Manderscheid Lower Castle
Manderscheid Lower Castle, locally known as the Niederburg of the Manderscheider Burgen, lies next to the town of Manderscheid, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region in Germany.
Next to the town of Manderscheid the river Liesel has carved a deep winding valley. On both sides of the river stands a castle. On the north side, on a hill, the oldest and highest of the two; Manderscheid Upper Castle. On the south side, on a rocky outcrop, the younger and lower Manderscheid Lower Castle.
Manderscheid Lower Castle was first mentioned in 1133, when it started to be built as an outer bailey of the Upper Castle. The Upper Castle was then held by Richard von Manderscheid as a fief from Henry IV, Count of Luxembourg. Around 1146 a feud started between Henry IV and Albero de Montreuil, Archbishop of Trier, and Albero besieged the Upper Castle and took it from Henry. After peace was settled the Archbishop was allowed to keep the castle. The Lords of Manderscheid then settled on the Lower Castle. The Lower Castle was then built up to become a full castle on its own.
Hostilities between the Archbishopric of Trier and the County of Luxembourg continued. In 1332 the Archbishop granted the village of Manderscheid city rights. In reaction Wilhelm V von Manderscheid considerably enlarged and strengthened the Lower Castle, incorporating the small hamlet beneath it within its walls.
Between 1346 and 1348 the Lower Castle was unsuccesfully besieged by Baldwin of Luxembourg, Archbishop-Elector of Trier, and William V, Duke of Jülich. Up until 1427 the damaged castle was being rebuilt by Dietrich I von Manderscheid. In 1457 the Manderscheid family were elevated to Counts by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III.
Due to inheritance the County of Manderscheid was divided up in 1488. This left the Lower Castle uninhabited except for caretakers.
In 1606 Countess Magdalena, niece of Dietrich IV von Manderscheid, and her husband Count Steno von Löwenhaupt-Rasburg moved in the Lower Castle. As the Count tried to introduce Lutheranism, the castle was besieged in 1618 by troops of Archbishop Albrecht of Austria on the orders of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, and the Count was arrested.
In 1673 the Lower Castle was badly damaged by the French troops of Louis XIV. This started the decay of the castle, although it was still inhabited in 1794. Then the French revolutionary troops invaded the region. They found the castle empty, as the inhabitants had already fled to their lands in Bohemia. The French then destroyed the castle and, in the early 19th century, auctioned its ruin off for demolition.
Several private owners followed until 1899 when the Manderscheid Lower Castle was bought by the Eifelverein (a German rambling club). They consolidated the ruin and from then on, slowly but surely, started restorations.
At present the ruin of Manderscheid Lower Castle is still owned by the Eifelverein and it can be visited for a fee. A beautiful ruin, especially in combination with the Upper Castle. Recommendable.