Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present by Hubert Titz and Heinrich Voort : Prehistory, Medieval, and early Modernity 

Grave artifacts lead one to conclude that a settlement existed at Vechteufer already three thousand years before Christ. In appointing the first Counts of Bentheim at the end of the 8th century, Charlemagne is considered the forefather of Bentheim county.

In the course of Christianization two dioceses controlled the region, Münster and Uetrecht. The region is documented as the dominion of the Bentheim counts since the 11th century. The earliest was a "Curtis" in Schüttorf, of the "Olde Hof". Bentheim has been a county since 1328, being previously a territory, and since 1486 through a feudal order of the Emperor, a free Imperial county.

In the year 1544, the Bentheim county was Evangelical Lutheran and became Evangelical Reformed in 1588. The religion of the reigning counts was also that of the county's inhabitants. During his reign, count Ernst Wilhelm converted back to the Catholic faith in 1668 because he became subjected to Bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernhard von Galen, from whom he could never free himself.

A Münster occupation of the noble castle residence meant that the county became entangled in the dispute between Münster and the Dutch provinces.

For decades, dynastic disputes followed between the sons born out of the morganatic marriage of count Ernst Wilhelm with the Dutch Gertrud van Zelst and the Steinfurt faction, thumping on the stipulations of the inheritance union of 1487. Not before 1701 and the signing of the Treaty of the Hague was the conflict able to be resolved.

The adherence to the so called "Laudum Regium" guaranteed the king of England, in his capacity as the "Stadtholder" of the Netherlands and the king of Prussia, to whom belonged the town of Lingen. The treaty insured the sons of count Ernst Wilhelms the right of succession and safeguarded the free practice of religion both to the Reformed as well as - with certain local limitations - to the Catholics.

In the year 1704, Bentheim county came under a custodianship, then in 1723 due to the inability of the counts to rule, an administration ordered by the emperor followed.
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