The hamlet of Schoenfels is first mentioned by the name of Scindalasheim in a deed of 846 as a gift by Bishop Hetto of Trier to Abbot Marcuardus of Prüm.
By 1150 a document from the Abbey of Echternach refers to it as Schonefels. There follow frequent name changes over the next centuries: Schindelzein (1156), Schindelce (13th century), Scindelce (1239), Schindeltz (1434), Schindefeltz (1498), Schindviltz (1503), Schindfels (1506), Schinveltz (1517) , Schonfels (1574) as well as Schindleech, Schindals, Schinfeltz, Bellroch and finally by 1766 Schin- resp. Schoenfeltz. The name probably derives from the word scindula (shingle) meaning manufacture(r) of shingles.
In the 12th Century a person by the name of Theodorius of Schonevels is known. In 1292, before the invention of artillery, a fortified farm (primitive castle) was erected by a certain Ferri, aka Frederic of Schoenfels. It passed by marriage to the lords of Ansembourg, and later to the Sassenheims.
In the early 16th Century, Henry Schloeder von Lachen, Lord of Schoenfels and Busbach, acquired the estate. The Schloeder von Lachen coat of arms decorates the entrance to the tower.
The feudal castle of Schoenfels -of no great strategic value- was stripped of its fortifications by the French Army in 1683.
A quarrell between Theodore of Neunheuser and the Lord of Brandenburg resulted in the castle and village being burnt down on June 22nd 1690. Ch.-Antoine Schloeder von Lachen and Th. of Neunheuser began dividing their lands in 1700.
By marrying Marie-Catherine of Neunheuser in 1759 Pierre-François Gaillot Genouillace became Lord of Schoenfels. His son Francis Roman Gaillot, who had married Marie-Louise Cassal in 1774, sold his Schoenfels properties on 18th August 1813 to J B Thorn-Suttor, the Governor of the Province of Luxembourg during the Belgian period (1831-1839).
Owner of the castle since 1840, the Belgian Senator Jacques Engler, passed it on to his son in law Baron Auguste Goethals who had a splendid mansion built next to the mighty tower in 1870. The family Charles Van den Poll from The Hague inherited the castle and in 1948 sold the Schoenfels property with its vast woodlands to the timber merchant Camille Weiss, who -in turn - passed the castle to the Luxembourg state on 16th March, 1971. The mansion was demolished in 1976 by the Luxembourg State.
At present the renovation of the tower is underway. The plan is to install a visitor centre as well as the offices of the Water & Forestry Administration.References:
The Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, since the reign of Charles III 'the Noble' until its conquest by Castile (1512). The fortification is both castle and palace, although it was built more like a courtier building to fulfill a military function.
On an ancient Roman fortification was built during the reign of Sancho VII of Navarre (13th century) and extended by his successors Theobald I and Theobald II, which the latter was is installed in the palace in 1269 and there he signed the consent letter for the wedding of Blanche of Artois with his brother Henry I of Navarre, who in turn, Henry I since 1271 used the palace as a temporary residence. This ancient area is known as the Old Palace.
Then the palace was housing the Navarrese court from the 14th until 16th centuries, Since the annexation (integration) of the kingdom of Navarre for the Crown of Castile in 1512 began the decline of the castle and therefore its practically neglect and deterioration. At that time it was an official residence for the Viceroys of Navarre.
In 1813 Navarrese guerrilla fighter Espoz y Mina during the Napoleonic French Invasion burned the palace with the aim to French could not make forts in it, which almost brought in ruin. It is since 1937 when architects José and Javier Yarnoz Larrosa began the rehabilitation (except the non-damaged church) for the castle palace, giving it back its original appearance and see today. The restoration work was completed in 1967 and was paid by the Foral Government of Navarre.