Counts of Toggenburg

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County of Toggenburg
Grafschaft Toggenburg
State of the Holy Roman Empire
coat of arms
(until 1308)[1]
coat of arms
(from 1228)[1]
Territories held by the counts of Toggenburg
Capital Lichtensteig
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  first mention 1209
 •  Partitioned 1394
 •  Comital line extinct 1436
 •  Sold to the Abbot of St Gall 1468
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kyburger House of Kyburg
Abbey of St. Gall Abbey of St Gallen
League of Ten Jurisdictions Zehngerichtebund
History_of_Zürich#Old_Swiss_Confederacy Zürich
County of Sargans Sargans
Tomb effigy for Diethelm I (V) in Bubikon (15th century)[2]

The counts of Toggenburg (Grafen von Toggenburg) ruled the Toggenburg region of today’s canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland and adjacient areas during the 13th to 15th centuries.

A baronial family of Toggenburg is mentioned in the 11th and 12th centuries, but their genealogical connection to the comital family is unclear. They are named for their ancestral seat, now known as Alt-Toggenburg, near Kirchberg, St. Gallen. The castle was built in the 10th or 11th century, and was destroyed in 1085 in a conflict with the Abbot of St. Gallen, later rebuilt and in 1226 given to St. Gallen Abbey by count Diethelm of Toggenburg.

The family is attested from the early 13th century, as Toccanburg, later Tochimburc. Diethelm I (possible mention 1176, died 1205 or 1207) was followed by Diethelm II (possible mention 1210, died c. 1230). Either of these was the beneficiary of the inheritance of a number of local noble families (among these Alt-Rapperswil) in c. 1200 and adopted the title of comes (count) from 1209. In 1187, one Werner of Toggenburg became abbot of Einsiedeln. The legend of a Saint Idda of Toggenburg is recorded in 1481, making her the wife of a count of Toggenburg, possibly either Diethelm, or one Heinrich. According to the legend, the husband defenestrated his innocent wife on suspicion of adultery. She survived and lived as an anchoress in Fischingen. Her veneration there is attested for 1410.

The early counts were in competition with St. Gallen Abbey, the bishops of Constance and the counts of Kyburg. The inheritance disputes motivated the donation of religious establishments in Bubikon, Rüti, Oberbollingen and Wurmsbach in the 1190s, and a fratricide by one Diethelm (fl. 1209–36) of his brother Rudolf in 1226.

Brent Schaff, who inherited the comital title in about 1389, expanded the influence of the Toggenburg area. He improved farming in his county with great success through changes known as the Tayven reforms. On 23 April 1398 Count Donat von Toggenburg donated the church of Elsow as benefice for the new Allerheiligenaltar at the grave of the Toggenburg family, for the "salvation of the soul of his daughter Menta von Toggenburg" who had died shortly before.[3] Count Fridrich von Toggenburg, Herr zu Brettengow und Tafas donated to "his own and the salvation of his ancestors who were buried" (at the Rüti church) "and where he also expects to be buried," the church, rights and lands (Kirchwidem and Kirchensatz) in Wangen in der March to the Rüti Abbey, sealed by Fridrich and the knights Herman von Landenberg, Johans von Bonstetten from Ustra and Herman von der Hochenlandenberg on 21 January 1407.[4]

In 1436, the death of the last count, Frederick VII, Count of Toggenburg, led to the Old Zurich War over the succession.

One of the few remaining tomb stones of the Toggenburg family, Toggenburgergruft beneath the present entrance area of the Rüti church.

Friedrich VII was later buried in a chapel, the so-called Toggenburger Kapelle (capella nova in latere monasterii de novo construxit) given by his noble wife, Elisabeth Countess of Toggenburg, née von Mätsch.[5][6] Elisabeth spent her last days in the Rüti Abbey, writing on 20 June 1442 that she had retreated there (unser wesen gentzlich in dasselbe gotzhus got zuo dienende gezogen habe) and desired her tomb to be with her husband's.[7] On 11 June 1443 marauding troops of the Old Swiss Confederacy devastated the monastery and desecrated the bodies of the nobles, including Count Friedrich VII whom they held responsible for the war with Zürich. 14 members of the family were buried in the Toggenburg vault in the church of the Rüti Abbey.

List of counts[edit]

Ruler Born Years Marriage Death Notes
Diethelm V
(Diethelm I. von Toggenburg)
Count Toggenburg.jpg
Donor portrait in Bubikon (1192)
Son of Diethelm (IV) von Toggenburg and Ita von Homberg
c. 1176-1207[8] Guta von Rapperswil (1170 - 24 November 1227)
Before or c. 1209
at least three children
aged 68/69
First count of Toggenburg.
Diethelm II
(Diethelm II. von Toggenburg)
Before 1207
First son of Diethelm I von Toggenburg and Guta von Rapperswil
1207-1230[8] Gertrude of Neuchâtel (d.1260)
at least nine children
Frederick I
(Friedrich I. von Toggenburg)
Before 1207
Second son of Diethelm I von Toggenburg and Guta von Rapperswil
1207-1226[8] A lady Montfort (b.1200)
no children
12 December 1226[9]
Schloss Rengerswil
Ruled jointly with his brother[10]
Diethelm III
(Diethelm III. von Toggenburg)
Son of Diethelm II and Gertrude of Neuchâtel
1230-1235[8] Unknown 25 January 1235
aged 25/26
Kraft I
(Diethelm III. von Toggenburg)
First son of Diethelm III
1235-1249[8] Elisabeth von Bussnang
Before 1244
at least five children
15 July 1249
aged 20/21
Frederick II
(Friedrich II. von Toggenburg)
After 1228
Second son of Diethelm III and Gertrude of Neuchâtel
1235-1284[8] Unmarried 28 August 1284 Ruled jointly with his brother and nephews.
Diethelm IV
(Diethelm IV. von Toggenburg)
Before 1244
First son of Kraft I and Elisabeth von Bussnang
1249-1283[8] Unmarried 1283 Ruled jointly with his uncle and brothers.
Kraft II
(Kraft II. von Toggenburg)
Kraft von Toggenburg.jpg
Codex Manesse (22v)
Before 1244
Second son of Kraft I and Elisabeth von Bussnang
1249-1261[8] Unmarried 1261
Frederick III
(Friedrich III. von Toggenburg)
Third son of Kraft I and Elisabeth von Bussnang
1249-1309[8] Clementia of Werdenberg (1246-28 February 1282)[11]
at least five children
17 January 1309
Frederick IV
(Friedrich IV. von Toggenburg)
First son of Frederick III and Clementia of Werdenberg
1309-1315[8][12] Ida of Frohburg-Homberg (d.1328)
at least two children
15 November 1315
aged c.34/35
Kraft III
(Kraft III. von Toggenburg)
Before 1282
Second son of Frederick III and Clementia of Werdenberg
1309-1339[8] unmarried 17 March 1339 Ruled jointly with his brother and nephews
Diethelm V
(Diethelm V. von Toggenburg)
Before 1315
First son of Frederick IV and Ida of Frohburg-Homberg
1315-1337[8] Adelaide of Griesenberg (d.1371)
no children
21 September 1337
Frederick V
(Friedrich V. von Toggenburg)
Before 1315
Second son of Frederick IV and Ida of Frohburg-Homberg
1315-1364[8][13] Kunigunde of Vaz (1308 - February 1364)[14]
at least ten children

Before 19 February 1364
one child
19 February 1364
Frederick VI
(Friedrich VI. von Toggenburg)
First son of Frederick V and Kunigunde of Vaz
1364-1375[8] unmarried 14 February 1375
aged 25/26
Ruled jointly with his brothers
Diethelm VI
(Diethelm VI. von Toggenburg)
Second son of Frederick V and Kunigunde of Vaz
1364-1385[8][16] Catherine of Werdenberg-Heilingenberg (1355-30 June 1395)[17]
three children
27 December 1385 Ruled jointly with his brothers
(Donat. von Toggenburg)
Third son of Frederick V and Kunigunde of Vaz
1364-1400[3][8][18] Agnes of Habsburg-Laufenburg (1387-1425)[19]
two children
7 November 1400 Ruled jointly with his brothers
Frederick VII
(Friedrich VII. von Toggenburg)
Friderici VII Toggenburg.jpg19th-century Wappenscheibe
Son of Diethelm VI and Catherine of Werdenberg-Heilingenberg
1400-1436 Elisabeth von Mätsch
three children
30 April 1436
aged c. 55/56
Elisabeth von Mätsch
(Elisabeth von Mätsch)
Der letzte Toggenburger.jpg
Berner Schilling (1484)
Daughter of Ulrich IV von Matsch and Agnes of Kirchberg
1436-1446[8] Frederick VII
three children
24 November 1446
aged c. 75/76
Widow of Frederick VII.


  1. ^ a b The house of Toggenburg used two coats of arms. The older one, used throughout the 13th century but falling out of use after 1308, shows a lion and an eagle party per pale. This is the coat of arms shown in the donor portrait of Bubikon Commandery, dated 1192. The younger coat of arms shows a hound with a wolf collar. This is the coat of arms shown in Codex Manesse, and is used by the bailiwick and reeves of Toggenburg after the extinction of the comital line.
  2. ^ Tomb effigy for Diethelm V of Toggenburg (d. 1207), copy of an effigy made in the 15th century after the loss of the original in the Old Zürich War (1443). The 15th-century original is kept in the Swiss National Museum (Fietz, Kunstdenkmäler Kanton ZH (1943)).
  3. ^ a b "C II 16, Nr. 215 Graf Donat von Toggenburg, Herr zu Brettengow und Tavas, hat den Kirchensatz von Elsow dem Abt und Konvent des Prämonstr... (1398.04.23)" (in German). Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  4. ^ "C II 12, Nr. 277 Graf Fridrich von Toggenburg, Herr zu Brettengow und Tafas, schenkt zum eigenen Seelenheil und dem seiner Vorfahren dem ... (1407.01.21)" (in German). Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Summarium Amt S, Band 1, Seite 10" (in German). Klosterarchiv Einsiedeln. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  6. ^ "A 142.4, Nr. 9 Stiftung einer Messe am Altar einer Kapelle des Klosters Rüti durch Gräfin Elisabeth von Toggenburg, 1439.09.05 (Dokument)" (in German). Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Retrieved 2015-08-02. 
  7. ^ "C II 12, Nr. 407 Gräfin Elizabeth von Toggemburg geborene von Maetsch, Witwe, - deren [im Jahr 1436] verstorbener Mann Graf Ffriedrich vo... (1442.06.20)" (in German). Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Retrieved 2015-08-10. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Toggenburg (S.G.) in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Clementia von Montfort
  12. ^ Friedrich IV, Graf von Toggenburg
  13. ^ Friedrich V, Graf von Toggenburg
  14. ^ Kunigunde von Vaz
  15. ^ Friedrich V., Graf von Toggenburg
  16. ^ Diethelm VI, Graf von Toggenburg
  17. ^ Katharina von Werdenberg-Heilingenberg
  18. ^ Donat von Toggenburg
  19. ^ Agnes von Habsburg-Laufenburg