Frankenstein Castle is a medieval fortification on a spur above the village of Frankenstein. The name first appeared in a document of 1146 mentioning the free nobleman Helenger of Frankenstein. But the beginning of the castle is assumed to be at an earlier date because the erection of a defensive tower around 1100 is reported in various documents.
The tower belonged to nearby Limburg Abbey in charge of security on the road to Speyer, Dürkheim und Worms. In 1205, the monastery commissioned the counts of Leiningen with this task. The counts had the tower expanded to a castle in the beginning of the 13th. century.
From 1204 to 1231, documents mention the knights Marquard, Friedrich and Helenger von Frankenstein as administrators in charge of the castle. Around 1390 Frankenstein Castle became a joint heritage castle when Limburg Abbey pledged half of the castle to the Lords of Einselthum. A part of this pledge was taken over by the counts of Nassau -Saarbrücken and Leiningen-Hardenburg in the beginning of the 15th. century.
In the second half of the 15th. century the castle was damaged in the struggles between Prince-elector Frederick I and Count Palatine Ludwig I of Zweibrücken. The castle suffered further damage, presumably in 1512, when the Count of Nassau conquered it on orders of emperor Maximilian I. During the German Peasants' War the castle was destroyed and was considered uninhabitable as of 1560. Nevertheless it served military purposes because of its strategic position.
In the Thirty Years' War the Spanish General Ambrosio Spinola captured the castle. In the War of the Spanish Succession it was used to accommodate French troops. It is confirmed that these troops still used the castle chapel for mass in 1703.
In 1706, the Electoral Palatinate took possession of the Nassau-Saarbrücken share of the castle.
After the Palatinate had become part of Bavaria, the ruins of the castle were secured in 1883–84. Another upgrading took place in 1938–39.
Today the castle is owned by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In the 1970s and 1980s some parts oft the castle were restored and foundations of a previously unknown shield wall were unearthed.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.