Neidlingen, The county of Esslingen
Height: Circa 760 Meter
The Reußenstein is one of the most striking castle ruins on the northern edge of the Swabian Alps and inspired legends as well as romantic fantasies as early as the 19th century. However, the real history of the castle is just as exciting.
Its founder was Dietholdus/Diethoh of Kirchheim, a knightly ministerialis of the Dukes of Teck. In 1301, his son was described as a knight called “Diethoch von dem Stein,” proving the castle’s existence for the first time. Forty years later, his grandson, Johann of Stein, sold the castle to his cousins Konrad and Henry “Reuss von Kirchheim” (Reuss = Russian), as he had no male successor. This family gave the castle its current name Reußenstein, which it kept even when it was given to the Lords of Randeck in 1371.
In the years that followed, the castle was mortgaged several times until it was taken by the Swabian League of Cities in 1388 and recaptured in the same year by Count Eberhard of Württemberg and his troops.
During a feud with the Helfenstein family, Count Ulrich of Württemberg conquered it again in 1454. A year later it was returned to its previous owner, who since 1441 was called Johann of Helfenstein. The economic decline of his family forced Frederick of Helfenstein to place himself in the service of Ulm in 1476, which meant that he had to back their campaigns with 11 mounted men for which he in return received 600 guilders and, in case of a siege, 20 rifles and crossbowmen to defend the castle. In 1525, Louis Helferich of Helfenstein, who was the last lord at the castle, was hunted to death by rebellious farmers.
Around 1550 the Reußenstein was no longer inhabited and thus left to slowly turn into a ruin. After the death of the last Count of Helferstein in 1627, the castle changed hands several times until it finally came into the possession of Württemberg in 1806. Its remains were structurally secured in 1966 and 1967.
Burg Reußenstein von Horst Guth, Cinecopter, Musik Martin Olschewski