Destinations Magazine

The Castle Of The Counts of Clapboard

By Linda
The Castle Of The Counts of Clapboard

photo : Alexandre Hamada Prossi

Schloß Kornberg is a castle on the Styrian castle route, which since 1871 has belonged to the Counts of Bardeau. There may be an error in translation here, but Bardeau in French is a shingle or weatherboard – also known as a clapboard – in architecture.

Does this mean that it’s the castle of the Counts of Clapboard?

History of Kornberg Castle

As early as 1284 a fortified bulwark ( a raised defensive wall or curtain) surrounded the building on the site of today’s Kornberg castle. In the 16th / 17th century, this building was transformed into a comfortable home for the Barons of Stadl.

I don’t think this is the same Stadl as the hamlet where Chalet Lowonahill is located – but you never know!

With respect to the Barons (and Counts for that matter!), it might be interesting to know that these were not necessarily of royal blood in ancient Austria. From 1453 onwards, the Archduke of Austria (a member of the royal household above the status of Duke, but below that of the King) had the right to grant the status of nobility to non-nobles. So many ‘commoners’ became counts – much like the belated Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah Ferguson, former Duchess of York, in England during the late 20th and early 21st century.

Archdukes were the princes of the House of Habsburg or Habsburg-Lorraine, until 1918 when all the nobility of Austria was abolished following the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From 1804  (the end of the Holy Roman Empire) to the end of the Habsburg dynasty, Austrian Emperors  of the House of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine continued to elevate deserving individuals to nobility status. So it may be that our Barons of Stadl (and perhaps their successors at the castle), were not actually of royal lineage. Shame – I thought we had so much in common!

But back to Kornberg castle…

In 1825 Johann I, Prince of Leichtenstein, bought the castle and held on to it until 1871, when he sold it to the Counts of Bardeau. Here’s an interesting thought – could Prince Johann I be of the same Liechtenstein family that still own the ravishing Riegersburg castle - also in super Styria?

The Counts of Bardeau

The Counts of Bardeau are difficult to trace, but it’s most unlikely that their nobility came from being ‘clapperboard kings’!

More likely that the Counts have some association with the House of Habsburg in their dim distant past. And from what I can see, at least one member of the family has had some – albeit fragile – contact with one of the UK’s famous Liverpool lads.

Ringo Starr bought his  Rydinghurst estate in Surrey from Count George Bardeau. What a small world we live in!

There seems to be a general lack of information about the gynaeology of the Counts of Bardeau, but either way they still own the castle and operate it as a luxury events and exhibitions estate. Romantics can seal their futures together in a wonderful wedding held in the 14th century chapel or baptise their babies in ancient splendour.

And for those with epicurean interests, why not try a feast at the Knight’s table in a banquet of delicious delights?

For more information, see here.


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