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A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe for an appointed official, a governor of a castle and its surrounding territory referred to as the castellany. The title of governor is retained in the English prison system, as a remnant of the medieval idea of the castellan as head of the local prison.The word stems from the Latin Castellanus, derived from castellum "castle". Sometimes also known as a constable of the castle district, the Constable of the Tower of London is, in fact, a form of castellan, with representative powers in the local or national assembly. A castellan was almost always male, but could occasionally be female, as when, in 1194, Beatrice of Bourbourg inherited her father's castellany of Bourbourg upon the death of her brother, Roger. Similarly, Agnes became the castellan of Harlech Castle upon the death of her husband John de Bonvillars in 1287.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, foreign tribes migrated into western Europe, causing strife. The answer to recurrent invasion was to create fortified areas which evolved into castles. Some military leaders gained control of several areas, each with a castle. The problem lay in exerting control and authority in each area when a leader could only be in one place at a time. To overcome this, they appointed castellans as their trusted vassals to manage a castle in exchange for obligations to the landlord, often a noble.In the ninth century, as fortifications improved and kings had difficulty making their subordinates pay their taxes or send the military aid they demanded, castellans grew in power, holding their fiefdoms without much concern for their overlord's demands. This changed as kings grew in power and as the Holy Roman Emperors replaced recalcitrant vassals with rival ministerial appointments.
Usually the duties of a castellan consisted of military responsibility for the castle's garrison, maintaining defences and protecting the castle's lands, combined with the legal administration of local lands and workers including the castle's domestic staff. The responsibility applied even where there was no resident castellan at the castle, or if he was frequently absent.A castellan could exercise the power of the "ban" – that is, to hear court cases and collect fines, taxes from residents, and muster local men for the defence of the area or the realm. There are similarities with a Lord of the Manor. Castellans had the power to administer all local justice, including sentencing and punishments up to and including the death penalty, as when, in 1111, the Salzburg castellan caught the minister fomenting armed rebellion and had the offender blinded, "as one would a serf". Later the castellan came to serve as the representative of the people of his castellany. So happened in the case of the castellan of Bruges, when the burghers stood up for more privileges and liberties from the counts of Flanders.
A particular responsibility in western Europe concerned jurisdiction over the resident Jewish communities bordering the English Channel. The Constable of the Tower of London and those castellans subordinate to the dukes of Normandy were responsible for their administration. Vivian Lipman posits four reasons for this: the castles provided defence, they were centres of administration, their dungeons were used as prisons, and castellans could turn to the Jewish community to borrow money as usury was forbidden to Catholics.
A castellany, or castellania, is a term denoting a district administered by a castellan.Castellanies appeared during the Middle Ages and in most current states are now replaced by a more modern type of county subdivision. The word is derived from castle and literally means the extent of land and jurisdiction attached to a given castle.
There are equivalent, often cognate, terms in other languages. Examples of French châtelainies include the castellanies of Ivry-la-Bataille, Nonancourt, Pacy-sur-Eure, Vernon and Gaillon, all in Normandy, which under in the treaty of Issoudun of 1195, after a war with king Richard I of England, were acquired for the French crown by Philip Augustus.
Examples of castellanies in Poland include: Łęczyca and Sieradz (both duchies at one time), Spycimierz, Rozprza, Wolbórz now in the Lodz Voivodeship, and Wojnicz now in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship or Otmuchów in Silesia.
In France, castellans (known in French as châtelains) who governed castellanies without a resident count, acquired considerable powers such that the position became hereditary. By the tenth century, the fragmentation of power had become so widespread that in Mâcon, for instance, where the castellany was the basic unit of governance, there was no effective administrative level above it, so that the counts of Mâcon were largely ignored by their subordinate castellans from about 980 to 1030. In the 12th century châtelains had become "lords" in their own right and were able to expand their territories to include weaker castellanies. Thus the castellan of Beaujeu was able to take over lands in Lyons, or the castellan of Uxelles annexed first Briançon, then Sennecey-le-Grand and finally l'Épervière.
In other areas, castellans did not manage to rise to noble status and remained the local officer of a noble. During the Ancien Régime, castellans were heads of local royal administration, and their power was further delegated to their lieutenants.
All remaining lordships and local royal administrators were suppressed during the French Revolution. During the 19th and 20th centuries, châtelain was used to describe the owner of a castle or manor house, in many cases a figure of authority in his parish, akin to the English squire.
In Germany the castellan was known as a Burgmann , or sometimes Hauptmann ("captain"), who reported to the lord of the castle, or Burgherr, also often known as the burgrave (Burggraf). The burgmann may have been either a free noble or a ministerialis , but either way, he administered the castle as a vassal. A ministerialis, was wholly subordinate to a lord and was under his control. Ministeriales replaced free nobles as castellans of Hohensalzburg under Conrad I of Abensberg’s tenure as Archbishop of Salzburg from 1106 to 1147, beginning with Henry of Seekirchen in the 1130s.
In the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary the castellan was called "várnagy", and in the Latin chronicles he appeared as "castellanus". The lord of the castle had very similar functions to those in German lands. In Hungary the King initially designated castellans from among his court for the administration of castles and estates. Later designation of castellans devolved to the most powerful noblemen.
At one time there was a castellan nominated from among the Officers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Anselm was the first such castellan, c. 1110.
A castellan was established in Valletta on the island of Malta.
In the Kingdom of Poland and later the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, castellans (Polish : Kasztelan) were the lowest rung of the territorial administration of the country and deferred to voivodes (with the exception of the Burgrave of Kraków (Polish Burgrabia krakowski) who had precedence over the Voivode of Kraków). Castellans were in charge of a subdivision of a voivodeship called the castellany (Polish Kasztelania) until the 15th-century. From then on castellanies, depending on their size, either became provinces, or in the case of smaller domains were replaced by powiats and the castellan role became honorific and was replaced in situ by a Starosta. Castellans in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth were of senatorial rank and were often appointed from the nobility, but not exclusively so.
In Portugal, a castellan was known as an Alcaide . Later, the role of the alcaide became an honorary title awarded by the King of Portugal to certain nobles. As the honorary holder of the office of alcaide did not often live near the castle, a delegate started to be appointed to effectively govern it in his place. An honorary holder of the office became known as alcaide-mor (major alcaide) and the delegate became known as the alcaide pequeno (little alcaide) or the alcaide-menor (minor alcaide).
Burgrave also rendered as Burggrave, was since the medieval period in Europe the official title for the ruler of a castle, especially a royal or episcopal castle, and its territory called a Burgraviate or Burgravate.
The Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages was marked by the fragmentation of the Carolingian Empire and West Francia (843–987); the expansion of royal control by the House of Capet (987–1328), including their struggles with the virtually independent principalities that had developed following the Viking invasions and through the piecemeal dismantling of the Carolingian Empire and the creation and extension of administrative/state control in the 13th century; and the rise of the House of Valois (1328–1589), including the protracted dynastic crisis of the Hundred Years' War with the Kingdom of England (1337–1453) compounded by the catastrophic Black Death epidemic (1348), which laid the seeds for a more centralized and expanded state in the early modern period and the creation of a sense of French identity.
Châtelain was originally the French title for the keeper of a castle.
Bardo is a historical town in Ząbkowice Śląskie County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district (gmina) called Gmina Bardo.
A bailiff was the king’s administrative representative during the ancien régime in northern France, where the bailiff was responsible for the application of justice and control of the administration and local finances in his bailiwick.
Bourbourg is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is situated in the maritime plain of northern France, in the middle of a triangle formed by Dunkirk, Calais, and Saint-Omer.
The ministeriales were a class of people raised up from serfdom and placed in positions of power and responsibility in the High Middle Ages in the Holy Roman Empire.
The Burgraviate of Nuremberg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire from the early 12th to the late 15th centuries. As a burgraviate, it was a county seated in the town of Nuremberg; almost two centuries passed before the burgraviate lost power over the city, which became independent from 1219. Eventually, the burgraviate was partitioned to form Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth.
Uradel is a genealogical term introduced in late 18th-century Germany to distinguish those families whose noble rank can be traced to the 14th century or earlier. The word stands opposed to Briefadel, a term used for titles of nobility created in the early modern period or modern history by letters patent. Since the earliest known such letters were issued in the 14th century, those knightly families in northern European nobility whose noble rank predates these are designated uradel.
From the 12th century in central Europe, a Burgmann was a knight ministeriales or member of the nobility who was obliged to guard and defend castles. The role is roughly equivalent to the English castellan and the name derives from the German word for castle, Burg.
William VI or Guillem VI was the eldest son of William V and his wife Ermessende, daughter of Count Peter I of Melgueil. William succeeded his father in the lordship of Montpellier in 1121, while still a minor, under his mother's guardianship. He suppressed a revolt of the bourgeoisie in 1143 and participated in several military campaigns of the Reconquista in Spain. He also increased the public character of the lordship in Montpellier and supported the growth of its trade.
A heerlijkheid was a landed estate that served as the lowest administrative and judicial unit in rural areas in the Dutch-speaking Low Countries before 1800. It originated as a unit of lordship under the feudal system during the Middle Ages. The English equivalents are manor, seigniory, and lordship. The heerlijkheid system was the Dutch version of manorialism that prevailed in the Low Countries and was the precursor to the modern municipality system in the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium.
Żarnów is a historical village in Opoczno County, Łódź Voivodeship, in central Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Żarnów. It lies approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) south-west of Opoczno and 77 km (48 mi) south-east of the regional capital Łódź. Between 1415 and 1876 the village had a status of a town.
Kravjek Castle is a ruined castle northwest of Muljava, in Lower Carniola, Slovenia.
Sommeregg is a medieval castle near Seeboden in the Austrian state of Carinthia, Austria. It is situated in the foothills of the Nock Mountains at an altitude of 749 m. The fortress served as an administrative seat in the Upper Carinthian estates held by the Counts of Ortenburg and Celje; it later was the residence of the Graben and Khevenhüller dynasties; ministeriales of the Austrian House of Habsburg.
Rosina von Graben von Rain, also called Rosina von Rain, was an Austrian noble woman, a member of the Graben von Stein family and heiress of the burgraviate of Sommeregg Castle in Carinthia.
The Brugse Vrije was a castellany in the county of Flanders, often called in English 'the Franc of Bruges'. It included the area around Bruges, and was bordered by the North Sea, the Westerschelde and the Yser river. The city of Bruges was separated from the castellany in 1127. Since then the city and the Vrije were considered as separate customary law areas. The Brugse Vrije was a rich agricultural region. It had its own burgrave, who was seated at the Burg, a square in Bruges, and became part of the Four Members of Flanders at the end of the 14th century, together with the three major cities of Ghent, Brugge and Ypres. The Brugse Vrije sat in the meetings of the States of Flanders.
Dohna Castle on the once important medieval trade route from Saxony to Bohemia was the ancestral castle seat of the Burgraves of Dohna. Of the old, once imposing double castle only a few remnants of the walls remain. The ruins of the old castle are located on the hill of Schlossberg near the subsequent suburb of the town of the same name, Dohna, in the district of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge in Saxony, Germany.
Conrad I [of Abenberg] was Archbishop of Salzburg, Austria, in the first half of the 12th century.
A Ganerbenburg is a castle occupied and managed by several families or family lines at the same time. These families shared common areas of the castle including the courtyard, well and chapel whilst maintaining their own private living quarters. They occurred primarily in medieval Germany.