A tower was the godfather, not the durre

According to district local historian gunter lipp, the place names in the region are as varied as the ornaments on an old christmas tree: they end in -dorf or in -wind, -hausen or -brunn. Villages at bache often need first names, because one could confuse them otherwise: ober-merzbach, marolds-weisach, unter-preppach. Kirch-lauter. Some place names are quite common and widespread: neuses, lichtenstein, breitbrunn, gereuth, gemund. Others, however, are so curious that television, radio or the newspapers report about them every few years: goggelgereuth or guckelhirn.

Some place names, on the other hand, are never mentioned, because they are self-evident: lind, where there are probably linden trees, hochstadten, which is known to lie high above the baunach, or durrnhof, where the fields probably don't yield much because everything is dry.

Helpful dissertation?

But if you want to know more, you can get the volume "landkreise ebern und hofheim" of the historical place name book of bavaria and look up the name you are looking for. It is actually a dissertation submitted by the then trainee teacher georg schmiedel in the fall of 1972. In it you will find the first mention of a place, the changing spellings, the dialect pronunciation and, above all, the explanation of all the place names in the area.

For the latter "durrnhof" schmiedel explains the origin of the word as follows: it is "a dialectical spelling of the adjective old high german durri, middle high german durre, i.E. Dialectically doe, 'dry." Less scientifically expressed: durrnhof got its name from the fact that there was a farm in the middle of waterless fields. Gunter lipp: "we already thought of that ourselves, you don't need a doctor's thesis for that."

The people of durrnhofen have always explained their place names in such a simple way, if they were asked at all. "They could do that", so lipp "schlieblich had been taught to them in lichtenstein. There, the school was single-class, but in terms of local history, it was still mostly first-class."

But then came another teacher, or to be more precise, a rector: dominikus kremer. In 1980 he wrote in the 116. Annual report of the historical society of bamberg an essay on the question: "were dorn- oder durnhofe turmhugel?" In gunter lipp's view "probably only dr. Wolfram berninger read in pfarrweisach", who studied the early and high middle ages for decades as a hobby. Lipp: "the article surely passed by the local teachers and the durrnhofers themselves."

Kremer had researched it in a scientifically impeccable manner, according to the district historian's conviction. For him it was absurd from the beginning that "dorn- and durnhofen have become productive agricultural settlements, which in some cases have even developed into blooming villages"."

First, he proves linguistically that in earlier centuries, the middle high german terms "dorn, dorn, durn, … And durrn" both the word "durr" and the word "durrn as well as the name "tower" could be found. At that time, spelling did not yet have any rules.

Ten examples in the area

Kremer found about ten examples of "du/ornhof" in northern franconia in the most different ways of writing. He looked for all of them personally. At first he examined the locations themselves. It turned out that all the dorn-, durn- and durrnhofe in the forefield … Of a nearby castle were located" and that in them almost always "an original tower court is hidden" was.

Kremer describes his military duties as follows: "securing the access routes, keeping out unwanted visitors, reliable landing observation, timely warning of surprises, blocking off a narrow valley and keeping the airfield safe.A.M." Kremer also points out that the word "tower", the original meaning of this place name has become "durn" over the centuries grinding. He gives it to "the peculiarity of the french dialect" a certain guilt, in german, of a certain laziness of speech.

Now it is time to briefly discuss the history of durrnhof below the lichtenstein, says local historian lipp: "strangely enough, this name is not mentioned at all in the known parish charter of 1232." Wolfram berninger accepted, durrnhof nevertheless called, but under the name "ruthe". But that "changes in the middle of the 14. The village was renamed dornhof, dornhoffe, thornhof in the early twentieth century after a simple fortification, a residential tower of the lords of lichtenstein, which has since been built and is still clearly recognizable today.

This tower was destroyed in 1525 during the peasant war and apparently not rebuilt. Only parts of it have been preserved on an island-like rubble in the doreiher. They were still known 40 years ago to older inhabitants.

Right next to the rest of the tower is said to be the forest warden beck in the early 19th century. Century have built a small house. He also used cuboids from the old fortifications that were still usable. Later his house at the pond went into different hands. The last stones of the name-giving tower, powerful ashlars, the durrnhofer have still uncovered during the excavation of a fire pond.

Rest guard

Rector kremer counts "the turmhofen site among the first precautionary measures taken by the french in occupying and securing the land". These "guard installations of the french early days" disappeared according to his opinion from the landscape "after they had become obsolete, decayed or had been pulled down".

Werner schmiedel, who later became a respected director of studies, later admitted his mistake to lipp. In some old exercise books you can find even more blatant examples. For example when the teacher fritz drescher of kraisdorf wrote down in his heimatkunde that the name of the village came from "griffo" and that again from the wild griffons, who lived here in the swamp area at the baunach river. First round was right, second round was nonsense!

"That's the way it goes when the place names are all mixed up and nothing is known for sure", says lipp and adds a new question: where does the name of durrenried actually come from?? 

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