Birkenfeld
Community ID
 
2384
 
Town
 
Neustadt on the Aisch
 
Diocese
 
Würzburg
 
Medieval Location
 
The convent was located on the right bank of the Aisch river.
 
Modern Location
 
Neustadt on the Aisch; in the governmental district of Mittelfranken; in the administrative district of Neustadt/Aisch-Bad Windsheim.
 
Dedication
 
Blessed Virgin Mary
 
Date Founded
 
1275-1278 (circa)
 
Date Terminated
 
1544
 
Religious Order
 
Cistercian
 
Rule
 
Benedictine
 
Foundation Information
 

This noble Cistercian convent was founded by Friedrich III of Zollern, Duke of Nürnberg, and his wife, Helena, Duchess of Saxony. The actual date of foundation is unknown, as are the financial provisions and the convent's incorporation into the Cistercian order, due to the loss of convent archives during the Peasants' War. The abbot of Langheim was responsible for the spiritual welfare of the nuns, while the family of the founders retained the advocacy over the convent (Krausen, 33).

 
Visitations
 

In 1459 and 1464 the chapter father of Citeaux had to deal with nuns who had broken their vows of chastity.

 
Secular Political Affiliations
 

In 1388 the convent became involved in the dispute between Frriedrich V and the city of Nürnberg and Windsheim.

 
Social Characteristics
 

This was a noble foundation. In addition to the founding family, several members of the Seckendorff family took the veil at Birkenfeld.

 
Relative Wealth
 

The convent's wealth was doubtless increased by the dowries of women entering the community (Krausen, 33). In July 1379 Cardinal Pileus, the abbot of Ebrach granted permission for the absolution of nuns admitted through simony in several convents, among them Birkenfeld (Krausen, 33).

 
Assets/Property
 

The parishes of Gerhardshofen and Unterlaimbach as well as Frühmesser in Dachsbach were bound to provide feudal duties to the convent.

 
Art & Artifacts
 

The convent's insignia displayed a veiled Mary sitting on a chair, holding a croiser in her right hand (Krausen, 34).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

The convent church with its single nave and nuns' choir was probably built by the building school in Ebrach. It is a good example of the architecture for Cistercian convents in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (Krausen, 34).

 
State Of Medieval Structure
 

Only the church of the community remains.

 
Manuscript Sources
 

The archives for the community are found in the Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (Munich) and in the Staatsarchiv in Bamberg. Some documents may also be found in the Staatsarchiv in Nürnberg.

 
Secondary Sources
 

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

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

During the Peasants' War the Abbess Kunegund of Gottsfeld had to flee with her nuns and the convent fell victim to plundering. The last nun mentioned in the community is Barbara of Leonrod, who left the convent in 1550 after the convent had come into the possession of Margrave Alkibiades in 1545 (Krausen, 34).

 
Admin. Notes
 

more research necessary Hist. Staetten, 89.

 
Contributors
 
June Mecham
 
Date Started
 
1275
 
Date Finished
 
1544
 
Length
 
2100