The Hohen – Neuffen

Neuffen Hohen – 2008

This is an entry from “We of Johann Christoph Nuffer, also known as: Neuffer, Nufer, Neufer,” The book was published in April 1990 by Dabco Printing and Binding Co in Roy, Utah.

“The castle ruins of Hohen-Neuffen are the largest in the Schwabian Alps and some of the most attractive.

“The approach to Hohen-Neuffen was still difficult up to 100 years ago, but this did not discourage romantic young people of the surrounding villages nor students from Teubingen from visiting the ruins.  In the 1860’s and 1870’s the authorities provided easier access to it.

“Because former residents of the villages had been carting away the stones in their oxcarts for cheap building material, the entire area is now protected as a memorial.

“The mighty corner towers of Hohen-Neuffen originated either under Duke Ulrich, who spent 10,700 guilder on the fortress between 1543 – 1550 or more probably were built by Duke Christoph who put 16,386 guilder into the project up to the year 1562.

“The towers served as protective towers flanking the outer walls and ramparts.

“At the foot of the hill are the villages of Neuffen, Linsenhofen and Frickenhausen.  In the distance is Nuertingen on the Neckar.  On a clear day the Katzenbuchel (200 ft mtn) is visible in the Odenwald (Oden forest), as are other landmarks.  From the bastion is a panorama of the surrounding scenes – Neuffen with the Martinskirche (St. Martins Church) and the quarry of the Nuertingen cement works.

Overlooking Neuffen

“Returning to the courtyard of the castle, next to the cistern on the east into which flowed the rain water from the roofs, is an embossed picture of Eduart Paulus who is credited with much of the research and preservation of the Hohen-Neuffen.  According to him, the Hohen-Neuffen was the residence of Theodorick the Great, but this is merely his opinion and has no basis in fact according to Dr. Weinland in his treatise about the area.

“It is known that Duke Ludwig (1568 – 1593) built the Ludwig’s bastion.

“Although it was besieged many times, it was never conquered.

“Earliest findings in the castle and surrounding areas include stone ax, skull and skeletal remains, shards, etc. of the stone age; and bronzes of swords, etc. of the bronze age.

“The first citadel or stronghold of the mountain above Neuffen was probably there about 1100.  The first authentic occupant or owner was Count Manegolt of Sulmetingen, County Biberach.  Presumably by the purchase from his father-in-law, Count Egino von Erach, he was able to acquire the surrounding villages of Balzholz, Beuren, Grossbettlingen and Linsenhofen.

“The first recorded mention of the Hohen-Neuffen is in 1198 in which the free nobles of Neuffen were named as occupants.  (There are detailed descriptions of their coats of arms.

“As lower adherents to the Kaiser of the house of Hohenstaufen, the Lords Neuffen played important political roles in the empire.  Heinrich I of Neuffen accompanied the 16 year old King Friederich II from Italy to Swabia.  Berthold II was the king’s councilor from 1212 to 1216 and from 1217 to 1224 he was Bishop von Brixon.  The brothers Heinrich and Albert von Neuffen took part in the crusade of Friederich II.

“The 13th century was an especially high point.  Gottfried von Neuffen was a noted Minnesinger (Minstrel) from 1230 – 1250.  The Neuffens were on the side of the younger King Heinrich IV on his revolt against his father Kaiser Friedrich II.  As his troops were first besieged in 1235, Heinrich von Neuffen and his son Gootfried the minnesinger were among the captives.

“By the end of the 13th century the entire domain had gone to the lords von Weinsburg through marriage and purchase.  In 1301 Konrad von Weinsberg, husband of Luitgard von Neuffen, (the last Neuffen heiress) sold it to Count Eberhard I of Wurttemberg for 8,500 marks.

“From 1361 to 1363 and from 1365 to 1366 Hohen-Neuffen was the home of Count Ulrich IV von Wurttemberg.  He named Sir Hans Spaeth von Salzburg as first commandant of Hohen-Neuffen.  In 1512 he attacked Abbon Georg Fischer von Zweifalten over a dispute.

“Because of his quarrel with the Confederation of Schwabia, Ulrich had to flee.  His wife Sabina, who had left him, received the Hohen-Neuffen for herself and her children Anna and Christoph, and through war debts of the Confederation the fortress because an Austrian possession.

“After a 15 year exile, Count Ulrich again succeeded in acquiring the Hohen-Neuffen which was the last stronghold to open its door to him.

“When in 1546 the Duke Alba, at the behest of the Kaiser, came to Wurttemberg, Count Ulrich once again had to flee, but he regained his property in 1547.  It met with disaster in 1549 when lightning struck the powder magazine and was again repaired.  His successor was Count Fredrich I.

“At the beginning of the 30 Years War in 1618 the business of reinforcing, provisioning and manning the fortress became vital.  After the defeat of Noerdlingen in 1634, Wurttemberg was overrun by the Kaiser’s troops.  Hohen-Neuffen was the last stronghold.  After some trickery, the fortress was given back in 1639 to Lord Eberhard III.  A salvo of cannons from the castle announced the close of the terrible war in 1648.  Repairs after the war were very slow.

“In 1730 King Friederich I of Prussia with his son the crown-prince visited the Hohen-Neuffen.  In 1733 Count Karl Alexander wanted to modernize it after the fashion of the French fortresses, with the help of engineering specialists.  After his death the work continued for a time, but was soon discontinued. The unfinished portions deteriorated rapidly because no one seemed to be concerned.  After Karl Alexander’s death his financier, the hated Jew Suess Oppenheimer, was apprehended.

Hohen-Neuffen

“Karl Alexander’s successor, Count Karl Eugen, showed some interest in rebuilding, but the work did not continue for long.  By 1741 the chapel fell in and was allowed to remain so, since the estimated cost of repairs of 2,374 guilder was not available.

“A number of political prisoners had been quartered in Hohen-Neuffen during Karl Eugen’s reign.  His successor, County Ludwig Eugen, received a report from his commandant in 1793 stating that nothing noteworthy had occurred in Hohen-Neuffen.  The county replied that he was happy to hear that nothing else had fallen in.

Neuffen with the Hohen on the hill

“Napoleon’s troops paid the fortress little attention.  In 1796 it was decided by the legislative assembly that because of more urgent need of funds, none was to be used for the maintenance of the Hohen-Neuffen.  The French congress ordered it to be demolished.  The villagers began to take away stones and tile with which entire houses were said to have been built.

“World War II saw the ruins used as an observation post by the air force and it was bombarded by American troops at their entry in 1945 and they in turn were fired upon by the town of Neuffen.  However, the hall and knights chamber were reconditioned.

“In 1948 at a meeting of the cabinet of South Baden, Wurttemberg-Baden, and Wurttemberg-Hoenzollern, the Hohen-Neuffen was declared to be a ruin.  Since 1957 American archaeologists have been interested in the Hohen-Neuffen.

Hohen-Neuffen from a vineyard below

“NOTE: The above is edited from a translation of “DER HOHEN-NEUFFEN Rundgang Durch Die Ruine Die Geschichte De Festung”

“There are many stories and legends about the Hohen-Neuffen most of which are untrue.  The above is probably the most authentic abridgement of the available written history.

“There are persistent stories of our ancestors, the Neuffers, occupying the castle, most of them arising from the fact that several occupants had the name or title of van Neuffen.  However, it should be noted that while von is a German title its derivation comes from its literal meaning “from”.  Therefore, von Neuffen is not necessarily a name but merely means “from Neuffen”.  It is possible that some of the occupants were related to us.  However, there is no direct evidence of this fact.

Hohen-Neuffen and Paul Ross in 2008

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