Wichmann (Hamaland)

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Wichmann , (* unknown; † on June 20 between 973 and 983, actually Wichmann II. ) Was Count in Hamaland and founder of the Elten Monastery . He was probably also a count in Ghent , Drenthe , in Salland and Vogt of the Abbey of St. Omer .


Although wealthy in Lorraine , Wichmann was of noble Saxon descent. His family ancestry is not certain, a Count Wichmann from Hamaland, who is regarded as an ancestor, appears for the first time in 855 in a document for the Werden monastery . Other family members appeared in leading positions in defensive battles against the Normans in Carolingian times. Wichmann himself appears for the first time in 952 in a document in which Otto I transferred ownership of the Moritzkloster in Magdeburg in Deventer in the county of Wichmann. Wichmann was probably already married at that time, as one of his daughters was around 65 years old around 1015.

Wichmann's wife was Liutgard, daughter of Count Arnulf I of Flanders . This marriage increased the importance and reputation of Wichmann considerably, as the Counts of Flanders were related to the Carolingians several times. Wichmann's grandson, Bishop Meinwerk von Paderborn , was referred to in his vita as “of a royal line”. The marriage resulted in three, possibly four children:

  • Liutgard , first abbess of Elten
  • Adela
  • Wichmann († before 968)
  • Meginhard († before 968), questionable

Wichmann's wife died on October 15, 962, as can be inferred from necrological entries for Liutgard of the Elten and Essen monasteries and a deed of donation from Wichmann for an abbey near Ghent. It is possible that Liutgard had withdrawn into a women's monastery because the Essen necrological entry calls her "ancilla christi".

Foundation of Elten

Before the year 968, Wichmann's sons had already died as children, so that Wichmann had no male heirs. Wichmann found himself in the same situation as Gero a few years earlier , who had founded the Gernrode Abbey after the death of his sons and transferred his property to it in order to ensure the memorial service for his family, and he chose the same solution, namely the establishment of a women's foundation . On June 29, 968, at the intervention of Empress Adelheid and Bishop Theoderich von Metz, the monastery, which was already wealthy by Wichmann, provided extensive goods that Wichmann had previously owned as a fief. A patron saint is not mentioned in the deed; the foundation may not have been completed yet. It was not until the next document from Otto I for Elten dated August 3, 970 that St. Vitus was designated as a patron of the monastery. In this document, which Wichmann obtained himself in Italy, Otto confirmed the donations by Wichmann to the monastery with 17 farms and further free float in four counties.

The founding of the Elten Abbey was completed in December 973. Wichmann and his daughter, now referred to as the abbess, visited Otto II in Nijmegen , where they obtained from Otto confirmation of Otto I's donations to the Abbey. In addition, Otto placed the Elten Abbey under his royal protection, following the example of the Gandersheim , Quedlinburg and Essen Abbey , and granted it immunity . The canonesses were given the right to freely choose the abbess, the abbess the right to choose the bailiff. Wichmann's family foundation had thus become an imperial foundation.

Wichmann's death

After the establishment of Elten, Wichmann joined the St. Vitus Monastery in Gladbach, founded in 974 by Archbishop Gero of Cologne . There he died, as can be seen from the entry "Wicmannus conversus" in a Gladbach necrology, on June 20th. Since the inheritance dispute between his daughters broke out during Otto II's lifetime († 983), he must have died before 983.


  • Uwe Ludwig: Count Wichmann von Hamaland and the establishment of the Elten women's foundation . In: Herrschaft, Liturgie und Raum - Studies on the medieval history of the women's monastery in Essen . Klartext Verlag, Essen 2002, ISBN 3-89861-133-7 .

Web links

Material collection of medieval genealogy ( memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive )

Individual evidence

  1. Certificate No. 159 in: Theodor Sickel (Hrsg.): Diplomata 12: The documents Konrad I., Heinrich I. and Otto I. (Conradi I., Heinrici I. et Ottonis I. Diplomata). Hanover 1879, p. 240 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )