Csejte (Čachtice) castle is located in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, in Slovakia. It used to be the castle of Báthory Erzsébet who is also known (quite wrongly) as “Blood Countess”. She was accused of torturing and killing her maidservants by the hundred. However, recent research of the last decades indicates that it was her greedy relatives who fabricated the charges against her so as to stop her to take the side of the Transylvanian Prince called Báthory Gábor.
We should note, the charges were made by her enemy, Palatine Thurzó György, who wanted to get her immense wealth, the huge wealth of the Báthory-Nádasdy family. The Habsburgs also needed the money and both politically and from the religious aspect, she had to be blamed. It all happened in 1610, six years after Nádasdy’s death. There is a romantic explanation as well: allegedly, Thurzó was in love with Lady Báthory but he was refused; it was why he took revenge.
There never was a proper trial and the “witnesses” were tortured so as to accuse Báthory Erzsébet. All the “witnesses” were beheaded a week after their torture. Elizabeth (Erzsébet) was never interrogated nor questioned. Palatine Thurzó had her walled into her own castle where she died in a few years. She was not any crueler than her contemporary noblewomen had been.
Palatine Thurzó was infamous for taking away the properties of other widows who were defenseless women; he was led by the same reason to get the money of Báthory Erzsébet. (Remember: it was the Thurzó family who had intermarried with the ill-reputed Fuggers.) As it has turned out, it was indeed Thurzó who inherited all the properties of Lady Báthory, not her six children from her marriage with the valiant Nádasdy Ferenc. However, Csejte remained in the hands of the Nádasdy family.
All in all, the sources and the new conclusions seem to break the Hollywood-like false image of this noblewoman, the wife of the famous Nádasdy Ferenc, the “strong black Bey”, the hero of the Valiant Order (1555-1605). He should deserve rather bigger attention than his widow. Why don’t we hear in the popular media about the deeds of Nádasdy Ferenc? Unlike the tales made about her, Elizabeth had another reputation, rather a positive one. She began to support the widows of the fallen Hungarian warriors in the 1580s, regardless of their nationality. She established a school for girls in his castle in 1585.
Csejte castle was built in 1263 by Kázmér from the Hont-Pázmány family as a sentry on the road to Moravia. Later, it belonged to Lord Csák Máté, the Stibor family, and then to Lady Báthory. Csejte, its surrounding lands, and villages were a wedding gift from the Nádasdy family upon Erzsébet / Elizabeth’s marriage to Nádasdy Ferenc in 1575. Nádasdy was one of the most famous warriors of his age. Nádasdy’s career surpassed Thurzó György’s plans who became his greatest enemy. Remember, Thurzó became the Palatine, he had the second-highest rank in the Kingdom of Hungary, right after the king. He had been jealous of Nádasdy and he was the one who accused his widow, Elizabeth, as soon as he could. Here is more about her story:
Originally, Csejte was a Romanesque castle with an interesting horseshoe-shaped residence tower. It was turned into a Gothic castle later and its size was increased in the 15th and 16th centuries. A Renaissance renovation followed in the 17th century. The castle remained in the Nádasdy family’s hand until 1671 when Emperor Leopold had Nádasdy Ferenc (1623-1671) beheaded for treason and took the castle away. It landed in the Drugeth and Endrődy families’ hands.
Finally, in 1708 the castle was captured and plundered by the “kuruc” rebels of Prince Rákoci Ferenc II. It has been in decay since. Near the castle, you can find the Draskovitch Mason, which was built in 1668, in the late Renaissance style. There is a small but nice museum in it.
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