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Frankenstein (also Franckenstein) is the name of a Franconian, noble family in Germany, descendants from the Lords of Lützelbach from Höchst im Odenwald, respectively their offspring, the Dynasts of Breuberg.

House of Franckenstein
Noble house
Franckenstein Wappen 17 Jhd.jpg
Divided and split two times coated with a golden heartshield, therein an oblique red battle axe on Gold (Franckenstein). In fields 1 and 6 in gold a three-leaf red cloverleaf (von Cleen), in fields 2 and 5 in blue a right-sided silver helmet, on it a growing silver swan, whose raised red wings are each covered with a silver bar, 3 and 4 in gold a red bar, above 3 green twigs each with 3 leaves (von Praunheim-Sachsenhausen).
CountryHoly Roman Empire
Kingdom of Bavaria
Place of originOdenwald
FounderKonrad II Reiz von Breuberg
Mottoverus et fidelis ("true and faithful")

Family legendEdit

In 948 an Arbogast von Franckenstein confirmed to the abbot of Lorsch Abbey in two contracts to "grant defense and shield the carriages travelling on the Bergstraße and passing through Frankenstein realm". In the same year, this knight Arbogast is supposed to have won the Tournament of Cologne, thanks to an invitation of the Archbishop Bruno the Great, who was said to have been the former abbot of Lorsch Abbey.

Arbogast von Franckenstein is mentioned in Georg Rüxners Turnierbuch, a tournament book, but is probably legendary as Rüxners's statements, especially when citing "earlier centuries", are often deemed. One has to add, that the contracts are not to be found in the Lorsch Abbey archives, but are appearing in secondary literature. As a matter of fact, it is certified that the Franckenstein clan is directly originating from Lord Konrad II. Reiz von Breuberg and therefore starting to exist in the 13th century.

Breuberg castle


Wiknand of Luetzelbach, was the first ancestor of the Frankenstein dynasty and is documented in the year 1160 for the first time [1] His grandson Konrad I.. and his offspring build the homonymous Breuberg Castle around 1200 and named themselves after it. In 1239, owing to his son's Eberhard I. Reiz von Breuberg marriage with Mechtild (Elisabeth?), one of the five heiresses of Gerlach II. von Büdingen, imperial bailiff of the Wetteraukreis, the power, possessions and interests were also relocated into the Wetterau region, where the Breubergians Arrois, Gerlach and Eberhard III. held the bailiffship consecutively. They found their last resting-place in the monastery of Konradsdorf, where the family had made many donations. Before 1250, Lord Konrad II. Reiz von Breuberg erected Frankenstein Castle near Darmstadt and since named himself "von und zu Frankenstein". He was the founder of the free imperial lordship Frankenstein, which was subject only to the jurisdiction of the emperor, with possessions in Nieder-Beerbach, Darmstadt, Ockstadt, Wetterau and Hesse. Additionally the Frankensteins held other possession and Sovereignty-rights as Burgraves in Zwingenberg (Auerbach (Bensheim)), in Darmstadt, Groß-Gerau, Frankfurt am Main and Bensheim.

Frankenstein Castle

In the year 1292 the Frankensteins opened the castle to the counts of Katzenelnbogen (County of Katzenelnbogen) and leagued with them. Being both strong opponents of the Protestant Reformation and following territorial conflicts, connected disputes with the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt, as well as the adherence to the catholic faith and the associated "right of patronage", the family head Lord Johannes I. decided to sell the lordship to the landgrave in 1662, after various lawsuits at the Imperial Chamber Court.

Because of many vacancies in relation with the reformation, some family members could fill a number of unengaged offices and posts in various Chapters, Abbeys and Dioceses as Canons, Abbesses and Prince-Bishops. After the sale of Frankenstein and being awarded the imperial baron dignity in 1670, the family retired to its possessions in Wetterau and acquired the lordship of Ullstadt in the beginning of the 17th century in Middle Franconia. In the 19th century they also bought the Lordship of Thalheim bei Wels in Austria. The family still consists of two existing branches in Germany, Austria and the US.

Coat of armsEdit

Divided and split two times coated with a golden heartshield, therein an oblique red battle axe on Gold.

Famous Family MembersEdit

Philipp Anton von Franckenstein, Prince-Bishop of Bamberg (1746–1753)
Ullstadt castle

Family TreeEdit

Sir George Franckenstein, RVO, Austrian Ambassador to the Court of St. James (1878–1953)


  • Karl O. von Aretin: Franckenstein Eine politische Karriere zwischen Bismarck und Ludwig II.. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-608-94286-6.
  • J. Friedrich Battenberg: Roßdorf in vormoderner Zeit. Alltag und Konfliktkultur einer hessischen Landgemeinde im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. In: Archiv für hessische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Bd. N.F. 60 (2002), ISSN 0066-636X, S. 29–60
  • Roman Fischer: Findbuch zum Bestand Frankensteinische Lehenurkunden 1251–1812. Kramer, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-7829-0433-8
  • Georg von Franckenstein: Zwischen Wien und London Erinnerungen eines österreichischen Diplomaten. Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz 2005, ISBN 3-7020-1092-0.
  • Sir George Franckenstein, Facts and features of my life, ISBN 978-1118112755.
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels Band 27; Freiherrliche Häuser A IV, CA Starke Verlag.
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Band 61, 1975, Adelslexikon. Starke, Limburg/Lahn
  • Walter Scheele: Sagenhafter Franckenstein. Societäts-Verlag, Ulm 2004, ISBN 3-7973-0875-2
  • Otto von Waldenfels (Hrsg.): Genealogisches Handbuch des in Bayern immatrikulierten Adels. Verlag Degener, Neustadt an der Aisch.
  • Hellmuth Gensicke: Untersuchungen zur Genealogie und Besitzgeschichte der Herren von Eschollbrücken, Weiterstadt, Lützelbach, Breuberg und Frankenstein. In: Hessische historische Forschungen (1963), S.99–115
  • Walter Scheele: Burg Franckenstein. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt/Main 2001, ISBN 3-7973-0786-1
  • Historischer Verein für Hessen, Archiv für hessische Geschichte und Altertumskunde.
  • Otto Hupp: Münchener Kalender 1912. Verlagsanstalt München / Regensburg 1912.
  • Rudolf Kunz: Dorfordnungen der Herrschaft Franckenstein aus der 2. Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts. Sonderdruck aus: Archiv für hessische Geschichte und Altertumskunde. Band 26, Heft 1, 1958
  • Wolfgang Weißgerber: Die Herren von Frankenstein und ihre Frauen: Landschaften, Personen, Geschichten. Schlapp, Darmstadt-Eberstadt 2002, ISBN 3-87704-050-0.
  • Karl Ottmar Freiherr von Aretin (1961), "Franckenstein, Freiherren von und zu", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 5, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 329–329
  • Norbert Hierl-Deronco: "Es ist eine Lust zu Bauen". Von Bauherren, Bauleuten und vom Bauen im Barock in Kurbayern, Franken, Rheinland. Krailling 2001, ISBN 3-929884-08-9, S. 133–142


  1. ^ M. Stimmlng, Mainzer Urk.- Buch I 1932 Nr. 586 und 6(5)..
  2. ^ Kleine Chronik. (…) † Leopoldine v(on) Passavant-Franckenstein. In: Neue Freie Presse, 4 August 1918, p. 09 (Online at ANNO)Template:ANNO/Maintenance/nfp.

External linksEdit