The Buquoy family was present in the Nové Hrady region for over three centuries. It was one of the most important representatives of aristocracy in the specific environment of South Bohemia.
The Buquoy aristocratic family moved to the Kingdom of Bohemia from France and the territory of modern-day Belgium in the 17th Century. The former name of the family was Longueval after the castle situated in Picardia, in northern France.
Charles Bonaventura Buquoy was born on January 9, 1571 in Arras, where he graduated at the local university and became a valet at the royal court in Madrid. He actively participated in the war campaigns of the Spanish King Phillip II from the age of 21 and quickly gained the title and property for his achievements. In 1613 he was even granted the Toison D’or. He married Maria Magdalena de Biglia, Countes of Saron, a member of one of the oldest and most powerful families in Milan. He took over the high command over the imperial troops in Bohemia after the Second Defenestration of Prague. He did not personally attend the Battle of White Mountain, though he commanded from bed since he was recovering from previous injuries. He died half a year later leading a small cavalry nearby Nové Zámky. He was buried in an unidentified grave in the Church of Our Lady in Rožumberk. The Count was granted the Nové Hrady, Rožumberk and Libějovice estates from the Emperor on February 6, 1620. The deed of gift was written in Czech and signed by the Emperor who never had enough money to pay the soldiers and therefore settled the debt by granting estates.
After the general’s death, his widow Maria Magdalena managed the estates since their son was under age. She was a very efficient woman; she could speak four languages but very little Czech and German. She permanently moved to Bohemia in 1635, which was connected to the construction of the residence. She confirmed the privileges granted to her towns, provided forests, established glassworks, and ordered construction of churches. She ordered the construction of a water pipeline in Nové Hrady in 1639. On November 15, 1627 the counts were granted the Czech Indigenate – the right of permanent residence, management of high offices and ownership and jurisdiction of Bohemian estates.
Charles Albert took possession of the estate after his mother, in spite of being in the Spanish services, though perhaps he visited the Bohemian estates only once. Under his rule, the churches in Nové Hrady and Rožumberk were subjected to Baroque modifications. He placed of all his estates in Bohemia under inheritance law in his will, which ensured their indivisibility in the future and protected them from sale in the case of financial difficulties. He had thirteen children.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, Ferdinand, an imperial councillor and chamberlain who founded the Servite monastery in Nové Hrady in 1677. The clan continued with Ferdinand’s brothers.
Karl Philipp was promoted to princely status by the Spanish king Charles II, from which time he and his direct descendants titled themselves “the Prince de Longueval, the Count de Buquoy”.
The estate was inherited by Philipp Emanuel. He built the château in Libějovice and founded Lomec, a small holy shrine. He died childless.
The Bohemian estates were inherited by his youngest uncle, Albert Karl, an Austrian court councillor, who founded the holy shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Dobrá Voda.
The next owner was Albert’s son, Karl Kajetan, a confident Baroque cavalier who held the position of the Chief Magister of the Kingdom of Bohemia. He loved luxury and entertainment, and extended the residence and the Manor Garden in Nové Hrady and founded a decorative park on the island of Žárský pond.
Franz Leopold was a typical Rococo aristocrat who enjoyed balls and other events. When the French and the Bavarians occupied Bohemia, he demonstrated his patriotism by naming his son Johan Nepomuk, after one of the patrons of Bohemia. Johan became the next owner of the estate. He was known for his charity work in his estates, focused on forestry reform. In the period from 1778 to 1783 some streams of the Nové Hrady estate were made navigable and a system of water reservoirs was established, which served as a timber-rafting dam. He promoted the establishment of glass works and new villages, and sought to improve education, build welfare facilities and initiated the establishment of the Mortgage Bank of the Kingdom of Bohemia. However, this is not a comprehensive list of activities of this genius organizer. Together with his wife they founded the romantic valley park Terčino údolí as well as a new empire château in Nové Hrady. He died with no heirs.
The Buquoy estates were inherited by his nephew Georg Franz August, the well-known polyhistor, economist and industrialist. He was an eccentric, interested in science, a devotee of material values and had contacts with the freemasons. He studied Governmental and Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Philosophy, Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Finance and Economy in Prague. He maintained friendly contact and correspondence with, for example, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Andre Marie Amoere, F. A. Gerstner and many others. He implemented modern management practices in his estates and was the first in Bohemia to buy a steam engine; he also developed the textile industry, glass industry and glass works, where he invented and produced black glass – hyalite. In 1838 he declared two forest lands a nature reserve – Žofínský forest and Hojnovodský forest. His only son Georg Johan was involved in the Catholic movement, interested in art, collecting antiques and travelled widely. He built the Swiss House in Terčino Údolí in 1852 and the hunting lodge Žofín two years later in the Nové Hrady forest. He is buried in the family crypt in the Nové Hrady church.
Karl Bonventura established a pension institute for his employees, founded a society for the support of orphans and widows in Nové Hrady and Rožumberk, built industrial plants and aimed to improve the economy. His wife contributed to the establishment of the child-care institute in Nové Hrady. Both of them are buried in a new crypt at the cemetery in Nové Hrady.
The estate was inherited by his nephew Karl Georg. During the First World War he always helped people in need; during the period of the “First Republic” he had to defend himself within the implementation of land reform and spent a considerable amount in order to retain the family inheritance and maintain jobs. He faced an unenviable situation during the Second World War. A large part of the estate is situated in the border area and perhaps that was the reason by Buquoys signed up for German nationality. On the basis of the Beneš Decrees the count was declared a traitor and collaborator and was imprisoned. Consequently the government confiscated his property. He was not involved politically during the War. In spite of that he was declared a traitor and German promoter in Šumava and the whole family lost their citizenship and property. He died in prison. The successor of the main line of the family was his eldest son Ferdinand Buquoy, His children, nephews and nieces now live mainly in Germany, and their attempts to get restitution of their estates in the Czech Republic failed.