Sauvons un hameau médiéval!

100 %
4,510€ Pledged out of 4,510€
Don contre don
63 Donations from 5 countries
Let's save a medieval hamlet !


2 nights in the Rapido caravan on the premises of Bastide des Vassals, for two persons, breakfast included

The association Bastide des Vassals organises a great end of campaign tombola.

Even if your bid is 10 euros 

(those who have already taken participation in the campaign will be automatically included).


In the midst of a forest, coils a small stream down a steep valley that stretches from the Segala plateau to the Tarn river. A discreet but most prominent ensemble of medieval ruins is set there. On the top of a hill, a thirteenth century dungeon is encircled by the ruins of excavated houses. A hundred and twenty feet further down, a water mill, a bread oven and a barn surround a bridge that crosses the stream. The buildings composing this hamlet have, since the end of the medieval ages, slowly fallen down to an amazing ensemble of ruins.
It offers fascinating grounds of social and historical study for archeologists. We offer to associate you to a marvelous and creative adventure.

The small two-arched bridge that crosses the cristal water stream.

The dungeon in the woods

The watermill


The inhabitants of the place

Raymond and Pierre de Vassal, de Lombers, knights and co-lords of Lescure, are most probably the builders of the thirteenth century dungeon.
During the sixteenth century, the lordship has passed to the Gasc family, lords of the Bastide Royale d’Arthès, of Saint-Grégoire and of Crespinet. Guillaume de Gasc has a prominent role in the history of the dungeon since he is squire to the heir of France, to become King Louis XI. Guillaume fights along with the heir of France during the hundred years war between the English of Aquitaine and the French. The border was near the Gasc lordship and therefore the dungeon was torn down by the Black Prince during a battle in 1430. We found a parchment at the Tarn local archives dated 1439, signed by the heir of France and authorizing Guillaume de Gasc to re-fortify his castles.

The lordship then became possession of the de Berne de Brassac family. The dungeon was abandoned at the end of the medieval era for more comfortable  houses on the plateau (Château de Cussac, Château des Farguettes, Château la Gautherie).

The watermill 

The watermill was built by the lord for the use of the village inhabitants. These inhabitants were compelled by feudal law to use this equipment to grind their grain. They had to pay a tax in exchange for the service.
The watermill was a feudal industry until 1830. It was then sold to a independent miller by the de Berne widow. Fifty years after, the miller went bankrupt and his belonging were seized.
This seizure was written down in a document found at the local archives. We read that the watermill was equipped with four pairs of millstones (two for flour and two for cattle food), a pilou described as a vertical millstone (used to make oil, pigments or paper pulp), a carder and spinning machines.
The watermill was sold several times and then abandoned around 1912, when modern industrialisation replaced traditional production. The building was ruined in 1927.

The gothic entrance to the inner courtyard of the castle

An extrapolation of the Bastide des Vassals

Who are the present owners ?


Philippe is a lyric tenor. He built his house ten years ago – one of the first ten ecological houses in Paris. He discovered la Bastide des Vassals in a state of total abandon.  

Denis is a novelist and a playright. He wrote seven novels and seven plays that were published by Actes Sud. He also teaches theatre workshops, namely with high school teenagers and patients of a psychiatric hospital.  He is a member of La Forge, a collective of
Together, we intend to save this magnificent site from decay and oblivion.  We are inspired by its charm. We intend to organise cultural and social meetings in the open nature. We are convinced that ecological architecture and permaculture are new ways of social exchange and create a new model of sustainable life.We like forgotten places, they are a great source of inspiration.

Presentation of the project

First, we intend to find out and reconstruct the history of the place with the help of archeology and research in the local archives. Then, in a second period, we will work on securing and stabilising the ruins and last but not least, we would like to build ecological contemporary structures that would fill in the ruined parts without altering them.
We are planning to organise international youth camps and more technical workshops for craftsmen. Our first professional workshop will be led by Hugues Couderc. He will demonstrate the practical implementation of quick lime, in masonry structure as well as in finishings.

Our final goal is to create a place of ecological autonomy and permaculture. We intend to offer a place of residence for farmers, artisans and artists where we can organise social and artistic events.

Initial work

Last year we started with the digging of the watermill ruins. Thanks to Will, Lucile, Jean- Denis, Loïc, Liliane, Mélissa, Régis, Agnès and Mati for their kind and efficient work. They have helped to dig out more than 4 feet of rubble in order to retrieve the original stone floor.

We have cleared the ruins of the watermill and we have retrieved five antique millstones.

Heritage Architects Studies

Germain and Grégoire are heritage architects (Agence Sunmetron). They carried out a complete architectural survey of the lower site.

The Centre Départemental d'Archéologie du Tarn (CDAT) has appointed a surveyor to map the entire grounds where the lower watermill site and upper castrum site appear.
With the help of these tools, we have been able to obtain administrative authorisation for an initial phase of restoration work on the water dam and more generally the ruins of the lower site of the watermill. The expense to carry out these studies amounts to 6000 euros, the restoration works will be between 10000 and 20000 euros.

How will we use the collected funds ?

- First step : 5000 euros to help finance urgent structure masonry work on the water dam, that will be carried out in an international workshop led by Hugues Couderc. The stream and the watermill are the cornerstone of our settling on the site. They will allow a power production as well as the restoration of one of the historical grinders.
- Step 2 : 10 000 € for the restoration and stabilisation of ruined walls in the watermill as well as the reconstruction of the metal and wood floodgate that will control the water level. The created pond will be a sanctuary for natural wild life, namely the fish and aquatic plants.
- Step 3 : 20 000 €, for the restoration and stabilisation of ruined walls in the dungeon as well as for archeological international digging camps, led by the Chairman of the Centre Départemental ;Archéologie du Tarn and opened to local volunteers.
We filed in grant applications with the Fondation du patrimoine and with the Région Occitanie.

How to help the project ?

- by an online donation on this page, after registration and connection on 

- by bank transfer on this page, after registration and connection on 

- by sending a check (to the order of Patrimoine Envirronnement), specifying your email address :


Campagne La Bastide des vassals

1 Rue de Châteaudun

75009 Paris France

Our first supporters

Jacques Mathieu, Chairman of the Comité Départemental d'Archéologie du Tarn (CDAT).
Jeannie Cadeilhan, head of the Comité Départemental d'Archéologie du Tarn.

Christophe MENDYGRAL, Chairman of the Centre Archéologique des Pays Albigeois(CAPA).

Daniel Schaad, Direction des Affaires Culturelles (DRAC Occitanie).

Olivier Cèbe, local delegate of the Fondation du Patrimoine.

Office du tourisme Tarn Occitanie:

In the press

La Dépêche on 05/08/17


We would love you to participate in our project and we thank you in advance for your generous donations. Please note that you are invited to the site of Bastide des Vassals whenever you visit the region and you are also very welcome to participate in the workshops if you wish to. 

Social links


Pledge €10 or more
Or 3.4€ after tax deduction
15 donations
The Postcard
A postcard of the site.
Pledge €20 or more
Or 6.8€ after tax deduction
10 donations
The swim
A swim in a secret place of the stream.
+ All of the above rewards
Pledge €50 or more
Or 17€ after tax deduction
18 donations
The visit
A guided visit of the watermill area and the dungeon with Philippe.
+ All of the above rewards
Pledge €100 or more
Or 34€ after tax deduction
9 donations
The Summer Concert
Two seats for the summer concert of Bastide des Vassals.
+ All of the above rewards+ contreparties précédentes
Pledge €200 or more
Or 68€ after tax deduction
6 donations
The signed novel
A novel by Denis Lachaud signed to your name by Denis
+ All of the above rewards
Pledge €500 or more
Or 170€ after tax deduction
0 donation
The stone
A stone of the dungeon is named after you or your company. A kind of mini plaque or nail bearing your name will be inserted in a dedicated
wall section of the dungeon.
+ All of the above rewards
Pledge €1,000 or more
Or 340€ after tax deduction
0 donation
The Logo
The Logo of your company on every outgoing hard or soft copy communication information of Association Bastide des Vassals.
+ All of the above rewards
Pledge €1,000 or more
Or 340€ after tax deduction
1 donation
The 1001 night
One night for two persons with organic breakfast in our vintage caravan on the Bastide des Vassals premises (Wooden Rapido Caravan)
+ All of the above reward
Pledge without a reward
4 donations
Pledge an amount of your choosing