Ellingen belonged to the Teutonic Order from 1216 onwards and was the Residence of the Territorial Commander of the Bailiwick of Franconia. This was the most powerful bailiwick in the Teutonic Order, and the small town of Ellingen thus represented the centre of a far-reaching territorial and economic power.
At the time when today’s palace was built, however, the Teutonic Order had already become a charitable institution for the lower aristocracy. The site of today’s palace was previously occupied by various medieval buildings, as well as a highly prestigious Renaissance building. Starting in 1708, the present palace grounds were built and the late Gothic church was converted to the Baroque style. The vast main building was built by the architect Franz Keller from 1718 to 1720.
Of the interior decorations, the ceiling frescos, wall panelling, floors and above all the stucco work by Franz Joseph Roth have survived. The colonnade in the inner courtyard is part of the conversion work carried out by French architect Michel d’Ixnard and was newly erected around 1775.
In 1789, the seat of the Bailiwick of Franconia was moved to Bad Mergenheim. This effectively closed the history of Ellingen Palace as the Residence of the Teutonic Order. A few years later, the Order was almost completely dissolved and ownership of Ellingen passed to the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1815, King Max I Joseph presented the palace to his outstanding field-marshal, Carl Philipp, Prince of Wrede, who had several rows of rooms newly decorated with enormously expensive silk and paper wallpapers, furniture, glass and bronzes from Paris. Together with the stucco work and furniture by Michel d’Ixnard, these rooms are now among the most important interior design works dating from the Classicist period in Bavaria.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.