Tag Archives: Castle

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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Some Views of Berkhamsted Castle

Berkhamsted Castle was the main residence outside London of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. The castle was part of the lands of the Earl of Cornwall. In it’s day it was an impressive fortification, with two moats and two walls, plus a motte and tower. Now unfortunately due to the 16th building craze most of the walls are quite diminished, but it is still an atmospheric site

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