In western France a 13th-century ‘magical’ castle in gradual decay and risk of destruction has been rescued by strangers people from all around the world through a crowdfunding campaign. Now thousands of them are co-owners of the French Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers.
The complex was built by the Bauçay family and through the centuries saw several people and owners living in it, until a fire in 1932 literally destroyed almost everything: roof, library of rare books, antique furnitures, valuable paintings. Only the chapel, outbuildings and pigeon tower survived that “hell”.
The last owner, a maths teacher, who bought the remains in 1981 (2,000 hectares that includes 1,200 hectares of forest), was barely able to manage the preservation, leaving the building to its misery and letting the nature to take over with greenery all around and from the windows, balconies and turrets.
To avoid its entirely destruction, locals mobilised to save the historical chateau. With the help of a private company they came out with a clever and new idea: starting an international crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money and buy the property, restore it and take care of the maintenance during the next years. This will hopefully make a profitable location from which anyone can benefit.
That’s why Dartagnans digital agency, in collaboration with Adopte un château independent association, and with the support of the Friends of the Mothe-Chandenier association, launched a collective project that allows everybody on earth to contribute with a donation of a minimum amount of €50. Further more, people who give €1 or more in addition will have the privilege of becoming a co-owner of the building. They will have the power to decide democratically about the future of the castle and how it will be used after the restoration is complete.
With a minimum target of €500,000 to buy the castle, the outbuilding and part of the land, in few days the promoters raised more than double of the amount, thanks to over 14,000 contributors.
That’s the first time ever that such an initiative has been launched in the world and maybe it will give the start to a new way of managing historic and cultural heritage. A new way through which monuments and buildings that should belong to the community are owned by the community.