House of Henneberg

Henneberg was a medieval German comital family (Grafen) which from the 11th century onwards held large territories in the Duchy of Franconia. Their county was raised to a princely county (Gefürstete Grafschaft) in 1310.

Parent houseBabenberg in turn from the Robertians
TitlesPrincely Counts of Henneberg
Estate(s)County of Henneberg
(Princely) County of Henneberg

(Gefürstete) Grafschaft Henneberg (de)
c. 1037–1660
Coat of arms
County of Henneberg around 1350
Common languagesEast Franconian
Historical eraMiddle Ages, Renaissance
 Poppo I, first count
c. 1037
 Internally divided
 Raised to principality
   Franconian Circle
 Schleusingen branch
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Franconia

Upon the extinction of the line in the late 16th century, most of the territory was inherited by the Saxon House of Wettin and subsequently incorporated into the Thuringian estates of its Ernestine branch.


The distant origins of this family are speculative yet seem to originate in the Middle Rhine Valley, east of modern-day France. Charibert, a nobleman in Neustria is the earliest recorded ancestor of the family, dating before 636. Five generations pass between Charibert and the next descendant of note, Robert III of Worms. Both the Capetian dynasty and the Elder House of Babenberg (Popponids) are direct male lineal descendants of Count Robert I and therefore referred to as Robertians.

The denotion Babenberger, named after the castle of Bamberg (Babenberch), was established in the 12th century by the chronicler Otto of Freising, himself a member of the Babenberg family. The later House of Babenberg, which ruled what became the Duchy of Austria, claimed to come of the Popponid dynasty. However, the descent of the first margrave Leopold I of Austria († 994) remains uncertain.

County of Henneberg

In the 11th century, the dynasty's estates around the ancestral seat Henneberg Castle near Meiningen belonged to the German stem duchy of Franconia. They were located southwest of the Rennsteig ridge in the Thuringian Forest, then forming the border with the possessions held by the Landgraves of Thuringia in the north. In 1096 one Count Godebold II of Henneberg served as a burgrave of the Würzburg bishops, his father Poppo had been killed in Battle in 1078. In 1137 he established Vessra Abbey near Hildburghausen as the family's house monastery.

The counts lost their position as the bishops were raised to "Dukes of Franconia" in the 12th century. Nevertheless, in the course of the War of the Thuringian Succession upon the death of Landgrave Henry Raspe, Count Herman I of Henneberg (1224–1290) in 1247 received the Thuringian lordship of Schmalkalden from the Wettin margrave Henry III of Meissen. After the extinction of the Bavarian House of Andechs upon the death of Duke Otto II of Merania in 1248, the Counts of Henneberg also inherited their Franconian lordship of Coburg (then called the "new lordship", later Saxe-Coburg).

In 1274 the Henneberg estates were divided into the Schleusingen, Aschach-Römhild and Hartenberg branches. Count Berthold VII of Henneberg-Schleusingen (1272–1340) was elevated to princely status in 1310, his estates comprised the towns of Schmalkalden, Suhl and Coburg. In 1343 the Counts of Hennberg also purchased the Thuringian town of Ilmenau. The Coburg lands passed to the Saxon House of Wettin upon the marriage of Countess Catherine of Henneberg to Margrave Frederick III of Meissen in 1347.

After the Imperial Reform of 1500, the County of Henneberg formed the northernmost part of the Franconian Circle, bordering on the Upper Saxon Ernestine duchies and the lands of the Upper Rhenish prince-abbacy of Fulda in the northwest. A thorn in the side remained the enclave of Meiningen, a fief held by the Bishops of Würzburg, which was not acquired by the counts until 1542.


Whereas the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct in 1246, the Counts of Henneberg lived on until 1583. In 1554 William IV of Henneberg-Schleusingen had signed a treaty of inheritance with Duke John Frederick II of Saxony. However, when the last Count George Ernest of Henneberg died, both the Ernestine and the Albertine branch of the Wettin dynasty claimed his estates, that were finally divided in 1660 among the Ernestine duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Gotha and the Albertine duke Maurice of Saxe-Zeitz. The Lordship of Schmalkalden fell to Landgrave William IV of Hesse-Kassel, according to an inheritance treaty of 1360.

After the Congress of Vienna (1815), the former Albertine parts around Schleusingen and Suhl fell to the Prussian province of Saxony. King Frederick William III of Prussia assumed the title of a Princely Count of Henneberg, which his successors in the House of Hohenzollern have borne ever since.

Counts of Henneberg

Partitions of Henneberg under Henneberg rule

County of Henneberg
       County of Frankenstein
(Popponian line)
County of Henneberg-Botenlauben
       County of Henneberg-Wurzburg
Sold to the Diocese of Würzburg County of Henneberg
(Gotboldian line)
       County of Frakenstein-Irmelshausen
       County of Henneberg-Coburg
County of Henneberg-Schleusingen
County of Henneberg-Hartenberg
County of Henneberg-Aschach
Annexed to the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Salzwedel       
Inherited by the Stein zu Nord- und Ostheim family
County of Henneberg-Aschach-Römhild
County of Henneberg-Aschach-Schwarza
Sold to the County of Mansfeld, and in 1555 was sold again to the Electorate of Saxony Annexed to the County of Stolberg
Divided between the Electorate of Hesse and the Electorate of Saxony

Table of rulers

(Note: Here the numbering of the counts is the same for all counties, as all (or at least the majority of them) were titled Counts of Henneberg, despite of the different parts of land and its particular numbering of the rulers. The princes are numbered by the year of their succession.)

RulerBornReignDeathRuling partConsortNotes
Poppo I10401052-10787 August 1078County of HennebergHildegard of Thuringia
two children
Founder of the county. Died fighting in the Battle of Mellrichstadt.
Gotebold Ic.10401078-1091c.1091County of HennebergUnmarriedBrother of the predecessor, left no heirs. The county was divided between the sons of Poppo I.
Gotebold IIc.1070?1091-114420 October 1144County of Henneberg-Henneberg
(Goteboldian line)
Lutgard of Hohenberg
six children
Son of Poppo I, inherited Henneberg.
Poppo IIc.10401091-111821 August 1118County of Frankenstein
(Popponian line)
Beatrix of Gleichen
four children
Son of Poppo I, inherited Frankenstein.
Poppo IIIc.11001118-11561156Frankenstein-IrmelshausenUnknown
three children
Son of Poppo II, inherited Irmelshausen.
Louis Ic.11001118-11641164County of FrankensteinA woman from Zimmern
five children
Son of Poppo II, inherited Frankenstein.
Poppo IVc.11281144-11561 September 1156County of Henneberg-HennebergIrmgard of Stade
no children
Sons of Gotebold II, probably ruled jointly.
Berthold Ic.11301156-115918 October 1159County of Henneberg-HennebergBertha of Putelendorf
three children
Poppo Vc.1150?1156-119929 May 1199Frankenstein-IrmelshausenIrmgard of Rothausen
one child
Sons of Poppo III, probably ruled jointly.
Henry Ic.1150?1156-11671167Frankenstein-IrmelshausenUnmarried
Poppo VIc.1150?1159-119014 June 1190County of Henneberg-HennebergSophia of Andechs
four children
Louis IIc.1150?1164-11971197County of FrankensteinUnknown
two children
Berthold IIc.1170?1190-121224 August 1212Henneberg-WürzburgKunigunde of Abensberg
one child

Matilda of Esvelt
no children
Son of Poppo VI, inherited Würzburg.
Poppo VIIc.1170?1190-124521 August 1245County of Henneberg-HennebergElisabeth of Wildburg
four children

Jutta of Thuringia
3 January 1223
five children
Son of Poppo VI, inherited Henneberg, and in 1218, Würzburg.
Otto Ic.11771190-12343/4 October 1244Henneberg-BotenlaubenBeatrix de Courtenay
three children
Son of Poppo VI, inherited Botenlauben. In 1234 sold it to the Diocese of Würzburg.
Otto IIc.1200?1220-123422 September 1249Henneberg-BotenlaubenAdelaide of Hildenburg
one child
Son of Otto I, probably co-ruled with his father.
In 1234 Botenlauben was sold to the Diocese of Würzburg
Albert Ic.1170?1197-123326 October 1233County of FrankensteinUnknown
two children
Henry IIc.1170?1199-12286 December 1228Frankenstein-IrmelshausenA woman from Wildberg
five children
Died fighting in Meiningen.
Berthold IIIc.1190?1212-12181218Henneberg-WürzburgMatilda of Hachberg
no children
After his death with no heirs, Würzburg returned to Henneberg.
In 1218 Würzburg was annexed to Henneberg.
Albert IIc.1190?1228-1253/55Between October 1253 and 31 January 1255Frankenstein-IrmelshausenMatilda of Trimberg
one child
Left a daughter, who married count Henry of Frankenstein and so returned Irmelshausen to Frankenstein.
In 1255 Irmelshausen was annexed to Frankenstein.
Louis IIIc.1190?1233-126311 January 1263County of FrankensteinUnknown
two children
Herman Ic.12241245-129018 December 1290Henneberg-CoburgMargaret of Holland
two children
Son of Poppo VII, inherited Coburg.
Henry IIIc.12261245-12629 April 1262County of Henneberg-HennebergElisabeth of Teck
four children

Sophia of Meissen
three children
Son of Poppo VII, inherited Henneberg.
Henry IVc.12501262-1317Between 9 September and 17 December 1317Henneberg-HartenbergMargaret of Meissen
no children

Kunigunde of Wertheim
3 May 1287
seven children
Sons of Henry III, inherited Hartenberg, where they probably ruled jointly. Berthold became Bishop of Würzburg in 1267, and possibly abdicated from the co-regency.
Berthold IVc.12501262-126729 September 1312Henneberg-HartenbergUnmarried
Berthold Vc.12451262-128415 September 1284Henneberg-SchleusingenSophia of Schwarzburg
c. or before 7 March 1268
eight children
Son of Henry III, inherited Schleusingen.
Herman IIc.12501262-12929 February 1292Henneberg-AschachAdelaide of Trimberg
25 March 1277
six children
Son of Henry III, inherited Aschach.
Henry Vc.1230?1263-129522 December 1295County of FrankensteinLutgard of Henneberg-Schleusingen
eight children
Son of Poppo II, inherited Frankenstein.
Berthold VI the Youngerc.12801284-133021 January/August 1330Henneberg-SchleusingenUnmarried Sons of Berthold V, ruled jointly[1]. Berthold VI was Knight Hospitaller, and Berthold VII was made regent for Louis V of Bavaria between 1323 and 1330.
Berthold VII the Wise[1]12721284-134013 April 1340Henneberg-SchleusingenAdelaide of Hesse
five children

Anna of Hohenlohe
no children
Poppo VIIIc.12541290-12914 December 1291Henneberg-CoburgSophia of Bavaria
no children
After his death, his sister Judith inherited the county and so it was annexed to Brandenburg.
In 1291 Coburg was annexed to the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Salzwedel
Henry VIc.12801292-1355/6Between 14 August 1355 and 26 January 1356Henneberg-AschachSophia of Käfernburg
c.3 March 1315
five children
Sons of Herman II, ruled jointly.
Herman IIIc.12771292-130712 July 1307Henneberg-AschachKatharina of Głogów
no children
Poppo IXc.12801292-c.1350After 1362Henneberg-Aschach Unmarried
Berthold VIIIc.12801292-1329After 1329Henneberg-Aschach
Herman IVc.12801292-132910 December 1329Henneberg-Aschach
Henry VIIc.1270?1295-1326/7Between 26 April 1326 and 25 March 1327County of FrankensteinElisabeth of Thuringia
11 April 1291
seven children
Sons of Henry I, probably ruled jointly. In 1255 they inherited the county of Irmelshausen by the marriage of Henry VIII with the heiress Lutgard.
Henry VIIIc.1270?1295-1297c.1297County of FrankensteinLutgard of Frankenstein-Irmelshausen
11 April 1291
no children

no children
Poppo X12861317-134930 July 1349Henneberg-HartenbergElisabeth of Castell
no children

Richeza of Hohenlohe
6 November 1316
five children
Louis IVc.1270?1326/7-1334September/October 1334County of FrankensteinAdelaide of Weilnau
two children
Brother of the predecessors. Left a daughter, Elisabeth, who later transferred the county to the Von Stein zu Ostheim family.
Sibotoc.1290?1334-1335Between 26 April 1326 and 25 March 1327County of FrankensteinUnmarriedSon of Henry II.
Dietzelc.1310?1335-135429 September 1354County of FrankensteinUnmarriedNephew of Siboto. After his death, his second cousin Elisabeth transferred the county to the Von Stein zu Ostheim family.
In 1354 Frankenstein was added to the patrimony of the Von Stein zu Ostheim family
John I12891340-13592 May 1359Henneberg-SchleusingenElisabeth of Leuchtenberg
four children
Sons of Berthold VI, ruled jointly. Berthold VIII was a Knight Hospitaller.
Henry IX the Younger12881340-134710 September 1347Henneberg-SchleusingenJudith of Brandenburg-Salzwedel
1 January 1317 or 1 February 1319
five children
Berthold IX13001340-1356c.1356Henneberg-SchleusingenUnmarried
Berthold X[1]c.1330/401349-137126 May 1378Henneberg-HartenbergUnmarriedLeft no heirs, and in 1371 sold Hartenberg to the Herman IV.
In 1371 Hartenberg was sold to Aschach
Herman Vc.13301355/6-140327 January or 28 March 1403Henneberg-AschachAdelaide of Zollern
no children

Agnes of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg
four children
Son of Henry VI, probably ruled jointly.
Berthold XIc.13301355-14111 April 1411Henneberg-AschachUnmarried
Henry Xc.1340/501359-14052/3 August 1405Henneberg-SchleusingenMatilda of Baden
c.4 July 1376
six children
Sons of John I, ruled jointly. Berthold was canon at Bamberg and resigned his noble titles in 1375[1].
Berthold XII[1]13561359-137511 February 1416Henneberg-SchleusingenUnmarried
Frederick I13671405-142224 September 1422Henneberg-AschachElisabeth of Henneberg-Schleusingen
c.4 May 1393
four children
Sons of Herman V, probably rule jointly.
Herman VIc.13701405-141611 September 1416Henneberg-AschachUnmarried
William I31 July 13841405-14267 July 1426Henneberg-SchleusingenAnna of Brunswick-Lüneburg
c.30 May 1413
nine children
George I13951422-146525 July 1465Henneberg-AschachKatharina of Wertheim
no children

Joanna of Nassau-Saarbrücken
13 May 1423
twelve children
Herman VIIc.14301450/60-146413 February 1464Henneberg-AschachUnmarriedProbbaly ruled with his father.
William II14 March 14151426-14448 January 1444Henneberg-SchleusingenKatharina of Hanau
28 February 1433
seven children
William III12 March 14341444-148025 May 1480Henneberg-SchleusingenMargaret of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
5 November 1469
eight children
Sons of William II, probably ruled jointly. Bethold XIV died as a minor, Berthold XV became canon at Bamberg in 1452, and John II became also canon in the ame year at Strasbourg, so they may have probably resigned co-regency.
John II2 July 14391444-145220/26 May 1513Henneberg-Schleusingen
Berthold XIII8 January 14411444-144620 April 1446Henneberg-Schleusingen
Berthold XIV4 March 14431444-145220 April 1495Henneberg-Schleusingen
Otto III14371465-15029 June 1502Henneberg-AschachUnmarried Sons of George I, ruled jointly. In 1484 Berthold became Archbishop of Mainz, probably abdicating from co-regency.
Frederick II14291465-14887 November 1488Henneberg-AschachElisabeth of Württemberg I
13 September 1469
twelve children
Berthold XV14421465-148421 December 1504Henneberg-AschachUnmarried
Margaret of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (regent)14511480-c.149213 February 1509Henneberg-SchleusingenWilliam III
5 November 1469
eight children
Regent for her minor sons, Poppo XI William IV.
Poppo XI14/17 March 14791480-148314/24 May 1483Henneberg-SchleusingenUnmarriedDied as a minor.
William IV29 January 1478c.1492-155924 January 1559Henneberg-SchleusingenAnastasia of Brandenburg
7 or 16 February 1500
Neustadt an der Aisch
eleven children
John III30 April 1503c.1520-152920 May 1541Henneberg-SchleusingenAnastasia of Brandenburg
7 or 16 February 1500
Neustadt an der Aisch
eleven children
Probably co-ruled with his father. Became Prince-abbot in Fulda in 1529, probably abdicating from the co-regency.
Herman VIII14701502-15355 April 1535Henneberg-AschachElisabeth of Brandenburg
23 October 1491
nine children
After his death, his sons divided Aschach.
Berthold XVI14931535-154923 March 1549Henneberg-Aschach-RömhildAnna of Mansfeld-Vorderort
17 August 1529
no children
Son of Herman VIII, inherited Römhild. After his death, his county was sold to the County of Mansfeld.
In 1549 Römhild was sold to the County of Mansfeld, and in 1555 it was sold again to the Electorate of Saxony
Albert III14951535-15495 May/June 1549Henneberg-Aschach-SchwarzaKatherine of Stolberg
no children
Son of Herman VIII, inherited Schwarza. After his death, his county was annexed to the County of Stolberg.
In 1549 Schwarza was annexed to the County of Stolberg
George Ernest27 May 15111559-158327 December 1583Henneberg-SchleusingenElisabeth of Brunswick-Calenberg
19 August 1543
one child

Elisabeth of Württemberg II
31 May 1568
no children
Sons of William IV, rule djoinlty, and neither of them left descendants. After their death, the county was divided between the Electorate of Hesse and the Electorate of Saxony.
Poppo XII20 September 15131559-15744 March 1574Henneberg-SchleusingenElisabeth of Brandenburg
30 May 1546
no children

Sophia of Brunswick-Lüneburg
22 June 1562
no children
In 1583 Schleusingen was divided between the Electorate of Hesse and the Electorate of Saxony

Notable members of the Henneberg family


Coats of arms incorporating Henneberg

See also


  • Schwennicke, Detlev. Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge. [European Family Trees: Family Trees for the History of European States, New Series.] BAND II, Tafel 10:Die Robertiner I und die Anfänge des Hauses Capet, 922-923 König der Westfranken, Marburg, Verlag von J.A. Stargardt (1984)
  • Historische Landkarte: Grafschaft Henneberg 1755 mit den Ämtern Schleusingen, Suhl, Kühndorf mit Bennshausen, Reprint 2003, Verlag Rockstuhl, ISBN 3-936030-15-4
  • Johannes Mötsch: Regesten des Archivs der Grafen von Henneberg-Römhild. Volumes 1 und 2. Böhlau, Köln etc. 2006, ISBN 978-3-412-35905-8
  1. Detlev Schwennicke: Europäische Stammtafeln, Neue Folge, Band XVI., Tafel 146, Verlag: Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt a. M. 1995, ISBN 3-465-02741-8
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