Castle Gutenfels – The Legend of the Unknown Knight

This is the legend of the siblings of Falkenberg and how they met the unkown knight.

Castle Gutenfels
Traveler100, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Above the small town of Kaub towers an ancient stronghold. In the 13th century, it was inhabited by Philip von Falkenstein and his sister Guta. Neither were married and neither had any plans to change this. One day, they were invited to a tourney organised by the Archbishop of Cologne. The noble siblings watched the competitions from the royal box and marvelled at the skill of the combatants. One knight in particular stood out through his courage and skill and deservedly won the tournament. Nobody knew the young man and when he lifted his helmet on his honour lap, Guta could not take her eyes off the handsome young man. He eventually stopped in front of the royal box to salute the Archbishop and his guests. His eyes fell on Guta and the young woman blushed, dropping her glove. Quickly the knight dismounted to return it, but as it was custom, Guta indicated for him to keep it as token, which he gladly did. 

Heavy hearted she returned home as she feared never to see the knight again, only to be woken out of her sorrow by the sound of horns and approaching riders. The unknown knight had followed her and asked to be admitted as a guest. The man admitted his undying love for Guta and sank on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage if she could only stay patient and wait for him to return in a few months, at which stage he would gladly reveal his identity. Guta gladly accepted and now spend each day looking for the mysterious knight to return. Weeks and months went by and Guta had no interest in anything else. The emperor had died and the nobles were gathering to elect one of their own to succeed him. This was a time of freedom, particularly for hedge-knights, who were able to expand their influence. Yet Guta was inconsolable that her love had not returned.

When Richard of Cornwall was finally crowned emperor, he traveled along the Rhine river to visit the local lords. He was granted all the hospitably that a noble of his rank deserved, but Guta stayed in her room. Philip met the new emperor by himself and was dumbstruck as he asked for his sister’s hand in marriage. Philip knew about Guta’s dilemma, but silently hoped that she would agree. After all, this would make her the empress and greatly improve the families standing. Guta was not to be convinced though and Philip returned to bring the dark news and to explain. Richard only smiled, however, and produced a glove. Now Philip recognised the man, who had much changed in the months of warfare and strive. Quickly he brought the glove to Guta, who ran to meet her beloved. The two were married within the week and the castle was renamed ‘Gutenfels’ to celebrate the families good fortune. 

Interested in learning more about the castle? Click here

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