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Workers Build French Castle With 13th Century Tools

“The rule is that only what we know from documents that existed at the time is allowed,” said English guide Sarah Preston.

Fri January 19, 2018 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin starting building Guedelon Castle in 1997, or 1228, if you're counting in historical years, using exclusively 13th-century construction techniques and materials, Metro reported.
Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin starting building Guedelon Castle in 1997, or 1228, if you're counting in historical years, using exclusively 13th-century construction techniques and materials, Metro reported.
Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin starting building Guedelon Castle in 1997, or 1228, if you're counting in historical years, using exclusively 13th-century construction techniques and materials, Metro reported. Workers involved in the project use handmade tools, horse-drawn carriages, a winch drum, a blacksmith's workshop and more to build the castle as authentically as possible, The Atlantic reported. (Photo Credit: www.guedelon.fr) “At one point we realized the stonemasons were cutting the stones for the towers too perfectly, which just wouldn't have been appropriate, said Preston. “It would have suggested he had a lot of money and therefore a small army in the chateau, which wasn't the case.” (Photo Credit: www.guedelon.fr)

Imagine trying to build a castle—without modern-day construction equipment. It sounds impossible, but a group of enthusiasts is attempting to do just that in Burgundy, France.

Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin starting building Guedelon Castle in 1997, or 1228, if you're counting in historical years, using exclusively 13th-century construction techniques and materials, Metro reported.

Workers involved in the project use handmade tools, horse-drawn carriages, a winch drum, a blacksmith's workshop and more to build the castle as authentically as possible, The Atlantic reported.

“The rule is that only what we know from documents that existed at the time is allowed,” said English guide Sarah Preston.

As crews of volunteers worked diligently, something was missing.

“Funnily enough, we found that even though we knew we were being accurate, somehow the castle lacked soul,” Preston said.

So the team made up a character—Seigneur Guilbert, a middle-ranking feudal lord from around the year 1228, who was given permission to build himself a castle after sticking up for the crown in 1226. Doing so has kept workers on track for building the castle as accurately as possible, Metro reported.

“At one point we realized the stonemasons were cutting the stones for the towers too perfectly, which just wouldn't have been appropriate, said Preston. “It would have suggested he had a lot of money and therefore a small army in the chateau, which wasn't the case.”

The castle is expected to be complete by 1253—or 2023