Bronnbach Monastery

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Bronnbach Cistercian Abbey
Aerial view of the monastery from the northwest
Aerial view of the monastery from the northwest
location Germany
Coordinates: 49 ° 42 '45 "  N , 9 ° 32' 50"  E Coordinates: 49 ° 42 '45 "  N , 9 ° 32' 50"  E
Serial number
according to Janauschek
Patronage Maria
founding year 1151
Year of dissolution /
Mother monastery Maulbronn Monastery
Primary Abbey Morimond Monastery

The monastery Bronnbach , later Castle Bronnbach , is a corporation founded in 1151 former Cistercian - Abbey in the lower Tauber Valley , the 326th of the Order, which today in the field of city Wertheim in Weiler Bronnbach within the boundaries of the village Reicholzheim in Main-Tauber District is located in Baden-Württemberg . The Cistercian monastery emerged from Bronnbach Castle, which can no longer be located .

The former monastery has been owned by the Main-Tauber district since 1986 . Today various institutions are housed in the monastery buildings, and since 2000 there has also been a religious establishment of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Holy Family .

Founding legend

During his stay in Wertheim on his pilgrimage one day, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux pointed to a wilderness of the Taubertal and said: "A monastery of my order will be founded there too." This prophecy of the famous abbot was fulfilled during his lifetime because some Frankish noblemen had decided to found a Cistercian monastery. When they were looking for a suitable place for this in the quiet Taubertal, three white larks suddenly arose from that area , twittering their morning song. The donors saw a hint of God in this and built the Bronnbach Abbey at the place indicated. One of the larks was added to its coat of arms. It rests on the hands of the baby Jesus who is sitting on his mother's lap.



Bronnbach Monastery on an inspection card from 1518 (oldest known representation)
The monastery in the 17th century. Engraving by Caspar Merian
The monastery at the beginning of the 19th century, already owned by the princes of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. Watercolor.
Sketch of the monastery of the Wertheim chronicler Andreas Fries (1811–1890)
Bowl fountain in the lower farm yard
The west facade of the church and the prelature
The prelature
The refectory with Bernhard- and Josephsaal

The monastery goes back to a foundation of the four noble free Billung von Lindenfels , Sigebot von Zimmer , Erlebold von Krenzheim and Beringer von Gamburg (the legend still goes back to three) in 1151. The donation of the castrum brunnebach above the current location was probably made under the influence of a sermon by Bernhard von Clairvaux in 1146 in Würzburg. It was originally located on the height above Bronnbach in the castle and hamlet of Brunnebach, today's Schafhof; It was first mentioned in a document on January 11, 1153 (confirmation as a monastery by Pope Eugene III ). In 1157, the donation of the hamlet to the Archbishop and Chancellor Arnold von Selenhofen to purchase a burial place made it possible to move it to the valley of the Tauber on the east side of the river. (However, after his violent death in 1160, Arnold von Selenhofen was not buried in Bronnbach, but in Mainz.) The donation also made it possible for the founding convention to move into Waldsassen with the first abbot, Reinhard von Frauenberg. In the same year, construction began on the abbey church , which was consecrated on April 28, 1222 by the Würzburg auxiliary bishop Wilhelm von Havelburg . In 1167 it was taken over as a branch of the Maulbronn Monastery (mother abbey), at the same time the Maulbronn monk Wigand became the new abbot. The monastery had town houses in Wertheim, Miltenberg, Würzburg (as the administrative center in today's Bronnbachergasse), Aschaffenburg and Frankfurt. These are occupied from 1170. The most important monastery buildings were erected by 1230. In 1201 the imperial kitchen master Heinrich von Rothenburg donated goods in Heidingsfeld. This donation was confirmed on July 25, 1202 by King Philip of Swabia in Ulm.

Since the monastery was in the immediate vicinity of Gamburg and Külsheim , it was attacked by robber knights who lived there every now and then in the 14th century. During such an attack, a Külsheim knight had one of the bowl fountains transported away, which is still in Külsheim today and which helped to establish its reputation as the “town of fountains”. The counterpart of this bowl fountain is located in the farm yard behind the bursary house and next to the wine press building. Due to the raids, the Counts of Wertheim were appointed as patrons of the monastery around 1355 ; previously the emperor was patron or patron.

The Tauber Valley owes the promotion of viticulture, which spread from Bronnbach, to the Cistercian monks, who are also known as “God's gardeners”. Located on the border of the dioceses of Mainz and Würzburg , both tried to get their hands on the monastery. Neither the dioceses nor the County of Wertheim succeeded in this , and the Bronnbach monastery remained independent of any state rule with brief interruptions until the beginning of the 19th century.

Peasants' War and Reformation

During the Peasants' War in 1525, the monastery was plundered by rebellious farmers, the two organs, five chapels and two libraries were destroyed. Abbot Clemens Leusser, a monk in the monastery since 1534, was appointed abbot on November 26, 1548 by a unanimous decision of the monastery brothers. While he was still an advocate of the old Catholic conditions during the first two years of his term of office, he later became convinced that the true Christian teaching was to be found on the Reformed side. So at the end of 1552 he reported the completion of the Reformation to the Count of Wertheim. At Easter 1553, the first service in German was held in Bronnbach and the associated parishes. Leusser had already taken on 24 young and destitute men whom he wanted to train as teachers of the new teaching. Although the Würzburg bishop was not the abbot's superior, he was not indifferent to this approach. Leusser felt increasingly threatened by his reenactments and in 1554 moved into the monastery courtyard in Wertheim, which belonged to the monastery property. After the death of Count Michael III. on March 14, 1556, the bishops of Würzburg and Mainz introduced more severe measures against the Reformed abbot. They seized the monastery slopes in their areas in order to take the maintenance of the monastery and its abbot. When Leusser married Maria Eberlin, the daughter of the Wertheim preacher Johannes Eberlin von Günzburg, on June 1, 1557, this was another reason for the bishops to increase the pressure on Leusser. A threatened visit to the Würzburg Bishop Melchior was not made , but his successor, Bishop Friedrich , appointed Johann Pleitner, who had remained Catholic, as the new abbot in August 1558. He was previously a pastor in Königheim and was ordained abbot by the bishop, but was still appointed not solemnly used because Friedrich was still negotiating with Leusser to change his mind. However, since Leusser married Anna Rüdiger on October 25, 1558 and thus married for the second time after his wife had died from his first marriage, Pleitner's inauguration took place on January 25, 1559 despite protests from Leusser and the Counts of Wertheim.

The re-Catholicization took place until 1572, in the same year the church was rededicated. The Cistercian abbey was continued under Abbot Johann Knoll. The new mother monastery was now the Ebrach monastery in the Steigerwald, which had already assumed this position for the time being in 1537. The abbot's house was then built under Abbot Wigand Mayer. As a result, contact with the Cistercian convents Frauental and Seligental was lost . These monasteries, whose wise abbot was the Bronnbach abbot, were closed in the 16th century. Bronnbach itself never had a branch monastery.

For the year 1595 32 monks and two students are recorded for the monastery. In 1615 the abbot Sebastian Ulrich was deposed by the Würzburg bishop Julius Echter because of his way of life and replaced by the abbot Johann Feilzer from Ebrach, who completed the reconstruction after the Reformation and was able to regain the villages of Dörlesberg, Nassig and Reicholzheim for the monastery.

Thirty Years' War

During the Thirty Years War in 1631 the Lutheran Count Friedrich Ludwig zu Löwenstein-Wertheim- Virneburg received the monastery from King Gustav Adolf of Sweden, which had been devastated by the Swedes . He kept it until 1634 and removed everything Catholic, with large parts of the interior and the monastery library also being destroyed. During these three years the monks had fled. Initially, the members of the Bronnbacher Konvent received academic training at the Cistercian colleges in Paris, Heidelberg, Vienna and Würzburg - in the latter city in the 17th and 18th centuries - and then also at the university. Most of the literature that has survived, written by Bronnbacher monks, comes from this time. In 1656 an agreement was reached between the Würzburg bishopric and the Mainz archbishopric, according to which the monastery area should be regarded as territorium nullius (independent area). Nonetheless, Würzburg was able to continue to exert its strong influence. In 1673 the monastery was able to agree with the county of Wertheim on the local rule in Nassig, Dörlesberg and Reicholzheim. It renounced Nassig, where it was legally entitled to rule, and in return received Dörlesberg and Reicholzheim as territory with their own authority. This ended a dispute that had lasted for decades. In 1765 the monastery was extended again to include the rear mess yard and Rütschdorf.

Secularization: expansion to a castle in the 19th century

The renewed use as a monastery lasted until the secularization in 1802. The new owner of the monastery complex was Prince Dominik Constantin zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort , who received it as compensation for areas on the left bank of the Rhine lost to France. The last Cistercian from Bronnbach died in 1859 as the parish priest of Miltenberg , the last abbot, Heinrich Göbhardt , returned to his native city of Bamberg .

From 1803 to 1986 the monastery was owned by the Löwenstein-Wertheim- Rosenberg dynasty, who expanded the monastery complex as a castle after 1803. Subsequently, the princes used the property as an administrative headquarters, business location, residence and brewery, but otherwise left the facility essentially unchanged. In 1839 the Taubertalstrasse was built through the monastery grounds. The associated elevation of the thoroughfare caused the facades of the monastery buildings to the west of the road, such as the bursariat, to partially disappear into the ground. The completion of the Lauda – Wertheim railway line in 1868 brought Bronnbach its own, relatively representative station, which was built west of the Tauber a little away from the monastery and is connected to the monastery by a bridge over the Tauber and Mühlkanal of the monastery.

20th century

From 1921 to 1931, German-speaking Cistercians from Parakeet in today's Slovenia revived the Bronnbach Abbey in the convent building as a convent, but then moved to the Seligenporten monastery . They were followed by Capuchins from 1931 to 1958 ; In 1938 and 1951 the monastery was renovated.

In 1986 the Main-Tauber-Kreis acquired the monastery, had it renovated in several construction phases and uses it in a variety of ways. In 1989 the monastery was classified as a monument of particular national importance .


Site plan of the monastery:
1) Church
2) Convent building and chapel
3) Prelate building
4) Cloister
5) Refectory; Josephsaal, Bernhardsaal
6) Main-Tauber archive network (former hospital)
7) Orangery
8) Inn
9) Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (former remise)
10) Bursariat guest house (former monastery administration)
11) Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (former cattle barn)
12) Remise (former stable)
13) Museum barn (former fruit memory)
14) former farm buildings
15) Abteigarten
16) private house (former bakery)
17) hydroelectric power plant (former mill)
18) private house (former brewery)
19) hall garden (beer garden)
20) coach house
21) Klostermauer
22) Monastery vineyard
23) Toilet / disabled toilet
Floor plan of the monastery (1896)
View of the monastery in autumn

As with all orders following the Rule of St. Benedict living, the Bronnbach Monastery is also divided within its walls into an inner, a quiet and an outer district. The quiet district in the eastern part comprised the gardens, the hospital and the cemetery; the inner district the church, the cloister and the enclosure buildings that are arranged around the cloister. They were intended for monks and conversations . The originally only feeding sandstone bridge over the Taubertal carried a customs post of the monastery and was the only bridge in the middle and lower Taubertal to withstand all previous floods. After Charles Bridge in Prague, the spans of its two arches have the largest arch spans among the Gothic bridges in Central Europe. Between today's thoroughfare on the right bank and the Tauber, in the west, was the commercial section with agricultural buildings and craft businesses such as blacksmiths , brickworks and mills . The name Mühlkanal for a tributary of the Tauber still testifies to their existence . The smithy and brickworks were - as they caused a lot of noise - located outside the monastery walls. Under Abbot Joseph, the forge was relocated to the mill area and the brickworks to the sheep farm outside and above. The monastery also had two guesthouses - the one for men inside the monastery walls, the one for women outside in the building that has housed today's Klosterhof restaurant since 1715 .

The monks' enclosure initially covered the entire monastery grounds, but was later reduced to the area east of the church (north gate with garden wall) when the number of lay brothers decreased, and lay people were given access to the business section of the abbey. In the north there was the large cloister gate with the porter's apartment, which was demolished when the Taubertalstrasse was built. In its place stands the former coach house , which was probably built as a hay barn in the 19th century. Next to it was a small gate that served as an entrance to the St. Andrew's Church. The game reserve used to be located between the coach house and the former cattle and horse stable. The small south gate towards Gamburg also had to give way to Tauberstraße .


Monastery Church of the Assumption

Interior of the church

The red sandstone abbey church, consecrated in 1222, a three-aisled basilica in the late Romanesque and early Gothic style with Provencal, Alsatian and Burgundian inspiration, is considered one of the most important former religious churches in southern Germany. Construction began in 1157; however, construction was frequently interrupted due to financial constraints. The baroque furnishings of the abbey church contrasts with the Cistercian architecture, the simplicity of which is particularly evident in the eastern part of the church. The church was built in the shape of a Latin cross in several phases and is 70 m long, 28.5 m wide in the transept and 17.5 m high. The high central nave has a stilted groin vault without straps , which gives the impression of a pointed barrel with side caps of the same height. Each side aisle has quarter-round barrels with stitch caps. These designs have their role models in Provence and are unique in Germany. The semicircular arches are only painted on the ceiling with paint in places. Usually, in such constructions, you can see the bricked-up sandstone emerging from the ceiling construction. In 1489 and 1498 the pillars on the north aisle were built.

The nave of the church has three aisles; the central nave dominates the aisles with its high walls, which are only interrupted by small Romanesque windows. On the main facade, differently designed portals offer separate access for lay people, lay brothers and the authorities. In the choir nave there is access directly from the dormitory of the fathers or from the cloister. The unique half-barrel vaults of the side aisles and alternating support pillars and round columns serve as supports for the central nave. On the last two arches there are massive groups of columns instead of round columns. It is unclear whether the cause for this was a change in the construction management or the groundwater-rich subsoil . The nave itself has a clear structure and includes the dimensions of the golden section . The windows of the presbytery were subsequently enlarged. The four east chapels in the transept were originally staggered and had semicircular apses. They were later put on a line of flight.

The so-called triumphal arch is noticeably pulled down and serves as a carrying arch for the roof turret . Until the church was renovated in 1956/60, the coat of arms of the founder of the monastery hung below its sound opening. According to the rule of the order, a variety in the area was only created by using different building materials (red sandstone, white limestone). The monks' choir was previously separated from the lay nave by a rood screen, which was torn down in 1631 by the Wertheim monastery stormers. In its place, a wrought iron grille now separates the ship. The rococo chairs in the choir were carved by Daniel Aschauer ; the pulpit of the abbey church with the 12 apostles, one of which was stolen, was made by Balthasar Esterbauer from 1704 to 1706.

The oldest room in the monastery is the sacristy. Due to the relocation of the brewery and the resulting embankment, this room and the carvings and ceiling paintings suffered damage from moisture that could not be repaired despite two renovations. The paintings show the holy mass offering and excerpts from the life of Abbot Clemens Leuser. The carvings by a sculptor from Erlangen date from 1778 and 1779, which means that it is likely that they were created in collaboration with Daniel Aschauer.

The so-called Paradise Hall stood in front of the west side of the church until it was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War and demolished in 1631 . On the outer facade you can still see the roof, the arches and the capitals . Without the Paradise Hall, the church looks very massive from this side, as it is only structured here by three portals and a rose window. The large clock above the main portal dates from 1800 by the last abbot of the monastery, Heinrich V.

The roof turret above the portal has a small bell on the outside that, in conjunction with the church clock, shows the time. There was also a small bell inside; However, she was moved to the crossing roof rider. This represents the actual bell tower. It is not exactly above the roof crossing, but is slightly offset to the west. Abbot Heinrich had seven new bells cast in 1795; three for the large ridge turret and four for the monastery garden, where a hanging option has been created. These bells were later sold to Neustadt and Marktheidenfeld . Two of them were again sold on, escaped being melted down for war purposes and are now ringing in Euerbach . They bear the coat of arms of Abbot Heinrich.

The abbey church belongs to the pastoral care unit Külsheim-Bronnbach, which is assigned to the deanery Tauberbischofsheim of the Archdiocese of Freiburg . With its location on the Taubertal cycle path , the monastery church is designated as a cycle path church.


The high altar

After the Thirty Years' War, the interior was decorated again at the request of the abbots, contrary to the plain and simple Cistercian tradition, however, in the Baroque style. Instead of the 16 medieval altars, 13 baroque altars were erected, which have been preserved to this day.

The alabaster altar in honor of Maria Magdalena was moved from the former St. Andrew's Church, which was also known as the Leutekirche , to the north chapel. At the same time the Bernhard altar, which is decorated by the three first abbots of the order (St. Robert, St. Alberich and St. Stephan Harding) and two unidentified statues, was placed in the southernmost side chapel. The current cross altar from 1671 by Zacharias Juncker the Elder. J. was originally the main altar and replaced with his crucifixion group by Balthasar Esterbauer under the abbots Valentin Mammel and Franz Wundert the makeshift high altar that had been erected under Abbot Friedrich. The cross altar carried the current high altar painting by Oswald Onghers , which, like most Cistercian churches, is consecrated to the Mother of God. Today it is on the north wall of the transept.

The high altar, which fills the entire apse, is the work of lay brother Benedikt Gamuth from 1712. Esterbauer added four statues to it, namely (from left to right) St. Joseph, St. Bernhard, St. Benedict and the local patron St. Vitalis. The altarpiece shows the Assumption of Mary , it dates from 1670 and was made by Oswald Onghers . Abbot Engelbert added the tabernacle structure to the altar in 1750 . In order to be able to use the incorporated Eye of God as a source of light, a window was broken into the wall of the apse of the altar building, which cut the outer decorative band of the apse on the cemetery side. The two thrones in the chancel are particularly striking. The smaller one was reserved for the incumbent abbot and the larger one for the Bishop of Würzburg. Her inlay work was completed under Abbot Joseph; the pontifical seating under Abbot Engelbert.

Esterbauer was also responsible for setting up the four altars in front of the cloister lattice. They were built under Abbot Joseph from 1704 to 1706; their altar paintings come from Onghers, who depicted the marriage of Mary, Bernhardus, the stoning of Stephen and John the Baptist. Onghers died while executing the last picture. In order to make the upper ends of these altars with the Trinity and Assumption more effective, the medieval and Romanesque sandstone arches and the massive sandstone columns were whitewashed. The old color was only restored during the renovation between 1956 and 1960. Here, under several layers of paint, the late Gothic ceiling painting with herbs was found, which represent the relationship between the Cistercians and agriculture.

The altar of grace from the time of Abbot Engelmann, which was originally installed between the presbytery and the Magdalen Chapel, was moved to its current location in 1924 in the last yoke of the north wall. Thus, prayers who did not have access to the cloister should be given the opportunity to worship. The altar dates from 1642 and was built by Michael Kern.

The Judas Thaddäus altar in the first left side apse dates from the term of office of Abbot Ambrosius and was erected in 1781. For this altar by Franz Asam , a rococo window was also built into this room.

In the left northeast apse there is a Bernhard altar from 1704; the fourth altar in the side apse is dedicated to the same saint. This was built by Philipp Preuss in the middle of the 17th century.

At the end of the monks' choir, two altars were built in 1791 under Abbot Heinrich in honor of Johannes Nepomuk and Karl Barromäus. They were built by Georg Schäfer from Karlstadt . The altar leaves date from 1785 by the Bamberg painter Hirschmann. On the two associated canon board frames there are carvings depicting a mount of olives scene and a pietà . In 1922, Abbot Bernhard Widmann had the altar base moved to the northernmost apse. The wooden structure with the typical Esterbauers columns, which previously belonged to the altar structure of the hospital chapel apse, was re-used here and decorated with an altarpiece by Pope Eugene.

Today's magnificent altar was erected under Abbot Joseph.

Choir and choir stalls

Arnold von Selenhofen had a great influence on the architecture of the church, which he had chosen as the burial place, which was particularly evident in the choir: Here he chose a representative staggered choir , which, however, was rebuilt in the Baroque period in favor of the new furnishings.

The choir stalls were completed by lay brother Daniel Aschauer in 1777/78 after a 20-year production period . Aschauer from Lengfurt am Main, who entered the monastery under Abbot Ambrosius and headed the monastery joinery, obviously took the west choir of Mainz Cathedral as a model for this third generation of stalls in the choir area. The first choir stalls were destroyed in a fire in 1631.

The choir stalls are set up in two opposite rows. The upper seats were intended as a prayer area for the priest monks, while the lower seats were intended for novices and clerics. Lay brothers had to take part in the mass and in the choir in the pre-built brother places . Aschauer placed a protruding cross rib under each folding seat . Since the monks had to take part in the choir prayer while standing, this so-called idler or misericordia (Latin for pity) offered them the opportunity to pray in a standing seat . All stables , as the monks' single beds were called, are decorated with carved symbols, some of which are gold-plated.

image Symbol program Central aisle Symbol program image
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 09.jpg 4 Church Fathers : Hieronymus
“S. HIERONYMUS ”, cardinal's hat, skull, trumpet
4 Church Fathers: Gregory the Great
“S. GREGORIUS. P. “, dove, tiara, triple cross
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 10.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 08.jpg Redemption - NT
rose bush with one flower, fleeing snake
Fall of Man - AT
tree of knowledge, snake with apple
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 07.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 11.jpg 3 divine virtues : faith
chalice, host
3 divine virtues: Love (charity)
Two horns of plenty: fruits + flowers
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 04.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 12.jpg 4 Evangelists : Matthew
“S. MATTHEUS. EV. ”, Winged person
4 Evangelists: Mark
“S. MARCUS. EV. ”, Winged lion
Bronnbach Monastery Church Choir Stalls 13.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 14.jpg 3 divine virtues: hope
anchor, flower branches
3 divine virtues: Love (love of God)
Two flaming winged hearts
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 15.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 16.jpg 4 seasons : autumn
4 seasons: spring
flowering branches
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 17.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 18.jpg Heart of Mary's
dagger in a heart entwined with roses, lily
Herz Jesu
Herz with side wound and crown of thorns, cross
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 19.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 20.jpg Maria
initials of Maria
" IHS " (Greek initials Jesus), cross and three nails
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 21.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 22.jpg 4 seasons: winter
Drought branches with acorns and only a few leaves
4 seasons: summer
ears of corn, sickle
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 23.jpg
Bronnbach Monastery Church Choir stalls 24.jpg The last four things : Hell
man chained in fire, snakes, seven-headed dragon
4 last things: death
scythe, hourglass, skull, bones
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 25.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 26.jpg 4 Evangelists: Luke
“S. LUCAS. EV. ”, Winged bull
4 Evangelists: John
"S. JOHN. EV. ”, Winged eagle with a small cauldron in its beak
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 27.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 28.jpg 4 last things: heaven
triangle with eye of god, angel, harp and other musical instruments
4 last things: Last Judgment
"SURGITE", trumpet, flaming sword, rainbow, sun and moon darkened, arid tree with snake, falling stars
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 03.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 02.jpg Benedict
“AUSCULTA O FILI PRAECEPTA MAGISTRI TUI” (beginning of the Benedictine Rule), ball of fire, ray of light, dove (soul of scholastica), sources
Bernhard von Clairvaux
"SALVE MARIA", "SALVE BE [RNARDE]", abbot insignia, cross with instruments of passion, initials of Maria
Bronnbach Monastery Church Choir Stalls 01.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 29.jpg 4 cardinal virtues : justice,
scales, sword
4 cardinal virtues: strength
armor, broken pillar
4 cardinal virtues: wisdom
mirror, Janus head , snake
4 cardinal virtues: temperance.
Empty table
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 30.jpg
Bronnbach Monastery Church Choir Stalls 05.jpg Meaning unclear (!)
Tree in a vat with fruits and bird
Meaning unclear (!)
Rose bush with many flowers in a basket
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 06.jpg
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 31.jpg 4 Church Fathers: Augustine
“S. AUGUST [I] NUS “, Flaming Heart, Crosier, Miter
Place of the Prior
4 Church Fathers: Ambrosius
"S. AMBROSIUS “, beehive with flying bees, crosier, miter
place of the abbot
Bronnbach Abbey Church Choir Stalls 32.jpg

In the group of cardinal virtues, two virtues are arranged one below the other, whereby only the symbols of the two upper ones, justice and wisdom, are gilded. The symbols next to the four church fathers still need clarification, this applies mainly to trees and rose bushes next to Augustine and Ambrosius. The question of whether the four symbols possibly belong together and form a group is still open.

The order and the convent coat of arms were designed with particularly elaborate carvings. The four color panels depicting the Passion of Christ, which are integrated in the choir stalls, were painted by Oswald Onghers. In front of the choir stalls you can see the Karl Borromäus altar on the left and the Johannes Nepomuk altar on the right .


The first organ mentioned in the chronicle was located in the northern part of the monastery stalls and was used to accompany the choir singing. She burned to death in 1631 together with her successor. In 1664/1665 the organ builder Georg Henrich Wagner from Lich created a new instrument. The organ structure with the guest box on the west wall above the main entrance - a gallery was previously installed here - was built during the last term of office of Abbot Heinrich. The organ work was originally provided with a baroque case. In 1890 this organ was replaced by an instrument with a neo-Gothic prospect from the Schlimbach company from Würzburg.

The bursariat


In the monastery church there are several epitaphs from the 14th to 18th centuries. The most important are - besides that of Michael von Braganza - the epitaph of Count Eberhard von Wertheim († 1373) with a portrait of the knight as well as two Gothic grave slabs with life-size figures, which belong to Peter von Stetenberg († 1428) and his son († 1441 ) were built. On the epitaphs for Abbots Joseph Hartmann († 1724) and Engelbert Schäffner († 1752) both deceased are depicted in pontifical garb.

Bursary building / Bursariat

In 1742 the Bursarius Building with its arched staircase and the artistic coat of arms of its builder, Abbot Engelbert, was built. The building served as the administrative building and the official seat of the monastery administrator ( Bursarius ) and closed off the estate. Today the building has been renovated and has been used as a guest house since May 2006.


The orangery
Close up of the fresco

The orangery was built between 1773 and 1775 for frost-sensitive plants and has a baroque fresco on its sun catcher for the 50-year profession of the abbot Ambrosius Balbus , probably the largest fresco in the open air north of the Alps. The fresco with its allegorical representations glorifies the abbot-led monastery as a heavenly cosmos over a width of 20 meters. In the middle is the abbot's coat of arms; the women on either side of the pyramid represent spring (flowers) and autumn (fruits). Summer (musicians' harvest festival) and winter (wood-bearing figures) are below the two canopies at the end of the fresco. This connection between the seasons is a reference to the mainstay of Cistercian monastic life, agriculture. The fresco was restored in 1938, 1947 and 2005.

From 1948 the orangery was used as an apartment for refugees from the Second World War. The glass windows were removed here - a step that was reversed during the restoration in 2005.

Ceiling fresco in the Josephsaal
Coat of arms of Abbot Engelbert Schäffner on the refectory


In the south, the two-story refectory adjoins the cloister as the middle of three structures . The Bernhard Hall, now named after Bernhard von Clairvaux , is on the lower floor and was the monks' former dining room. In the 19th century it served as a wooden shed and fermentation cellar. Above that, in 1724/25, the richly decorated baroque Josephsaal , which was used for representation, was decorated with pilasters, stucco, numerous ceiling and wall frescoes and other paintings. It also served other purposes around 1850; hay was stored there for the king's horses. The central ceiling fresco by the Würzburg court painter Johann Adam Remele shows, like some other frescoes, a scene from Joseph's life , while paintings in the window niches show the villages and courtyards belonging to the monastery. Until the renovation in 1938, one of these frescoes still showed the bullet hole of a Napoleonic soldier who had obviously shot Joseph, depicted in a medallion , fleeing from Potiphar's wife . The richly structured gable front of the refectory is decorated with coats of arms and symbolic figures.

Monastery mill

Despite multiple modifications, the system of the original monastery mill still exists, which is located on a separate canal (so-called diversion power plant). The mill probably dates from the 11th century and is considered the oldest part of the monastery complex. After it burned down in 1631, it was rebuilt in its current form. The grain from the sheep farm's agriculture was originally ground in the mill. The water mill was upgraded in 1860 with a Francis turbine , with which electricity could be generated. Until 1921 there was still a mill wheel on the mill, with which the sawmill was driven; since then only electricity has been produced here. The brewery, however, was supplied with a turbine installed in 1885. Another turbine was installed in 1921; with her a power station was set up. Today two turbines are in use, together they generate 1.3 million kWh of electricity per year

Monastery brewery

The monastery brewery was east of the road to Gamburg. The annual table bears the number 1793. Abbot Heinrich had a modern brewery building erected above the large cellar, which was equipped with a new facility under the supervision of a Carmelite brother from Bamberg . Beer was brewed here until 1842, and it was stored in the rock cellars in front of the bar on the other side of the Tauber on Külsheimer Straße.


To the monastery were formerly the Gran Gien Good car book and the Schafhof. The latter is considered the actual cell of the monastery and supplied it with parchment, meat and milk. Today it is owned by Südzucker AG .

The Wagenbuch estate, the oldest building of which dates from the 14th century and where the " Pfeiferhannes " is said to have worked as a shepherd, is now used for residential purposes. It was first mentioned in a document in 1197. At first the farm was run by monks, then by lay brothers and finally from 1500 by secular tenants. Fish ponds also belonged to this farm. After the Second World War, the agricultural areas here were reduced considerably by the US occupation in order to deprive the Junkers of their economic basis.


Hall garden

The hall garden was the cloister's festival garden with a fountain and three garden houses with stucco work. It was laid out in the form of a terrace in 1727–1736 under Abbot Engelhardt and is located south of the Joseph Hall in the direct line of sight. Around 1850 it no longer served its original purpose; According to sources, the master brewer grew his vegetables there.

Kitchen garden

To the north of the church and the abbey garden is the kitchen garden, which was essentially laid out in its current form under Abbot Ambrosius. The parish church of St. Andrew stood in the garden area; it was demolished under Abbot Ambrosius because it was dilapidated. At the same time, he allowed laypeople to visit the monastery church and built the orangery with a low, adjoining heating building.

The monastery vineyard

Wild garden

The game garden, in which "wild animals" was kept, was located between the economic area and the Tauber Bridge. At the Gasthaus Klosterhof you can still find access to the Josephsberg, a wine complex that was laid out under Abbot Joseph.

Herb garden

As part of the restoration of the orangery, a herb garden was set up on the site in front of it in 2006, in which an attempt was made to create a reference to the fresco in the orangery by taking plants from the continents shown in the garden into account.

Todays use

As a special kind of venue, the Bronnbach Abbey offers rooms for classical music concerts, exhibitions and conferences with guest rooms. The Joseph Hall and the Bernhard Hall in particular are used for this purpose. The Klosterschänke is also open again. The bursary, formerly the seat of the monastery administration, was renovated from 2003 to 2006 and is used as a guest house with various conference rooms; the orangery, which was also renovated from 2003 to 2006, serves as a cafeteria for conference participants.

The Main-Tauber archive network with the Wertheim State Archives , the Wertheim City Archives, the District Archives of the Main-Tauber District and other archives of cities belonging to the district as well as a reference library for regional history have been housed in the monastery hospital building since 1992 . Since 1995 there has been a branch of the Institute for Silicate Research of the Fraunhofer Society in the former cattle shed.

In the convent building there has been a branch of the congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Family , whose originally Polish priests serve in the surrounding communities since 2000 .

In the former fruit barn of the monastery is the Museum for Rural Heritage as a branch of the municipal county museum . The nearby Bronnbach (Tauber) train station was renamed the unoccupied Bronnbach monastery stop in 2002 . Since January 2007, the Main-Tauber-Kreis has been running the Bronnbach Monastery in the form of its own business . This also includes a vinotheque opened in the basement in 2007 with samples from all over the Taubertal.

The monastery forecourt during the renovation phase

In spring 2009 the cloister forecourt was rebuilt. This measure served to ensure that the historical monastery complex should again be perceived more strongly as an ensemble. For this purpose, the state road 506, which runs through the middle of the village or the monastery grounds, was narrowed to six meters and the roadway was given a red ceiling. The costs of the measures amounted to approx. 300,000 euros.

In January 2012, filming began on the Franco-German-Belgian film Die Nun with Pauline Étienne , Martina Gedeck and Isabelle Huppert in the leading roles. In addition to the Maulbronn Monastery and the French Charterhouse Pierre Châtel in Virignin , Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region , the Bronnbach Monastery is a filming location for the film adaptation of the world-famous novel The Nun by Denis Diderot by the director and screenwriter Guillaume Nicloux , published in 1760 .


  • 1360–1361 Udalrich (Ulrich) von Essingen, 27th abbot, resigned
  • 1362–1373 Berthold Kuring, 28th abbot, resigned, died on April 12, 1374
  • 1373-22. March 1404 Rudolph Hund von Wenckheim, 29th Dept.
  • 1404-12. March 1416 Johann III. Hildebrand, 30th Dept.
  • 1416-21. July 1452 Johann IV Siegemann, 31st dept
  • 1452-7. April 1459 Johann V. Altzheim (Altzen), 32nd abbot, previously 1447–1451 abbot of Heiligenkreuz, died April 7, 1459
  • 1459-16. October 1461 Petrus (Peter) Igstatt, 33rd abbot
  • 1461-7. June 1491 Conrad IV Vogel, 34th abbot
  • 1491-29. August 1501 Michael Keller, 35th Dept.
  • 1501-13. November 1526 Johann VI. Edler von Boffsheim (Balzheim), 36th abbot, previously abbot in Seligenthal
  • November 24, 1526-25. November 1526 Konrad V. Neiff (Neuff), 37th abbot, resigned after only one day in office, died on June 2nd, 1530
  • 1526-15. November 1548 Markus Hauck, 38th abbot, from Lohr
  • 1548–1556 Clemens Leusser, 39th abbot, resigned in 1556, became Protestant in 1552 and married, died on October 6, 1572
  • 1558-23. March 1563 Johann VII. Pleitner, 40th abbot, from Ochsenfurt, personal impoverishment, only had 2 confreres left when he was elected
  • 1563-24. September 1578 Johann XVIII. Knoll, 41st abbot, from Kühlsheim, was the only remaining monk when his predecessor died and so became his successor, rebuilding the convent with the help of other Cistercian monasteries. Resigned 1578, died June 7, 1582.
  • 1578-23. November 1602 Wigand Mayer, 42nd Abbot, from Amorbach
  • December 15, 1602–1615 Sebastian Udalrici (Ulrich), 43rd abbot, from Weckbach, resigned or was deposed by Bishop Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn because of his way of life, then became pastor in Bölligheim, died on April 14, 1618
  • July 11, 1618-3. September 1637 Johann IX. Feilzer, 44th abbot, from Ebrach Monastery, led the reconstruction after the Reformation
  • September 22, 1637-21. April 1641 Johann X. Thierlauf, 45th department
  • May 14, 1641–1647 Friedrich Groß, 46th abbot, resigned, died on March 26, 1656
  • 1647–1670 Valentin Mammel, 47th abbot, came from Mellrichstadt, resigned, died on February 18, 1672
  • 1670-10. September 1699 Franz Wundert, 48th abbot, came from Grünsfeld and heralded a second heyday of the monastery
  • 1699-19. December 1724 Joseph Hartmann, 49th abbot, came from Grünsfeld, busy building activity
  • 1724–1752 Engelbert Schäffner, 50th abbot, lived October 12, 1687 - August 21, 1752, came from Grünsfeld, active building activity
  • August 29, 1752-11. June 1783 Ambrosius (Ambros) Balbus , 51st abbot, builder of the orangery in Bronnbach, resigned
  • August 5, 1783–1803 Heinrich Göbhardt , 52nd and last abbot, lived December 5, 1742–25. July 1816, came from Bamberg and returned there after secularization .

See also


  • Biografia Cisterciensis : Abbots of the old Bronnbach Abbey .
  • Norbert Bongartz, Detlev Kuhn: A mysterious find in Bronnbach Monastery . In: Preservation of monuments in Baden-Württemberg , 20th year 1991, issue 4, p. 179ff. ( PDF file )
  • Norbert Bongartz: Bronnbach Monastery in the Taubertal . Kunstschätzeverlag, Gerchsheim 2000, ISBN 3-934223-03-6 .
  • Joachim Heinrich Jäck: Gallery of the most exquisite monasteries in Germany . Nürnberg 1831, pp. 105-108, ( limited preview in Google book search)
  • Katinka Krug, Peter Knoch, Matthias Untermann: Gable architectures: New observations on the early building history of the Cistercian churches in Maulbronn and Bronnbach . In: INSITU. Zeitschrift für Architekturgeschichte 3 (2/2011), pp. 161–172.
  • Peter Müller (Ed.): Bronnbach Monastery 1153–1803. 650 years of the Cistercians in the Taubertal . 2nd, expanded edition. Archive group Main-Tauber, Wertheim 2007, ISBN 3-87707-607-6 .
  • Barbara Reuter: Building history of the Bronnbach Abbey . Friends of Mainfränkischer Art and History, Würzburg 1958 ( Mainfränkische Hefte . Issue 30).
  • Leonhard Scherg : The Cistercian Abbey Bronnbach in the Middle Ages . Friends of Mainfränkischer Kunst und Geschichte, Würzburg 1976 ( Mainfränkische Studien . Volume 14).
  • Dietlinde Schmitt-Vollmer: Bronnbach. A burial project in the 12th century. On the building history of the Cistercian church . Theiss, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-2116-9 ( Research and reports on the preservation of buildings and art monuments in Baden-Württemberg . Volume 12).
  • Gerhard Wissmann: Bronnbach Monastery. A walk through the history of the former Cistercian abbey in the Taubertal . 2nd Edition. Book 2009, ISBN 3-936866-29-5 .

Web links

Commons : Bronnbach Abbey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Bronnbach Castle in Wertheim-Bronnbach. In: Retrieved August 13, 2020 .
  2. castle Bronnbach (castrum Burnebach) in Wertheim-Bronnbach. In: Retrieved August 13, 2020 .
  3. a b Wolf Wiechert: Erected as a burial place for the bishop of Mainz . In: Wertheimer Zeitung of October 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Bruno Rottenbach: Würzburg street names. Volume 1, Franconian Society Printing Office, Würzburg 1967, p. 50 f. ( Bronnbachergasse , Bronnbacherhof ).
  5. ZGORh, Volume 2, p. 297
  6. ^ Main-Tauber district. My home. My circle. Published by the Bad Mergentheim State Education Authority, Sparkasse Tauberbischofsheim and Kreissparkasse Mergentheim.
  7. a b Wolf Wiechert: The Reformation in Bronnbach pushed back . In: Wertheimer Zeitung of October 12, 2010.
  8. ^ Page of the Baden-Württemberg State Archives .
  9. See timetable here ( memento of the original from October 17, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. a b Bettina Vaupel: Twenty meters of paradise . In: Monuments 1/2 2005, pp. 24/25.
  11. Peter Riffenach: ISC expansion: workshop laboratory is coming . In: Wertheimer Zeitung of July 24, 2009.
  12. ^ Deanery Tauberbischofsheim: Pastoral conception of the Deanery Tauberbischofsheim . (PDF, 1.3 MB). Resolution of July 21, 2011. Online at Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  13. ^ Deanery Tauberbischofsheim: Pastoral care units of the Deanery Tauberbischofsheim . Online at Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  14. Tourism Association Liebliches Taubertal (Ed.): Cycle Path Churches . Brochure. 12 pages. District Office Main-Tauber-Kreis, Tauberbischofsheim, p. 10.
  15. Literature on iconography:
    Stephan Beissel: History of adoration of Mary in Germany during the Middle Ages. A contribution to religious studies and art history. Freiburg im Breisgau 1909
    Lexicon of Christian Iconography. Lim. by Engelbert Kirschbaum. Edited by Wolfgang Braunfels. 8 vols. Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1968–1976, ISBN 3-451-22568-9 .
  16. ^ Gerhard Aumüller : History of the organ from Bad Wildungen in the 16th and 17th centuries. In: Acta Organologica . Vol. 31, 2009, pp. 111-148, here: p. 130.
  17. a b c d Wolf Wiechert: Memories of Bronnbach . In: Wertheimer Zeitung from November 18, 2010.
  18. a b Michael Geringhoff: The Lord of the Great Turbines . In: Wertheimer Zeitung of June 24, 2010.
  19. Michael Geringhoff: A walk through time . In: Wertheimer Zeitung from May 18, 2010.
  20. Kerstin Mühldräxler runs a new company . Communication from the Main-Tauber-Kreis dated December 28, 2006.
  21. Daniel Gehret: The forecourt should be ready by May . In: Wertheimer Zeitung from 9./10. April 2009.
  22. Diderot's nun Martina - Cinema Calendar Dresden. In: January 24, 2012, accessed January 14, 2015 .