Chateaux Trogoff and Tonquedec: Sources for Bisclavret (The Werewolf)

This is another post about my short story Bisclavret (The Werewolf). The story is set in Brittany in the 1360s, a time when John, Duke of Brittany had gained his duchy with the help of English armies. The story is set in a remote and dilapidated castle in the midst of Brittany’s forests. As well as Marie de France‘s original Bisclavret, my other inspiration was a Breton legendary ballad called the Ward of Guesclin, a famous French general. Here’s the opening verse:

TROGOFF’S strong tower in English hands
Has been this many a year,
Rising above its subject-lands
And held in hate and fear.
That rosy gleam upon the sward
Is not the sun’s last kiss;
It is the blood of an English lord
Who ruled the land amiss.

The poem tells a tale of a Breton woman forced by the new English lord of the castle to accept his kiss as a toll for passage. In my story the castle has become Trigoff, and I based the actual appearance of the castle on Chateau Tonquedec. See the pretty image below – really a wonderful setting for a werewolf story, right in the middle of a forest.

Here’s how I mapped out the castle and it’s estate for the purposes of planning the story:

Castle and Estate of Trigoff
Castle and Estate of Trigoff

Please excuse the terrible drawing and handwriting!

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