castle of La Roche Goyon / Fort La Latte.

Spiral staircase

(spiral staircase)

donjon_fort_la_latte_intérieur_meubles_fenetres_escalier colimacion chateau de la roche goyon

Spiral staircase

(spiral staircase)

donjon_fort_la_latte_intérieur_meubles_fenetres_escalier colimacion chateau de la roche goyon
lapins sur la tour du donjon.png

Booklet for  school

Booklet for school children, Cycle 3 and 5 level.

Educational booklet for teachers.

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