Vreden
Community ID
 
1431
 
Town
 
Ahaus
 
Diocese
 
M√ľnster
 
Corporate Status
 
Abbey
 
Dedication
 
S. Felicitas
 
Date Founded
 
839 or earlier
 
Date Terminated
 
1810
 
Religious Order
 
unknown
 
Foundation Information
 

The earliest mention of this community is in the Xantener Annals, in a note about the translation of relics. In 839 the relics of S. Felicitas, Felicissimus and Agapitus were conveyed to this house. The word monasterium is not used; it is thus not clear whether the convent already existed or whether these relics were transferred to a church in this location (Lobbedey, 326). According to excavations, until the eleventh century only a church existed in Vreden, which functioned simultaneously as a chapter and parish church. The founder is also controversial. The tradition of Vreden recognizes Count Walbert as the founder. The first mention of this count, however, appears in a memorial book dating to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (Lobbedey, 326). A stone memorial dating circa 1100 also mentions the Count Walbert, with the words "sacred through your bones" (sacra per ossa tui). This may indicate that the count was indeed the founder of the convent. This Walbert has also been identified as the founder of the community of Wildeshausen, and as the son of Wigbert and a grandson of Widukind (Lobbedey, 326). Whether or not Walbert was the original founder, the community's establishment was associated with the noble family of Billung. This convent was an imperial abbey until 1085.

 
Notable Heads
 

From 994 until her death, Abbess Hathui from the community of Gernrode served as the head of this house. From 1014-1044 the daughter of King Otto II, Adelheid, was abbess of the community. In the eleventh century, the convent was therefore an imperial chapter (Lobbedey, 327).

 
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

The abbesses were confirmed by the archbishop of Cologne.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

The convent is later associated with the Billung family. In 1016 Count Wichman was buried in the convent after his murder (Lobbedey, 327).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

The chapter church of S. Felicitas is a Romanesque building, dating from the twelfth century with a vestibule crypt from the eleventh century. The church was rebuilt and explaned three times, and a completely new construction was erected in the Ottonian period (Lobbedey, 328). The earliest period of construction for the church dates to the eighth century. The church of S. Felicitas is considered a new construction of the eleventh century. The crypt, however, stems from an eirlier construction (Lobbedey, 329). In the tenth and eleventh century the churches of S. Felicitas and S. George, the parish church, stood next to each other (Lobbedey, 330). It is likely that under the foundations of the church of S. Felicitas lies an earlier church, which preceeded the cloister and later incorporated it, and which may have served as a lay parish church (Lobbedey, 330).

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Date Started
 
839
 
Date Finished
 
1810
 
Length
 
1627