The Château of Sully is located at the crossing of several routes: three overland, and one by river. Because it was created to merely serve as a trading center between Sologne and Berry, the exact dates of its construction are a mystery.
It was not until the year 1000 that the existence of a château in Sully became known, along with the Maison des Seigneurs of Sully. Even then, several points remained unclear: what precisely were the plans? Where was the château located?
Near the very end of the 14th century, a family named La Trémoïlle (a new lord in Sully), ordered the architect Raymond du Temple to construct a keep in order to protect the passage across the Loire. The basic structure of the original château still exists today.
In 1602, Maximilien de Béthune, marquis of Rosny and minister to Henri IV, bought the lord’s domain of Sully. He is known for being the most illustrious owner of the château.
An illustrious owner
Maximilien de Béthune was born at his château of Rosny-sur-Seine (Yvelines) in 1559. He was a Protestant that managed to escape the 1572 Saint-Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. He spent his youth fighting in arms with the future King Henri IV, and he later played a part in re-conquering the kingdom.
From 1598, he created a recovery program for France because it had been ravaged by 30 years of religious war. As the head minister and faithful friend to the king, he accumulated several responsibilities (notably the important function of Superintendent of Finances). He managed to correct the financial situation, developed farming, trade, fortifications, and a new road network.
Meanwhile, he became a very powerful land owner, and he acquired the Château of Sully-sur-Loire in 1602, where he carried out a lot of construction work.
In 1606, Maximilien de Béthune was at the height of his glory: he became duke and peer of France. It was at this point that he took on the name of his estate and remained henceforth in history under the name of Sully.
Following the death of the king in 1610, he decided to retire from his various positions. From then on, he spent his time on managing his immense wealth and writing his memoirs, Wise and Real Economies of State (printed at the Château of Sully in 1638).
In 1641, Maximilien de Béthune passed away in his Château of Villebon (Eure-et-Loir) at the age of 82.
For over four centuries, the château remained in the family of the Duke of Sully’s descendants.
The château of Sully-sur-Loire was classified as a historical monument in 1928, and has been the property of the Departmental Council of the Loiret since 1962.