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The castle

Fort La Latte first called Castle Roche Goyon was built in the fourteenth century.

Why ?

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

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

A 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 seigniorial power,

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

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

the ornaments
  • The castle has been remodeled over the centuries but the architectural elements of the fourteenth century, they reflect an ornamental concern or a defensive concern, are still in place.

  • The castle must flatter the taste of the builder.

  • Broken arc says in third point of the doors (1st drawbridge, 2nd drawbridge, entrance of the dungeon).

  • A sculpture presents : Trilobed decoration or clover stylized on the lintels of the keep way of the dungeon and crows with triple jump supporting the parapet of the same way of round of the dungeon.

  • The symbols of the Evangelists carved from the masonry of the donjon indicate the cardinal points, they are also the symbols of Christendom. Angel of St. Matthew on the west, Saint Mark's lion on the south, Saint John's eagle on the east, Saint Luke's ox on the north.

  • The angel and the beef are remarkably preserved.

arc e tiers point Fort La Latte
machicoulis fort la latte Roche Goyon
Ange de st Mathieu Rock Goyon
The  residence

The large room of the keep of the 1st floor serves as a place of residence for the lord and his relatives. They are arranged for the everyday life and comfort (of the time) of its inhabitants:

* The latrines (places of ease) in the thickness of the wall of this seigniorial room.

* For comfort, a large window is pierced south in this room with cushions on each side of the doorway. The cushions are stone benches in the window recesses of the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance.

To warm a large fireplace whose sculptures (polygonal base and columns) decorating each side are characteristic of the fourteenth century.

* The chapel, dedicated to Saint Michel, was founded in 1420 and served by a chaplain under the Abbey of Saint Aubin des Bois.

This Cistercian abbey was located in the forest of Hunaudaye, Plédéliac. The Goyons were important donors. The location of this first chapel is unknown. The siege of 1597 during the wars of the League greatly damaged the castle and its transformation into a coastal defense fort between 1690 and 1715 contributed to the aspect that we know today.

The current chapel of the eighteenth century was desecrated during the last war and burned furniture. The present altarpiece is composite with elements of the eighteenth (twisted columns) and early nineteenth (parts supporting the columns).

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

la sale seigneuriale du donjon au fort la latte
coussiège logis seigneuriale fort la latte
mobilier fort la latte dans le donjon
mobilier fort la latte donjon
voûte du donjon fort la latte
marmite cheminée donjon fort la latte
Intérieur de la chapelle du fort la latte Roche Goyon autel retable
st Étienne à La Roche Goyon Fort La Latte
Vitrail du fort la latte Roche Goyon vitraux
the defense

Assailants are always more numerous than the besieged, a castle must be able to withstand the seats and assaults. The natural defense is much 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 court (barbacane *) 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 a quick maneuver,

* behind the bridge, the harrow blocks the passage,

* the archers (or loopholes), are planned for the archery or the crossbow,

 *high parts (walkways or towers) defenders can fire on those who have overcome the previous obstacles,

through the murder holes "machicolations" of the donjon and the towers, stones are thrown or bow and crossbow are fired.

* Barbican: refers to any exterior work connected to the main work.

* Stun: opening in the vault, in front of or behind a door, allowing firing (from top to bottom) or stone throw on the attackers. There remain two stunners at Fort La Latte, the first which is blocked behind the second drawbridge, the second above the dungeon door, 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.

* Machicolation: external stone gallery running along a walkway. The machicolations are composed of ravens with several projections (3 at the Roche Goyon, connected to each other by lintels or arches which carry the parapet (lintels with Roche Goyon).

arbalète à tour dans le donjon fort la late roce goyon
moulin à poudre noir fort la latte
La herse du fort la latte
contrepoids du pont levis fort la latte roche goyon
le deuxième pont levis du fort la latte roche goyon
barbacane du fort la latte roche goyon
Siege weapons

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

From the top of the round path of the rain of arrows flood the archers of the king of France (Charles V). The bow is a jet weapon that goes back to the highest antiquity. However, our archers are very well trained and efficient fighters. The most skilled of them can easily reach a target far enough (90-100 meters) and shoot 12 arrows per minute ... They are skilled enough to dissuade the enemy from approaching.

Crossbowmen are formidable and dreaded fellows. The crossbow is such a deadly weapon that the church has tried 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 stretch the bow, you pass the right foot in the stirrup and lodge the bow string in the hook hanging on the belt. A straightening of the kidneys brings the rope into the notch of the nut. If the bowman only fires two squares per minute, he rarely misses his target. The range is about 90 meters. Like the bow, the crossbow is a throw weapon.

If the enemy with ladders reaches the level of the walkway, our weapons of hast take over. It's not the arrows or the crossbow bolts that will succeed in breaking down the ladders. The guns often have curves that make it possible to grab an object or to make it fall.

The weapons of hast are weapons equipped with a long handle like a spear. These weapons also serve to unseat the riders. They are also called fauchards because they look like fake ones.

A mass of weapons allowed us to render out of service an enemy who had wanted to return by surprise. To knock out his man she does not have the same.

Axes, daggers and swords complete our armament. When the enemy is in the place we do not make him a neighborhood. Jeanne de Dinan, the Lady Lady of the Lord (Bertrand II Goyon, Lord of Matignon), will not hesitate, by the battlements and machicolations of the towers of the gatehouse of the second entrance, to stone the attackers who venture into the fault in below.

The keep is the last refuge. The lord and his family are safe there.

It is reached by a raised drawbridge. The staircase that accesses it today dates only from the 18th century but the traces of drawbridge are still visible: articulation of the apron and slots to accommodate the arms of the rising part.

The entrance forms a mousetrap : small harrows prevent access to the stairs and the archers' room on the ground floor; above the hatch of the stunner is wide open and a shower of stones and heavy objects falls on the one who dares to cross the threshold.

The spiral staircase (or spiral staircase) rolls uphill 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 seigneurial hall, the family of Sir Bertrand is very protected : below the archers' room and above the beautiful vaulted room where are the guards responsible for watch and defense.

Weary 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.

The king of France will confiscate the castle which will be returned to its owner in 1381 by the second treaty of Guérande which puts an end to the war of succession. The son of Bertrand II, 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 this time.

In the fourteenth century began to appear a machine of war that makes a lot of noise but not great effect, much less than our crossbowmen: the cannon. We have not yet seen this machine that spits fire but we heard that it is especially feared by those who handle it ...

This noisy machine will be promised a bright future. From the fifteenth century, it will become more and more powerful. The castles will have no reason to be : the cannon will break through the walls and break the doors. Other fortifications will take over. This is another page of history that will open.

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

In the sixteenth century, it will take the name of Laste or Latte (name of neighboring hamlets) and in the seventeenth, it is known under the name we know today : FORT LA LATTE.

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