Former prince-bishop's residence (Hildesheim)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Former prince-bishop's residence, vicariate general,
view from the westwork of the cathedral

The former prince-bishop's residence stands at the cathedral courtyard in Hildesheim in the western extension of the axis of the cathedral . The building, which was the representative and administrative center of the Hildesheim monastery until the secularization in 1802 and then the district court , now houses the vicariate general of the Hildesheim diocese . The Curia episcopalis been held since the mid-11th century at this point. It is therefore considered to be the oldest essentially preserved residence in Lower Saxony.


middle Ages

When the diocese was founded in 815, a lot of building activity began on the cathedral hill on the Innerstefurt . Around the Altfriddom , which was completed in 872, further sacred and secular buildings were built as well as, in several stages, the walling of the cathedral castle , which under Bishop Bernward (r. 993-1022) reached the extent still recognizable today. It is believed that the bishop's house was located south of the cathedral during this phase.

During the episcopate of Azelin , a fire broke out on March 23, 1046, which destroyed the cathedral and most of the outbuildings. Azelin decided to build a new and larger cathedral west of the Altfriddom. His successor Hezilo (ruled 1054-1079) stopped the project and had the cathedral rebuilt on the foundations of Altfrid. He had the transept of the new cathedral, of which the foundations and outer masonry already existed, expanded into the new bishop's house. Structural and biographical evidence suggests that the construction management lay with the later Osnabrück bishop Benno , who at about the same time also expanded the imperial palace in Goslar .

In addition to living quarters for the bishop, who was often absent, the building complex included areas for representation and administration, as well as treasuries and armories. An archway connected the bishop's court with the westwork of the cathedral. A supervisory officer lived in the house all the time. To the north was the episcopal chapel, from which the Magdalene pen in the 14th century emerged “in the baskets” . The administrative and military function of the bishop's court increased with the consolidation of episcopal rule in the 13th century. At the same time the self-confidence and independence striving of the Hildesheim citizens grew. The old Domburg was enclosed on three sides by the new Hildesheim city wall. In response, the bishops built the "strongholds" Steuerwald and Marienburg to the north and south of the city in the 14th century , of which the former assumed the function of residence. The city curia was pledged and at times fell into disrepair. In 1397 the bishop transferred it to a canon with the stipulation that the building should be preserved. Rooms had to be made available for the bishop's rare visits to the city and for court and representative purposes of the bishopric. The most important event was the coronation meal after the enthronement of a new bishop with a public ceremony and renewal of the feudal relationships. The bishop's court also provided the setting for carnival parties, noble weddings and other celebrations, which gave rise to criticism and ridicule during the Reformation .

Early modern age

On the threshold of the early modern era , the prince-bishop's chancellery , the government of the bishopric , established itself at the bishop's court from the judicial beginnings . 1573 began the time of the personal union of the Hildesheim chair with Kurköln and other north-west German monasteries under Wittelsbacher elector-archbishops, only interrupted by the government of Jobst Edmund von Brabecks (1688-1702). For the Wittelsbachers, Hildesheim was a remote fringe territory that they rarely visited.

Structurally, the building complex remained essentially unchanged from the renovation by the energetic canon Johann Konolf around the middle of the 15th century to the 18th century. A fundamental renovation and the addition of a half-timbered storey took place in the 1590s.

During the Thirty Years' War , Duke Georg von Braunschweig-Calenberg conquered the monastery and took the city of Hildesheim on July 19, 1634. He moved with his family, the court and the authorities from Herzberg Palace to the Hildesheim Bishop's Palace and had it prepared for himself as a new residence. This work continued even after the decision was made in 1636 for the safer Hanover as the new royal seat. Georg only spent five days in Hanover in 1640. He died in Hildesheim in 1641. In 1642 his son and successor Christian Ludwig moved the ducal household and administration to Hanover.

In 1643 the prince-bishop's administration moved back into the cathedral courtyard. From here the reorganization of the bishopric took place in its restored size under the new denominational conditions with a Lutheran majority. Archbishop Elector Maximilian Heinrich visited Hildesheim in 1652, 1657, 1662 and 1666 with a large entourage and took up residence at the cathedral courtyard. The castle was renovated for each visit. The plan to build a baroque palace on the site of the Sültekloster instead of the less representative residence was not carried out.

In 1669, Jobst Edmund von Brabeck moved into the bishop's court as governor of the elector, and he kept this main residence after he unexpectedly became prince-bishop himself in 1688 because of the Cologne succession dispute. After his death in 1702, governors resided in the castle again.

After Clemens August von Bayern became Prince-Bishop of Hildesheim in 1724, Johann Conrad Schlaun examined the dilapidated government building at the cathedral courtyard on his behalf in March 1727 and recommended a completely new building. This was decisively supported by the auxiliary bishop and leading government official Ernst Friedrich von Twickel . The building manager Justus Wehmer was in charge of the construction . The planning initially envisaged a symmetrical residential palace with the inclusion of the key basket pin. The local canons protested, however, and since funds were also scarce, only a part of the work was carried out in an unusually simple form for Clemens August's building projects. Clemens August's coat of arms decorates the main entrance to this day. The construction dragged on, with several stops and plan changes, until 1753. At this point, the government, courts and state archives moved into the new building.

During the Seven Years War , u. a. the Marquis de Saint-Pern (1757), the Hereditary Prince of Braunschweig (1761), Duke Ferdinand (1761) and Duke Friedrich August (1763) at the cathedral courtyard.

With the solemn takeover of office by Friedrich Wilhelm von Westphalia in 1763, the last phase of the palace began as a prince-bishop's residence with the expense of a small-state baroque court. Friedrich Wilhelm's successor Franz Egon von Fürstenberg lived only occasionally in Hildesheim until the secularization of the bishopric in 1802, but spent the rest of his life here and died in the palace at the Domhof on August 11, 1825.

After 1802

During the eventful French era and the first few years in the Kingdom of Hanover , the palace initially remained an authority and administrative center. Since a definitive use was controversially discussed, all conservation measures were omitted. In 1826, the master builder Adolf Theodor Wellenkamp moved in as a tenant in the first floor after making the rooms habitable at his own expense. As part of the basic equipment for the diocese of Hildesheim, which was rewritten in 1824 , the former Brabecksche Kuria , Domhof 25, became the new bishop's palace.

In 1827, the building of the bowl pen, which was repealed in 1810, was demolished. In 1841 the bishop's corridor between the castle and the cathedral disappeared when the cathedral westwork was closed and replaced by a neo-Romanesque western building. In 1845 the castle became the seat of the Landdrostei Hildesheim and other courts and authorities, including the royal Catholic consistory. In the course of the Hanoverian judicial reform in 1852 it became the seat of the district court in its entirety and underwent appropriate changes in the following decades.

The former residential palace was destroyed in the bombing raid on Hildesheim on March 22, 1945 . The historic interior was lost. The exterior was rebuilt true to the original in 1949/50. In the 1970s, the Hildesheim Regional Court moved into a new courthouse on Kaiserstraße. The palace building at the cathedral was taken over by the diocese of Hildesheim and has since housed the vicariate general.


Web links

Commons : Former prince-bishop's residence  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hamann p. 28
  2. On the person of Johannes Conolfus ( )
  3. Drawing of the westwork with the connecting passage before 1841

Coordinates: 52 ° 8 ′ 55.6 ″  N , 9 ° 56 ′ 44.8 ″  E