Lenningen, The county of Esslingen
Height: Circa 670-700 Meter
In the Middle Ages, there were several castles on and around the ridge of the Wielandstein above the Lenninger valley. Possibly built by noble men, at the latest at the end of the 13th century the castles on the Wielandstein served as a residence for knights and their families, who most likely were of lower nobility.
The two castles called Alt-Wielandstein and Hinterer Wielandstein were built around the middle of the 12th century. Next to nothing is known about their builder, however, it is likely that the noble family of Lenningen built a small hilltop castle right where the rock towers prominently over the valley.
Only in 1240 written sources mention a knight called Bertold of Wielandstein and in 1241 a certain Ulrich of Wielandstein, who named themselves after their home. Around 1250, the Alt-Wielandstein was given up and lost its former importance due to the construction of the two castles called Vorderer Wielandstein and Mittlerer Wielandstein. The noble men of Wielandstein must have lost their status around 1279 and, moving on, served the neighboring Counts of Teck as ministerialis. In the same year, they were called “Swlher” (drunkard), gave up their name and around 1330 moved to Kirchheim. The castles came into the possession of Württemberg in 1387 and, due to their military importance close to the Teck and in the Lenninger valley, were only pledged and not sold as a fief. They were only sold as such in 1478 for 300 guilders from Ulrich of Württemberg, who desperately needed money, to the Schilling family from Cannstatt, who already owned a great number of estates. In the German Peasants’ War of 1525 the farmers from Kirchheim devastated the castles at Wielandstein, which in 1533 were given to Oberlenningen and have since been communal property. Since the 16th century, the castles dilapidated. In the 1970s, the Hinterer Wielandstein was restored. In January 2015 a large part of the rock fell into the valley, exposing remains of another wall of the Hinterer Wielandstein. Because of the risk of further rockfalls, the popular climbing spot and the ruins got closed.