Neuleiningen Castle was built in 1238-1241 by Count Frederick III of Leiningen. The French destroyed it in 1690 and it has lain in ruins since that time. Together with, Battenberg Castle, 1,400 metres to the south, the castle controlled the entrance to the Eckbach valley. Passing between various lines of the family, the castle remained the property of the Leiningens for over 200 years. In 1468, Prince-Elector Frederick the Victorious of the Palatinate became involved in inheritance disputes amongst the Leiningens and seized possession of the castle by force. In 1508, after passing through several intermediate arrangements, an agreement was reached: the castle would be divided between the Bishopric of Worms and the counts of Leiningen-Westerburg.
In 1525, during the Peasants' War, the castle was opened to the rebellious farmers without a fight and, having been hosted by Countess Eva (1481–1543) in a friendly and generous way, the farmers left without causing great damage. Local poet, Paul Münch, described this historical episode in his Palatine poem Die Gräfin Eva vun Neileininge. Even in Thirty Years' War the castle only suffered minor damage.
During the War of the Palatine Succession, however, invading French troops razed the entire site in 1690. Its two owners, Leiningen-Westerburg and the Bishopric of Worms, could not agree to rebuild the castle in the period that followed – Leiningen being for, and Worms being against, the idea. In 1767, Charles of Leiningen-Westerburg finally sold the Leiningen half to Worms.
In the wake of the French Revolution the castle ruins were seized by secular authorities and passed in 1804 into the hands of the municipality of Neuleiningen, who, sold it just four years. In 1874, Charles Emich of Leiningen-Westerburg bought it back again for his family.
From the observation tower of the castle there is an outstanding view of the Upper Rhine Valley to the east, the mountains of the Palatinate Forest to the south and west and the massif of the Donnersberg to the northwest. Near the castle is the Old Vicarage (Alte Pfarrey), which was first recorded in 1524 and which houses a gourmet restaurant today.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.