The Château de Ferrette is one of the oldest in Alsace.
It was first mentioned in 1100 and was one of the main possessions of the Counts of Ferrette, a dynasty that was formed by sharing the heritage of the Lorraine Counts of Bar and Mousson.
Seven Counts of Ferrette succeeded each other. After the death of the last count, the county passed to the house of Austria through the marriage of Jeanne de Ferrette to Duke Albert II of Habsburg in 1324. The castle then became the residence of an Austrian bailiff.
The castle is composed of two parts:
the oldest upper castle, consists of a residential tower carved in limestone and on several levels, one of the first of its kind in Alsace.
the lower castle has several round towers open to the gorge and equipped with fire hydrants.
The castle of Ferrette is mentioned for the first time in 1100, when it belongs to the Counts of Mousson and Bar; however, the site seems to have been occupied since the Neolithic period according to tools found on site; traces of Roman presence are also supposed.
After the definitive sharing of the inheritance of Thierry de Bar, one of his sons, Frederic founded the most powerful territorial lordship of southern Alsace, took the title of Count of Ferrette and settled in the castle which became his family's residence.
In 1271 the Count sold his seigneury and castles to the Bishop of Basel and took them back as a fiefdom.
In 1324, through the marriage of Jeanne de Ferrette and Albert II of Habsburg, it fell with the whole county to the house of Austria and lost its importance to become the residence of a seigneurial bailiff.
Later, it was given as a fief-engagère to various nobility and from 1510 to 1567, the Fuggers had fortification work carried out there.
The two parts of the castle were connected to form a homogeneous whole, adapted to the new military techniques.
Occupied by the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War, the castle was stormed by the revolted peasants of Upper Sundgau, and the commander of the square, Erlach, died there. The French set fire to and permanently ruined the upper castle in 1635.
Under French royalty, the lower castle continued to serve as a bailiff's residence. Louis XIV donated it, along with other possessions, to Cardinal Mazarin.
In 1667, the building was no more than an uninhabitable and difficult to access farmhouse, and even the water had to be carried, the well being partially filled.
Only one main building, reserved for the bailiff and the receiver, remained occupied.
At the beginning of the Revolution, on the night of 29 to 30 July 1789, the lower castle was burned down and definitively ruined by a band of insurgents from the Saint-Amarin valley.
The ruin is currently private property, but the town of Ferrette holds a long-term lease.
Pictures taken by me on november 2017
Last night, and this is true, I dreamt that I was working in a costume shop, and two people had rented the Judas Iscariot costume. I had to call them both to inform them, "Okay, I can rent you the costume, but I need to tell you…if you open the bag of silver - first of all - please don't the last guy didn't return all the pieces of silver. Secondly, if you do open the bag of silver to throw coins at the atheists to taunt them, you may need to add some chocolate coins, the last guy who rented it didn't return all of them. Furthermore, why are you doing that? The atheists will have no idea who you're supposed to be, unless you're wearing this with 12 of your friends. But also, maybe just don't throw coins at atheists that's a dick move. You'll get no converts that way, and that's what it's really all about right? So look mister, do you still want to rent this costume?"