Meinhard of Neuhaus

Meinhard of Neuhaus (also known as Meinhard of Hradec, Czech: Menhart z Hradce; 1398 – 3 February 1449 in Říčany), was one of the leaders of the moderate Utraquists from 1437 onwards, and was colonel of burgrave of Bohemia. He was a member of the Neuhaus family, a branch of the Vítkovci dynasty.

Meinhard of Neuhaus
Born1398
Died(1449-02-03)3 February 1449
Říčany
BuriedParish church in Jindřichův Hradec
Noble familyNeuhaus
FatherJohn the Elder of Neuhaus
MotherCatherine of Velhartic

LifeEdit

His parents were John the Elder of Neuhaus and Catherine of Velhartic. Meinhard's involvement in the administration of his parents' possessions began while his father was still alive. He was also interested in the public interest and made friends with his relative Ulrich II of Rosenberg. When his father died in 1417, he became a ruler of the Velhartic line of the Lords of Hradec. In 1418, he donated two altar priests to Neuhaus. Although his father has been as supporter of the Hussites, Meinhard sided with the temperate Utraquists and the Catholic nobility. After the death of King Wenceslaus in 1419, he hoped that an extensions of the rights of the Estates of Bohemia would lead to a political renewal.

In 1421, his cousin Ulrich V of Neuhaus [de] died without male offspring. Meinhard inherited the Lordship of Jindřichův Hradec (Neuhaus in German) and estates around Bílkov in Moravia. He moved to Jindřichův Hradec Castle. In July 1421, during the defense of Rabi Castle, he was taken prisoner by a Hussite army led by Jan Žižka and held for a while at Příběnice Castle.

During the siege of Křemže in 1423, Žižka sent Captain Jan Hvězda of Vicemilic with some troops to take Telč, where Zdeňek of Sternberg acted as guardian of Meinhard's younger brothers John and Henry. Meinhard came to the rescue, with John of Guttenstein and other nobles and 3000 infantry. He defeated Jan Hvězda in battle, reportedly killing 300 Taborites.

On 31 October 1425, Meinhard fought at Kamenice (German: Kamnitz) against a Taborite army led by Andreas Prokop and Bohuslav of Schwanberg [de]. Afterwards, the Taborites devastated several Neuhaus possessions and the city of Počátky. In November 1426, Meinhard and Prokop agreed to a ceasefire. Around this time, Meinhard also reconciled with John of Neuhaus at Telč, the son of another nobleman with the same name, who legally owned half of Neuhaus. The father had been driven out of Neuhaus by Ulrich V and had fled to Telč.

In 1427, Meinhard fought on the side of the Taborites, against the crusaders, who held their fourth crusade against the Hussites. The crusaders were defeated in the Battle of Tachov. In 1428, Meinhard arranged a meeting between the Hussite leader Prokop and King Sigismund.

In 1431, Meinhard fought in the Battle of Domažlice, below Herštejn Castle at Kdyně. The Hussites again defeated the crusaders and the willingness to negotiate a peace deal grew among both the Catholics and the moderate Utraquists. Meinhard publicly distanced himself from the Taborites and at the Diet at Kutna Hora, he demanded that educated men be sent to the Council of Basel, where they should promote the acceptance of the Four Articles of Prague. The Taborites disagreed and then besieged the Catholic city of Plzeň, where the suffered a their final defeat in the 1434 Battle of Lipany.

After King Sigismund's return to Bohemia, Meinhard with appointed colonel and Burgrave of Bohemia in 1437. He would hold the post of regent during Sigismund's absence. After Sigismund's death in December 1437, Meinhard supported the candidacy of his son Albert II as his successor. In 1438, Albert was crowned King of Bohemia. Meinhard fought on his side against the Tábor, which had opposed Albert's election. After Albert's death in October 1439, a delegation of nobles, including Meinhard, George of Poděbrady, Ulrich II of Rosenberg and Hynek Ptáček of Pirkstein offered the Bohemian crown to Duke Albert III of Bavaria, who turned the offer down.

Thus, the Bohemian throne remained vacant. Albert's widow, Elizabeth of Luxembourg, claimed the throne on behalf of her son Ladislaus the Posthumous. A religious conflict broke out again, between Catholics and moderate Utraquists on one side and the strict Utraquists on the other side. The captain of the Old Bohemian Circle, George of Poděbrady, led the moderate Utraquists. In 1448, he captured Prague and its castle. He successfully used military pressure to have himself recognized as the new ruler of Bohemia.

Meinhard was taken prisoner on 9 September 1448 in the Old Town of Prague. He was initially detained in the Old Town Hall. Later, he was taken to Poděbrady Castle. The office of High Burgrave of Bohemia was given to Zdeněk Konopišťský ze Šternberka. Meinhard's son Ulrich (died 1453) demanded his father's release in a letter dated 20 September 1448. George of Poděbrady refused, and indicated the Meinhard would be tried in a court of law.

Meinhard fell ill during the subsequent civil strife and was released on 1 February 1449, under the condition that he should surrender to the court when summoned. He died two days later at Říčany, on his way to Karlstejn castle.[1] His body was taken to Jindřichův Hradec, where he was buried.

On 6 February 1449, the Alliance of Strakonice was formed. Its members included Henry IV of Rosenberg, Zajíc of Hasenburg, John of Lichtenburg, Zdeněk Konopišťský ze Šternberka, William the Younger of Ryzmberk and Zdeněk Kostka of Postupic. The alliance accused George of Poděbrady on 3 August 1450 of having poisoned Mainhard. This allegation was never proved.

Marriage and issueEdit

Meinhard married Margaret of Walsee. They had three son:

  • John (Jan), died in infancy
  • Ulrich (Oldrich) († 1453), married to Margaret of Pottenstein (Markéta z Potštejn)
  • Henry (Jindřich) died in infancy

ReferencesEdit

  • František Teplý: Dějiny města Jindřichova Hradce, vol. 1, part 1, Jindřichův Hradec, 1927 (includes genealogy)
  • Adolf Bachmann (1886), "Neuhaus, Meinhard von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 23, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 502–506

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Some sources say he was on his way home to Jindřichův Hradec