Chateau de Montbrun-Lauragais

The Chateau de Montbrun, in the Valley of Prestin, first dating back the XVIth century, was built by Jean-Baptist de Senaux, a Member of the Parliament of Toulouse (1560). It has long belonged to the family of Senaux, which many members have been holders of the Barony of Montbrun. The last holder of the Barony, M. Madeleine de Senaux, was beheaded at Paris in 1794.

The primitive construction of the chateau is a square tower measuring 12 m x 12 m, flanked by 3 towers of unequal height, pierced with loopholes. The ground floor was the kitchen of the Senaux family. Into the XVIIIth century Jean Joseph Dominique de Senaux enlarges much of the chateau by adding a narrow and elongated two-storey building, crossed with six windows on each floor.

In the XXth century, only two rooms on the ground floor of the most recent building, were still inhabited and had a ceiling height of 3m50 tall. Each room had a fireplace with devices installed so upstairs were communicating with those of the ground floor. At the entrance of the chateau were placed two lion head sculptures. These sculptures were moved to the entrance of the Chateau de Saurs. It should also be noted that the Chateau had a very large well, covered with a octagonal roof, The property of this castle is passed to the family Gineste de Saurs at the end of the XIXth century (1891). Then to Mr. de Passelegue in 1947 who inherits from M. Gineste de Saurs. M. de Passelegue, environmentalist and vegetarian (consumer of wheat and germinated barley) and drinker of water; He did not live at the chateau, but came from Toulouse, where he had his residence, Usually arriving by bicycle.

The current owner is Mme Helen Gineste de Saur. The ownership of the castle includes then 180 ha of land, spread over five farms, in Gautié, La Bordasse, Loustalou, Lagarde, Le Capelier,plus the mill and the Miller’s House. Various farmers have occurred from 1928 to 1956, supervised by managers: Mr. Pierre de Saint Martin in 1928, Mr. Marius Hébrard from 1936, M. Jean Hébard, his son, then. After the war (1945) the tenant of the chateau ensured it’s maintenance. He was raising poultry. Other resources of the property were wood, some livestock, corn, barley, oats, wheat, rapeseed, poplar, sorghum and wine. Operating revenues were shared halfway between the owner on the one hand, and the tenant of the chateau and the tenants on the other. All the farms had a vineyard. The harvest employed twenty people for a period of one week. Half of the wine was stored in the chateau where there were four casks, then the wine was shot in barrels of 200 to 500 litres. Part was stored in cellars under the chateau, another part in the cellar (placed in the corner of the square Tower).

In the large shed in front of the chateau was storage for straw and fodder. Adjacent to this hangar. There was a winery and a stables. There was also a vegetable garden next to the hangar. Working the land with oxen or cows until 1950. Mr. de Passelegue was hostile towards mechanical machinery, he would prefer to keep his staff. Also the first tractor was only used on the land from 1960. Some of the grain was stored loose in the attic of the Chateau, and some sold to the Baziège cooperative. It may be noted that Mr. Hannah was the last to make flour at the mill. The threshing of wheat ran on about fifteen days. The wood was not sold, but used on site (mostly oak, a little chestnut, a bit of acacia).

The operation was restructured around 1964-1965. One can imagine that everyday life was rough, especially for women: he had to draw water from the Wells. also, access to the castle was difficult, the path is paved and unmade. Poultry raised by the tenant of the chateau ultimately for duvets (goose feathers) carefully done by a group of women. However, We could also count on commercial-manufacturers (Grocer, Baker) and the fact of activities together made life less difficult (harvest, corn…). The last tenants left the castle in 1964. Today it is abandoned, delivered to looters and totally ruined. Its access is forbidden (private property) but also in this state you could risk injury due to falling rocks.