Solms (noble family)

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Family coat of arms of the Counts of Solms

The noble family of Solms is named after Solmsbach , which is located in its Lahngau region. Their ancestral seat has been Solms Castle in the Burgsolms district of today's city of Solms since around 1100 . The last remains of this castle were demolished between 1952 and 1954. The sex belonged to the high nobility and to the class lords .


The progenitor is the nobleman Marquardus de Sulmese , who was first mentioned in 1129 as a witness in the deed of foundation of the Schiffenberg monastery near Gießen.

After the Counts of Luxemburg-Gleiberg died out, the Solmser, together with the Lords of Merenberg and the Count Palatine of Tübingen, inherited their inheritance in the central Lahn valley. Your oldest own property ( allod ) can be found in the area of ​​today's city of Solms. Originally employed as bailiffs of the Worms monastery in the Solms and Iserbach valleys, they succeeded in appropriating this area.

In 1212 an unspecified Count Heinrich appeared in the documents. Since these are goods in Ober-Weidbach, which is located in Erdagau , which is ruled by the Solmsers, it is reasonable to assume that he is the first Count of Solms. In 1226 the count brothers Heinrich and Marquard von Solms were named.

Around 1250 the county was divided into the territories of Solms-Burgsolms (until 1416), Solms-Königsberg (until 1363) and Solms-Braunfels . Control over the " Cölnische Hohe Heer- und Geleitstrasse ", which led from Frankfurt am Main via Wetzlar to Cologne and went through the Solms area, was the goal of the Solms counts. Further goals were to control the imperial monastery Altenberg near Wetzlar as well as over the imperial city of Wetzlar itself, which they embroiled in feuds with the neighboring dynasts, especially in the 14th century.

Early lines: Burgsolms, Königsberg-Hohensolms and Braunfels


Around the year 1100 the nobles von Solms established their first seat in Burgsolms . The Solmser, who had the title of count since 1223, built a fortified courtyard they lived in into a moated castle . In 1376 Count Johann IV of Solms-Burgsolms took advantage of the unrest within Wetzlar to seize the city. Emperor Karl IV had instructed him to reinstate the old council, but the count took over the rule of the city himself. It was not until 1379 that the Wetzlar people were able to drive Johann out again. In 1384, after another feud with the free imperial city of Wetzlar , the heavily fortified castle was besieged by the Rhenish Association of Cities . Count Johann IV. Von Solms-Burgsolms fled to the neighboring castle Greifenstein , the ancestral castle Solms was destroyed by the association of towns and not rebuilt. When the Solms-Burgsolms line went extinct with Johann IV in 1415, all of their possessions fell to the Braunfelser as the only remaining line.


The castle Konigsberg was built by Count Marquard von Solms (1225-55). Soon afterwards a separate line of the family formed, presumably due to the distance to the southern possessions around Burgsolms, because Marquard's son, Count Reinbold von Solms (1255–73), called himself Count von Cunigesberg in 1257 (and again in 1266). Due to the friendly policy of this line of the Landgrave of Hesse , the relationship with the cousins ​​von Braunfels and Burgsolms was always tense. Between 1321 and 1323, Alt-Hohensolms Castle was built opposite Königsberg Castle as the new mansion . In 1331, Count Philipp von Solms-Königsberg opened his castles Alt-Hohensolms and Königsberg to the Mainz monastery administrator Archbishop Balduin of Trier . In 1349 Alt-Hohensolms was destroyed by the imperial city of Wetzlar . As a replacement, Neu-Hohensolms Castle was built around 1350 two kilometers north . In 1350, the Hessian Landgrave Heinrich II acquired Königsberg Castle, which became the seat of a Hessian office in 1364 after the death of Philip, the last Count of Solms-Königsberg. A low-nobility bastard line of the Königsberg Solms went to Rheinhessen during the Reformation.

Neu-Hohensolms was also partially destroyed in the conflict with Wetzlar in 1356 and 1363. Neu-Hohensolms fell to the Burgsolms line. With the death of Count Johann IV von Solms – Burgsolms (1405–1415), this line also died out, Hohensolms now fell to the Braunfelser line and in 1420 to their Licher branch, who lived in the castle until the 19th century.


Braunfels Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1246. Originally a defense castle against the Counts of Nassau , it became the residential castle of the Counts of Solms from 1280. After division of the aristocratic property under the three lines and the destruction of the family castle of Solms by the Rhenish Association of Cities, Braunfels Castle became the new ancestral seat of the Counts of Solms-Braunfels in 1384 , who were the only ones of the three lines to survive and in 1418 to inherit the entire property.

Coat of arms of the Solms-Ottenstein branch

Due to the marriage of Heinrich von Solms-Braunfels to Sophia von Ahaus-Ottenstein, daughter of Otto von Ahaus-Ottenstein , a branch of Solms- Ottenstein (in Westphalia) was split off in 1324 , which however lost its castle to the diocese of Münster in 1408 and in 1424 extinguished in the male line.

After 1418, the Lords of Falkenstein-Münzenberg extinct, the Counts of Solms-Braunfels were strong territorial gains in the Wetterau recorded, including the reigns of münzenberg castle , Schloss Hungen , Castle Lich and Schloss Laubach . They entered the 1422 founded Wetterau Association of Counts in the 1495 at the Diet of Worms , the imperial estate shaft and a Kuriatstimme in the Imperial Council received and from 1512 a permanent representative to the Diet sent. This gave the House of Solms imperial immediacy . Before 1540, Lich was expanded into a fortress town with roundabouts.

Shortly after this succession, the county was divided again, this time into the lines Solms-Braunfels (Bernhardinische Linie) and Solms-Lich (Johannische Linie). This division remained final. From now on they formed the two main lines, which later divided several times.

On April 4, 1571, Count Philipp von Solms-Braunfels (also the guardian of the underage Counts Johann Georg I and Otto von Solms-Laubach), Eberhard and Ernst I. zu Solms-Lich the Solmser Landrecht introduced as generally applicable law. In the years that followed, it gained importance far beyond the county. The Common Law was only when regulations contained the Solmser common law for a state of affairs no provisions. The Solms land law also retained its validity as far as parts of the Solms counties were added to the Grand Duchy of Hesse (-Darmstadt) after mediatization , throughout the 19th century. The Solmser land rights was on January 1, 1900 by the same across the whole German Reich current Civil Code replaced.

Younger lines

Almost complete domain of the Solms aristocratic family around 1648 (marked with SO)

Solms-Braunfels divided further into the branches in 1607 (several brothers: Gf Johann Albrecht I, Gf Wilhelm I, Gf Reinhard):

In 1548 Solms-Lich was further divided into the following branches:

Braunfels Line

Coat of arms of the princes of Solms-Braunfels

The full title of regent of the main line Solms-Braunfels , raised to the rank of imperial prince in 1742 , was Prince of Solms-Braunfels, Count of Greifenstein , Lichtenstein and Hungen , Tecklenburg , Crichingen , Lingen , Lord of Munzenberg , Rheda , Wildenfels , Sonnewalde , Püttlingen , Dorstweiler and Bacourt .

As a result of a ruling by the Reich Chamber of Commerce , the Westphalian county of Tecklenburg fell to the House of Solms-Braunfels in 1696. Count Wilhelm Moritz von Solms-Braunfels sold Tecklenburg to Prussia in 1707 .

Shares in the lordship of Butzbach had already been acquired by Solms-Braunfels in the 15th century; Solms-Lich acquired additional shares in 1479; the shares were held until they were sold to Hessen-Darmstadt in 1741; the administrative seat was Solms Castle in Butzbach.

The Solms-Braunfels line was split into an older branch, located at Braunfels Castle , Altenberg Monastery and (until 1974) also at Hungen Castle . The Braunfels property fell with the death of the last male descendant of this branch, Georg Friedrich Fürst zu Solms-Braunfels (1890–1970), to his son-in-law Hans Georg Graf von Oppersdorff- Solms-Braunfels (1920–2003), and then to his son Johannes who, as a result of a name change, took the name Count von Oppersdorff-Solms-Braunfels since 1969 .

The founder of the younger, Catholic branch was Prince Wilhelm Heinrich in Austria-Hungary . Two thirds of its large estates in Bohemia , Moravia , Silesia , Galicia and Lodomeria were lost after 1918 and completely lost in 1945. The younger branch, Solms-Braunfels, died out in the male line in 1989.

Licher line

Count Philipp von Solms-Lich (1468–1544), copper engraving by Albrecht Dürer

In 1461 Count Kuno von Solms zu Lich inherited from his grandfather, Frank von Kronberg , shares in another part of the Falkensteiner inheritance, the Assenheim office together with the Rödelheimer Schloss . With Kuno's son, Count Philipp zu Solms-Lich (1468–1544), Imperial Councilor and Real Privy Councilor to the Saxon Elector Frederick the Wise , the House of Solms gained considerable influence in the age of the Reformation ; Martin Luther is said to have stayed in Lich on the way to the Diet of Worms (1521) , the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. and Albrecht Dürer portrayed him. Later he served the Hessian Landgrave Philipp the Magnanimous . In 1537 he acquired the Sonnewalde rule in Lower Lusatia and the Pouch manor in 1544 . On his deathbed he professed his evangelical faith.

His sons divided the property of the Solms-Lich house among themselves, with Reinhard I (1491–1562) taking over the offices of Lich and Hohensolms, which later fell into two branches that only reunited in 1712. The descendants of his younger brother Otto (1496–1522) received the Laubach office and the Sonnewalde and Pouch estates; Otto became the founder of the Count's House of Solms-Laubach, which still exists today .

With the death of Count Hermann Adolf Moritz von Solms-Lich (1646-1718) his inheritance fell to the distant nephew Friedrich Wilhelm from the branch Solms-Hohensolms (1682-1744), who from 1718 the branches Solms-Hohensolms and Solms-Lich united to the still existing branch Solms-Hohensolms-Lich . Franz II. , The last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , raised Count Carl Christian zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich to the rank of imperial prince in 1792 . This branch still owns Lich Castle today and also owned Hohensolms Castle until 1968 .

The branch of the Counts of Solms-Laubach split into the branches Laubach and Rödelheim in 1607, when Count Johann Georg divided the county between his two eldest sons: Albert Otto (1576–1610) received Laubach , Utphe and Münzenberg and founded the county of Solms- Laubach, which was owned by his descendants, the Counts of Solms-Laubach , until 1676 and then fell to Johann Friedrich zu Solms-Wildenfels, whose descendants form the younger Laubach branch, which still owns Laubach Castle and Arnsburg Monastery (and up to 1928 also owned the Utphe estate and until 1935 the Munzenberg Castle).

Friedrich (1574-1636) received Rödelheim , a5/12share in Assenheim and Petterweil as the county of Solms-Rödelheim . The residence of the Counts of Solms-Rödelheim and Assenheim was initially in Rödelheim Castle (destroyed in 1944), today this branch lives in Assenheim Castle .

In 1537 Count Philipp von Solms-Lich had bought the then electoral authority of Sonnewalde and in 1544 the manor Pouch ; the descendants of his younger son Otto (1496–1522) inherited this, along with Laubach. Count Otto zu Solms-Laubach (1550–1612) was the first to reside in Sonnewalde ; in 1582 he laid the foundation stone for the castle. The property of the registrar of Sonnewalde granted the house a viril vote on the gentleman's bench of the provincial parishes of the Kurmark Brandenburg and Niederlausitz as well as a hereditary seat in the Prussian manor house . The Counts of Solms-Sonne (n) walde remained in Sonnewalde until expropriation through the land reform in 1945, to whose rule the Pouch, Hillmersdorf and Proßmarke estates also belonged. By marriage in 1914 one of the largest estates in the Netherlands, Weldam Castle , came to a branch of the Counts of Solms-Sonnenwalde, who are still based there today.

In 1596 Otto zu Solms-Laubach also bought the Baruth estate including the Mahlsdorf and Zesch estates, which belonged to the Lower Lusatia margravate . From 1615-1945 resided a separate branch, the Counts of Solms-Baruth on Schloss Baruth , built after 1671, and realigned the rule later to lock Golßen and castle Kasel-Golzig . The Baruth estate gave its owners a seat on the bench of the counts, prelates and lords in the major state parliaments in Dresden until they came to Prussia in 1815, which resulted in a hereditary seat in the Prussian manor house . In 1767, Count Hans Christian zu Solms-Baruth acquired the Lower Silesian Klitschdorf Palace , which subsequently became the main residence.

In 1602, Otto zu Solms-Laubach also fell under the rule of Wildenfels (southwest of Zwickau ) due to a hereditary brotherhood with the Lords of Wildenfels , which came under Electoral Saxon rule in 1706, but retained special rights as a civil status. The Counts of Solms-Wildenfels owned the Wildenfels Castle until 1945 .


In the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 the house of Solms was awarded the monasteries Altenberg (zu Braunfels) and Arnsburg (zu Laubach) as compensation for lost areas on the left bank of the Rhine; both are still owned by the family today. But in 1806 the political independence of the Solms counties and principalities ended: through mediation , the principalities of Solms-Braunfels and Solms-Hohensolms-Lich were divided between Hessen-Darmstadt, Prussia, Württemberg and Austria, the counties Solms-Laubach and Solms-Rödelheim- Assenheim fell to the Grand Duchy of Hesse (-Darmstadt). As lords of the German Bundestag , the mediatised princes and counts retained until 1918 quite a few privileges, including according to the German Federal Act , the equality with the next ruling dynasties. Furthermore, in the princely branches they could claim the salutation " Your Highness ", in the Counts the salutation " Sublime ".

The rule of Wildenfels had already lost its imperial directness to the Electorate of Saxony in 1706 , the special rights remaining to it were expressly abolished by Article 51 of the constitution of the Free State of Saxony of November 1, 1920. The dominions of Sonnewalde and Baruth, on the other hand, were never directly imperial, but after the transition from Saxony to Prussia in 1815 they still retained special rights as free class lords .

coat of arms

Family coat of arms
Coat of arms covered with clapboard

The oldest coats of arms of the Counts of Solms show a damascus shield on a shield. In 1232 a lion appears on the coat of arms for the first time . The family coat of arms shows a blue lion in a golden shield.

To distinguish the lines, Solms-Königsberg took the shield covered with seven (3: 2: 2) blue shingles as a coat of arms, while Solms-Braunfels and Solms-Burgsolms were distinguished by their crest. Solms-Braunfels adopted a blue lion in golden flight as a helmet ornament (after the Falkensteiner inheritance the flight was divided red-gold), while the seals of the Solms-Burgsolms line show both a lion and a lion with a trout in its catch.

After the Falkenstein-Munzenberg inheritance, the shield was quartered. In fields 1 and 4 the blue lion on a gold background. In fields 2 and 3 red and gold divided (coat of arms of the family von Hagen-Münzenberg, which died out in 1255 ).

Following the fashion of the time, the coat of arms of the Counts of Solms increased around the respective new possessions or entitlements. After the purchase of Wildenfels and Sonnewalde by Solms-Lich and Solms-Laubach, these were the silver lion on a black background (Sonnewalde) and a black rose on a golden background (Wildenfels). Both coats of arms are still part of the coats of arms of the princes of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and the counts of Laubach and their side lines.

The coat of arms of the counts or princes of Solms-Braunfels was around Lingen (golden anchor on a blue background), Tecklenburg (three red water lily leaves on a silver background) and Rheda (black, gold crowned lion on a silver shield, covered with three gold rings) as well Crichingen (silver shield covered with a red crossbar), Püttlingen and Dorstweiler (red lion on a silver shield) and Beaucourt (golden cross on a red background). In various versions still Greifenstein (golden sign with four green oak leaves in the corners occupied) come Lichtenstein (three blue bars on a silver plate) and rare Limpurg-Gaildorf (red-silver by a Franconian rake divided shield and three silver diamonds on blue background).

While Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and Solms-Laubach carry the coat of arms components Solms-Munzenberg-Sonnewalde-Wildenfels, as already described, Solms-Braunfels returned to the family coat of arms, the blue lion on a golden background. This time, however, with the sign covered by the blue clapboard.

The respective coat of arms has been adorned by a crown of rank since the 17th century, either by the imperial crown or the imperial crown.

Personalities from the Solms family

Castles and Palaces

  • Altenberg Monastery : Grave of the House of Solms, owned by the Princes of Solms-Braunfels from 1802
  • Arnsburg Monastery : Former Cistercian monastery (1174 to 1803), then owned by the Counts of Solms-Laubach until today; Baroque parts used as a castle.
  • Assenheim Castle : From 1924 to 1932 it was the seat of the “ Assenheim Research Center ” founded by Count Graf zu Solms and run as a patron , one of the first German scholarly colleges.
  • Baruth Castle , Lower Lusatia
  • Braunfels Castle : ancestral castle of the Solmser family. Numerous renovations over 700 years, most recently in neo-Romanesque with numerous towers (1880). Gothic castle church (14th century)
  • Burgsolms : former headquarters
  • Butzbach : Solms Castle
  • Golßen Castle , Lower Lusatia (next to Baruth)
  • Greifenstein Castle : One of the most important fortresses of the Renaissance, now in ruins. German Bell Museum.
  • Alt-Hohensolms Castle
  • Hohensolms Castle
  • Hungen Castle : three-winged Renaissance castle
  • Koenigsberg Castle
  • Laubach Castle : Developed from a medieval moated castle, Renaissance and Baroque extensions.
  • Lich Castle : Four-wing complex from the late Renaissance that emerged from a medieval moated castle.
  • Munzenberg castle ruins : Castle complex with two mountain tombs.
  • Pouch Castle with a separate round keep of the former Pouch Castle , Niederlausitz
  • Rödelheim Castle , today Solmspark in Frankfurt-Rödelheim : Located on the Nidda Island, it emerged from a classic landscape park that was laid out in 1879 around the former castle of the Count of Solms-Rödelheim. The castle was badly damaged in World War II and later completely demolished. In 2008 the Frankfurt-Rödelheim Local History and History Association made parts of the foundation walls in the Rödelheim Castle Park visible again, and set up a model of the castle and an information board.
  • Rösa Castle , Lower Lusatia
  • Sonnewalde Castle , Lower Lusatia
  • Weldam Castle , Netherlands (since 1914 Solms-Sonnenwalde)
  • Werdorf Castle . Widow's seat: small baroque palace.
  • Wildenfels Castle in Wildenfels , Zwickau district

See also


Web links

Commons : Haus Solms  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Valentin Ferdinand Guden: Codex diplomaticus exhibens anecdota Moguntiaca ius Germanicum, et SRI Historiam illustrantia . Vol. 1–3, Göttingen 1743–1751.
  2. ^ Heinrich Otto (arr.): Regesten der Archbishop von Mainz von 1289-1396 , first section, second volume 1328-1353. ND of the Darmstadt edition 1932–1935, Aalen 1976.
  3. Illegitimate or morganatic descendants of Marquard IV of Solms-Königsberg founded a family of Solms belonging to the lower nobility at the beginning of the 14th century , who served the Counts of Solms and the House of Nassau as ministerials and vassals; Between 1551 and 1575, Peter von Solms, who came from this family, and his three sons Bartholomäus, Nikolaus and Peter escaped to the Catholic Ober-Olm in Rhine-Hesse during the turmoil of the Reformation . The further fate of this low-nobility bastard line is just as unclear as a possible descent of the bourgeois Solms families, which are still widespread in Rheinhessen and the Palatinate, from this line. A middle-class Solms from the Palatinate, Johann Adam, emigrated with four sons to Cape Town around 1800 , where the family soon acquired the Solms-Delta winery near Franschhoek , which they still operate today. (See: Website Weingut Solms-Delta ) Today's owner of the estate is the psychoanalyst Mark Solms .
  4. Arthur B. Schmidt: The historical foundations of civil law in the Grand Duchy of Hesse . Curt von Münchow, Giessen 1893, p. 105 u. Note 23 and attached map.
  5. No. 1 of the Imperial and Reich Cammer Court to the Highly Praised General Assembly of the Reich in Regenspurg: sub dato Wetzlar, July 26th, 1703; in judged and exequired matters Solms versus Bentheim. 1722
  6. Weldam Castle website
  7. See and