Castle chapel

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A castle chapel is a sacred building that lies on top of a castle or belongs to it. The same applies to the palace chapel and palace .


The shaping of medieval society by Christianity also required castle residents to attend Holy Mass usually daily, but at least on Sundays and public holidays . Contrary to what the cliché might suggest, not every castle had its own chapel . The typical ministerial castles , for example, Turmhügelburg and residential tower , often did not have their own sacred space, as they were mostly located in or next to a village and thus near the local parish church. They also had little space. Larger castle complexes such as the royal palaces or bishop's palaces usually had their own churches or chapels to enable the passing gentleman and his court to visit the mass. The remote hilltop castles of the High and Late Middle Ages also mostly had a castle chapel.

Most of the burial places of the higher nobility were, however, in the own churches or monasteries they founded, and only rarely in the narrow castle chapels. However, memorial masses could be read there. Some even housed relics , elaborately designed ones also served representative purposes and were used for weddings, for example.

Religious care was taken over either by a specially employed deacon or priest , otherwise the local priest or a priest from a monastery came to the castle for mass. Since mostly only the clergy could read and write in the Middle Ages, the lords of the castle also used them as scribes . If they lived in the castle, they often had their own heated room. Since the knights of the order also held prayers of the hour in addition to mass , order castles always had their own churches.


Castle chapels usually bore the patronage of a saint with a special connection to the knighthood , e.g. B. Saint George and Gereon . The Sankt-Markus -Burgkapelle zu Braubach gave the castle its current name - Marksburg . In Italy the naming of castles after their patronage is very common.


Above the gate , the Chapel of the Imperial Palace Gelnhausen

Several locations and structural variants were possible for the chapels. Many castles were probably content with an area integrated into another room. If necessary, an image or figure of a saint adorned him . In the smallest, there was just enough space for the lords of the castle. The chapel bay window was a little more sophisticated . Was he at the Palas cultivated hall, that was like a nave be used. In addition to structural evidence (e.g. Landsberg Castle in Alsace ), household inventories document such multiple uses. A document from 1463 reported that there was a chest with household textiles and liturgical implements in the Tomburg hall .

The chapel room was accessed from the residential building or hall. A chapel was an independent building . Both occurred in the most elaborate variant - the two-storey double or sometimes more storey chapels (example of a two-storey room: Bösig Castle , for a three-storey building: Büdingen Castle ). Another possibility offered the combination of chapel and gate construction , u. a. at Rheda Castle . This connection conjured up the divine protection for the most sensitive part of the fortress.

The expensive buildings were usually reserved for palatinate , sovereign and episcopal castles. It turned out to be particularly expensive in the New Castle in Ingolstadt . Most of the castle chapels were characterized by a rather simple, single-nave shape. In terms of form and integration, the High and Late Middle Ages showed no differences. During the Gothic period , additions to a residential wing such as the Ziesar castle chapel were made almost exclusively . At that time the double chapels in the narrower sense were missing. Only a few floors were built on top of each other, connected by a small opening in the false ceiling. So the service could at least be followed acoustically. The architectural era mentioned featured rib vaults , tracery windows and Gothic portals . Paintings that have been preserved are often the only original wall paintings . The movable equipment was often lost over time.

Chapels in German-speaking countries

Several castle and palace chapels have their own Wikipedia article or chapter.

chapel Castle Locality image
Altenstein Castle Chapel Altenstein Castle (Lower Franconia) Altenstein (Maroldsweisach)
Castle chapel Bischofstein Bischofstein Castle (Lasserg) Lasserg
Bischofstein Castle Chapel.jpg
Bonndorf Castle Chapel Bonndorf Castle Bonndorf in the Black Forest
Bonndorf Castle Chapel.jpg
Castle chapel keep Castle keep Castle (Winhöring)
Castle chapel Burg-2.JPG
Dagstuhl Castle Chapel Dagstuhl Castle Dagstuhl
2008-05-14 (Dagstuhl, Set 3, mid-day, and group photo) - 050.jpg
Palatine Chapel Goslar Imperial Palace Goslar Goslar
2015-05 lower saxony 1600 12.JPG
Guttenberg Castle Chapel Guttenberg Castle (Haßmersheim) Neckarmuehlbach
Guttenberg Castle Chapel 2014 002.JPG
Hocheppan Castle Chapel Hocheppan Castle Missian
Hocheppan, Burgkapelle.JPG
Marienkapelle Hohenberneck Hohenberneck Castle Bad Berneck in the Fichtel Mountains
Chapel insideHohenberneck.jpg
Lauenrode castle chapel Lauenrode Castle Hanover
Linn Castle Chapel Linn Castle Linn (Krefeld)
Chapel Burg Linn (Krefeld) 5.JPG
Lochstedt Castle Chapel Lochstedt Castle Lochstedt (today in
Kaliningrad Oblast )
Lochstedt Castle (7) .jpg
Ludwigsburg Palace Chapel Ludwigsburg residential palace Ludwigsburg
Entrance - Palace Chapel - Ludwigsburg Castle - Ludwigsburg - Germany 2017.jpg
Lüttinghoff Castle Chapel Gutshaus Lüttinghof Gelsenkirchen-Hassel
House Luettinghof Lithography P. Herle.jpg
Mirabell Palace Chapel Mirabell Castle Old town Salzburg
Mirabell Palace Church.jpg
Castle Chapel Neuchâtel (Freyburg) Neuchâtel Castle (Freyburg) Freyburg (Unstrut)
J30 348 Gate building, double chapel.jpg
Nordeck Castle Chapel Nordeck Castle Allendorf (Lumda)
Allendorf-Nordeck-Burgkapelle 33-View from the patronage chair to the choir.JPG
Imperial Chapel Nuremberg Imperial Castle Nuremberg Nuremberg
Querfurt Castle Chapel Querfurt Castle Querfurt
Salzburg Castle Chapel Salzburg Castle Bad Neustadt an der Saale
St. Bonifanz at Salzburg.jpg
Sayn Castle Chapel Sayn Castle Sayn
Altar of the castle chapel Sayn.jpg
Seckendorf Castle Chapel Seckendorf Castle Seckendorf (Cadolzburg)
Siegenstein Castle Chapel Siegenstein Castle Siegenstein
Siegenstein (1) .JPG
Stargard Castle Chapel Stargard Castle (Burg) Stargard Castle (village)
Burg Stargard Castle Chapel 2011-03-07 064.JPG
Castle Chapel Stein (Gefrees) Stein Castle (Gefrees) Gefrees
Castle chapel stone 2 - panoramio.jpg
Strünkede Castle Chapel Strünkede Castle Baukau
Herne - Strünkede Castle Park - Karl-Brandt-Weg - Castle Chapel 03 ies.jpg
Castle chapel trips Castle trips Geilenkirchen
Chapel Burg Trips 1.jpg
Waldburg castle chapel Waldburg (castle) Waldburg (Württemberg)
Waldburg - panoramio (1) .jpg
Weitmar manor chapel Weitmar manor Weitmar
Sylvester Chapel (Bochum) 1903.jpg
Wildenstein Castle Chapel Wildenstein Castle (Leibertingen) Leibertingen
Wildenstein Chapel Tabernakel.jpg
Wolmirstedt Castle Chapel Wolmirstedt Castle Wolmirstedt
Castle chapel Wolmirstedt.JPG
Wülzburg Castle Chapel Wülzburg Weißenburg in Bavaria
Ziesar castle chapel Ziesar Castle Ziesar
Ziesar Castle Chapel.jpg


  • Kurt Andermann , Gustav Pfeifer (ed.): Castle chapels. Forms - functions - questions. Files from the international conference Bressanone, Episcopal Hofburg and Cusanus Academy September 2nd to 5th, 2015 (= South Tyrolean Provincial Archives (ed.): Publications of the South Tyrolean Provincial Archives. Volume 42). Universitätsverlag Wagner, Innsbruck 2018, ISBN 978-3-7030-0977-8 .
  • Tina Rudersdorf, Alexander Thon : castle chapel, chapel bay window and portable altar. Thoughts on a typology of the sacral area of ​​medieval castles in the Rhineland. In: Yearbook for West German State History. No. 25. Landesarchivverwaltung Rheinland-Pfalz, Koblenz 1999, ISSN  0170-2025 , pp. 141–181.
  • Barbara Schock-Werner (ed.): Castle and castle chapels. Colloquium of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Castle Association (= German Castle Association (Hrsg.): Publications of the German Castle Association. Series B / Writings. Volume 3). Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 978-3-8062-1188-7 .
  • Ulrich Stevens : Castle chapels. Devotion, representation and defense in the Middle Ages. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2003, ISBN 978-3-534-14284-2 .
  • Gerhard Streich : Castle and Church during the German Middle Ages. Investigations into the sacral topography of palaces, castles and mansions (= Constance working group for medieval history (ed.): Lectures and research. Special volume 29). 2 volumes. Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Sigmaringen 1984, ISBN 978-3-7995-6689-6 .

Web links

Commons : Burgkapelle  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Burgkapelle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Anja Grebe , G. Ulrich Großmann : Burgen. History - culture - everyday life . Accompanying volume for the permanent exhibition of the German Castle Museum on the Veste Heldburg . Palm Verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-944594-59-0 , Life on the Castle. Living spaces and residents. The Chapel, pp. 106–109.
  2. a b Karl Brunner : Brief cultural history of the Middle Ages . original edition, Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63715-5 , II house and yard. Burg, pp. 61–66, here p. 63.
  3. ^ Karl Brunner : Small cultural history of the Middle Ages . original edition, Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63715-5 , II house and yard. Life in the Castle, pp. 68–70.