Location: Reinhardsmunster, in the Bas-Rhin departement of France (Alsace Region).
Built: 12th century.
Ownership / Access: State property.
ISMH Reference Number: PA00084899
Notes: The Chateau d'Ochsenstein is a ruined castle located in the commune of Reinhardsmunster, in the Bas-Rhin departement of France. It was home to the Ochsensteins, a powerful family from medieval Alsace. The castle sits upon three sandstone spurs and comprises three separate castles: le Grand Ochsenstein, le Petit Ochsenstein and a third building, thought to be called le Chateau de Wachelheim. Ochsenstein castle has been classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1898. The castle is thought to have been built in the late 12th century. It is part of a chain of Vosges castles near Saverne which were built to defend the passage from the Alsace plain to Lorraine. The Fiefdom of Ochsenstein was carved out of the lands of the Marmoutier Abbey by the Bishops of Metz. The first recorded mention of a Lord of Ochsenstein dates back to 1187: Bourcard Ochsenstein signed a charter by Frederick Barbarossa (Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor) confirming his possessions to the Koenigsbruck Abbey. Therefore, the castle must have already been in existence as the custom at the time was that descendants took their surname from the name of their castle.
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