From the earliest times, the bank of the river Cher has attracted men both Roman & Gallic settled down here.
In Véretz, the romans built a castrum, cultivated the plateau and build an aqueduct still visible (at the garden’s entrance).
The Middle Ages
The first known Lord over the land of Véretz was called Josselin (1190). At that time, the Lordship depends of the Bishop of Tours. The dominion is then taken over by the Coron family (13th century), and afterwards, in by William Trousseau, whose son, Pierre Trousseau, was chamberlain of Philip VI of Valois.
The Hundred Years’ War
The Cher passage was defended by the castle. The location was excellent and tried to prevent the English invading forces who took hold of the area and fortified themselves for a long term occupation which ended in 1360 with the Treaty of Bretigny.
In 1361, the castle was dismantled. At the height of the Hundred Years War, the Lord of Véretz, Pierre d’Avoir, is already a powerful figure whose name is associated with those of Du Guesclin, Pierre de Chevreuse, etc. and other well-known families.
In 1407, Véretz belongs to Jean de L'Isle, who died at Agincourt in 1415.
But in 1424, Touraine was again occupied and the new Lord of Véretz, Hugues de Chalons, Count of Tonnerre, also dies in combat. His widow, marries George de la Trémoille, who had been an Army General Lieutenant, and dies in 1481 without descendants.
At this time, the "noble hostel" of Véretz, looks like a ruined house. The Trémoille family does not live there anymore, since they prefer to stay at the castle of Thouars.
It was the merit of the De la Barre family to bring back splendour to the castle of Véretz by his own initiative. Jean de la Barre inherited the castle around 1500. He served Louis XI and Charles VIII.
He was provost of Paris and Lieutenant General of the l’Ile de France and also the first chamberlain of Francis I. He fully succeded in building a valuable residence in Véretz worthy of his high position. Jean de la Barre followed Francois I during his captivity in Madrid and correspondence with the Queen. He died in Paris in 1534. Véretz was taken over by his descendants until 1595, when the castle was acquired by an old family of Touraine, the Forget. Pierre Forget continued the works and bought numerous new lands.
The Edict of Nantes
The Edict of Nantes could have been called the "Peace of Véretz" because the Lord of Véretz, Pierre Forget, was one of the Catholic advisors of King Henri IV.
The Edict of Nantes, it’s said to have been signed under his roof. The first church bell was baptized at that time. Upon the death of Pierre Forget, Véretz was divided and passed for the heritage of the Bouthillier de Rancé in 1637, close relatives of Cardinal Richelieu.
The abbot of Rancé
The abbot of Rancé spends part of his youth in Véretz and inherits along with his brother when Monsieur de Rance dies in 1653. Unconcerned about the duties of his religious vocation, his life was mundane and sumptuous. Upon the death of the Duchess of Montbazon to who he was very close, he gives up the pleasures of hunting to retire to La Trappe in1661 as an abbot.
Before leaving his domains, he had sold them to the abbot of Effiat and the duke of Mazarin. Before his death (1698), the Abbot of Effiat welcomed in Véretz illustrious visitors like François de la Rochefoucauld and Madame de Sevigne.
The Duke and Duchess of Mazarin
The Duke of Mazarin, Armand-Charles, grand master of artillery, governor of Brittany, Alsace,etc., only owner of Véretz. He marries Hortense Mancini (one of Cardinal MInistre’s nieces) in 1654. In fact, she does not live often in Véretz, as she spends much time abroad. The Duke, however, stays several times at Véretz and makes some works there. He dies at Meillerave in 1713.
The Dukes of Aiguillon
By successive marriages, the land is passed to the Marquis Armand Louis of Richelieu. Due to his marriage with Anne Crussol in 1718, he’s bestowed the title of Duke of Aiguillon by the King.
Among its most illustrious guests at that time, were come across the Princess Louise-Elisabeth de Bourbon-Conti. She was a great friend of the Duke and of Cerceau’s father, who was young Prince de Conti’s tutor. The second bell of Véretz’s church has as a godmother, the Princess of Conti.
From 1736 to 1780, many renovation works and improvements were made, in the interior and the exterior, by the Duke d’Aiguillon and his son the Duke of Emmanuel d’Aiguillon, General Lieutenant of Britain and Foreign Minister of King Louis XV.
All these changes were made by the greatest artists at that time (notably the great religious painter, Jouvenet, de Rouen) and the landscape designer, Blarenberghe. The second stage works of the castle of Véretz include the definitive layout of the park, the mazes, the terraces, digging two lakes and opening paths in the forest, as it comes out in the gouaches of the painter Blarenberghe.
From the Revolution to nowadays
The Duke of Aiguillon emigrates. The Duchess tries to sell some furniture
Under the Convention, the buildings serve first and foremost as barracks for the troops, then the property is simply confiscated. The land is acquired for almost nothing by some citizens of Tours, and Veretz is destroyed and dismantled in spite of the heroic protest of a villager named Huet of Tours.
In 1819, Paul-Louis Courier, who had made Véretz his adopted country, writes: "Goodbye my dear groves, parterres, lawns, avenues, castle, chapel, dungeon, everything goes, everything’s ruined! ".
In 1836 most of the land is bought by the Count of Richemont, who builts a new castle on the site of the previous one, including a long esplanade in front of the Castle and keeping the southeast tower. This is the third stage of the castle, which is almost how it looks nowadays except for some extensions added afterwards by Georges Drake del Castillo.In 1878, Mrs. Drake del Castillo bought back Véretz from the Count of Richemont and restored the property through the acquisition of the outbuildings and the vegetable garden, recently diverted for the benefit of Mr. Doudon.
By inheritance, the castle of Véretz passed to the Legnlart and Maintenant families.
Madame de Sévigné, host of the castle of Véretz
Madame de Sevigne spent the night of the 13 September 1675 in the castle of Véretz (Véret, she wrote). She had been invited by the owner, the Abbot of Effiat (St. Mark's brother), who had been sent into exile to Touraine, as well as Vineuil D'Olonne and Vassé, because of having addressed the King with too much freedom.
She was traveling from Paris, to her castle Rochers in Bretagne, and had descended the Loire river by boat from Orleans. In a letter dated September 14, 1675, she wrote to Madame de Grignan as follows: "I slept last night in Véretz. Mr. Effiat knew about my trip, he came to pick me up from the bank of the river. Everything in his place is beautiful, nice and wonderful, this country is truly charming, more than anything in the habitable world ... ... . I could go on and on "