The castle Allenjoie.

Montbéliard around 1650

As mentioned by the archivist Alfons Dreher, a Geldreich came to France in 1608. He was Jean Guillaume (Jean Guillaume) Gelderich von Sigmarshofen. To our knowledge and according to the documents in our possession, Jean Guillaume is the first Geldreich to have arrived in France.

Son of Hans Friedrich Geldrich von Sigmarshofen and of Schulthaiss Margareth, Jean Guillaume was the supreme Council of Montbéliard. Noble, he counseled of the Duke of Württemberg in 1608. In 1615, he became chief of the Guards in Montbéliard. Subsequently, he was elected Mayor of the city of Montbéliard on January 08, 1618.He also served as Bailiff (a Bailiff was a Judge and administrator of a Judicial circumscription (manorial or royal).  The Bailiff's house next to the castle of Montbéliard is today a school of music that is open to visitors. That building is also called the lodgings of the squires. 

It was constructed in 1597 to welcome bailly and courtiers. As bailiff, Jean Guillaume probably spent a great deal of time there.

This is a Seal of Hans Wilhelm Gelderich von Sigmarshofen. The photo has been taken of a document preserved in the archives of Montbéliard.

On March 20, 1623 he appears in the registers as being the owner of the Castle of Wolfsberg. At the time of his death, his two sons Ludwig Friedrich and Georg Léopold inherited the Wolfsberg. At the time of the transfer on March 27, 1657, the youngest son Georg Léopold became owner of the Wolfsberg. On August 04 1629 Jean Guillaume became owner of the district near St. Pierre’s gate in Montbéliard. This gate doesn't exist any more, but it was located near the streets Rue de la mouche and Rue cuvier. At the time of Jean Guillaume, Saint Pierre was one of the districts of Montbéliard which could be reached only by a small bridge.

Hans Wilhelm Geldrich von Sigmarshofen died on January 25, 1651 and was buried in the cathedral of Basel.

The photocopy is an excerpt of the text of the enrollment on his burial stone and his from his epitaph printed in the book Johannes Tonjoia, Basilea Sepulta... Basel 1661, on page 93.

The youngest son of Jean Guillaume, Georg Léopold, descended of the first marriage of Jean Guillaume with Elisabeth von Freudenstein (August 01 1618). Widely known in the region of Montbéliard, Georg Léopold purchased the village of Allenjoie at the southeast of Montbéliard in 1667.

This castle whose numbering had been made on June 14, 1739 by " Maximillane Guelderich of Sigmarshofen dame d’Allenjoie en partie”, daughter of Georges Léopold (Archives departmental of the Doubs côte ECM 5083), was estimated to the sum of 70 000 pounds French Francs (a currency at that time, which represented a very very important sum…)

As mentioned in the dictionary of the townships of the Doubs on page 84, Georges - Léopold Gueldrich of Sigmarshofen was Baron and squire of the court of the Prince Georges II of Montbéliard. Allenjoie was resold November 14, 1743 to a certain Röttlin from Colmar; in this act (Archives departmental of the Doubs to Besançon côte ECM 5083) the castle was described like following text:

"situated in Allenjoie, the castle and the buildings constructed in the court of the castle, a tower where is the Manorial jail and above the Dovecote, all within a duplicate ditch, the orchard to the west joining the one that depends on the estate in the enclosure outside of the ditches, a vegetable garden between the ditches, on the west a barn with the stables in the enclosures joining the alley leading to the castle"

The castle was resold (for 70 000 tournament-pounds) following debts by Léopold Eberhard Count (Earl???) von Sponeck and by Lady Maximiliane Gueldrich of Sigmarshofen, his aunt. Indeed, when you read this document of sale, it says:… that the lordship has been acquired of gentlemens… Melchior Baron of Reinach by Noble Sir Georges Léopold Gueldrich of Sigmarshofen, maternal grandfather of Sir the Count von Sponeck.It says on the end, 70 000 tournament-pounds paid by Sir Röttlin, purchaser…. to know, first 42300 pounds by ascription of this sum that the Sir and lady sellers to which they owe him, on third they will pay 19300 pounds to the recipe of the Churches of Montbéliard to which they owe this sum, and will pay in the same way on fourth place to lady Elisabeth La Chaume de Dodelan (his sister in law) the wife of Sir Sattler 2000 pounds. (Because Léopold Eberhard count of Sponeck was married with Lady Alexandrine Catherine La Chaume de Dodelan (she is mentioned in the same act).

In this act it is Emmanuel Röttlin of Colmar who is assigned to adjust the creditors before handing the balance of the sale to the sellers which was 6400 pounds.

Therefore it can be supposed that the property of Allenjoie had been resold following a judicial liquidation…

As you can read it, the family Geldreich is allied to the family von Sponeck. The name Sponeck may tells you no much, but when we speak about the Duke of Württemberg and the Prince of Montbéliard you may know more about this name. Indeed, Éléonore, daugther of Georg Léopold Geldrich von Sigmarshofen got married with Johann Rudolph, Count von Sponeck. Johann Rudolph was the brother of Anna Sabina, Contesse von Sponeck, wife of the Duke of Württemberg and Prince of Montbéliard.

We found Anna Sabina again on the castle Wolfsberg. After Georg Léopold inherited the castle and resold it again, the Wolfsberg has been offered to Anna Sabina.

The castle din't leave the family Geldreich definitively since it belonged to the sister in law of Éléonore, a born Geldrich von Sigmarshofen.

If you would like to know more about this family von Sponeck we invite you to visit the home page of the Sponeck: