Semur, capital of the Auxois bailiwick
A tall spur of granite, with an overhang relief, reinforced by the construction of the castle fortifications and by the creation of a keep, are the assets that make the city the seat of the Auxois bailiwick. It was probably created following the granting of the villages freedom, given in 1276 by the Duke of Burgundy Robert II. The Auxois bailiwick contains 96 parishes.
The bailiff possessed not only the civil authority, but he also had the capacity to dispense justice in the Duke’s name. He gathered the incomes from taxes, and mainly the “gabelle” (a salt granary also established in 1370 in Semur). Finally, the bailiff also had some military privileges.
His missions were so numerous that he was assisted by a lieutenant. Reflecting ducal power, the keep was very well fitted out and maintained in first class condition. It became part of the bailiff’s residence.
>Established in the square tower and in the curtain of the Prison Tower, the bailiff residence seemed to benefit from all the latest conveniences of that time. However, the residence disappeared after the destruction of part of the curtains walls on the orders of Henri IV in 1602. Over the centuries, different noble families from the region succeeded to the role of bailiff.
We can mention one of the most famous : the family du Châtelet who were bailiffs from 1671 to the Revolution, and who were established in a private mansion in the castle neighbourhood.