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The Holy Roman Empire Constitution

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The German Ruling Houses

Last updated: May 10, 2015


The House of Limburg-Styrum descended from the family that had ruled in the County of Berg by the beginning of the 12th century [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.2].

Arnold and Friedrich (+1199), sons of Count Eberhard I of Altena (+1180), and grandsons of Count Adolf II of Berg (+after 1160), founded two branches of the family. The branch of Friedrich (+1199), which became known as the House of The Mark, ruled in The Mark, Kleve, Berg, Jülich, Nevers, Arenburg, Sedan, Bouillon, Schleiden, etc., and became extinct in the male line with the death of Count Ludwig-Engelbert of Schleiden in 1773 [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.16-21].

The branch of Arnold, son of Count Eberhard I of Altena (see above), became known as the House of Limburg, after Dietrich I (+1301), Arnold's grandson, made The Upper Limburg / Hohenlimburg (an-der-Lenne) his residence [20: Jahrgang LXIV (1811); p.654].

Johann I (+1277) and Eberhard (+1304/1308), sons of Count Dietrich I (+1301), founded two branches of the House of Limburg. The branch of Eberhard (+1304/1308), which ruled in the County of the Upper Limburg, became extinct in the male line with the death of Count Johann of Limburg in 1511 (the County of The Upper Limburg passed to the House of Neuenahr, then to the House of Daun-Falkenstein, and, finally, to the House of Bentheim [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.3-4] [20: Jahrgang LXIV (1811); p.654]).

The branch of Johann I (+1277) possessed the Lordship of Styrum [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.3].

Georg of Limburg (+1552), Lord of Styrum, from the branch of Johann I (+1277), married Irmgard of Wisch, heiress to Bronckhorst, Borculo, and other lands in the Netherlands [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.3].

In 1591, Jost of Limburg (+1621), Count of Bronckhorst, grandson of Georg (+1552), married Maria of Holstein-Schaumburg / Schauenburg. In 1640, their son, Hermann-Otto I (+1644), inherited the Imperial immediate Lordship of Gemen from the House of Holstein-Schaumburg [20: Jahrgang LXIV (1811); p.654]. The Lordship of Gemen gave its owner the right of the Imperial Estate (via the membership in the College of the Westphalian Counts) and the right to vote in the Assembly of the Circle of the Lower Rhine-Westphalia.

Otto (+1679), Adolf-Ernst (+1657) and Moritz (+1664), sons of Count Hermann-Otto I (+1644) and grandsons of Jost (+1621), divided the family's possessions and founded, respectively, the branches of Bronckhorst, Gemen and Styrum of the House of Limburg-Styrum [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.5] [20: Jahrgang LXIV (1811); p.655].

1. Bronckhorst

Otto (+1679), son of Count Hermann-Otto I (+1644), received the family's lands in the Netherlands, and founded, respectively, the branch of Bronckhorst of the House of Limburg-Styrum [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.5].

The County of Bronckhorst / Bronkhorst and the Lordship of Borculo, which the branch possessed, enjoyed a special status in the Dutch province of Gelderland, as their ancient owners were autonomous Bannerets since the end of the 15th century (Note 1).

Friedrich-Wilhelm (+1722) and Georg-Albrecht (+1690), sons of Count Otto (+1679), divided the family's possessions. Georg-Albrecht received Bronckhorst. In 1721, his daughter, Maria (+1759), wife of Landgrave Philipp of Hesse-Philippsthal, sold the County of Bronckhorst [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.5].
Count Friedrich-Wilhelm (+1722) received the Lordship of Borculo. After his death in 1722, Borculo passed to his second son, Leopold (+1753), who sold the lordship in 1727 [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.5]. Friedrich-Wilhelm (+1722) and his wife disinherited their oldest son, Otto-Ernst-Gelder (+1769), because they viewed his marriage with Anna-Lucia van Klinkenberg as a mésalliance (Note 2). After the death of Count Otto-Ernst-Gelder in 1769, the branch of Bronckhorst was considered as extinct in the male line, as many did not recognized his children as members of the Imperial immediate House of Limburg-Styrum (Note 3). However, the numerous descendants of Count Otto-Ernst-Gelder and Anna-Lucia van Klinkenberg, who live in the Netherlands and other countries, consider themselves as the members of the Limburg-Styrum family [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.8-15].

The Counts of Limburg of the branch of Bronckhorst possessed no Imperial immediate territories and participated in no Imperial institutions.

1. "... numerous enclaves had survives in and adjoining Gelderland claiming direct ties with the Holy Roman Empire. The group of titled nobles, or bannerheren, of Gelderland had evolved since 1492, almost as independent princelings, either staying neutral, or as outright supporters of the Habsburgs, in defiance of Duke Karel. The counts of Buren, and of Bronckhorst-Batenburg, had been especially active in opposing Karel's authority. When Gelderland came under Charles V, the counts of Buren, Bronckhorst-Batenburg, Bergh, Culemborg, and Limburg-Stirum, ... all claimed the right of direct appeal to the Imperial Chancery and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as exemption from the authority of the duke of Gelderland" [21: p.67-68].
"The Brussels regime, and the Hof of Gelderland, also whittled away some of autonomous status of the bannerheren. A few of these lordships were partially integrated into the new juridical and fiscal framework established after 1543 and the ties of the bannerheren with the Holy Roman Empire were reduced by the Pragmatic Sanction, at least with the regard to the lands fully enclaved within Gelderland. Yet the separate status of the enclaves, and bannerheren, was far from wholly suppressed, especially not juridically or psychologically, even where the process of the Habsburg bureaucratization and centralization was most successful. By a variety of methods the titles lords defended their sovereign, or semi-sovereign, independence." [21: p.69].
2. "In 1721 kwam Otto Ernst Gelder in conflict met zijn ouders. Hij was verliefd geworden op Anna Lucia van Klinkenberg van wie zijn ouders vonden dat ze van te lage komaf was." [22: p.53].
3. "Graf Otto Ernst Geldricus mit einer Gemahlin bürgerl. Standes vermählt war, womit er 3 Söhne und eine Tochter erzeugte, so ist diese Limburg-Bronchorst-Borkeloische Linie mit ihm, ohne standesmässige Nachkommen, erloschen" [20: Jahrgang LXIV (1811); p.655].

2. Gemen

Adolf-Ernst (+1657), son of Count Hermann-Otto I of Limburg and Bronckhorst (+1644), founded the branch of Gemen of the House of Limburg-Styrum [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.5, 6]. Hermann-Otto II (+1704) and Maximilian-Wilhelm (+1728), sons of Count Adolf-Ernst, founded two sub-branches of the Gemen branch. The sub-branch of Hermann-Otto II (+1704), which rules in the Imperial immediate Lordship of Gemen, became extinct in the male line with the death of August, Bishop of Speyer, in 1797. The sub-branch of Maximilian-Wilhelm possessed Simonsthurm in Hungary, and, until 1772, the Imperial immediate Lordship of Illeraichen / Iller-Aichheim (in the Knightly Circle of Swabia) [7: p.52] [3: Abtheilung I; Band II; p.230]. In 1781, August of Limburg-Styrum (+1797), Bishop of Speyer, ceded Gemen to the sub-branch of Maximilian-Wilhelm (+1728) [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.6].

In 1800, the branch of Gemen became extinct in the male line with the death of Count Ferdinand, and its possessions passed to the Baron of Bemelberg [3: Abtheilung II; Band II; p.197] [2: p.67] [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.6].

List of the Rulers

Ferdinand-Gottfried-Meinhard (1701-1791) [1781-1791]
// 1738-1772 in Illeraichen, 1781 in Gemen
Karl II (1722/23-1798) [1791-1798]
Ferdinand (1785-1800) [1798-1800]


>-1803 [23: Band II; p.217]

HRE Count of Limburg-Velen-Styrum,
Ruling Count and Lord of the Imperial immediate Lordship of Gemen,
Lord of Raesfeld, Simonsthurm;

Voices in the Imperial Circle assemblies in 1789 [2: p.14]

The Lower Rhine-Westphalia:
- Gemen;

Voices in the Imperial Assembly in 1789 [2: p.9]

Curial voices in the Council of Princes:
= the Counts of Westphalia =
- Gemen

Territorial Possessions in 1789

The Imperial Circle of the Lower Rhine-Westphalia:
- Gemen / Gehmen [3: Abtheilung I; Band I; p.438] [2: p.48];

The Imperial Circle of the Lower Rhine-Westphalia:
= under the Territorial Supremacy of Münster =
Raesfeld [3: Abtheilung I; Band I; p.438];

Outside Imperial Circles:
= under the Territorial Supremacy of Hungary (Austrian) =
- Simonsthurm / Simontornya;

3. Styrum

Moritz (+1664), son of Count Hermann-Otto I of Limburg and Bronckhorst (+1644), founded the branch of Styrum of the House of Limburg-Styrum [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.7].

In 1692, Count Moritz-Hermann (+1709), son of Moritz (+1664), married Elisabeth-Dorothea-Wilhelmina of Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg (+1722), heiress of a portion of the Imperial immediate Lordship of Oberstein [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.7].

Philipp-Ferdinand (+1794), Lord of Styrum and Oberstein, advanced claims to Pinnenberg Holstein and the Princely rank as a descendant of Maria of Holstein-Schaumburg (see above) [24: Theil I; p.860-862] [25: Abtheilung II; Theil II (1826); p.188].

In 1794, the French army conquered the Imperial immediate Lordship of Oberstein (Note 1) [25: Abtheilung II; Theil II (1826); p.188].

In July 1806, Ernst-Maria of Limburg, Lord of Styrum, lost his status of Imperial immediate ruler when his possessions (Styrum) were mediatized by the Act of the Confederation of the Rhine [3: Abtheilung II; Band II; p.187].

In 1809, the branch of Styrum (and for many the House of Limburg-Styrum, see above) became extinct with the death of Ernst-Maria [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.7].

1. Some sources questioned the Imperial immediacy of Styrum, and considered that after the branch of Styrum lost the Oberstein, it had no more Imperial immediate lands [11: Heft II; p.150] [2: p.48].

List of the Rulers [10: Neue Folge; Band XVIII (1998); t.7]

Philipp-Ferdinand (1734-1794) [1758-1794]
// 1758-1791 in Wilhermsdorf; 1760 in Styrum; 1766 in Oberstein
Ernst-Maria (1736-1809) [1794-1806]

Titles [26: II (Preuves); p.200]

Duke of Schlewig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, West Frisia, Wagria;
Prince-Count of Holstein, Schaumburg, Pinneberg;
Count of Limburg-Styrum;
Count of Bronckhorst, Sternberg;
Lord of Wisch, Borculo, Gemen, Oberstein, Wilhermsdorf,

Territorial Possessions in 1789

The Imperial Circle of the Lower Rhine-Westphalia:
- Styrum / Stirum [1: Theil III; p.733]

Outside Imperial Circles:
- % Oberstein [2: p.33; 48] [3: Abtheilung I; Band I; p.348]

The Knightly Circle of Franconia:
- Wilhermsdorf [3: Abtheilung I; Band II; p.252];

Territorial Acquisitions and Losses since 1789

- In 1794, the French army occupied Oberstein [25: Abtheilung II; Theil II (1826); p.188].

- in 1801, the Treaty of Lunéville recognized the annexation of Oberstein to France [25: Abtheilung II; Theil II (1826); p.188].

- In 1803, the Final Recess of the Imperial Deputation compensated the Count of Limburg-Styrum-Styrum for the loss of Oberstein with money [3: Abtheilung II; Band I; p.290] [25: Abtheilung II; Theil II (1826); p.188].


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