mediatized Houses: The Princely House of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg


The Princely House of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg

The present House Löwenstein-Wertheim goes back to Ludwig of Bavaria, also Count Ludwig I of Löwenstein (1463-1524), a son of the Elector Friedrich I. of the Palatinate  and the Munich court lady Clara Tott from Augsburg. After the death of his brother Ludwig IV from 1449 to 1451, Friedrich I, named Siegreich, ruled as a guardian of his one-year-old nephew Philipp, adopted him in 1451, and derived from this so-called “arrogation” his own right as elector. When Friedrich I. adopted his minor nephew and, in his place, assumed the electoral dignity, he had to vow celibacy in order not to give the heir to the throne later any co-heirs who could possibly dispute his legitimate legacy.
From a in 1469 beginning love affair between Elector Friedrich I and the court maid of honor Clara Tott   two sons were born, for whom her father had renounced his succession, except for the extinction of the legitimate line. Both sons are recognized as legitimate in a number of documents, but the date of the marriage of the parents is unclear. The secret marriage did not became public  until 1472, when Friedrich, the first-born son, sought the reception as a cleric in the cathedrals of Speyer and Worms, and therefore had to prove a different, married lineage. In the same year, and once in 1470, the future elector, Philip , had unofficially released his uncle, Elector Friedrich I, from the promise of celibacy in his favor.
The younger son Ludwig was on 14.02.1594 by the then King Maximilian raised to the rank of tan Count of the Empire as Count of Löwenstein. In 1469 he had received the small rule of Scharfeneck with the Neuscharfeneck castle in the Rhinepalatinate in 1469, and in 1488 to elecoral Paltinate belonging office Löwenstein with Löwenstein castle, after which he named himself. Due to the defeat in the Landshut succession war, the county of Löwenstein fell in 1510 under Württemberg supreme authority.
Only Ludwig I.’s grandson of Ludwig III.  succeeded beacause of his marrage to a Heiress of the Counts of Stolberg and the Counts of Wertheim in acquiring the county of Wertheim am Main and other territories and therefore  to establish his house in the rank of Counts of the Empire.
The house treaty statutum gentilium, which was enacted by Ludwig in 1597, conferred equal rights on all his sons. Thus, the community government of the county of Wertheim, which was soon famous throughout the Holy Roman Empire, was established. Because of this house contract as well as a different confessional policy of the sons of Ludwig III. the Family  split in 1621  into two main lines:
  • Christoph Ludwig, is the ancestor of the protestant line Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg (later-Freudenberg)
  • Johann Dietrich is the ancestor of the catholics line Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort (later-Rosenberg)
Counts of Löwenstein
1494-1524 Ludwig I.
1524-1541 Friedrich I.

1541-1611 Ludwig III. since 1580 Count zu Löwensteen-Wertheim

Counts of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg

The county of Wertheim belonged to the Virneburg and the cartholics -Rochfort line. The Swedish king Gustav Adolf had illegally relieved the valued subjects of their duties against Count Johann Dietrich of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort and had employed his Protestant nephew Friedrich Ludwig as the sole ruler. Friedrich Ludwig had to flee after the Battle of Nördlingen in 1634, which had been won by the Catholic camp, and Emperor Ferdinand II, in return, appointed Johann Dietrich as the sole ruler. This re-established the Catholic confession in the county and called the Capuchins into his country. According to the Imperial Restitution Act, the compulsorily dispossessed religious orders were largely regained. In the peace treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the Restitutionedikt was repealed and the confession of 1624 was fixed as a binding norm.Count Friedrich Ludwig and his cousin Count Ferdinand Karl of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort assumed the joint government. 
Because of the lack of primary in the Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg house, all his five sons had equal rights in the government after the death of Count Heinrich Friedrich. Ultimately, the Vollrath line remained

On the eve of the French Revolution, the Princely House had possessions on the Main, in the Odenwald, in Bohemia, in the Palatinate, in the Eifel, in the Austrian Netherlands, and in Alsace. However, all of them were quite small, with different legal titles. The Löwenstein-Wertheimer were a classic example of the so-called inferior empires, which gained greater political significance only in isolated cases and only for a short time, and were mostly confined to the region. In the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in 1803 the Löwenstein-Wertheimern for their lost left-Rhine regions compensation land was awarded mainly at the Untermain. This enabled them to consolidate their territory. But there was no time for internal and external consolidation. 1806 the house was mediatized by the Rheinbundfürsten. Its territories were divided into no fewer than six states (Grand Duchy of Baden, Kingdom of Württemberg, Kingdom of Bavaria, Grand Duchy of Würzburg, Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt). The territorial reorganization in the course of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the Frankfurt Territorial Process in 1819 reduced the number of sovereign states affected by the Löwenstein-Wertheim’s to four (Grand Duchy of Baden, Kingdom of Bavaria, Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt, Kingdom of Württemberg).

Counts of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg
1611-1618 Christoph Ludwig
1618-1657  Friedrich Ludwig
1657-1683 Friedrich Eberhard
1683-1721 Heinrich Friedrich
1721-1790 Johann Ludwig Vollrath
1721-1796 Friedrich Ludwig
1721-1779 Karl Ludwig
1721-1757 Johann Philipp
1721-1739 Georg Philipp
1790-1812 Johann Karl Ludwig

Fürsten zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg

On 19.11.1812 Count Johann Karl Ludwig  and his cousin Fridrich Karl Gotlieb (this line became extinct with his son Karl Friedrich in 1852) where raised to the rank of  Fürsten by the bavarian King Maximilian I.  The also became hereditary member of the bavarian Crown Council, and got heriditary seats in the first chambers of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Baden

Fürsten zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
1812-1816 Johann Karl Ludwig
married to Princess and Landgravine Dorothea Wilhelm of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld
1816-1855 Georg
married first to Countess Ernestine Pualine of Pückler and Limburg
married second to Countess Charlote of Ysenburg-Büdingen in Philippseicj
1855-1861 Adolf
married (morganatic) to katharina Schlund, created Baroness of Saalburg 17821, created Fürstin zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg in 1833
1861-1881 Wilhelm
married first to Countess Olga Clara of Schönburg-Forderglauchau
married second (morganatic) to Bertha hagen, crated Baroness of Grünau
1881-1931 Ernst Alban
married to Countess Wanda of Wylich and Lottum
1931-1980 Udo
married to Countess Margarethe zu Castell-Castell
1980-2010 Alfred-Ernst
married to Ruth-Erika von Buggenhagen
since 2010 Ludwig
married  first to Verena von Stülpnagel
married second to Countess Elisabeth of Waldbug zu Wolfegg and Waldsee

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