Historic surroundings

The Château dates mainly from the 15th century, with several architectural additions made over the subsequent centuries. In one of the towers on the second floor, there is a small chapel with an early fresco depicting Christ between two Moorish disciples which has been dated at 1510. There is also of evidence of Templar symbolism in the design of the wall decoration.

Richard the Lionheart spent much of his life in this part of the Dordogne valley and died at Chateau de Chalus-Chabrol in 1199. Much of England's history between 1154 and 1453 was bound up with events in South West France and the Dordogne, including Henry II's ownership and subsequent loss of the Aquitaine and his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is more than likely that Richard would have known and visited Château D’Arnac.

From the 17th century to the Revolution, the château was owned by the same French noble family, les Comtes des Ferrieres. The current head of the Ferrieres family, who lives in Paris, has visited the Château in recent years.

Of special note is that Marshall Ney stayed at Château D’Arnac following the French defeat at Waterloo and was captured by French royalist forces nearby. His bedroom on the first floor is a feature of the house and, like other bedrooms on this floor, it has stunning 18th century panelling.

 

After 1800 the château was owned by a succession of local families until it was acquired by Madame Maria Germaine Chataur during the 1930s. She married a Scotsman, Diarmid Campbell-Johnston who lived near Cannes. They carried out significant repairs and improvements to the château during their ownership including the reconstruction of the Gatehouse and the creation of a large terrace above the entrance courtyard. They had the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to stay on several occasions prior to World War II. During World War II, the château was used by the French Resistance as a safe house for escapees, particularly airmen, en route to cross the Pyrenees.

In 1945 the château was acquired by the Descamps family, wealthy industrialists from northern France. They sold the château in the 1980s and after a succession of different owners, it was acquired by the current owners in 2003.