Strangulation of Bishop Heinrich III

1381. aastal leidis linnuses oma lõpu 80-aastane Saare–Lääne piiskop Heinrich III.

In 1381, at the age of 80, Bishop Heinrich III of Ösel-Wiek met his end here in the castle.

A fiery quarrel erupted between the wayward bishop and the cathedral chapter in Haapsalu, which blamed the bishop, struggling as he was with a lack of funds, for arbitrarily selling off and pawning church land and assets outside his own demesne. The quarrel blew out of proportion, with threats to employ foreign intervention in the internal squabble. Canon Herman Balne had the stubborn bishop arrested and taken to Kuressaare Castle. Later, after this relocation, the corpse of Heinrich III was discovered in the ‘Lion Hole’ shaft used to dispose of food waste from the kitchen and shared by three privies. The bishop had been strangled to death in a sort of mob justice, with Canon Balne as the prime suspect. Chronicler Albert Krantz stated that not one religious official met a death as gruesome either before or after this.

Used sources and references:

Saaremaa Muuseum

Related objects

Saaremaa Museum

Kuressaare Castle is situated on the southern edge of the Kuressaare town, by the sea.

The anniversary of Saaremaa Museum, which is housed in the fortress, is celebrated on 17 February: the date in 1865 when the Society for Research of Saaremaa (Verain zur Kunde Oesels) was founded. The museum relocated to the castle in 1897. Its exhibition showcases the nature and history of Saaremaa. The largest and most noteworthy exhibit at the museum is the castle itself, which a fine example of the development of military fortifications between the 14th and the 19th centuries. Kuressaare Castle is one of the most authentic fortifications anywhere in Northern Europe.