Castromediano de Lymburg family Archives - Lecce

The archive of Castromediano de Lymburg, covers a time span from the sixteenth to the twentieth century and came to us with many evident shortcomings. The documentation is not organized as an archive in its entirety, but it is dismembered because of hereditary divisions and of a flood that, in early seventies of 900, irreparably destroyed many documents kept in boxes on the lower floors of the ducal palace of Cavallino, residence of the family. The archive is also incomplete even for losses due to embezzlement by scholars who, probably, do not have dutifully returned the documentation given generously on loan for their study.

The intervention of reordering highlighted that the sedimentation of the cards occurred according to subjective methods and, therefore, changing over time bringing a significant, evident, heterogeneity and incoherence in the disposition of books. There were no notes, lists and inventories to identify the nature or relevance of the documents; the greatest difficulty was represented by numerous documents and letters without any chronological indication. Therefore, the collection was reorganized on the basis of a new structure, organized in series related to the legal nature of the documents. A great help was the genealogical reconstruction of the family, compared with the vicissitudes of the family members starting from the sixteenth century that constituted ultimately the archive. There have been identified two main holdings: the one of Castromediano de Lymburg Family(1505-1950) and that of  Sigismondo Castromediano (1840-1895), a leading figure of the family.

The archival material is enriched by volumes, many without a cover or missing part of it, newspapers, including clippings, business cards and photographs.

It is possible to single out a group of about 4,000 archival documents divided into: certificates of  ecclesiastical and lay legacies, authentic relics, concessions and patrimonial documents, notes, cadastral maps, correspondence, controversies. The analysis of documentation made it possible to trace a path of affirmation of the family which has, especially in feudal property, in the enjoyment of privileges, titles and jurisdictions, in the constitution of a real estate assets in the area, the steps of an always more  relevant social position throughout centuries, also found in the structure of the archive. Castromediano is one of the noble families settled in Terra d'Otranto in the fifteenth century, whose most well-known and illustrious member is Sigismondo patriot, scholar, Member of the National Parliament of Turin from 1861 to 1865. The history of this family spans centuries and sees them as dukes of Caballinus and marquises of Morciano, lords and owners of several feuds including Cerceto, Ussano and others. The important bonds due primarily to marriage alliances with other ancient and noble families of the kingdom of Naples, extend their possessions and strengthen the social and economic position. The de Castromedianos play a key role in the history of Cavallino, in particular, that owes to this family its survival, transformation, and its progress in the feudal and agricultural structure. The aspect of what was a small hamlet turns into an urban cluster with structures functional to economy, with the construction of architectural complexes that improve people's lives thanks to the members of this family, careful makers of a positive policy, especially in the social sphere. The history of this family is to be read, of course, in the context of a well rooted noble ideology similar to that of other families of the feudal nobility. In the history of the family it is leading the already mentioned the figure of Sigismondo (January 12, 1811 - August 26 1895), whose papers and especially the letters, starting from the years of the Bourbon prison, together with the ones dating back to the period of his parliamentary commitment, after the unification of Italy and to his task of Director of the Archaeological Museum of Terra d'Otranto, represent a quantitatively significant bulk of the archive.


The more relevant collection of the archive is the one of Sigismondo Castromediano. The the "White Duke"’s documents, identified and distinguished according to their typology relate to: correspondence, papers relating to the period of his political and parliamentary election in the Italian Parliament, documents dating back to the period when he was Inspector to the excavations and monuments and member of the Commission of Terra d'Otranto, notes, manuscripts, documents concerning his  history as patriot, scholar of archaeology, founder of the provincial Museum, researcher of objects, artifacts, paintings, books that will be later the initial core of the heritage of the Provincial Library and, last but not least, the letters, some of which already published, written during his imprisonment.



- The Sigismondo Castromediano letters (1848 - 98)