Community ID
Medieval Location
In the area of the upper Ems river.
S. Mary, S. Peter, S. Boniface
Date Founded
851 (circa)
Date Terminated
Religious Order
Augustinian, by 1240 certainly
Augustinian (needs verification)
Foundation Information

The community was founded by S. Thiadildis and/or Everward with the involvement of Bishop Liutbert of Münster. The information about the foundation of this community comes from the Vita Thiathildis, written perhaps in the fourteenth or fifteenth century (Heineken, 33). According to Lobbedey, however, the convent was founded by the noble Everword and his wife, Geva, and the first abbess was their neice, Thiatildis (Lobbedey, 321). It is clear that the convent already existed in the ninth century, because the Xanten Annals report in the year 861 that Bishop Liutbert conferred relics on the community (Heineken, 34). Among the relics were those of the martyr Bonifatius (Lobbedey, 321). According to the convent's legend, Everword divided his property into three portions, two of which composed the foundation of Freckenhorst. The third was supposedly given to the convent of Fulda, which Everword himself entered (Lobbedey, 321). Nothing is known about the founders apart from their nobility. The community originally existed as a noble house of canonesses until 1240. From 1240-1495 the community adhered to the Augustinian order.

Notable Heads

Thiatildis was the first abbess. According to Lobbedey, a special devotion to her was already present by the eleventh century (321).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

According to the convent's legend, the community had ties with Fulda. Everword supposedly divided his property in thirds, two of which comprised the foundation of Freckenhorst. The third was given to Fulda, which he himself entered as a monk (Lobbedey, 321).


The register of dues and taxes for the community documents an important, concentrated group of possessions in the eastern part of the bishopric of Münster in the eleventh century (Lobbedey, 323).

Early Documents

Few early documents of this community survive, due to a fire in the convent in 1116.

Architecture & Archaeology

The chapter's church, consecrated in 1129, is Romanesque. South of the church are the remains of a late Roman cloister. West of the church is the Peter-chapel, a simple hall construction (Lobbedey, 323). The oldest excavated cloister likely consisted of a two-level cellarium. The chapel dedicated to Vitus resided in the north wing of the cloister. North of the cloister lies the 'Friedhof,' which contains some graves (Lobbedey, 323). The earliest graves date to the tenth century. Most of the graves were found on the East side of the courtyard; the worship of S. Thiatildis, whose grave was in the south trancept of the church until 1669, probably accounts for this grouping (Lobbedey, 325). According to archaeological dating, the Peter-chapel, traditionally held to have existed prior to the convent, has now been found to be later than the cloister. The date for the construction of the Friedhof is problematic. It existed either prior to the convent or perhaps was built during the first monastic period.


The community reputedly held the relics of S. Bonifatius. In a chapel in the cloister the relics of S. Vitus were worshiped at a secondary altar as early as 819 (Lobbedey, 321).

Manuscript Sources

The archives for the community are located in the Staatarchiv in Münster. Information about the foundation of the community comes from the Vita Thiathildis. Several works from the convent's library are still extant. They are held primarily in the Pfarr-und Dechaneibibliothek of Freckenhorst (presently located in Muchich's Bistumsarchiv, Depositum). They include an Evangeliar. (12th c.) written by Emma, sine numero; an Antiphonal (15th c.), sine numero; a Gradual (15th c.), sine numero; another Gradual (1530) written by Joh. Holtmann and owned by Oitberga de Langen, sine numero; the Vitae ss. Thialdis et Bonifatii (in Latin and low German), 15th c., sine numero; a Liber precum in Latin and low German, c. 1500, sine numero; and five poems of Courtly love (Minnedichtungen) in low German, written circa 1508, sine numero. The archiv also has a calendar from the community (15th c.), #A 1, Nr. 9a. The Staatsarchiv in Munich also preserves an Evangeliar. (12th c.), #Msc. 7 Nr. 1315 and the Freckenhorst Heberolle in low German, (15th c.), sine numero.

Secondary Sources

Monasticon Westfaliae.Die Anfänge der sächsischen Frauenklöster
Kirchengeschichte DeutschlandsZur archaeologischen Erforschung westfalischer Frauenkloster des 9. Jahrhunderts.
Handschriftenerbe des Deutschen Mittelalters, vol. 1, p. 250.
DIEKAMP. "Die Guendungslegende und angebliche Stifturkunde des Klosters Freckenhorst" in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, Vol 24 (1884), p. 629-54.
SCHWEITERS. Das Kloster Freckenhorst und seine Aebtissennen. Warendorf: 1903.
FINK. "Standesverhaeltnisse in Frauenkloestern und Stiftern der Dioezese Münster," Zeitschrift 65, p. 170.
KOHL, Wilhelm. Das (freiweltliche) Damenstift Freckenhorst (Berlin, 1975) Germania Sacra, NF 10.

Miscellaneous Information

The community was located within the archbishopric of Cologne. From 1495 (after the Reformation) until 1810/11 the community continued to exist as a noble women's chapter.

Manuscripts Produced

The extant works from the convent's library include an Antiphonal, two Graduals, a Liber precum, a Calendar, the lives of S. Thialdiis and Boniface, and 5 poems of courtly love. (see manuscript sources)

June Mecham
Contributors Notes


Date Started
Date Finished