Count Otto I of Buchhorn

Water color made by Gabriel Bucelin, 1627 (25,0 x 14,5 cm)
Wuerttembergische States Library Stuttgart, HB V. 4a, 150r

The town of Buchhorn appears between 838 and 886 to be the place of origin of five documents in which the monastry Saint Gallen is shown to be in possession of the distant regions of the Argen and Rheingau, once also known to be of the Linz region. Michael Borgolte's recent examination of the five documents has led him to conclude that the settlement of Buchhorn, which streched from the present palace up to the "Hochstrasse", must have been the centre of the "Karoliner" county north of Lake Constance which consisted of the regions of Linzgau, the Argen, Alp and Rheingau. As one Count after another from different families held power in this centre, there couldn't be a single aristocratic house?. It was evidently a royal possession and an assigned place for the owners of the large county speculates Michael Borgolte. The previous idea, which proports that since the 9th century, the "Ulriche" (Udalrichinger) not only possessed their known dominion centre of Bregenz but also Buchhorn, cannot be maintained. In 1050, the Saint Gallen written Wendelgard Saga doesn't say any more than that Wendelgard celebrated an anniversary for her dead husband in Buchhorn, which was his temporary residence and domain in the early 10th century. It cannot be clarified to this day at which date the Royal Count's place 'Buchhorn' became the possession of the Ulriche due to the of the absence of documentary evidence. Only after a division of land around 1040 does Buchhorn provably exist as a possession and the seat of a line which consisted for only two generations: Otto I. and Otto II. This lineage ceased to exist in 1089.
The restless "Weingarten" monk and historian P. Gabriel Bucelin, (who was born 1599 in Diessenhofen and died 1681 in Weingarten), has illustrated one of the Buchhorn Counts in his manuscript "Constantiae benedictinae . . .". written in 1627. He wrote the following about the Count: "Otto, Grand Monarch of the Linz region, Count of Raetien, Buchhorn etc., founder of the Monastery Saint Pantaleon in Hofen." Bucelin was evidently referring to Otto I of Buchhorn, Count of "Oberraetien" and "Linzgau". Otto I was mentioned for the last time in 1079 and may have passed away some time later. It is considered that the Monarch's elevated rank is in some way connected to Bucelin's colourful imagination. Otto I is also considered in the later literature referring to the Monastery Hofen as being the husband of the Countess Bertha who in the Hofen tradition is revered as the foundress of the Monastery Saint Pantaleon. Bertha carried out the establishment of the Monastery as a widow soon after 1079 and not in her husband's lifetime. Otto II was executed as an adulterer in 1089. With the funeral of the Count, came the first reference to the Monastery as being already in existence.
The inheritance of the now extinct family was accepted by the "Ravensburg Welfs" which followed the "Hohenstaufen" as owners of Buchhorn in 1191. Bucelin's picture shows Count Otto (I) dressed in the finery worn by the aristocracy and dignatories in the 16 th century. The long coat and the cap are depicted in distinguished black. A ribbon with medaillon, which denotes that the wearer is of high esteem and usually worn in 16 th century to show the insigna or crest of a monastery, convent or guild, hangs on the breast . The hands rest on a sword as a sign of worldly power. The armchair on which the the count seems to be enthroned, the footrest covered with pillows and the intimate curtained room underline the splendid representation of the supposed Monastery founder. The representation does not show an authentic picture of the Count as a contemporary portrait probably never existed. Above all the painting is viewed as a witness account of the Hofen history in Weingarten and as being in memory of the founding family of the Monastery Hofen.

Dr. Georg Wieland, collaborator of the municipal archive of Friedrichshafen, wrote the following comment:
You have certainly inferred from the explanatory text of 1988 that the water colour of 1927 does not represent an authentic picture of the Count of Buchhorn living around 550 years earlier. It is more to be understood as being a witness of the Hofen historical consciousness. The clothes depicted correspond to the fashion of the 16th century. In the book of Thomas J. Stump: "With pen and compass, Gabriel Bucelinus 1599 1681 ...", Sigmaringen 1976, page 18, is it proved that the artist and Weingarten monk P. Gabriel Bucelin has depicted his own grandfather, the Ueberlingen physician Doctor Valentin Butzlin (died 1581), as the Count of Buchhorn.

I want to thank Dr. Wieland for his assistance and for his agreement to use his text. Dr. Wieland has created and included a picture map due to the jubilee of the City of Friedrichshafen. The picture map contains valuable information about the history of the places Buchhorn, Hofen and Friedrichshafen.
The picture map is available under ISBN 3-926162-69-4.
I want to thank also the State Library of Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart. It approved the use of the image of the Count of Buchhorn.