During the High Middle Ages the Freiherr von Rümligen owned a vast swathe of land between the Gürbe and Sense rivers. The first appearance of the family in the historical record is in 1076 when Lütold von Rümligen founded Rüeggisberg Priory. By the 13th century they were allied with Bern and in 1320-21 Berchtold von Rümligen (1294-1337) was the Schultheiss in Bern. The Simmental and Summerau lines of the Rümligen family eventually split off and gained extensive lands of their own.
In 1380 the Sommerau-Rümligen family merged back into the main line and inherited the land when Alisa von Rümligen married Peter von Sommerau. In 1388 the Freiherren came under Bernese control, though they continued to own the estates for another century and a half. Gilian von Sommerau-Rümligen was the grandson of Peter and a bailiff in several Bernese cities. He was also a Bernese captain in the Battle of Nancy in 1447. However, his descendants quickly became impoverished and sold the Herrschaft of Rümligen to Bern for 370 pounds. The last Freiherr von Rümligen died unmarried in 1579.
By the 17th century a series of Bernese patrician families owned Rümligen. After passing through a couple of owners, in 1634 Johann Rudolf von Erlach bought the castle and estates. His grandson sold it in 1680 to Ferdinand von Wattenwyl. They sold the castle to Samuel Frisching who passed it on to his son Samuel Frisching (II) when he died in 1683. In 1709 Samuel Frisching (II) built a new Baroque castle around the medieval core. Frisching had a distinguished career. In 1712 as the head of the Bernese War Council he commanded the Protestant Bernese troops to victory in the Toggenburg War. In 1715 he was elected Schultheiss of Bern, an office he held until his death on 23 October 1723.
Following the 1798 French invasion and the creation of the Helvetic Republic the owners of the castle retained it by lost their manorial rights over the villagers. Rümligen remained with the Frisching family until the marriage of Alette Sophie Rosine Frisching to Friedrich von Wattenwyl von Bursinel in 1838. Following the death of their son, Friedrich von Wattenwyl in 1877, the castle was inherited by Dr. Ludwig Moritz Albert Tscharner who often lived at the castle until his death in 1927.
The medieval tower is still visible above the castle, though it was given a Baroque mansard roof in the 18th century. It is possible that the medieval castle was built on or included a much earlier, Roman era watch tower. The residential wing to the south of the tower is probably also medieval, but was extensively rebuilt at the same time. The tower and wing partly enclose a garden and courtyard which were cut into the hill side.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.