The founding of the walled town of Talmont

The current shape of the town of Talmont is the legacy of King Edward I. In the year 1284, the English king built the walled town on the site of the old seigniorial village. This presentation will help you discover more about the ramparts and their history.

From the end of the 11th century onwards, Talmont is mentioned in texts as a fortified seigniorial village. We can picture a small town, built around its chapel dedicated to Saint Radegund, with its artisanal trades and the lodgings of the local lord. 

Following the marriage of Aliénor d’Aquitaine to Henri II Plantagenêt, the duchy of Aquitaine became part of the kingdom of England. The Gironde became an even busier trade route for the export of goods across the channel, particularly Bordeaux wine.

In 1284, the king of England, Edward I, started to consider the strategic location of Talmont as a means of controlling the estuary. He proceeded to buy the castellany and build a new walled town at the site. The layout of the town is a grid pattern, with straight roads crossing each other at right angles, a very functional design for the movement of armed troops. The same walled town model was replicated throughout Aquitaine during this period. The layout of Talmont has remained unchanged over centuries. The alignment of these medieval houses was preserved in later reconstructions.

The wall built by Edward I around the town was defended by square half towers, of which only one remains today: the White Tower. The tower on the northern wall is the result of a more recent reconstruction.

The entrance to the town was located on the land side, guarded by a barbican. On the estuary side, a postern known as the Porte de Médoc was built into the wall, cutting off the small cove on the eastern side of the church.

The fortifications were demolished in 1652 during the Fronde by Spanish troops leaving the town after being besieged by the French. In 1706, the military engineer Claude Masse reconstructed a section of the wall. He also designed a very ambitious defensive structure, which never came to fruition.


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Habitat and fortification