Imperial Abbey of Thorn
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
• Gained Reichsfreiheit
• Joined Council of Princes
|June 9, 1815|
|1790||1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi)|
Thorn Abbey or Imperial Abbey of Thorn was an imperial abbey of the Holy Roman Empire in what is now the Netherlands. The capital was Thorn. It was founded in the 10th century; independence ended in 1794, when it was occupied by French troops. The abbey was reichsunmittelbar and belonged to the Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
The territory covered about 1.5 square kilometers with 3400 inhabitants in 1790.
Details of the founding of the abbey are not clear. According to some sources, the abbey was founded by Countess Hilswind in 902 for herself and her daughter Beatrix. She donated the necessary land, which had been personal property, given to the Countess by King Zwentibold. Other sources claim a Benedictine double monastery was founded by Bishop Ansfried of Utrecht and his wife Hereswint in 925. A Romanesque abbey church was built in 992; some sources give this as the year the Abbey was founded.
Zwentibold, a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was the illegitimate son of Emperor Arnulf. In 895, his father, then king of East Francia, granted him the Kingdom of Lotharingia, which he ruled until his death. After his death he was declared a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church.
Saint Ansfried of Utrecht was Count of Huy and the sword-bearer for Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor. He became Bishop of Utrecht in 995. He appears to have been the son or grandson of Lambert, a nobleman of the Maasgau, the area where he later founded the Abbey of Thorn, and to have been related to various important contemporaries including the royal family.
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 11th century, this later date being the most commonly held. In the 12th century it developed into the Gothic style, marked by pointed arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture. The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.
The community of women came only from the high nobility. It is likely that Thorn had belonged to the Benedictine order originally. It probably changed, however, in the 12th century, to a free secular ladies' abbey. In 1310, the secular canons of the Abbey stressed their secular status and they claimed to never have been Benedictine.
In the 18th century, collegiate ladies were, in principle, required to reside in the Abbey all year, except for at most six weeks per year. However, for 600 florins, ladies could buy themselves free. In theory, free ladies were still required to provide six weeks of choral service; this was not always observed in practice. Some ladies held positions in several abbeys. This possibility of buying freedom appears to have been used frequently. Maria Josepha of Hatzfeld and Gleichen, for example, was a member of the abbeys at Thorn and Essen for 46 years. During this time, she resided in Essen Abbey for four years, but never in Thorn.
Essen is the central and second largest city of the Ruhr, the largest urban area in Germany. Its population of 583,393 makes it the ninth largest city of Germany, as well as the fourth largest city of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. On the Ruhr and Emscher rivers, Essen geographically is part of the Rhineland and the larger Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region. The Ruhrdeutsch regiolect spoken in the region has strong influences of both Low German (Westphalian) and Low Franconian.
Essen Abbey was a monastery of secular canonesses for women of high nobility in Essen, Germany. It was founded about 845 by the Saxon Altfrid, later Bishop of Hildesheim and saint, near a royal estate called Astnidhi, which later gave its name to the religious house and to the town. The first abbess was Altfrid's kinswoman, Gerswit.
The abbey district contained a curia building for the Deachoness and five house for the ladies. In the 14th Century, a new Gothic Abbey Church was built. Some of the ladies built houses outside the abbey district.
The imperial immediacy of the abbey was confirmed in 1292 by King Adolf of Nassau. Under Emperor Maximilian I, the abbey was under the special imperial protection. In the imperial matriculation register at Worms, the Abbey was recorded as a reichsunmittelbar area. The matriculation duties, however, were transferred to the Counts of Lippe.
Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, and individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.
Maximilian I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. He was never crowned by the Pope, as the journey to Rome was always too risky. He was instead proclaimed Emperor elect by Pope Julius II at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the imperial title. Maximilian was the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal. He ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter's reign, from c. 1483 to his father's death in 1493.
Lippe was a historical state in Germany, ruled by the House of Lippe. It was located between the Weser River and the southeast part of the Teutoburg forest.
The abbey was a member the Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle and the Rhenish College of Imperial Prelates.
In the 17th century the governorship of the Spanish Netherlands sought to restrict the imperial immediacy. The abesses resisted these attempts successfully. In the 18th century, the abbess held the title of Princess. Several abbesses were simultaneously head of Essen Abbey.
The territory was conquered by French troops in 1794 and formally annexed by France in 1795. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna awarded the territory to the Kingdom of the United Netherlands.
In Christianity, an abbess is the female superior of a community of nuns, which is often an abbey.
Thorn is a town in the municipality of Maasgouw, in the Dutch province of Limburg. It lies on the rivers Meuse and Witbeek. It is known as 'the white village' for its white-washed brick houses in the centre of town.
Stolberg may refer to:
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Countess Palatine Francisca Christina of Sulzbach was the Princess-abbess of Essen Abbey and Thorn Abbey. She led Essen Abbey from 1726 to 1776, the longest of any Essen abbess. Her tenure was marked by disputes between the Abbey and the city, which were caused by her counselors.
Imperial Count was a title in the Holy Roman Empire. In the medieval era, it was used exclusively to designate the holder of an imperial county, that is, a fief held directly (immediately) from the emperor, rather than from a prince who was a vassal of the emperor or of another sovereign, such as a duke or prince-elector. These imperial counts sat on one of the four "benches" of Counts, whereat each exercised a fractional vote in the Imperial Diet until 1806.
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Maria Kunigunde of Saxony was Princess-Abbess of Essen and Thorn. She was a titular Princess of Poland, Lithuania and Saxony of the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin. She was a member of the Order of the Starry Cross and a collegiate lady in the abbey at Münsterbilzen.
Josina Walburgis van Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort (1615-1683) was sovereign Princess Abbess of Thorn Abbey from 1631 until 1632.