Jan Cernecky laid the foundation stone for "Nove Mesto nad Metuji" 10th August 1501. It had been a previously fortified site for centuries overlooking the Metuji River. The original Gothic Castle was an enormous round tower known as "Maselnice" and it is still standing today, although the Castle has been altered and extended, greatly since that time.

The estate of Nove Mesto which now comprised the original Castle and many villages was purchased in 1547 by, Wolf of Stubenberg, a protestant Styrian family, whose descendant Rudolf Stubenberg participated in the anti Hapsburg revolution of 1618 and Nove Mesto was confiscated from the Stubenburg family and taken over by Albrecht of Valdstejn, who exchanged it for other properties.

Nove Mesto was then taken over by Marie Magdalena Trckova, who was notorious for her avarice and cruelty and she was so hated by her serfs that they rose up in revolt against her. Adam Erdman, Maria's son lived at Nove Mesto until he was assassinated in 1634, when Walter Leslie, Captain of the Imperial guard was granted Nove Mesto for his services to the Hapsburgs. Walter Leslie was a son of the 12th Baron of Balquhain. When Ferdinand III succeeded as Emperor in 1637, Walter Leslie was also granted estates in Silesia, [Poland], Pittau, [Czechoslavkia] and was promoted to General and was made a privy Councillor and appointed Governor of the Slavic States and was also made Vice President of the Council of War.

In 1640, at the age of 34, Walter Leslie married Princess Anna Francesca von Dietrichstein, daughter of Prince Maximilian von Dietrichstein, Grand Chamberlain, a member of one of the oldest and most powerful families in Austria. Walter Leslie sent much financial aid to his family at Balquhain and when it was realised that Walter and his wife, Princess Anna, could not have children, Walter asked that his brother Alexander, 14th Baron of Balquhain be made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Walter also made his nephew, James his heir and gave him a first class education and James continued the Leslie branch in Austria, until it died out in the 19th century.

In 1663, the Turks began an invasion of Austria and were finally stopped only 125 miles from Vienna. For his part in the defence of Austria, Walter was made a Knight of the Golden Fleece and the Emperor then entrusted Walter Leslie with the delicate task of arranging a peace treaty with the Turks. Upon the successful conclusion to the signing of the treaty, Walter retired to his Castle at Putj and died there 4th March 1667. He received a State funeral and was buried in a stone sarcophagus in what became known as the Leslie Chapel of the Scottish Church of the Benedictine Abbey in Vienna. Sadly, many years later the troops of Napoleon vandalised the sarcophagus and the monks gathered up the bones and walled them up in a vault, where they remain today.

For all enquiries, please contact Barrie Leslie, Convenor of CLANZ

Please contact our if links do not work