He derived his surname from the fact that his ancestors were burgraves or chatelains of the town; his parents, who belonged to illustrious Flemish families, were probably the Jean Chastellain and his wife Marie de Masmines mentioned in the town records in 1425 and 1432.
Kulmbach and Plassenburg belonged to the dukes of Meran, and then to the counts of Orlamunde, from whom they passed in the 14th century to the Hohenzollerns, burgraves of Nuremberg, and thus to the margraves of Bayreuth.
The position was simplified when, in 1220, Albert van Cuyck, the last of the hereditary burgraves, sold his rights to the bishop. These ecclesiastical princes were churchmen in little but name, and their desire to be absolute rulers found itself confronted by the determination of the burghers to secure greater independence.
Its early name was Leithen, and it was governed until 1420 by burgraves, the representatives of the courts of Holland.
Melingue's wife, Theodorine Thiesset (1813-1886), was the actress selected by Victor Hugo to create the part of Guanhumara in Burgraves at the Comedie Frangaise, where she remained ten years.
It became a town in 1398 and passed into the hands of the Hohenzollerns, burgraves of Nuremberg, in 1416.
It was for a time a Vogtei (advocateship) under the burgraves of Nuremberg, but about 1314 it was bequeathed to the see of Bamberg, and in 1806 it came into the possession of Bavaria.
Instead of communicating directly with the margrave through his burgraves and bailiffs, or vogts, the village communities came to be represented by the nobles who had obtained possession of their lands.
Les Burgraves, a tragic poem of transcendent beauty in execution and imaginative audacity in conception, found so little favour on the stage that the author refused to submit his subsequent plays to the verdict of a public audience.