Ballmertshofen Castle is a 16th Century castle located in the Ballmertshofen section of Dischingen in the Heidenheim district of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is located in the south east corner of Ballmertshofen on the road to Giengen and Dattenhausen. The castle is owned by the community and includes a local art gallery.
The first castle on this site most likely dates from the 12th Century. It is first mentioned in 1236 when Graf (Count) von Dillingen gave the castle to Neresheim Abbey. As a further evidence, in 1987 a cistern from this era was discovered under the south east wall of the castle.
The castle changed hands several times in the following centuries. It was owned by the von Hürnheim family from 1256–1368. Then the von Westerstetten family held the castle from 1368 until 1442. The hospital in Ulm and the von Westernach family held it from 1512 until 1538.
During the middle of the 16th Century, the castle was rebuilt as a Schloss (a fortified home rather than a pure defensive structure) by the von Leonrodt family that ruled from 1535 until 1637. In 1637 the von St. Vincent family took over the Schloss. Nearly a century later, in 1749, Johann Rupert von St. Vincent sold the feudal estate and castle to the Princely house of Thurn und Taxis. Until 1851 the castle was used by the princes' Chief Hunter and later as a princely rental property. In 1865 the community of Ballmertshofen received the Schloss, which was used as a school and town hall. Following the beginning of World War II, in 1940, the castle was used as a prisoner of war camp.
In 1959 the school was moved out of the castle to a newly built School. By the 1970s the last renter moved out of the building, leaving it empty. In 1968 the city offices were removed and the severely neglected building was used as a local art gallery. Starting in 1986, a series of renovations took place to clean up and improve the building. At one point the castle had an octagonal tower in the south east corner, but that has been removed
Ballmertshofen lies to the south of Dischingen and is about 469 m above sea level. The village has a population of 519. It is about 23 km from the district capital of Heidenheim. Ballmertshofen is also one of the most easterly cities in Baden-Württemberg.
The Ländliche Bildergalerie or rural living art gallery was opened on 16 April 1978 with the art collection of a Dischingen physician, Dr. Horst Moeferdt. The collection is open every Sunday from 11 am to 12 pm.
The collection includes art from the entire Härtsfeld region and includes a variety of rural art. Religious pictures from the local catholic population include guardian angels, Christ on the Mount of Olives and Madonna with roses. From evangelical areas there are pictures of baptism and of marriage. A center piece of this collection is the Haarbilder, a collection scriptural quotes surrounding flowers made from the hair of children who died young. From the era of the Kaiser, before World War I, the so-called Reservistenbilder (or Reservist pictures) show the call for order and new soldiers for the impending war.
- (German) Schloss Ballmertshofen
- (German) Dischingen Town website
- (German) Schloss Ballmertshofen in Castle Inventory Website