24540 Biron, France
Phone :+33 (0)5 53 61 93 03 or +33 (0)6 84 31 38 38
In 1499 Jean de Plamon, assigned by Pope Alexandre VI, established himself at Biron. Baron Pons de Gontaut (owner of the Chateau) and his brother Armand (who was bishop of Sarlat) gave de Plamon the rules that established a new religious chapter at the site. These rules required that anyone living at the Prieuré had to be a priest or become one within a year. They also were obliged to pray daily for Pons and his family. Pons started six permanent vicarages accommodating as many priests "sans cure" (without parishes) who all lived at the Prieuré. The canons of Biron began to function on Easter Day, April 8, 1515.The priests reportedly obtained for their support the gifts (tithes) of the parishes of St Martin de Dropt and of Parranquet.
This suggests that the priests of the Prieuré likely said mass and did weddings, baptisms and funerals at Biron's three churches - and traveled to nearby villages as well. Based on the Sarlat and Perigord Meridional Tomme III by JeanMaubourguet. PSHAP 1955 pp 139-140
The South-West wall of the Prieuré was part of the fortification of the village of Biron dating back to the 12th century and is over 1 meter thick (4 feet). Once the Priors moved in, the building saw the addition of large Renaissance style windows to let in the sun and the light. In 1779 a whole new wing was added comprising the stables on the ground floor and an apartment on the 2nd floor. This addition formed the small courtyard in front of the house. The tower of the Prieuré is thought to be the last of several that existed along the perimeter of the original defensive wall of the village.
The Prieuré was a working monastery. The tower end of the building contains a large brick-lined bread oven possibly serving as the village bread-oven for a time. Ownership of the Prieuré through the centuries is difficult to trace. It probably was part of the Gontaut-Biron family holdings. The Chateau itself was in the family from the 12th to the 20th centuries.