Werdenberg (Holy Roman Empire)

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Territories of the counts of Werdenberg, Werdenberg-Sargans and Montfort in the 14th century
Coat of arms from the Zürich armorial. The heraldic charge is a Gonfanon, derived from that of the Tübingen and Montfort coats of arms.

Werdenberg was a county of the Holy Roman Empire situated on either side of the Rhine, including parts of what is now St. Gallen (Switzerland), Liechtenstein, and Vorarlberg (Austria). It was partitioned from Montfort in 1230. In 1260, it was divided into Werdenberg and Sargans.


It is named for Werdenberg Castle, today located in the municipality of Grabs in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, seat of the counts of Werdenberg (Werdenberger), The family was descended from count Hugo II of Tübingen (d. 1180), who married Elisabeth, daughter of the last count of Bregenz, thus inheriting substantial territory along the Alpine Rhine. His son was Hugo I of Montfort (d. 1228), whose son Rudolf I is considered the founder of the Werdenberg line. Rudolf's sons Hugo I of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg and Hartmann I of Werdenberg divided the southern territory of the Montfort inheritance, establishing the two lines of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg and Werdenberg-Sargans.

In 1308 Werdenberg was further divided into Werdenberg-Heiligenberg (Linzgau) and Werdenberg-Werdenberg. The Vaduz line of Counts of Werdenberg died out in 1406 and Vaduz passed to the Barons of Brandis.

The family fractured further into a number of cadet branches. The line of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg-Sigmaringen-Trochtelfingen remained influential in the early 16th century in the context of the Swabian League but was extinct in 1534.

The Werdenberg feud (Werdenbergfehde) was a major series of feuds between the Werdenberg and their neighbours in the late 15th century, most notably their conflict with the von Zimmern family of Swabia. The feud between the lords of Werdenberg and of Zimmern escalated in 1488, rising to an importance above merely regional concerns, influencing the imperial policy of Frederick III and Maximilian I regarding the formation of the Swabian League, the Imperial Reforms and the history of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

Counts of Werdenberg[edit]

Below, a list of the counts of Werdenberg[1], numbered by order of ascension:

House of Tubingen[edit]

  • 1230-1243: Rudolf I, son of Hugo I of Montfort

Division of Werdenberg:

Werdenberg-Werdenberg Werdenberg-Sargans Werdenberg-Vaduz Werdenberg-Alpeck Werdenberg-Trochtelfingen
  • 1243-1280: Hugo I
  • 1280-1305: Hugo II the One-Eyed
  • 1305-1329: Hugo III and Albert I
  • 1329-1364: Albert I
  • 1364-1371: Albert II
  • 1371-1384: Hugo IV, Albert III the Elder, Henry I and Albert IV the Younger, brothers
  • 1384-1387: Hugo IV, Henry I and Albert IV the Younger
  • 1387-1392: Henry I and Albert IV the Younger
  • 1392-1401: Albert IV the Younger, with Rudolf I, Henry II and Hugo V, sons of Henry I
  • 1401-1402: Albert IV the Younger, Rudolf I and Hugo V
  • 1243-1264: Hartmann I
  • 1264-1322: Rudolf II
  • 1322-1325: Rudolf III and Rudolf IV, brothers
  • 1325-1361: Rudolf IV
  • 1361-1396: John I
  • 1322-1353: Hartmann I
  • 1353-1365: Rudolf III and Henry
  • 1365-1397: Henry
  • 1397-1416: Hugo, son of John I of Sargans
  • 1322-1332: Henry I
  • 1332-1342: Rudolf III and Henry II
  • 1342-1366: Henry II
  • 1366-1383: Henry III
  • 1332-1383: Eberhard I
  • 1383: Henry II and Eberhard II
  • 1383-1393: Henry II
  • 1393-1416: Eberhard III
  • 1416-1439: Henry III, John I and Eberhard IV, brothers
  • 1439-1465: John I and Eberhard IV
  • 1465-1475: Eberhard IV, with George, Ulrich and Hugo, sons of John I
  • 1475-1500: George, Ulrich and Hugo
  • 1500-1503: Ulrich and Hugo, with John II, Christoph and Felix, sons of George
  • 1503-1508: Hugo, John II, Christoph and Felix
  • 1508-1522: John II, Christoph and Felix
  • 1522-1530: Christoph and Felix
  • 1530-1534: Christoph
Pawned to the Counts of Montfort (1402-1485)
Annexed by Switzerland (1485)
Pawned to Austria (1396-1436)
The succession of counts continued, as titular counts of Sargans, however they're not included here
Annexed to Ulm
  • 1436-1447: Henry II, son of John I
  • 1447-1474: William II
  • 1474-1483: George II
List continues below
Annexed by Switzerland (1483) Divided between Fürstenberg[disambiguation needed] and Austria (1534) and then Hohenzollern (1535)

Successor houses in Werdenberg-Vaduz[edit]

(Note: Numbering restarts)

House of Brandis[edit]

  • 1416-1456: Wolfhard, son-in-law of Albert III the Elder
  • 1456-1486: Ulrich
  • 1486-1507: Ludwig and Sigismund, brothers

House of Sulz[edit]

  • 1507-1535: Rudolf I, maternal grandson of Ulrich of Brandis
  • 1535-1556: John Louis
  • 1556-1569: William and Alwig, brothers
  • 1569-1572: Alwig
  • 1572-1611: Rudolf II
  • 1611-1613: John, sold Vaduz to the House of Hohenems

House of Hohenems[edit]

  • 1613-1640: Kaspar
  • 1640-1646: Jacob Hannibal
  • 1646-1662: Franz Wilhelm I
  • 1662-1686: Ferdinand Carl
  • 1686-1691: Jacob Hannibal Frederick and Franz Wilhelm II, brothers
  • 1691-1712: Jacob Hannibal Frederick, with Franz Wilhelm III (son of Franz Wilhelm I)

See also[edit]



  • Gerhard Köbler, 'Werdenberg (Grafschaft)', in: Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder. Die deutschen Territorien vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart 2nd edition Munich 1989, p. 605.
  • Fritz Rigendinger: Das Sarganserland im Spätmittelalter. Lokale Herrschaften, die Grafschaft Sargans und die Grafen von Werdenberg-Sargans. Chronos, Zürich 2007.
  • Carl Borromäus Alois Fickler: Heiligenberg in Schwaben. Mit einer Geschichte seiner alten Grafen und des von ihnen beherrschten Linzgaues. Macklot, Karlsruhe 1853 [1]
  • Gerhard Köbler: Werdenberg (Grafschaft), in: Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder. Die deutschen Territorien vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. 2. verbesserte Auflage, München 1989, S. 605
  • Martin Leonhard: Werdenberg, von in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  • Johann Nepomuk von Vanotti: Geschichte der Grafen von Montfort und von Werdenberg. Belle-Vue bei Konstanz 1845 [2] 209ff.
  • Hermann Wartmann (1896), "Werdenberg, Grafen von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 41, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 749–759 

External links[edit]