Why is 1226 the beginning date of the Ozark Medieval Fortress? If this question is not asked at the very beginning of every tour, I make it a point to answer it anyway because everyone wonders. The direct answer is because 1226 is the first year of the reign of King Louis IX of France, who later became “Saint Louis” and the namesake of St. Louis, MO. It is the middle of the High Middle Ages, a time about 125 years before the black plague and a good time for France. It is the heyday of castle building. It is estimated that during the High Middle Ages about 15,000 castles were built in Europe.
The answer that is more personal to the Ozark Medieval Fortress is that it all began with the inspiration of a Frenchman named Michel Guyot. He purchased one of the largest chateaus in France called Saint Fargeau in 1979 (pictured). I encourage you to Google it. In addition to restoring a castle of over 200,000 square feet, Mr. Guyot wanted to build a medieval castle “from scratch”. He acquired land in Burgundy Province, France and began construction of an authentic castle there in 1997. The name of that castle project is “Guedelon” and it, too, is dated during the beginning of the reign of Louis IX. Although the design of the Ozark Medieval Fortress is different from Guedelon, it was ideal to date the U.S. project in the same historical timeframe.