Erbach Castle is a patrician Renaissance castle which origins date back to the 12th century. The purpose of the castle was to secure and safeguard the important crossing over the river Danube. The keep was built during the reign of the House of Hohenstaufen and explicitly mentioned in a document from 1384. The Gothic spire was added at the end of the 15th century. The original modest Romanesque castle was extended in the 16th century into a renaissance palace. In 1525 during the German Peasants' War the castle was damaged by revolting farmers of the Baltringer Haufen.
Hans von Paumgarten, a patrician from Augsburg, was enfeoffed with Erbach Castle in 1534. His heir, Hans Georg von Paumgarten, started works to rebuild the castle on a large scale in 1550: two wings alongside each other on top of large vaulted basement rooms, three storeys high with four more levels under the roofs. The works were completed in 1555, ruining Hans Georg von Paumgarten.
In 1612 Hans Ludwig of Ulm became lord of Erbach. During the Thirty Years' War Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, one of the foremost Protestant generals, resided at Erbach Castle in 1633. Following a prolonged period of occupation by Swedish troops, the castle was left in an uninhabitable state. After the Thirty Years' War a pleasure garden, non-existent today, was added to the castle. The last substantial alterations to the castle were carried out in the first half of the 18th century. In 1902 the castle was decorated in neo-baroque style.
Erbach Castle was inspired by the architectural style employed by patricians of the larger cities, evidence for which are crow-stepped gables and the gabled roofs. Entrance to the castle is via a drawbridge, followed by a gate. The castle courtyard is surrounded by mews and outbuildings. In the courtyard there is a hand-drawn water well. The Baroque castle chapel is situated at the end of the main hall.
The so-called Renaissance Room was altered in 1884 for the last time; other rooms worth mentioning are the Small Smoking room, the Maria-Theresia-Drawing room, the Brown Drawing room, the Red Drawing room and the Clerical Drawing room.
Erbach Castle is still in private hands, owned by the barons of Ulm-Erbach who also run the castle museum. Parts of the castle are used as a restaurant while the basement houses a theatre.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.