Lucens, Meiringen and Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), the spiritual father of Sherlock Holmes, inhabited Lucens Castle (Canton Waadt) in 1965.

Some years later, the writer’s son opened a museum. Today, the Sherlock Holmes Museum (Musée Sherlock Holmes) is housed in the “Maison Rouge”.

The castle, or rather two castles, had other illustrious predecessors. The bishop of Lausanne built and inhabited the first castle in the 13th century, after which modifications in the 14th and 15th centuries gave it a Gothic appearance.

Image: Commune de Lucens

The bishop, an ally of the dukes of Savoy, often resided in Lucens. After the battle of Morat, confederate troops occupied the town and the castle for the first time in 1476. The Eidgenossen defeated (at Grandson that year and at Nancy in 1477) the Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold (1433-1477), his allies Savoy, and the bishop of Lausanne.

Lucens castle, the new Berner building on the left

The Peace of Fribourg restored the old situation, but in 1536, it was definitely over for the bishop. Bern conquered the Pays de Vaud and Lucens that year. The bishop of Lausanne Sébastien de Montfaucon (1489-1560) had organised another glorious reception for Duke of Savoy Charles III (1486-1553) just in 1532. 1536 also marked the end of Catholicism in Lucens, and the Reformation made its appearance.

From 1536 to 1798, Bern’s bailiff resided in the castle, or rather the building on the left, the second castle. From 1801, the complex was owned by several new owners and occupants, including Sir Arthur.

However, there is another Sherlock Holmes museum in Switzerland, in Meiringen (canton of Bern). In this place, as he intended, Sir Arthur wrote his last Sherlock Holmes through the fatal fight between Sherlock and his archenemy Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach fall. However, several more adventures of this detective and Watson followed, and at least two museums in Switzerland.

(Source and further information: Commune de Lucens)