Tiny Beuvillers is just south of Lisieux in Normandy and you would think this beautiful Poterne de Beuvillers would be easy to find.
The photographer made a very small mistake. It’s not really a Poterne – that translates as Postern, the secondary door or gate in an ancient fortification. This is a Porterie, a gatehouse. In our postcard it still appears to have a Norman guard, although the gatehouse is looking distinctly domesticated.
A fine moustache, a fine Norman man
Our guard has a gun, important looking hat and fine moustache clearly visible even from this distance.
Perhaps this is his home, one to be proud of. His look suggests he is just about to tell the photographer to clear off “Assez, aller!” “enough, go away!”.
The building was clearly cared about, surely something must remain?
It does, not in Beuvillers but rather oddly, 20 kilometers away.
Now they looks familiar…
When the first two tidy turrets came into view we considered if it could be a twin to the Poterne de Beuvillers? Very unlikely in the Pays d’Auge where every château and is distinct from its neighbour.
Tiles that once covered Norman beams had been removed, but every proportion was correct.
We were outside Crèvecœur-en-Auge and looking at a remarkable piece of restoration.
The wandering gatehouse
This 15th century gatehouse to the now lost château de Beuvillers was moved brick by brick, beam by beam, from its original home many years ago.
The building was classified a historical monument on 4 April 1930. In 1947 the request was granted to transfer and save this unique piece of Pays d’Auge heritage.
Was our moustachioed Norman then a distant memory? Or did he defend his castle, fire his gun in the air and tell the sandle wearing restorers their “mothers were hamsters and their fathers smelt of elderberries”? (See the brilliant French Taunt Monty Python sketch below).
Walk through history
Restoration was completed in 1973 and you will walk through this gatehouse if you visit the delightful Château de Crèvecoeur.
We have not yet discovered why the gatehouse was moved, can you help?
The French Taunt