History of the "Schenken von Limpurg"
» A major noble family
The history of the "Schenken von Limpurg " begins with the construction of the Limpurg near Schwäbisch Hall by Schenk Walter von Schüpf in 1220. 10 years later he changed his name to Walter "von Limpurg". The connection between the Schenken von Limpurg and Gaildorf is first recorded in a document dating from 1260, in which Rabenoldus de Geilendorff, a member of the knightly family “de Gailendorph“, is a witness to a document by Schenk Walter.
In 1280, the Schenken von Limpurg suffer a defeat in their confrontation with the town of Haller, after King Rudolf decides in favour of Hall. The Schenken nevertheless remain the most important suppliers of wood for the salt-making town of Hall. In 1286, the property of the Knights of "de Geilendorff" is inherited by the Schenken von Limpurg after their family line dies out. This also included the castle, on whose foundations the Old Palace now stands.
In the Golden Bull from 1356, Karl V guarantees the hereditary office of the cupbearer to the Schenken. The Schenken office is a high court office, especially of the Staufer Emperors. The cupbearer, high steward, treasurer and marshal are the closest advisers of the Emperor and collectively form the Emperor's court, i.e. government. According to the Golden Bull, the Schenk is supposed to ride on horseback before the Emperor on ceremonial days of the empire holding a silver goblet or cup containing a mixture of water and wine in his hands. He is then supposed to dismount and offer the goblet to the Emperor to drink. Thereafter, the Schenk is supposed to receive the horse and the cup.
In the ensuing years, particularly after Gaildorf is awarded town status in 1404, the Schenken began building the town. Gaildorf is the residence of the Schenken from 1482 until the extinction of both male lines of the Schenken in 1690 and 1713 respectively.
Along with the male line, the hereditary succession of the Schenken also died out. The last male heirs left all in all ten daughters entitled to inherit the estate. Thus began a breaking-up of the estate of the former earldom of Limpurg among its heirs and coheirs. From all directions counts and princes descended on Gaildorf. Each hoped to take possession of a considerable part of the enormous inheritance. Especially the seat in the Reichstag (Imperial Diet, attainable through marriage, and the relatively great power accorded by this in the Empire were, for many, compelling reasons to come to Gaildorf. “Descendants of the Schenken“, such as for example the Pückler, the Bentheim, the Solms, the Waldeck and the Bentinck suddenly added much colour to the town of Gaildorf. But none of them lived in the palace any longer.