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History of Castle Veseli

Before 1800

The oldest known report about an independent farm in the middle of the Úhlava valley (close to Janovice Castle) is from 1379, when it was owned by someone called Stach.

In the years 1402 - 1420 the farm went into the hands of Jan, who was using the epithet "from Veselí," and since the farm has had many different owners. The first mention of the fortified manor is recorded in 1524. The first known description of the building dates from 1729, which describes the "Knight's mansion Veseli" in this way: "It is built of stone, but very rundown, like a shepherds dwelling. It is partly roofed with shingle and partly covered with gutter-tiles and it is estimated in the sum of 150 gold Rhenish".

Before 1948

In 1863 the farm and surrounding land was bought by Count Friedrich Stadion-Thannhausen. He had built a new chateau in the very popular Gothic Revival style for that time by Klatovy's architect Josef Mayer using the older constructions. Because Count Friedrich Stadion-Thannhausen was unmarried and had no children, he handed "Veseli" over to Friedrich Macenauer, son of the director of the Stadion estates on 6 January 1885.

The appearance of the chateau and its adjacent park is documented by the chronicle of Frida née Macenaureová (1893–1986). She went on holiday to her uncle Friedrich and aunt Anne née Schambergrová on Veselí with her siblings. (Frida's brother Emerich Macenauer was the grandfather of the famous painter and graphic artist Emma Srncová.)

The chronicle was kindly provided to us by Frida's granddaughter Ms. Alena Johnsson living in Helsingborg, Sweden.

The chateau was pale grey with a blue slate roof. A small French park surrounding the chateau was on a high base, therefore a hedge of dense bushes as a fencing have been sufficient. On both sides of a well maintained park were two market gardens – vegetable garden and fruit garden. Against the chateau was a greenhouse, where they grew orchids and a variety of exotic plants.

In the lower part of the park the tennis court was placed so badly that the balls fell into the stream all the time. As children we did not like to collect them, so we threw the balls deliberately into the stream in order to have a break from collecting them.

The downstairs room of the tower was filled from floor to ceiling with glass cabinets full of thousands upon thousands of books. At the age of fifteen I was sitting in a gothic window covered with little roses reading and reading.

On the next floor were glass cabinets again, but with different collections of rocks, stones, shells etc. I remember there were also the wedding shoes of my grandmother Leopoldina – as tiny as for Cinderella, made of white faille silk.

Above was another room with stuffed animals. Around the entire tower wound a small metal walkway. The highest floor was an observation room, where was a large telescope to be able to look around the neighbourhood. In one direction you can see the Bohemian Forest aka Šumava, in the other direction is the city of Klatovy. The dome was accessible only by a rope ladder.

The ground floor of the tower according to the locals was used as a dungeon. There is nothing about it in Frida's chronicle. In the plans this part of the tower is referred to as a barn, but who knows ...

Since Friedrich and Anna Macenauer had no children, in 1925 the property rights passed to Anne's brother professor Ludvík Schamberger, who was a famous dermatologist and inventor of the "black ointment". He owned "Veselí" until 1931 when he sold it to Ing. Adolf Hochbaum, who kept "Veselí" until 1940.

In the land register was registered the property rights transfer to the Secret State Police of the German Reich at the Gestapo request on 18 November 1940 - it was one of many cases where the Gestapo confiscated assets of persons of Jewish origin.

After 1948

After the war the whole estate passed into state ownership. In 1948 it was forwarded under the management of the State Farm Luby aka Státní statek Luby. The property was used by the Breeding Company Klatovy aka Plemenářský podnik Klatovy from 1964.

After the war various spoilers raged in our children's paradise. We were there once and we were horrified.

The current owner of the castle is Oliver Bechinie from Berlin. As a descendant of Jan Bechyně of Lažany he has a very warm relationship to the Veselí chateau, but it is a long-distance relationship. During his once yearly visit he is not able to take care of the property, but he is also not willing to sell it. The association Tvrz Veselí, z. s. agreed with the owner for a 30-year lease contract for one Czech crown per year. We hope with Oliver’s financial help, our enthusiasm and perhaps even with your kind assistance we will manage to stabilize the chateau and terminate its deterioration.

The association Tvrz Veselí, z. s. was founded in 2014 in order to save the chateau and make it available to the public. First we begin repairing the tower, which is the least damaged. We have a building permit. The repair started in October 2016. We believe it will be possible to return the tower to its form, which it had 100 years ago even if only approximately.