Johann Friedrich zu Castell-Rüdenhausen

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Count Johann Friedrich zu Castell-Rüdenhausen

Johann Friedrich Count and Lord of Castell-Rüdenhausen (* 6 February 1675 in Rüdenhausen; † 23 June 1749 ibid) was ruler of the county of Castell-Rüdenhausen from 1681 to 1749. In addition, he was in the service of the Margraviate of Ansbach. In 1732 he was appointed Imperial Privy Councillor.

The county before Johann Friedrich

A decisive event of the 16th century for the county of Castell was the adoption of the Lutheran faith, which enabled the counts to gain more sovereignty from the prince bishops of Würzburg. The following wars, the Peasants’ War of 1525 and the Second Margrave’s War in the middle of the century, however, destroyed large parts of the count’s territory.

Towards the end of the 16th century there was a lineage split. While the Castell-Remlingen line resided in the western part of the country and the ancestral seat Castell, the Counts of Castell-Rüdenhausen sat in Rüdenhausen and their castle in Wiesenbronn. During the Thirty Years’ War, the lordship was again affected and had to be rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century.[1]


The epitaph of the count in the church in Rüdenhausen

Johann Friedrich was born on 6 February 1675 as the first-born son of Count Philipp Gottfried and his wife Anna Sybilla Florentina, née Wild- and Rheingräfin zu Daun, in Rüdenhausen. Two sisters, Dorothea Sophie and Sophia Juliane, had already been born before him. Five more siblings followed, but only two of them reached adulthood.

After the early death of his father in 1681, the young count and his siblings were assigned a guardian. In the following years, Johann Friedrich was educated by Count Albrecht Friedrich von Wolfstein in his castle in Pyrbaum. Here he was also taught by private tutors before he began to study at the universities of Leipzig and Halle. Johann Friedrich then undertook a cavalier tour through Europe, which was customary for the time, and which took him to Germany and the Netherlands.

In 1692 he returned to his future residence at Rüdenhausen. Emperor Leopold I then declared him of age, so that the count took over the reign of the county. As one of the most important official acts, he introduced the right of primogeniture in 1704, thus ensuring that the county would not be weakened by further partitions.[2] In 1709 Johann Friedrich became senior of the entire house of Castell.

At the same time, Johann Friedrich also accepted offices in other dominions of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1721 he became Margravial-Ansbach Landhofmeister, and from 1729 to 1731 he presided over the Franconian College of Counts. In 1732 he was appointed Imperial Privy Councillor by Emperor Charles VI. These titles served representative purposes, although the count’s main focus was on his own dominions.

Above all, the reconstruction of the areas devastated after the Thirty Years’ War and the resettlement of the population demanded Count Johann Friedrich. Thus he re-founded the villages of Rehweiler, Seitenbuch and Herper in the Steigerwald. In 1709 he also began the rebuilding of the church of St. Peter and Paul in Rüdenhausen, which was completed in 1712. At the same time he tried to revive the economy with the market elevation of the villages Obereisenheim and the residence Rüdenhausen, 1747, which also succeeded.

The Baroque building euphoria also seized Johann Friedrich. From 1735 onwards, the hunting lodge Friedrichsberg was built near Abtswind on the hills of the Steigerwald. In addition, the count also embellished the castle in Rüdenhausen by having a fountain built here. On 23 June 1749 Johann Friedrich Count and Lord of Castell-Rüdenhausen died in his residence and was buried in the newly built church. An epitaph by the sculptor Johann Baptista Lauggas was also hung in the church.[3]

Marriages and offspring

Count Johann Friedrich married a total of five times. First he married his cousin Countess Charlotte Juliane zu Castell-Remlingen in Castell, with whom he had a daughter.

  • Dorothea Charlotte (* 26. January 1696 in Rüdenhausen; † 1. December 1729)

After her early death in 1696, he married Countess Charlotte Luise zu Hohenlohe-Neuenstein-Oehringen on 5 August of the same year; she too died in childbirth after a short time.

  • Friederike Charlotte (* 22. May 1697; † 5. December 1698)

The third marriage was contracted on 22 February 1699 with Katharina Hedwig Countess of Rantzau at Drage Castle. With her, the count had a total of five children, of whom, however, only one daughter reached adulthood.

  • Friederike Eleonore (* 14. May 1701 in Rüdenhausen; † 21. March 1760 in Hamburg) married from 1736 to her distant relative Karl Friedrich Gottlieb zu Castell-Remlingen and mother of Christian Adolf Friedrich Gottlieb zu Castell-Remlingen, to whom she inherited Breitenburg
  • Wolfgang Christian (* 7. December 1702; † 16. February 1707)
  • Sophia (* 9. April 1704; † 10. April 1704)
  • Wilhelmina Charlotte Luisa (* 12. April 1705; † 4. February 1707)
  • Philipp Friedrich (* 31 July 1706; † 24 October 1706)

After the death of Countess Katharina Hedwig on 12 March 1743, Count Johann Friedrich married a fourth time. His marriage to Eleonore Christiane zu Hohenlohe-Neuenstein-Oehringen was celebrated on 19 July 1743. She also gave birth to the heir to the throne Friedrich Ludwig Carl Christian in 1746, but died in childbirth.

  • Friedrich Ludwig Carl Christian (* 17. February 1746 in Rüdenhausen; † 7. February 1803 ibid.)

A fifth time the count married Magdalena Dorothea zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg-Ingelfingen on 23 February 1747.[4]


  • Max Domarus: The portraits in Rüdenhausen Castle. In: Freunde Mainfränkischer Kunst und Geschichte e.V.. (Ed.): Mainfränkische Hefte. Issue 46, Volkach 1966.
  • Wilhelm Engel: Haus u. Herrschaft Castell in der fränkischen Geschichte. In: Society for Franconian History (ed.): Castell. Contributions to culture and history of house and dominion. Neujahrsblätter XXIV. Würzburg 1952. pp. 1-19.
  • Otto Meyer: The House of Castell. Landes- und Standesherrschaft im Wandel der Jahrhunderte. In: Otto Meyer, Hellmut Kunstmann (eds.): Castell. Sovereignty – castles – lordship. Castell 1979. pp. 9-53.

Web links

Commons: Johann Friedrich of Castell-Rüdenhausen– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Meyer, Otto: The House of Castell. S. 26 f.
  2. Meyer, Otto: The House of Castell. S. 32.
  3. Domarus, Max: The portraits in Rüdenhausen Palace. S. 37.
  4. Family tree Castell, accessed March 7, 2015.
Predecessor Office Successor
Philip Gottfried Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen
Friedrich Ludwig Carl Christian