Berwartstein Castle was one of the rock castles that were part of defences of the Palatinate during the Middle Ages. There is no definite record of the origins of the castle or its name. The name 'Berwartstein Castle' is mentioned for the first time in a document dating from 1152, when the castle was granted by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Bishop Günther of Speyer.
During the 13th century, feudal tenants, who carried the name von Berwartstein, inhabited the castle, which they used as a base for raids in the manner of robber barons. The imperial cities of Strasbourg and Hagenau joined forces against the von Berwartsteins. Following several weeks of futile attacks against the castle, they succeeded in taking it in 1314, with the help of a traitor. A large amount of booty and about 30 prisoners were taken to Strasbourg. The knights of Berwartstein were permitted to buy the prisoners back for a large ransom. The knights of Berwartstein were forced to sell their castle to the brothers Ort and Ulrich von Weingarten. Four years later the castle became the property of Weissenburg Abbey.
The monastery at Weissenburg placed the castle in stewardship and established a feudal system. This allowed for the dismissal of vassals who became too presumptuous. Thus the monastery held possession of the castle for some time. This could have continued indefinitely had the last steward of the castle (Erhard Wyler) not gone too far. When he began feuding with the knights of Drachenfels, the Elector of the Palatinate took the opportunity to bring the Berwartstein Castle under his control.
Because of his dynastic ambitions, the Elector of the Palatinate wanted to bring all of the Weissenburg estate under his control. To accomplish this, in 1480 he ordered the knight, Hans von Trotha, who was Marshal and Commander in Chief of the Palatinate forces, to acquire to Berwartstein. In this way he could enlarge the property at a cost to the Monastery of Weissenburg. For the quarrelsome knight this was a pleasure to fulfil, since this gave him a chance to take personal revenge on the Abbot of Weissenburg. Years before, Abbot Heinrich von Homburg had imposed a church fine on his brother, Bishop Thilo.
As a starting point for this conquering expedition, this experienced warrior first renovated the castle to improve its appearance. He built strong ramparts and bastions as well as the outwork and tower called Little France. After von Trotha's death, Berwartstein Castle was inherited by his son Christoph and, when he died, it went to his son-in-law, Friedrich von Fleckenstein and remained in the hands of this family for three generations. During this time, the castle was destroyed by fire in 1591, and, since there is no mention of any attacks, it is presumed that the castle was hit by lightning.
Even though the main sections of the castle were not destroyed by the fire, it stood empty and unused for many years. In the Peace of Westphalia (1648), Berwartstein received special mention, when it was granted to Baron Gerhard von Waldenburg, known as Schenkern, a favorite of Emperor Ferdinand III. Since he did not restore the castle, it fell into ruins.
A certain Captain Bagienski purchased the castle in 1893. In 1922, it was sold to Aksel Faber of Copenhagen, and thus went into foreign ownership. Since he was seldom in Germany, he asked Alfons Wadlé to be his steward. Later Wadlé he was able to purchase the castle.
The village of Erlenbach below the castle was completely destroyed during World War II, and its inhabitants sought shelter in the castle. After the war, the roof had gone as well as the woodwork around windows, doors, staircases and other furnishings. Since the castle was not financially supported, Alfons Wadlé went about the renovation himself. At first he was only able to do what was essential to protect the castle from the elements.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.