House of Leyen

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Coat of Arms
The original family seat, Schloss Gondorf
Waal, Bavaria Castle, family seat since 1820

The House of Leyen (von der Leyen) is an ancient German family of high nobility, the origin of which can be traced to the middle of the 10th century, which had estates on the Moselle. Originally the family was named de Petra or by its castle in Gondorf (Cunthereve). Since the 14th century it has called itself von der Leyen. Its members had the hereditary office of sénéchal in the bishopric of Trier. They also had Adendorf near Bonn, Leiningen on the Hunsrück, the Lordship of Arenfels and St. Ingbert.

Prior to 1660, Hugo Ernst (line Leyen-Adendorf) became Lord of Blieskastel and, in 1657, was created Reichsfreiherr (Imperial baron) von der Leyen. In addition to its scattered territories the family acquired the lordships of Burresheim and Blieskastel before 1660, where it built a residence around 1760. In 1697 Freiherr Karl Caspar received the county of Hohengeroldseck as a fiefdom from Austria. In 1711 he was created Reichsgraf (Imperial count) von der Leyen. With most of the count's territories lost to Napoleon France, Graf Philipp Franz still retained the county Geroldseck. Upon joining the Rheinbund in 1806, he was created Fürst (prince) von der Leyen. In 1819 the principality's holdings were mediatized under Baden, although the title is still being nominally held by House von der Leyen.

Two members of the family became Archbishop of Trier:

and one Archbishop of Mainz:

Erwein Otto Philipp Prince von der Leyen (1894–1970), died without male issue, but left his title and property to his grandson, Baron Philipp Erwein von Freyberg zu Eisenberg (born 1967), now 7th Prince von der Leyen und zu Hohengeroldseck. He will be succeeded by Wolfram, Hereditary Prince of Leyen and zu Hohengeroldseck (b.1990).

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