One of the castle’s main features that can be seen from the village and from within the central courtyard is the bell tower. But why would this country estate, that concerned itself with farming and making wine, have a bell tower? I’m glad you asked!
Zeilitzheim is a village in Northern Bavaria that became Lutheran during the reformation and - contrary to most other villages in the region - remained so despite the quite effective counter-reformation under Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, then Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. The main church of the village was therefore - and still is - Lutheran. Graf (Count) Wolf von Wolfsthal, who built the castle in 1679-83 and the von Schönborn family, who inherited it in 1717 were Catholic however. To house the Catholic community the Schönborn family made room for a chapel, later a full-fledged Catholic church, in the castle. At first there was a simple bell tower on the roof above the chapel that was replaced by the more ornate one still on the roof above today’s Jagdsaal (hunting hall) around 1898.
The church moved out in 1980 when the newly-erected church (a rather modern building with an interesting bell tower that is detached from the main building) was consecrated in a housing area on the (then) outskirts of the village. The church community had not gotten on very well with the castle’s then-owner, a Herr Steiner (according to a pamphlet of the church, St. Trinitatis) which had prompted the building of the new church. There were still Catholic church services in the castle after my parents had acquired it in 1979.
The bells went with the church, which is why the pretty castle bell tower is now silent. If you look closely you can still see the holes in the ceiling through which the ropes to ring the bells once hung.