Young Schiller’s inspiration
Altenmuhr Castle, Muhr am See, Franconia (Bavaria)
Some background information:
The village of Muhr am See near the northern waterfront of the lake Altmuehlsee once used to be surrounded by four castles: Altenmuhr, Neuenmuhr, Mittelmuhr and Julienberg. Two of them, Neuenmuhr and Mittelmuhr, were almost completely demolished in 1835 and nowadays only some remains of their moats and foundation walls can be viewed. Merely Altenmuhr and Julienberg stood the test of time, but at present Julienberg is also at risk of dereliction.
In regard to the origin of Altenmuhr Castle, two oral lore are known: One says that the castle was already built in the 10th century during the period of the Magyar invasions. The other ones says that it was built not before 1246 by the noble chevalier Conrad von Lentersheim, who found his family seat Lentersheim Castle completely destroyed after coming home with emperor Friedrich II’s army from a campaign in the Lombardy and therefore had to build a new castle.
Originally designed as a square fortification, Altenmuhr Castle once used to be protected by a castle moat and walls with four round turrets in its corners, which already entirely vanished. But the main buildings including the donjon are still existent and in good shape. Historical investigations resulted in findings that the oldest parts of the castle (or more specifically the donjon and some foundation walls) already date back to the 12th century, which supports the folk memory according to which the castle was already built before 1246.
Anyhow, in the 16th and 17th century the main buildings of Altenmuhr Castle were reconstructed several times. A detailed description of the castle and its owners at that time can be found in records from the year 1551: According to them the owners were the members of the noble family von Muhr, who also used to be the hereditary seneschals of Eichstaett. Later the estate entered into possession of the baronial family von Danckelmann. But in the 19th century Altenmuhr Castle changed hands again, Since then it’s the property of the baronial family von Le Suire. The current owner baron Andreas von Le Suire makes every effort to preserve the castle for his own family and the village of Muhr am See.
By the way, the castles of Muhr am See were immortalised by the famous German poet Friedrich Schiller in his very first drama "The Robbers" (published in 1781). Schiller renamed the family von Muhr "von Moor", but it’s verified by extensive historical and literary studies, that Schiller could only have had the castles and the family von Muhr in mind when writing his "Robbers". Therefore twelve of the drama’s fifteen tableaus are set in the village of Muhr am See, so to speak.