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The Honnschaft or Honschaft , occasionally also Hunnschaft , Hundschaft , Hondschaft o. Ä., Was beyond the Middle Ages in parts of the Rhineland , especially on the Lower Rhine and in the Bergisches Land , the lowest administrative unit in the country. In the Westphalian region, honor finds an identical concept in the institute of the peasantry .


The derivation of the term from “ Hundertschaft ” is undisputed . But what was summarized with the number one hundred is controversial in research. An originally military meaning is possible ( Romans , Visigoths ), but more likely a summary for tax purposes as in England , where the "hundred" formed a subdivision of the county in the Middle Ages, which were set up to record taxes and to maintain peace and justice was.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

Presumably the monastery dates back to the time of the Franconian count constitution . In any case, the term only occurs in Franconian settlement areas. In the Saxon / Westphalian areas, the term peasant or Burschaft occurs. The honors were definitely already there (not as a term, but as a specific area) when the tenth districts of the churches were described (around 875 the tenth district of the Werden monastery church ). Here you can find all the names of the areas that were later designated as honnships.

Not only the parishes are made up of various monies, but also the district courts and the offices that were recognizable in Bergisch in the 14th century. In individual cases, parish and honnship were also congruent, as the examples Sonnborn and Dhünn showed.

The Bergisches Landgericht Homberg, for example, had 13 honeys who sent 6 representatives to the court. The Honnen (occasionally Huns), the heads of an honorary body , known as the Huns, could also be elected as lay judges , but this apparently rarely seems to have been the case. The office of Honnen changed between the owners of certain, but only older, farms. Its tasks are difficult to grasp. In the 16th century the Honne der Hetterscheidt was responsible for ensuring that the taxes in kind to be paid by the Honnschaft's courts were completely delivered to the ducal winery in Angermund . He received a share for this, but had to be liable for any missing taxes. The Honne probably had the task of merging taxes as early as 1364, because a surviving directory in the main state archive in Düsseldorf contains the taxes to be paid on money, grain and “barge services” on a charitable basis and not related to the individual farms.

A subdivision of the sons in peasantry apparently appears to occur in the Lower Rhine. But this is likely to be a late development. The names of the former monuments have often been preserved as district names, but further historical-historical processing of the term is still largely pending. Incidentally, until the exodus of the Germans from Transylvania , there were also honnships there. The Transylvanian Saxons were not Saxons , they came predominantly from the Moselle-Franconian areas.

Replacement of the monies in the 19th century

With the Napoleonic occupation and integration of the areas on the left bank of the Rhine in France and the founding of the French satellite state Grand Duchy of Berg at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, extensive changes to the structure of the commune were associated with the French model. The introduction of departments , arrondissements , cantons (rural districts) and Mairien ( rededicated to mayor's offices in Prussian times ) fundamentally rearranged the previous administrative structures. The traditional honnships and farmers were usually retained as rural communities or parts of communities below the mayor's level, so that these medieval administrative units lasted at least into the early 19th century.

Honorships, which were defined less by territorial cohesion than by scattered property, were often dissolved and their homelands assigned to surrounding or encompassing monies. In 1816 the French occupied territories went to Prussia , which by and large retained the French administrative structure. At the beginning, some monies were provided with their own household and community head and thus upgraded as a community unit, numerous others formed their own district in the now introduced cadastre .

In the first third of the 19th century, however, the honnships lost their importance as a subdivision level and were largely absent by the middle of the century. In rural areas, small-scale honors have now been combined into larger community associations within a mayor's office. Where there was a central city, its urban area was expanded to include the surrounding monuments, which often belonged to the same parish and mayor's office as the city itself. In the official Prussian local registers of the 1830s, mayor's offices are therefore listed that still owned rural communities subdivided into several monasteries , while this subdivision was no longer made in neighboring mayor houses or the old monarchies themselves appeared as rural communities. On the basis of the Rhenish urban order , numerous independent urban districts were created, which often merged during later municipal reforms of the 20th century. At the latest with the establishment of an urban district, the existence of a community belonging to the new urban area ceased to exist.

As an example of this transformation process is the present city Hückeswagen called: Before the French period a altbergischen office belonging, later urban area in which was freedom Hückeswagen around the Castle Hückeswagen and the definition of foreign citizenship summarized Honnschaften Berghausen , Great Honschaft , Herdingsfeld and Lüdorf divided. The French created the Mairie (later mayor's office) Hückeswagen , consisting of a central location (freedom) and the four honors. In 1859 Prussia made the central town a city and in 1861 combined the four honors to form the rural community of Neuhückeswagen , so that the mayor's office was now made up of the city of Hückeswagen and the rural community of Neuhückeswagen. In 1920 Neuhückeswagen was incorporated into the city, but in 1975 it had to surrender the area of ​​the old Lüdorf district to Remscheid . In terms of local history, today's Hückeswagen can be traced back to the Freedom Hückeswagen and the Berghausen , Große Honschaft and Herdingsfeld regions.

See also


  • Karl Kroeschell : Hundred, Hundred . In: Lexikon des Mittelalters , Volume V, Sp. 214f.
  • Hermann Schütze: District and organization of the Lower Rhine local community, with special consideration for the old Duchy of Berg. In: Contributions to the history of the Lower Rhine , vol. 15 (1900), p. 182.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Landesarchiv Düsseldorf Will files IXa Ia, Bl. 15v
  2. Thomas Lux: Heiligenhaus. History of a town in the Niederberg region. Heiligenhaus 1997, pp. 54-61.