During the High Middle Ages a fortified church with a ring wall and perhaps a tower was built near the current Steinsberg Castle. By the end of the 12th century, these fortifications were demolished and a new castle was built above formerly fortified plateau and the Church of St. Lazius. It was probably built for a local noble family. In 1209 Albert von Frickingen sold all his estates and villages as well as the castle above Ardez to the Bishop of Chur. Count Albert von Tirol also had a claim on the lands, but in 1228 relinquished his claim to the Bishop of Chur. The castle became the center of the ecclesiastical estates in the area. In 1348 the Bishop pledgedthe castle and lands to the Planta family for a loan of 150 Marks. In 1359, the Bishop again pledged the castle to the Lords of Katzenstein for 700 Gulden. In 1411 it was pledged to Georg Scheck. Despite attempts from the Bishop to regain ownership of the castle, the Scheck family retained it until 1502.
In 1499, during the Swabian War, the castle was captured by imperial troops on 25 March. They burned the castle and the current owner Balthasar Scheck was taken to Merano and executed. In 1502 the heavily damaged castle was pledged to Hans von Planta. He and his son spent the remainder of the 16th century trying to get the Bishop of Chur to pay interest owed on the loan. At some point during that century, they abandoned the ruined castle. As the Three Leagues grew in power, they repeatedly denied the Bishop the right to appoint a vogt over Steinsberg. The nearby church was abandoned during the Protestant Reformation. In 1861 Emanuel von Planta-Wildenberg purchased the ruins and surrounding lands from the Bishop for 1000 Gulden. The ruins were repaired in 1964 and 1985.
The top of the hill has about 100 by 100 meters of space for buildings with steep sides all around. The castle occupies the highest point on the hill. Its four story keep was about 6.5 by 8.5 meters (21 ft × 28 ft) in size. The style of the stone work changes above the second story, indicating that it was either added later or repaired. The high entrance was to the south on the second floor. The upper stories have window seats from the 14th century and were either added then, or they were part of the new construction or repair. A residential wing was built east of the tower, against the ring wall. The castle was probably encircled by the ring wall, though only traces remain.
The ruins of the Romanesque church of St. Luzius are north of the castle. Unusually, the nave of this church runs north and south.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).