It is not known exactly when, on the highest hill in the area, the first wooden gord of defensive nature was built. It is likely to happen in the early-Piast period, between the X and XI century. Some written sources confirm the existence of the gord in Toszek as the seat of a castellany in 1222 when the castellany and the castellan Jacob is mentioned. Some historians claim that the castellany gord in Toszek was raised in the XII century. Saint Peter's church was mentioned in a papal bull in 1201, so it is highly likely that the gord had existed earlier. We can not exclude the fact that the castellany could have existed even earlier in the reign of Bolesław III Wrymouth.
During the period of „fragmentation” the castellany gord in Toszek belonged to the successive Silesian dukes from the Opolska line, then the Bytomsko-Kozielska line, and Cieszyńska and Oświęcimska lines. One of the most significant residents was princess Judyta, wife of the duke of Opole Mieszko II the Fat, who, after her husband's death in 1246, lived in Toszek for some time. Bolesław the duke of Toszek from the Kozielsko – Bytomska line became very successful in Europe. In about 1315, he became an archbishop of Ostrzychom and the Primate of Hungary, with help of his sister Maria , who was married to Hungarian king Karol Robert.
The castle reached the highest importance in the long reign of Przemysław the duke of Toszek (from the Oświęcimska line) in the XV century. Duke Przemysław not only rebuilt the castle out of stone after the Hussite raids, but also made it his permanent residence built in stone.
After the death of duke Przemysław in 1484, the castle belonged again to the Opolska line of Piast, but only for a short time. After the heirless death of Jan II Dobry in 1532 the castle, with both Duchy of Opole and Racibórz, was owned by the Habsburg family (as a feudal tenure of the Czech kings).
The Habsburg Family left the castle in pledge to Fryderyk von Rendern in 1557 and next to his son Jerzy Fryderyk Redern who bought it along with Toszek and Pyskowice. Atfer the fire in 1570, the Rendern Family rebuilt the castle in Renaissance Style and added to the rebuilt gate by building housing premises. The Rendern family reigned in Toszek castle till the death of Jerzy II Rendern in 1637. His sister Margaret von Kolovrat, who became the owner, married her daughter to the influential Earl Casper Colonna whose family came from Tyrol.
In this way, the castle fell into the hands of Colonna Family which ruled it between 1638 and 1707. Thanks to Casper Colonna, the castle owes the next period of splendour to the major rebuilt made by an architect Giovanni Seregna from Milan between 1650 and 1666. This rebuilt commemorates the foundation inscription over the gate building: CASPAR COMES COLONNA 1666. As a consequence of the reconstruction, the castle which was formerly meant for defence was converted into a magnate's mansion, which others could not compare with in this part of Upper Silesia.
However, in 1707, the Colonna Family sold the castle to baron Johann Dietrich von Peterswald and then, he sold it to count Francis Charles Kottuliński. After the Kottuliński Family /1718 – 1759/ the castle was in the Posadowski’s Family hands /1759 – 1791/ next in 1791, baron Adolf von Eichendorff of Łubowice and the father of romantic writer Joseph von Eichendorf, bought it.
The castle belonged to the Eichendorff Family for only six years, but for the future poet the earliest years of his life were spent there, when experiences are culminated to later bear fruit. He mentions “the castle on the hill of silence” which is assumed to be the castle in Toszek because the poet stayed there many times in his childhood.
After several years baron von Eichendorff sold the castle in 1797 to count Francis Adam Gaschin. The Gaschin Family, which ruled the castle between 1797 and 1840, is connected with the most important legend about the golden duck. In 1811 a fire broke out, which destroyed the building completely. During the escape from the flames, Gizela Gaschin, the owner's wife, was able to take the golden duck with 11 golden eggs and buried them in the underground passage. Soon countess Gizela died and the golden duck has not been found.
After the great fire, the castle remained in ruin and the Gaschin Family built a new palace on Strzelecka Street. In 1840, they sold Toszek property to Abraham Guradze. The castle was in the Guradze’s Family hands till World War II, but count Kurt Guradze bequeathed it to the youth of Poland in the twenties.
After Word War II, the castle was a picturesque ruin. Between 1957 and 1963 the castle was partially rebuilt and committed to a cultural purpose. Nowadays it is a seat of Culture Centre “Toszek Castle.”
Jan Lewandowski, PhD