According to sources, Tátika was named after Tádenka, or Tadeuka, who bought the village of Szántó from János of the Kaplony Clan and had his castle built before the Mongolian invasion in 1241, but it is not the same as the ruin we know today. It was certainly one of the earliest private castles built in Hungary.
This was the so-called Lower Tátika castle, and it was confiscated by King Béla IV from its owner, Tádé of the Tátika family, and donated to the *Kaplony or Ják (* it is disputed) family of Zlaudus, Bishop of Veszprém. The Bishop had a new castle built on Castle Hill, this is the ruin we know today. Zlaudus also died here in 1262.
In 1272, István V, the son of King Béla IV, confirmed the possession of Tátika (“Tadeuka”) to Bishop Pál of Veszprém. In 1275 Kőszegi Péter became the new Bishop of Veszprém, and the two castles of Tátika were certainly in the hands of the most powerful provincial family in the country until the death of Bishop Péter in 1289, but possibly until 1291. In the late 1290s, the castle was occupied by Apor and his brother Lukács, Comes of Zala County (the lords of the neighboring Rezi castle), against which Bishop Benedict of Veszprém protested to King András III in January 1291. The charter mentions it as “castrum Thadeuka”.
The sources of the 14th century no longer mention the Upper and Lower castles of Tatika separately. On 25 June 1314, Tátika Castle was the seat of a county court assembly. During the campaign of King Károly Róbert in 1321, the castle was retaken from the Kőszegi family. In 1342, King Lajos (Louis) I gave the bishop of Veszprém the royal estate of Kálvölgy in exchange for Tátika and then donated the castle to the Lackfi family in 1378. In 1387, a rebellion broke out against King Zsigmond (Sigismund), in which the Lackfi family took part. Zsigmond confiscated the Lackfi family’s property and had Lackfi István beheaded (his body was buried in Keszthely).
The king, who was perennially short of money, pledged the castle and his estates several times. In his letter of 17 January 1399, Zsigmond ordered the royal castellans of Rezi and Tátika not to disturb the citizens of Keszthely in their old privileges. In 1423, Zsigmond ordered Gersei Pető János, the Chief Comes of Zala County and castellan of Tátika, to act against Bothka Péter, the castellan of Rezi, who was disturbing the royal citizens and hospes of the market town Szánthó.
Tátika becomes the property of the Pethő family of Gerse
In 1437, Zsigmond pledged Tátika to Pethő László and Pető of Gerse, Chief Comes of Zala County in exchange for a loan of 100 gold Forints. In 1438, King Habsburg Albert, according to the letter of donation of the Zalavar convent issued in 1438, enrolled Pethő László and Pető of Gerse, the Chief Comes officers of the counties of Zala and Vas, into the possession of the castle of Tátika (“…castrum nostrum Tadika…”) and its appurtenances.
After Albert’s death, the Pethő family of Gerse supported King Ulászló I and Hunyadi János, so Queen Elizabeth, the widow, in a charter of 21 September 1440, deprived the disloyal Pethő family of the castle and gave it to a certain Dömötör of Zagorhida who was loyal to her. Since King Ulászló I had already been crowned, the charter was invalid in public law. In 1490, the Pethő family of Gerse divided their estates, and Tátika was given to Pethő János and Miklós.
After the death of King Matthias, the pretender to the throne, Emperor Maximilian, invaded the country in September 1490 and occupied the Transdanubian castles (Sümeg, Nagyvázsony, Veszprém, Fehérvár, etc.). Tátika and Rezi faced difficult days at the hands of the anti-German Pethő family. Due to a lack of funds, Maximilian withdrew from the country with most of his troops, and Matthias’ famous general, Kinizsi Pál took back the German-held castles one by one in the following year. In 1508 Pethő János, Ferenc, and Tamás of Gerse were the lords of the castle. Pethő János was the seneschal of King Lajos (Louis) II, who later died in the Battle of Mohács.
The Turkish era
Sultan Suleiman marched on Vienna in 1532, his armies marching south from Keszthely towards the imperial city. The noblemen and monasteries of the area took refuge in the castle of Tatika. On 22 January 1538, Bishop Kecsethy Márton of Veszprém attacked and captured the castle. At the Diet of 1538, the widow and children of Pethő Ferenc of Gerse denounced the bishop, stating that he had taken the castle with treachery, robbed the valuables found there of 100,000 Forints, and held the widow prisoner. Despite the agreement, Bishop Kecsethy still occupied Tátika in 1550.
The aforementioned event of 1538 shook the Pethő family. In 1554, Palatine Nádasdy Tamás mentioned in a letter that the castle was neglected. He threatened the owners that they were obliged to take care of the castle’s defenses and guard it, under penalty of a fine.
In November 1554 a large Turkish army raided the northern part of Lake Balaton, unsuccessfully besieging the castles of Tihany and Csobánc. It was after this that the letter of the Palatine was written. In March 1561 the king sent Gyulaffy László to inspect the castles of Keszthely, Rezi, and Tátika. This was urgent because the Turks had taken Hegyesd Castle and had established a stronghold, harassing the area. In 1561, the Pethő family held 16 guardsmen in the castle at a joint cost. You can read more about the life of Gyulaffy László, the “Hungarian Achilles” on my page:
The destruction of the castle
In 1589, the Turks made a surprise attack, plundered, and set the castle on fire. The attacking forces were led by the famous Kara Ali, the Bey of Fehérvár castle. The Turkish troops marched along the southern shore of Lake Balaton, which was then already under conquest. The Pethő family was no longer able to rebuild the fortress. In 1592, a charter refered to it as a ‘castrum dirutum’ (ruin). As a final blow, it was burned down in 1713 by the Imperial General Mercy on the pretext of a military exercise. After the extinction of the Pethő family, the Festetics family acquired the ruins of Tátika in 1714.
Watch the video of Szakonyi Balázs of Tátika castle in the 15th century:
Source: https://varlexikon.hu/tatika and: Dénes József: Alsó-Tátika középkori vára; Dr. Iványi Béla Dr. Sági Károly Takács Kálmán: Hegyesd Tátika Rezi; Dénes József – Nováki Gyula: Tátika három vára; Zala vármegye története. Oklevéltár 1. 1024-1363 (Budapest, 1886.); Zala vármegye története. Oklevéltár 2. 1364-1498 (Budapest, 1890.); kokovon.blogspot.hu
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Here are more pictures of Tátika castle: