Niedenstein Castle

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Niedenstein Castle
The Niedensteiner Kopf (left), place of the former castle

The Niedensteiner Kopf (left), place of the former castle

Creation time : 1160-1164
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: Burgstall
Standing position : Local nobility
Place: Niedenstein
Geographical location 51 ° 14 '7.2 "  N , 9 ° 19' 15.6"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 14 '7.2 "  N , 9 ° 19' 15.6"  E
Height: 475  m above sea level NHN
Niedenstein Castle (Hesse)
Niedenstein Castle

The castle Niedenstein is an Outbound hilltop castle in the small town of Niedenstein in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse . Practically no remains of it have survived. Today it is replaced by the Hessenturm observation tower, built in 1931, and a hiking restaurant, operated by the Hessisch-Waldeckischer Gebirgs- und Heimatverein Niedenstein.


The Burgstall - and thus also today's observation tower - is located immediately to the east above the core town of Niedenstein at 475  m above sea level. NHN high basalt cone Niedensteiner Kopf , an almost completely wooded western foothills of the Langenberge and the southeasternmost of the Hinterhabichtswälder peaks . The core town of Niedenstein is on the western slope of the mountain, the Ermetheis district in the southeast.

View from the northwest to the Niedensteiner Kopf

The state road  3219, which leads from Baunatal in the east , leads around the mountain in the east, south and south-west. Since the opening of the hiking restaurant, the tower can also be reached by car.


Nydensteyne Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1254, when Konrad II von Elben held it for Duchess Sophie von Brabant and her son Heinrich against troops of Archbishop Gerhard von Dhaun of Mainz , but had existed for 90 years. It was built between 1160 and 1164, with permission from Kurmainz , by cousins ​​Hugo Hesso von Wichdorf, Reinhard Wackermaul and Konrad von Gassenhausen . It was a comparatively small castle, but with a keep and three kemenaten as castle seats. The Gassenhausen share came to the Hess von Wichdorf through purchase in 1229 , and the Wackermaul share fell to von Elben through inheritance after Heimerad Wackermaul's death in 1236 .

Konrad II von Elben was one of the first and most important supporters of Sophie von Brabant in the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession (1247-1264), and the castle was on the area of ​​the original Wichdorf district , which was largely in Konrad's possession. Konrad became the founder of the settlement Nydensteyne on the western slope of the castle hill, which was already known as a city ( oppidum ) in 1259 - probably on behalf of Sophie . The castle was now a connecting link between Wolfhagen and Gudensberg to protect the old Hessian heartland against the Mainz Fritzlar (and from 1266 also against Naumburg, which became Mainz this year ) and in particular to protect the villages of Metze , Kirchberg and Wichdorf.

In 1277 the brothers Hugo, Heinrich and Johann Hess von Wichdorf also gave their castle seat in Niedenstein and all accessories to Landgrave Heinrich I and received it back as a fief . In 1283, the heirs of Elben and Hess built an outer bailey with walls and a gatehouse around the barns and stables that were already there on the southern end of the summit plateau .

In 1349 part of the castle wall collapsed in an earthquake . In the 1360s there were some changes in ownership of the castle. In 1361 Curth Hess von Wichdorf gave his still free share of the castle and farms in Niedenstein and Wichdorf to landgrave Heinrich II. And received these possessions back as a fief. When Otto Heß von Wichdorf stabbed his Niedensteiner Vogt Jost von Urff in a dispute in 1367 and therefore fled the country, he sold his stake in Niedenstein Castle and in lands in Wichdorf, Hausen and Emserberg and on Sengelsberg to Curth Heß von Wichdorf, who owned these goods but already in 1373 to his uncle Simon von Homberg the Elder. Ä. resold. In 1384 this pledge was transferred to Simon's son Albrecht von Homberg.

In August 1387, the castle men Wilhelm Heß and Simon's nephew Heinrich von Homberg and the majority of the citizens of Niedenstein capable of arms were recalled to defend the city of Kassel against Archbishop Adolf I of the Diocese of Mainz , Duke Otto von Braunschweig-Göttingen and Margrave Balthasar von Meißen . Since the allies could not take Kassel, they turned against Gudensberg and Niedenstein. On September 3, 1387, the town and Niedenstein Castle, with almost no defenders, were captured and heavily devastated by troops of Archbishop Adolf I when they withdrew from the unsuccessful siege of Kassel. The day before they had already conquered and destroyed Gudensberg and the Wenigenburg there , but not the Obernburg . The castle and town remained in the possession of Kurmainzer until 1394, and the heirs Wilhelm Hess and Albrecht von Homberg had to swear to the Archbishop Urfehde . However, by this time the castle had probably already lost its military importance, as the truce of 1388, which focused on the walled city of Niedenstein and in which the castle is not even mentioned, shows.

After the town and castle of Niedenstein were handed back to Landgrave Hermann in the summer of 1394, the castle was restored in 1396 with the support of the landgrave, but without the castle chapel. In 1427 Simon von Homberg the Elder died. J., son of Albrecht, as the last of his family and his share in the castle went to the contentious Reinhard the Elder as a fief in 1428 . Ä. from Dalwigk . There was too much quarrel and even open feud between him and the other heirs, Hess von Wichdorf and Reinhard von Gassenhausen. In December 1434, Landgrave Ludwig I gave Reinhard von Dalwigk's Niedenstein castle and man fiefs, which he had abandoned, to Hermann Hund ; the dogs were still enfeoffed with it until 1655. In 1443 Curth and Hans Hess von Wichdorf and Hermann Hund bought the Gassenhausen castle seat, which was subsequently left entirely to the dog.

In 1454, at the bloody height of the federal feud , Johann von Meysenbug burned down the bower of the dog with his men, whereby the Hess also suffered fire damage and the house of the Linne in the outer bailey burned down. The Hund and the Hess had their kemenaten repaired again the following year, but since they no longer lived there, they later fell into disrepair. In 1498 Thymo von Wildungen was given the Linnean castle seat as a fief. Thymo von Wildungen died in 1506 without legal heirs and his castle seat in Niedenstein, the former Linne, came to the illegitimate landgrave Wilhelm (from 1509 Freiherr von der Landsburg ); likewise the castle seat Thymos in Melsungen. On the 1st of Advent 1509 a heavy storm tore the roof of the already dilapidated Hund'schen Kemenate and Hermann Hund left the castle; after that only one old hunter lived there.

The Hessenturm on the Niedensteiner Kopf

During the Thirty Years' War the town of Niedenstein was conquered and destroyed by Croatian horsemen in 1631 . The inhabitants fled into the surrounding forests and some sought protection in the remaining walls of the castle. When they defended themselves there against the pursuing imperial horsemen, almost all the remains of the castle were destroyed. The remaining rubble was removed over time by the residents of the surrounding settlements for reuse. In the 1880s there was still a small wall remnant with a cellar hole in the west, and traces of a moat could still be seen in the south, west and north . An alluvial fan at the southeast corner marked the spot of the former keep, and the foundations of the small Palas were still recognizable. All that was visible of the outer bailey was the foundation of a smaller tower carved into the basalt.

A lookout tower, the so-called Hessenturm, was built on the foundations of the former castle in 1931 . In addition to the remains of the old castle tower, the base made of stamped concrete was built on which a four-story wooden structure was then placed.


  1. ^ Hessisch-Waldeckischer Gebirgs- und Heimatverein Niedenstein eV , on
  2. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  3. The Archbishopric of Mainz was the dominant territorial power in the area at that time.
  4. ^ Hugo Hesso, vir nobilis in Vichedorphe .
  5. a b c d Heß von Wichdorf, p. 130
  6. a b c Hess von Wichdorf, p. 131
  7. Reinhard von Dalwigk zu Lichtenfels: Memories and historical sketches from the life of many members of the von Dalwigk family. Brill, Darmstadt 1841, p. 37
  8. Landgrafen-Regesten online no. 11049: "Eyewitness report on the sieges of Kassel by Otto von Braunschweig". Regest of the Landgraves of Hesse (as of February 17, 2014). In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS). Hessian State Office for Historical Cultural Studies (HLGL), accessed on October 23, 2016 .
  9. Werner Ide: Between Adorf and Zwesten , Bernecker, Melsungen 1972, p. 281
  10. Landgrave Regests online No. 11129: Burgfrieden for Rotenburg, Melsungen and Niedenstein (June 16, 1388). Regest of the Landgraves of Hesse. In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS).
  11. Landgrave Regests online No. 11442. Regest of the Landgraves of Hesse (as of February 17, 2014). In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS). Hessian State Office for Historical Cultural Studies (HLGL), accessed on October 23, 2016 .
  12. The von Gassenhausen family had meanwhile regained part of the castle through inheritance ( Hess von Wichdorf, p. 131 ).
  13. Landgrave Regests online No. 2973. Regest of the Landgraves of Hesse (as of February 17, 2014). In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS). Hessian State Office for Historical Cultural Studies (HLGL), accessed on October 23, 2016 .
  14. ^ Niedenstein, Schwalm-Eder district. Historical local lexicon for Hesse (as of October 18, 2016). In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS). Hessian State Office for Historical Cultural Studies (HLGL), accessed on October 23, 2016 .
  15. Also Thyme, Thymme, Thimo, Tiemo. Since 1469 he was also the owner of a landgrave's castle in Melsungen ( Ludwig Armbrust: History of the City of Melsungen to the Present. (Ed .: Association for Hessian History and Regional Studies) Dufayel, Kassel, 1905, p. 253 )
  16. ^ Wilhelm (~ 1470–1550) was the son of Landgrave Ludwig II and his mistress Margarethe von Holzheim .
  17. Ludwig Armbrust: History of the city of Melsungen up to the present. (Ed .: Association for Hessian History and Regional Studies) Dufayel, Kassel, 1905, p. 253
  18. ^ Hess von Wichdorf, p. 132
  19. ^ Hess von Wichdorf, p. 133
  20. The history of the Hessenturm , website of the Hessisch-Waldeckischer Gebirgs- und Heimatverein Niedenstein e. V., accessed on October 23, 2016


Web links