Who was buried under a tree?

Die 1000jährige Eiche von Nöbdenitz / the 1000 year old oak of Nobdenitz (c) Museum Burg Posterstein
Die 1000jährige Eiche von Nöbdenitz / the 1000 year old oak of Nobdenitz (c) Museum Burg Posterstein

In Nobdenitz, a small village in Eastern Thuringia, stands an old oak tree. People say that it is about 1000 years old. Last year the local authorities fitted the tree with further support columns to match the requirements of the German traffic regulations. The so called “1000 year old oak” is hollow inside – and houses a minister’s grave.

Nobdenitz once had a manor, which in the 12th century was mentioned fort he first time. The former medieval mouted castle was later converted into a castle. Awhile manor in Nobdeniz was owned by the minister Hans Willhelm von Thummel (1744-1824). Between 1803 and 1808 he was – with diplomatic mission – travelling to Denmark, Berlin, Königsberg (Kaliningrad), Dresden and Paris. As a friend of the duke Ernst from Saxony-Gotha and Altenburg (1745-1804) his influence on court was huge. Today he is still known because of his engagement in the county: He founded one of the first banks (Kammerleihbank), supported the building of roads, mapped the region and founded the local hospital in Altenburg.

East from Nobdenitz castle Thummel had a pleasure garden. From here visitors had a straight-lined view alongside a way to a summer house. A path along the lake invited the guest to dander. Friends of the family, as the duchess Dorothea of Courland (http://www.facebook.com/burgposterstein?v=app_2344061033#!/event.php?eid=166366573376663&index=1), who had a castle near-by in Lobichau, liked to visit Nobdenitz to sail on the lake and to enjoy the view of the old and the new castle.

Before his dead Hans Willhelm von Thummel decided to get buried at an inconvenient place – under the oak of Nobdenitz. He bought the tree from the local church and let arrange a grave between the trees roots. This grave was inspected in 1959 by the local teacher and historian Ernst Braunlich. He documented that there was a small oratory with a wooden bench inside the hollow tree, to commemorate the death. The body lies in a coffin parallel to the street. Today one can only look at the 1000 year old oak from outside. A tablet tells its story.

As a consequence of the East German land reform in 1945 the Nobdenitz Manor’s owners were expropriated. The new castle and large parts of the economical buildings were pulled down. A mausoleum from 1782, the Thummel’s family grave, was pulled down in the end of the 1960s. The manor house, dating back to 1692, still exists and is now used as the communal administration department.

View the about 60 manors of the county of Altenburg on our google map: http://tiny.cc/o27p6.

Read more about castles and manor houses in Altenburg region in the following books, which can be bought in the museum or ordered per e-mail to info@burg-posterstein.de:

Das alte Schloss sehn wir noch heut…
Aus der Geschichte der Rittergüter im Altenburger Land (Teil II)
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2010

…Und nachmittags fuhren wir nach Nöbdenitz segeln!
Rittergüter im Altenburger Land und ihre Gärten
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2007

Text: Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein