In the older chronicles of Hamburg and also Lübeck is reported by raids, violence and feuds, also by military campaigns and the breaking of castles. The recent chroniclers have faithfully adopted those reports, and from there these messages, along with some documentary traditions, have found their way into local and regional history and into textbooks. Here is a widely held view, for instance, that medieval castles are designed to attack and loot merchants' merchandise, peacefully pulling away, in order to deprive the peasants of their property with impunity or to drive away the cattle. The usual name "robbery castles" gives the inhabitants of the widespread reputation of the "robber barons" whose source of income is just the planned robbery and threatened by today's law with heavy jail sentence road robbery. It should be noted that the term "robber barons" first appeared at the end of the 18th century, when there were no more knights.

The following account in connection with the article on the natur of the feud is to prove that the Scharpenbergs were by no means criminal hijackers but a respected knightly family, who fought his right over the then prevalent feud. Therefore, I once made a brief outline of the life of the Scharpenbergs from passages, which I have taken from the following village book.

Niendorf an der Stecknitz
1192 - 1994
by Jens Ulbricht
Manufactor: Wachholtz Druck GmbH, Neumünster.

The family (von) Scharpenberg in the district Duchy of Lauenburg

On December 21, 1259, the name "Scarpenberch" appears for the first time north of the Elbe in a document among the knights and squires ("Milites et Famuli") of the Earls Johann I. and Gerhard I. von Holstein and Schauenburg. The origin of the name is unknown. In the course of colonization, they probably migrated from Westphalia. The Scharpenbergs were an important family in the first half of the 14th century. Her word was heard in Holstein, Lauenburg and Mecklenburg. A Scharpenberg daughter was married to the Hamburg mayor Hartwich von Ertheneborg, another with a member of the Hamburg cathedral chapter. Heyno von Scharpenberg was Vogt under Count Johann II von Holstein at the Steinburg near Itzehoe. He was in 1340 as a close confidant of King Waldemar IV of Denmark. The family Scharpenberg had extensive land around their headquarters Linau, Seedorf, Rieps (Krs. Gevesmühlen) and Pritzier (Krs. Hagenow). To Heyno Scharpenberg's lifetime at ca.1320 had the Scharpenbergs in the Linau area over six villages or farms, which formed a closed complex. These are Linau, Wentorf, Schonenberge, Nannendorp, Koldenhove and Eekenhorst. Only Linau and Wentorf remained continuously inhabited until the present day. On the boundary of the former Schonen mountains took place in the 16th century, the re-establishment of the village Schönberg. Starting from Schoenberg, the settlement Franzdorf was built on the former Nannendorper field. Koldenhove and Eekenhorst, on the other hand, completely disappeared and were partially covered by the forest of the Hahnheide. In 1319 the church was first mentioned in Linau. After Prange (1960) she is said to have only supplied the inhabitants of the village Linau, since 1389 Schonberge, 1423 Wentorf were eingepfarrt to Sandesneben. In 1924 Christian row graves were discovered in Linau in the course of construction. They are likely to come from the cemetery of the former Linau church. Accordingly, the church stood east of the village green.

At times the Scharpenbergs offered over the city of Barth in Western Pomerania (west of Stralsund, on the Baltic Sea). The great rural crisis since about 1350 also leads to the decline of power of the Scharpenberg family. Many villages passed at that time. But already in the 15th century, the Scharpenbergs were again sitting on some levers of power.

c. Anno 1375: Heyno Scharpenbergh admonishes the city council of Lueneburg to repay his debts and asks for an answer from his host Johen Semmelbecker.

Knight Johann Scharpenberg gets in 1410 as one of the few leaders of the Danish army in Frisian captivity. Probably belonged to the Commander (Chief Knights of the Order) Walrave v. Scharpenberg also to the family. From 1424 - 1448 a Henning Scharpenberg served as archbishop of Riga. Vollrath Scharpenberg belonged in the 15th century for a long time to the closest confidants of the Lauenburg dukes and is repeatedly called as Vogt and advice. In 1471 he sold the Linau property to Duke Johann IV of Sachsen-Lauenburg. After the son of the Duke Erich II of Saxony-Lauenburg was called to Münster in 1508, his followers, the brothers Hans and Ludolf Scharpenberg, moved with him to Emsland and received the Heede estate by getting married there. Until the sale of their estate Niendorf 1670 both possessions mostly remained in one hand.

The coat of arms of the Scharpenberg features a silver and red arrowhead on a blue background - a "ray". The arrowhead is not meant here as a knightly weapon and suggests the origin of not originally chivalrous allegiance to the Schauenburg counts. The coat of arms has been detected since the first years of the 14th century in 18 families north of the Elbe.

Here you will find a graphic representation of the family tree of the Knights of Scharpenberg - as far as I know.

The feuds of the Scharpenbergs

The history of Hamburg and Lübeck testifies of looting, arson, raids and wounds to manslaughter by the Scharpenbergs. As long as these hip knights feuds were considered legal in the 14th century. Feuds served to enforce the right of armed force, s. Natur of the feud. Only by ordinary hijackers and in feudal times "savage" mercenaries and knights, the streets were constantly insecure - at the expense of Scharpenbergs, who were now suspected of everything. Nevertheless, as early as 1291, the two Scharpenberg castles in Linau and Nannendorp, i. the "Steinburg" near Franzdorf regarded as threatening. Robberies had run out of them and other castles of Lauenburg knights. Not just on the ground in the streets, but also in the lands of some princes of Mecklenburg and Schwerin and the city of Lübeck.

Together, the victims wrestled their tormentors with a contract to destroy the castles and level all the moats. This project was obviously carried out, but soon after everything was back to normal. For the brothers Ludolf and Hennik Scharpenberg documented in 1330 "in castro nostro Lynowe" again the sale of a pension from the Hamburg customs to the Hamburg Cathedral Chapter.

By 1347 they were peacefully, even friendly, with the Lübeckers, Linau was an open castle. Hinrich von Scharpenberg fought in 1306 on the side of Lübeck and Ludeke von Scharpenberg later stood in alliance with Lübeck and Hamburg against the Holstein counts. With all connectedness - how did change and enmity come about?

The files of the big Hamburg cathedral chapter process (see left) against the town council from 1338 - 1355 give insight: cause was a feud between the count von Holstein and Heyno von Scharpenberg, the former captain or military leader "capitaneus" of the count Demanded money from him. He opened a feud against the count and made in the context of this feud the roads to Hamburg and Lübeck uncertain. A Hamburg council clerk and his servant were badly wounded by the Knights of the Scharpenbergs, wounded and robbed of their horses. The same happened to a pastor from Rendsburg and a notary of the feudal Count Gerhard. The Scharpenbergs are said to have regretted the incidents and released the invaders. Nevertheless, the barrel overflowed.

Four squires from the castle Linau undertook allegedly with some Scharpenbergs - which they did not serve - and Krummendieks before Hamburg a raid. Hamburg citizens were attacked, wounded, and killed. From the villages of Barmbek, Barsbüttel, Jenfeld and Hinschenfelde they stole oxen, cows, sheep, goats and pigs. They also caused damage in Haslo, Hummelsbüttel, Wedel, Rellingen and Wulksfelde. But the Hamburg set after them and captured the four miners with Henneke von Scharpenberg at Castle Linau, not without some horses to go along. The knights of Scharpenberg had to pay all damages.

The call of the Scharpenbergs continued to suffer from some "obvious robbers" from their own ranks, especially Henneke, who must have been a truly edgy fellow. Since 1347, the peaceful relationship with both cities "quickly to hell," and in the emerging feud with the powerful knights sex of Scharpenberg all other Saxon-Lauenburg nobles are involved. 1349 capture and destroy the Lübeck in ten days eight knight castles (Zecher, Neydorp (Niendorf / Schaalsee), Steinhorst, Culpin, Gudow, Nannendorp, Borstorf, Lanken), including just Nannendorp, Godschalk of Scharpenberg's "stone castle", which destroyed in his absence becomes. The strongest castle Linau, on which the seven fortified sons of the brothers Heyno and Ludolph live, still stands like a rock in the surf.

On March 29, 1349, the Scharpenbergs reconciled with the cathedral chapter to Hamburg and promised compensation for better times. But already on 10 August 1349, Lübeck and Hamburg join forces to attack Linau on 8 September 1349 with 1,500 men and the hosts of the three Holstein counts Gerhard, Johann III. and Adolf, together 2,500 men. Hamburg is doing 1,000 men, a "Blide" (bow throwing machine for stone balls) and a "driwen werck" (a kind of large crossbow, with which you shot bars or beams against the castle walls). On September 29, 1349 Linau is conquered and destroyed. The knights escape and flee to the Dukes of Mecklenburg. There they are looking for revenge. They plunder and fire through the villages of the Hamburg councilman Daniel vom Berge. Ohlsdorf, Klein-Borstel, Winterhude, Steilshoop, Farmsen and Fuhlbüttel have to make do. Cattle, sheep, pigs and horses are taken away. The damage is 600 gold florins. On top of that. All entrances on the right bank of the Elbe are now at risk, the Hamburg constantly in trouble. It is always the Scharpenbergs and their people who commit the most violent and violent attacks.

In December 1353, Hermann von Scharpenberg strikes off a hamburger on the way to Oldesloe and lets him die. Hamburg merchants on the way back from Itzehoe are maltreated, one wounded, one killed, two horses stolen. And all these were allowed feudal data at that time. Finally, a verdict of Lübeck and the feuds are over. Henneke von Scharpenberg must swear not to deprive Lübeck citizens and other people in the future, otherwise his life would be forfeited. Captain Henneke is killed in 1386.

Timetable of some data and facts

1259 Scharffenberg (Scarpenbergk, Scharpenberg, Scharffenbürgk)
Knights of Scharpenbergh first north of the Elbe called under the knights and squires of the Counts Johann and Gerhard I. von Holstein and Schauenburg
1272 The family has several possessions as Lauenburg vassals of the sovereign
1291 Attack on the castle Linau and Steinburg near Franzdorf the knights Ludolf and Hinrich.
1312 Count Gerhard II von Schauenburg attacks Linau unsuccessfully.
1338 Vain attack of the Hamburg and Lübeck on the castle Linau.
1344 The dukes of Lauenburg buy the brothers Heyno and Ludeke from Scharpenberg the castle Linau. The knights move to the castle Dartsingen (Neuhaus) in Mecklenburg, but soon return with the help of the landed gentry.
1349 The Luebeckers conquer and destroy eight knight castles in ten days, including Godschalk of Scharpenberg's "Steinburg" (Nannendorp).
Greater attack of the counts Gerhard and Johann von Holstein, Count Adolf von Schauenburg, Duke Erich von Lauenburg and the Hamburg and Lübeck troops (2,500 men) from 8 to 29 September with the help of siege guns from Hamburg. 1,500 Hamburg and Lübeck destroy the castle Linau and make it equal to the ground.
In addition to Seedorf probably also Niendorf a.d.St. in the possession of the Scharpenbergs.
1545 Scharpenbergs own all 20 Niendorf farmsteads.
1558 / 59 Burchard v. Scharffenberg (previously Scharpenberg) died.
Cousins Hans von Scharffenberg (* 1530 1567 squire in Heede near Münster) entrusted by the Duke. Hans Vollrath v. Scharffenberg (* 1560 1602, son of Burchard) becomes heir.
1581 Hans Vollrath v. Scharffenberg builds a church in Niendorf instead of the old St. Anna chapel, which is dedicated to St. Anna; at the same time the construction of a parish, which eliminates the path to the Breitenfelder Church. Niendorf becomes parish, the landowner receives the right to patronage, which is awarded to him in 1587.
1598 The estate Niendorf is again in the possession of the sovereign.
1611 Hans Vollrath v. Scharffenberg (* 1588 1635, son of the church founder) with Niendorf invested; Marriage with Catharina von Ascheberg.
1614 Epitaph with 16 ancestral coats of arms in the church of Niendorf
1617 Son Vollrath Heidenreich v. Chr. Scharffenberg (* 1606 1649) entrusted with estate Niendorf (after his death follows Brother Captain Hans v. Scharffenberg, (* 1607 1667), marriage to Maria Margarethe v. Göhren, over-indebted by war turmoil (* 1618 - 1648: 30 Years War)
1642 Hans v. Scharffenberg pledged the estate to the uncle Friedrich v. Pieningk, Obristwachtmeister in Glueckstadt, in turn, his request to the Colonel Jacob v. Waver, commander of the fortress Glückstadt passes on, because Hans von Scharffenberg can not redeem the estate.
1653 Sale to Jacob v. Wancken with Lehnrecht for 15,500 Reichstaler. Hans v. Scharffenberg left in his will of 1667 the Predigtstuhl the church 1,000 Reichstaler and 500 Reichstaler for the maintenance of the poor in Niendorf. Maria Margarethe v. Peterswaldt, b. v. Göhren, bequeathed in 1694 the church Niendorf 1,000 Reichstaler to keep the church and the Scharffenberg burial ground. The Scharffenbergs completely give up Niendorf and return to their other estates in Mecklenburg and Pomerania.