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Niouc, between the Castle and the Factory

Symbole de la toute-puissance féodale, A symbol of feudal power, the castle of Beauregard, located above Niouc, was burned during revolts of 1415. The castle enjoyed breath-taking views of the Rhone Valley

Map of Niouc

“There, about 600 years ago, it overlooked the Val d’Anniviers from the top of a rocky outcrop . Today its ruins have been excavated in order to restore this old fortress to its proper role in local history. Poorly documented, the history of this castle is in fact somewhat enigmatic. Indeed, if for some it was built in 1097, its architecture may place its construction date in the twelfth century. (...) Several assumptions can be made about the reasons for its presence here. Located just outside the valley, it could have been an excellent vantage point over the plain of the Rhone, a relay for communications using lights or a shelter of last resort for the families of the lords of the plain.” Quote from www.chateaubeauregard.ch-Château de Beauregard Foundation.

Between 1466 and 1798, the Val d’Anniviers was not subservient to a lord, but to the Church.

During the nineteenth century Niouc was a community that marked a stopover for the people of Saint-Luc and Chandolin on their way to Muraz near Sierre, for work in the vineyards. This explains why the village consisted essentially of small houses.

In the 1940s, following the progressive abandonment of agriculture, land was sold to people of the upper part of Valais, who worked for the aluminium factory at Chippis.

The traditional alpage association (Consortage) of Niouc played an important role in the establishment of current rights on hydraulic concessions. The Consortage represented Niouc land owners and defended their water rights, which have profoundly changed The Niouc road between the existing café and an old refreshment stand 6 7 the lives of the hamlet. The founding date of the Consortage is not known because the archives were stored in the tower of the church of Saint-Luc which burned in 1845. To be a party to these agreements it was necessary to be a member of the Bourgeoisie of Saint-Luc or Chandolin and to have at least 200 toises (1 toise = 3.8 m2) of irrigable land below the upper irrigation canal (bisse) of Niouc (130 toises as of 1997).

In 1906, during the construction of the gallery designed to bring water from Vissoie to Beauregard at the Plan de Niouc, a small infirmary was built to treat the wounded.

Early in the last century, a protracted legal battle opposed the towns of Saint-Luc and Chippis due to a municipal boundary disputed by Chippis. This boundary was very important for the distribution of royalties from the waters of the Navisence, collected in Vissoie. The judge from Sierre convoked the councillors of each town as well as former goatherds, reputed to be sure of the communal territorial limits . Once there one of them put down his bag and sat down pretending to be ill, while his companions vainly sought the limit. They left without having reached an agreement. But a wily old man who lived in the village knew the tricks of the goatherd. He went with the judge on the disputed territory and found the marker in the ground, at the precise spot where the joker had dropped his bag. As his punishment, he was deprived of attendance fees and publicly blamed at the assembly of the bourgeoisie.