Medieval Castle Reitersdorf

At the foot of the Siebengebirge in Bad Honnef, in the park Reitersdorf directly on the bank of the Rhine, we find the ruins of the late medieval castle Reitersdorf.

Count Johann I.

Reitersdorf Castle was built around 1270 by count Johann I. von Heinsberg, lord of the Löwenburg. He had just inherited the Mount Löwenburg and the Castle on top, yet , but he was in conflict with the Count of Wolkenburg, the Knights of the Teutonic Order in the nearby village Ramersdorf and an officer of the Archbishopric of Cologne. He was even expelled from Löwenburg Castle.

Back then, Johann I. started building the small castle down by the Rhine in Reitersdorf, in medieval spelling Reyterstorp. In the beginning, only a simple tower house was built. We know little about these years of turmoil and armed conflicts, and the fragments do not give a true picture. Perhaps Reitersdorf Castle was built as substitute for Löwenburg.
Finally, the Archbishop of Cologne, Engelbert von Falkenburg, managed to settle the dispute, and Johann I could move into Löwenburg Castle and rightfully call himself “Lord of Löwenberg”.

Reitersdorf castle is extended

After the defeat of the Archbishop of Cologne and his allies in the Battle of Worringen in 1288, Johann I was an involuntary liegeman of the Count of Jülich; he had had to transfer Reitersdorf Castle to him. The Count of Jülich had the small tower house converted into a moated castle with strong walls, corner towers and an outer castle. This fortified little castle of his enemies within his territory must have been a thorn in the side of the defeated Archbishop of Cologne.

Johann I was married twice, and he had sons from both marriages. When he died in 1306, his son Heinrich I. became Lord of the Löwenburg (1306-1343).

After the sudden death of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII in Italy in 1313, there was a double election. The majority of the prince-electors elected Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach Ludwig IV “the Bavarian”, acting Count Palatine. The minority of the electoral princes, among them Archbishop Heinrich II of Virneburg in Cologne, elevated the Habsburg Frederick “the Fair” of Austria as counter-king. Again a double election led to civil war.

War for the throne and destruction

The war for the throne also divided the Löwenberg family. Heinrich I was on the archbishop’s side thus Friedrich’s, his stepbrother Johann II from his father’s second marriage was on the Count of Jülich’s side and thus on Ludwig’s. Reitersdorf belonged to Johann II. Again our region was devastated by a war, the farms and houses of the enemy were destroyed and the people were deprived of their livelihood. Thinking of all the suffering affects us still. today. Reitersdorf castle was destroyed at that time.

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