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Mespelbrunn Castle is a medieval moated castle on the territory of the town of Mespelbrunn, between Frankfurt and Würzburg, built in a remote tributary valley of the Elsava valley, within the Spessart forest. One of the most visited water castles in Germany, it is frequently featured in tourist books.
The first precursor of Mespelbrunn Castle was a simple house. The owner was Hamann Echter, vizedom of Aschaffenburg, a title which means that he was the representant of the ruler the prince elector archbishop of Mainz Johann II of Nassau at the castle and town of Aschaffenburg. On May 1, 1412, the prince elector bestowed the „Place to the Espelborn" to Echter, who constructed a house without fortifications in the valley close to a pond. The Echter family originates from the Odenwald region. Their name presumably means "der die Acht vollstreckt", the executor of the ostracism. These times, the Spessart was a wild and unexploited virgin forest, used for hideout by bandits and Hussites, who spoiled the regions nearby. Therefore in 1427 Hamann Echter, the son of the first owner, began to rebuild his father's house to a fortified castle with walls, towers and a moat, therefore using the nearby pond.
Only the "Bergfried", the round tower is a reminiscent of that time. The following generations changed the defense structures to a representative manor-house, mainly build in the style of Renaissance. Today's appearance primary is the result of rebuildings, made between 1551 and 1569 by Peter Echter of Mespelbrunn and his wife Gertraud of Adelsheim.
Most famous member of the family was Julius Echter, prince bishop of Würzburg, who founded the Juliusspital, a hospital in Würzburg in 1576 and the university of Würzburg in 1583.
In 1648, the last member of the family, Maria Ottilia, Echterin of Mespelbrunn, married Philipp Ludwig, of Ingelheim, member of a family of barons, later arose to counts of Ingelheim. By permission of the emperor the name of the Echter family was saved, because they were allowed to merge their names to Counts of Ingelheim called Echter of and to Mespelbrunn.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia