County of Manderscheid

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
County of Manderscheid
coat of arms
DEU Manderscheid COA.svg Armoiries de Manderscheid-Blankenheim 1.svg
General historical hand atlas - Germany in the 14th century.png
HRR in the 14th century - The rule and later County of Manderscheid (shown in white)
Alternative names Manderschiet
Form of rule monarchy
Ruler / government Lord , from 1457: Count
Today's region / s DE-RP

Reichskreis Lower Rhine-Westphalian
Capitals / residences Niedermanderscheid

Language / n German

The county of Manderscheid goes back to the noble family Manderscheid , which was one of the most powerful families in the Eifel for a long time . In 1461 it was the emperor in the imperial counts charged. In 1488 the family's possessions were divided. Dietrich III., Who had received the Schleiden and Blankenheim inheritances , appointed his sons Johann, Konrad and Wilhelm as new rulers. Johann formed the Manderscheid-Blankenheim-Gerolstein line, Wilhelm the Manderscheid-Kail line, Konrad (Cuno) the Manderscheid-Schleiden line.

In 1780 the family of the Counts of Manderscheid-Blankenheim became extinct in the male line . The last Countess Augusta von Manderscheid-Blankenheim was married to the Bohemian Count Philipp Christian von Sternberg . The branch of this family then called itself Sternberg-Manderscheid.

The Manderscheid family until 1488

Family coat of arms of the Counts of Manderscheid
The Niederburg Manderscheid ( Nider Manderscheidt ) in 1576
Ruins of the Lower Castle Manderscheid with the ruins of the Upper Castle in the background

The upper castle is the older of the two castles ; it is said to date from the 10th century. In the middle of the 12th century it came into the possession of the Archbishops of Trier . Then the Niederburg, mentioned since 1133, was expanded as the seat of the Lords of Manderscheid . These were bailiffs of the Echternach Abbey and feudal people of the Counts of Luxembourg . Wilhelm V (1320–1345) enlarged the castle and included the town of Niedermanderscheid in the fortification .

In the 15th century, Count Dietrich III inherited. the rule Schleiden and the county Blankenheim . In 1457 he was raised to the rank of imperial count . He divided his property between his sons in 1488: Count Cuno (Konrad) inherited the original county of Manderscheid including Niederburg , Kasselburg , Kerpen , Schleiden , Kronenburg and Neuerburg and established the Manderscheid-Schleiden line. Count Johann inherited Blankenheim , Jünkerath , Gerolstein and parts of the Mechernich rule and established the Manderscheid-Blankenheim-Gerolstein line. Count Wilhelm inherited Salm and the Lüxem Bailiwick and founded the Manderscheid-Kail line.

The rise of the Manderscheid house

The three ore monasteries Trier , Cologne and Mainz belonged to the medium-sized territories in the German Empire in the 15th century . The Archbishopric Trier presented itself as a closed area that expanded around Trier and formed a second focus around Koblenz . In the north the expansion was limited by Cologne, in the south by the Palatinate and in the east by Mainz. Therefore, there were only a few small territories in the Hunsrück and the Eifel that were unable to develop sovereign power.

One of these territories was the area of ​​the Lords of Manderscheid, who had their family seat on the Niederburg in Manderscheid. In 1437 the valley settlement of Niedermanderscheid was included in the defense system with a wall ring. As a result, the Lieser crossing was closed and the customs office on the river was safely in the hands of the Manderscheider. A compilation of the property and feudal estates from 1385 shows that the property of this family was concentrated around Manderscheid , Oberkail , Wittlich and Klüsserath . Feudal lords were the Counts of Luxembourg and the Archbishop of Trier , of whom the Manderscheider carried about a third of the high court to Minderlittgen , a court in Hetzerath and a castle fief in Neuerburg .

A surviving account book from 1468 mentions income of 108 guilders in the half-year. In addition, there was considerable income from agriculture. The farmers, who were obliged to pay taxes because of their basic membership, had to hand over the " tithe " of their income to the landlord. The taxes were paid mainly in kind such as crops and cattle for slaughter.

County Manderscheid visible on a map from 1696. ( A.-H. Jaillot )

The rulers secured additional income through payments for pasture in the manorial forests, leasing of ban mills , in which the population only had their grain milled, or through compensation payments for dismissal from the subjects' association, which was very rare. The landlords were keen to keep people resident in their territories. Because more and more cities emerged, this led to rural exodus among the rural population. An escaped serf or serfs became free after one year if it is not ferreted until then his master. Foreign marriage required the approval of the landlord. Permission was given in isolated cases, for example by Dietrich II. Herr von Manderscheid, for his subject Johann Gobelen and his wife Christine (Styne) von Laufeld with a seal of January 13, 1453. For this they had to pay a pound of ginger every year . In addition, they had to promise to marry off one of their children to Manderscheid. The other children were also to remain the owners of the von Manderscheid family.

The burgeoning iron industry certainly contributed to the fact that the Manderscheider came to the position of power that later distinguished them within a few decades. In the field of iron-processing craft there were, in addition to the blacksmiths and weapons smiths , the locksmiths , bogners , platters ( armor smiths ), nail , helmet and pan smiths. Iron ore came to the surface in the Manderscheider territories in a mineable quality and quantity. The oldest ironworks in the South Eifel is Eisenschmitt, southwest of Manderscheid. It was first mentioned in a document in 1372; In 1388 the Archbishop of Trier received two thirds from Eisenschmitt and in 1388 Dietrich I von Manderscheid lent a hut "uff der byr" (near Oberkail ) to Friedrich and Blanck Johann for six years. For this purpose, a total of 38 quintals of iron had to be delivered on four dates each year. For 20 quintals of iron they were also awarded the hammer mill on the Kyll near the mill.

In the 14th century it was the family's marriage policy that also led the family to the central and northern Eifel . In 1381 Dietrich I von Manderscheid married Elisabeth, Tilmann's daughter, Lord von Stein and Wartenstein. This gave Dietrich rights to the Ganerbeburg Steinkallenfels in the Hunsrück and to the Wartenstein Castle in the vicinity. His son Dietrich II married Irmengardis, the daughter of Dietrich von Daun, Lord von Brück and Lucia von Daun. This marriage made him the master of considerable goods, which were significantly increased by the death of his wife's brother, Dietrich von Daun, in 1421. Dietrich von Daun had died without descendants and left behind the lords of Daun and Brück, in which Dietrich II von Manderscheid shared with Johannes, Burgrave of Rheineck , wife of Katharinen, the younger sister of the deceased.

In the middle of the 15th century, the Lords of Manderscheid received the hereditary title of count. Dietrich II was also not inexperienced in military service. Even as a Junker he had the opportunity to excel in the arms service. Under his father he fought against the nobles von Rodemachern and Friedrich, Count von Veldenz. He also rendered important services to Archbishop Dietrich of Cologne in 1394 in a feud against Bishop Wilhelm of Paderborn .

Trier bishops dispute

When his brother, Ulrich von Manderscheid , provost of Cologne and archdeacon in Trier, defended himself against the will of Trier in 1430 after the death of Archbishop Otto von Ziegenhain against the will of Trier, he received the support of Dietrich II. Although the cathedral scholar Jakob von Sierk got almost all votes in the election on February 27, 1430, the Manderscheider received only the votes of a small group around cathedral provost Friedrich von Kröv. But the Manderscheider relied on his mighty followers. On his side stood his brothers Dietrich II and Wilhelm, the archbishops Dietrich of Cologne and Konrad of Mainz , the dukes Stephan of Bavaria , Adolph von Jülich and Berg , Jakob , Margrave of Baden, the counts Friedrich von Veldenz , Johannes von Sponheim and Robert von Virneburg and the Trier aristocracy, headed by Marshal Wilhelm von Staffel. Within a short time Ulrich von Manderscheid had the most important castles and cities occupied.

On April 16, 1430, the two elected embarked on a trip to Rome to see Pope Martin V. However, he did not confirm either of them, but on May 22, 1430 appointed the bishop of Speyer , Rhaban von Heimstatt , as the new bishop of Trier . Jakob von Sierk recognized the decision, but the Manderscheider left Rome with the firm intention of asserting his claim to the bishopric with the help of all supporters in the nobility, even if necessary by force of arms. The cathedral chapter also did not recognize Rhaban von Heimstatt and protested against the suspension of his right to vote. Ulrich von Manderscheid was first appointed as administrator of the diocese and elected again as bishop on July 10, 1430 in Koblenz. Pope Martin V responded with the imposition of excommunication on the cathedral chapter and Ulrich von Manderscheid.

Siege of Trier

While the Manderscheider was preparing for war, the years 1431 and 1432 passed. On the night of Epiphany in 1433, the attempt by the Manderscheider to occupy the city of Trier by surprise failed. Ulrich von Manderscheid then had the city enclosed and besieged, with the suburbs on the left bank of the Moselle with the parishes of St. Viktor and St. Isidor going up in flames. Outraged by the violence of the Manderscheider, the cathedral chapter renounced him and joined the request of the city of Trier for help at the general council in Basel. In August 1433 Ulrich von Manderscheid tried again to take Trier in the main attack after the city had been under gunfire for a week. However, the city was able to repel the attack, whereupon the Manderscheider withdrew the siege troops. As they retreated, they plundered Neunkirchen, Büschfeld, Michelbach, Niederlosheim and the villages in the Nalbach Valley.

The Trier bishops' dispute was finally decided at the council in Basel, where the two adversaries were invited. It was on April 14, 1434 that Ulrich von Manderscheid left Basel. A month later, the Council Commission for Rhaban von Heimstatt declared itself Archbishop of Trier, to whom King Sigismund granted the regalia on May 31, 1434 . He called on the residents of the Archbishopric of Trier to recognize Rhaban as archbishop.

About Ulrich von Manderscheid he imposed the on August 7th 1434 outlawed . It could be imposed on any member of the empire who violated the laws and order of the German empire and the king. The wrongdoer was imposed by court ruling, that is, declared lawless and outlawed . Subjects of an outlawed lord were released from their duties to him. The repeal of the imperial ban was possible after an atonement was made against the offended or injured party. Ulrich von Manderscheid did not give up. Castles and cities of the archbishopric on the Lower Moselle, on the Maifeld and on the Rhine were still occupied by his supporters. Despite the Basel ruling, the princes of the empire proposed the establishment of a court of arbitration, which decided on February 7, 1436 in St. Goar that Rhaban von Heimstatt was the rightful Archbishop of Trier, to whom Ulrich von Manderscheid had to hand over all occupied castles and cities .

When Ulrich von Manderscheid made his way to Rome again in order to win the Pope over, he died on this trip in the summer of 1436 between Constance and Zurich. The Counts of Virneburg , followers of Ulrich, continued the fight and only concluded peace in July 1437 after Rhaban had pawned castles and lordships in Schönenberg in the Eifel, Hammerstein and Kempenich for 30,000 guilders.

Elevation of rank and increase in power

After the death of his brother, Dietrich II von Manderscheid settled the demands of the Archbishopric of Trier. In 1449 he accompanied Archbishop Jakob von Sierck , who had been appointed his successor after Rhaban's resignation on May 19, 1439, to Rome, from where he returned in 1451. Bitburg and Dudeldorf, which were pledged to the Counts of Virneburg , he demanded from Robert von Virneburg. To put an end to the robberies in the Eifel, he united with the neighboring dynasts for 13 years . When his wife died on April 14, 1456, he transferred that of Emperor Friedrich III. granted him the title of count on his sons. Dietrich II died on November 10, 1469 and was buried next to his wife in the Himmerod monastery .

The eldest of his surviving sons, Dietrich III. († 1498), had married Elisabeth von Schleiden († 1469) in 1443, and so came in 1445, after the sonless death of his father-in-law, into possession of the largest part of the Schleiden estate. After the death of Count Heinrich II of Nassau-Dillenburg in 1451, who had been married to Elisabeth's sister, her share also fell to him, which enabled him to unite the entire Schleiden rule with his possessions. But the greatest increase in power was still ahead of him: Dietrich III. was able to acquire the counties of Blankenheim and Gerhardstein (Gerolstein) in 1468 after the death of the last ruling Count of Blankenheim from the Loon-Heinsberg house, Wilhelm II, as part of his wife's inheritance claims.

The Manderscheider lines


Count Cuno von Manderscheid-Schleiden was married to Mathilde, Countess von Virneburg. They formed this line around 1492. Under Count Dietrich VI. from Manderscheid-Schleiden (from 1560 to 1593) the Reformation is introduced in Schleiden. Amalie (1607–1647) the daughter of the Swedish Count Steno von Löwenhaupt, married Philipp Dietrich von Manderscheid-Kail, who thereby also became heir to Manderscheid-Schleiden.


The main seat was the castle in Oberkail . This moated castle made Oberkail an important Eifel town for a few hundred years. Today there is hardly any structural substance left of the once pompous moated castle. When the last Oberkailer count died without descendants, his property fell to the Manderscheid-Blankenheim family in 1742. The moated castle was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Manderscheid-Kail line was directly owned by the Dollendorf rule , the Lüxem bailiff and the village of Salm ; Land-based possessions under Luxembourg were the lords of Oberkail and Falkenstein , under Kurtrier the high court Demerath and the Musweiler center .


The Manderscheid-Blankenheim (-Gerolstein) line was extremely common in top spiritual positions in the Old Kingdom. Johann Moritz Gustav von Manderscheid-Blankenheim was Archbishop of Prague , Johann IV. Von Manderscheid-Blankenheim was Bishop of Strasbourg and with Elisabeth von Manderscheid-Blankenheim-Gerolstein, Clara Elisabeth von Manderscheid-Blankenheim , Margarete Elisabeth von Manderscheid-Blankenheim and Anna Salome von Manderscheid-Blankenheim were four women princesses of Essen . Furthermore, there are Cologne canons and cathedral deacons, such as B. Philipp Salentin von Manderscheid-Blankenheim-Gerolstein , from this noble family. In 1783, Karoline von Manderscheid-Blankenheim became Princess of Liechtenstein .

With Maria Franziska, Manderscheid-Kail fell to Manderscheid-Blankenheim in 1742. But already in 1780, after the male line of the Counts of Manderscheid-Blankenheim had died out, the property fell to Count Philipp Christian von Sternberg , who had married Augusta von Manderscheid-Blankenheim in 1762 and was now called Sternberg-Manderscheid.

Expulsion by the French

French revolutionary troops occupied the left bank of the Rhine and the Eifel in 1794 without any significant fighting . Following the principle of the French Revolution, the nobility was disempowered and feudalism abolished. Forced labor and tithes and internal customs duties were abolished. From then on, everyone had the same rights, and French became the official language. The medieval legal system that was valid up to that point was also updated. The economy in the Eifel experienced an upswing.

When French revolutionary troops penetrated into the Eifel in 1794, the counts were expelled. The Countess von Manderscheid fled to her second home in Bohemia . On this escape, two wagons filled with documents and proof of ownership were carried along. Later the Countess tried to sue her property in the Eifel from Prague . However, this attempt failed. The time of the Manderscheider was finally over in the Eifel . If the collections could not be transferred to Prague, they were left to the private tutor Ferdinand Franz Wallraf in Cologne, who was very close to the family .

For the loss of the Blankenheim, Jünkerath, Gerolstein and Dollendorf areas on the left bank of the Rhine to France, the Counts of Sternberg-Manderscheid were compensated by the Upper Swabian Abbeys of Schussenried and Weissenau in the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 . In 1806 these were mediatized and came to the Kingdom of Württemberg .

Archive situation

The documents and documents (such as deeds of ownership and commercial documents) that were taken along on the run at the time are now in the original in the archive of the National Museum in Prague . In the 1970s, these documents were filmed on microfilm , a copy of which is now at the LVR archive advice and training center in Brauweiler near Cologne and has since been digitized. A scientific evaluation of the documents has not yet taken place in Prague or Germany .

Further archival materials are located in the state archives of Koblenz (imperial counties Manderscheid-Blankenheim and Gerolstein, Blankenheim, Schleiden, Virneburg, Grafschaft Gerolstein, dominions Manderscheid, Daun, Kail, Kronenburg, Neuerburg, Bettingen, Jünkerath, Dollendorf, Kasselburg, Kerpen) in the state archive North Rhine-Westphalia Rhineland department in Duisburg (Reichsgrafschaft Schleiden, County Manderscheid-Blankenheim, Reichsherrschaft Mechernich), in the Luxembourg National Archives , in the Wertheim State Archives (Virneburg Imperial County , Rosenberg's Archive - Manderscheidic things) and in the Duke of Croy's Archives in Dülmen (Manderscheid- Blankenheim).

coat of arms

Variant of the coat of arms in Conrad von Grünenberg's coat of arms book 1480

The Counts of Manderscheid had the following coat of arms (see above): A red zigzag bar in gold . The Counts of Manderscheid-Gerolstein had a family coat of arms with four fields (see above):

  • Field 1 and 4 ( top right and bottom left): A red zigzag bar in gold. - for Manderscheid.
  • Field 2 and 3 (top left and bottom right): In gold, a black lion, above a red tournament collar of 4 bibs. - for Gerolstein.

Both still appear today in a number of current municipal coats of arms, e.g. B .:



  • Ludwig Schmitz-Kallenberg (edit.): Supplements to the inventories of the non-governmental archives of the Coesfeld district (Manderscheid archive, Blankenheim in Dülmen and others) . (Publications of the Historical Commission of the Province of Westphalia 1,4a). Aschendorff, Münster 1908, pp. 2–87 (= pp. 867 * –951 *) ( digitized version of the University and State Library of Münster)


  • Werner P. D'hein: Vulkanland Eifel. Nature and culture guide, with 26 stations on the "German Volcano Road". Gaasterland Verlag, Düsseldorf 2006, ISBN 3-935873-15-8 .
  • Eva Lacour: Crime in the counties Manderscheid-Blankenheim and Manderscheid-Gerolstein. In: Journal of Legal History - German Department. 2000, pp. 518-549.
  • Adolf Kettel: Cleric in the witch trial. Examples from the Manderscheider territories and the Trier region . In: Gunther Franz (Ed.): Methods and concepts of historical witch research. Trier 1998, ISBN 3-87760-126-X , pp. 169-191.
  • Adolf Kettel: witch trials in the county of Gerolstein and in the adjacent Kurtrierischen offices Prüm and Hillesheim . In: Gunther Franz (Hrsg.): Witches belief and witch trials in the Rhine-Mosel-Saar area. Trier 1995, ISBN 3-87760-123-5 , pp. 355-388.
  • Vera Torunsky (arrangement): The Manderscheider. A noble family from Eifel. Domination, economy, culture. Rheinland-Verlag, Pulheim 1990, ISBN 3-7927-1152-4 .
  • Peter Neu: History and structure of the Eifel territories of the House of Manderscheid. Mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries. Bonn 1972, ISBN 3-7928-0293-7 .

Web links

Commons : Haus Manderscheid  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. Christina Maria Josefa Countess von Brühl on , accessed on August 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Gerhard Köbler : Historisches Lexikon der Deutschen Länder , C. H. Beck, 2007, p. 409. ( Google Books )
  3. ^ Wilhelm Fabricius : Explanations of the historical atlas of the Rhine Province: The map of 1789 , 2nd volume, Bonn, Hermann Behrend, 1898, p. 348
  4. Finding aid for the filmed archival material with inventory history in the LVR archive advice and training center in Brauweiler
  5. ^ "Coat of arms collection Middle Rhine and Moselle" at