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Cider press

One hypothesis is that the building dates back to the 12th century and may have had a religious vocation, as a dependency or chapel of the church of Fécamp Abbey, which had authority over Amblie at the time.


The site and its history

The building housing the château's wine press may have had a religious vocation. One hypothesis is that it may have been an outbuilding or chapel of the 12th-century church of Fécamp Abbey, which had authority over Amblie.


The "chapel" was later converted into an apple-cider press in the 19th century. The press is still complete with, on the one hand, the "gâte", the circular granite trough where the apples were crushed by two horse-drawn stone wheels, and, on the other, the huge lever-operated oak press.

Its origins

The chapel was converted into an apple press in the 19th century. A remarkable piece of Normandy's rural heritage, the press has been recognized as one of the 100 sites at risk in 2022 by the Mission Patrimoine entrusted to Stéphane Bern, deployed by the Fondation du Patrimoine and supported by the French Ministry of Culture and La Française des Jeux. It has been granted 66,000 euros for its preservation and restoration.

Cider production

In the 19th century, cider-making was a major activity in Amblie. Surrounded by orchards, the press was accessible from the village road and the château grounds. It was probably used for both collective and private purposes.
The cider-making equipment consisted of an enormous circular granite trough where the apples were crushed by two large wooden wheels pulled by a horse. Attached to one of the wheels, a wooden plane scraped the bottom of the trough to loosen the crushed apples from the sides.

The applesauce was then transported with a wooden shovel to the large lever-operated oak press beside the trough. Here, the compote was spread out in successive layers to extract the juice by means of a pressure system.

Securing and restoring the cider press

Securing the Château d'Amblie cider press is essential to its preservation. Committed to an innovative "citizen heritage" approach, the family of owners has undertaken the project of restoring the site so that it can be experienced and discovered by as many people as possible.

The absence of rainwater channels has led to areas of greening, with the proliferation of plants harmful to the stability of the structure. The north wall, at the level of the central doorway, had a large belly that spilled into the interior of the building, causing the outer buttress to separate by around 20 cm at the top. Vertical cracks appeared on this wall at the junction with the gables, along the northern buttresses.
The gable tops required repointing to protect them.


Major work was therefore required.

"Loto du patrimoine: near Bayeux, the cider press at Château d'Amblie will soon be saved".
"The project: securing and restoring a 12th-century
cider press".
"Calvados: the Château d'Amblie, helped by the Heritage Lottery to launch its discovery tour project".

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