Château de Bélarga
Le Château de Bélarga is a château constructed in the 17th century. Part of the building is from an earlier castle dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. It is located on the left bank of the Hérault River in the commune of Bélarga in the Hérault département of France.
A castle was recorded in Bélarga before 1281, in a document concerning the construction of a village. An enceinte commanded by this fortress was built at the end of the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th century. The building dominated a ford over the Hérault which was subject to a toll.
The area belonged to the Guilhem family, powerful lords of Clermont-Lodève (today Clermont-l'Hérault). Berenger IV of Guilhem was described as lord of the castrum de Belesgario in 1310. His successor, Pierre de Clermont, is infamous for having committed in Bélarga a crime against the person of a young woman from Puilacher, for which he was condemned in 1310 by the sénéchal of Carcassonne; the sentence was confirmed by the Parlement de Paris on 29 January 1311 (see below). One result was the confiscation of the seigneurie of Bélarga.
In the 17th century, the castle belonged to the Mirmans, a family of the Nobles of the Robe which included numerous magistrates in the sovereign courts of Languedoc. In 1654, the knight François de Mirman, conseiller du roi and intendant des gabelles, had the titles of "baron de Florac, seigneur de Bélarga, etc.".
The Mirmans gave the building its current appearance, embellishing it "in the rustic taste fashionable in the 17th century in Montpellier".
The north wing of the present building probably dates from the 14th century, altered in the 15th. North of this, a new château was built in the 17th century.
The Château de Bélarga is private property, inhabited by its owners. It was the object of a study for the cultural heritage inventory by the French Ministry of Culture in 1976.
Pierre de Clermont's crime
- Ministry of Culture: Languedoc-Roussillon ; Hérault ; Bélarga (French)
- Philippe Huppé, Les seigneurs de Clermont-Lodève : du palais carolingien à la cour napolitaine, IXe ‑ XVe siècles, vol. 2, Les Presses littéraires, 2008 ISBN 978-235073-285-5
- Philippe Huppé, Le gisant de la féodalité dans l'ombre des Lumières : la féodalité dans la baronnie du Pouget et la vicomté de Plaissan au 18e siècle suivi de l'armorial des seigneurs, p. 7, éditions Monique Mergoil, Montagnac (Hérault) 1998 ISBN 978-2907303224
- Béjart, Armorial de 1654, quoted by Louis de La Roque, Armorial de la noblesse de Languedoc, Généralité de Montpellier, vol. 1, p. 347, Félix Seguin libraire-éditeur, Montpellier, 1860 (read online) (Accessed 7 March 2013) (French)
- ".. dans le goût rustique en vogue au XVIIe siècle à Montpellier". Philippe Huppé, op. cit., p. 8.
- Ministry of Culture: Château (French)
- Edgard Boutaric, Actes du Parlement de Paris, série 1 (1299-1328), vol. II, p. 72-73, Plon, Paris, 1807 (read online) (Accessed 7 March 2013) (French)
- Ministry of Culture listing for Bélarga (French)
- Ministry of Culture listing for Château de Bélarga (French)
- Ministry of Culture photo