The Castle in the 15th Century
The castle proper was constructed in two separate parts, each with its own defence system. The keep was constructed around 1395 for Guy de La Trémoïlle, Lord of Sully by Raymond du Temple, the king’s architect. It was intended as both a fortification to defend the bridge over the Loire River and a fine residence where the lord could organize sumptuous celebrations. The small castle was built a few decades later. It is smaller in size and served the daily needs of the lord and his family. The bailey yard, enclosed within the walls and its corner towers, included what is known as the Philippe Auguste tower, constructed in 1218, the village church and a few other everyday and defence elements.
The Castle in the 17th Century
The major changes made during this period were the work of Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully, who purchased the castle in 1602. He had what is known as the artillery tower built with thick walls and defensive canons to reinforce this little defended part of the site. This tower is connected to the rest of the castle by two covered galleries. A third gallery connects the keep and the small castle. The whole construction was then completely enclosed, which makes it harder to attack. In the bailey yard, the church was removed and rebuilt in the centre of the town and stables were constructed. The levee was strengthened to protect the castle in case of flooding on the Loire River and access to the levee was made easier with the installation of a bridge.
The Castle in the 19th Century
In the 18th century, the castle was marked by cycles of destruction and reconstruction. The Philippe Auguste tower, a vestige of the passing feudal age, was destroyed while new buildings for farming were added. A large wing connecting the keep to the small castle was erected in 1767. It contained the magnificent apartments of the Duke, the centre of vibrant cultural life. A fixed bridge was installed in place of the drawbridge at the entrance to the castle. The tops of the towers on the keep were removed in 1794 by the 8th Duke of Sully who supported the ideas of the French Revolution. The gallery leading from the artillery tower to the keep was destroyed sometime in the middle of the 19th century.
The Castle in the 20th Century
The castle saw a number of major changes in the 20th century. From 1900 to 1902 the lord of the house decided to have the tops of the towers on the keep rebuilt, but only the eastern towers were completed. In 1918 a terrible fire destroyed the wing built in the 18th century. It was rebuilt soon afterwards but with one less storey and the inside was not completed. The castle suffered some damage during World War II. The gallery that connected the artillery tower to the small castle underwent significant restoration after the war.
The Castle Today
In 1962 the castle and its grounds were purchased by the Loiret local Council from the Béthune-Sully family. Major renovations were begun then. More recently, the burned wing was completely refurbished and then fully furnished.