The nobility in Valais

Many noblemen were landlords and therefore held the so called „lower jurisdiction“. Almost all noblemen officiate a manor on behalf of the Earl of Savoy and/or the bishop of Sitten. But they viewed the manors they granted out as their personal property. They called themselves barons and did not acknowledge any other master but the emperor. Further they executed the “high jurisdiction” over their manors. Therefore, the power of the nobility became a real danger to the bishop’s secular power.

In the 13th century, the barons of Turn were the most powerful noblemen of the county Valais. After the bishop, they were the richest landlords in the county and held many manors and offices to feoff. This way they slowly became his competitors.

In 1296, the baron from Turn, Peter IV confederated with other noblemen from Valais and several barons from the Bernese Oberland. Together they attacked bishop Bonifaz from Challant who had aligned with the town of Bern on the Sustmatten near Leuk. The bishop’s troops beat the rebels and captured them. The captured were not released until 1299 when they submitted to the bishop. Nevertheless. the barons from Turn reached the peak of their power shortly after. Johann who was Peter’s elder son took in possession the Kander- and Lauterbrunnertal. And Aimo his younger son became bishop from Sitten and reigned over Valais for fifteen years.

Literature: Walliser Geschichte, volume 1-2, Arthur Fibicher
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