Floors and fittings in the chateau

Floors in the kitchen areas, dining room, gun room, and the central hallway consisted of limestone paving, between 10 and 20cm thick and laid directly on compacted earth. In the dining room the octagonal slabs, now in worn condition, are interspersed with smaller square pieces of slate in a pattern which became popular in Europe in the 18th century. The hall has square slabs laid on the bias at the north end, with larger, apparently older slabs at the other end. The latter are of a type of dense limestone known as “pierre de Chauvigny” by some. It is found in older buildings locally (e.g. many churches) and develops a polish when regularly walked on. The slabs in the kitchen areas and the gun room were judged to be impractical for modern use and removed c. 2000, eventually to be replaced by the current owners using local limestone and terra cotta. The floors in the four rooms on the other side of the ground floor were made of tongued and grooved oak boarding laid on oak beams. The beams were either laid directly on the earth or on low sleeper walls, and were all found to be more-or-less rotten. These floors are in course of renovation. The oak boards remaining in both parts of the salon were found to be in reasonable condition, and have been re-used to create an old-style parquet floor in the north west end of the room.

The whole of the first floor consists of oak boarding resting on oak beams. Most of the boards are relatively narrow - about 10cm wide on average - and are similar to those found on the ground floor. But in four upstairs rooms on the north-western side the boards are much wider and shorter, and not always parallel-sided. The floors in these rooms are also more uneven than elsewhere (reflecting unevenness in the beams). Wide, short boards are also used throughout the attic, and this type of flooring is common in old buildings locally. These boards do not appear to have been “recycled” so they must have already been in place when the chateau was remodelled, or installed along with the more regular flooring. No explanation for this is apparent. Most of the floorboards and structural timbers were sawn by hand.

Most of the doors, windows, shutters and other fixed joinery were constructed in a quite impressive matching style (largely of oak, painted dark brown or grey) and installed together, most likely when the house was rebuilt. At some later stage further joinery fixtures were added both upstairs and down, again probably all at the same time, using rather more softwood and therefore probably in the 1930s or since. With this later tranche a good effort was made to match the style of the earlier joinery. The main oak staircase is mid-19th century in style.

Many of the structural beams have been recycled and may well have come from the earlier building. There are a few old planked doors which appear to pre-date the fitting-out described above. The window in the gun room does not match any of the others and is also very likely a survivor from earlier; and the large chimney piece in the kitchen, and various stonework on the ground floor around door openings etc. appear to have been retained from the older building.