Community ID
Alternate Names
Rode, Walesrode,
Medieval Location
In the district of Fallingbostel
S. John the Baptist
Date Founded
980 (circa)
Date Terminated
still extant
Religious Order
Benedictine (by 1255)
Benedictine (by 1255)
Foundation Information

The foundation of this community is uncertain, as no extant foundation charter exists. According to the fifteenth-century chronicle of the bishopsby Hermann von Lubeck, the convent was founded under Bishop Lambert (958-969). The first documentary mention of the community is in a document dated May 7, 986 in which states that at the request of his aunt, Abbess Mechtild von Züdlinburg and of the count of Wale, King Otto III gave Walsrode, which Wale and his wife Odelint established, the village of Zitowe (Walsdorf) (Riggert). The foundation was originally for canonesses. As a result of the reform movement in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the community changed to a Benedictine convent and assumed the Benedictine Rule (Riggert). 1255 is the first mention of the community living under the Benedictine Rule.

Notable Heads

The count of Wale's daughter, Mechtild, was an abbess of the community.

Population Counts

There were reportedly twenty-four women (circa tenth century?).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

The convent underwent an internal reform in 1482 with the assistance of the nuns at the convent of Ebstorf.


The convent was connected to the Welf family.

Secular Political Affiliations

Duke Heinrich der Löwe (the lion) visited the parish church of Walsrode in 1176.

Social Characteristics

This was a noble community.

Relative Wealth

The financial situation of the convent appears sufficient until the end of the second half of the fifteenth century.


The economic basis of the community was land holdings and rents. It was supported by the neighboring nobles and bourgeoise of the cities of Lüneburg, Lübeck, Verden, and Neustadt am Rübenberge (Riggert).

Architecture & Archaeology

On May 29, 1482 lightening struck the convent and began a fire which destroyed a large portion of the medieval buildings and damaged the church. The nuns financed rebuilding through "fire-begging" (Brandbettel). In 1492 a new church was dedicated.

State Of Medieval Structure

In the eighteenth century the convent tore down and rebuilt its buildings. No medieval buildings exist. In the seventeenth century private homes were built within the convent buildings for the religious women; some continue to live partailly in these buildings (Riggert).

Manuscript Sources

The archives of the community are housed in the Lüneburger Klösterarchive.

Published Primary Sources

Lüneburger Urkundenbuch XV.

Miscellaneous Information

In 1482 the convent undertook an internal reform at the instigation of Duchess Anna von Nassau and with the help of the convent of Ebstorf. Circa 1522 the Lutheran reform was established under the influence of the Welfs. Duke Ernst of Brunswick tried to impose the Lutheran reform on the convent. In response, the nuns locked the convent door and took refuge in the choir of the chapel. Duke Ernst first pleaded with the nuns, then forcibly opened the gates and had a hole bashed in the choir for his Proestant preachers to speak through!(Wiesner-Hanks, 16). The community suffered under the Napoleonic era. On October 16, 1811, it was occupied by M. de Boeuf and in February of 1812 the convent was dissolved. By May, the women were forced to leave; a few renting rooms in the convent were allowed to stay. In July 1813 the French left the convent and on November 1, 1813 the nuns were again in possession of the convent (Riggert).

Admin. Notes

[3]GRUETTER, Die Stiftung des Klosters Walsrode
[4]JUERGENS, Ein Amtsbuch des Klosters Walsrode

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

This is the oldest of the convents in the principality of Lüneburg and the only female house in the western part of the principality. The community continues today.

Date Started