Unexpected history nearby


Helmets (Photo credit: GregPC)

Are you a home historian? An amateur archeologist?

Well, –I must admit– I am. 🙂 I truly love to talk about history, interpretend facts and figures and make up stories when I’m at historical locations. I like to watch docs on ancient battles like on BBC or History Channel. And I’m totally addicted to visit monasteries. I even tried to start a blog on the subject. It’s probably the boy in me.

Yet, sometimes I make a real discovery.

This time I’ve found the remains of a giant castle when I was looking for the directions of a picture I took in the area. I was strolling down Google Maps following the road we took from Tourteron to Sedan. Halfway I discovered a strange round hill with a ‘rue de chateau’ (castle road). I was in shock. “There used to be a castle nearby?”

Omont on Google Maps

I had to investigate this. So I searched the Internet for “chateau Omont’ and found little resources. Only one in French by a local historian, Pascal Sabourin. It speaks of a huge castle that was erected in the first half of the 10th Century. It also explains that the castle was destroyed in the Religious Wars of the 16th Century. The same wars that destroyed the first Chartreuse du Mont-Dieu.

I still needed to visit the location to see how the castle must have been situated. So I took the car and drove up there. At the small village of Omont nothing reminds of that great period of splendor and prosperity. It’s a simple French village just like any other. Only 88 people live there according to Wikipedia. The page doesn’t even talk about the castle. Nor does the French one.

The previous priory of the castle

There’s a dirt road going up to the ridge passing the ‘cimetière’. Everything in me said that that small road used to be the way up to the castle entrance. Up on the ridge I discovered an old church hidden from sight completely surrounded by trees. It was a unexpected happening.

The plate

At the church entrance a small plate tells a story of demolition and rebuilding the church out of the castle stones, a hundred years later.

Passing the church, you end up right in front of the Mairie de Omont, there’s a larger information plate. It has a primitive drawing of how the castle must have looked like. Again the information is poor. But it does show how enormous the castle must have been in its days. The big picture reminds me of the Castle of Bouillon (B). Maybe I should go back to make some more investigations and see if I can find constructions in the forest. 🙂

The idea of the castle of Omont

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