The Fort of Mont-Briton


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In the 14th century, the stony castle was not the only way to assert its authority on a territory. In Haut-Grésivaudan, lordship over a certain number of border lands was disputed by Savoy and Dauphiné (they were called “Marches”). A curious sort of fortification was invented that was named ‘Batie” (or Fort).

The Fort is a type of light fortification, mostly made of moats and ground levies overhung by wooden towers. Unlike a stony castle, these fort were built relatively quickly, typically in a month, and were intended to take ownership of a disputed territory. Its objective is thus both defensive and offensive and is very similar to the trenches of World War I.

This tactical warfare was mainly used in the Grésivaudan valley (along with two other forts built along a creek in the valley between Chapareillan and Les Marches in 1339, and in the Bugey region (in the modern “department” of Ain), where two opposite forts were facing each other above the city of Ambérieux: The Savoyard fort of Luisandre and the Dauphinois fort of Les Allymes .

This original and almost anachronistic trait incited us to try to restore the aspect of the Fort of Mont Briton, built in 1313 and overlooking the Bréda creek canyon. in overhang of the gorges(breasts) of Bréda. We used the financial accounts of the castle of Montmélian, as well as researches made for the fort of Gironville, near Ambérieux in Bugey.


The site seen from the North.
Behind the trees: Avalon.

The second moat can still be seen along the fence

The site of Mont-Briton, seen from the tower of Avalon



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