Pentz is the name of an old noble family from the state of Mecklenburg. Branches also settled in Hamburg, Holstein, Denmark, Courland, Pommerania, Saxonia and Württemberg. Several members also served the Danish Crown in a privileged manner.
According to an old deliverance, the Lords of von Pentz originally came from the Mark of Brandenburg. They are said to have been driven out of the Mark by the Wends in 926 and then settled in Mecklenburg. The ancestral home of Panitz (Pentz) in the Wittenburg district, which is now deserted, first appears in documents as early as 1194. Walterus de Penezt” (also Walterus de Penz, Woltherus de Pentz, Walteri de Paniz) is considered to be the progenitor, who is mentioned for the first time in a document in 1219, among other things, as the owner of the Panitz (Pentz) estate, which gave the name to the estate, situated in the middle between Banzin and Damereez. He was married to Adelheid von Schorlemer, daughter of Reinfried von Schorlemer, colonizer of Wendish Baltic Sea areas. Taking advantage of this connection, he later emigrated to Pomerania and founded there the richly endowed Pomeranian branch (see also Reinfried von Pentz in Loitz Castle). This branch died out already in 1489 with Walter V. von Pentz.
The uninterrupted Mecklenburg lineage begins with Ulrich II von Pentz, who is mentioned in documents between 1341 and 1372. He sat at Redefin Castle, a feudal estate, and was lord of the manor of Boizenburg.
In 1523, the von Pentz were among the co-signers of the Union of Estates, Mecklenburg’s order of estates, which lasted until 1918. On June 20, 1549, they also signed Mecklenburg’s conversion to Protestantism in Sternberg at the Sagstorf Bridge.
In the course of time, the landed property was steadily expanded, reaching its peak before the Thirty Years’ War with 17 estates in the Wittenburg county alone and more than 14,000 hectares. The family suffered considerable cuts both in personnel and material form as a direct or indirect consequence of the Thirty Years’ War. For example, in 1628 the troops of the commander Wallenstein marched across the Amt Wittenburg, where the majority of the estates were located. As a rule, fields, houses, farms and livestock were burned or looted.
The Pentze also lost many members in the two world wars. During the First World War five Pentze fell, in the Second World War even seven. In 1945, the family still owned five estates, which were expropriated without compensation in the course of the land reform in the Soviet occupation zone.
The oldest line, which can be proven uninterrupted until today, goes back to the already mentioned Ulrich II (ca. 1341-1372) and is named after the ancestral seat of the family “Volzrade line”. From this line all other lines and houses branch off, so also the houses Raguth (until 1733), Scharbow (until 1722), Redefin Warlitz (until 1720), older house Melkhof (until 1572), Redefin-Krentzlin (until about 1650) and Besendorf (until 1768). In the enrollment book of the Dobbertin monastery there are 19 entries of daughters of the von Pentz families from 1718 to 1859 from Melkhof, Benz, Volzrade, Ponstorf, Klein Grabow and Warlitz for admission to the noble ladies’ convent in the Dobbertin monastery. Coat of arms shields with attached order star and alliance coat of arms hang on the nuns’ gallery in the monastery church
The lineage based on the ancestral estate Volzrade in the county of Wittenburg (today belonging to the country town Lübtheen) is considered the ancestral line of the v. Pentz family, from which all other lines and houses branched off. The documented ancestral line of the family begins with Ulrich II (ca. 1341-1372), who was also lord of Redefin Castle in addition to Volzrade.
Volzrade is an old family feud dating back to 1363 and was in the uninterrupted possession of the family until its expropriation in 1945. Already around 1200 a tower hill castle (located in the later manor park) had been built there and therefore a small settlement. The knight’s castle was destroyed in the 16th century and Lewin von Pentz built a manor house in 1592, which burned down in 1618. Around 1640 the second manor house was built by Curd von Pentz, as well as a windmill and a sheepfold. In 1827 the house burned down and in 1838 the third manor house was rebuilt in neo-Renaissance style according to the plans of J.H. Gottfried Krug and in 1863 it was raised. From 1994 to 2002 Hugo v. Schlichtegroll-Pentz acquired the manor house again and restored it to his residence along with a guesthouse.
From Gotthard Wilhelm v. Pentz (1720 to 1798) through his son Gotthard Friedrich Christopher (1771-1843) from 2nd marriage the ancestral line continues as Gremmelin line (see below), while through the son Gotthard Wilhelm (1754-1831) from 1st marriage the Volzrade line continues until today as v.Schlichtegroll-Pentz. The Volzrade family archive (today in the Mecklenburg State Archives) as well as the documentation about the family by the members of the Volzrade line, which were characterized by a strong sense of family, have contributed significantly to the reappraisal and documentation of the family history.
In the 16th century the family spread to Holstein through the acquisition of Nütschau by Jasper von Pentz. In Denmark Claus von Pentz on Rangun and Schartow is mentioned first, who was royal Danish colonel in 1550. Markwart von Pentz (* 1570), colonel and commander of the Royal Danish cavalry, bailiff at Segeberg, knight of the Order of the Elephant, was seriously wounded in the Battle of Lutter in 1626, one of the major battles of the first phase of the Thirty Year’s War. He succumbed to his injuries a few months later in Wolfenbüttel in February 1627.  Markwart’s son, Christian von Pentz (1600 – 1651), royal Danish colonel and governor at Glückstadt, married Sophia Elisabeth (1619-1657) Princess of Holstein, eldest daughter of Danish King Christian IV and Kirsten Munk (morganatic marriage), in 1633. He became imperial count and governor of Holstein in 1636 and came to fame and reputation as governor of the fortress Glückstadt among other things through the harbor expansion against the will of the Hamburg merchants and by the successful defense of the fortress Glückstadt in the Thirty Years’ War. Like his father, Count Christian was a member of the Danish Order of the Elephant. However, he fell out of favor with King Christian IV’s successor Frederick III and died in dungeon in 1651.
Adam Heinrich von Pentz auf Warlitz, imperial colonel and royal Danish court marshal, received Danish nobility naturalization on September 27, 1649. The house of Redefin-Warlitz became extinct in 1720.
This line is named after the estate in Brahlstorf, a feudal estate of about 500 ha in the Wittenburg district, which was in the family from 1438 to 1705. The founder of this branch is Günther von Pentz (1558-1626), who in turn descended from the older Mecklenburg ancestral line from Volzrade. Further estates of this branch were Damereez, Dersenow and Benz, as well as from 1780 the stately estate Melkhof acquired within the family by the chief equerry David von Pentz. His son Carl von Pentz finally sold this estate, which had been in the family since 1471, to the Hanoverian family v.d. Decken in 1819. Also worth mentioning is Otto Markwart v. Pentz (1730 to 1763), who came to honor as a young captain and leader of the “Legion Britannique” as well as general adjudant of Duke Friedrich of Braunschweig in the Seven Years’ War.
Pentz (1932): Otto Markwart’s presumed son, Ernst Otto Pentz (1752-1795) was electoral Brunswick-Lüneburg “sergeant” in the Grubenhagen land regiment at Nörten. He and his descendants kept the name form of von Pentz unchallenged. An entry in the Adeliges Taschenbuch. Gothaisches genealogisches Taschenbuch der adeligen Häuser B. took place on December 6, 1932 in Berlin by decision of the department for questions of nobility law of the German nobility society. The coat of arms is identical with the ancestral coat of arms of the Mecklenburg noble family von Pentz. Descendants of this branch, who emigrated to the USA in 1885, are still living today (Robert Alexander II v. Pentz).
This line goes back to the mentioned Ulrich von Pentz (ca. 1341-1372) and continues the Volzrade line through Gotthard Friedrich Christopher v. Pentz (1771-1843) (see above). The latter also acquired the 847 ha Gremmelin estate near Güstrow in 1802. Friedrich von Pentz (1841-1921), Prussian Major General out of service, also came from the older Mecklenburg line. Gotthard Friedrich Christopher’s son, the Domänenrat Gotthard von Pentz (1798-1878), at Gremmelin was married to Marie von Hafften. The firstborn son from this marriage, Friedrich von Pentz (1843-1902), founded the later baronial line in the Kingdom of Saxony (see below). In total Gotthard and Marie had 11 children of whom 10 survived. The second son, Alexander (1845-1905) inherited Gremmelin and was married to Frieda, daughter of his estate neighbor, Domänenrat Carl Paetow auf Lalendorf. The fourth son, Dr. jur. Franz von Pentz (1850-1908), achieved importance as mayor of Teterow.
Alexander’s 3rd son Colonel Christian von Pentz (1882-1952), married Annemarie in 1912, daughter of the later Field Marshal and Reich President Paul von Hindenburg.
Klaus von Pentz (* 1912), a grandson of Alexander von Pentz and Frieda Paetow, became a pastor and married in 1941 Gisela, daughter of the Royal Prussian District Administrator Wilhelm von Bismarck, Fideikommissherrn auf Briest, and Edith Gräfin von der Schulenburg.
The last owner of Gremmelin before the expropriation in 1945 was Friedrich Carl von Pentz (1877-1953). His son Alexander (1927-2016) and grandson Markwart (1963- ) have reacquired back and farmed larger parts of the agricultural land since 1992. Descendants from the entire line exist to this day.
In the 19th century, the older Mecklenburg line also gained possession in Saxony. Friedrich von Pentz († 1856), royal Saxon major of cavalry, became lord of Brandis through his marriage to Ernestine Schirmer. His sole heir became Friedrich von Pentz (1843-1902), eldest son of Gotthard von Pentz auf Gremmelin (1798-1878). The later Baron Friedrich married Marie (1847-1924), daughter of the pastor Friedrich Steinmetz, in Thelkow in 1875. The couple had five children, Gotthard, Walter, Erna, Mathilde and Helene.
Their daughter Helene Baronesse von Pentz (1889-1965) married Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel (1886-1944), last general of the infantry, who was executed in 1944 as a 20th of July resistance fighter, in Brandis in 1916.
Walter Baron von Pentz (1882-1968) was lord of the Zwethau, Friedrichshöhe and Berg estates, all of which were expropriated from him in 1945. His marriage to Erika Baronesse von Rochow (1886-1974) in Dresden in 1909 left five children, three daughters and two sons. The youngest son, Hans-Detlef Baron von Pentz (1927-2010), was awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) and also became an honorary knight of the Order of St. John. After longer stays abroad, Hans-Detlef Baron von Pentz found his final resting place in Berchtesgaden. Descendants of the baronial line exist until today.
Christian (1855-1935), Dr. h. c., Württemberg Landoberstallmeister and Lieutenant Colonel (ret.), who founded the Württemberg line that still exists today, also came from the older Mecklenburg line. He was a brother of Friedrich (1843-1902) of Brandis, the founder of the baronial Saxon line. Christian had a significant influence on the breeding direction of the Württemberg warmblood breed during his nearly 20 years as Landoberstallmeister of the Marbach/Württemberg State Stud. Son Ernst-August (1890-1950) was Rittmeister and married to Karinmaria, daughter of the Prussian Colonel (ret.) Egmont von Websky. Son Krischan (* 1919) fell on April 16, 1942 at Lake Ilmen in Russia as a lieutenant in the reconnaissance division 5, the 5th Jäger Division. The younger son Gotthard (* 1922) was an advertising manager in Stuttgart and lived with his family in Bad Cannstatt. Gotthard has done a great deal of work on the family history and has, among other things, published volume 3 of the family history. Today he is the senior of the family.
Also from the Volzrade line was Gotthard von Pentz (1773-1820), who moved to Courland as chief stable master. His son Alfons von Pentz (1814-1881) was born in Vircava (Würzau) in Courland and was secretary of the Courland Fire Insurance Association. In Riga he had married Elisabeth Pychlau in 1856, with whom he had two sons Gotthard (1857-1927) and Alfred (1868-1939). Alfons died in Cologne, while his son Gotthard, who was born in Mitau and had been married since 1900 to Maria (1862-1943), daughter of Friedrich von Brackel (1826-1896), director of the peasant pension bank in Riga, died as a sharecropper in Riga. Alfred, also born in Mitau, was a farmer and lord of Geguschina near Kowno, which he sold in 1912. He then moved to Hamburg with his wife, Marie von Heimowsky, and five children. Son Heinrich von Pentz (* 1913) was a police officer in nearby Winsen an der Luhe in 1960. Descendants of this line exist to this day.
In a document dated August 27, 1471, the squire Ullrich Pentz from the Volzrad lineage is mentioned for the first time. He is the owner of hoofs and farms in Melkhof.
The “Toddin line” from the 1st branch, which still exists today, descends from this “Lüttke Ulrich”, documented from 1471 to 1511. Karl von Pentz (1817-1897), grand ducal Mecklenburg colonel and wing adjutant from this line belongs to it. His marriage to Anna von Oertzen produced two sons and two daughters. His son Friedrich (* 1855), a knight of the Order of St. John, was killed in action before Ypres in 1914 as a Prussian lieutenant colonel (ret.) in Landwehr Regiment No. 78. His sons were Hans Henning (* 1890), a Prussian captain (ret.) and member of the supervisory board of Siemens-Planiawerke. Friedrich’s († 1914) other son was Dr. jur. Ulrich von Pentz (* 1893), Prussian captain (ret.), lord of the Naudin estate, which was expropriated from him in 1945, tenant of the estate and formerly director of the Bremen Chamber of Agriculture. His uncle was Kuno von Pentz (1857-1936), Prussian privy councillor and privy building councillor (ret.), who was married to Anna, daughter of Prussian major Adolf von Żychlinski.
From the 2nd branch of this line, descended from Chrisitan Gottfried v. Pentz (1672-1726), descendants settled in Denmark. Gottfried von Pentz was a Royal Danish General of Infantry, who received Danish nobility naturalization as a Major General on February 29, 1776. At the beginning of the 19th century, Detlev von Panitz (Pentz), Royal Danish Chamberlain, was a canon of Aalborg and bailiff of Aalborghuus. This 2nd branch became extinct in the male line with Detlev in 1821.
Already in 1898 a family association was founded, which was registered in 1905 at the district court of Güstrow and was re-established after the war and registered as e.V. at the district court of Bremen in 1968. Family days are held as needed, most recently in 2019 in Gremmelin / Mecklenburg, on the occasion of the first documentary mention of Walter v. Pentz in 1219 800 years ago.
Christian von Pentz s. a. Christian Graf v. Pentz of Neudorf, royal Danish bailiff and governor of Glückstadt, who came from the Redefin-Warlitz line, was raised to the rank of imperial count at Linz on June 2, 1636. On September 27, 1638, he received a confirmation of the imperial count status at Brandeis with an improvement of his coat of arms. Already with his death in 1651 the imperial count line became extinct.
From the Volzrade-Gremmelin line came Friedrich von Pentz (1843-1902), entail lord on Brandis with Posthausen, Berg vor Eilenburg and Friedrichshöhe, who received the royal Saxon baronage on October 23, 1901 in Dresden.
The vast majority of the family’s estates were in Mecklenburg. Over the centuries, a total of more than 170 estates of the Pentze are recorded in the state archives in Schwerin. Some remained in the ownership of the family for centuries, others only for a few decades. Some of the holdings can also be found in Saxony and Denmark. The following is an excerpt of the most important estates:
The coat of arms shows in silver a standing, red muzzled, red lion looking at the spectator, which is covered with fourteen golden nuggets. On the crowned helmet with red-silver ceilings four red bars interlaced at right angles, each studded with a natural peacock mirror.
Some impressions of coat of arms show the lion not standing or striding, but erect to the right as in Siebmacher’s coat of arms book of 1605, in which the family is called “Pentzen” and appears with the Rhinelanders. (Please note that directions are always described from the coat of arms angle of view not the viewers perspective). The blazoning says: “a white shield, in it a red lion with a yellow crown, the balls in the lion white. On the helmet a yellow crown, the peacock feathers of their color, the helmet covers red and white.” In the 1701 edition they are listed under the Holstein section. There in the shield a crowned lion raised to the right side, which also grows out of the crowned helmet. In Spener Opus heraldicum (1680-1690) the family is called Penzen, the lion is ready to fight, turned to the right side and covered with silver pennies. J.A. Rudolphi writes in his Heraldica Curiosa (1698): “a crowned, left-progressing red lion with red tongue out and divided tail / sprinkled with silver plates / in silver shield / Pentzen on the Rhine.”
In Volume III (1791) by Christian Friedrich August von Meding, a seal of 1332 is mentioned showing an eagle or griffin claw reaching to the right, the coat of arms of the branch that emigrated to Pomerania and was last mentioned in 1489. However, a seal of Ulrici de Penz in Mecklenburg from 1357 shows a crowned, walking, or leopardized lion. Further it says: “exactly this lion, not yet walking, makes up the coat of arms of this old family, so that in the silver field a red lion is to be seen in its usual, erect position. The lion is crowned with gold and the body is covered with fourteen golden pennies, or as others would have it, spots.” He further states that on a lacquer impression on the crowned helmet there were four round shafts resembling torches, two of which stood erect, but the other two were pinned across the first, each set with a peacock feather at the top, the upper ones across on the right, the lower ones on the left.
According to Kneschke’s “Die Wappen der deutschen freiherrlichen und adeligen Familien. (1856)”, the coat of arms shows in silver a crowned red lion striding to the right with a red tongue out and a tail thrown up, topped with 14 golden balls or pennies. On the shield a crowned helmet, which carries two silver lance shafts erected side by side, set at the tip with a peacock feather, through which two further lance shafts are inserted crosswise in such a way that the tip of the lower one is covered by the right shaft, that of the upper one by the left shaft. The helmet covers are red-silver.