Schmerlenbach
Community ID
 
2330
 
Alternate Names
 
Im Hagen (1218); Indagine (1225); Smerlenbach (1240)
 
Town
 
Hösbach
 
Diocese
 
Mainz; today Würzburg
 
Medieval Location
 
Hagen
 
Modern Location
 
Hösbach; governmental district of Unterfranken; in the administrative district of Aschaffenburg.
 
Corporate Status
 
Abbey
 
Dedication
 
Blessed Virgin Mary; later S. Agatha
 
Date Founded
 
1218
 
Date Terminated
 
1803-7
 
Religious Order
 
Benedictine; Cistercian (see foundation field)
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

The community was founded by Gottfried von Kugelnberg, provost of Mackstadt and archdeacon of Würzburg. He founded the convent in 1218 in atonement for breaking his vow of chastity (!). The female house was founded in Hagen in the valley of Schmerlenbach. Gottfried's father-confessor, the canon Solomon, who also acted as provost for S. Afra,provided the necessary support for the foundation (Link, 654). A chapel was completed in 1219. The first nuns were Bernardines (?); later Benedictines. Archbishop Siegfried II of Mainz confirmed the foundation and permitted the nuns to live "sub habitu et professione ordinis Cisterciensis" in 1221 (Krausen, 86). In 1240 the convent moved to Schmerlenbach; that the convent was required to switch orders is not indicated by the sources (Krausen, 86). According to Krausen, the nuns of Schmerlenach were Benedictines who followed the stricter institutions of the Cistercian order without being formally incorporated(Krausen, 86). Spiritual supervision of the convent was assumed not by a Cistercian abbot, but by a Benedictine abbot, the abbot of Neustadt. In 1273 the abbot of Neustadt was recognized as the spiritual "inspector" of the convent. The convent had a provost who ranked above the abbess and convent. In 1221 the provost was also granted priestly duties. In 1249 Archbishop Christian II freed the convent from the burden of a secular protectorate and permitted its dependents the same rights and privileges as the towns-folk in Aschaffenburg. In 502 the convent was recognized as a Cistercian house in a confraternity.

 
First Members
 

The first nuns came from Wechterswinkel, as indicated by a document from 1240.

 
Notable Heads
 

Notable abbesses were: Gertrud, 1257; Jutta, 1298; Bertha, Berthradis, 1307; Methildis, Mechthildis, 1314; Elisabeth, countess of Wertheim, 1477; Maria Schenk of Erbach, 1525; Margaretha Fock of Wallstadt, 1541; and Franziska of Münchhausen, 1693.

 
Population Counts
 

In 1313 the archbishop decreed that no more than 32 nuns could reside in the community.

 
Patrons/Benefactors
 

The founding family of Kugelnberg. The knight Konrad of Kugelenberg, brother of the founder, and his wife, Friederunis, acted as patrons of the convent. Another knight Konrad of Kugelnberg, unrelated to the family according to Link, and his wife, Irmentrud, bestowed almost all his property on the convent, including 10 acres of vinyard in Randersacker (Link, 654). The archbishop of Mainz also acted as a patron of the community.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

In 1309 King Heinrich freed the convent from all duties and burdens and placed it under imperial protection (Link, 654).

 
Social Characteristics
 

The community was composed of women from the nobility.

 
Relative Wealth
 

The convent's wealth grew from numerous gifts of property from the founding family and the surrounding nobility.

 
Assets/Property
 

The convent possessed 10 acres of vinyard in Randersacker. In 1226 Archbishop Siegfried gave the nuns 12 acres of pasture in the Mark and 2 acres of vinyards in Bischberg.

 
Income
 

The convent held rights of patronage in Hösbach and Schwalbach, which it obtained shortly after its foundation from the lords of Kugelnberg.

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

A chapel for the community was completed in 1219.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

The convents archives are located in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (Munich) and in the Staatsarchiv in Würzburg. According to Link (1873), there are/were 110 documents from 1218-1329 concerning the convent.

 
Secondary Sources
 

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

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

The convent remained an abbey until 1803.

 
Admin. Notes
 

more research necessary Hist. Staetten, 632.

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Date Started
 
1218
 
Date Finished
 
1803
 
Length
 
3114