Wurmbrand-Stuppach

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County of Wurmbrand-Stuppach
Grafschaft Wurmbrand-Stuppach
State of the Holy Roman Empire
? – 1806
Capital Gloggnitz
Languages Austro-Bavarian
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Established before 1194 Enter start year
 -  Raised to Barony 1607
 -  Raised to County 1701
 -  Mediatised to Austria 1806
Today part of  Austria

Wurmbrand-Stuppach is an old noble family of Austria, and the name of the County they ruled. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Counts of Wurmbrand-Stuppach gained notability in wars against the Turks in the Balkans, and Prince Eugene gained fame fighting against the French in the Netherlands. The Counts and Princes of Wurmbrand-Stuppach were highly decorated advisors to the Habsburg Emperors. Wurmbrand-Stuppach was temporarily raised to a Principality in 1607, and was made an Imperial County in 1701. It was mediatised to Austria in 1806.

The Wurmbrand Saga[edit]

The founding of the house of Wurmbrand-Stuppach, and the origins of the name, occurred during the Crusades. The Count of Stuppach had disappeared seven years earlier fighting in the Holy Land, and the knights were getting impatient on waiting for his wife and successor to remarry. A lindworm (a mythological two-legged wyvern-like creature) had entered the County and began to terrorise the land. The knights demanded she marry a brave nobleman to fight it.

The Countess asked for four weeks' delay, and when that time had passed she said to the knights "I asked God. He likes my husband to return to me, if he still lives. To my sadness he did not come. Give me still four weeks period." But the people would not have another four weeks delay due to the lindworm, so she instead announced that she would marry whoever slayed the beast.

Silently, the knights left. Those which went to slay the lindworm did not return. One day, a poor farmer was on the Burglach making fences when the lindworm appeared. It lunged at the farmer, which speared the lindworm in the mouth with a stake he was using to build the fences. Other farmers who were nearby saw it, and they carried him to the countess to be married. The wedding lasted a week.

Rulers of Wurmbrand-Stuppach[edit]

  • ... (1701–?)
  • Casimir Henry (1680–1749) with...
  • Christian Siegmund (1673–1737) with...
  • John Joseph (?–1750)
  • Gundacker Thomas (1750–91)
  • Gundacker Henry (1791–1806) with...
    • Joseph (1791–96)

Heads of the mediatised house[edit]

In 1806 the count of Wurmbrand-Stuppach was mediatised.

  • Gundaccar (born 1762; died 1847)
  • Ferdinand Gundaccar (born 1835; succeeded 1847; died 1896), Gundaccar's grandson
  • Wilhelm (born 1862; succeeded 1896; died 1927), Ferdinand Gundaccar's son
  • Degenhart (born 1893; succeeded 1927; died 1965), Wilhelm's son
  • Ernst Gundaccar (born 1946; succeeded 1965), Gundaccar's great-great-grandson

Notable members of the house[edit]

Count John William (1670–1750) 
After studying at the University of Utrecht, John William was appointed an advisor in 1697. He reorganised the royal advisory, and was responsible for much genealogical work in Austria (Collectanea genealogico historica, ex archivo inclytorum Austriae Inferioris statuum, ut et aliis privatis documentisque originalibus excerpta). His work first appeared in Vienna in 1705, and it earned him the name "the Father of Austrian Genealogy". Later, Count John William reorganised the archives of Lower Austria, and established a system which continued even after a new repertory of nobility. In 1726, he gained a seat and voice in the Franconian Diet in Rothenburg. When the Wittelsbach King Charles Albert of Bavaria gained the Imperial crown in 1742, Count John William retired from service in Bohemia, and only emerged from retirement following Charles's death in 1745 and the restoration of the Habsburgs to the Imperial throne. Count John William died in 1750 and was buried in Vienna. He was married five times; only his third wife, Maria Domininca Gräfin von Starhemberg, mothered a son and heir, Count Gundacker Thomas.
Count Christian Siegmund 
He became the treasurer of King Frederick Augustus of Poland and Saxony. In 1704, he entered the service of the Austrian Habsburgs, and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession. Captured and imprisoned in Ettlingen in 1707, he gained special favour with Prince Eugene and fought the Turks for the Austrians. In 1716, he fought in the siege of Temesvar (Timişoara) with Prince Eugene, and with the cities' fall that year he delivered the tidings of success to Vienna. During the War of the Polish Succession he already had the rank of a Field Marshal Lieutenant, and he was an Interim Commandant of the Imperial Army in 1734 in the defence of Grevenberg against the French led by Bellisle. In 1735, he was put in charge of the Imperial Cavalry. Christian Siegmund died without heirs in 1737, and in his will had his extensive fortune returned to Steyersberg.
Count Casimir Henry 
Casimir Henry was the brother of Christian Siegmund. During the War of the Austrian Succession, he was a cavalry general and served under Khevenhüller. In 1741, he was promoted to a tactical advisor. In 1745, he was the governor of Ath an der Dender in the Netherlands, and vigorously defended it. He died heirless in 1749.

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