County of Virneburg

Coat of arms
Virneburg visible in a map from 1696. (A.-H. Jaillot)

The County of Virneburg was a territory of the Holy Roman Empire in the region of the Eifel in present-day Rhineland-Palatinate.


The Counts of Virneburg first appear in the 11th century as witnesses in documents. The center of the county and family seat castle was the like-named Castle Virneburg. The history of the county is closely associated with that of the Counts Palatine of the Rhine, which until the 13th century in the so-called Pellenz possessed important lordship rights. Later the Counts of Virneburg were fief holders of the Counts Palatine. The further history of the county is characterized by the war of the Archbishops of Cologne and Trier with the Counts Palatine and the Virneburgern about the predominance in this region.

In 1288 Ruprecht II took part as tactical commander of the Brabanter in the Battle of Worringen.

In 1306 Count Ruprecht bought half of the County of Wied from Siegfried of Eppstein, who had inherited this region. The share fell already in the 14th century to Wilhelm of Braunsberg.

With Heinrich II of Cologne and Heinrich III of Mainz the Virneburger provided in the 14th century two archbishops.

In the 14th century various lordship rights went lost to the Trierer Archbishop Baldwin of Luxembourg. He took advantage of financial difficulties of the Virneburger. In 1419 Phillip of Virneburg married Katharina of Saffenburg, wherewith parts of the County of Neuenahr and the Lordship of Saffenburg reached the family of Virneburg.

In 1445 a division took place.

In 1545 the Counts of Virneburg died out with the death of Kuno of Virneburg. The true heirs were the Counts of Manderscheid. However, a large part of the estate was lost. In 1592 the Virneburger heritage fell to Löwenstein-Wertheim.

Until the end of the 18th century the county remained as fiefdom of the Electorate of Trier in the possession of the Counts of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg. Under the French management in 1798 the Kanton Virneburg was built out of the county, Kanton which belonged to the Arrondissement Bonn in the Département de Rhin-et-Moselle.

Location and territory

The possessions of the Counts of Virneburg originated from a region around the castles Virneburg and Monreal and numerous other fiefdoms. Particularly important were the courts of Pellenz. They originated from the "great Pellenz", a region around Mendig, and the "little Pellenz", a region around Münstermaifeld. To the enlarged Pellenz-courts belonged the Beltheimer court, the court Bubenheim and the court Lonnig.

In the end of the 18th century belonged to the County of Virneburg the flecken Virneburg and the locations of Anschau, Arbach, Baar (Ober-, Mittel- and Niederbaar), Bereborn, Ditscheid, Freilingen (presently a part of Baar), Hirten, Kolverath, Lind, Lirstal, Luxem, Mannebach, Mimbach (presently a part of Anschau), Münk, Niederelz (presently a part of Weiler), Nitz, Oberelz, Retterath, Wanderath (presently a part of Baar), Weiler and Welcherath.


External links

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