A predecessor of current Oberhausen palace was a medieval castle about 200 meters away from today's location. This 12th or 13th century building has now completely disappeared. In 1443 the moated castle controlling an Emscher River passage fell to the von der Hoven clan based in the fiefdom of Kleve. In 1615, Overhus then passed on to become the domain of Conrad von Boenen. The castle was often plundered and seized due to its advantageous position at the important Emscher transition, as took place in the Eighty Years' War for example.
In the late 18th century Oberhausen was left to decay. In 1801 it was leased to Maximilian Friedrich Graf von Westerholt-Gysenberg and daughter-in-law Friederike Karoline von Bretzenheim, the illegitimate daughter of the Bavarian-Palatinate elector Karl Theodor. Because the neglected castle was deemed inappropriate for their social status, Maximilian Friedrich commissioned the architect August Reinking in 1803 to draw up plans for the renovation and extension of an approximately 200-metre-long inn and posting station to the north-west of the castle to become a neoclassical manor house. Schloss Oberhausen was constructed and fitted out according to these plans as a noble place of residency between approximately 1804 and 1820/1821. From 1808 the landscape architect and Dusseldorf court gardener Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe designed the manor house park and gardens.
In 1983 the collecting couple Peter and Irene Ludwig established the Ludwig Institut für Kunst der DDR (Ludwig Institute for Art of the German Democratic Republic) in Oberhausen with a permanent loan of 500 works dedicated to East German art, and brought with them works from Bernhard Heisig, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Willi Sitte and Werner Tübke. In 1996 Peter and Irene Ludwig initiated a new concept for the location in the form of the Ludwig Galerie Schloss Oberhausen.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.