Pořešín Castle in historical context

The first mention of this area dates back to the 12th century, when it was administered by the monastic order of Premonstratensians from Milevsko. The oldest document about the Pořešín estate is a document of Pope Alexander IV, where he mentions a church in the town of Kaplice. The fame of Pořešín manor came in the 13th century when Bavor II of Strakonice became its owner, who acquired it as a dowry of Anežka, daughter of King Přemysl Otakar II. The manor was located on an important trade route from the Alpine countries and so it was necessary to build a centre of power, which at that time meant building a castle, fortress or fortress.

The site above the Malše River offered the opportunity to build a castle, and so sometime between 1270 and 1300 Pořešín Castle was built on a rock promontory. Since the owner rarely stayed at the castle, the castle was administered by an appointed purgrave. The size of the estate was considerable for that time and consisted of the town of Kaplice and many villages. Its area was bounded roughly as follows: east – the Malše River, north – the estate of the Michalovics (Velešín) and the rest was surrounded by their powerful neighbour Rožmberk.

In Pořešín Castle, unlike other castles, which boasted a massive residential tower surrounded by palace buildings, the key point of the defensive elements is the enveloping wall – a shell wall, typical especially for Moravian castles. The castle ruins are best accessed from the village of the same name by an old, probably castle road, descending gently along its southwestern part to the Malše River. The entrance to the inner part of the castle was protected by three wide transverse ditches in addition to the two forecourts, which allowed access only from the north-west through the main tower gate, the remains of which are still visible. The access route continued through four more gates located in the shell walls of the individual forecourts. However, only one has survived, in the second bailey.

On the opposite side of the promontory, facing the main gate, are the remains of a single residential building, a two-storey palace that was divided into two parts by a cross wall. Of the palace, only the north-eastern part, facing the courtyard and the side wall, stands today. The entire outer wall and the curtain wall have been demolished. Only the ruins of the other wings of the palace remain. From the ground floor, which is now covered with rubble, it is evident that the rooms on the floors were accessed from the castle courtyard by a wooden pavilion, which has long since collapsed, and undoubtedly formed the main living quarters of the castle. This fact is proved by the remains of a fireplace on the south-eastern side wall of the palace. Several smaller chambers were located above the main rooms.

The castle was dominated by a tall cylindrical tower (discovered only during the last excavations) with an entrance on the second floor. The core of the castle also contained places such as the castle chapel, kitchens, cellars, a previously undiscovered well or water tank, a room for valuables, etc. Heating was provided by fireplaces, tiled stoves and fireplaces. The rooms intended for the lord of the castle were insulated with wooden panelling. Despite all these „conveniences“, life in the castle was not easy and the cold was omnipresent. However, the people of that time were more resilient and the conditions in the countryside were even harsher. The original castle consisted of one bailey (the second one was built under Marquart I of Pořešín together with a new palace with a knight’s hall and fortified castle gates from 1382). The bailey was separated from the core by a wide brick moat. The castle core, including the forecourt, was then surrounded by a wall with battlements. 

The history of the castle’s owners is quite complex. The foundation of Pořešín Castle dates back to after 1270 and the founder is Bavor II of Strakonice. In 1315, Bavor III of Strakonice donated part of the Pořešín estate to the monastery in Zlatá Koruna. At the end of his life in 1317 he exchanged the Pořešín manor with the brothers Přibík, Verner and Rack for the manor and castle near Prachatice. Racek died shortly after that year and both remaining brothers were high servants of the Lords of Rožmberk. The descendants of Verner, who died in 1352, were Přibík of Osov, Bruno of Osov and Verner of Pláně. All of them died childless and their estates went largely to relatives on the side of their uncle Přibík.

Přibík of Pořešín married a second time after the death of his wife Zdenka and left behind a large number of children: Přibík, Jan, Verner and Juta. He died in 1348. His son Markvart I of Pořešín became the most important member of the Pořešín family. In 1358, he concluded a treaty with his brothers Přibík and Ješek to avoid the fragmentation of the Pořešín estate. He insured Ješek’s livelihood with a pension until his death. Around 1375 Přibík also separated from the manor and founded a separate family line near Benešov. At that time, Markvart of Pořešín rises in importance and reaches the rank of Hofmister of Empress Elisabeth of Pomerania. As a member of the royal (Wenceslas IV) court he had a large income and so he buys and sells many villages and at the same time grants Kaplice a town right. Above all, however, he rebuilds the Pořešín castle magnificently. He enlarges it by the forecourt, founds a new palace and fortifies the gates. The castle becomes a representative residence. Markvart had seven children, only one of whom was born, the Seagull (Markvart II and Anna).

He died in 1406 and at the time of his death only his daughter, grandson Markvart II and granddaughter Anna were left alive. As the grandson was not of age at the time of his death, Markvart appointed Hroch of Maršovice as his guardian, who moved to Pořešín with his sons Jan and Hroch. In 1418, the last lord of Pořešín, Markvart II. He married his sister Anna to Kamaret of Žirovnice. The last mention of Markvart II is from 1423. His trace ends here. We can only guess about his death. There was a war in the country at that time and the Hussites may have played a part in his death. The lords of Pořešín were buried in the church of the Dominican monastery in Budějovice. However, it is not known where Markvart II is resting. After his death, the castle and the estate were taken over again by the lords of Maršovice. However, they held the castle for a short time. Both Jan and Hrošek of Maršovice died before 1433.

After various tussles, in 1434 the castle and the manor were granted to Oldřich II of Rožmberk by Emperor Sigismund. He had the castle, which was basically useless to Oldřich, demolished and razed to the ground. Fortunately, his will was not completely fulfilled and the ruins were preserved. We can therefore date the castle’s demise to 1433, when it was probably burnt and partially destroyed so that it could not be defended.


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