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Discover an ancient Castelas and its notched huts

Site dating from the 9th century
History of La Bastide for download
Notch box

Notch box

A case encoche is a dwelling (hut) carved like a notch in a rock formation on a hillside or on a small rocky hill. They are organised in groups of several huts, up to 70 for example in Ambialet as well as in Castelpanis (Assac, 10 minutes from the Bastide of Albignac). One can recognise alleys, staircases, gullies for water drainage and all the facilities useful to the life of the community (wells, silos). The missing walls (one or two depending on the case) were completed by dry stone walls extracted from the excavation.



Opes were dug into the opposite walls in order to embed beams to support a roof. If the walls were high enough, a "floor" could be created.

notch box tarn

Notched boxes and the Castelas

In our region, the notched huts are characteristic of the 9th and 10th centuries, mainly in the valleys of the Aveyron, Viaur and Tarn upstream from Albi. They are grouped around a castellas, a kind of square dungeon. These strongholds were built of stone. The stone was extracted on the spot and the workforce found the opportunity to settle in the place of work, then to stay there to live under the protection of the keep.
notch box tarn

Le Dourn - Cadiz : the Castle of Labastide

( Located on the Camping area )

Background :

It was the time of the "Renaissance", while many kings reigned over France (about ten) from Louis XI to Louis XIV, a noble family lived and succeeded one another in a lost corner of deep France, and precisely, near a stream (Le Gaycre) at the bottom of a valley steeped in woods on all sides.

Located in the commune of Cadix, on the edge of the commune of Le Dourn, the Château de Labastide was once home to the "Château de Labastide", dating from around 1500. This building was called "Le Castelas".

It was there perhaps even in the Middle Ages, its lords and masters were for many years (nearly three hundred years) of "De Crespon". They were the successive representatives of a large local family, and in particular of the Bastide du Dourn.

This castle was built on a rocky promontory, surrounded by a meander of the stream known as "de Gaycre", like a peninsula. The water level is 324 metres high.

The remains of this castle can only be found in traces hidden by vegetation that has vigorously regained its rights. Only the stepped differences and cavities dug into the schist reveal passageways and human traces of the development of the site.

However, a service road still exists, cut deep into the rock in its northern part, and can still be used to walk around the site of this feudal stronghold.

If this site had the name of "Castle" it was certainly not a very important construction, despite the title of "Lord" that its last masters bore. It was rather a surveillance post that ensured the security of the downstream territories against the invasions of the pillars coming from the north most of the time.

In fact, at that time, a group of strongholds formed a barrier to the invaders on a route running from Cadix to Faussergues. It consisted of the castle of Labastide, passing by the slope that serves as the boundary between the commune of Assac and Le Dourn, with the evocative name of "Des Portails". They then went down to the stream called "Du Moulin de trouche" where another building, named on old registers "Le château de las Couailles" would have existed in the past. For want of apparent remains, our imagination could imagine this construction on the edge of the stream, also on a rocky promontory surprisingly raised in relation to the surrounding terrain, but which has now disappeared due to the levelling of the plot.

But let's get back to the security fence, it goes up from this low point to join another castle, the one called "La Doudère, or La Doudié". La Doudié is situated on the highest point of the commune of Le Dourn, and close to the commune of Faussergues.

The castle of La Doudié also has its own history to discover.

La Bastide

( Labastide )


Background :

As for the castle of Labastide, we can presume that it was demolished when it was no longer of any strategic use, or uninhabited, or at the same date as the construction of the farm also known as Labastide (which is located in the commune of Le Dourn), which seems to have been partly built with materials taken from the castle.

The date 1911 is found on the lintel of the barn-stable door to the west of the farmyard and the date 1913 on the barn-shed.

The family H ... built Labastide itself.

The bastide

We would like to thank Mr. Albar and his friends for their story and the family H. 

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