Johann Hemeling (Mayor)

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Johann Hemeling (* around 1358 ; † March 27, 1428 ) was Mayor of Bremen from 1405 to 1410 .


Hemeling's term of office is connected with the rise of Bremen to become a city directly under the Empire , in the course of which it was able to break away from the suzerainty of the Archbishop of Bremen and develop its own territory. Hemeling was the builder of the Bremen Cathedral and one of the driving forces behind the construction of the new Gothic town hall and the erection of the Roland on the square in front of the building.

Hemeling came from one of the leading families in Bremen who had been represented in the city since the end of the 13th century. He was elected to the Bremen council in 1382 and was mayor from 1405 to 1410. From 1390 to 1421/22 he was also the builder ( cathedral structure ) of the cathedral .

Hemeling was a member of the old stratum of the council that emerged from the inner-city conflicts, which, under the leadership of his father Nikolaus Hemeling, had won over external opponents, but also internal opponents. The latter included the partisans of the archbishop and his allies, as well as artisanal guild groups that had temporarily ousted the old families.

Johann Hemeling, but above all his colleague Friedrich Wigger and Hinrich von der Trupe , were the first to use the image program of the public buildings, in particular of the town hall built between 1405 and 1410, to express this victory. In addition, they had the new town hall designed in such a way that the city's freedom vis-à-vis the archbishop, equality of rank - and possibly imperial immediacy as a long-term goal - as well as the permanent patrician rule of advisable families were expressed. In addition, he possibly intervened in the writing of history by forging corresponding passages in the chronicles of Rinesberch and Schene as well as imperial documents .

The Roland statue in front of the town hall was also built on his initiative in 1404. In 1407 sculptures were attached to the market side, which were also taken over after the renovation in the early 17th century and which still adorn the building today. Eight of the 16 sculptures represent the emperor and the seven electors. The eight so-called prophets are on the narrow sides. The latter symbolize the just internal council regiment, the former the relationship to the empire. Although the city did not yet claim imperial immediacy, it did express that the archbishopric power was no longer the predominant one. The symbolism on the Roland, who carried the imperial coat of arms in the shield, also matched this. At the same time, the city claimed imperial freedom , which was interpreted as exemption from taxes on the emperor. Hemeling himself supplied, in addition to the councilors and mayors Friedrich Wigger, Detward and Bernd Prindeney, Arnd Boller, Johann Vasmer and Gerd von Dettenhusen , timber that they brought from their own forests that they owned in the Bremen area.

As the builder of the cathedral, Hemeling participated in various renovations and made sure that the developments were documented in the memorandum of the cathedral structure that he created . Johann Hemeling arranged for a large water wheel to be built on the Weser Bridge .

In addition, the mayor may have tried to influence historiography. Hermann Meinert , who edited the chronicle of Romesberch, Schene and Hemeling, even attributed all forgeries to the mayor in 1968. Accordingly, the Ratsdenkelbuch  - a record of important documents and events - was created on his initiative. He or his writer continued to edit the Bremen Chronicle by Gerd Rinesberch († 1406) and Herbord Schene († 1414) until 1430, but in a tendentious version, as Dieter Hägermann said. It was Hemeling who later revised this chronicle as the basis of the claim to the imperial freedom of Bremen and at the same time invented and inserted three documents from Emperor Heinrich V , Wilhelm of Holland and Wenzels around 1420 , which were supposed to prove imperial privileges for Bremen. It was not possible to forge Heinrich V's document from 1111, as there was no document in the city's archives and thus no emperor's seal. Therefore, the alleged document was simply inserted into a forgery by William of Holland from 1252. Both forgeries are in turn contained in a forged document from King Wenceslas. The manufacturer of the forgeries was possibly the pronotar and clerk of the Reyner Salun council. According to this, the core of the forgeries is the aforementioned document of Heinrich V from 1111, with which he is said to have granted the city of Bremen and its councilors privileges, secured by a falsification of the historiography. The desired privileges concerned the right to secure the Lower Weser, to wear golden and colored fur, as only knights were allowed to do, for the design of the Roland and the exemption from the rules of the Westphalian vie courts . However, it was not until 1646 that Bremen achieved the "imperial freedom" sought by Hemeling in another form with the Linz diploma . Liselotte Klink contradicted this classification in 1988, Dieter Pötschke also considers the mention of Roland in a forged document from 1111, which is undisputed, but also the mention of 1366 as a forgery. Pötschke makes this probable based on comparisons with the Hamburg Roland, first mentioned in 1342. This was mentioned 42 times in sources, the Bremen Roland, however, only in two forged documents and in the suspected forgery chronicle by Rinesberch and Schene, or Hemeling. This means that the Schild am Roland, dating from around 1420, is the oldest source that establishes a connection between urban freedom and Roland.

Hemeling, like many citizens of Bremen, owned extensive land rights in the outskirts of the city. From the 1980s onwards, historical research on centrality was able to show that the city can by no means be viewed as a mere legal space, surrounded by a city wall, sharply demarcated from the surrounding area. Even before Hemeling's time there was mainly east of the city, around the Paulskloster , a farmhand and craftsmen's settlement, which was called a small town ("parva civitas"). Today this is interpreted as the city mark, i.e. the area immediately around the city. Only behind it did the surrounding area , the politically and economically dependent area around the city, extend. The more distant hinterland no longer politically belonged to the city, but was strongly integrated into the economic system. When the archbishop wanted to visit Bremen, he took up residence in Paul's monastery at the end of the 13th century. The main road there, which connected Bremen with the Heerweg that led to Verden , was paved, so it is called Stenstrate . Another village - with the name Jericho - existed around the St. Remberti monastery , which had existed since 1306 at the latest. It was a leprosy . To the west of it was another village with the collegiate church of St. Michaelis as the center, as well as Utbremen , already mentioned in 1072 , where numerous citizens of Bremen also owned land. Tevekenbuttel was built to the west of St. Stephani , which was included in the city wall in 1307 .

Hemeling owned land not only here, but from 1413 also in Berne , which he had bought from Count Otto von Delmenhorst and his son Klaus that year for 100 Rhenish guilders. In 1418, Klaus pledged his remaining rights to the former mayor for another 90 Bremer Marks, as well as all pensions, interest and services. Hemeling owned extensive land in Blockland , Redingstede, Hasenbüren , Huchting and Grolland , as well as in Stuhr and Schlutter near Delmenhorst . In 1426 Archbishop Nikolaus pledged him church property in Schlutter, as well as the tithe in the village of Ranzenbüttel , which today belongs to Berne. He never had to surrender these goods, and his children and grandchildren sold them decades later.


See also


  1. Stephan Albrecht : The Bremen town hall in the sign of urban self-portrayals before the 30-year war , Marburg 1993, p. 52ff. They have been in the Focke Museum since 1960 , there are copies on the town hall.
  2. Thomas Hill: The city and its market: Bremen's surrounding and external relations in the Middle Ages (12th to 15th centuries) , Steiner, Wiesbaden 2004, p. 89.
  3. ^ Hermann Meinert: The Chronicle of the Lower Saxony Cities: Bremen ( The Chronicles of the German Cities from the 14th to the 16th Century , 37), Carl Schünemann, Bremen 1968.
  4. Liselotte Klink : Johann Hemeling's "Diplomatarium fabricae ecclesiae Bremensis" from 1415/1420 , Hildesheim 1988, p. 29 f.
  5. ^ Rolf Gramatzki: The town hall in Bremen. An attempt at his iconology , Hauschild, 1994, p. 21.
  6. Dieter Hägermann : Some remarks on the forged documents of Heinrich V, Wilhelm von Holland and Wenzels for the city of Bremen , in: Bremisches Jahrbuch 56 (1978) 15-38.
  7. Liselotte Klink: Johann Hemeling's "Diplomatarium fabricae ecclesiae Bremensis" from 1415/1420 , Hildesheim 1988, p. 23.
  8. Cf. Dieter Pötschke: Stadtrecht, Roland und Pranger: on the legal history of Halberstadt, Goslar, Bremen and Brandenburg cities , Berlin 2002, p. 195 f.
  9. Thomas Hill: The city and its edge in the Middle Ages. The example of Bremen , in: Peter Johanek (Ed.): Die Stadt und ihr Rand , Böhlau, Cologne 2008, p. 179.
  10. Thomas Hill: The city and its market: Bremen's surrounding and external relations in the Middle Ages (12th to 15th centuries) , Steiner, Wiesbaden 2004, p. 100 f.