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A reference to the castle can be found in the X century, but the expansion of the village along the river dates back to the XIII century. Quillan was one of the spots where the crusade against the Albigenses took place. Its castle (on the left mountain side, in front of the old town), house of the archbishop of Narbonne, was kept by the vassal Raymond de Niort, excommunicated as a Catharist. The castle was confiscated by Simon de Monfort and given back to the archbishop only in 1280. The ruins visible nowadays date back to the XIV century. The village was a proto industrial centre due to the presence of factories and mills. Wood coming from the Pyrenean forests was run down the river to the Canal du Midi. In the XIX century it experienced a glorious industrial period thanks to the production of felt hats.