Station: [13] The Geroldseck Family and their “War”

This is where it gets exciting. Let’s knuckle down to a spot of robbery, and then follow that up by mobilising, laying siege and conquering!

The images are from late medieval chronicles and tell a true story that happened in and around Schuttern in 1473:

Schuttern was granted a town charter in 1327. At that time, the Geroldseck family was in charge of appointing the monastery’s bailiffs. As secular lords, they were responsible for protecting the monastery and had the right to exercise the equivalent of high court jurisdiction. But they failed to provide any hint of protection!

The monastery's relationship with its bailiffs came under serious pressure due to family feuds, clumsy dynastic politicking and raids. Finally, in 1473, Diebold the Second of Geroldseck ambushed some traders from Bern sailing along the Rhine. He stole the ship's cargo, captured ten Bernese merchants and carried them off to his castle in Schuttern to extort a ransom.

Enough was enough. In response, a league of towns led by the Free Imperial City of Strasbourg moved against the Geroldseck family. The alliance laid siege to Schuttern with horses, wagons and troops, and finally captured it.

As you can imagine, the monks of Schuttern were not exactly pleased. Unsurprisingly, the mid-16th century abbey chronicle complains bitterly that the Geroldseck family have brought nothing but harm, chaos and war to Schuttern.

All depictions: © Historischer Verein Schuttern 603 e.V. / Gemeinde Friesenheim