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The Castle of Lenti

The date of construction, the name of the builder and the ground-plan of the building are not known. The remains of the castle have not been unearthed yet.
The one-time bastion is recognisable at the end of that barn which was built in the 18th century by using some parts of the castle and there are also remains from the medieval times in its cellar. The groundwalls of the demolished parts are under the barn’s floor. The former moat that surrounded the castle is still visible. The first mention of the castle is in the charter of King László IV in 1278.

According to this charter the castle was in a ruined condition in 1278 which suggests that it had been built some time before, probably right after the Mongol invasion of Hungary, by the owner ban (provincial governor) Hahold. The warden of the castle, called Demetrius Kaba I from the clan of Szalók, is referred to as „castellanus de Nemthy” in the charter of King Károly Róbert issued on June 25, 1325 when the king ordered the chapter of Vasvár to investigate a murder committed by the warden. At that time the castle was owned by John Köszegi II, son of István I from the clan of Héder, who rose up in 1327-28. As a result, the king confiscated the castle of Lenti as well as Köszeg, Sárvár and Németújvár from the rebellious magnate.

In 1343 King Louis the Great bestowed the castle and its belongings upon Miklós, son of Haholt’s son István, who was the queen’s equerry and ancestor of the Bánffy family. His successors still owned the castle in the 15th century. In 1347 King Louis charged the king’s court with the supervision of all the possessions of Miklós Lendvai along with the castles of Lendva and Nemti. According to a charter written on June 9, 1387 Master László, son of Akus and brother of ban Mykch, bequeathed in his will, written before the Convention of Zala held in the castle of Pölöske, all his acquired properties, including the castle of Nemti, to his brother’s daughter, his niece Sára.

In the charter of October 16, 1403 in the presence of King Sigismund Master István, son of ban János of Alsólendva, and Master János and Master László, son of ban István agreed that the daughters of László’s son, Sigismund, called Dorottya, Katalin and Sára should inherit the castles of Lendva and Nemti  just as if they had been Sigismund’s sons . However, upon the order of King Sigismund on August 30, 1405 the chapter of Vasvár put István and János, sons of ban János the son of ban Miklós of Alsólendva, in possession of one half of the castle and Sigismund, son of László the son of ban Miklós, of the other half. Scarcely a year later, on March 21, 1406 Master János, son of István Bosi Ördögh took the castle as pledge from them.

Lenti vár alaprajzaIn the turmoil following the death of King Albert the castle was captured by the supporters of queen Erzsébet and Ulrik Czillei. In 1440, though, after King Ulászló I was freed from his captivity Czillei promised to return it along with other castles. Nonetheless, it is most likely that this promise was not kept since the king wrote a letter on March 27, 1441 in front of the castle and it seems he seized the property at that time. In 1455 three families, the Bánffy, the Ostffy and the Forgách of Gimes were engaged in a lawsuit over the castle and its belongings. During the Turkish occupation of the country the castle was a major border fortress and after the fall of Kanizsa it protected Austria from the Turks. In 1625 the parliament decided to turn it into an Austrian garrison.

In 1570, 23-year-old Miklós Bánffy and Ilona Zrínyi, widow of János Perényi of Nyaláb got married here. A parliamentary decree in 1625 prescribed that the castle be provided with guards from Styria and the expenses be borne by this country. Article V. in 1655. contained provisions for reinforcing the garrison with 360 horsemen and 100 infantrymen.
The castle was demolished when the Turkish occupation in Hungary came to an end.

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