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Arms of the Counts of Montfort

The Counts of Montfort were a German noble dynasty from Swabia. They belonged to high nobility of the Holy Roman Empire and enjoyed the privileged status of imperial immediacy.

The influential and wealthy Counts of Montfort took their name from an ancestral castle named Montfort, which was situated close to today's Swiss border near Weiler, in the present-day Austrian state of Vorarlberg.

As the lords of Feldkirch (until 1390), Bregenz (until 1523), and Tettnang (until 1779), they would have a decisive influence on the development of not just Voralberg, but also Upper Swabia and Eastern Switzerland.


Montfort Castle at Langenargen

The counts held the lordships of the County of Feldkirch (until 1390), County of Bregenz (until 1523) and Tettnang (until 1779). They had territories in Upper Swabia and particularly in Vorarlberg, most of which they ruled. Until the 18th century, the counts were a remarkable family of the high nobility, the most important in the region of Lake Constance, but the line eventually became extinct. In a number of places, including Feldkirch, Bregenz and Langenargen, there are still signs of their history.

The Counts of Montfort were originally a branch of another Swabian noble family, the Counts Palatine of Tübingen. Hugo II of Tübingen (d. 1182) married Elizabeth of Bregenz, and through her, Hugo would take ownership over the former territories of the Counts of Bregenz, including Bregenz itself, Montfort, and Sigmaringen, making him a dominant power in the region. His marriage to Elizabeth would also provide him with close family ties to Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and the Welfs (like Barbarossa and Henry the Lion, Elizabeth was a grandchild of the Welf duke Henry IX "the Black" of Bavaria).

Upon the death of Hugo II, the majority of the former Bregenz territories would go to his second son, Hugo III (d.1228/1230), who after about 1200 would style himself "Hugo of Montfort". His territories as count included Raetia Curiensis, Tettnang, Bregenz, Feldkirch, Sonnenberg, Werdenberg, and Sargans. The new House of Montfort would adopt the arms of the County Palatine of Tübingen, but the Montfort arms would feature a red gonfalon on a silver shield instead of a gold one.

Hugo's older brother Rudolph I (1160-1219) continued the original line of the counts palatine; nevertheless, five generations later Gottfried II (d.1369) would be forced to sell Tübingen to the County of Württemberg and drop the title of count palatine in favor of the ordinary Count of Tübingen. He did, however, inherit Lichteneck via his wife Clara of Freiburg, and thenceforth his descendants would bear the title Count of Tübingen-Lichteneck. Next to Montfort-Tettang, this line would be the longest-lasting branch of the family, lasting until 1664.

Around 1779, Tettnang was sold to the Austrian House of Habsburg in order to pay debts. Several years later, the line became extinct upon the death of Count Anton IV in 1787. The Habsburgs added the Montfort lands to their Further Austrian possessions.


Hugo I of Montfort founded Feldkirch in the early years of the 13th century, building his castle (called "Schattenburg") on a hill overlooking the town. The town and castle would become the focal point of the Montfort-Feldkirch territories, with Schattenburg taking the place of the original Montfort castle. In 1375, burgrave Rudolph IV of Montfort sold the fiefdom to the Habsburg Duke Leopold III of Austria.


Hugo II of Tübingen (†1182) inherited the County of Bregenz via his wife, Elizabeth of Bregenz. The Montfort-Bregenz branch of the dynasty continued until the middle of the 14th century, when its lands fell to Montfort-Tettnang, which starting in 1354 would be known as Montfort-Tettnang-Bregenz. This house would produce at least one figure of historical significance, the minstrel (Minnesänger) and statesman Hugo of Montfort (1357–1423).

In 1362 Hugo inherited the lands of the counts of Pfannberg via his wife Margaret. Hugo took residence at Pfannberg Castle in 1401, joining the Styrian nobility. The family would sell Pfannberg Castle in 1524 and move their residence to Peggau Castle, renaming themselves Montfort-Bregenz-Beckach (the contemporary form of Peggau).

In 1451, a portion of the Montfort-Bregenz territory was sold to the Habsburgs by Elizabeth of Hochberg, heir of Count William VII (†1422) of Montfort. The rest of the original Bregenz territories would be sold in 1523, though the Styrian branch of the family retained the Montfort-Tettnang lands until the extinction of the dynasty in 1787.

Counts of MontfortEdit

Below, a list of the counts of Montfort,[1] numbered by order of ascension:

House of TubingenEdit

Partitions of Holstein and Schauenburg under Schauenburg ruleEdit

County of Montfort
       County of Montfort-Tettnang
County of Montfort-Bregenz (1st creation)
County of Montfort-Feldkirch
              County of Montfort-Bregenz (2nd creation)
Sold to Austria              
                     County of Montfort-Montfort
              County of Montfort-Rothenfels
County of Montfort-Werdenberg
                            Sold to Austria       
                            County of Montfort-Bregenz (3rd creation)
Recovered only half of Bregenz
              Sold to Austria       
       Sold to Königsegg              
                     Sold to Austria

Table of rulersEdit

(Note: Here the numbering of the counts is the same for all counties, as all were titled Counts of Montfort, despite of the different parts of land or particular numbering of the rulers. The counts are numbered by the year of their succession.)

Ruler Born Reign Death Ruling part Consort Notes
Hugo I   c.1160 1208-1228 1228 Montfort Matilda of Eschenbach-Schnabelburg
two children

Matilda of Wangen
five children
First counts of Montfort, ruled together as brothers.
Rudolph I   c.1160 1208-1219 17 March 1219 Montfort Matilda of Gleiberg
six children
Hugo II c.1195 1228-1260 15 August 1260 Montfort Elisabeth of Burgau
eight children
Sons of Hugo I, ruled together until 1230, when Rudolph inherited Werdenberg. After Hugo's death the county was divided.
Rudolph II c.1190 1228-1230 7 October 1247 Montfort Clementia of Kyburg
six children
Ulrich I   ? 1260-1287 7 April 1287 Montfort-Bregenz Agnes of Helfenstein
two children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Bregenz.
Rudolph III   ? 1260-1302 19 October 1302 Montfort-Feldkirch Agnes of Groningen
seven children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Feldkirch.
Hugo III ? 1260-1309 21 May/5 December 1309 Montfort-Tettnang Elisabeth
two children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Tettnang.
Hugo IV ? 1287-1338 26 July 1338 Montfort-Bregenz Agnes of Helfenstein
two children
Sold half of Bregenz to Austria. Left no descendants and Bregenz was annexed to Tettnang.
Ulrich II 1266 1302-1343 17 February 1350 Montfort-Feldkirch Unmarried Sons of Rudolph III, ruled jointly. In 1343 his nephews forced Ulrich to abdicate.
Hugo V ? 1302-1309 21 May/5 December 1309 Montfort-Feldkirch Anna of Veringen
eight children
Frederick ? 1310-1321 25 March 1321 Montfort-Feldkirch Unmarried Sons of Hugo V, co-ruled with their uncle.
Berthold ? 1310-1318 18 January 1318 Montfort-Feldkirch
William I ? 1309-1338 6 February 1348 or 3 November 1350 Montfort-Tettnang Elisabeth von Schlüsselberg
one child

Maria Anna Magdalena von Schwarzenberg
no children

A woman from the House of Rappoltstein
four children

no children
Inherited Bregenz in 1338. After his death his sons divided the land.
1338-1348/50 Montfort-Tettnang and Montfort-Bregenz
Rudolph IV the Elder ? 1343-1375 18 January 1318 Montfort-Feldkirch Unmarried Sons of Hugo V, were ruling jointly with their uncle (Ulrich II) and brothers (Berthold and Frederick) since 1310. However, they gained more independence after deposing their uncle, Ulrich II, in 1343.
Hugo VI ? 1343-1359 29 March 1359 Montfort-Feldkirch Margaret of Furstenberg
no children

Bertha of Kirchberg
two children
Hugo VII ? 1348/50 - 1354 3 November 1354 Montfort-Tettnang Unmarried Son of William I, inherited Tettnang. Had no descendants and the comital throne passed to his brother Henry.
William II ? 1348/50 - 1373/4 18 May 1373 or 14 June 1374 Montfort-Bregenz Unknown
one child

Ursula de Ferrette
no children

Margaret of Schaumberg
no children
Son of William I, inherited Bregenz. After his death his grandchildren divided the land.
William III ? 1348/50 - 1368 19 October 1368 Montfort-Bregenz Ursula of Hohenberg
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Henry I   ? 1354-1408 18 October 1408 Montfort-Tettnang Adelaide of Habsburg-Laufenburg
before 1370
four children

Klara von Ellenbach
one child
Henry II   ? c.1380?-1395 c.1395 Montfort-Tettnang Anna of Waldburg
one child
Son of Henry I, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Conrad ? 1373/4-1393 1393 Montfort-Bregenz Agnes of Montfort-Feldkirch
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him. Through his marriage became son-in-law of Hugo VI.
Hugo VIII   1357 1373/4-1423 4 April 1423 Montfort-Pfannberg Margaret of Pfannberg
one child

Clementia of Toggenburg
before 1401
no children

Anna of Neuhaus
before 1426
one child
Son of William III, inherited Montfort. He was also a minnesinger (troubadour).
Ulrich III ? c.1390-1410? c.1410? Montfort-Pfannberg Judith of Stadeck
before 1410
two children
Son of Hugo VIII, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Rudolph V the Younger ? 1375 16 November 1390 Montfort-Feldkirch Unmarried
William IV ? 1393-1422 1422 Montfort-Bregenz Kunigunde of Toggenburg
September/October 1387
one child
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
William V   ? 1408-1439 1439 Montfort-Tettnang Kunigunde of Werdenberg-Bludenz
one child
Sons of Henry I, ruled jointly. After William's death, his sons divided the land.
Rudolph VI ? 1408-1425 8 December 1425 Montfort-Tettnang Unmarried
Elisabeth   ? 1422-1443 4 June 1458 Montfort-Bregenz Eberhard of Nellenburg
one child

William, Margrave of Hachberg-Sausenberg
17 August 1422 or 23 February 1424
(annulled 1436)
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
In 1443 Bregenz was sold to the Archduchy of Austria
Stephen ? 1423-1437 14/27 August 1437 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried Ruled jointly. Stephen was an uncle of Herman I, who was son of Ulrich II.
Herman I ? 1423-1434/5 22 January 1434 or 24 July 1435 Montfort-Pfannberg Margareta of Celje
15 March 1430
four children[2]
Herman II ? 1437-1482 1482 Montfort-Pfannberg Cecilia of Liechtenstein-Murau
five children
Sons of Herman I, ruled jointly.
John I ? 1437-1469 April 1469 Montfort-Pfannberg A woman from the Sternberg family
no children
George I ? 1437-1447 1447 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
Ulrich IV the Elder 1439-1495 29 September 1495 Montfort-Tettnang Ursula of Hachberg
one child
Sons of William V, ruled jointly.
Rudolph VII ? 1439-1445 11 December 1445 Montfort-Tettnang Beatrice of Helfenstein
no children
Henry III 1439-1444 23 November 1444 Montfort-Werdenberg Unknown
one child
Son of William V, inherited Werdenberg.
Hugo IX 1439-1491 16 October 1491 Montfort-Rothenfels Elisabeth of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg
before 1462
one child

Elisabeth of Hohenlohe
before 1488
one child
Son of William V, inherited Rothenfels.
William VI ? 1444-1483 5 February 1483 Montfort-Werdenberg Clementia von Hewen
two children
Left no descendants. Werdenberg merged in Rothenfels.
In 1483 Werdenberg was annexed by Rothenfels.
In 1482 half of Bregenz was recovered by Hugo, son of Herman II.
Hugo X ? 1482-1525 1550 Montfort-Bregenz Veronica of Waldburg
no children
Son of Herman II, bought half of Bregenz for himself, just to sell it once more in 1525.
In 1525 the half of Bregenz was sold again to the Archduchy of Austria.
George II ? 1482-1544 March/30 May 1544 Montfort-Pfannberg Catherine of Poland
after 1522
one child
Sons of Herman II, ruled jointly.
Herman III ? 1482-1515 1515 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
John II   ? 1491-1529 19 September 1529 Montfort-Rothenfels Apollonia of Kirchberg
before 1518
no children

Magdalena of Oettingen
23 June 1524
no children
Half-brothers, ruled jointly. John left no descendants and was succeeded by his nephews, sons of Hugo XI.
Hugo XI ? 1491-1519 24 April 1519 Montfort-Rothenfels Anna of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Bitsch
four children
Ulrich V The Younger   c.1485 1495-1520 23 April 1520 Montfort-Tettnang Magdalena of Oettingen
24 February 1485
no children
Left no descendants. Tettnang merged in Rothenfels.
In 1520 Tettnang was annexed by Rothenfels.
Hugo XII   c.1500 1529-1564 21 November 1564 Montfort-Rothenfels Maria Magdalena of Schwarzenberg
before 1543
six children
Sons of Hugo XI, ruled jointly.
John III ? 1529-1547 1547 Montfort-Rothenfels Jeanne d'Arenberg
no children
Wolfgang I   ? 1529-1541 21 March 1541 Montfort-Rothenfels Eleonore of Wolfstein
before 1523
no children
Jacob c.1530 1544-1573 1573[3] Montfort-Pfannberg Katharina Fugger
9 February 1553
five children[3]
Ulrich VI 1564-1575 6 April 1575 Montfort-Rothenfels Ursula of Solms-Lich
two children
After his death, the county was annexed by the Barony of Konigsegg, depriving Ulrich's sons from succession.
In 1575 Rothenfels was annexed by the Barony of Königsegg.
John IV c.1557 1573-1619 21 February 1619[4] Montfort-Pfannberg Sybilla Fugger
4 October 1587
three children[4]
Sons of Jacob, ruled jointly.
Wolfgang II ? 1573-1596 1596 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
George III ? 1544-1573 1590 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
Hugo XIII 1 April 1599[5] 1619-1662 2 July 1662 Montfort-Pfannberg Johanna Euphroysne of Waldburg
7 October 1618
four children[5]
Sons of John IV, ruled jointly.
Herman IV ? 1619-1641 1641 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
Anton I   14 October 1635[6] 1662-1706 15 June 1706[6] Montfort-Pfannberg Maria Victoria of Spauer-Flavon
two children[6]
Sons of Hugo XIII, ruled jointly.
John V   25 November 1627[7] 1662-1686 12 September 1686[7] Montfort-Pfannberg Anna Eusebia of Königsegg
one child

Maria Katharina of Sulz
12 August 1658
two children[8]
Anton II   26 November 1670[9] 1706-1733 17 December 1733[9] Montfort-Pfannberg Maria Anna of Thun-Hohenstein
16 May 1693
two children[9]
Anton II, son of John V, shared rule with his cousin Sebastian, son of Anton I.
Sebastian 7 October 1684[10] 1706-1728 6 February 1728[10] Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
Maximilian Joseph Ernest   20 January 1700[11] 1733-1759 17 March 1759[11] Montfort-Pfannberg Maria Antonia of Waldburg
26 January 1722
one child[11]
Son of Anton II.
Francis Xavier   3 November 1722[12] 1759-1780 24 March 1780[12] Montfort-Pfannberg Sophia Theresa Maximiliane of Limburg-Bronkhorst
1 December 1758
no children[12]
After his death the county was sold to Austria.
In 1780, Pfannberg was sold to the Archduchy of Austria

Prince of MontfortEdit

Arms of Jérôme Bonaparte as Prince of Montfort

In 1810, the Tettnang territory was adjudicated to the Kingdom of Württemberg. In 1816, King Frederick I vested his daughter Catharina and her husband Jérôme Bonaparte with the titles of Princess and Prince of Montfort (French: prince de Montfort).[13] This princely title continued in the family by descent.[14]

See alsoEdit


  • Karl Heinz Burmeister: Montfort, von (Grafen von Montfort), Familienartikel in: Neue Deutsche Biographie, Bd. 18, S. 51-54
  • Karl Heinz Burmeister: Die Grafen von Montfort. Geschichte, Recht, Kultur. Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstag, hrsg. von Alois Niederstätter (= Forschungen zur Geschichte Vorarlbergs; NF 2). Universitätsverlag Konstanz, Konstanz 1996, ISBN 3-87940-560-3
  • Karl Heinz Burmeister, Elmar L. Kuhn, Eva Moser u.a.: Die Grafen von Montfort. Geschichte und Kultur. (= Kunst am See; Band 8). Gessler, Friedrichshafen 1982, ISBN 3-922137-16-4


External linksEdit