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Markt Feucht

Apiculturists Court

The “Zeidler”, the apiculturists, played an important role in Feucht’s history.  Feucht was a centre of beekeeping and honey extraction due to its location in the middle of the extensive imperial forest. Their court was an institution of imperial jurisdiction and located in Feucht from its beginning in 1296. The first secular document mentioning Feucht  was issued by the imperial judge Rüdiger von Brant. It was addressed to the beekeeper-master Hildebrand and confirmed that only a “Zeidelgericht” is allowed to dispense justice over apiculturists. In another important document, the so-called “Zeidlerprivileg” from 1350, Emperor Karl IV himself certifies the privileges and duties of the apiculturists.

During the course of the following centuries the original purpose of the court - to resolve disputes among apiculturists - changed. It became a court that also ruled over disputes of other residents in the region. Chief Judge was a “Zeidelmeister”, a master elected by other apiculturists.  Later, as the influence of the imperial free city of Nuremberg grew, the Chief Judge was a so-called “Unterrichter”, who had a jury of twelve “Zeidler” at his side. Until 1669 the court met on a regular basis in Feucht, every year on January 6, Mai 1, and September 29. Then came a time when the “Zeidelgericht” had to compete with the peasant court and the forest court from Nuremberg. The importance of the “Zeidelgericht” decreased in the middle of the 16th century, when the craft of keeping bee colonies in the woods had lost its original significance.

In 1796, when the possessions of the last margrave of Ansbach-Bayreuth fell to the Prussian kingdom, the “Zeidelgericht” disappeared.

In 1806 the province of Ansbach was attached to Bavaria and the “Zeidlerschloss” in Feucht became home of the Royal Bavarian Judiciary Office Burgthann. With the constitution of a royal court in Altdorf in 1808 Feucht’s history as a place of jurisdiction finally came to an end.

For a long time, the former courthouse in Feucht was used as residential building. The administration of Feucht finally bought it in 1980 and turned it into a public internet café and a music school.