The Château de Montségur is a former fortress in southwestern France. The castle is best remembered for the siege of 1243-1244. The Cathars, a Christian sect had all but been wiped out during the catholic church's 20 year Albigensian Crusade. Some of the remaining Cathar perfecti (monks) of southern France took refuge at the fort and held it for ten months against 10,000 French troops. The 100 Cathar perfecti at the fort, some of them pacifists surrendered along with local Credentes (believers) on March 16, 1244.
Military - Historic - Forts and Batteries, Buildings - Castles
The terms of surrender were clear, those who would renounce their Cathar faith could leave the castle. After a two week truce many of the local defenders joined the already condemned Cathar knowing a painful death was waiting. 190 to 215 old and newly converted Cathar walked out directly to the pyre to be burned. A monument is nearby commemorating the Cathars from March 16, 1244.
Catharism had lost its organization but those who did remain fled to less oppressive countries.