Klingental
Community ID
 
2857
 
Town
 
Basel
 
Medieval Location
 
Basel
 
Modern Location
 
Basel
 
Religious Order
 
Dominican; Augustinian (after 1482)
 
Rule
 
Augustinian
 
Notable Heads
 

Prioresses: Clara zu Rhein

 
Population Counts
 

Circa 1480 there were 41 sisters, 39 of whom chose to leave the community rather than accept the Observant reform of the house. Nine eventually returned.

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

In order to try to avoid the Observant reform of their community, the women of this community placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constance in 1423. An attempt was made to reform this community by members of the Observant movement, specifically thirteen sisters from the convent of Engelporten, who arrived in 1480. The Visiting archbishop of Granea, Andrea Zamometić, called a church council against Pope Sixtus IV, who retaliated by reversing his support for Klingental's reform. (Zamometić was a distant connection of of the prior of the Basel male Dominican house, who had spearheaded the reform of Klingental, hence the Pope's reversal of his support was a way of exacting a personal revenge against Zamometić.) The pope ordered the sisters from Engelporten to return to their convent and gave Klingental back to the evicted sisters with all their rights and possessions. The Dominican men's house was forced to pay damages amounting to 11,000 Gulden.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

The weathy and powerful families of Basel, the family zu Rhein and the von Eptingens, were important benefactors of the convent. The family von Eptingen had contributed more than 8,000 Gulden to the cloister. The two rival clans split over their support of the convent's Observant reform circa 1480. Members of the clan zu Rhein opposed the reform, while the von Eptingens supported it.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

The town council and city confederacies of Bern, Obwalden, and Niderwalden supported the reform of this community, while the bishop of Basel and the confederacies of Z├╝rich, Lucern, and Schwyz opposed it. Eventually even the Archduke Sigismund of Austria opposed the reform. The city council of Basel supported the convent's reform, but was subdivided into factions in favor of moderate and more radical reform. The non-reforming faction was able to call on the support of powerful local aristocrats, who blocked the roads to Basel. Count Oswald von Thierstein, the regional administrator of Archduke Sigismund, imposed an embargo on Basel's grain trade and confiscated rents and produce from lands in the Alsace owned by Basel citizens. Under such economic pressure, the mayor and town council abandoned their support of the convent's reform.

 
Social Characteristics
 

This was Basel's most elite and wealthiest monastery.

 
Relative Wealth
 

The sisters against the convent's reform waged a campaign of financial warfare against the reform party. Having taken their personal fortunes with them, as well as the convent's seals, the sisters of the non-reforming faction continued to collect the convent's rents and draw out its funds. The reformers also had to pay pensions and settlements to those who had left, forcing them to morgage the cloister's assets to raise the necessary cash. Soon tenants refused to pay rents to either side. After two years, the convent stood on the brink of total financial ruin. When Pope Sixtus reversed his support of the reform in favor of the non-reforming faction, the Dominican men's house of Basel, which had spearheaded the reform, was forced to pay damages amounting to 11,000 Gulden.

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

When Dominican officials read out the reform bull in 1480, the unwilling sisters of this community drowned them out with shouting and threats. The recalcitant nuns were locked in their cells by the city's bailifs. Thirty-nine of the forty-one sisters left the cloister rather than reform. Nine eventually returned under threat of excommunication for leaving without permission. The evicted sisters waged a campaign of financial warfare against the reform party. Having taken their personal fortunes with them, as well as the convent's seals, the sisters of the non-reforming faction continued to collect the convent's rents and draw out its funds. The reformers also had to pay pensions and settlements to those who had left, forcing them to morgage the cloister's assets to raise the necessary cash. Soon tenants refused to pay rents to either side. The non-reforming faction ultimately gained the upper-hand in this struggle, due to their ability to secure the support of important local leaders for their cause as well as the fortuitous reversal in policy of Pope Sixtus. Ultimately, all the women associated with Klingental during this period subsequently dissociated themselves from the Dominican order, joining instead the Augustinian Order. The sisters who had favored the reform also left the convent, wandering from place to place, until they found a home at an Observant Augustinian house.