Seat of one of the four viscounties of the Bas-Limousin and cradle of several great feudal families, the Comborn, the 2nd dynasty of Turenne, the Ventadour, the castle of Comborn stands at the top of a rock overhanging the gorges of the Vézère.
The ruins, the facades and the roofs of the castle were registered in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments in 1983, at the request of the Syrey Du Buc de Ferret family, predecessors of Mr. Jean-Pierre Bernard, who became its owner in 2000.
This site is one of the oldest in the Limousin. Originally, it is a Gallic oppidum, Comborn coming from the Gallic word "Combor" which means barrier. The Gallo-Roman presence is attested, excavations having allowed, around 2002, to find tiles. It is certain that the village was inhabited at the end of the 8th century because, during the excavations, a grain silo containing cereal seeds was found. These seeds were dated by carbon 14 and were found to be around the year 780.
A little history
From the 10th century, the Comborn family began to extend its authority over the whole of the Limousin. The Comborns first took Turenne around 976 and became Viscounts of Comborn and Turenne.
Then, they will create Ventadour, then, by marriage, reach the government of Limoges and remain there until the 13th century.
At the beginning of the 14th century, the last Comborn, Viscount of Limoges, gave up Limoges to marry a d'Albret, which gave the whole lineage until Henri IV. The Comborns are really related to all the prestigious families.
The site will undergo a lot of changes in 1,000 years.
Originally, until the year 1000, there were wooden constructions of which nothing remains except the trace of a post hole next to the grain silo which proves that there was a building above the grain silo, towards the end of the 8th century.
The first stone constructions still visible probably date from the beginning of the 11th century.
First the base of the master tower, composed at the time of 4 levels, which showed by its importance the power of the lord who lived there and especially, it ensured a shelter in case of attack because the way to reach the various levels was done by a system of ladders.
Then there are three underground rooms that practically surround it and, at the end of the esplanade, another underground room that would be the first chapel of the 11th century.
There are also remains of the curtain wall, of the surrounding walls that really surround the entire castral enclosure.
The third period of construction still visible on Comborn are the ruins of the 15th century castle, built in 1445 with reclaimed stones.
This concerns the tower at the end of the esplanade which is the staircase tower and which served the three floors of the castle, a very high castle, very long because of the lack of setback, the ravine being immediately behind the castle. In the middle of the 17th century, a fire ravaged the castle.
At that time, it passed into the hands of another family allied to the Comborns, the Delastery du Saillant, who demolished the burnt castle and rebuilt the dwelling in the 18th century (1753). The entrance porch seems to have been rebuilt earlier on a 15th century dwelling. Also, the latrines remain from the 15th century construction. The chimneys, which now look down into the void, were integrated into a building that extended into the wall. Documents show that this building extended to the main tower.
Next to the main building built in 1753, there are still fortifications: an 11th century master tower, 3 underground rooms, the ruins of the 15th century castle and a chapel.
Mr. Bernard, the current owner, has embarked on an ambitious restoration of the castle after winning the Loto du Patrimoine in 2019, organized by Stéphane Berne.
Guided tours with exhibition on the excavations of the chapel
By appointment, guided tour by the owners, from June 20th to September 20th,
Every day except Wednesday, from 3 pm to 6:30 pm.
Other times and dates possible on reservation.
Charge (free under 14 years old) 7,50 €/pers.
Special prices for groups of more than 10 people.
Duration 45 min.
Castle of Comborn
Tel : 05 55 73 77 23 and 06 86 70 47 16
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator