Rittergut Störmede – then and now

The listed Rittergut Störmede looks back on a long and eventful history. Construction of the original building began in the 12th century under the self-proclaimed Werno von Störmede, originally Werno de Lippia. Since then the grounds have been destroyed, rebuilt, extended and housed occupants from different branches of the house’s resident noble dynasty.

The Rittergut in 1898

Over the course of time this dual lineage led to two, sometimes even three, manors of equal stature being built in Störmede and a need for these families to differentiate themselves from one another. So they invested in a new gatehouse for separate access. This building can be found today in modified state in what is referred to as the “Lübbeling”. The house is now used as a studio office.

Karl-Josef Freiherr von Ketteler and his brother were the last in the history of the resident nobility. Karl Josef felt compelled to reconstruct the history of all the manor families as well as the architectural design and transformation of Störmede castle using existing sources.

The Rittergut at the start of the 20 century

In the seventies, following the death of his father Richard Freiherr von Ketteler, the main building fell into disrepair and the ruins were quickly sold to the town of Geseke. The ruins remained in the hands of the town until 2010 when the Bröggelwirth family decided to purchase this part of the castle grounds in addition to the Manor, which they purchased in 2007 (the “Hohe Haus” or High House, a half timber-framed building from the 17th century ), and breathe new life into it.

Admittedly, the design of the castle and manor grounds in their current form do not reflect that of the original structure. The original structure, Werno von Störmede’s castle, was located in what is now the village’s Kirchplatz; numerous archaeological findings in the parish church point to this. The grounds of the castle were shifted to their current location in an unauthorised act by a Störmede nobleman. The story is that he used his Werno ancestors’s castle chapel to found his own church.

The Rittergut at the start of the 1960s

The intention was to offer the church to the village as a parish church. An age-old dispute had been raging between the nobleman in question and the former archbishop of Paderborn (and, for reasons of hegemony, the archbishop of Cologne was also heavily involved) – the nobility of the time were actually bound by contracts and vassalage to certain duties and restrictions – so transforming the castle’s chapel into a church probably added more fuel to the fire.

Although this castle wasn’t destroyed by the bishop in this instance, as was often the case in past feuds, the castle did have to be relinquished. A new building was erected, which resulted in the castle grounds being moved to their current location, where they were extended. In the longer term the noble von Hörde family (who replaced the von Störmede line in the 14th century) were no longer confronted with bishops and their destructive attacks, but they were plagued by fires, destruction and encroachments during the Faustrecht feud.

Towers and gatehouses, at least two permanent dwellings, which were located roughly where the “Hohe Haus” is located today, or barbicans, were erected before disappearing again. Archaeological findings also indicate various different ever-larger growing surrounding walls, and trenches, which surrounded the then castle grounds and village.

Rittergut falls into disrepair

What is significant in all the losses sustained is the ever-present, divided noble lineage, which is clearly reflected by the occupancy of two permanent residences. These were the so-called “Alte Haus” and the “Hohe Haus”; both were manors eligible for election to the Landtag state parliament. And, in an unusual architectural feature, another so-called “Mittlere Haus” or “middle house” was added.

The “Mittlere Haus” was, temporarily, a third noble residence for Alhard von Hörde, but it also represented the coat of arms of Bernd Sylvester von Hörde (a small gatehouse, with the Hörde wheel and the Störmede rose) who ultimately in the 17th century removed much of the old structure and started the construction of the grounds as they are now. As was proper in the 18th century, a summer house, referred to as the “Trillohaus”, was added and is still used as a residence today. It is located off the grounds to the south.

Journey through time

  • 1155

    Following enfeoffment, Werno de Lippia appoints himself Werno von Störmede – the first ruler’s residence (fortified house) is built. On the ruins of the previous Carolingian structure he builds a castle/palace on an artificial mound (a motte) in what was then already called the Marka Sturmithi (Sturmithi boundary). With its rampart and wall (2 metres deep) – this castle stands until 1230. This was situated on what is now Kirchplatz.

  • 1180

    Archaeological findings in the parish church indicate that sometime between 1180 and 1190 the grandsons of Werno de Lippia, Rabodo II. and Reinher II. sold their property to the archbishop of Cologne, Philipp v. Heinsberg (in other words, the noblemen became vassals, enforcing the obeisance “homagia” and subservience of the ministeriales to their new lord, the archbishop).

    However, Rabodo still referred to himself as a nobleman “nobilis”  in 1189. This led to proper laws being held in higher regard than vassalage, and to the unauthorised construction of other buildings, which subsequently led to destruction and rebuilding. In 1225, Reinherr II. built a second building away from the old castle; this one did not have the permission of the archbishop of Cologne either. This saw the start of the second lineage – something which is apparent in both buildings.

    This second building was likely located in the position of today's “Hohe Haus”. A ringwall was erected to extend the castle grounds, offering refuge for the now increased number of inhabitants, which gave rise to the first “Oppidum” – a fortified settlement which gave the castle the status of a refuge up until the 15th century.

  • 1233

    Reinher II.’s castle (Oppidum) is destroyed by the archbishop of Cologne. Reinher II. disappears from the lineage, Rabodo II. is alleged to have inherited everything. He is allowed to build again with permission and goes on to extend his own area. He expands westwards and links up to Trillobach in Störmede (later drained) and erects another tower

  • 1277

    The second castle and village (castrum and oppidum) are destroyed. Rebuilding commences, Albert II.’s extension is contained within the castle ring. A layout typical of the Middle Ages with rectangular outline and an intersecting axis of streets emerges, one that stills dominates the villagescape today. The village is provided with a wall and trenches and the castle relocated to the south west: the location of the current or former “castle”

  • 1280

    The castle is transferred to the von Hörde family (Friedrich I. von Hörde and Kunigunde I. von Störmede) – another dual lineage emerges in the families. Sons Thymmo and Albert VI. inherit the structures (Thymmo the “Alte Haus”, 1387). Another fixed dwelling is erected to the north of Albert II.’s new-build : the “Hohe Haus” – both houses are protected by a shared wall. The “Hohe Haus” is not located in the same place as it is now, but closer to the “Alte Haus”.

    The remnants of the north wall of the previous “Hohe Haus” were used to create the southern foundation of today’s house. The old “Hohe Haus“ was built on the remains of Reinher II.’s castle. A twin castle with two lords of equal rank is formed. What is remarkable for the Westphalian region in 1438 was that Albert II.’s wall would no longer have sufficed, moats around the “Hohe Haus” and the “Alte Haus” had probably been drained. A trench is dug, surrounding the “Alte Haus” in a  horseshoe shape, leaving a land bridge to the “Hohe Haus” – “Alte Haus“ sits on a peninsula

  • 1447

    Fire as a result of the Soest Feud. The castle is partially destroyed

  • 1483

    Nazareth monastery founded by the von Hördes

  • 1529

    Another “Mittlere Haus” emerges as part of the estate distribution, a third short-lived noble residence for Alhard von Hörde the elder The “Hohe Haus” falls to Lower Rhine knight Dietrich von Bocholtz in 1577 after his marriage to Elisabeth von Hörde. The house is given its own access due to disagreements between the von Bocholtz and the von Hörde. Johann von Hörde builds a gatehouse which, following a series of conversions, is now the Lübbeling

  • 1617

    Bernd Sylvester von Hörde installs a new fortress around the “Alte Haus”

  • 1650

    The von Korffs zu Harkotten family acquires the “Alte Haus” as a gift

  • 1746

    The “Hohe Haus” is rebuilt by the Bocholtz line in a style that reflects the building as it is today  – the von Bocholtzs also acquire the “Alte Haus” in around 1800 and thus ownership of all assets. The earliest known image of Störmede castle is from 1835. Renovations at around the end of the 19th century see the castle complex rearranged into a T-shape

  • 1879

    Possessions sold to Lippstädt merchant Dietrich Modersohn

  • 1885

    Sale to Friedrich Clemens von Ketteler, (Eringerfeld) the “Hohe Haus“ served as a caretaker’s residence at the end of the 60s: Lies empty following the death of the Baron von Ketteler while the “Alte Haus” gradually falls into disrepair

  • 1980

    The “Hohe Haus” is restored by former owners/caretakers

  • 1985

    The castle ruins are declared a listed historic monument

  • 2010

    The manor is acquired by the Bröggelwirth family and extended to create a modern restaurant and conference centre.

Text: Daniela Stursberg, art historian