History of the town until 1600
Even a quick walk through the centre of the town suggests its antiquity. However, two large fires destroyed all the archival records and denied us the possibility of an insight into the ancient past of the city. Nevertheless, many leading historians say the town was founded in the first half of the 14th century.
According to a legend, the original settlement was situated on a nearby hill (called "Láně") located west of today's Klimkovice. When people left the area (probably after enemy invasion), they planted a linden tree over there. The tree grew for centuries until 1947, when a storm destroyed it. This tree lived through the ancient past of the town and the people of Klimkovice always treated it with the utmost respect.
Klimkovice was originally a settlement with a fortress, which probably got its name after its founder Clement, commonly called Klimek. The oldest history of Klimkovice is associated with the House of Kravař. The House also owned Fulnek and Bílovec estates in the second half of the 14th century. Beneš I Kravař, the likely founder of Klimkovice (1380 - 1398) was not only a royal chamberlain, but also a favourite of King Wenceslas IV. In 1383, Beneš gave Klimkovice status of a town and a Coat of Arms.
Allegedly, the founder gave a new name to the town - in honour of the king – Koenigsberg. However, the name did not catch on and was used only by Germans. Klimkovice received town rights, number of privileges and a square was established, so conditions were set for further development of the town.
Beneš II of Kravař was another ruler of Klimkovice (the fact that he ruled is supported by evidence). He supported King Sigismund and participated in the second Crusade to Kutná Hora. On 28 August 1416, at the castle in Fulnek, he issued a decree, which granted the town the right to escheat. According to which, when a farm's owner died, and there was no heir, the property fell to the entire city and it could have been reacquired only by a person who lived in Klimkovice. Beneš II established a Bailiwick and installed the first bailiff - Ješek of Klimkovice.
After Beneš II of Kravař died in 1423, Jan of Kravař (the only son of Vok Kravař of Jičín and Štramberk) became the owner of Fulnek and Bílovec domains (including Klimkovice). In 1424 he secondly married Princess Agnes of Opava. As a dowry, he gave her 23 threescores of Czech gros in Klimkovice and Lagnove. In addition, she also received another 3 threescores of Czech gros per year from the bailiff. When Beneš II died early in 1434, there was no heir. Agnes of Opava secondly married George Sternberg. This started a big dispute over the estates of Fulnek and Bílovec and Klimkovice. Dukes of Opava persistently demanded feudal rights against the Lords of Sternberg. The Dukes of Opava enforced their rights and the estates went under their authority. However before long, the estates of Fulnek and Bílovec were sold. The town of Klimkovice, detached from the Bílovec estate, was given to Knight Tas of Bítov by prince William of Opava in 1451. So Klimkovice became, for the first time ever, a seat of a separate estate. After Tas died in 1464, the estate was inherited by his son George of Bítov, who died in 1483, leaving only an underage daughter - Joan. Inheritance rights of the orphan had to be enforced against the new owner of the Principality of Opava -Victorin (son of King George of Poděbrady) by her uncle John, brother of George Bítov. However, the full restoration of her inheritance rights did not happen until 1496 (she was not underage anymore). In the same year, she also married Jan of Šťavno. She registered the entire estate, which consisted of Klimkovice with a fortress, bowery, bailiff, water gate in the village of Vřesina, and also villages of Hýlov, Svinov, Martinov and Polanka to his name. After the death of her husband in 1512, Joan of Bítov married again to Hynek of Vrbno and gave him the whole estate of Klimkovice.
However, the estate did not flourish under the new owner, because he spent most of his life in constant litigation with his neighbours and relatives. According to unsubstantiated reports he founded the Church of Holy Trinity (built in 1525-1529) on the former old cemetery for Klimkovice’s Catholics. In 1529 he became, for a short time, the Provincial governor of the Principality of Opava. The earliest mention of Klimkovice’s school also originates from this time.
After Hynek‘s death in 1543, Joan of Bítov became the owner of the estate again. She died in 1553 and all property was passed to the Lords of Vrbno. Out of these, the only holder of the domain worth mentioning is Hynek II of Vrbno (1560-1573). To support the royal policy, he personally took part in a campaign against the Turks in 1566, and as an ardent Catholic, he became a close friend with archbishop of Olomouc - William Prusinovský of Víckov, who was supporter of rigorous antireform Jesuit program. In 1572, all Hynek’s efforts got him the post of Provincial governor of the Principality of Opava.
Hynek II of Vrbno granted Klimkovice many privileges. Certificate issued on Sunday, 19th July 1564 at Klimkovice’s castle freed the citizens from all labours except for six days per year for the harrowing, mowing and grain harvesting. Because of the forgiven labours, the homeowners had to pay fixed fee of 1 gold per year if they had inn keeping rights or 1/2 gold per year if they were craftsmen. On December 24, 1564, he granted Klimkovice the right to brew beer at his brewery (called „buduněk“) that stood in the middle of the square. In 1566 the city was granted the Mile Law, according to which no craftsman was allowed to settle in one mile radius, except for those, who were needed in town. This greatly contributed to expansion of the crafts. The town protected by these privileges experienced considerable economic development. Handicrafts and commerce flourished. There were butchers shops, bakeries, tailor shops with fabrics, shops with wool, salt, pottery goods, etc. in the townIn 1572, when Hynek II of Vrbno became Provincial governor of the Principality of Opava, and he sold the whole estate to John Bravantský of Chobřan, who sold them a year later to Ondřej Bzenec of Markvartovice, lord of Poruba.
Ondřej Bzenec started the reconstruction of the castle (from 1578 to 1579), which was turned into a four-wing brick building built in Renaissance style. The castle used to have three floors and had towers in each of its corners (the current shape of the castle). At the same time he also ordered construction of the still existing parish church dedicated to Saint Catherine - the patron of his wife Catherine of Děhylov. He also founded his family tomb where he buried his brother Fabian, daughter Anna and two sons. He was trying to install a Catholic priest there, but his plan did not succeed, so the Protestant minister Jakob Turek continued in his function. In 1592, Ondřej Bzenec became the Provincial governor of the Principality of Opava. Eventually, this function turned out to be his demise. He commuted to Opava from his mansion in Klimkovice. On the way back to Klimkovice on April 5, 1595, he was treacherously ambushed and shot by Perchtold Tvorkovský of Raduň in the woods at Podvihov nearby Pustý Polom. Ondřej Bzenec died without any descendants, so after his death the whole estate was passed on to his nephew Christopher Bzenec of Makvartovice. During his reign, there was a large division of the domain. He and his third wife Constance Porembská of Principality of Auschwitz did not have any children, so he created a will (in 1599) in which he ordered to split Klimkovice‘s estate.
Christopher Bzenec died on March 30, 1600 at the Klimkovice Castle, and he is buried in his family tomb in the parish church. Thus the chivalrous House of Bzenec died out. Jan Vlček, Sr. moved to Klimkovice‘s Castle, but he was not able to hold the heritage for a long time, because the last will left by Christopher Bzenec was considered invalid and that started long succession disputes - caused by the closest relatives of Christopher Bzenec, claiming their inheritance rights as well. The dispute dragged on until 1612, when they surrendered their claims (after Jan Vlček, Sr. paid them off with 22,400 gold pieces). Thus the Klimkovice estate became the property of the House of Vlčkové, a House that managed to rule Klimkovice for a long 323 years - until the First Land Reform in 1920.