Original Family Crest


The following saying dates from 1759 and was found in the  Winterbach-house  in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany:



  Original text:
Gut Wein hat einst und gastlich Dach
Das erbar Haus der Winterbach
Gott walt, dass meine Gasterey
Stets erbar, frumb und freundlich sey
Rough translation:
Good wine is found under the roof
of the house of Winterbach.
May God give that my hospitality
will always be impeccable and friendly.


Meaning of the symbols on the original family crest


Family tree




Hierdie bladsy in Afrikaans

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Justice and military honour
Swiftness and protection
A person with qualities of leadership
Royal or seigniorial authority
Strength, protection, invulnerability
Represents the defender
One who has been honoured by the sovereign;
hope of greater glory
Represents the river Tauber which flows past „Rothenburg ob der Tauber”
This city is probably the origin of the Winterbach clan
The blue (azure) background depicts truth and loyalty
 Information found at:



The Winterbach clan probably originates from Rothenburg ob der Tauber , which lies on the “Romantic Road” in Germany. The original dwelling is now a well-known hotel, the  Eisenhut, which still has the Winterbach crest above the main entrance. Some paintings of prominent Winterbachs of those times can be seen in some of the rooms (see the Pictures page).


The von Winterbach family was part of the upper class (at least in those days!) and had a prominent place in the society. The “von” before the surname disappeared in 1552 after the town Rothenburg ob der Tauber had to surrender to the emperor (read the history of the town below).


Here follows a short history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

Circa 970 AD:
The East-Frankish noble “Reinger” establishes a church in the present city quarter of Detwang. He also builds the castles Comburg at Schwäbisch Hall and Grafenburg on the mountain extrusion over the river Tauber.
The family of Count von Rothenburg becomes extinct. Count Heinrich bequeaths all his possessions, including the settlement Rothenburg, to the Comburg monastery. This donation is not confirmed by emperor Heinrich V.
Konrad III becomes Emperor of the Germans and makes Rothenburg his court.
Rothenburg gets city status. The first city wall is built, of which the “White Tower”, the “Markus Tower” and the “Röderbogen” can still be seen today.
Foundation of the gothic city hall started.
Emperor Rudolph I awards the town its charter of Free Imperial City on May 15. This privilege initiated a great prosperity for Rothenburg. Later the town developed into a trading centre.
Building of the St. Jacobs Church commences (inaugurated in 1884).
Rothenburg acquires independence from the empire and the “Blood Court”.
An earthquake destroys both castles (Comburg and Grafenburg). The double bridge is built across the Tauber.
Circa 1400
The city has a glorious time under mayor Heinrich Toppler, who is also Field Marshall of Ulm, Nördlingen and Dinkelsbühl. He renovates the Blasius chapel, rebuilds the public baths and builds himself a small summer palace.
Toppler is arrested together with his eldest son and cousin due to suspicion of conspiracy against king Ruprecht and thrown into the dungeons under the city hall. Toppler died there three months later, but his family members were pardoned.
The eastern wing of the Gothic City Hall burns down.
Mayor Johann Hornburg and Honourable Christian Philipp von Winterbach start working towards a Protestant reformation.
Count Albrecht von Brandenburg-Kulmbach forces the city to be part of the Schmalkaldic Conspiracy against the emperor. The count is defeated and Rothenburg is forced to surrender and pay an enormous amount of “war damages”. It also caused the nobility to lose the “von” before their surnames, including the von Winterbachs.
The main church becomes Protestant.
Around this time the population was strictly divided in classes, which even had their individual dress regulations.
Members of the “governing first class” were the mayor, the nobility, noble patricians, the 16 senators (of which one was senator  Johann Ludwig Winterbach ), the notary, the city physician, the superintendent and the high school principal. They had to be addressed as “Illustrious Gentlemen”.
Members of the second class were all academics, the clergy, the 48 senators of the external council, the officials of the administration, patricians and merchants.
Members of the third class were the commoners, lieutenants, procurators, clerks, scribes of the city administration, goldsmiths, copperplate-engravers, painters, watchmakers, bellfounders, bookbinders and stonemasons.
The city aligned with the Protestant Union.
The Protestant Union holds a meeting in the city. Beginning of the 30 Year's War between the Catholic Confederation and the Protestant Union. The city contributes to the costs and has to provide winter shelter to the troops moving through. Plundering hordes cause severe damage in the small towns and villages.
At the time the Free City was on the side of the Protestant Union. Late in October 1631 the imperial General Count Tscherklas Tilly besieged the city with an army of 60,000 war-proven men. After 3 days of hard fighting the city fell into Tilly's hands and the soldiers of fortune went plundering and marauding through the streets and alleys of Rothenburg.
In the imperial room of the city hall, Tilly and his generals held trial over the city and its council. The councilmen (one of which was a Winterbach) were sentenced to death and the city was to be pillaged.
In their anguish the councilmen offered the angry General a splendid tankard, holding 3.25 litres of wine. The General became lenient and gave the councilmen a last chance:
If one of you is capable of emptying this tankard with one draught, then I shall have mercy on you!
This feat was accomplished by ex-mayor Nusch and thus he saved the lives of the councilmen and prevented the destruction of the city. This act later became known as “Der Meistertrunk”
When peace was signed the city had to pay an extra 50,000 guilders, which they had to borrow.
Johan Carel Winterbach [ind00001] arrives in South Africa on 13 Feb 1757 aboard the ship Overschie. He was born in Cleve, Germany on 11 March, 1734.
Rothenburg loses its independance and is incorporated into the province of Bavaria.
The historic play “Der Meistertrunk”, which depics the story of Nusch's saving of the town in 1631, is performed for the first time.
During the Second World War, Allied bombs partially damage the city. An American general prohibits the total destruction of Rothenburg. During the next few years the city is restored to its original style with financial help from the German goverment and other countries.