County Dassel

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Coat of arms of the Counts of Dassel

The county of Dassel came into being shortly after the turn of the 11th to the 12th century, when after the extinction of the male Billunger their property in the Suilbergau north of the Solling was divided into the dominions Einbeck and Dassel and Reinold von Dassel was able to secure count-like rights there. The county existed for about 200 years. In 1310 she was given up due to childlessness. The most prominent member of the count's family was Rainald von Dassel , Chancellor of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and Archbishop of Cologne.

Development over time

With the construction of a castle at their headquarters in Dassel, the family consolidated their domain. At the beginning of the 13th century, the county was able to unleash a spirit of optimism around its ancestral seat, which allowed the economy and trade to flourish. The county experienced its heyday in the middle of the 13th century. The county disintegrated through the sale of properties towards the end of the 13th century and disappeared for good in the early 14th century due to a lack of male heirs.

Spatial development

At the beginning of the 12th century, the county comprised the forest area to the right of the Oberweser (about the area of ​​today's Solling-Vogler Nature Park ) and its eastern foreland as far as the Leinetal .

Due to the family tree, the further development was in two parts. The Adolf line with its headquarters at Hunnesrück Castle in the northern part of the county also briefly fell into the county of Ratzeburg through marriage at the beginning of the 13th century , so that their territory expanded considerably. However, the county of Ratzeburg was soon lost again as a result of the lost battle near Waschow .

The Ludolf line flourished in the south around Nienover and initially benefited from the fall of Henry the Lion after 1180 . In the middle of the 13th century, ownership was extended in the south, although this also turned out to be only temporary. The Counts of Dassel not only had to assert themselves against neighboring counties, but also against the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg and the dioceses of Mainz , Paderborn and Hildesheim . The territorial fragmentation and ultimately the disintegration of the county of Dassel was initiated by the division of inheritance and ended with no sons.

The last Count von Dassel, Simon from the Adolf line, gradually sold all the remaining areas around the headquarters and thereby dissolved the county.

In addition to the outlined immediate, comprehensive rights including and also militarily secured, sphere of influence in the vicinity of their family castles, the Counts of Dassel temporarily held numerous other rights which enabled them to exert influence in other areas. These include the Reinhardswald in a rough triangle between the Weser , Fuldam estuary and Diemel in a southerly direction , along the Leine in a northerly direction , and in other scattered places, such as the Elbe and Ruhr . Here the power of disposal of the counts was limited either by spatial isolation or by restricting the rights to a single aspect of social life or even by sharing the rights with other counts.

Neighboring gentlemen


In the west, the natural course of the Upper Weser border had proven itself for more than 150 years. Today it forms the state borders between Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia .

For the entire duration of the County of Dassel, the village of Mackensen had marked the border in the north towards Everstein. This district of Dassel today marks the border between the Northeim district and the Holzminden district .

In the east, the last line of the county of Dassel before the sale of 1310 forms part of the current city limits of Dassel. However, this example also shows the problem of free float, which was common in the Middle Ages. If the counts were also able to spread east of the Leine for a time, only Markoldendorf could be fully assigned to them in 1310 . However, Simon von Dassel kept some hooves and iron processing rights in his private property from this current district of Dassel .

The current border between the Northeim district and the Kassel district gives an approximate idea of ​​the county border in the south, although it was less stable. In the last phase of the strong development of power by the Counts of Dassel in the middle of the 13th century, the border was considerably further south, roughly on an arc from Körbecke - Grebenstein - Reinhardshagen . This also shows how weak the counts had finally become. The modest remaining territory from 1310 was marked in the south by the villages of Dassel, which today still form the southern edge of the city of Dassel, Relliehausen and Hilwartshausen .

coat of arms

  • In 1646 the city of Dassel took over the coat of arms of the Counts of Dassel with the eight-ended deer antlers. The counts introduced this in 1210. The number of balls on the coat of arms, which is 12 today, still varied at that time.
  • All the important elements of the count's coat of arms can also be found on the current coat of arms of the Dassel district of Lauenberg , although this was only founded in the second half of the 14th century, i.e. after the end of the county of Dassel. The foundation of the village took place exactly under the castle of the counts, the Lauenburg.
  • The eight-ended deer antlers of the Counts of Dassel can also be found in this form on today's coat of arms of the Bodenfeld district of Nienover . This is where the Ludolf line had its headquarters.
  • At the time of the County of Dassel, Bodenfelde was a border town on the Upper Weser in the southwest. The counts had therefore set up a customs post here. It was sold in 1270 together with Bodenfeld's Wahmbeck district . A rudimentary memory of the time under the counts has been preserved in Bodenfeld's coat of arms.
  • The expansion of the county of Dassel to the south during the Ludolfian period is still expressed today in Schönhagen's coat of arms . The local coat of arms shows the eight-ended deer antlers of the Counts of Dassel. Six balls are arranged in a cross between the deer sticks, two more balls are next to the grind .
  • At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, the Counts of Dassel were Vögte of the Grafschaft monastery . As a result, their coat of arms in various forms became part of the monastery coat of arms as well as the coat of arms of the former communities Grafschaft and Oberkirchen .


The trade offered the population after the fall of Nienover no prospects. The route via Bodenwerder or the Hellweg Bridge from Corvey was better suited for regional east-west trade than the route via Bodenfelde, and Einbeck was ideally located in the Leinegraben for north-south trade .

After all, handicrafts had flourished under the rule of the counts and in the following centuries, together with the dominant agriculture, contributed to at least continuous economic development in the region.

From around 1210 onwards, the Counts of Dassel put their own coins into circulation, which they marked with their coat of arms . But they had to stop this as early as 1250 because the cost of producing the blanks exceeded the value of the bracteate .

Biographies and History

The house of those von Dassel was a notorized from 1113 noble free family in southern Saxony, which named itself after its ancestral seat Dassel in today's district of Northeim in Lower Saxony since 1126.

Reinold von Dassel

The first witnessed member of the house was Reinold I. von Dassel , who after the division of the Suilberggau in 1113, where he is proclaimed from 1097–1127, obtained the dignity of count in the Dassel area and subsequently his domain on the basis of various administrative and fiefdoms - and family connections up to the upper Weser and Diemel, into the Reinhardswald and to Thuringia . It is first mentioned in 1126 as "von Dassel". His parents were Dietrich and Kunhild. Three of his children are known by name: Ludolf, Rainald and Gepa. Due to his wealth he was able to give his son Rainald a comprehensive education at the prestigious Hochstift zu Hildesheim. In addition, he was able to afford several donations to the Corvey monastery between 1113 and 1118 .

Ludolf I. von Dassel

Reinold's eldest son, Ludolf I , managed the headquarters in Dassel as heir. He died of dysentery in 1167 outside Rome in the army camp of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa . With his sons Ludolf II and Adolf I, the house of the Counts of Dassel split into two lines.

Rainald von Dassel

Rainald , Reinold's second son, is the most famous of the family. He was Chancellor under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and Archbishop of Cologne . In 1164 he had the bones of the Three Kings transferred to Cologne, which increased their veneration in the Christian world and Cologne became an important place of pilgrimage . Rainald von Dassel also died of dysentery near Rome in 1167.

Gepa from Dassel

Gepa von Dassel became abbess of the Ursuline monastery in Cologne.

Sophie von Dassel

The daughter of Ludolf I married Bernhard II von Wölpe . The wedding took place at the end of the 12th century. Sophie has lived in the Central Weser region since then . It was here that her daughter Richenza found her spouse Heinrich I von Hoya.

Ludolf II of Dassel

Ludolf II. († after 1197, no later than 1210), the eldest son Ludolf I. latest was during his reign which took place investiture of the house with the castle Nienover the corresponding areas in the Solling and other related Nienover rights. Ludolf made Nienover his ancestral home, while his brother Adolf operated from Hunnesrück Castle. Like most Saxon nobles, both brothers were staunch opponents of Henry the Lion. Its fall in 1180 brought them considerable gains in property and rights and initially undisturbed expansion of their rule in southern Lower Saxony. Ludolf took part in the Third Crusade in 1189 .

Ludolf had the following children known by name:

  • Adolf II of Dassel
  • Ludolf III. by Dassel ⚭ Benedicta
  • Reinold III., Canon in Hildesheim
  • Sigebodo (* before 1210; † 1251), Canon in Verden
  • Adelheid († 1238) ⚭ 1220 Berthold von Schöneberg (1188–1223)

Adolf II von Dassel and Nienover

Adolf II. (Ruled 1210–1257) received with his brother Ludolf III. (ruled 1209 / 10–1219 / 20) the rule Schöneberg as a Mainz fief. In 1244 Adolf acquired the castle hat from Gieselwerder , also as a Mainz fief.

Adelheid von Dassel

Adelheid von Dassel, daughter of Ludolf II, brought the area, which was extended southwards from the headquarters, into her marriage with the Count of Schöneberg, so that this was lost to the county of Dassel. Adelheid's trousseau included the rights to several places. These included Hümme , Ostheim and Gut Dinkelburg near Körbecke, which thus passed on to her husband.

Adolf I. von Dassel

Adolf I (* around 1155/60; † 1224), called "the bold", son of Ludolf I and brother Ludolf II, took Hunnesrück Castle as his residence. Adolf was the nephew or brother-in-law of Count Adolf III. von Schauenburg and administered the county in 1189 during his participation in the Third Crusade. When Heinrich the Lion appeared there with an army after the death of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa, Adolf von Dassel first had to flee, but then assembled an army in 1190, which inflicted a severe defeat on Heinrich and thus led to the lion's final relinquishment of power.

In 1200 he married Adelheid von Wassel , the older of the two daughters of Count Konrad von Wassel and widow of Count Bernhard II of Ratzeburg, who died in 1197. Since Adelheid and Bernhard's son Bernhard III. had also died, Adolf succeeded in doing so, and with the support of Count Adolf III. von Schauenburg, to become Bernhard's successor as Count von Ratzeburg. With this, the domain of the House of Dassel reached its greatest extent, albeit only for a very short time. Adolf I provoked the King of Denmark, Canute VI. , the son-in-law of Henry the Lion, who pursued an expansive policy and attacked the counties of Holstein, Schauenburg and Ratzeburg. Adolf faced the Abodrite princes Heinrich Borwin I and Nikolaus I , who were allied with Canute, on May 25, 1200 or 1201 in the battle of Waschow near Wittendbod , but lost and had to flee. The county of Ratzeburg came under Danish sovereignty.

Years later, Adolf found himself fighting again, this time in support of the Guelph emperor Otto IV in southern Italy in 1209. Otto IV broke off his campaign because his claim to rule in the empire was controversial. Adolf, however, was still not tired of war and took part in the Fifth Crusade and, at the side of Albert von Buxthoeven, in his struggle for Livonia , before he finally returned to his headquarters and died a few years later.

Children known by name from the marriage of Adolf and Adelheid were:

  • Ludolf IV of Dassel and Nienover († 1223)
  • Adolf III. von Dassel († 1244), notarized Count von Dassel between 1213 and 1244
  • Berthold I, Canon in Hildesheim († 1268)
  • Adelheid (* 1224; † September 14, 1262/63), ⚭ (1) Johann Jacobsen Galen (-1240); ⚭ (2) Count Ludwig I of Ravensberg

Ludolf IV of Dassel

Ludolf IV. , A son of Adolf I, sold his claims to the Schartenberg rule and thus initiated a further weakening in the south. His sons were Adolf IV, Wilbrand (who became a canon in Magdeburg) and Ludolf V.

Ludolf V. von Dassel

Ludolf V , son of Ludolf IV., Had Grebenstein Castle built after 1266 , northwest of Kassel and about 40 km south of the Solling. In 1270 he sold western areas of his county in Solling to the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel .

Ludolf VI. von Dassel, Nienover and Schöneberg

Ludolf VI. (1235–1290) sold his rights to Schartenberg Castle to Bishop Simon von Paderborn in 1267 . After that he tried to consolidate the territory in the direction of Schöneberg, but sold these rights to the Archbishopric of Mainz in 1273.

Ludolf VI. married Regelind von Brakel. Her descendants were Drudeke and Berthold II von Dassel. The latter, however, died young. Therefore, Drudeke inherited the Grebenstein Castle, which through her marriage to Ludwig III. passed from Everstein to this one.

Simon von Dassel

The last Count von Dassel, a son of Ludolf V, initially sold the Solling territory around Nienover and the eastern parts of the county near Einbeck in 1303 to the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. In 1310 he (together with his brother Konrad) attacked the village of Lippoldsberg and robbed cattle. In the same year, on February 15, 1310, he sold the last remains of the county of Dassel to Bishop Siegfried II of Hildesheim. In addition to Hunnesrück Castle and Dassel, the Count's sales list included the villages of Relliehausen, Hilwartshausen, Deitersen , Selessen , Wellersen , Robbedissen (deserted for about two centuries) and Markoldendorf. Simon moved to Göttingen. A package of free float remained in his private possession. These were hooves near Algermissen , Dassel-Markoldendorf, Einbeck, Engers , Göttingen , Hötensleben , Wunstorf , Neinstedt , Northeim , Sarstedt and Sehnde . He sold them between 1312 and 1325. He died on May 1, 1325, the last of his house. A grave vault was built for him in the Lippoldsberg monastery church; Remnants of the foundation were found in the southern side apse in 1964.

New gender

Ministerials of the Counts of Dassel are documented from the end of the 12th century. As a rule, these families named themselves after their place of origin. This also includes the gentlemen von Dassel . This includes Hermannus de Dasle, a follower of the Count's House, who named himself after their ancestral home and thus founded a new family line.



Hunnesrück castle ruins 1603 and map
Nienover around 1215, later Nienover city desert

Hunnesrück Castle

The Hunnesrück Castle was the headquarters of Adolf rule line of the counts of Dassel.

Nienover Castle

The castle Nienover was the seat of ludolf rule line of the counts of Dassel. In 1144 it belonged to the Northeim Count Siegfried IV von Boyneburg and was therefore built beforehand. By 1150, Hermann II von Winzenburg had ruled an area in the area around the Leine, which after the death of Siegfried IV also included Nienover. In 1152 the Count of Winzenburg was murdered and Heinrich the Lion took over his possession. He enfeoffed the Counts of Dassel with Nienover Castle.

After the fall of Heinrich in 1180, the Counts of Dassel made Nienover their headquarters. They now also called themselves Counts von Dassel and Nienover. From this location they were able to first consolidate their position in Solling and Reinhardswald. They raised road tolls from east-west travelers and raft tolls on the Weser.

In 1257 the Guelphs succeeded in taking over the neighboring Uslar , which had passed to the Archdiocese of Mainz in 1180 from Heinrich the Lion. In 1270 the Counts von Dassel were forced to sell the rights of way to the Guelphs. From 1274 they held Nienover as an imperial fief. In 1303 Simon von Dassel sold Nienover Castle to the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel .

More castles

Lauenburg Castle

The Löwenburg was also called Lauenburg and is located on the Lauenberg near Lauenberg . The place at the foot of the Lauenberg was only founded after the county period, namely after the plague wave of 1350. The Seelzerthurmforst is located in the vicinity of the Lauenberg.

Grebenstein Castle

From 1266 or soon thereafter, Ludolf V. von Dassel expanded Grebenstein Castle in northern Hesse, which up until that time was still quite insignificant, to protect his surrounding property, which he had there as a Mainz fief. By marriage, the castle and town of Grebenstein probably passed to Ludolf's son-in-law, Otto von Everstein, around 1279.

Schartenberg Castle

In 1267 or 1268, Ludolf V. von Dassel sold his (partial) rights to Schartenberg Castle , which he held as a fief of Kurmainz, to Bishop Simon von Paderborn, which, however, led to a bitter dispute between Mainz and Paderborn, which only ended in 1279 has been.

Schöneberg Castle

In 1272 Ludolf VI sold the castle Schoeneberg , who had at times also served as his residence. With her he also gave up the jurisdiction and numerous places that were later largely desolate . Schöneberg Castle had been a fiefdom of the Mainz diocese since 1244. With this sale, the decades of rule over the Reinhardswald were lost for the Counts of Dassel. So they were at odds over the sale. His brother Adolf V was strictly against it and did not want to recognize the sale. The sales deed was not drawn up until 1273. Ludolf VI. let it be noted in writing that he would even fight him if he did not give in. The sale to the diocese of Mainz was in the interests of the city of Hofgeismar , so it was notarized there too.

Hachen Castle

With Rainald von Dassel's bishopric in the Archdiocese of Cologne, the Counts of Dassel got several rights in the area between their ancestral seat and the bishopric. This includes the bailiwick of Hachen Castle, which is located on a tributary of the Ruhr . In addition to the castle rights , they had other rights in the slate mountains on the right bank of the Rhine . Several farms were among their estates. However , they could not achieve a merger with their territories in the Weser Uplands , because the Egge Mountains in between was the sphere of influence of the Archdiocese of Paderborn . Thus the Burgvogtei remained free float. Consistently, Adolf II. In agreement with Ludolf IV. Sold them to the up-and-coming Counts of Arnsberg in 1231 , after he had already sold various surrounding tithe rights in the previous years . Through this representation of the Archbishop of Cologne, Adolf II von Dassel is now classified as the predecessor of the Marshals of Westphalia .

Gieselwerder Castle

1244 the counts were of Dassel as Burgmannen the Wasserburg castle Gieselwerder at the service of the Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried III. This enabled them to generate income and to maintain their influence on the Upper Weser. In 1256 the bishop of Mainz had to cede the castle to the Guelphs. These kept the castle team until 1278, especially since the neighboring town of Hofgeismar was dissatisfied with the change of ownership of the castle, from which they had promised protection.

Churches and monasteries

As with all noble families of the time, the relationships of the counts to the spiritual world can be determined by the three core aspects of bailiwick rights, ecclesiastical career and donations.


The Counts of Dassel had several bailiwick rights to spiritual property. They tried to expand this until the middle of the 13th century. Smaller feuds were the result.

As early as 1113, ancestor Reinold held the bailiwick of the Corvey monastery for the Suilberggau as a fief, which he kept until his death in 1127. Raynald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne, transferred the Counts of Dassel the Bailiwick on the on the Lenne located monastery County , where they used to their headquarters Untervögte because of the distance. They owned the bailiwick rights from 1166 to 1232. 1190–1272 they also owned the bailiwick rights over the Hilwartshausen monastery , in this case as feudal men of the Archdiocese of Mainz. Furthermore, Adolf II von Dassel held the bailiwick of the St. Blasien monastery in Northeim from 1224–1233 , also as a fiefdom of the Archdiocese of Mainz; this bailiwick came to the Guelphs in 1233. Ludolf VI renounced the bailiwick of the Fredelsloh monastery . von Dassel 1277. In addition, the Counts von Dassel exercised the bailiwick rights over the Lippoldsberg monastery in the 13th century , which, however, always tried to achieve independence. Therefore, the rights were temporarily suspended. Ludolf V. signed the final waiver in 1299.

Church offices

Wilbrand von Dassel became canon in Magdeburg and provost at the monastery in Enger . Sigebodo von Dassel was canon at Verden Cathedral for around 30 years until 1251, when he died ; at the time of his entry into the cathedral chapter , his uncle Iso von Wölpe was bishop there.

The Counts of Dassel also had a trade relationship with the Corvey Monastery, as found in Corvey coins in Nienover. Abbot of Corvey was from 1222–1255 Hermann I von Holte . He was also provost at Merseburg Cathedral . Hartmann von Dassel became a canon there by 1255 at the latest. Until his death around 1295, he held the position at Merseburg Cathedral for around 40 years.

Worth seeing

  • In Dassel is located Museum County of Dassel .
  • The current ruins of Hunnesrück Castle were built in the 13th century by the Counts of Dassel and destroyed in the Hildesheim collegiate feud in 1521 .
  • The Lauenburg was built by the Counts of Dassel. It was left to decay for six centuries before being preserved in 1907. The ruin belongs to the district of Lauenberg.
  • Until 1247 the counts were enfeoffed with half of the Homburg .
  • The current coat of arms of the city of Dassel with the eight-ended deer antlers was introduced in 1210 by Adolf I von Dassel as a coat of arms and certificate seal.
  • The sculptural image of Rainald from the 12th century can be found on the golden shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral .
  • The Stadtmuseum Einbeck leads u. a. the minting technique with which coins were made in the Middle Ages. A bracteate of the Counts von Dassel found in Corvey is now part of the holdings of the LWL State Museum for Art and Cultural History in Münster , but will not be on display there before 2013 due to the new museum building.
  • The Heinrichstein von Waschow documents the defeat of Adolf I von Dassel. It is dedicated to one of his fallen opponents. The memorial stone from the early 13th century has stood in front of St. Bartholomew's Church in Wittenburg since 1976 . In 2000, that was battle with armor readjusted .
  • The full-length tumba of Adolf I's grandson, Otto III. , is located in Bielefeld in the Neustädter Marienkirche .
  • The Quedlinburg coat of arms is exhibited in the collegiate church of St. Servatius in Quedlinburg . Adolf I von Dassel can be found on it as a tournament knight in a stylized representation, recognizable by the deer antlers from his coat of arms.
  • In Nienover you can see parts of the excavations for the castle settlement as well as a reconstructed medieval house.


  • Hubertus Zummach: Ruina Mundi! Rainald von Dassel, Arch and Imperial Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. Verlag Jörg Mitzkat, Holzminden 2007, ISBN 978-3-940751-00-3 .
  • Friedhelm Biermann: Weser area in the high and late Middle Ages. 2007, ISBN 3-89534-649-7 .
  • Nathalie Kruppa: The Counts of Dassel 1097-1337 / 38. Family, property and regesta. (= Publications by the Institute for Historical Research at the University of Göttingen. 42). Publishing house for regional history, Bielefeld 2002, ISBN 3-89534-392-7 . Dissertation at the University of Göttingen, 2000.
  • Johannes Schildhauer : The Counts of Dassel: Origin and Genealogy. (Einbecker Geschichtsverein e.V. (Ed.): Studies on Einbeck's history. Volume 3). Isensee Publishing House, Oldenburg 1966.
  • Nathalie Kruppa: New thoughts on the Quedlinburg coat of arms. Concilium medii aevi 4, 2001, pp. 153–177, ( PDF)
  • Hans Mirus: Chronicle of the city of Dassel, from the county to the territorial reform in 1974. Verlag August Lax, Hildesheim 1981.
  • Dassel, counts of . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . tape 4 . Leipzig 1906, p. 537 ( - Brief introduction to the Counts von Dassel family ).
  • Karl Ludolph Koken: History of the county of Dassel . In: Adolph Broennenberg (Hrsg.): Archive of the Historical Association for Lower Saxony . Born in 1840. Hahn'sch Hofbuchhandlung, Hanover 1841, OCLC 947089469 , p. 139 ff . ( ).

Individual evidence

  1. G. Nägeler: ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Lippoldsberg Monastery: The village of Lippoldsberg and the further development of the monastery )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  2. G. Nägeler: ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Lippoldsberg Monastery: Timeline of the history of the Lippoldsberg monastery church )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  3. GM Hock: ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Brenkhausen Monastery ) (PDF; 102 kB); Munster 1994.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /