barren Jura plateau above the wonderfully charming Altmühltal valley
rises the impressive building of Eggersberg Castle. The Castle is
a typical example of a Renaissance Hofmark, the smallest jurisdiction of
the country at that time. The parish of the former Hofmark Eggersberg
was among the smallest in the diocese of Regensburg. Nevertheless, it
has a turbulent history.
had been a notable rivalry between Eggersberg Castle and the parish
church of Georgenbuch. In this church a unique piece could be preserved:
The Romanesque carved stone embrasure of a portal, a remnant of the
origins of the church. Dr.iur.utr. Robert F.E. Weigand, owner of
Eggersberg Castle since 1962, prevented the demolition of this precious
cultural item and thereby saved it from irrevocable destruction.
nowadays the mysterious animals and mythical creatures engraved in the
Romanesque portal have an impact on people. Still, the knowledge of
their origin and creator will remain a secret.
that the presbytery of Georgenbuch was not originally situated in
its current location but in Obereggersberg at the place of the ancient
castle and the later ‘new’ Eggersberg Castle. There, the presbytery was
built on the foundations of a medieval chaplain’s dwelling. Above the
exit door on the rear of the house a remnant of that time, a picture of
God the Father from 1593, is set into the wall.
presbytery, a baroque axial building in the style of Italian palaces,
was built in 1722 by the well-known master builder Gabriel di
Gabrieli by order of the barons de Bassus.
from Georgenbuch and Obereggersberg there is another place worth
mentioning within the parish of the barons de Bassus: the Hofmark
Harlanden. This small church is only plain from the outside. The inside
is outfitted with works of the sculptor Johann Georg Günther from
Altmannstein. He was the father of the famous Ignaz Günther, a
sculptor of the Rococo period who was promoted by Baron Thomas de
Thomas de Bassus
brief introduction to the historic parish of the former Hofmark
Eggersberg illustrates that many a thing of importance can be found at
the very beginning, a castle chapel and a chaplain’s dwelling were part
of the ancient, early medieval Eggersberg Castle, that rose on a rock
outcrop 90 metres above the Altmühltal valley. The chapel had been
assigned to the monastery of St Emmeram in Regensburg in the 9th century.
(Layout plan of the ancient Eggersberg Castle: altered according to
F.-W. Krahe – "Burgen des deutschen Mittelalters", 1998. A building
plan by the architect Dr Landgraf is on display in the Hofmark
marked the beginning of a tug-of-war over relevance and dominance
between the parishes Georgenbuch and Eggersberg that lasted for
centuries. For not only the lords of the Hofmarks but also the priests
tried again and again to take the title of Georgenbuch to Eggersberg.
the downfall of the ancient Eggersberg Castle in the 16th century, the
castle chapel vanished as well. The people of Eggersberg, now left
without a sanctuary, had to walk to Georgenbuch to attend church.
Joseph von Bassus, at that time lord of the Hofmark, took up his late
father’s plan and built a new chapel on the castle hill in 1720. Two
years later he commissioned the famous architect Gabriel di Gabrieli
with the construction of the presbytery in Obereggersberg to replace the
old building from 1593. This was to add authority to the parish of
Eggersberg. The presbytery is an axial building in the style of Italian
palaces and resembles the presbytery in Schambach, which had also been
built by Gabriel di Gabrieli. The similarities range from the structure
of the façade and the proportions to the economic area.
new church on the castle hill was completed in 1736, but people could
not enjoy it for long. In 1806, the year Bavaria became a kingdom by
the grace of Napoleon, the roof came down. Consequently, Georgenbuch
became parish church again. On the premises of the castle ruin there are
still three sides of the castle chapel’s apse. The inside of the apse
(left picture below) is still partly covered with red paint, which was
made from ox blood.
the Holy Cross Chapel on the castle rock at Eggersberg
(Author’s note: The rock viewpoint has been secured and is open to the
public. Entering of the unsecured private grounds of the castle ruin is
not advisable and is at your own risk!)
view from the castle rock is one of the most beautiful in the lower
Altmühltal valley: Right at the foot of the mountain meander old
branches of the river Altmühl, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal passes, and
you can see a small part of the old Ludwigskanal (King Ludwig I) with a
restored sluice house from the 19th century. If you look further along
the edge of the forest, you can see the church spire of the former
Commandry of the Teutonic Order in Altmühlmünster. By the way, you can
take a hiking trail from there to the next viewpoint, the Rosskopf
successor of Joseph von Bassus as lord of the Hofmark, Baron Thomas von
Bassus (member of the Illuminati, code name “Hannibal”), had to face a
problem. To attend church, the 53 people of Obereggersberg had to walk
to Georgenbuch, a village with only 17 inhabitants. Therefore, Thomas
von Bassus arranged for a private chapel in the “new castle” in 1807.
The arched ground floor windows on the east side of the castle are still
testament to that time.
though, the family de Bassus resided mainly at the castle in Sandersdorf
near Altmannstein, and Eggersberg Castle only served as agricultural
holding and venue for hunting expeditions. Consequently, the dignity of
the castle and chapel suffered quite a bit. In 1873 Father Lukas
complained bitterly about it to Baron Bassus. He described the castle
courtyard as a dung heap and lamented over the fact that he had to cut
his way through this dung heap and along four stable doors in order to
get to the chapel
also complained that the chapel only comprised half of the former
hallway while the other half was filled with cauldrons for the pig
swill. According to his account, conducting a divine service was
unbearable because of the smell of stable and dung.
Therefore, the family de Bassus relocated the chapel again in 1875, this
time to the presbytery. In 1897/98, an altar apse was added as an
extension to the interior. The priest spoke out against a bigger apse
for which reason the chapel was soon too small again and Georgenbuch
became the parish church once and for all. There, the Romanesque nave
had been extended by 20 feet in 1833.
that time, the noble family of Harlanden had their own manorial system.
This led to the somewhat extraordinary fact that the succursal church of
Harlanden was assigned to the former Commandry of the Teutonic Order in
Altmühlmünster instead of Georgenbuch. Therefore the inhabitants of
Harlanden had to pass through the parish Georgenbuch on their way to
church. Such circumstances could not be maintained though and Harlanden
was integrated into the parish Eggersberg in 1837 despite protests from
Today, the parish priest of Riedenburg is in charge of the church in
Georgenbuch and the chapel in Obereggersberg.
The presbytery of Obereggersberger
built in the style of Italian palaces in 1722.
Baron Joseph von Bassus had commissioned
the famous architect
Gabriel de Gabrieli.
limestone roof in 2006.
presbytery is private property.
presbytery’s chapel, which is equipped in 19th century style, is open to
the inhabitants of Eggersberg for prayers and mass. Upon request it is
possible to visit the chapel.
Please ask at the hotel!
Sixtus Lampl – former Head Conservator at the Bavarian State Office for
the Preservation of Historical Monuments.
Seraph Scheibl – ‘Chronik der Pfarrey Eggersberg’, from 1 Oct 1829
Höcker – Pfarrei Eggersberg 1438-1988