Community ID
Alternate Names
Fons virginis Sanctae mariae (1232); Fons virginus (1245); Meidebrunnen (1255); Frauenprunn (15th c.); Maidbrunn
Medieval Location
initially in Bergerbrunn; then Etzelnhausen.
Modern Location
Rimpar; in the governmental district of Unterfranken; in the administrative district of Würzburg .
Corporate Status
S. Afra, S. Kilian (see contributor's notes)
Date Founded
Date Terminated
1408 (circa), female; 1525/1545
Religious Order
Foundation Information

This female Cistercian convent was founded by Hermann von Lobdeburg, bishop of Würzburg. The convent was founded initially in the village of Bergerbrunn (today: Rotkreuz) and in 1235 it moved to Etzelnhausen, which then changed its name to Maidbronn due to the convent. According to Link, the convent moved because the abbess found its previous location "arid, barbaric, and deprived of wood" (Link, 589). The convent remained relatively independent of the bishop's control. The abbess had to perform obedience to the bishop and could only elect a provost for the convent with his consent; in return, the bishop recognized the convent's freedom from advocacy and tithes. The spiritual supervision over the nuns was granted to the abbot of Ebrach, later those from Langheim (Krausen, 71). The convent never experienced formal incorporation into the Cistercian order.

Priveleges & Papal Exemptions

The convnet received letters of protection from the papacy following its confirmation by Pope Gregory IX in 1233, in 1245, 1331, 1356, and 1377.

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

The abbot of Langheim acted as spiritual advisor for the convent.


The bishop of Würzburg; count Poppo of Henneberg; the counts of Castell and Rieneck and the knights of Grumbach all served as patrons of the community.

Secular Political Affiliations

In 1397 King Wenzel and in 1401 King Rupprecht promised the particular patronage of the empire to the convent, but according to Krausen, these letters did not change the legal position of the convent (Krausen, 71).

Relative Wealth

The covent was never very wealthy. It repeatedly had to sell or alienate its properties and goods due to economic need.


In 1271 the convent received the church properties of Herlheim, which Bishop Berthold confirmed in 1286 due to the small income of the convent (Krausen, 71).

Architecture & Archaeology

The convent church was built in the late thirteenth century and had a single nave.

State Of Medieval Structure

According to Link, circa 1873 the convent church still stood and remains of a gothic trancept existed. The floor of the church was covered with grave memorials (Link, 589).

Manuscript Sources

The archives for the community are found in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (Munich) as well as in the Staatarchiv in Würzburg. Two documents are found in the Julius-hospital archive in Würzburg as well.

Published Primary Sources

Urkundenbuch Würzburg

Secondary Sources

Klosterbuch der Diocese Wurzburg.
Die Klöster des Zisterzienserordens in Bayern
HUEMER, B. Verzeichnis der deutschen Cisterzienserinnenkloester. (StMBO 37, 1916).

Miscellaneous Information

In 1408 the Abbess Elisabeth found no other means out of the convent's financial difficulties than to transfer it into the possession of the abbot of Langheim and transform the community into a priory of monks (Krausen, 71). In 1513, however, four nuns continued to dwell in the community (Krausen, 72). The Peasant Uprising and Religious Wars resulted in the destruction of the convent.

Admin. Notes

more research necessary [3]Hist. Staetten, 396.
5]Kunstdenkmaeler Bayerns 91.

June Mecham
Contributors Notes
Afra, martyr (304) - formerly a prostitute, converted to Christianity;
burned at the stake in Augsburg (although she had been converted by st
Narcissus, bishop of Gerona in Spain)during Diocletian's persecutions.
Kilian, saint (c.689) - an Irish missionary active in the diocese of Würzburg during the seventh century. Kilian became the patron saint of the diocese of Würzburg and his feast is celebrated on July 8. The convent's name may refer to the presence of water or a spring in the area--important since the community's initial move was caused by its arid location.

Date Started
Date Finished