Before the current early baroque chateau, a medieval castle was built here in the mid-13th century by Havel of the Markwartinger house. Havel of Lemberk lived at the court of kings Wenceslas I and his son Ottokar II. His wife, Zdislava of Lemberk, was born in Křižanov, Moravia; she became widely aware in 1995 when she was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II.
The oldest preserved part of the castle is the main tower. The accurate design and location of the castle hasn’t been ever found out, not even during the archaeological research in 1994. The lords of Lemberk owned the castle until the end of the 14th century.
In the 15th century, during the Hussite wars, the owners came and went; most of them were Lusatian and Saxon aristocrats. The castle gradually lost its early Gothic design and was rebuilt as a renaissance chateau. In 1550, the Lemberk domain was inherited by Henry Kurzbach of Trachenberg, and a period of peace and economic growth began. Henry brought new inhabitants to decayed villages, built and bought other hamlets, established new millhouses, sawmills, and a brewery.
Another renaissance reconstruction occurred in the beginning of the 17th century when the chateau and the domain already belonged to the Donín House. The second floor of the building was built, and the façade was fitted with a sgraffito. Around 1610, a wooden tile ceiling was made in the grand hall, decorated by paintings inspired by fables. Hence the name “Fable Hall”. After 1620 the domain was taken over by Albrecht of Wallenstein, and after his death in 1634 it became property of John Rudolph Breda. Between 1660 and 1680, the Breda house invited artists and architects from the Netherlands and Italy, and had the chateau rebuilt into the baroque design. In these years, the current design of Lemberk was created, with rich stucco decorations.
At the same time, the Breda Folly with a garden was built nearby, for the leisure time of the aristocracy. After the death of Christopher Rudolph Breda in 1680, all the construction ceased, and was never restored. In 1726, the Bredas sold the whole domain to the house of Gallas, then Clam-Gallas, and the chateau was used as a rural residence.
During the Seven Years War, the chateau was severely damaged. In 1758, the Fable Hall was used as a field infirmary for the soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hochkirk. Due to lack of drugs and faulty supply, over 1,000 men died here. They are buried in the forest near the chateau, and the place is marked by a wooden crucifix.
During the 19th century, minor building adjustments were made at Lemberk. The Clam-Gallases changed all the windows, doors and tiled stoves, and repaired the sculptural decorations in the Breda Garden. The vacant area near the garden was given to the village so a school could be built that worked until 1879.
After the last male descendant of the house, Franz Clam-Gallas, Lemberk was inherited by one of his daughters, Princess Gabrielle Auersperg. In 1945, the chateau was nationalized by the Decree No. 12 issued by President Edvard Beneš. The National Committee in Prague put Lemberk in a national control; the national caretaker was Jan Urban from Komárov near Hořovice.
In June 1951, the National Cultural Committee installed the exhibition “Housing Culture” in the chateau, in cooperation with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. The museum also took control over most of the original collection of the castle, pursuant to Act No. 137/1946 Coll. The exhibition presented the styles of housing culture and decoration from the late Gothic until the Belle Époque. The author of the project was the director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Emanuel Poche.
In July 1971, about 10m of the cornice above the western wing of the chateau collapsed. The brickwork fell onto a courtyard at the time when a group of visitors walked through the chateau. The chateau was temporarily closed and a static check of the building was made, revealing that most wooden roof frames and other wooden elements were infested by a dry rot fungus, and the statics of the buildings was damaged. A decision was made to close the chateau for public and perform a general reconstruction. However, for such a vast project the funds had to be allocated first by the District National Committee in Česká Lípa. The studies for the future use of buildings were made, and so was the project documentation. The reconstruction started in 1979. The buildings were statically safeguarded, and all infested roof frames were treated or replaced. Also replaced was the roofing. New electrical and water installation was also necessary. In the end of the 1980s, restoration works started on the ceilings in the Fable Hall, kitchen, and other rooms.
The Lemberk Chateau reopened for public in July 1992.