The Chateau de l’Herm is located in the commune of Rouffignac Saint-Cernin de Reilhac, in the French department of the Dordogne. Built in the XVth and XVIth centuries, it is registered with the historic buildings since August 10, 1927. Built at the end of XVth century, the Chateau de l’Herm was abandoned following many crimes including murder. It is the property of the family of Calvimont between 1500 and 1605. The Lords of L’Herm first appear in texts of the 14th century, following the dismantlement of the ‘seigniory’ of Reilhac.
The jurisdiction of L’Herm, overseen by the Calvimont family at the start of the 15th century, covering the parishes of Rouffignac, Plazac, Milhac and Tursac. The land controlled was further extended, and added were to the parishes of St Leon sur Vezere, Bars, Fanlac and Fossemagne. The family Souilhac held the larger part of the Lordship of Rouffignac, however, several other Lords possessed rights within the parish. As well as the Calvimonts at L’Herm and at Cheylard, the Aubussons, Lords of Miremont to the south, and Abzac, lords of La Douze on the west of the parish.
At the end of the 15th century, the Calvimont family are first mentioned with the purchase of the land and domain of L’Herm. It is a family of legal standing; one finds also Jean II as Councillor to the parliament of Bordeaux and above all, Jean III, called ‘The Second President’, his son Ambassador to King Francois I after Charles Quint, King of Spain. The Calvimont family was proprietor of l’Herm until 1605, the year of the assassination of the last inheritor, Marguerite of Calvimont, daughter of Jean IV. The death of this young woman has given rise to a legend.
The 17th century is marked by the reign of Marie of Hautefort, widow of Francois of Aubusson. In 1642, the ownership of L’Herm is put up for sale following several murders, with lots of local families trying to stake their claim to some of the land. There was adjudication in 1679, and the sale took place in 1682. It was the niece of Maries of Hautefort (also called Marie of Hautefort), but also know under the surname of ‘The Aurora’, who bought it, but she did not live in the chateau. Little by little is was abandoned by the Hauteforts, who established the principal farm under their jurisdiction. This worked until 1830, the year that they sold the domain, which was sold off in several lots. Today, this site lives again thanks to work of protection undertaken, with the historical research and archaeological and the concerts which animate the place during the summer.
Many thanks goes out to Phillip Rougier for putting me in contact with the owner Dominique who allowed me a personal guided all access tour of the chateau including areas not open to the public.