The name of the rulers of the Trachselwald Castle was first mentioned in 1131. The castle itself may date back to the 10th century but the 11th or 12th century is more likely. At first it belonged to the barons of Trachselwald, then to the barons of Rüti bei Lyssach, and then those of Sumiswald. The barons of Sumiswald sold the castle and surrounding lands to the city of Bern. Bern turned the castle into a sheriffhood.
The castle was rebuilt or expanded several times. Its oldest parts are the keep, which was built out of tuff, and one half of the main building. These parts of the castle were built in the second half of the 12th century. The stair tower was probably built by a master craftsman from Prismell in 1641.
During the Swiss peasant war of 1653, the peasant leader Niklaus Leuenberger, who was arrested on June 19, 1653 was held in Castle Trachselwald until being taken to Bern, where he was executed on August 27.
The castle was sacked during the 1798 French invasion, but was not burned. It became the center of administration of the district of Trachselwald.
The first castle consisted of a square keep that was about 10 m on each side. The keep and outer walls are made of tuff stone cut into roughly squared blocks which indicates construction before 1200. The dendrochronology dating of the beams indicates that they came from 1251 to 1253. Along with the keep, part of the main building was added during the first construction period. The original keep was probably surrounded by an elliptical ring wall.
In the 14th century the original two story keep doubled in height. In the 16th or 17th century a palas, dungeon and other buildings were added to the castle. The new additions were built in a Romanesque style, which included larger windows and thinner walls. A stair tower was added in 1641 and a granary was built in 1683. The palas was renovated during the 17th and 18th century into its current appearance. In 1751 a new, more decorative gate house was built along with a french garden.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.