St. Walburgis Abbey (Soest)

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The St.-Walburgis-Stift was an institution of the Augustinian choir women in Soest . It was created before 1166 and existed until it was converted into a free-world women's monastery in 1582. This was abolished in 1812.

Intercession of Mary with Christ and the saints Walburga and Augustine by the master of the Fröndenberger Marienretabel around 1420 (tempera painting on oak wood, height 120 cm, width 173 cm)


The first mention comes from a lease from the year 1166 by Archbishop Rainald von Dassel . The monastery must have already existed at this time. Dassel was later seen as the founder of the monastery. It was probably founded in 1164. The monastery was outside the city walls of Soest. The first monastery church dates back to the 12th century. The patronage of St. Walburga indicates an early relationship with the Meschede monastery . This connection possibly came about through the Counts of Arnsberg , who had close ties to the Mescheder Stift and were bailiffs of the city of Soest .

The monastery had extensive property. In 1408, with the incorporation of the Annenborn Monastery , the properties of this facility were added. The Archbishops of Cologne contributed indulgences to support St. Walburgis. Within the city of Soest, the monastery had a stone house with a chapel, which served as a refuge in times of war. After the feud in Soest, it became the property of Oelinghausen Monastery .

Although it was a pen under the Rule of Augustine, it was initially close to the Premonstratensians . This indicates that St. Walburgis, like many early Premonstratensian institutions, was a dual monastery for women and men. Later it became a women's convent.

In 1218 Archbishop Engelbert von Berg placed the monastery under archbishop protection. Linked to this was the stipulation that if the archbishop proposed a provost to the monastery, he should be accepted in obedience. The director of St. Walburgis was a prioress . Since it was placed under the Archbishop, the monastery has had a close relationship with the St. Patrokli monastery . The provost usually came from among the canons there.

St. Walburgis was largely destroyed during the Soest feud in 1447. The monastery was moved behind the city walls and rebuilt in 1449. After the introduction of the Reformation in Soest, St. Walburgis was converted into a free worldly women's monastery in 1582. This also ended the community life. From now on the women came from Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed families.

The institution was closed in 1812. The tradition was revived when it was re-established in 1845 as a Protestant women's monastery. After 1945 it was united with a similar institution in Lippstadt .

After it was profaned in 1822, the collegiate church was used as a granary and later by the military. In 1879 the church was demolished.

Construction and equipment

The Gothic monastery church from the 15th century had a single nave and three bays and had a nun's gallery in its western part, the very slim western tower only reached up to the eaves of the church. An inscription named 1506 as the completion date. Inside the ship was provided with star vaults. Several important works of art and furnishings have been preserved from the interior, including some panel paintings from the 12th to 15th centuries. The richly structured late Gothic reliquary altar ended up in the Wiesenkirche . The organ by Johann Patroclus Möller (1733) is now in Welver .

The so-called Soester Antependium is considered to be one of the most important examples of early panel painting. It dates from around 1170. It is the oldest surviving painting on wood north of the Alps. The painting was originally on the nuns gallery of the monastery. Two pictures with Saints Dorothea and Odilia also come from the Walburgis pen. This was created by Conrad von Soest , probably the most important late Gothic painter in Westphalia . There is also the so-called Blankenberch retable with the Annunciation, Adoration of the Magi and the Death of the Virgin from around 1420/30, an altarpiece from 1493 and two panels with apostles and donors from the same period. The picture of Mary's intercession with Christ and the saints Walburga and Augustine comes from the time around 1420 by the master of the Fröndenberg Marian retable.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hubertus Michels: Urban house building on the middle Hellweg. The development of residential buildings in Soest from 1150 to 1700. Münster u. a. 1998, p. 30.
  2. Description of art history


  • Edeltraud Klueting : The monastery landscape of the Duchy of Westphalia in the High Middle Ages . In: Harm Klueting (Ed.): The Duchy of Westphalia. Volume 1: The Electorate of Cologne Duchy of Westphalia from the beginnings of Cologne rule in southern Westphalia to secularization in 1803. Aschendorff, Münster 2009, ISBN 978-3-402-12827-5 , pp. 93-97.
  • Ulrich Löer: Walburgis Monastery and Walburgis Antependium in Soest . In: Westfälische Zeitschrift 143 (1993), pp. 9-30 ( online ).
  • Albert Ludorff : Architectural and art monuments district Soest (=  The architectural and art monuments of Westphalia, 16). Schöningh, Münster 1905, pp. 76-78 (reprint: ibid 1905, ISBN 3-922032-56-7 ).
  • Hubertus Schwartz : Soest in his monuments. Third volume: Gothic churches (=  Soest scientific contributions, volume 16). 2nd unchanged edition. Westfälische Verlagsbuchhandlung Mocker & Jahn, Soest 1979, pp. 136–155.
  • Manfred Wolff: Denominational mixed pencils, in: Karl Hengst (Hrsg.): Westfälisches Klosterbuch. Lexicon of the monasteries and monasteries established before 1815 from their founding to their abolition, Part 3: Institutions and Spirituality, Münster 2003, pp. 269 - 272.