Rental Details for Lenzburg Castle

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Lenzburg Castle
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Today the hall can be rented for social events.
Wikipedia page:
Lenzburg Castle
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Official web site
  • Lenzburg Castle from the southeast
  • View of the castle from the north
  • View of Lenzburg and Lenzburg Castle in about 1642, by Matthäus Merian
  • The east bastion
  • Plaque at the castle commemorating Frank Wedekind, 'who spent his childhood years at Lenzburg Castle and often stayed and worked at the house in which his mother later resided, Zum Steinbrüchli'
  • Arms of the Holy Roman Empire, the Canton of Bern and the von Erlach family above the upper gatehouse
  • The Vogt's residence, or Landvogtei
  • Stapfer House
Hill castle,Castle,Burg
Curtain,Inner bailey,Bailey,Keep,Gatehouse,Bastion

Originally home of the Counts of Lenzburg. Now part of the Cantonal Museum

Lenzburg Castle (German: Schloss Lenzburg) is a castle located above the old part of the town of Lenzburg in the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland. It ranks among the oldest and most important of Switzerland. The castle stands on the almost circular castle hill (altitude: 504m), which rises approximately 100m (330ft) over the surrounding plain but is only about 250m (820ft) in diameter. The oldest parts of the castle date to the 11th century, when the Counts of Lenzburg built it as their seat. The castle, its historical museum and the castle hill with its Neolithic burial grounds are listed as heritage sites of national significance.

The prominent hill was already a settlement site in prehistoric times. For example, in 1959 a Neolithic gravesite was uncovered in the carpark. There have also been small discoveries from the Roman and Alemannic eras.

A legend tells that there was once a dragon living in a cave in the hillside, who was defeated by two knights, Wolfram and Guntram. The grateful people made the two Counts of Lenzburg and gave them permission to build a castle on the hilltop.[citation needed]

A charter dated 1036 names one Ulrich, Count of Aargau. He was the Emperor's Vogt in Zürich and overseer of the abbeys of Beromünster and Schänis. The first definite record of the existence of a castle dates to 1077: Ulrich's grandson, also Ulrich, had taken the emperor's position in the Investiture Controversy and imprisoned two Papal legates for half a year. At that time the Counts of Lenzburg were among the most important feudal lords on the Swiss plateau and maintained close connections to the emperor.

The line died out in 1173. Ulrich IV, the last Count of Lenzburg, named Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa as his personal heir in his will; they had been on the Second Crusade together. The emperor came to Lenzburg Castle and personally supervised the division of the estate, giving a majority of the lands to his son, the Count palatine Otto of Burgundy. However, after Otto's death in 1200, the House of Hohenstaufen was forced to withdraw from the Aargau. By way of two neighbouring aristocratic houses (Andechs-Merania and Châlon), in about 1230 Lenzburg castle came by marriage into the possession of the Counts of Kyburg. They then founded a fortified market settlement at the western base of the castle hill, today's town of Lenzburg.

Hartmann, the last Count of Kyburg, died in 1264 without male issue. Rudolph I, Count of Habsburg and later King of the Romans, placed the heir, Anna of Kyburg, under his protection and she later married Eberhard I of Habsburg-Laufenburg. In 1273 Rudolph took possession of the estate from his impoverished relatives and in 1275 held court there. However, the castle then declined into a regional seat of government, as the power of the Habsburgs shifted more and more to Austria. On 20 August 1306, Lenzburg received its charter as a town from Count Frederick the Fair. From 1339 on, Count Frederick II of Tyrol-Austria resided at the castle. He was to have married a daughter of King Edward III of England and had the Knights' Hall built for the purpose, but died in 1344 without ever seeing his bride, and the building remained incomplete. After 1369, the Schultheiss-Ribi family were tenants of the castle. In 1375 the castle underwent a siege by the Gugler.

The latent tensions between Sigismund, King of Germany and Frederick IV, Duke of Austria exploded in 1415 at the Council of Constance, when Frederick assisted one of the three then reigning popes, Antipope John XXIII, in escaping from the town. Sigismund took the opportunity to harm his opponent, ordering his neighbours to seize his lands in the name of the Empire. Bern willingly conquered the western part of the Aargau.

The town of Lenzburg immediately surrendered to the advancing army on 20 April, but the castle for the moment remained untouched by the conflict. Konrad of Weinsberg, the king's representative, attempted to secure it for the Empire and had it prepared for a siege. But by August he saw the futility of this plan and in 1418 returned the castle to the control of the Schultheiss family. After lengthy negotiations, Bern was able to secure control of the County of Lenzburg as subtenants in 1433 and finally in 1442 of the castle.

The first Bernese Landvogt took up residence in the castle in 1444, governing the district of Lenzburg from there. The duties of a Landvogt included collecting taxes, implementing administrative measures, judicial and police tasks and the power of military decree; they were also responsible for the upkeep of the castle. The Landvogt was elected from the ranks of the city council of Bern for four-year terms. The best known Landvogt of Lenzburg was Adrian I of Bubenberg, from 1457 to 1461, later Schultheiß of Bern and hero of the Battle of Morat.

In 1509–10, extensive work was carried out at the castle, including partial demolition and rebuilding of the unfinished Knights' Hall. In 1518 there was a serious fire; which buildings were destroyed is not recorded (most likely the Arburghaus on the north side). In 1520 the Landvogt received a new residence, the Landvogtei. During the Second war of Kappel in 1531, the castle served as base of operations for the Protestants.

In 1624 Landvogt Joseph Plepp drew the first precise drawings and plans of the castle, which at the time had more the appearance of a fortified farmhouse. His plans formed the basis for plans to expand it into a fortress. As the first step, in 1625 a double curtain wall and double gatehouse were constructed in a new position in the north section and the height of the earthen embankments on the east and south sides was increased. From 1642 to 1646, a wall eleven metres high was raised to form the east bastion. However, lack of money prevented execution of the remaining projects. Also, the east bastion had a major disadvantage: rainwater seeped through the adjacent walls and rendered the Landvogt's residence uninhabitable due to persistent damp. For this reason a new residence was constructed in the north section between 1672 and 1674.

During the 18th century, the Bernese developed the castle into a large grain store. For this purpose, the individual buildings were connected and partially hollowed out. By this means storage for over 5,000tonnes of wheat was provided.

In March 1798, Viktor von Wattenwyl, the 71st and last Landvogt, surrendered the castle to the advancing French troops.

In 1803 the Canton of Aargau was founded, and a year later the castle passed into its possession. The cantonal authorities were uncertain what use should be made of the castle and so it stood empty for almost twenty years. Using it for governmental purposes was out of the question for this symbol of the rule of the downtrodden. Finally, Christian Lippe, a teacher active in Hofwil, showed an interest. He rented the castle and in 1822 opened an educational institution based on the principles of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. While it flourished, it had 50 students and 12 teachers, with above all sons of prominent manufacturing families in Basel and Alsace receiving their education there. The Hintere Haus or rear building was used as the school building while the teachers lived in the Landvogtei. In 1853 the institution had to close because Lippe was gravely ill.

In 1860, the canton sold the castle for 60,000francs to Konrad Pestalozzi-Scotchburn of Zürich. Little is known about him. In 1872, for 90,000francs, the castle came into the possession of Friedrich Wilhelm Wedekind. He had emigrated to San Francisco after the failure of the March Revolution of 1849 and there made a sizeable fortune speculating in land during the California Gold Rush. Returning to Europe in 1864, in protest against Prussian domination of the German Empire h...