The castle in the 16th century
In 1470, the castle was passed to the house of Albret by marriage and underwent considerable renovations that continued until the start of the following century.
Over the course of the French Wars of Religion between 1560 and 1598, the castle was disputed by Huguenots and Catholics and passed from the ownership of one to the other several times. The monumental round tower and the adjacent scarp wall date back to this period, at the end of the 1580s. They were strategically placed on the side facing the village, the Vézère river and the Terrasson road, which were ruled and guarded from here. The bunkers at the lower levels were pierced with impressively large gun ports and an embrasure of almost 2 metres. The tower is also covered by a terrace that was probably dedicated to artillery.
In 1598, after putting an end to the Wars of Religion with the Edict of Nantes, King Henry IV, who had inherited Montignac Castle from his mother, Jeanne d’Albret, sold the entirety of the accompanying land to François d’Hautefort in order to pay off his personal debts.
Like several other castles, Montignac served as a stone quarry after the French Revolution.
In 1905, the new owner, Léon Pautauberge, who was the mayor of Montignac, strengthened the remains and built a villa and orange grove from what remained of the building. He also had the south-west tower restored. It was covered by a roof terrace, reorganised and equipped with closed brattices that are reminiscent of its medieval origins.
All that survives of the medieval fortress today is the outline of the surrounding wall and its sloped base, one heavily modified wing and the south-west tower.
The keep, the square house, the dungeons, the west tower, the salle des états (state room) and the chapel, mentioned in texts or shown on old plans, have disappeared.