Living History

The origins of Sommersdorf are obscure. Early in the 13th century, a noble family named de Sunnemannesdorf settled here and presumably gave the village its name.

The castle is rich in history, and was built in the late 14th century by Ludwig von Eyb. His grandson Albrecht von Eyb, born at 1420 at Sommersdorf, became Germany’s first humanistic writer.

The Crailsheim family owns the castle since 1550. Wolf von Crailsheim brought the Protestant reformation to Sommersdorf in 1551, and his son Ernst enlarged the family holdings by purchases and grants.

During the Thirty Years War (1618-48) between the Catholics and the Protestants, Sommersdorf suffered a great deal. Houses in the village were plundered and burned, the fields lay fallow and the population was severely decimated by war and plague. But the castle itself survived.
In mid-19th century, the top floor of the Old Castle was pulled down due to dilapidation, the draw-bridge was replaced by a permanent bridge, and he castle was generally restored. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Schloss Sommersdorf has been continuously inhabited by the von Crailsheim family.

The Crailsheims are a large family with several other castles (the nearest is at Rügland, north of Ansbach) and a tradition of public service. In the 19th century, Graf Crafft v. Crailsheim was a top official in the court of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Alarmed at the “mad” King’s mounting expenditures for castle-building at Neuschwanstein and elsewhere, Graf Crailsheim and others tried to have Ludwig certified insane. The scenario misfired, and Ludwig was found drowned. Ironically, another Baron v. Crailsheim had been the head of the public trust that administers Ludwig’s castles and other historic monuments.

1208 – 2008

800 Years Sommersdorf

800 Years Sommersdorf

Lectures and Materials

On occasion of the 800th anniversary of Sommersdorf in 2008 some lectures were held and published:

Die Geschichte von Schloss Sommersdorf von Freiherr Manfred von Crailsheim

Ludwig von Eyb – wie ein fränkischer Ritter nach Berlin kam von Eugen Schoeler

Albrecht von Eyb von Prof. Schmitz