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History

The early construction of the château dates back to the Xth century. The château was destroyed and rebuilt several times.
This château owes its name to its location between two ponds fed by the springs that give birth to the Lézarde.”Le Bec” is an old Norwegian word meaning brook.

In the Middle-Ages it belonged to the Crespin family. Several members of that family were High Constables and Marshals of Normandy.
In 1454 Antoine Crespin, bishop of Laon, handed the barony over to his brother-in-law, Pierre de Brézé, High Seneschal of Normandy and close to the king, Charles VII. In the late XVth century, the château was restored by Louis de Brézé, grandson of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel. He became Governor of Normandy.

In 1579 the Duke d’Aumale, Charles de Lorraine sold the barony to Nicolas Romé de Fresquiennes, Adviser of the Rouen Parliament, who adapted the château to the current taste. Used during the “terreur” as a prison for non-juring priests, the Bec, through marriage went to the Earl de Chatenay, then to the Viscount de Croismare who entirely restored it between 1844 and 1848. Made available in 1916 to the Belgian government that had sought refuge in Sainte-Adresse, it was the residence of the Earl de Wiart, Secretary of State. He received many well-known visitors there: Maurice Barrès, Louis Barthou and René Bazin.

The château du Bec appears in two famous books : « Une Vie » by Maupassant (where it is described under the name of “château de la Vrilette”) and « L’oeuvre de mort » by Maurice Leblanc.