Hagenwil is the only remaining intact water castle in eastern Switzerland. The first mention of the castle dates from 1264 when Rudolf von Hagenwil donated it to the Abbey of St. Gall. The donation was made in gratitude to the Abbot of St. Gall for rescuing Rudolf from his sons in law, who were holding him prisoner at Heitnau Castle in an attempt to receive their inheritance early. The donation included the right for Rudolf and his family to continue occupying the castle. After his son Ulrich died childless, the title to the castle transferred fully to the Abbey. The next time the castle is mentioned, in 1341, it was the fief of Hermann von Breitenlandenberg.
During the Appenzell Wars, in 1405, an Appenzell army marched through the Hagenwil area. While there is no record of an attack, the stone walls show evidence of a massive fire and many wooden beams date to between 1414 and 1425, indicating that the castle was probably damaged. In 1407 the castle and village were inherited by Konrad and Ulrich Paygrer. Konrad Paygrer died in 1446, and his widow quickly remarried. Her new husband, Burkhard Schenk von Castell, bought out the shares of the remaining heirs. However, in 1470, Jakob Paygrer bought Hagenwil back from his stepfather. When he died in 1504, his sons in law, Jakob von Reinach and Wilhelm von Bernhausen inherited the estates. The castle remained with the Bernhausen family for about 180 years.
During the Protestant Reformation the village of Hagenwil converted to the new faith in 1529. However, in 1536 they converted back to the Roman Catholic Church.
During the Thirty Years War, on 6 September 1633, the castle was attacked and captured by a Swedish army, though it only suffered minor damage. The last Bernhausen owner of the castle was a Lieutenant in the Swiss Guards in France. He had little interest in ever living in the castle and so sold it in 1683 to the Abbot of St. Gall for 25,000 Gulden. For over a century, the castle remained a possession of the Abbey and was occupied by a succession of overseers. The castle was often used as a summer palace for the Abbot. In 1786/87 a large residence was added on the eastern side of the castle. This building included a great hall and comfortable rooms for the Abbot.
After the 1798 French invasion of Switzerland and the creation of the Helvetic Republic the Abbey's estates, including Hagenwil, were nationalized. With the collapse of the Republic and the 1803 Act of Mediation, the Canton of St. Gallen was created, incorporating many of the Abbey's former estates. Two years later, in 1805, the Grand Council of the Canton decided to sell off much of the former estates including Hagenwil. Benedikt Angehrn bought the castle and in 1830 added a restaurant in the courtyard. In 1937/38 the castle was repaired and restored with the help of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Protection. The castle and restaurant are still owned by the Angehrn family.
The castle complex is a rough square surrounded by an 18th century 3.2 meters deep water filled moat. In the center of the complex is the 13th century main tower. The main tower is 13.2 by 10 meters, with unfinished, round stone walls that are up to 1.7 m thick. The original high entrance was on the northern side of the east wall, but was filled in when the west and east ground level entrances were opened, probably in 1551.
The ring wall was added in either the 13th or 14th centuries. Much of the southern wall and gate are from the original ring wall. During the 15th century a palas was built along the north wall, incorporating the old tower. The old north-west corner of the ring wall was demolished and a two story half-timbered residence was added. A gatehouse was first built near the south-east corner in 1485/86, though it was later replaced. The eastern buildings, the entrance hall and a chapel were added in 1786/87. The old gatehouse was replaced with another that has the date 1741 carved above the entrance.
Today the castle is open for tours by appointment. In addition the restaurant is open most days and many of the rooms are available for meetings and events.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.