Franz Von Hatzfeld
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Franz Von Hatzfeld
Engraving of Franz von Hatzfeld by Johann Salver.

Franz von Hatzfeld (13 September 1596 – 30 July 1642) was the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg from 1631 to 1642 and the Prince-Bishop of Bamberg from 1633 to 1642.

Franz von Hatzfeld was born in Crottorf, near Friesenhagen, on 13 September 1596, the third son of Freiherr Sebastian von Hatzfeld-Wildenburg (1566-1631) and his wife Lucia von Sickingen (1569-1605), a granddaughter of Franz von Sickingen.[1] His elder brother was Melchior von Hatzfeldt, Imperial field marshal. His father had been raised a Protestant, but converted to Roman Catholicism.[1]

In 1615, he became a canon of Würzburg Cathedral and, two years later, of Bamberg Cathedral.[1] At age thirty, he became head cantor of Bamberg Cathedral, and the next year, became diocesan administrator of Würzburg.[1] He then served as provost of the Gangolfskirche in Bamberg.[1]

The cathedral chapter of Würzburg Cathedral elected him Prince-Bishop of Würzburg on 7 August 1631, with Pope Urban VIII confirming his appointment on 3 January 1632.[2]

With the Thirty Years' War raging, Swedish troops occupied the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg and Franz von Hatzfeld fled to Cologne as a protective measure.[1] On 20 June 1633 Lord High Chancellor of Sweden Axel Oxenstierna declared that the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg and the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg would henceforth be combined as the "Duchy of Franconia" and enfeoffed to Bernard of Saxe-Weimar.[1]

On 4 August 1633 the cathedral chapter of Bamberg Cathedral (which had escaped to the Duchy of Carinthia) elected Franz von Hatzfeld Prince-Bishop of Bamberg, with Pope Urban VIII confirming this appointment on 31 October 1633.[2] This created a personal union between the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg and the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg.

Following the Battle of Nördlingen of 5-6 September 1634, Franz von Hatzfeld ended his Cologne exile, returning to Würzburg in November 1634, accompanied by the troops of Philipp von Mansfeld.[1]

He died of a stroke in Würzburg on 30 July 1642.[1]


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