Community ID
Alternate Names
Meschede an der Ruhr (Hauck)
Cologne; now Paderborn
Medieval Location
located on the upper Ruhr river
S. Mary, S. Walburgis
Date Founded
860 (circa)
Date Terminated
1310 -- community transferred to male canons; final dissolution October 1805.
Religious Order
Foundation Information

The first documentary mention of the community is in 913 in a document in which King Konrad I granted the community immunity and the right to a free election of its abbesses. At this time the community was a noble female foundation. The community was founded at the wish of Count Hermann; he is perhaps the founder or a member of the founder's family (Heineken, 33). According to Lobbedey a certain Emhildis is named as the community's foundress (Lobbedey, 330). According to Hoemberg, Emhildis was a member of the family of the previous Counts of Werl (Hoemberg, 110). In the tenth century Meschede is considered a familial foundation of these Counts (Lobbedey, 332). Since 1310 male canons inhabited the convent.


Among the possessions of the convent are gifts from Louis the Pious and the Count Ricdag, granted in 833.

Social Characteristics

Circa 913 the convent was for noble women.

Architecture & Archaeology

The foundations of an early Romanesque church have been excavated. The church had a basilica with three naves and a tower in the west as well as a crypt. In the west wall of the middle crypt there is a place for reliquaries. The crypt may have been erected at the time of the translation of the relics of S. Walburga. In 958 Walburga became the patron saint of Meschede, and the translation of her bones is not possible prior to 893. On the basis of this, the period of construction for the church is between 897 and 912 (Lobbedey, 332). Because the date of the church is much later than the foundation of the convent, it is possible that an earlier church was located at Meschede. The cloister joined the church on its south side. The west portion of the cloister with medieval components existed until its destruction in 1945. The convent also had a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene (Lobbedey, 334). On the north side the church was surrounded by graves.


The convent had relics of S. Walburga. In 958 Walburga became the patron saint of Meschede, and the convent received relics of the saint.

Published Primary Sources

Boehmer Regesta imperii I. Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern, ed. E. Muehlbacher. Vol. 1. Innsbruck, 1889, p. 2027.

Miscellaneous Information

A market, mint, and tolls are attested to Meschede for the year 958. As a settled community, Meschede may be older than the convent, just as were Freckenhorst and Vreden (Lobbedey, 334).

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

Very little is known about the early history of this convent.

Date Started
Date Finished