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The first documented mention of the manor house dates back to the High Middle Ages. In 1136, Pomeranian Duke Wartislaw I. from the House of Griffins (the griffin, part of the Pomeranian coat of arms, actually comes from his coat of arms), a convert to Christianity, was murdered by a Wendish knight thereby making him a martyr.
Wartislaw’s sons built a church in Stolpe in his memory and buried his body in it. In order to develop Christianisation for which Wartislaw died, his brother Ratibor I. donated a monastery in the year 1153. This monastery belonged to the Benedictine order and was the first of its kind in Western Pomerania.
The buildings belonging to the monastery stretched at least a hundred meters from the still existing monastery ruin in an eastern direction across the so-called “Amtskoppel”, the big meadow overlooking the River Peene. In the 1950s, parts of the foundation of the monastery were excavated but later covered again.
The monastery existed until the year 1637 when during the 30-years-war the combined force of the Brandenburg and imperial troops crossed the River Peene and set the monastery on fire. It was destroyed down to its foundation walls.
The Stolpe Ferry Inn (“Stolper Fährkrug”), which is over 300 years old and only a stone’s throw away from the former monastery, was partly built from the remains of the monastery ruins. You can still see these enormous big clay brigs going back to the Middle Ages in the street facade of the Stolpe Ferry Inn building under and between the second, third and fourth windows from the left. They did not re-emerge until the beginning of 1998 when the building was restored.
After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 all of Pomerania became Swedish and Stolpe became thus Swedish crown land. Only a few years later the Swedish Queen Christine gave it to the governor of Swedish-Pomerania, major general Earl Steenbock. Steenbock renovated a few rooms for his own use in the burned-out monastery walls.
After the Nordic War in 1720 Western Pomerania was separated due to the Peace Treaty of Stockholm. Whilst the northern part remained with Sweden, the part south of the Peene was attributed to Prussia – in fact, the Peene became the border river. Stolpe became the personal estate of “Soldier King” Frederick William I.
His grand-grand-son King Frederick William II. was forced to sell Stolpe following the Peace Treaty of Tilsit in the year 1807 to the Prussian State so it became a state manor. In the following centuries Stolpe had different owners until it became the property of the Bülow family in the 50s of the 19th century.
Yet, no one in the Bülow family ever cultivated the grounds and the lord of the manor only rarely lived in Stolpe. The manor was mainly leased and the tenants were looked after by an administrator – a so-called “inspector”.
It was during this time that the well-known Pomeranian regional-writer Fritz Reuter visited Stolpe quite frequently. Reuter was friends not only with the tenant Fritz Peters who leased the manor from 1853 until 1880, but also with his inspectors Rudolf Wiencke and later Friedrich Knitschky. During his stays in Stolpe during 1853 and 1863 Reuter spent a lot of time in the Fährkrug. The bench he usually sat on still exists and is nowadays referred to as the “Reuter-Bench”.
Fritz Reuter reflected upon his time in Stolpe in the “Pre-history of Meckelnborg” in which he set a literary monument to both, Inspector Knitschky and the manor housekeeper Caroline Neukirch. Two cast-iron tombstones on the Stolpe cemetery commemorate them. They can be found on a cul-de-sac street leading left, prior to the Stolpe Ferry Inn(“Stolper Fährkrug”), from the village road, adjacent to the old village school. (Not to be confused with the little cemetery next to the Wartislaw church which was reserved only for the lord of the manor himself and members of his family).
The last lord of the manor from the Bülow family was royal Prussian lieutenant colonel Hans von Bülow, who had done his military service far away from the family estate. Only after the First World War did he start living in Stolpe continuously. He and his wife Sophie, born von Maltzan, Baroness zu Wartenberg and Penzlin, had no descendants so that there was no heir for the manor.
After Sophie Bülow died in 1920, the manor house remained without female guidance. In 1921 Hans Bülow adopted then 17 year-old Ursula von Maltzan, Baroness zu Wartenberg and Penzlin, a niece of his wife.
Five years later in 1926 Ursula Bülow-Maltzan married Kurt Stürken, the son of a Hamburg merchant family who had studied agriculture in Göttingen. Kurt Stürken redeveloped the indebted manor and built a few new farm buildings in Stolpe and Neuhof - their building dates are still visible.
The liaison between the Bülow and Maltzan zu Stolpe families is also well documented in the Wartislaw church opposite of the manor house. In the right window of the three windows behind the altar the Maltzan coat of arms with two rabbit heads and a vine is depicted.
On the right hand side a pointed arch leads to the room of the former lord of the manor stool. You can still recognise the separate entrance – walled up during the socialist time - through which the lord of the manor and his family used to enter the church. On the left hand side you will see the Bülow coat of arms with its 14 golden spheres on a blue background.
The Wartislaw church was built in 1893 and replaced the (still existing) old chapel next to the monastery ruins which was then used as a mortuary. Please refer to our reception desk for the church keys.
Between 1927 and 1940 Kurt and Ursula Stürken had one daughter and five sons. During World War II Ursula Stürken looked after the manor house mainly by herself as her husband served his military service as a commissioned officer and was absent most of the time. Just before the Red Army reached the River Oder in spring of 1945, she made the decision to flee. On April 9, 1945, just one month before the end of the war, Ursula Stürken and her six children fled to Hamburg.
After the war, Stolpe became part of the Russian zone which later formed the GDR (German Democratic Republic). The land and manor were expropriated by the Soviet military administration in 1945 and later transferred into the state-owned (VEG) Seed Manufacture Stolpe
On January 3,1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Kurt Stürken, the second youngest son of Kurt and Ursula, returned to the place where he had spent the first ten years of his life. He began negotiatingthe reacquisition of the parental manor with the Trust Association.
After long negotiations with the German state Kurt Stürken finally bought the old manor house and approximately 150 hectares of forest and grass landon September 9, 1994 with the goal of establishing a hotel and restaurant.
Only a little while later, deconstruction work and restauration of the 150 year-old manor house, which was used as a home for the agricultural trainees during the socialist time, began. On December 1, 1996, the MANOR HOUSE STOLPE Hotel and Restaurant was opened.
In December 1997 Kurt Stürken also bought the old landmarked Stolpe Ferry Inn (“Stolper Fährkrug”) which was re-opened in summer of 1998 after its careful restoration.
Axel Stürken, July 1998
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