Counts of Montfort

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Arms of the Counts of Montfort Montfort Scheibler32ps.jpg
Arms of the Counts of Montfort

The Counts of Montfort were a German noble dynasty from Swabia. They belonged to high nobility of the Holy Roman Empire and enjoyed the privileged status of imperial immediacy.

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The influential and wealthy Counts of Montfort took their name from an ancestral castle named Montfort, which was situated close to today's Swiss border near Weiler, in the present-day Austrian state of Vorarlberg.

As the lords of Feldkirch (until 1390), Bregenz (until 1523), and Tettnang (until 1779), they would have a decisive influence on the development of not just Voralberg, but also Upper Swabia and Eastern Switzerland.

History

Montfort Castle at Langenargen Schloss Montfort-Bodensee.jpg
Montfort Castle at Langenargen

The counts held the lordships of the County of Feldkirch (until 1390), County of Bregenz (until 1523) and Tettnang (until 1779). They had territories in Upper Swabia and particularly in Vorarlberg, most of which they ruled. Until the 18th century, the counts were a remarkable family of the high nobility, the most important in the region of Lake Constance, but the line eventually became extinct. In a number of places, including Feldkirch, Bregenz and Langenargen, there are still signs of their history.

The Counts of Montfort were originally a branch of another Swabian noble family, the Counts Palatine of Tübingen. Hugo II of Tübingen (d. 1182) married Elizabeth of Bregenz, and through her, Hugo would take ownership over the former territories of the Counts of Bregenz, including Bregenz itself, Montfort, and Sigmaringen, making him a dominant power in the region. His marriage to Elizabeth would also provide him with close family ties to Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and the Welfs (like Barbarossa and Henry the Lion, Elizabeth was a grandchild of the Welf duke Henry IX "the Black" of Bavaria).

Upon the death of Hugo II, the majority of the former Bregenz territories would go to his second son, Hugo III (d.1228/1230), who after about 1200 would style himself "Hugo of Montfort". His territories as count included Raetia Curiensis, Tettnang, Bregenz, Feldkirch, Sonnenberg, Werdenberg, and Sargans. The new House of Montfort would adopt the arms of the County Palatine of Tübingen, but the Montfort arms would feature a red gonfalon on a silver shield instead of a gold one.

Hugo's older brother Rudolph I (1160-1219) continued the original line of the counts palatine; nevertheless, five generations later Gottfried II (d.1369) would be forced to sell Tübingen to the County of Württemberg and drop the title of count palatine in favor of the ordinary Count of Tübingen. He did, however, inherit Lichteneck via his wife Clara of Freiburg, and thenceforth his descendants would bear the title Count of Tübingen-Lichteneck. Next to Montfort-Tettang, this line would be the longest-lasting branch of the family, lasting until 1664.

Around 1779, Tettnang was sold to the Austrian House of Habsburg in order to pay debts. Several years later, the line became extinct upon the death of Count Anton IV in 1787. The Habsburgs added the Montfort lands to their Further Austrian possessions.

Montfort-Feldkirch

Hugo I of Montfort founded Feldkirch in the early years of the 13th century, building his castle (called "Schattenburg") on a hill overlooking the town. The town and castle would become the focal point of the Montfort-Feldkirch territories, with Schattenburg taking the place of the original Montfort castle. In 1375, burgrave Rudolph IV of Montfort sold the fiefdom to the Habsburg Duke Leopold III of Austria.

Montfort-Bregenz

Hugo II of Tübingen (†1182) inherited the County of Bregenz via his wife, Elizabeth of Bregenz. The Montfort-Bregenz branch of the dynasty continued until the middle of the 14th century, when its lands fell to Montfort-Tettnang, which starting in 1354 would be known as Montfort-Tettnang-Bregenz. This house would produce at least one figure of historical significance, the minstrel (Minnesänger) and statesman Hugo of Montfort (1357–1423).

In 1362 Hugo inherited the lands of the counts of Pfannberg via his wife Margaret. Hugo took residence at Pfannberg Castle in 1401, joining the Styrian nobility. The family would sell Pfannberg Castle in 1524 and move their residence to Peggau Castle, renaming themselves Montfort-Bregenz-Beckach (the contemporary form of Peggau).

In 1451, a portion of the Montfort-Bregenz territory was sold to the Habsburgs by Elizabeth of Hochberg, heir of Count William VII (†1422) of Montfort. The rest of the original Bregenz territories would be sold in 1523, though the Styrian branch of the family retained the Montfort-Tettnang lands until the extinction of the dynasty in 1787.

Counts of Montfort

Below, a list of the counts of Montfort, [1] numbered by order of ascension:

House of Tübingen

Partitions of Montfort under Tübingen rule

County of Montfort
(1208-1260)
      County of Montfort-Tettnang
(1260-1520)
County of Montfort-Bregenz(1st creation)
(1260-1338)
County of Montfort-Feldkirch
(1260-1375)
      
            County of Montfort-Bregenz(2nd creation)
(1353-1443)
Sold to Austria             
                  County of Montfort-Pfannberg
(1379-1524)
Then, County of Montfort-Peggau
(1524-1779)
            County of Montfort-Rothenfels
(1438-1576)
County of Montfort-Werdenberg
(1438-1483)
            
                        Sold to Austria       
                        County of Montfort-Bregenz(3rd creation)
(1482-1525)
Recovered only half of Bregenz
      
                              
                        
            Sold to Austria       
      Sold to Königsegg             
                  Sold to Austria

Table of rulers

(Note: Here the numbering of the counts is the same for all counties, as all were titled Counts of Montfort, despite of the different parts of land or particular numbering of the rulers. The counts are numbered by the year of their succession.)

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Hugo I Hugo I von Montfort.png c.11601208-12281228 or 12 March 1230/4 [2] Montfort Matilda of Eschenbach-Schnabelburg
two children

Matilda of Wangen
five children
Son of Count Palatine Hugo of Tubingen, was the first count of Montfort, and the founder of the Montfort branch.
Hugo II c.11951228-1257/6011/15 August 1257/60 [2] Montfort Elisabeth of Burgau
eight children
Sons of Hugo I, ruled together until 1230, when Rudolph inherited Werdenberg. Henry became bishop at Chur in 1251. For Rudolph I's descendants see Counts of Werdenberg. After Hugo's death the county was divided.
Henry I c.11901228-125114 November 1272 [2] Montfort Unmarried
Rudolph I c.11901228-1230September 1244 [2] , 7 October 1247 or 19 May 1248 [2] Montfort Clementia of Kyburg
c.1230
six children
Ulrich I Bregenz Neues Rathaus Mosaik Ulrich von Montfort.jpg ?1260-12877 April 1287 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Agnes of Helfenstein
c.1272
two children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Bregenz.
Henry III [3] Friedrich II. (+ 1290, links), Heinrich III. (+ 1307, Mitte) und Wilhelm I. von Montfort (+ 1301, rechts).jpg ?1260-c.1280?17 January 1307 [2] Montfort-Bregenz UnmarriedSon of Hugo II, possibly co-ruled with Ulrich in Bregenz, which was probably the part which retained the main of the original county. As he was already cited as canon at Chur in 1282, he probably left the rule of the county earlier.
Rudolph II Siegel Rudolfs II. von Montfort-Feldkirch.png ?1260-130219 October 1302 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch Agnes of Groningen
c.1265
seven children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Feldkirch.
Hugo III ?1260-130921 May or 5 December 1309 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Elisabeth
two children
Son of Hugo II, inherited Tettnang.
Hugo IV ?1287-133826 July 1338 Montfort-Bregenz UnmarriedSold half of Bregenz to Austria. Left no descendants and Bregenz was annexed to Tettnang.
Ulrich II 12661302-134317 February 1350 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch UnmarriedSons of Rudolph III, ruled jointly. Rudolph became, in 1322, Bishop of Constance, and probably had to abdicate form the county. During the co-rulership, the brothers favored the settlement of Jews in Feldkirch [4] . In 1343 his nephews forced Ulrich to abdicate.
Rudolph III ?1302-132227/8 March 1334 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch Unmarried
Hugo V ?1302-131011 August 1310 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch Anna of Veringen
eight children
Frederick ?1310-132125 March 1321 Montfort-Feldkirch UnmarriedSons of Hugo V, co-ruled with their uncle.
Berthold ?1310-131818 January 1318 Montfort-Feldkirch
William I ?1309-13386 February 1348 or 3 November 1350 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Elisabeth von Schlüsselberg
one child

Maria Anna Magdalena von Schwarzenberg
no children

A woman from the House of Rappoltstein
four children

Unknown
no children
Inherited Bregenz in 1338. After his death his sons divided the land.
1338-1348/50 Montfort-Tettnang and Montfort-Bregenz
Rudolph IV the Elder ?1343-13751375 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch UnmarriedSons of Hugo V, were ruling jointly with their uncle (Ulrich II) and brothers (Berthold and Frederick) since 1310. However, they gained more independence after deposing their uncle in 1343.
Hugo VI ?1343-1357/91357 [2] or 29 March 1359 Montfort-Feldkirch Margaret of Furstenberg
no children

Bertha of Kirchberg
c.1341
two children
Ulrich III ?1359-c.1362c.1362 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch UnmarriedEldest son of Rudolph IV, probably co-ruled with his father after his uncle Hugo's death.
Hugo VII ?1348/50 - 13543 November 1354 Montfort-Tettnang UnmarriedSon of William I, inherited Tettnang. Had no descendants and the comital throne passed to his brother Henry.
William II ?1348/50 - 1373/418 May 1373 or 14 June 1374 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Unknown
one child

Ursula de Ferrette
1354 [2]
no children

Margaret of Schaumberg
26 March 1369 or 16 June 1373 [2]
no children
Son of William I, inherited Bregenz. After his death his grandchildren divided the land.
William III ?1348/50 - 136819 October 1368 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Ursula of Hohenberg
c.1367 [2]
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Henry IV Eriskirch Pfarrkirche Stifterfenster 3.jpg ?1354-1407/81 June 1407 or 18 October 1408 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Adelaide of Habsburg-Laufenburg
before 1370
four children

Klara von Ellenbach
one child
Henry V Eriskirch Pfarrkirche Stifterfenster 1.jpg ?c.1380?-1395c.1395 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Anna of Waldburg
one child
Son of Henry I, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Conrad ?1373/4-13931393 Montfort-Bregenz Agnes of Montfort-Feldkirch
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him. Through his marriage became son-in-law of Hugo VI.
Hugo VIII Hugo von Montfort - Fresko.JPG 13571373/4-14234 April 1423 Montfort-Pfannberg Margaret of Pfannberg
c.1373
one child

Clementia of Toggenburg
before 1401
no children

Anna of Neuhaus
before 1426
one child
Son of William III, inherited Montfort. He was also a minnesinger (troubadour).
Ulrich IV ?c.1390-1410?c.1410? Montfort-Pfannberg Judith of Stadeck
before 1410
two children
Son of Hugo VIII, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
Rudolph V the Younger ?137516 November 1390 [2] Montfort-Feldkirch UnmarriedIn 1375 sold the county to the Habsburgs.
In 1375, Feldkirch was sold to the Archduchy of Austria
William IV ?1393-14221422 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Kunigunde of Toggenburg
September/October 1387 [2]
one child
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
William V Eriskirch Pfarrkirche Stifterfenster 1.jpg ?1408-14391439 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Kunigunde of Werdenberg-Bludenz
one child
Sons of Henry I, ruled jointly. After William's death, his sons divided the land into Tettnang, Werdenberg and Rothenfels.
Rudolph VI ?1408-14258 December 1425 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Unmarried
John I ?1425-c.1431c.1431 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Probably co-ruled with his father after the death of his uncle Rudolph.
Elisabeth Stifterbild Elisabetha von Hochberg-Baden VLM Detail02.jpg ?1422-14434 June 1458 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Eberhard of Nellenburg
c.1413
one child

William, Margrave of Hachberg-Sausenberg
17 August 1422 or 23 February 1424 [2]
(annulled 1436)
two children
Son of William II, co-ruled with his father, predeceasing him.
In 1443 Bregenz was sold to the Archduchy of Austria
Stephen After 1401 [2] 1423-143714/27 August 1437 [2] Montfort-Pfannberg UnmarriedRuled jointly. Stephen was an uncle of Herman I, who was son of Ulrich II.
Herman I ?1423-1434/522 January 1434 or 24 July 1435 [2] Montfort-Pfannberg Margareta of Celje
15 March 1430
four children [5]
Herman II ?1437-14821482 Montfort-Pfannberg Cecilia of Liechtenstein-Murau
1462
five children
Sons of Herman I, ruled jointly.
John II ?1437-1469April 1469 Montfort-Pfannberg A woman from the Sternberg family
no children
George I ?1437-14471447 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
Ulrich V the Elder ?1439-149529 September 1495 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Ursula of Hachberg
1467
one child
Sons of William V, ruled jointly.
Rudolph VII ?1439-144511 December 1445 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Beatrice of Helfenstein
no children
Henry VI 1439-144423 November 1444 [2] Montfort-Werdenberg Unknown
one child
Son of William V, inherited Werdenberg.
Hugo IX 1439-149116 October 1491 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Elisabeth of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg
before 1462
one child

Elisabeth of Hohenlohe
before 1488
one child
Son of William V, inherited Rothenfels.
William VI ?1444-14835 February 1483 [2] Montfort-Werdenberg Clementia von Hewen
two children
Left no descendants. Werdenberg merged in Rothenfels.
In 1483 Werdenberg was annexed by Rothenfels.
In 1482 half of Bregenz was recovered by Hugo, son of Herman II.
Hugo X Hochstadt Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt Grabstein 503.jpg ?1482-15251550 [2] Montfort-Bregenz Veronica of Waldburg
no children
Son of Herman II, bought half of Bregenz for himself, just to sell it once more in 1525.
In 1525 the half of Bregenz was sold again to the Archduchy of Austria.
George II ?1482-1544March/30 May 1544 [2] Montfort-Pfannberg
(1482-1524)
Montfort-Peggau
(1524-1544)
Catherine of Poland
after 1522
one child
Sons of Herman II, ruled jointly. John was a canon in Salzburg [2] .
Herman III ?1482-15151515 Montfort-Pfannberg Unmarried
John III ?1482-1483c.1483 Montfort-Pfannberg
John IV ?1491-152919 September 1529 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Apollonia of Kirchberg
before 1518
no children

Magdalena of Oettingen
23 June 1524
no children
Half-brothers, ruled jointly. John and his full brothers, Ulrich (who became Knight Hospitaller) and Henry (who became canon at Augsburg and Strasbourg) left no descendants and were succeeded by his nephews, sons of Hugo XI, their half-brother [2] .
Ulrich VI ?1491-152016 April 1520 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Unmarried
Henry VII ?1491-151212 January 1512 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Unmarried
Hugo XI ?1491-151924 April 1519 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Anna of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Bitsch
four children
Ulrich VII The Younger Ulrich VII. 'der Jungere' von Montfort-Tettnang.jpg Before 14391495-152023 April 1520 [2] Montfort-Tettnang Magdalena of Oettingen
24 February 1485
no children
Left no surviving descendants. Tettnang merged in Rothenfels.
William VII c.14851495-15098 January 1509 [2] Montfort-Tettnang UnmarriedCo-ruled with his father, but predecesed him [2] .
In 1520 Tettnang was annexed by Rothenfels.
Hugo XII Hugo XIV von Montfort.jpg c.15001529-156421 November 1564 [2] Montfort-Rothenfels Maria Magdalena of Schwarzenberg
before 1543
six children
Sons of Hugo XI, ruled jointly.
John V (II) [6] Johann von Montfort-Rothenfels 1523.jpg c.14901529-15471547 Montfort-Rothenfels Jeanne d'Arenberg
c.1535
no children
Wolfgang I Wolfgang I. von Montfort-Rothenfels (Olgemalde von 1540).png ?1529-154121 March 1541 Montfort-Rothenfels Eleonore of Wolfstein
before 1523
no children
Jacob c.15301544-15733 May 1572 [7] Montfort-Peggau Katharina Fugger
9 February 1553
five children [7]
Ulrich VIII 1564-15756 April 1575 Montfort-Rothenfels Ursula of Solms-Lich
1559
two children
After his death, the county was annexed by the Barony of Konigsegg, depriving Ulrich's sons from succession.
In 1575 Rothenfels was annexed by the Barony of Königsegg.
John VI [8] c.15571573-161921 February 1619 [8] Montfort-Peggau Sybilla Fugger
4 October 1587
Augsburg
three children [8]
Sons of Jacob, ruled jointly. [9]
Wolfgang II ?1573-15961596 Montfort-Peggau Unmarried
George III ?1573-15901590 Montfort-Peggau Anna von Lobkowicz
1584
no children [10]
Anton I ?1573-1592?1595 [11] Montfort-Peggau Unmarried?
Hugo XIII 1 April 1599 [12] 1619-16622 July 1662 Montfort-Peggau Johanna Euphroysne of Waldburg
7 October 1618
Wolfegg
four children [12]
Sons of John VI, ruled jointly.
Herman IV ?1619-16411641 Montfort-Peggau Unmarried
John VII [13] ?1619-16231623 Montfort-Peggau
Anton II the Elder Kreuzer Anton II.jpg 14 October 1635 [14] 1662-170615 June 1706 [14] Montfort-Peggau Maria Victoria of Spauer-Flavon
1670
two children [14]
Sons of Hugo XIII, ruled jointly.
John VIII [15] Adel im Wandel78.jpg 25 November 1627 [15] 1662-168612 September 1686 [15] Montfort-Peggau Anna Eusebia of Königsegg
1655
one child

Maria Katharina of Sulz
12 August 1658
two children [16]
Anton III Anton III. von Montfort.jpg 26 November 1670 [17] 1706-173317 December 1733 [17] Montfort-Peggau Maria Anna of Thun-Hohenstein
16 May 1693
two children [17]
Anton III, son of John VIII, shared rule with his cousin Sebastian, son of Anton II.
Sebastian 7 October 1684 [18] 1706-17286 February 1728 [18] Montfort-Peggau Unmarried
Maximilian Joseph Ernest Adel im Wandel217.jpg 20 January 1700 [19] 1733-175917 March 1759 [19] Montfort-Peggau Maria Antonia of Waldburg
26 January 1722
one child [19]
Son of Anton II.
Francis Xavier Adel im Wandel218.jpg 3 November 1722 [20] 1759-178024 March 1780 [20] Montfort-Peggau Sophia Theresa Maximiliane of Limburg-Bronkhorst
1 December 1758
no children [20]
After his death the county was sold to Austria.
In 1780, Pfannberg was sold to the Archduchy of Austria

Prince of Montfort

Arms of Jerome Bonaparte as Prince of Montfort Coat of Arms of the Prince of Montfort (Jerome Bonaparte).svg
Arms of Jérôme Bonaparte as Prince of Montfort

In 1810, the Tettnang territory was adjudicated to the Kingdom of Württemberg. In 1816, King Frederick I vested his daughter Catharina and her husband Jérôme Bonaparte with the titles of Princess and Prince of Montfort (French: prince de Montfort). [21] This princely title continued in the family by descent. [22]

See also

Sources

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References