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Castle of Spesbourg

History of the castle

Built over a granitic headland in rothmannsberg, with 451 m of altitude, Spesbourg dominates the valley of Andlau. The majority of the historians of the castle appoint 1246-1250 like dates of construction and E Hering allots it to Alexandre de Stahleck-Dicka then acknowledged of the abbey of Andlau.

It is however advisable to notice that the first formal mention of the castle goes back only to 1322 by instituting Henri de Stahleck-Dicka in the capacity as lord of Spesbourg.

The family of Dicka is not originating in Alsace. Since XIIème century, it provides dignitaries to the churches cathedrals in the high one and average valley of the Rhine. Henri de Stahleck-Dicka is an initially canon of Mainz before acquiring this dignity in Strasbourg in 1238. On this date, the interests in Alsace of the Stahleck-Dicka family are neither territorial, nor patrimonial. With the accession with the episcopal see, the list of the privileges for the family lengthens considerably, from alliances are concluded with Landsberg, Windstein, the counts de Werde...

It is in this context that Henri de Stahleck-Dicka inféode his Alexandre brother of the right of avouery on the abbey of Andlau. Alexandre is quoted several times in the episcopal charters between 1255 and 1259, and it is in March 1258 that it is seen transferring to his son and life the office from Burgrave which it occupies. We are in the medium of XIIIème century and in impossibility of saying if at that time of Dicka constituted a land seigniory in the area of Andlau because their titles of goods date all from XIVème century.

1353 : the emperor Charles IV assistant of Gauthier de Dicka, hereditary solicitor of the abbey, the vidame Rodolphe d' Andlau like Pierre and Henri d'Andlau by stipulating that Gauthier is authorized to transmit his rights and strongholds in Andlau if he would die without male offspring.

1383 : Gauthier institutes the lords d' Andlau like successors in Spesbourg.

1386 : Gauthier dies in Switzerland with the battle of Sempach and does not leave a heir. The castle is used then as residence to members of the family of Andlau but nothing comes to corroborate unspecified installations in order to adapt the openings for the use of the weapons with fire as it was the case in many Alsatian castles at the XVe century...

1431 : Etienne of Bavaria invests Spesbourg which was without defenders. The same year the castle is taken again by of Andlau to the head of 2000 men

XVIe century : the castle does not remain uninhabited; the Hering historian teaches us that Spesbourg is attacked and set fire to by middle-class men of Barr because noble would have suborned one of their fellow-countrywoman.

Nothing in the documents attests of a rebuilding but elements which cannot be former to XVIe (stars painted in the niches, dates 1550 on the cast-iron plate from a chimney) indicate rehandlings. After the great revolution the building is seen tearing off its more beautiful stones and was used as career to the inhabitants of the surroundings.

1830/40 : The counts d' Andlau are given in possession of their property and sell the ruin to the baron of Hallez empire. About 1890 the widow of the baron sells the building to Dr. Alexis Stoltz.

1904 : Alexis Stoltz bequeaths Spesbourg by will to L the town of Andlau.
1964-65 : operations Mole with various consolidations and excavations.
1967 : Spesbourg is classified Historic building.
1985 : Creation of Association for the Restoration of the Castle of Spesbourg Sections of work, animations, son et lumière displays.

Charles-Laurent SALCH , Le Château de Spesbourg, architecture et histoire, Chantiers d'Etudes Médiévales, n°14, 1977

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