Mespelbrunn Castle is a medieval moated castle on the territory of the town of Mespelbrunn, between Frankfurt and Würzburg, built in a remote tributary valley of the Elsava valley, within the Spessart forest. One of the most visited water castles in Germany, it is frequently featured in tourist books.
The first precursor of Mespelbrunn Castle was a simple house. The owner was Hamann Echter, vizedom of Aschaffenburg, a title which means that he was the representative of the ruler the prince elector archbishop of Mainz Johann II of Nassau at the castle and town of Aschaffenburg. On May 1, 1412, Johann gave the site, a forest clearing next to a lake, to Echter, a knight, who constructed a house without fortifications. It was a reward for Echter's services against the Czechs. The Echter family originates from the Odenwald region. Their name presumably means "der die Acht vollstreckt", the executor of the ostracism. In the 15th century the Spessart was a wild and unexploited virgin forest, used for hideout by bandits and Hussites, who despoiled the regions nearby. Therefore in 1427 Hamann Echter, the son of the first owner, began to rebuild his father's house to a fortified castle with walls, towers, and a moat using the nearby lake.