Kasper Doenhoff

Kasper D(o)enhoff (German: Kaspar von Dönhoff, Polish: Kacper Denhoff, 15871645) was a Baltic-German noble (Reichsfürst) of the Holy Roman Empire; a noble (szlachcic) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Governor of Dorpat Province;[1] and a courtier and diplomat of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


Kasper Doenhoff was a Polish noble (szlachcic) of the Denhoff coat-of-arms; he was born a member of the Denhoff family, a Polish noble family of East Prussian origin (the German family name is Dönhoff).

He became Governor of Dorpat (1627–34); from 1633, Count of the Holy Roman Empire (along with Ernst and Gerhard Dönhoff); Governor of Sieradz (1634–45); court marshal of the Queen (from 1639); and starosta of Wieluń, Lauenburg (Lębork), Radomsko, Bolesławiec, Sokal, Małoszyce, Sobowidze and Klonowo.

In the Holy Roman Empire, he was a noble (Reichsfürst); count (from 1635); prince (from 1637); and court marshal.


A member of the Westphalian, Prussian and Baltic-German von Dönhoff family that also included Ernst Magnus Dönhoff and Marion Dönhoff, Kasper became a military commander (rotmistrz of reiters), a favorite of King Sigismund III Vasa (after his conversion to Catholicism) and one of the most prominent members of the "court faction" that advocated strengthening the Polish monarch's power.

As a courtier of King Władysław IV Vasa, Doenhoff was sent with a diplomatic mission to propose the marriage of Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, to Władysław IV. The mission was successful, and Kasper also received noble titles from the Holy Roman Emperor.


Kaspar Doenhoff was the first member of his family to enter the magnate ruling elite of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, thereby laying the foundations for his family's fortune.

He was influential and wealthy, enabling him to fund several interesting construction projects, mostly in Sieradz Province. He ordered the rebuilding of a medieval castle at Bolesławiec (of which he was starosta), on the Prosna River, into a new residence, complete with Italian garden. Around 1630 he sponsored a Renaissance-Baroque castle in Kruszyna — the last residential complex in Poland planned around a Renaissance-style internal yard, but already with a Baroque-style grand front yard and garden.

Kruszyna was Doenhoff's main residence; but it was inconveniently located far from the new Commonwealth capital, Warsaw. Hence in 1636 Doenhoff bought and rebuilt another estate, in Ujazd, where he replaced the old castle with a Baroque palace.

Toward the end of his life, he ordered the construction of a family necropolis, centered around a domed chapel, in the Jasna Góra sanctuary at Częstochowa. It was finished by his descendants.

Despite his ownership of several castles, Doenhoff often resided in a wooden manor (dworek szlachecki) near the royal residence at Warsaw.


Doenhoff was the son of Gerhard Dönhoff [2] (?-1598) and Margaretha von Zweiffeln.[3]

He was the brother of Ernst Magnus Dönhoff (Governor of Parnawa), Hermann Dönhoff and Gerhard Dönhoff [4] (1590-1648, Governor of Pomorze).

In 1620 he married Anna Aleksandra Koniecpolska. They had four children: Aleksander Doenhoff, Stanislaw Doenhoff (?–1653), Zygmunt Doenhoff, and Anna Doenhoff (who married Bogusław Leszczyński).

See also


  1. Niesiecki, Kasper (1846). Herbarz polski Kaspra Niesieckiego (in Polish). Waif. p. 228.
  2. pl:Gerard Denhoff (ojciec)
  3. Genealogisches Handbuch der baltischen Ritterschaften, Teil 2, 1: Estland, Görlitz, 1930, p. 41
  4. pl:Gerard Denhoff (syn)


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.