The history of the fortress, and castle, Dešenice

In the centre of Dešenice, south of the church and directly by the signpost of the yellow touristic route, stands the fortress and castle; which is probably from the 14th century. Originally a gothic fortress, it was later rebuilt in the Renaissance style. The core of the original fortress forms a central part of the complex. It was only later that other buildings have been added. The younger and the older part is separated by a small (front) yard. The part with a three-storey tower, which is facing the village square, belongs to the younger part from the rebuild in the 16th century. This part is sometimes labelled a castle.

The village of Dešenice is first mentioned in 1272, when its owner was some Rudiger or Rydkéř. It’s not about the fact that the village was first mentioned, so much as it was about the first time the name Dešenice was mentioned. This was when Rudiger was one of the witnesses of the deed relating to the monastery of the Premonstratensians in Chotěšov. In 1379, the tax office of the Pilsen region owned a relatively extensive farm from Dešenice called “Racek”, from the dynasty of Kanický from Čachrov. At that time, the villages of Milence, Matějovice, Žíznětice, Březí, Třebov, Děpoltice, and Datelov belonged to the estate. In the 15th century, among other owners, the estate was owned by Oldřich from Paběnice, and afterwards by his son Vilém. In the period of the Hussite wars, Dešenice was owned by Ctibor, the son of Drslav. In the 50’s, he was active in the foreign military service as a warrior, for example with the duke Ludwig of Bavaria. In the years of 1481-1488, the owner, or maybe guardian, of Dešenice was Stach from Hrádek. The dynasty of Dešenský from Dešenice, who is continually mentioned in older literature from the 13th century, settled in Dešenice only at the end of the 15th century (around 1505). This was when the merchant from Klatovy, Jörg Siber, bought the Dešenice farm and his descendants, which then called themselves Dešenští from Dešenice. Siber’s gravestone is located in the dean church in Klatovy. Jiří and Volf Dešenští sold the farm in 1533 to Trystram from Předenice (+1570), who expanded it even more. It is worth mentioning, that this contract also first mentions the fortress in writing. The dynasty of Předeničtí is behind the Renaissance modifications of the fortress. During the reconstruction in the spring of 2015, two coats of arms were uncovered, which belong to the parents of: Trystram from Předenice, Ctibor from Předenice, and Markéta Běšinská from Běšiny. The Předenický family are also referred to in a fragment of the coat of arms gallery,in the former banqueting-hall, where you can still read the inscription on the coat of arms of Jiří Harant from Polžice and at Klenová (father of Kryštof Harant), and his wife Mariana Harantová from Předenice.

In 1570, Trystram’s son, Adam from Předenice, became the owner of Dešenice with the fortress. He was a member of the king’s counsil, and in 1594 he fought with the “Landesaufgebot” in Hungary (in the wars with the Turks). He was a father of six daughters whom he wanted to wed well with the nobles from the neighbourhood. Due to this  it’s no wonder that he “liked to hold banquets” at Dešenice, as August Sedláček writes. At such gatherings, however, there were also brawls, with the fight upon the occasion of a wedding of one of the daughters, with Vilém Tluksa Vrábský from Vrábí, in 1595 becoming fabled. He then became the owner of the estate in 1603, after Adam’s death. His descendants managed to hold the estate over the course of a dramatic period of the Thirty Years' War, up to 1686, when Rudolf Hynek Tluksa from Vrábí sold them to the Kolowrats. His mother, the countess Eva Lažanská from Buková, is worth mentioning. She governed Dešenice during his cavalier journey across Europe. She re-established the parish office in Dešenice in 1670 (it was held by the Protestants up to the Thirty Years’ War). She reconstructed the church of St. Nicholas and she endowed it with a fund. She tried unsuccessfully to elevate Dešenice to a small town with a single market in a week.This didn’t take place for the length of the resistance of Nýrsko and Strážov.
During the sale of Dešenice to the Kolowrats, the existing brewery is also explicitly mentioned; even though, Josef Blau dates it already to 1615 (at that time, there were supposed to be only two breweries around Nýrsko: Bystřice nad Úhlavou and the one in Dešenice). In 1664, Johann Zofca had a chalice made to honour the good memory of the deceased brewer Matouš. Therefore, we may assume that the brewery existed already before this date. With the reliable date being according to the first description from 1686, when the Dešenice estate was being sold.
Tluksové from Vrábí were the last ones who used the Dešenice castle as a residence. In the time of the Kolowrats, only the farm facilities of the homestead were left.

We have a valuable description of the castle from 1729. It is labelled as old, made of stone, and covered with shingles. Its part was changed into a granary (possibly the today’s “Renaissance hall”). The caste tower had no roof. There was a flat belonging to the burgrave in the castle, as well as a number of other rooms. The castle had a fruit garden with a place for the gardener to live in. At that time, the brewery used to be in the rear part of the castle. Built from stone, there was a copper brewing pan for 8 barrels, 4 brews, cooling containers, and a place to store and dry the hops. There was also a vaulted kiln and a threshing floor with a steeping tank. On the other side, from the front part of the castle, there was the flat of the brewer, with two good cellars and a fridge next to it, a fermentation room, and a storage room for barrels. The castle was appraised at 500 groschen three-scores and the brewery at 600 three-scores. Apart from that, there was a still-house in the castle, appraised at 50 groschen three-scores.
In the mid-18th century Prokop Kolowrat Krakovský repaired the castle in a Baroque style, but the original Renaissance character of the building didn’t disappear. Maybe because the farm or the brewing operation still prevailed. Construction works in this period were also carried out in the church of St. Nicholas. Here, a polygonal closing part was constructed, and a Baroque altar was installed in the church- its author being the Baroque woodcarver Jakob Prantl from Dešenice.
The Kolowrats sold the estate in 1757 to the duke Karel Josef Palm-Gundelfingen for 210,000 guldens and 1,000 ducats. However, this also included the Janovice and Veselí estates and six free reeve regions in the so-called Royal Forest (Královský Hvozd). Therefore, Dešenice became a part of the estate Bystřice nad Úhlavou for a whole longer time of patrimonial administration. In 1838, this estate was obtained by the princely dynasty of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen Owing to this, there was a brewery of the duke in Dešenice up until 1928. In mid-19th century the brewery was extensively expanded and modernised. A new brewhouse was built (today a clubroom of the volunteer fire department) as well as  a malt house with a furnace and a threshing floor. Besides that, the lager cellars were also expanded (today under the premises of the municipal authority). However, the brewery was rented out, and its prosperity relied entirely on the person of the brewer. In 1928, the brewery was bought by the joint-stock brewery in Stod and the production was gradually reduced. Last time beer was brewed here was in 1946. Since the end of the 50’s, the castle was the seat of the directorate of the State estate of Dešenice. The numerous farm and administration buildings on the premises also come from this period, but the fortress also underwent construction modifications.
In the mid-1990’s, the municipality became the owner of the fortress, and thanks to European grants, it renovated it in two phases. A part is used as the seat of the authority of the municipal forests, one part as utility rooms for the local clubs, and one part as the municipal library. The so-called Renaissance hall (a former granary and later a “šalanda” of the brewery, which is the room where workers ate and rested) today is a ceremonial hall. The brewery museum is located in the second part, and refers to a several-hundred-year old tradition of beer brewing in Dešenice.

Where to find us

Dešenice 1, 34022 - Dešenice

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