Schönborn family

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Coat of arms of the Schönborn family from the Schönborn Palace in Prague.

Schönborn is a noble and mediatised former sovereign princely family from the former Holy Roman Empire. Several members of the family have held high offices of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire over the course of centuries, including as Bishops, Prince-Bishops, Cardinals and Prince-Electors. In addition to several family members having been elected monarchs of ecclesiastical principalities—the Electorate of Mainz, the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg, the Prince-Bishopric of Worms, the Prince-Bishopric of Speyer, the Electorate of Trier, and the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg—the family possessed a fiefdom in Franconia that held imperial immediacy, and was thus a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, the state of Schönborn.


Schönborn appeared first in the County of Katzenelnbogen in 1373 when Gilbrecht of Schönborn, a vassal, served Eberhard V of Katzenelnbogen. Later it was a German statelet ruled by the Schönborn family located in Franconia and areas at the Main River in Germany, located to the south of Bamberg and to the southeast of Würzburg.

The Schönborn family, originally from Schönborn, Rhein-Lahn, owned several fiefs in Southern Hesse. In 1661, Philipp Erwein, Baron von Schönborn (1607–1668), of Freienfels Castle near Weinbach, since 1654 also owner of Geisenheim, the only brother of Elector-Archbishop Johann Philipp von Schönborn, purchased the Herrschaft (territory) of Heusenstamm and built a new castle. In 1671 his son Melchior (1644–1717), brother of Elector-Archbishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn, acquired the fief of Reichelsburg. His son Rudolf Franz (1677–1754) married Eleonore von Hatzfeld in 1701, widow of the Count von Dernbach, who had left her the Herrschaft Wiesentheid in Franconia, which was a small Imperial State and raised to a County in 1701. She also inherited the Austrian fiefs of Arnfels and Waldenstein in Carinthia from her first husband. Her father-in-law Melchior then bought some further estates in Austria in 1710, Göllersdorf with Mühlberg and Aspersdorf in Lower Austria, from the (then extinct) Counts of Buchheim. In 1717, his estate was partitioned into the states of Schönborn-Wiesentheid and Schönborn-Heusenstamm. Heusenstamm was inherited by Schönborn-Wiesentheid in 1801. The state of Schönborn-Wiesentheid was mediatised in 1806; the family thus retained its princely rank.

In 1726, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, granted Palanok Castle with Mukacheve, Chynadiyovo and 200 villages in the Kingdom of Hungary (today part of the Ukraine) to Elector Lothar Franz who had elected and crowned him and was one of his main political supporters within the Empire. The estate, one of the largest in Eastern Europe, remained in the family well into the 20th century.

At the end of the 18th century, three brothers, great grandsons of Rudolf Franz (1677–1754), founded the three still existing branches of the family: Franz Philipp (1768-1841) the Austrian branch Schönborn-Buchheim (owning Göllersdorf estate and Palais Schönborn-Batthyány, Vienna), Franz Erwein (1776-1840) the Franconian branch (in Bavaria) Schönborn-Wiesentheid (until today owning the castles at Wiesentheid, Pommersfelden, Gaibach, Geisenheim and the wine estates Hallburg near Volkach and Hattenheim and formerly also owning property in Bohemia), and Friedrich (1781-1849) who founded the Bohemian branch Schönborn residing at Schönborn Palace (Prague), today US embassy, and until 1945 at Skalka Castle, Czech Republic.

Lords of Schönborn (1385–1663)[edit]

  • Gerard (1385–1416)
  • Gerard (1416–1460)
  • John II (1460–1490)
  • John IV (1490–1529)
  • George II (1529–1560)
  • Philip (1560–1589)
  • George IV (1589–1613)
  • Philip Erwin (1613–1668), since 1663 Baron

Barons of Schönborn (1663–1701)[edit]

  • Philip Erwin (1663–1668)
  • John Erwin (1668–1705), since 1701 Count, jointly with:

Counts of Schönborn (1701–1717)[edit]

  • John Erwin (1701–1705)
  • Melchior Frederick (1705–1717)
Divided between the lines Heusenstamm and Wiesentheid.

After German Mediatisation[edit]


  • Hugo, Count 1772-1817 (1739–1817)
    • Franz, Count of Schönborn-Buchheim (1768–1841)
      • Schönborn-Buchheim Line
    • Franz, Count of Schönborn-Wiesentheid (1776–1840)
      • Schönborn-Wiesentheid Line
    • Friedrich, Count 1817-1849 (1781–1849) Bohemian Line

Counts of Schönborn-Buchheim[edit]

After German Mediatisation[edit]


  • Franz, 1st Count 1817-1841 (1768–1841)
    • Erwein, 2nd Count 1841-1844 (1791–1864) - resigned rights to his brother in 1844
    • Karl, 3rd Count 1844-1854 (1803–1854)
      • Erwein, 4th Count 1854-1903 (1842–1903)
        • Friedrich Karl, 5th Count 1903-1932 (1869–1932)
          • Georg 6th Count 1932-1989 (1906–1989)
            • Friedrich Karl, 7th Count 1989–present (born 1938) ∞ Isabelle d'Orleans, Princess of France
              • Damian, Hereditary Count of Schönborn-Buchheim (born 1965)
              • Count Vinzenz (born 1966)
                • Count Philipp (born 2003)
                • Count Clemens (born 2005)
                • Count Alexander (born 2010)
              • Count Vinzenz (born 1966)
                • Count Theodor (born 2015)

Counts of Schönborn-Heusenstamm (1717–1801)[edit]

Heusenstamm Castle, built in 1661 for Philipp Erwein von Schönborn

Schönborn-Heusenstamm was a German statelet ruled by the Schönborn family located in the south of modern Hesse, Germany. Schönborn-Heusenstamm was a partition of Schönborn, and was inherited by Schönborn-Wiesentheid in 1801.

  • Anselm Francis (1717–1726)
  • Anselm Posthumous (1726–1801)

Counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid (1717–1806)[edit]

Wiesentheid Castle, built in 1701 for Rudolf Franz Erwein von Schönborn

Schönborn-Wiesentheid was a County in Lower Franconia, the northwestern Region of modern Bavaria, Germany, comprising various isolated districts spanning from the Regnitz River to the Main River east of Würzburg. Schönborn-Wiesentheid was a partition of Schönborn, and inherited the other line of Schönborn-Heusenstamm in 1801. Schönborn-Wiesentheid was mediatised to Bavaria in 1806. These counts bear the prefix, Illustrious Highness.

  • Rudolph Francis Erwin (1717–1754)
  • Joseph Francis Bonaventura (1754–1772)
  • Damian Hugo Erwin (1772–1806)

After German Mediatisation[edit]


  • Franz, 1st Count 18..-1840 (1776–1840)
    • Hugo, 2nd Count 1840-1865 (1805–1865)
    • Klemens, 3rd Count 1865-1877 (1810–1877)
      • Arthur, 4th Count 1877-1915 (1846–1915)
        • Erwein, 5th Count 1915-1942 (1877–1942)
          • Karl, 6th Count 1942-1998 (1916–1998)
            • Filipp, 7th Count 1998-2004 (born 1954) - renounced his title in 2004
            • Paul, 8th Count 1998–present (born 1964)
              • Franz, Hereditary Count of Schönborn-Wiesentheid (born 1990)
              • Count Alexander (born 1991)
              • Count Johannes (born 1991)
              • Count Georg (born 1995)
              • Count Michael (born 1997)

Prelates of the family[edit]

Altarpiece from 1745 at Gaibach Church: Three generations of the Schönborn family
Schönborn burial chapel adjacent to Würzburg Cathedral

This family counts several prelates of the Roman Catholic Church:


The House of Schönborn, especially its ruling prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, were among the most important builders of Southern German Baroque architecture. An important art collection is shown at Schloss Weißenstein in Pommersfelden, still owned by the Count of Schönborn-Wiesentheid.

Private Residences[edit]

  • Burg Schönborn (built around 1100)
  • Burgschwalbach castle (a fief of the County of Katzenelnbogen, administrated in the middle ages by the Lords of Schönborn)
  • Freienfels castle near Weinbach, 1466-1687 owned by the family
  • Schloss Gaibach (near Volkach), since 1650 to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid
  • Schloss Geisenheim, since 1652 to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid
  • Schloss Heusenstamm (built from 1661)
  • Schönborner Hof in Mainz (built from 1668)
  • Schönborner Hof in Aschaffenburg (built from 1673)
  • Schloss Wiesentheid, from 1701 to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid
Schloss Weissenstein at Pommersfelden, Franconia (Bavaria)
  • Schloss Weissenstein at Pommersfelden (built from 1711–18 for Lothar Franz von Schönborn), to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid. The palace contains the largest private Baroque art collection in Germany, containing over 600 pictures. Baroque and Renaissance artists represented include Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt and Anthony van Dyck.[2] It also houses a collection of 17th-19th century musical manuscripts and prints, the "Musical Collection of the Counts Schönborn-Wiesentheid", mainly acquired by Count Rudolf Franz Erwein von Schönborn(1677–1754), a talented amateur cellist who had ordered original cello compositions from various composers including Platti and Vivaldi. This is called the "elder repertoire" and consists of 147 prints and 497 mss.[3] Its contents are listed with RISM. The "younger repertoire" was acquired by the cellists grandson resp. grand-grandson, Hugo Damian Erwein (1738–1817) and Franz Erwein von Schönborn (1774–1840). It consists of 141 prints and 98 mss. The whole library has been microfilmed [4][5]
  • Göllersdorf estate, Austria (since 1712 to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Buchheim)
  • Weyerburg castle, Austria (since 1714 to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Buchheim)
  • Palais Schönborn-Batthyány, Vienna (to this day owned by the Counts of Schönborn-Buchheim)
  • Palais Schönborn, Laudongasse, Vienna
  • Schönborn Palace (Prague)
  • Skalka Castle near Vlastislav (Litoměřice District), Czech Republic
  • Chynadiyovo Castle, Ukraine

Ecclesiastical and official Residences[edit]


Over 100 churches were built during the rule of Schönborn bishops, many of them by their famous court architect Balthasar Neumann, among them:


Art collection[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Online Gotha - SCHÖNBORN
  2. ^ "Schloss-Weissenstein Art Collection". Gemeinnützige Stiftung Schloss Weissenstein in Pommersfelden. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Overview inc. bibliography
  4. ^ access via DMGA
  5. ^ Reference.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°57′26″N 7°28′26″E / 49.9572°N 7.4740°E / 49.9572; 7.4740