Community ID
Alternate Names
sanctimoniales in Cella Dei (1280); Kirchberg; Kilchberg; bei Sulz
Niedersachsen (lower Saxony), district Hoexter
Medieval Location
near Sulz on the Neckar river
Modern Location
The remains are outside of Schwaebisch-Gmünd, Württemberg.
Date Founded
1240 (circa); possibly 1227
Date Terminated
1564 (female); 1808 final dissolution
Religious Order
Rule of S. Augustine
Foundation Information

In 1240, two widows made the monastery foundation possible with the dowry of one of them. The community was incorporated into the Dominican Order in 1246 by Innocent IV.

Notable Members/Residents/Guests

Margaretha von Rosenstein is documented as a nun in 1330.

Population Counts

Circa 1450 there were reportedly seven inhabitants in the convent. After the twenty-three nuns from the convent of Pforzheim joined the community, bringing with them a stricter observance, these seven original members left the convent rather than accept their reforms and enclosure.

Social Characteristics

By the fourteenth century, the majority of inhabitants were affluent non-nobles. This was a reversal from previous centuries, when only daughters of noble families had been accepted. In 1354 a commoner was first named prioress.

Literary Works

The community has a Sister-book, composed not before 1320/30.

State Of Medieval Structure

The remains of the monastery still show the old cloister.

Manuscript Sources

The Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz preserves a manuscript of the Life of S. Elisabeth (in German), written circa 1479 by Marg. Cappfin., #Germ. 4o358. This library also contains a manuscript of Tauler's Sermons, written in the fifteenth century and owned by Ursula Waltehrin, #Germ. 4o599; and a manuscript of Seuse's Horol. sap. (in German), written in 1490 and owned by Appolonia Millerin, #Germ. 8o379. Two copies of the convent's sisterbook are extant:[Mz] cod. 43, fol. 28v.-59r is held in the Bichöfliches Priesterseminar in Mainz, and [W] cod. scot. 308 (234), fol. 18v-44v is preserved in the Vienna Schottenstift. A manuscript of Griseldis, written in 1468 by Petrus Hamer and possessed by this house, is held in Donaueschingen #150. The Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe contains three manuscripts from the convents of Pforzheim and Kirchheim that may originally have belonged to this house: #St. Blasien 75, 76, and 97, respectively. The chapter liberary of St. Paul in Lavanttal contains two manuscripts from Kirchheim are ascribed to this house: #62/1 and 71/7. The Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart contains a work from Pforzheim that once belonged to this house, #Brev. 46. A fragmentary manuscript held in the University Library in Tübingen, #Md 671, may have belonged to this house. A manuscript of the Benedictine rule in German held in the chapter library in Vorau, #155, may also have belonged to this house (?).

Published Primary Sources

"Aufzeichnungen über das mystische Leben der Nonnen von Kirchberg bei Sulz Predigerordens waehrend des XIV. und XV. Jahrhunderts." Ed. F. W. E. Roth. Alemannia 21: 123-148.

Miscellaneous Information

After a decline in the fifteenth century, the community was reformed with the aid of nuns from the S. Katharinenkloster in 1478. The community was badly damaged during the Thirty Years War. In 1564, nuns from the community of Pforzheim joined the community and established strict enclosure, even though this house had previously been an open convent. According to the account left by Sister Eva Neyler of Pforzheim, at this time only seven women inhabited the convent, all of whom left rather than accept the new restrictions imposed on them by the nuns of Pforzheim. The convent was forcefully expropriated by the state in 1808 and its buildings were turned into a penal institution.

Manuscripts Produced

The community has a Sister-book. (See manuscript sources)

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

The history of this convent's library holdings indicate a close tie with Kirchheim.

Date Started
Date Finished