Legend of the Countess-Palatine Adelheid, the “White Lady of Weissenburg”


Once upon a time there was a mighty Count Palatine Friedrich of Saxony and his wife, Adelheid. They lived in the large house on top of the hill, known today as Zscheiplitz.

Across the valley, on the other side of the river Unstrut lived Count Louis of Thuringia. He lived alone and had no family of his own.

Once a celebration was arranged in honour of Emperor Henrich IV, who came to Saxonia for a hunting season. There, at the court, count Louis met Adelheid, countess palatine of Saxonia, and fell madly in love with her. She, also, liked Louis so much, that agreed to arrange the murder of her husband Friedrich, so she and Louis can get married.

On a cold winter day of February the second, 1085 AD, Count Louis of Thuringia enters the Palatine forest in the outskirts of Weissenburg. Hardly thousand meters away from the walls of Weissenburg he blows his hunting horn.

Friedrich had just arrived home and was enjoying a warm bath, prepared by Adelheid. Annoyed by the intruder, count rides off to the forest — alone, lightly dressed, and unarmed. According to ”Goseck chronicle”, there he was brutally murdered by brothers Dietrich and Ulrich ‘‘of Deidenlibe’’ (Deutleben), and Reinhard ‘‘of Runenstide’’ (Runstedt).

Soon after his death, Adelheid wed count Louis and became the contest of Thuringia. As the Reinhardsbrunn chronicler states: ‘’Count of Thuringia received with the marital bond to Adelaide … countless riches and a great legacy.’’ His descendants have ruled the area for another one hundred and twenty years.

Adelheid, in penitence for Friedrich’s betrayal, has donated the Weissenburg Fortress to the church. A Benedictine Nunnery was established here in 1087. A decade later Adelheid entered its walls and died here in 1110.

It is said, that in the full moon one can see a lady dressed in white on the castle wall or walking across the cloister garden. Sometime weeps can be hear as form the great distance. For almost a thousand years the White Lady of Weissenburg is the symbol of grief and repentance, and of yearning for final atonement…

  • Adelaide of Stade  –  (?1065 – † 18 October 1110)

(DE:  Adelheid von Stade)

daughter of:

Oda von Werl  (1050; † 13. Januar 1110)

Lothar Udo II., Graf von Stade, Margrave of Nordmark. († 4. Mai 1082)

* Count Louis of Thuringia (Lois the Jumper), Count of Schauenburg (?1042 – † 1123)

(DE:  Graf Ludwig von Schauenburg, Ludwig der Springer)

son of: 

Louis the Bearded from Franconian

Cäcilie von Sangerhausen  (ca 1022  † ?)

(DE:  Friedrich III. von Goseck, Graf von Putelendorf)

the only son of:

Friedrich II. Pfalzgrafen von Sachsen († 1088), from the House of Goseck, Vogt of Hersfeld

Hedwig von Bayern

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