Henry I, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels. Henry the Elder of Munsterberg was an Imperial Count and Count of Kladsko. He was also Duke of Silesian duchies Munsterberg a
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Henry I, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels. Henry the Elder of Munsterberg was an Imperial Count and Count of Kladsko. He was also Duke of Silesian duchies Munsterberg a ..



Henry I, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels
                                     

Henry I, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels

Henry the Elder of Munsterberg was an Imperial Count and Count of Kladsko. He was also Duke of Silesian duchies Munsterberg and Oels and 1465–1472 Duke of Opava. At times, he served as the Landeshauptmann and governor of Bohemia.

                                     

1. Family background

Henry was descended from the Podebrady branch of the Kunstat family. His parents were King George of Podebrady of Bohemia and Kunigunde of Sternberg. In order of siblings Henry was the third son after the older brothers Bocek and Victor.

                                     

2. Life

Henry was initially planned by his father, George of Podebrady, as his successor. As early as 1459 Emperor Frederick III appointed Henrys older brother Victor to imperial count. On 7 December 1462 the Emperor appointed Henry and his younger half-brother of the same name Henry the Younger to imperial count. At the same time, the Emperor confirmed the appointment by King George in 1459 of Victor, Henry the Elder and Henry the Younger as dukes of Munsterberg and counts of Kladsko. After their father also acquired the Duchy of Opava in 1464, he gave this duchy in 1465 to his sons Henry the Elder, Victor and Henry the Younger. Although Henry and his brothers adhered to the Catholic faith, the Pope refused to recognize their royal titles because the Ban imposed on George of Podebrady should also apply to his sons.

After King Georges death on 22 March 1471, Henry was appointed to supreme governor of the Kingdom of Bohemia until the arrival of the new king. In this position he received on 10 August 1471 the newly elected King Vladislas II of Bohemia in Kladsko, who was on his way from Krakow to Prague for the coronation. Later, Henry the Elder was appointed Governor for a period of absence of the king.

King Georges possessions were divided among his sons according to the inheritance plan in 1472. Henry the Elder received the County of Kladsko, the Silesian Duchy of Munsterberg, including Frankenstein and the East Bohemian dominions Nachod, Vizmburk Castle, Kunetice Mountain Castle and the lands of the now defunct monasteries of Opatovice and Sezemice that had been devastated in the Hussite Wars. King Vladislas confirmed on these possessions on 3 and 29 April 1472. After the emperor had confirmed the privileges for the vassalage of the county of Kladsko, he asked his subjects in Kladsko to paid homage to Duke Henry. The estates of the county paid homage to the new Duke at his castle in Kladsko.

As the first count of Kladsko Heinrich resided with his family on Kladsko Castle, where his court was located. At first, the office of Landeshauptmann was held by Hans of Warnsdorf, who had been appointed by George of Podebrady. He was succeeded by in 1474 by Hans of Bernstein, who was succeeded by Hans Pannwitz of Rengersdorf in 1477. His marshalls were, in order, Jan Horusovsky of Roztok, Jan Fulstein of Slavkov and Zbynek of Buchov. His comptroller was George of Bischofsheim; Court Chancellor was Kliment of Jaksonov. Although Henry himself had an excellent knowledge of the German language, most of the documents produced in his office were written in Czech.

At the request of the Abbot Peter of Broumov, Heinrich the Elders troops entered the city of Broumov on 24 April 1472 without a fight. The city had been occupied by captain Franz von Hag of the Bohemian counter-king Matthias Corvinus in 1469, and the Hungarian soldiers still were in the city. Thus, Henry acquired Broumov and the surrounding land. He ruled it until 1483 and then incorporated it into the county of Kladsko, with the consent of king Vladislas II. Hans of Warnsdorf went on making incursions against Silesia, at Henrys request. Because of the associated threats, some Silesian towns voluntarily paid war funds and contributions to Duke Henry.

On 9 January 1473 the Pope lifted the interdict imposed on George of Podebrady and his sons, and gave them absolution. That same year, Henry and his brothers Victor and Henry the Younger tried to resolve their dispute about the Crown of Saint Wenceslas. To this end, they invited representatives of Bohemia, Poland, Silesia and Lausitz to participate in negotiations in Opava, which was held by Victor at the time. Although the negotiations were not successful, King Vladislas promised to erase the brotherss debts. To this end, taxes would be levied. In a dispute in 1473 between the countys Free Judges and the cities of Kladsko, Bystrzyca Klodzka, Radkow and Ladek-Zdroj about the brewing right Henry decided in favor of the cities.

In 1477 Henry annexed the barony of Homole, which hitherto had belonged to the Bohemian circle of Hradec Kralove, to the County of Kladsko. He also enlarged Homole with the parishes Lewin and Czermna and the villages of Slone and Brzozowie. On 13 November of that year, Vladislas II confirmed the continuing validity of Henrys possession of the Kunetice Mountain Castle and the former monastic estates of Opatovice and Sezemice and three days later he gave Henry Frankenstein as a hereditary fief.

In 1477, Henry participated in the peace negotiations between Bohemia and Silesia in Broumov as a representative Vladislas II, together with William Krusina of Lichtenburg as governor of Hradec Kralove, Peter Kdulinec, Christoph von Talkenberg auf Talkenstein and Hans of Warnsdorf. The negotiations did not produce a lasting peace. On 3 July 1479, Henry welcomed the anti-king Matthias Corvinus of Poland in Olomouc, on behalf of king Vladislas II of Bohemia.

Before 1491, Henry the Elder received Litice Castle from his eldest brother Bocek. In 1492, a dispute arose between Henry and King Vladislas over the rule of the baronies of Podebrady and Kostomlaty. The king had claimed these lands for himself after the death of Henry the Younger for themselves, although Henrys testament had awarded them to Henry the Elder. The dispute was settled after the Oels branch of the Piast family died out in the male line in 1495. Henry had to give up Podebrady and, in a treaty concluded on 28 April 1495 in Bautzen which also applied to Henrys sons, he received the Duchy of Oels as a hereditary fief, except the Free Estates of Milicz, Zmigrod and Sycow, that had been split off from Oels in 1492. Also in 1495, Henry had to sell Litice and other East Bohemian lands to the High Stewart of Bohemia, William II of Pernstein, to pay the debts he had incurred during his participation in the war against Matthias Corvinus. In earlier years, Henry had already been forced by his creditors to sell off most of the former monastery villages. In 1497, he finally had to pledge the large barony of Nachod to Jan Spetle z Prudic a ze Zlebu. Henry died a year later, and his sons failed to pay off the loan, so they had to sell Nachod to Jan Spetle. After they sold the County of Kladsko in 1501, his descendant were left with only his Silesian possessions.

Henry died in 1498 and was buried in the church of the Franciscan monastery of St. George he had founded in Kladsko. In 1558 he and eight of his relatives who had been buried there as well, were reburied in the main church in Kladsko.

                                     

3. Marriage and Issue

In 1467 Henry married in Cheb German: Eger with Ursula of Brandenburg, a daughter of the Elector Albert III Achilles of Brandenburg. The marriage produced 8 children:

  • Albert 1468–1511, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels
married in 1487 Princess Salome 1475/76-1514, daughter of Duke John II of Zagan and GroSglogau
  • George 1470–1502, Duke of Munsterberg-Oels
married in 1488 Princess Jadwiga 1476–1524, also a daughter of John II of Zagan
  • Margaret 1473–1530
  • John 23 June 1472 – 7 August 1472
married in 1494 Prince Ernest of Anhalt-Dessau
  • Charles 1476–1536
∞ 1488 Princess Anna 1480/83-1541, also a daughter of John II of Zagan
  • Sidonie Czech: Zdenka 3 June 1483 – 1522, married in 1515 Ulrich of Hardegg
  • Magdalena 25 January 1482 – 11 April 1513
  • Louis 21 June 1479 – 27 April 1480

Through Henrys mediation his surviving sons Albert, George and Charles married in 1487 and 1488 with three daughters of Duke John II of Sagan and GroSglogau. As Duke of Munsterberg, Henry founded the Silesian branch of the House of Podebrady, which became extinct in the male line in 1647.

With the marriage of his sister Ludmilla with Frederick I of Liegnitz on 7 September 1474 Henry created a family connection to the House of Piast.

Henry and his wife Ursula were generous sponsors of monasteries. In 1475 they founded the Franciscan Monastery of St. George in Kladsko, which became the home monastery of her family. In 1494 they gave half of the village Polanica to the Augustinian canons in Kladsko.

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