In the late twelfth century the Lord of Saissac, Bertrand de Saissac,
was the tutor (guardian) of the infant Viscount of Carcassonne,
Raymond-Roger Trencavel. Raymond-Roger was also
Viscount of Béziers,
Albi and the Razes. Bertrand was a known Cathar
When the Abbot of Alet died in 1197 Raymond-Roger de Trencavel
was only nine years old. It therefore fell to his guardian, Bertrand
de Saissac, to appoint a new Abbot according to custom. The monks
meanwhile appointed their own candidate Bernard de St-Ferréol
as the new Abbott. Bertrand de Saissac was not pleased by the monks'
choice. He expelled Bernard and installed his own candidate as Abbot.
(For more on this and subsequent events click on this link to the
At the time of the Cathar Wars (or
Crusade), Bernard was still Lord of Saissac. The Saissacs, like
were stripped of their lands and titles.
de Marly, one of Simon
de Montfort's lieutenants, ordered the seizing of the castle
and its goods. Later, after 1234, the castle passed to
Lambert de Thury, another lieutenant of de Montfort. The siegneurie
was split into many parts, some of which were restored by Louis
IX to the dispossessed faidit lords of Saissac.
In 1325 the castle became the inheritance
of the family of de
Lévis, new French lords of Mirepoix. From 1331 to 1412,
it passed to the family of Isle-Jourdain. In the 15th century, the
barony was held by the family of Caraman. The castle changed hands
repeatedly until 1565, passing through the hands of Bernuy and house
of Clermont-Lodève in 1565.
In 1568 and again in 1580, during the Wars
of Religion, Protestant troops destroyed the village but were
unable to take the castle.
Saissac became a Marquisate in 1604 under Henri IV.
From 1715, the castle was held by the Luynes, who did not live
After the French Revolution, the castle fell in ruins, after being
repeatedly looted by treasure hunters in 1862.
In 1979, during some construction work in the commune of Saissac,
a treasure trove of 2000 pennies (deniers) dated from the period
1250-1270 were discovered.
Since 1995 the castle has been in the possession of the municipality,
which began a programme of restoration in order to make the castle
available to visitors. As of 2007, two rooms of the main building
(the Aldonce residence, constructed in the 16th century) have been
rebuilt in the Renaissance style. Cellars under the building have
also been made accessible.
Today the ruins are protected as official historical monuments
of France (monument historique).