Friedland Castle

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Friedland Castle
Castle hill seen from the moat

Castle hill seen from the moat

Creation time : around 1280
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: Castle ruins with a few remains
Standing position : Noble
Construction: stone
Place: Friedland
Geographical location 51 ° 25 '2.7 "  N , 9 ° 55' 6"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 25 '2.7 "  N , 9 ° 55' 6"  E
Friedland Castle (Lower Saxony)
Friedland Castle

The castle Friedland was a medieval hilltop castle in Friedland , Göttingen district , in Lower Saxony . The facility, built around 1280 on an elevation in the Leinetal , served to secure the Guelph area of influence on the border with Hesse and Thuringia . After the castle was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War in 1625 , its stone material was used to build official buildings in Friedland around 1740 .


The castle was strategically located, from which the Leine valley could be easily controlled. It was located on the edge of a steep edge of the Hagenberg as an elevation within a narrow point of the Leinetal, where it is only one kilometer wide. In terms of location, it was a border castle between the Guelph area and Hesse . Even today, the castle site in Lower Saxony is only a few hundred meters from the border with Hesse. The Brackenburg near Münden, built in 1351 by Duke Ernst I , also had a control function as a border castle .


Remnants of the wall on the castle hill
Wall of the outer bailey cut through by the street

The castle complex consisted of a main castle and a western adjoining outer bailey , which was more recently built. The main castle consisted of two buildings and a keep , which had at least six floors. The rectangular complex was enclosed by a circular wall with a dry moat in front . Flanking towers stood in the corners of the wall . In the about 60 meters long outer bailey there were farm buildings and servants' quarters. From the castle complex there are still ramparts of the outer and main castle as well as the deep moat in the now forested area. On the castle hill there is a small-scale exposed wall remnant.

The ruling bailiff of the Welfs lived in the castle with his family and servants . In addition, one or two castle men stayed there with their families. In the late 14th century, Duke Otto I is said to have lived at the castle as sovereign. The presence of a bailiff at the castle characterizes it as the judicial and administrative seat. By naming them as “vrideland” or “Fredeland” (“pacify the land”), the Guelphs signaled their claim as masters of the upper Leinetal to their territorial neighbors Hesse and Mainz .


Friedland Castle after its destruction in the Thirty Years War on a Merian engraving around 1654
The Amtshof built with stone from the castle in Friedland

The first written mention of the castle Friedland took place on 16 February 1285, as the knight Dietrich von Rengelrode the monastery Mariengarten a hoof country in Wahlhausen bequeathed. A lordly Guelph bailiff by the name of Wilhelm , who was still an advisor at the ducal court in Braunschweig in 1280, is named as a witness of the certification . Therefore, Friedland Castle is believed to have been built between 1280 and 1285.

In the 14th century, in the time of Duke Otto I , Friedland Castle developed into a " robber baron's nest ". The duke broke the peace through feuds and encouraged knights and servants to behave illegally. There are complaints from the Archbishop of Mainz, Gerlach von Nassau, about acts of robbery and murder by the bailiff and his followers, such as cattle theft and the destruction of villages, churches and cemeteries. At the beginning of the 15th century Otto's son, Otto II. Was forced to pledge Friedland Castle due to lack of money. The merchant town of Göttingen acted as pledgee around 1425 . By owning Friedland Castle, she was able to secure an important trade route to Hesse running in a north-south direction . The property also made it possible to enlarge the urban sphere of influence with 15 villages and to advance the Göttingen Landwehr to the south. In 1445, the city of Göttingen left the castle to the von Grone family as a pledge. In 1530, Duke Erich I redeemed the pledge to demonstrate his claim to power in southern Lower Saxony . The Duke , who remained Catholic , also wanted to curtail the influence of the city of Göttingen, which had followed the Reformation, in terms of religious politics .

During the Thirty Years War , troops led by Johann T'Serclaes von Tilly captured the castle in 1623 after a long siege. In 1625 the imperial general Wallenstein largely destroyed the complex. The buildings no longer used as residential or official residence gradually fell into disrepair. Around 1740, the stone material from the castle ruins was removed and used to build a new official building , the tithe barn and the official mill in the village.

In 1970 excavations took place at the castle site. The archaeologists found dry stone masonry from the 13th century, which was replaced by mortar masonry from the 16th century. In the ground next to the wall was the skeleton of a young man who had died on wheels .


Friedland and the ruins of Friedland Castle around 1650

Today's place Friedland developed below the castle from a Vorwerk and a watermill on the leash. The settlement of farming families resulted in a village settlement during the 14th century, which was first mentioned in 1401 as Friedland. The village always retained its peasant structure, although places at an official seat were usually elevated to a patch and had market rights . Friedland probably did not receive either, since the Mariengarten monastery was four kilometers away and was a large business enterprise and place of pilgrimage .


  • Peter Aufgebauer : Castle-Monastery-City. On the medieval history of southern Lower Saxony . 1998 ( online )
  • Peter Aufgebauer: Functions and functional changes in the medieval castle: the example of Friedland . In: Southern Lower Saxony. Journal for regional research and home care - bulletin of the working group Südniedersächsischer Heimatfreunde eV - Duderstadt: Mecke. Vol. 40 (2012) pp. 2-15.

Web links

Commons : Burg Friedland  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. Thomas Becker: Richtstättenarchäologie , Dormagen 2008