The story of Château Citran begins during the early 12th century, when in 1122 the Donissan family built a fortress at this spot (clearly not the same building as the more modern maison which stands here today). The name Citran appeared soon afterwards, in 1235, with Guillaume Ramon de Donissan, seigneur of Citran. The Donissan family held onto this title and land for six centuries, passing both down through many generations. Of many sons, one particularly notable scion was Guillaume Raymond de Donissan who, in 1347, held the seigneuries of both Citran and Angludet. By the 18th century the property and all its extensive lands came into the hands of Guy Joseph de Donissan (1737 – 1794), Marquis de Citran. He had married Marie Françoise de Durfort de Civrac (1747 – 1838) on January 26th 1760, and they had at least one daughter together.
During the time of the French Revolution Guy Joseph de Donissan was an instrumental figure in the Guerre de Vendée (1793 – 1796), the counter-revolutionary uprising by a Catholic and Royalist army against the French Revolutionary forces. This conflict resulted in the destruction of many properties in the Vendée, as I have already noted in a number of Muscadet profiles, including those of Vignobles Günther-Chéreau and Chéreau-Carré, to name just two. As retribution for his actions, after his capture Guy Joseph was tried in Angers, where he was condemned to death and shot (presumably the guillotine was out of service) on January 8th 1794.
Victoire de Donissan de Citran
With Guy’s death the seigneurie and the land passed to his daughter, Victoire de Donissan de Citran (1772 – 1857). She married twice, each time to heroes of the Guerre de Vendée and the counter-revolutionary struggle, both distant blood relatives. Her first husband was Louis Marie de Salgues (1766 – 1793), Marquis de Lescure, otherwise known as the Saint du Poitou. He died of his injuries, sustained when in battle, on 4th November 1793, after which Victoire was wedded to Louis du Vergier (1777 – 1815), Marquis de la Rochejacquelein. He too would ultimately die on the field of battle, shot in the chest when leading a charge.
Despite Victoire’s apparent attraction to those who opposed the formation of the new French republic she retained possession of the domaine at Citran, which was never regarded as a bien national. Victoire was not sufficiently relaxed to remain in France though, and like many others of noble blood she fled the country during this period of turmoil. In her absence the domaine was cared for by Louis-Jacques de Courcy d’Herville (1740 – 1805) who had married into the Donissan family in 1785. She returned to take the domaine in hand in 1795, and went on to have eight children with her second husband before his untimely death. As Victoire grew old responsibility for looking after the domaine thus fell to her many descendents, although it seems they were not as interested in it as she had been. The result was the sale of the property by the Donissan-Rochejacquelein family in 1832, after more than six hundred years of ownership.