© StadtGeschichte Künzelsau e.V.       2017 - 2024
1. From the beginning of the Ganerben Era about 1100 until the end of 1802 The fragmented nature of the franconian states in the Middle Ages is reflected in the relatively small size of the sovereign regions in our area. First documented record of Künzelsau appears in the names of Helmerich and Konrad of Cunzelshowe, who were considered the descendents of the local franconian nobel family, the von Steins. The von Stein barons were probably called after the Kochersteinfelsen, the rocky cliff above the river Kocher near present-day Scheurachshof, which is where they originally settled. It can be assumed that they were the first occupiers of Künzelsau. They probably were granted the tenure by the franconian royal court. The origin of the name Künzelsau could be drawn from one of the von Stein descendants, a certain Kunzilo. This same Kunzilo built a castle on the Kocher's fluvial plain near the entry of the Künsbach, which flows through Künzelsau today. The Abbey of Komburg gained partial possession of Künzelsau. As far as we know today, Mechthild von Stein, one of the last of the von Stein lineage, donated the bulk of the von Stein properties to the Abbey of Komburg (near present-day Schwäbisch Hall), which brought with it properties and rights in Künzelsau. The remainder of the von Stein properties presumably went to close relatives, such as the knights of Künzelsau and Bartenau. First documented record of the noble von Stetten family, whose descendants today still live in one of the best preserved castles of the Staufer era in Germany, situated above Kocherstetten close to Künzelsau. The von Stetten family includes many important figures, and was one of the Ganerben who had a great influence on the development of Künzelsau. The two ruling families of Bartenau and Künzelsau owned and lived together in a castle on the present-day area of Schloss Bartenau - this can be regarded as the birth of the Künzelsau Ganerben alliance. Ganerben were members of hereditory communities which had legally defined rights and privileges For over 500 years (until 1802) Künzelsau was jointly ruled by several Ganerben.("Gan-" in Old German means "Joint" or "common"). The Abbey of Komburg was granted patronage rights to the church in Künzelsau, which was, and still is, dedicated to John the Baptist (who is also commemorated in the Künzelsau coat of arms). Expansion of the influence of the Hohenlohe lineage in Künzelsau.The most powerful noble family in the region, the Hohenlohe lineage, claimed partial authority of Künzelsau in order to limit its economic and political development which would challenge the Hohenlohe residence in Ingelfingen. The Stetten lineage joins the Ganerben alliance. On the death of the Künzelsau and Bartenau nobles, their properties passed to their relatives, the von Stettens, who then became members of the Ganerben alliance. In the years to follow, the rivalry between the Stetten and Hohenlohe Ganerben would dominate the history of Künzelsau. The free city of Hall becomes a further member of the Ganerben alliance. The Archbishopric of Mainz joins the Ganerben alliance.Through the sale of a part of their Künzelsau properties to Mainz, Stetten gained an important ally in the increasingly acrimonious relationship with Hohenlohe. The partial occupation of the Stetten castle by Hohenloher troops led to an escalation of the conflict between Hohenlohe and Stetten, and which culminated in the so-called Tierberger feud. This was defused through the intervention of the new Ganerben, the Archbishop of Mainz. The Archbishop of Mainz was subsequently instrumental in the signing of the Burgfriedensvertrag (Peace Treaty) of Künzelsau, which was a state of peace within the jurisdiction of a castle, under which feuds or conflicts between private individuals were forbidden under threat of the imperial ban. This led to an agreement between the Ganerben to support a joint administration of Künzelsau and to a "perpetual peace" within the pacified area. This area was defined as the land lying between four treaty stones erected at the extreme points, three of which are still in existence.This agreement was valid until the end of the Ganerben era in 1802 and resulted in a period of peaceful local government in Künzelsau. The Archbishopric of Würzburg acquires Stetten properties and becomes the fifth Ganerbe. A major fire in Künzelsau destroys more than 60 buildings, including the town hall, and damages the castle. The Künzelsau town hall is rebuilt. The Reformation reaches Künzelsau.Since some of the Ganerben remained catholic (Mainz and Würzburg) and some became lutheran (Hohenlohe, Stetten and Schwäbisch Hall), there was considerable discussion as to which religion the population of Künzelsau should be allocated. It was finally decided that Künzelsau should be protestant, but there was still conflict between Hohenlohe and Stetten as to who should have the power of decision in religious matters. Thanks to the large number of artisans and to the flourishing trade at the markets, Künzelsau gains a reputation as "Little Nürnberg" Künzelsau was not spared from the plundering and deadly attacks of advancing soldiers during the Thirty Years War. However, the hardships remained at a relatively endurable level, since two of the Ganerben (Hohenlohe and Stetten) sided with the protestant union and two (Mainz and Würzburg) with the catholic union. As a result, Künzelsau always had support from one or other of the Ganerben as the war progressed. Construction of the Künzelsau castle begins. Count Johann Ludwig zu Hohenlohe expanded the existing castle by adding three floors to form a late renaissance edifice. His death in 1689 and that of his widow in 1691 brought an end to the Künzelsau lineage of Hohenlohe and the castle passed on to other Hohenlohe nobles until it was sold to the Kingdom of Württemberg almost 200 years later. The first stone bridge over the Kocher is built. The architect and master builder was Peter Sommer, one of the artistic Sommer family of Künzelsau. Triumphal arch in the Johannes Church in Künzelsau.This arch in baroque style was designed and constructed by Johann Jakob Sommer. The organ in similar style was also a work produced in 1765 in the atelier of the Sommer family (Johann Andreas Sommer). The pulpit was designed and constructed in 1617 by Leonhard Kern, a sculptor and woodcarver from the second major baroque atelier in Hohenlohe. The artistic doorway of the Johannes pharmacy in Künzelsau is a further example of the work of the Sommer family. The end of the Stetten's Ganerben status through the purchase of the last Stetten properties, the Abbey of Komburg regained a place among the Ganerben and Stetten finally left the alliance. First known church bell from the Lösch foundry in Morsbach, 5 km east of Künzelsau.This family were casting church bells for approximately 100 years and expanded their activities from Morsbach to Crailsheim and St Georgen near Bayreuth. They produced over 100 church bells, and also manufactured fire brigade equipment. Death of August Faust, chronicler of Künzelsau: Only some time after 1900 it was discovered that August Faust, a tradesman, had written an important chronicle on Künzelsau and the region. A copy can be viewed in the town library. Weather damage in Belsenberg. After torrential rain on the Steinbach plateau, local streams were swollen with large quantities of water which caused severe damage in the village. Künzelsau became a city : After almost twenty years in construction, the city wall was completed and replaced the palisade stockade which had existed until then. From this time onwards the market town of Künzelsau was classified as a city, without, however, ever being documented as such. The end of Ganerben rule. Künzelsau fell under the rule of the Hohenlohe nobles. (1802 - 1806). Napoleon's "German mediatisation", which led to the end of nine hundred years of the German Empire, also included "secularisation", which involved expropriation of religious properties in favour of the local nobles. Hohenlohe, which was the only remaining non-religious Ganerben, took over all properties of the religious rulers (Komburg, Mainz and Würzburg) and thus became sole ruler of Künzelsau until 1806.
II. Documented Künzelsau history under chronological headings :
um 1100
ab 1600
forward 1806 to 1948 >> forward 1806 to 1948 >>
Town History - Time Line