The history of Gutshaus Stolpe
The first documented reference to Stolpe goes back to the late Middle Ages, when in 1136 Duke Wartislaw I from the House of Griffin (the griffin on the Pomeranian standard comes from his coat of arms), who had converted to Christianity, was murdered by a Wendish knight, and was consequently elevated to martyr status.
Wartislaw's sons built a church in Stolpe as a memorial to their father, and laid his body to rest there. In order to further promote Christianity for which Wartislaw had died, his brother, Ratibor I, founded a monastery in 1153. This monastery belonged to the Benedictine order and was the first in Pomerania.
The buildings belonging to the monastery extended at least approx. 100 m in an easterly direction from the monastery ruins, which still stand today, across the 'Amtskoppel', the large meadow upstream from the River Peene. In the 1950s, the foundations here were excavated, but were later filled in again.
The monastery stood until 1637, when, during the Thirty Years' War, the Kaiser's troops and their allies, the troops from Brandenburg, crossed the Peene into Stolpe and set fire to the monastery, which was burned to the ground and destroyed.
The Fährkrug, which is over 300 years old and merely a stone's throw from the former monastery, was built partly from bricks from the monastery ruins. It is still possible to see these particularly large bricks, which date from the Middle Ages, on the street-side façade of the Fährkrug, underneath and between the second, third and fourth windows from the left-hand side. They only reappeared during the restoration of the building in early 1998.
After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 (a series of treaties to end of the Thirty Years' War), the whole of Pomerania became Swedish and Stolpe became part of the Swedish Crown. Shortly afterwards, however, it was presented as a gift by Christina, Queen of Sweden, to the governor of Swedish Pomerania, General Major Count Stenbock, who had a few rooms installed in the burned-out monastery walls.
After the Great Northern War, Pomerania was divided in the Treaties of Stockholm in 1720. Whilst the northern half remained Swedish, the land found south of the River Peene formed part of Prussia, thus rendering the Peene a border river. Stolpe became part of the personal domain of Frederick William I, who was otherwise known as the 'Soldier King'.
His great grandson, King Frederick William III was forced to sell Stolpe to the Prussian state as a consequence of the Treaties of Tilsit in 1807, which meant that Stolpe subsequently became a state domain. In the following decades, Stolpe changed hands several times, until it came into Bülow possession in the 1850s.
However, the manor itself was never run by a Bülow, and the lord of the manor seldom resided there. The manor was often rented out to tenants, who allowed the manor to be run by a caretaker called an 'inspector'.
It just so happened that, at this time, local Pomeranian poet Fritz Reuter was often a guest in Stolpe. Reuter was friends with the tenant Fritz Peters, who rented the manor from 1853 to 1880, as well as his inspector Rudolf Wienke and later also with Friedrich Knitschky. During his stay in Stolpe between 1853 and 1863, Reuter spent a lot of his time in the Fährkrug, which commemorates him to this day with the 'Reuter bench', which he reputedly always sat upon.
The last Bülow lord of the manor in Stolpe was the Royal Prussian First Lieutenant Hans von Bülow, who initially served in the military, far away from his property, just like his forefathers. It was only after the First World War that Hans Bülow lived permanently in Stolpe. He and his wife, Sophie (née von Maltzan), Countess to Wartenberg and Penzlin, had no children, which meant that the manor was in need of an heir.
After Sophie Bülow died in 1920, leaving the manor without a female head, Hans Bülow adopted a niece of his wife's, Ursula von Maltzan, Duchess to Wartenberg and Penzlin, who was at that time 17 years old.
In 1926, Ursula Bülow-Maltzan married Kurt Stürken, who hailed from a Hamburg merchant family, but who had studied agriculture in Göttingen. Kurt Stürken renovated the debt-ridden manor and built some new farm buildings in Stolpe and Neuhof, which one can still recognise today from the dates on the buildings.
The connection between the Bülows and the Maltzans to Stolpe is also documented in the Wartislaw church opposite the manor. In the furthest right of the three windows behind the altar, it is possible to see the coat of arms of the Maltzan family, which depicts two hares with a grapevine.
On the right of that, an arch opens up to the room where you can see the chairs belonging to former lords of the manor. It is still possible to see the separate entrance through which the lord of the manor and his family would have entered the church, which was bricked up in the people's own time. On the left, you can see the Bülow coat of arms, with its 14 golden balls on a blue background.
The Wartislaw church was constructed in 1893 and replaced the old chapel, which still stands today next to the ruins of the monastery. The old chapel was at that time used as a mortuary. You can borrow the keys to the church by asking at reception.
Between 1927 and 1940, Kurt and Ursula Stürken had one daughter and five sons. During the Second World War, Ursula Stürken ran the manor largely on her own, as her husband was often absent serving as an officer in the war. When the Red Army approached the River Oder, she alone took the decision to flee. On 9 April 1945, a mere month before the end of the war, Ursula Stürken fled to Hamburg with her six children.
It was only on 3 January 1990 that the second-youngest son of Kurt and Ursula Stürken, Kurt Stürken, returned to the place where he had spent the first ten years of his life.
Shortly thereafter, he negotiated with the Treuhandanstalt (Trust agency that oversaw the privatisation of East German public-owned companies after reunification) with regard to repurchasing his parents' old manor, which had been confiscated in 1945 by the Soviet military administration and later became a state-owned farm, the Volkseigenes Gut Saatbau Stolpe.
After lengthy negotiations with the Treuhand, Kurt Stürken repurchased the old estate and around 150 hectares of woodland and meadow from the German State on 9 September 1994, with the intention of establishing a hotel and restaurant.
Work on the demolition and restoration of the almost 150-year-old estate began in earnest, as it had, amongst other things, been used as a school for students on agriculture apprenticeships during the time of the GDR (German Democratic Republic). On 1 December 1996, the GUTSHAUS STOLPE was opened as a hotel and restaurant.
In December 1997, Kurt Stürken acquired the Fährkrug, which was protected as an historic monument. It was reopened in the summer of 1998 after being lovingly restored.
Axel Stürken, July 1998