Gutsbesitzer zwischen Repräsentation und Wirtschaftsführung. Das Gut Nordkirchen in Westfalen im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert

Friederike Scholten

Abstract


Located in the heart of the so called ‘Kernmünsterland’, the castle of Nordkirchen, known as the ‘westphalian Versailles’ served as the representative seat for the family von Plettenberg. Simultaneously, against the background of the manorial system, the castle was a center of grain cultivation and cattle breeding. The estate management was repeatedly affected by a high debt burden because of an extravagant lifestyle. But it appeared that besides the lease of land, grain trade turned out to be an important source of income. Mainly rye was sold on a local grain market, which was increasingly formalized during the eighteenth century. Main buyers were villagers; only few merchants visited the aristocratic market. The administrator, so called Rentmeister of the estate, early established a fix catalogue of rules for structuring the grain trade. But due to a constant absent owner, every economic decision had to be disputed by letter – a conflictual challenge. Decreasing earnings from the sale of grain, at least from the beginning nineteenth century onwards, lead to new sources of income, inter alia the sale of wood.

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