Karl Lührmann


Translated by Rev. Hugo W. Schroeder, Jr.



D. Barkemeyer Press: Hude, 1966







All rights reserved by the Parish of Hude

Photographs by Heino Wachtendorf, Hude









In a presentation to Hude parish on November 17, 1956 I offered to write a history of Hude parish.  In these ten years of work I have researched the period up to 100 years ago.  “Hude in Recent Times,” Part II of this work, begins with 1867, because the building of the railroad line from Oldenburg to Bremen, to which were added six years later the branch line to Brake and then to Blexen, started the transformation from what was then the farm village of Hude into the regional center we know today.

            My most important sources were archives in the Niedersachsen Staatsarchiv at Oldenburg and the parish archive of the Evangelical Lutheran Parish of Hude, especially its Chronik der Gemeinde Hude, written 1815-1834 in manuscript form by Pastor Diederich Konrad Muhle.  It was my intention to adhere as closely as possible to historical facts--though no one can do that perfectly.  From the large quantity of material in the sources I have tried to present what would be of import and interest to the modern reader.  It was the desire of the parish, and also my own decision, not to present the entire story, but to write something which would be read and could be given to school students.  I have made every effort to write simply and clearly.  When sources are cited, I have used modern spelling and punctuation

            I hope this short account will find readers and help them understand and love their hometown.


Hude, November 1966

                                                                                                            Karl Lührmann







Translator’s Note


            I do not pretend to be fluent in German, and am certainly not the best person to have done this work.  But since I could find no English translation of this book, which is of so much interest to those interested in the ancestral heritage of our family, I have done the best I can to provide one. Footnotes have been provided to explain things I thought might raise a question for the English reader, and occasionally to indicate how events relate to our own family history.  German technical terms have sometimes been left untranslated, or the translation has been relegated to footnotes, so that the reader who is acquainted with the German language can identify them. 

I hope this effort fulfills the reader’s need.


Liverpool Pennsylvania, USA                                                   


Hugo Schroeder






Copyright Release


Gemeinde Hude (Oldb), Postfach 1152, 27794 Hude

7. Januar 2005


Rev. Hugo Schroeder

218 Wilbur St.

Liverpool, PA 17045, USA


Rechte an dem Buch “Hude in alter Zeit”


Sehr geehrter Herr Schröder:


Die Gemeinde Hude (Oldb) gibt Ihnen die Genehmigung, die von Ihnen angefertigte englische Übersetzung des Buches “Hude in alter Zeit” von Karl Lührmann, auf Ihrer Wbseite zu veröffentlichen,


Mit freundlichen Grüßen


Axel Jahnz



















Karl Lührmann










Out of the Distant Past



The Earth as an Historical Source

How old is Hude?  Generally, those asking this question generally want to know how long the area has been occupied by human beings. No written source can answer that question, because they do not nearly go back to the beginning of human occupation.  The earliest reference to Hude, which occurs in the Cistercian Annals, is dated 1232.  Nevertheless, there is an answer.  The earth itself, the land which the farmer works, on which our forests grow and our houses stand, speaks its own language, if we can understand it.  For interpreting this language the town owes a great debt of gratitude to museum directors Professor Doctor Hartung and Doctor Pätzold, both of whom live in Oldenburg.  They have provided a display of our earliest prehistorical discoveries along with colorful pictorial presentations and photocopies of maps explaining the pre-historical topography.



On the Edge of the Geest

Scholars divide prehistoric times by the raw materials humans used in different stages of development: the Early Stone Age (which in our region extends from about 200,00 to 12,000 B.C.), the Middle Stone Age (12,000 to 2,500 B.C.), the Late Stone Age (2,500 to 1,800 BC), and the Bronze Age (1,800 – 800 B.C.), after which came, the Iron Age, which extends down to our own time.

We can say with certainty that the area around our community has been settled since the Late Stone Age, i.e., about 4,000 to 5,000 years.  It appears that in all this time settlement has never been broken, neither by natural catastrophe nor emigration, voluntary or forced.  Our family stock goes back in an unbroken chain for 4,000 to 5,000 years.

The coastal plain,[1] with its more solid ground, which lies above sea level, enticed nomadic hunters and fishermen to make permanent settlements. Our area lies at the edge of the plain, bordering the moors to the west, north and northeast.  The rise[2] around Goldberg—which was probably named for the golden flowers of the Ginster plant[3], which are found around Huder Feld, the Reiherholz, in Lintel, Hurrel and Vielsted, rather than for any deposits of gold—near Kirchkimmen, was probably settled quite early.  A study of the topography confirms this supposition.  The Bäke[4] winds back and forth around the settlements which were made on elevated spots; running water is important to settlers.  The student of prehistory assumes that the springs of Schnithilgenloh were aleady providing water for settlers in the Stone Age.



Evidences of the Prehistoric Past

I will not try to discuss all the archaeological discoveries which reveal the past.  Those who want to know more about such things can go to the Hude Rathaus and consult the catalogue provided by the Oldenburg State Museum of Natural and Prehistory.

But here is a brief summary.

That human beings were wandering through our area already in the Early Stone age is demonstrated by a small, heart-shaped implement, roughly shaped for use as a stone tool, discovered at Longenberge bei Hesterort in Hurrel. 

From the entire Middle Stone Age there remain only small stone items.  From Hude, just one discovery is displayed: an arrowhead about the size of the fingernail on a little finger.  It was found in 1953 southeast of the Kirchkimmen school.

Late Stone Age remains are no more abundant.  Only six hand-axes or hatchets date to that period.  One hatchet, which is not bored through, was found in a grave on a hill at Lintel by B. Busch and presented to the Museum.  An axe made of fieldstone is bored through was turned up by a plow in Hurrel.  In 1947 R. Gerdes, a railroad official, found a stone axe to which remains of the haft were still attached; it was found in Nordenholzermoor, above the sand, between the third and fourth peat cutting.  How did it get there?  No one knows.

During the construction of the railroad in 1867, two funnel-edged beakers[5] and a basin-shaped clay vessel were found where the right of way cuts through Reiherholz hill.  Later, near the signal box at Reiherholz, a flint knife was also found.

Our ancestors began to practice cremation in the Bronze Age.  Vessels with bone remains have been recovered in great numbers.  On Ulm Street in Goldberg there seems to have been a whole cemetery.  Numerous potsherds were discovered there when excavations were made for house construction.  In Lintel and Hude bronze needles and bronze engraving tools, as well as a weaving weight from the Bronze Age, and even a bronze spearpoint, which still held the shaft, were discovered.

An entire settler’s site from the early Iron Age, complete with earthenware vessels, fireplaces, and four spinning whorls, was discovered near the Reiherholz signal box.  Whether the iron slagheap at the brickworks goes back to the Iron Age or stems from the Middle Ages cannot be determined with any assurance.

The Plank Road,[6] or so-called Wildbahn, which leads from the hill in the Reiherholz through Lintel out to the moor, can be explained on the basis of other sites.  In the Middle Ages, an army marched through the Reiherholz, remains of which can be seen today north of the railroad[7].  From the Middle Ages only a few spinning whorls have been discovered, in Vielstedt and Kirchkimmen.



What does “Hude” Mean?

The name “Hude” appears in ancient documents since 1236, naturally with many variations in spelling, such as Huda, Hutha, Hudha, Hude.  In Middle Low German sources it is referred to, after 1367, as “the Monastery at the Hude,” using the definite article.  In Plattdeutsch it is called “de Hude” (Hochdeutsch “die Hude”).  Questions are often raised about the meaning of this name, but there is no universally accepted answer.  I incline to the hypothesis that it means something like “hut,” “shelter,” or “refuge.”  In addition to our Hude there is a Hude bei Husum, Hude am Dümmer, and several compound place names, like Ritterhude, Fischerhude, and Buxtehude.  As far as I am aware, all of these places lie on the edge of the Geest, which may help explain the meaning of the name.






History Of The Monastery



The Hude Coat of Arms

            The Hude parish coat of arms displays the ruins of the Monastery, or more exactly, the ruins of the Monastery Church.   This was wisely chosen, because these ruins are the distinctive feature of our region, and the Monastery’s history is an essential part of our local history, especially from the 13th to the 16th centuries.  Every Hude resident should know the story of the cloister.



A Fateful Homecoming

            The history of the Cistercian Monastery at Hude begins with the tragic fate of knight returning from the crusades.  The Third crusade, 1189-1192, was led by Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa in conjunction with kings Richard the Lionhearted of England and Philipp II, August of France. One of the participants was Count Christian of Oldenburg.  Up to this time he had shared the rule with his brother Moritz, who lived in Oldenburg, (Christian resided at Leuchtenburg bei Hatten).  But no love was lost between the brothers; in fact, they hated each other.  In 1191 Christian began his journey home, arriving here after indescribable hardships.  At the end of his journey, he spent the night in a peasant’s cottage at Bergdorf (“Bastrup”), in the parish of Ganderkesee.  During the night he was murdered in his sleep by several knights, including the lords of Hatten, Döhlen and Sannum.  It is generally believed that the murder was instigated by Christian’s brother, Moritz.  The only thing known with certainty is that between 1194 and 1198 Count Moritz and his mother, Cunigundis, established a Cistercian nunnery in memory of their murdered brother.  This was, at first, located in Bergdorf,[8] and was subordinate to the Monastery at Lillienthal bei Bremen.  The endowment does not have to be interpreted as an admission of guilt; they may just have been concerned about Christian ‘s salvation, since he died without the sacrament.



A Dangerous Neighborhood

            Soon thereafter, the nunnery at Bergdorf was converted into a monastery for men, and in 1232 it was moved to Hude.  The Annals of the Cistercian Order note “Anno 1232 fundata est abbata de portu sanctae Mariae.”[9]  In this context the Latin word “port” does not mean “harbor,” but should be understood as “place of refuge.”  No harbor ever existed on the Bäke or Bern creeks at Hude.

            1232 was a perilous year.  At the time, the Archbishop of Bremen was waging a ‘cold war’ against the peasants of Stedingen, which was just about to heat up.  Archbishop Gerhard II had already obtained a papal bull of interdiction against the Stedingers, and action by the Kaisar would soon follow.  Was it any wonder a new monastery in their neighborhood, which could serve the Bishop as a fortress, was most unwelcome to the Stedingers?  The first wattle and daub huts of the monks had hardly appeared on the Bäke, when they were demolished by the Stedinger peasants; the monks were beaten and driven away.



The First Document

            Then came the fateful year of 1234 and the tragedy at Altenesch.  The free peasant republic of Stedingen was defeated by the Archbishop of Bremen and his army of crusaders.  Both Count Burchard of Oldenburg and his brother Heinrich fell “under the Banner of the Holy Cross.” The spoils of the war with Stedingen benefited the Monastery at Hude greatly.  Heinrich the Archer, heir to the fallen Oldenburg Counts, issued a deed of gift, the first in which the name Hude appears and in which the adjoining area is called “Nordheide.’

            Translated into modern German, the deed reads:

Als die Niederlassung des Zisterienserordens einst an dem Orte, der in Volksmunde Hude genannt wird, nun Rubus Sancte Marie heißt, ihrem Anfang nahm, sind die Brüder dieser Niederlassung mit der Bitte an uns herangetreten, wir möchten zur Unterstützung bei der Ernährung des Zuchtviehs und darüber hinaus zur Ausweitung ihrer Grenzen alle Rechte an jener Heide, die im Volksmunde Nordheide, ihnen einräumen. 1236 (Unterschrift)[10]

            And so construction began at the Monastery on the banks of the Bäke, and with it, construction of the colossal Church of St. Mary.



About The Cistercians

            But who were these Cistercians?  What did they do?  How did they get their name?  The Cistercian Order was an offshoot of the Benedictines, the oldest of the monastic orders.  All monastic orders shared the basic vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience.  The Benedictine Rule was austere, but its customs had gradually been relaxed.  About the turn of the century there arose, mainly in France, a rigorous religious reform movement, propagated especially by the monasteries of Cluny and Citeaux.  The Cistercian Order took its name from the second of these two.

            This movement stressed unskilled physical labor above all else. “Ora et labore”—pray and work—that was its challenge.  Prayers were hardly brief, but the main emphasis was on work.  Cistercian monasteries were generally located in the wilderness.  Clearing the forests, draining the swamps, making pastures and fields and cultivating the land—that was the work of the Cistercians.  Starting at Altenburg in the Rhineland, the Cistercian Order made its way through ancient Germany and then followed the settlers over the Elbe and Oder far into East Europe, going as far as Weichsal, to Pregel and Memel.  It played a major role in that great German cultural achievement, the cultivation and settlement of the German East. 

But the area in and around Hude was unsettled wilderness too, so the Cistercians went to work here also.  Life was hard.  The abbot slept on the hard floor with the monks.  Every two hours at night the monks were summoned by a small bell to two hours of prayer in the chapel.  Days were filled with strenuous labor.  The monks lived in common rooms, since the Cistercians had no individual cells.  In the entire monastery there was just one heated room—for the sick and aged.  Rations were scanty, fast days numerous.  That’s how life was in the beginning, in the 13th century, and even in the 14th.



The Marienkirche

            Records are silent as to the exact time when the immense monastery church was constructed, but we can say with considerable certainty that it took place in the second half of the 13th century.  Its style is early Gothic, which was beginning to make its way from France through Germany at the time, so the construction plans came from France. They were the same for all Cistercian churches.  Thus arose, in the desolate wilderness of Hude, an immense, perfectly formed structure of the early brick Gothic style.  How mammoth it was!  A church of three naves, the transcept bisecting the main nave closer to the choir than the entrance.  Where the two intersected, there was a high dome, with a bell (the Cistercians did not build steeples).  Inside, the church measured about 56 meters in length by 23 meters breadth.  The transcept, about 27 meters long, projected only a short distance from the sidewalls.  The main nave, between the entrance and the transcept, contained three cruciform vaults, and the choir held two more.  The two side naves (in the transcepts) were only half as high and half as wide as the main nave and, so were supplied with 6 and 4 cruciform vaults respectively.  In each vault there was a window, and the protruding part of the midnave also had a narrow window.  Above the main entrance on the west side, 14 meters high (the height of a three story building) rose an immense window.  In the corner arches, at the transepts, spiral staircases led upwards (only one remains).  Glazed tiles, many of which contained symbols, adorned the ribs of the pillars.  The ribs of the arches were fitted with ceramic capitals, some adorned with demonic faces or animal heads, others containing flowers or the heads of angels.

            From beginning to end, this building was made entirely by the monks.  Most of the building materials were produced on site.  On the opposite side of the Bake is a site still known today as “the brickyard.”  Here clay was dug, formed into the large bricks characteristic of the monastery and fired.  The mortar was “shell-limestone,” made from burnt ocean mussel shells; even today it defies every assault.  Probably the sandstone was brought here from Bremen; it was used to pave the floor and embedded as foundations under the great oaken beams (as can still be seen today on the well-preserved bulkheads of the nave walls to the right of the midnave).  Of course, the stone masonry work was also done by the monks, as was the carpentry on the woodwork.  The church was covered with roof tiles, which were fired in the monastery’s own brick kilns.  These seem to have acquired a good reputation, because they were already being sold in Esens and Ostfriesland by the first half of the 14th century.  A special artistic feat was the production of colored glass for the church windows.  The top section of the window behind the altar in today’s Hude church, the former gatehouse chapel,[11] contains remnants of the original yellow, green and red glass.  When lit just so by the sun, it is still very lovely.



The Significance of the Klosterkirche[12]

            Today one wonders why a church of such mammoth proportions was ever constructed. The Hude monastery did not house thousands of monks—in its heyday there were at most a hundred, including aristocratic monks and the working brothers.  A chapel would have sufficed.  And the monastery church was never planned or built for use by a lay congregation—to serve the sparsely scattered farms of the neighborhood.  At that time the people who lived in what is now the political parish of Hude belonged to the parish of Ganderkesee.  Hude, as an independent church parish, was not established until 1550.  So why this immense church, fully comparable in size with the Bremen cathedral?  To our way of thinking, the church served no purpose.  But then, the Gothic era was not concerned with purpose.  The church did have meaning!  It was built to the glory of God!  Doubt may slip into our minds and make us ask, “But wasn’t that glory of God also the glory of the Church—the triumphal Church?  Wasn’t the church on a perilous course here, erecting such a mammoth building?”  Stones can talk, but here they raise one question after another!



The Torkapelle[13]

            The monks’ prayer offices, day and night, were not held in this church, but in the monastery’s numerous chapels.  These have all disappeared without a trace except one, which is preserved in its entirety: the Torkapella (gatechapel).  As its name implies, it stood at the gate in the outer monastery wall, on the north side of the large monastic compound, where it served as a place of prayer for guests visiting the monastery. These were lodged in a guesthouse by the gate.  This chapel was built around 1300; and is mentioned in a document dated 26 November 1330, a deed by which a certain Winand of Lintel transfers estates to the monastery.  Here is a translation of the relevant passage: “The which Winandus, his aforementioned wife as well as all the heirs named, hath publicly confirmed before us in the chapel of the Blessed St. Elisabeth at the gate in Hude. . . .”  The patron saint referred to here is not the St. Elisabeth mentioned in the Bible, the mother of John the Baptist, but Countess Elisabeth of Thuringen, the young daughter of the King of Hungary, who lived at the Wartburg.  The Legend of the Rose, which is told about her, is enshrined in a fresco to the right of the Altar.  After the death of her husband, the crusader Ludwig von Thuringia, she was banished from the Wartburg.  She died at 23 years of age in Marburg as the result of her tireless ministry to the poor and sick.  The gate chapel was an apt place for her veneration.  It’s almost ironic—the huge building of the triumphal church lies in ruins, but the modest little chapel enshrining humble love of the neighbor withstands the centuries.  Since 1550 the Torkapelle has served as an Evangelical Lutheran church.

            Even the least of Hude’s citizens realizes what a treasure we have in this village church.  It is open, even on weekdays, and after its total restoration will certainly attract many visitors.  Its windows are no longer exclusively of antique glass.  The eye falls first of all on the most precious item, the altarshrine, which portrays the saving events of the Christian faith in 24 woodcarvings, arranged in three horizontal rows, starting at the left.  Figures are colored in robust hues, partially covered with gold leaf, and the background is gold leaf as well.  The artist who created this masterpiece left no mark, and ancient records are silent as to its origin.  We presume that the carvings were probably made by skilled craftsmen working according to set laws and rules under the direction of a Master.[14]  The “Descent from the Cross” is similar to a relief in the cathedral at Strasburg.  After the Illustrated Alarm sounded a warning in an article titled “Valuable Cultural Artifact Decays in Village Church,” the central government and church judicatory took action to remedy the situation with a total and exemplary restoration in 1955.  The rows (of carvings) begin with the Annunciation of Jesus’ birth by the angel Gabriel, followed by the Stable in Bethlehem, with the ox and ass; the Annunciation to the Shepherds; the Three Holy Kings; and the Presentation in the Temple.  From the life of Jesus only the Baptism is represented.  A much wider space with 12 panels portrays the passion, from the Entry into Jerusalem to the Burial.  Four panels show the Descent into Hell, which is symbolized by a green monster with red eyes, from whose gorge two naked people—Adam and Eve—stick out.  They are receiving the message of salvation from Christ.  The Resurrection; the appearance to Mary Magdalene; and the Ascension follow.  The last shows Pentecost, and remarkably, in this last panel, the Virgin Mary occupies the central position, dressed in a golden robe.

            As already mentioned, a picture to the right of the altar portrays the patron saint of the Church, the Countess Elisabeth of Thuringia.  The corresponding one on the left side portrays St. Katharine, with her characteristic sword and wheel.  A large, painting on the ceiling over the altar shows Jesus as the Judge of World, with the Book of Life in his hand.  Before him kneels humanity, represented by Cain and Abel.  Other paintings on the ceiling arches show symbolic figures, such as the Tree of Life, the Phoenix Bird, the Brass Serpent, the Prophet Jonah and the whale, etc.  These pictures on the walls and ceiling are all frescoes, i.e. they were all painted with new colors in the still-damp plaster.  Eventually the walls were whitewashed, and the artwork disappeared.  However, aided by “chalk-eating insects,” the colors eventually came through.  The paint mixture used by artists in ancient times was related to honey, which even today attracts animalcules.[15]  Naturally, the frescoes were not totally preserved.  They had to be restored by artists in the 1948 and 1966 renovations, but we should not be too disturbed that some imagination was required in the process.

            The great crucifix, which has hung over the middle of the church since the middle of the Gothic period, should also be mentioned.  The cross is rough-hewn, made with an axe.  The small figure of St. George and the Dragon has little artistic merit. 

            Our village church is certainly worth seeing!



The Cistercians as Bearers of Cultural

            The erection of the huge monastery church was not the only cultural work of the monks.  Soon after, a watermill was erected on the Bäke, which in its time was a stunning industrial undertaking.  Before that, grain was poured out on a large stone and pulverized by hand using a smaller stone.  This was the women’s work.  What relief watermills, and later the windmills, brought them!  The monks also were the peasants’ agricultural and horticultural teachers, as well as cattle-breeders.  They were the doctors and nurses.  And they were the legal experts, drawing up deeds of purchase and barter as well as wills, which they were empowered to attest and seal.  They provided shelter to travelers who knocked at their door, and they guaranteed the persecuted and oppressed a place of shelter and employment.



The Monastery Becomes Wealthy

            The Acta of the monastery report little about all these cultural activities of the monks; they are treated as a matter of course.  What the Acta demonstrate above all is the rapidly growing wealth of the monastery.  Gifts of estates and farms and transferals of tithe rights fill the archives.  The properties were widely scattered.  It is hardly necessary to mention individual sites; we need only to note that the monastery lands extended out to Kirchweyhe, Dőtlingen, Oldenburg, Strűckhausen, Wechloy, and all through Stedingen.  All the peasants in Lintel had tithe obligations to the monastery.  Bremen was especially important to it.  It is assumed that the abundant payments in kind, which could hardly be consumed in the monastery, were sold at Bremen.  The Hude monastery had its own house there, St. George’s Place.  In Oldenburg, at the corner of Stau and Staulinie, was a property of the Hude Monastery, later known as “Handelshof.” 

            The reason for the numerous donations and bequests frequently was people’s anxiety about their spiritual health.  In no less than 19 deeds this was explicitly stated.  Many of the bequests were executed by people on their deathbeds, probably displeasing their natural heirs.  In the 15th century the number of these bequests declined, and in the 16th century, even before the Reformation, they stopped altogether.[16]



Enemies of the Monastery

            Those who become rich and powerful must expect envy and hostility; our monks too experienced this.  During the time of the Interregnum, “the terrible kaiserless time” the pope looked out for the oppressed monks.  On March 10, 1256, Pope Alexander IV confirmed the freedom and rights of the monastery and attached it to the Archbishop of Bremen, who on February 7, 1257, threatened anyone hurting the monks or their establishment with the ban and interdiction.  This action was occasioned by a problem the Monastery at Hude was facing.  In the same way, a hundred years later, popes Innocent VI and Clement II at Avignon used the same tactic to protect the Cistercian monastery.  On July 22, 1365, Tidericus Stedigh testified that, “seduced into a devilish struggle,”[17] he had killed the monk Hinricus of the monastery at Hude.  For this he paid the fine and transferred to the monastery a well-located estate in Huntorf.  In 1388 it was confirmed that a tenant of the Monastery by the name of Arnold Reme, had killed Schröders wife and child by arson.  In 1409 knight Johann von Stade of the Monastery at Hude, was imprisoned.  Albert Lowe and the four Truper brothers promised not to seek revenge.  And at the Council of Basel in 1434, the Monastery at Hude requested protection from a certain Grőning, a citizen of Bremen, who had seized the collection of wheat tithes at Horn bei Bremen

            There was even conflict in the immediate locale.  Already in 1259 a compromise had been struck between the monastery and the freemen of Vielstedt, Nordkimmen and Steinkimmen concerning the rights to use the Hasbruch.[18]  In 1313 a court of arbitration had to be convened before Count Johann von Oldenburg-Delmenhorst to settle a conflict between the monastery and the peasants of Schlűte and Ludersmoor (Neuenkoop) concerning the use of the moors.[19]  The following year a suit came before the same court between the monastery and Johann von Lintel concerning the forest between their two places and also in the Reiherholz.[20]  Lintel is first mentioned in deeds with this Johann von Lintel, who lived at the Kreye Place.[21]  In 1354 lawsuits about water drainage between Hude and Schlűte were settled. 



Abbots of the Monastery

We could hardly proceed without mentioning that the abbot, as head of a monastery, was chosen for his position because he was an unusually pious, able or learned man.  As a rule the abbot came from a knightly family; in large monasteries they would come from a high aristocratic family and often exercised absolute control.

            The names of twelve abbots of the Hude Monastery are known from deeds, but their names and dates don’t tell us much today.  The first known abbot was Osmund (or Osmannus), who was also entrusted with oversight of the Cistercian nunnery at Lilienthal-bei-Bremen, which till then had been directly under Citeaux.[22]  In 1270 Lilienthal, however, was attached to the monastery at Loccum.  Abbot Rotbert, 1386-1412, resigned the office when he turned 60 years old after 26 years, receiving license from Pope John 23 to eat meat on fast days.  (This Pope was set aside by the Council of Constance and is not officially recognized, which is why the pope elected in 1959 also took the name John XXIII).  The last abbot at Hude was Liborius Lipken; more about him later.



Hude’s Good Beer

            One long deed, full of detail, introduces a little humor.  It tells how Abbot Jacobus of Altenburg and Abbot Wasmodus of Marienthal, guests of Abbot Konradus at Hude, complained about the wretched brew made by the Hude monks.  So Abbot Konradus, spurred on by of his guests, promulgated a decree on April 30, 1306, “It has been decided that Hof (farm) Number 1 in Bernbüttel is to supply one and a half wagonloads of oats and four measures of barley, so that eight keys of good beer can be brewed every fourteen days.”  On the back of the page are notes that the monastery farms on the Bäke should also do the same.  At that time, of course, tea and coffee where unknown, so beer, along with milk and buttermilk, were everyday drinks and were brewed by every household for its own use.  Later on, the cloister brewery became the Klosterschänke.[23]



At Its Height

            Through its three centuries, the monastery at Hude should be pictured as a large compound, surrounded by a wall and moat, with its interior precinct set off by an inside wall. Scattered around the Monastery were its outlying properties.  From most of these estates and farms it receives annually dues and tithes, so that its risk to damage from bad harvests, cattle diseases, destruction and plundering was minimal.  A few farms, however, were worked by the monks themselves.  These were called Mönchshöfe or monks’ farms.

            Because the natural economy was gradually changing to one based on money, the Monastery developed a surplus of income by 1500 and was able to make loans.  Church law, to be sure, forbade the lending of money at interest, but a system was devised by which a principal sum was let out for a yearly “rent,”[24] which brought in about the same yield as interest would have.  The Bremen city alderman took out loans with the Hude Monastery in 1518 and 1528 which totaled 1600 Rhenish gold guilders.  A “rent” of 4½ % was charged for the first loan, 5% for the second.  The Monastery had become wealthy.

            But did this wealth prove to be a blessing?  The order’s strict Rule, which had applied at the beginning of the Monastery’s history, had relaxed bit by bit.  What had happened since the abbot slept on the bare floor with the brothers and gone with them to the chapel for two whole hours of prayer?  Now it was a long tine since an imposing Abbots’ House had been built next to the Monastery; today this is the mansion of the Witzleben estate.[25]  The last abbot himself listed its contents when in his complaint about the plundering of the Monastery: four beds, blankets, down quilts, cushions, plush pillows, a steel bow,[26] along with several yards of white Leyden wool.  Hunting dogs and nets were also carried off.  By that time, this had become a lordly residence.

            Even before the Reformation, the precept of celibacy was not taken seriously.  It was hardly observed strictly by the monks who worked the Monastery farms.  They had taken housekeepers to care for their homes; can we doubt that most of these households were actually illicit marriages.  But even the cloistered monks no longer adhered strictly to the Cistercian Rule.









A New Era

            Everywhere the beginning of the 16th century introduced change so revolutionary that it cannot be described in a local history.  Everything was in ferment.  Monasteries were most of all affected by the Reformation unleashed by the Augustinian monk, Martin Luther.

            Around Hude, this was the situation.  The spiritual ruler was no longer the Archbishop of Bremen, but the Bishop of Münster.  He was also the secular prince of the Countship of Delmenhorst, to which Hude belonged.  Delmenhorst, earlier ruled by a collateral line of the family of the Counts of Oldenburg, had been mortgaged to Münster. Oldenburg was now trying constantly to recover it, and finally succeeded in doing so in 1547. 

In 1530 the Bishop of Münster was Franz von Waldeck, who also held the bishopric of Osnabrück and administered the bishopric of Minden.  Personally, he inclined toward the Reformation,[27] but he was facing great difficulties in Münster with a sect of radical Anabaptists, who expelled him from Münster and set up a communistic Christian state, which they called, “the Heavenly Jerusalem.”  Bishop Waldeck was the one who arranged the end of the Hude Monastery; we will examine his reasons for doing so later.



The Last Abbot

            Liborius Lipken had been the Abbot of the Hude Monastery since 1509.  He was of aristocratic descent, probably from Oldenburg.  His name appears in Monastery records spelled in different ways—Lybirges, Borges, Lypken, Lippcken (at that time names were written rather arbitrarily.)  He was a wise man, and prudent.  Up to that time the Monastery had sought to increase the number of its farms and estates, but Abbot Liborius realized that this policy would not work in the new era.  Princes of the time were firmly set on seizing religious properties and transferring them to the state, or (to use the technical term) “secularizing” them.  Count Anton of Oldenburg was especially so minded.  He ruled jointly with his brothers, but he played the leading role.  The abbot realized that under the circumstances ready money was preferable to landed property, and so for the first time in its history, the Monastery sold some of its country farms.  That’s why that the abbot was able to make the large loans to the Bremen Alderman mentioned above.  Bishop Franz of Münster also demanded money, not as a loan, but in taxes.  In 1529 the Hude Monastery was required to pay the Bishop 700 “felwerde vulwichtige gulden.”[28]  Liborious was worried.



The Plundering

            On the Monday after Cantate,[29] 16 May 1530, armed horsemen appeared at the gate of the Hude Monastery with wagons and violently demanded to be let in.  The brother on duty as gatekeeper, frightened, called for the abbot, and the few brothers in the Monastery came running.  The demand was hardly friendly.  “We were sent by Bernd von Oer, high bailiff of Delmenhorst.  We’ll force our way in if you don’t open the door.  Get a move on it!  Open up!”  Bernd von Oer, the high bailiff, was an important official of the Bishop of Delmenhorst, who executed of the Bishop’s orders.  The abbot submitted to his authority, and then the bacon, beef, dried cod, oats, rye, malt and hops were all loaded onto the wagons.  Heifers and hunting dogs were gathered together and driven off, the hunting nets carried away with them.   From the Abbot’s House the plunderers took blankets, feather beds, cushions, plush pillows, linen cloth and a bow constructed of steel.  Off they went, shouting and laughing, for Delmenhorst.



The Flight

            Abbot Liborius weighed his alternatives and made a quick decision.  While it was still dark, on Monday night and early Tuesday morning, he got underway, taking the shortest road, the “Monastery Road,” which ran over the moor and through the territory of Stedingen to the Weser, where he took ship for Bremen.  According to the testimony of witness Bernd Schmitt, the abbot was accompanied by a hefty porter named Tabke Müller  There were, of course, many things to carry.  Certainly the most important were the mortgages of the Alderman of Bremen, amounting to 1600 Gulden, the interest from which would enable the abbot to live well at St. Georg’s Court in Bremen.  Eight witness testified separately as to the other things he took: Presumably he had the monastery seal, its most important documents, a few small jewels, and 3000 to 4000 gulders in cash.  One witness, Gerd von Barmsfeld, in 1560 told the Royal Commission of the Supreme Imperial Court, “The Abbot had kept a wife in the Monastery, who remained with him when he went out of the monastery.  Whether he was married to her, however, the witness knew not.”  Abbot Liborius did not deny that he had taken the monastery’s valuables with him when he left for Bremen, but said that he did so “not to live a high [desparates] life there,” as his opponents maintained, but that as the legitimate officer of the Monastery he was responsible for them, and was prepared to turn them over to Superior of his Order for storage, and to submit an account of his trusteeship.  He had only taken for his own use an annual sum of 29 gulden, which was probably appropriate for his upkeep and necessities.



Dispute Over the Abbot’s Flight

            The six or seven monks who remained at Hude knew nothing about their abbot’s flight.  They were incensed that the income from Bremen was gone; that they had been plundered and there was no money left in the chest.  They took their complaints about Bernd von Oer to the Bishop of Münster.  The Bremen Alderman declined to pay them the interest he owed on the loan, paying it instead to the abbot, Liborius Lipken.  An exchange of letters between Münster and Bremen followed, polite in tone, but acid in content.  Each side assured the other of its high respect and esteem, but both remained inflexible.  On 22 July, 1532, the Bishop of Münster even sent the report of his high bailiff to Bremen, suggesting that the Alderman abandon[30] the “straying abbot.”  Retaliation was threatened.  On 2 August that year the Alderman of Bremen answered, sending a detailed defense of Abbot Liborius.  (All these documents are written in Middle High German or Plattdeutsch).  He refused the Bishop’s demand, saying that it was not in his place to give orders to a man like the Abbot who was freeborn and a religious.[31]  The Abbot also “turned the knife back,” complaining about the plundering of the Monastery, an act unbefitting even a secular prince, much less a religious one, contrary to “religious canons and decretals” as well as the “statutes and ordinances of secular imperial law.”



Liborius has Second Thoughts

            For the time being, danger had been averted.  But how long would this last?  Abbot Liborius coolly surveyed his position.  On the surface it was not too bad.  He held the mortgages for 1600 Rhenish guldens in gold; he and his wife and children could live well, very well, on the interest of this.  He had 3000 to 4000 gulden in cash, and also a house and farm in Bremen.  Safe in the Hanseatic city, he would no longer have responsibility for the Monastery.

            Still, the Abbot felt insecure.  The Alderman and citizens of Bremen were not stupid.  They would certainly defend him so long as his interest coincided with theirs.  But they were in debt to him; he had the mortgages.  Wouldn’t it be tempting to cancel their debt by eliminating the creditor and having the mortgages disappear?  Could he trust the people of Bremen?  The cautious Abbot had his doubts. 

And there was another thing.  A border ran right through the old city of Bremen, separating the Town Hall from the Cathedral.  The Town Hall and St. Mary’s Church[32] belonged to the Hanseatic City of Bremen; there the laws of Bremen applied, and the Bishop of Bremen had absolutely no secular authority.  Even today the statue of Roland stands as a symbol of the city’s rights, sword upraised and extended toward the Cathedral district in which the Bishop ruled.  Though the Bishop had resided in Bremervörde for a long time, in the cathedral district his will was law.  The Hanseatic City of Bremen jealously guarded its privileges.  But all kinds of people had free access to the territory of the Bishop of Bremen--including agents of the Bishop of Münster, who would be dangerous for the good Liborius.  Could they not kidnap him and carrying him off?  Between the two territories, where the boundary line runs through the city, there were no walls or border surveillance.  No, the Abbot’s position was not without risk.



The Way Out

            Liborius was a sly man.  He was looking for safety, and he found a way to get it.  His adversary, the Bishop of Münster, was also the enemy of the Counts of Oldenburg, who wanted to get the territory of Delmenhorst back from him.  Since the Counts of Oldenburg had founded the Hude Monastery and been its benefactors; they were the ones to guarantee Liborius’ safety!  On 21 May, 1533, Abbot Liborius Lipken transferred all rights to St. Georgshof in Bremen[33] to the brothers Johann, Georg, Christoph and Anton, Counts of Oldenburg.  Shortly thereafter, he left Bremen and went to Oldenburg, where he lived until 1545.

            This cunning move by Liborius hit like a bomb. Only five days after the transfer, Prior Gerhard and the Convent of the Hude Monastery sent two identical letters to Bishop Franz and the Cathedral Chapter at Münster asking them to declare the transaction null and void.  On 2 June the Bishop answered this request by writing to Count Anton of Oldenburg and the Aldermann of Bremen, but without result.  Abbot Liborius submitted still another plea for vindication, similar to that of the previous year.  In the margin he wrote that the previous year he “had been confused in the ‘Cisioianus’” and so had also erred in the date.  But that was a mere formality; further down, he was very sharp in his judgment of the brothers in the Monastery “Wu unkristlik averst und sunder allen religion und gehorsam myne conventespersonen unverschamethg leven unde wandeln, is apenbar genoch, dat idt yo andersnener bowysinge boderff.”  (But the unchristian way-- utterly lacking in religion or any obedience--in which my people live and act in the convent is obvious enough; it certainly requires no proof.)

            This ‘writ of vindication’ of 8 June 1533, along with Count Anton’s formal denial of the petition, was sent to the Bishop of Münster on 12 June 1533.  Count Anton refers to the Abbot as an “esteemed and cherished pious gentlemen”[34] and emphasizes that up to that time he had not been suspended from the administration of his office.  Graf Anton will take the Monastery’s estate under his protection “until the coming council,[35] when his Papal Holiness and the Imperial Roman Majesty, along with the Estates of the Holy Roman Empire can render a decision on the matter.”



The End Arrives

            Only the house in Bremen had been transferred to the Counts of Oldenburg; the Monastery itself still lay in the territory of the Bishops of Münster, who had another concern, one which would lead to the destruction of the Monastery.  The Bishop was concerned that the Counts of Oldenburg might suddenly occupy the nearly vacant Monastery.  Located near their seat; surrounded by its wall and moat, the Monastery was in fact almost a fortress.  From it, an attack could easily be launched against Delmenhorst.  It was also possible that mercenaries could establish themselves in it and use it to launch raiding expeditions.  The Bishop too had to be concerned about his security.

            On 18 July 1533 Bishop Franz ordered his High Bailiff to occupy the Hude Monastery and set up a secular procurator there, and to inventory its moveable and fixed assets, without encroaching on the rights or incomes of the monks.  High Bailiff Bernd von Oer obtained a warrant for proceeding against the Monastery and prepared a list of monastery lands in the Countship of Oldenburg, in Butjadingen and in the Countship of Hoya.

            The last monks paid their prince, the Bishop of Münster, in 1535 alone, first 20, then 30 Rhenish gulden in gold; he used it for the siege of Münster in the war against the Anabaptists.  Johannis Hazzelunis was appointed prior, since Prior Gerhard had left Hude.  Since one of the last monks is said to have been appointed the Pastor of Zetel, it is possible that this was Prior Gerhard.



The Destruction

            Bishop Franz faced a difficult decision.  In the long run he could not let the “fortress” of Hude remain available for military use.  So he decided to render the Monastery militarily useless to his enemies; and issued orders for its fortifications to be destroyed.  The destruction took place after 1536; the exact date cannot be determined from the records.  Details can be gleaned from the testimony of eyewitnesses to the Imperial Commission of 1560 in Bremen.

            Mercenary captain Wilke Steding was now High Bailiff of Delmenhorst.  He had already participated in the reduction of Münster.  With his steward, Hermann von Langen, he appeared before the Monastery at the head of an armed column.  They had the Bishop’s order “to tear down the fortifications, remove the roofs from several houses, churches and other buildings, and build a house in Delmenhorst with the remains.” 

            By his own account, Johann Weldige, Steward of Delmenhorst, removed the first stones and showed the others how it was to be done.  First the gate and the entrance arch were torn down, then the churches, i.e. chapels, and the outer works.  It was expressly stated in the testimony that the Abbot’s house, the refrectory and a few houses in which the monks were living were to be left standing.  The arches of the cloister church were not torn down at that time, but they collapsed later.  Jurgen zur Mohlen, Treasurer of Delmenhorst, removed the tiles so that he could decorate his house in Delmenhorst with them.  The arches, left exposed to the wind and weather, were bound to collapse.  The gentlemen divided the booty among themselves,  Hermann von Langen receiving a stable; the clerk, Johann Buckhorn, took the woolhouse;[36]  Arndt Volken, Procurator of Berne, the bakehouse, Hanneke von Mandelsloh, the Bishop faithful vassal at the Elmenloh estate, took the middle gate.  The stone was supposed to be used in Delmenhorst to build a poor house on the Varrelsgraben and a mill in Hasbergen.  According to the testimony of a witness, however, the poor house was never built; the stones were used instead to build a school, which later burned down.

            The pews, the organ, the clocks and the archives were taken to Münster.  Although witness Bernd Schmitt maintained that there were five wagonloads of archives, that is open to question; the Cistercians were not as prolific writers as the Benedictines.  The Monastery was so thoroughly emptied that a treasure hunter would have found nothing in it.  Perhaps beneath the rubble, which was two or three meters deep, a few tombstones might have been found.  The Torkappele was left standing, and has been used since as the Evangelical (Lutheran) parish church.  A large sandstone tombstone was found under its floor about New Year 1963/64, near the furnace.  It came from the year 1614 and bore the name of Johann Hinrich Sanders, who came from the Sanders family in Hude.  He was administrator of the Monastery property and a faithful retainer of Count Anton II of Delmenhorst.  His name occurs in the records, he died without children. 

The walls of the large cloister church, which had seemed so indestructible, served the peasants as a quarry through the decades and centuries that followed.  Broken fragments were used to pave paths and, tamped down, served as substrate for foundations.

The mill, which had fallen down, was rebuilt by Hermann von Langen in 1543 and put back into operation.  It had been destroyed by fire.  Langen paid the Bishop 100 Rhenish Gulden for a license to rebuild it, and used it for 26 years tax-free.  He was allowed to get building materials wherever he found them, including the Monastery.



The Last Monks

            And what became of the last five monks?  On 1 October 1536 Bishop Franz concluded an agreement with them, which they signed with their own hands.  They pledged to leave the Monastery, and each received as compensation, 1) a payment of 70 Emden Gulden, and 2) a lifetime annuity of 50 Gulden.  Considering the purchasing power of the money, that was a sizeable settlement.

            The names of these five monks were: Hinricus Luschen or Lueseken (Hinrich Lüschen, Looschen or Loseken), Borchardus Kruze (Borchert Kruse), Johannes Hazelunnis (Johann Haselünne), Hermanus Bekker (Herman Becker) and Arnoldus Scroder (Arnold Schröder).  The last one was probably the ancestor of the Schröder family in Hude.

            Concerning their departure Wilke Steding testified in 1560: “They shed their cowls, and from the surrounding villages took their concubines and children (who in some cases were as tall as monks themselves) with them, and left.  But moveable property they turned over to the Monastery.”  Johann Weldige said, “The monks, of whom there were five, continued to live in the monastery for a long time; then they were paid off by the Münsterites, took off their habits (i.e., the clothes of their order) and kept their food and whores.”  The terms “concubines” and “whores” should not be taken literally.  The monks had, in any case, converted to the Evangelical faith and contracted legitimate marriages.



A Command of Emperor Charles V

            Count Anton of Oldenburg disapproved of the destruction of the Monastery; the Oldenburg counts, after all, had founded the Monastery and were its protectors.  So from this time on he attempted to regain the Countship of Delmenhorst, in which Hude was located.  He complained to the Emperor, and so it happened that Charles V., Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, on whose empire “the sun never set,” became involved with our little Hude.

            Count Anton sent “Master,” Gerhard Westerholt, to Speyer, where the Imperial Supreme Court met.  He succeeded in enlisting a capable attorney, Dr. Christoff Hosz, who obtained a strict imperial order to the Bishop of Munster, dated 25 September 1537.  After a few polite words of introduction the Emperor reproached the bishop for his actions, continuing harshly, “For this reason we herewith desire you and most strictly command you, by our Imperial Roman authority, within four weeks from the delivery or proclamation of this letter, to rebuild and repair everything which you have laid waste, torn down or destroyed in the aforementioned monastery, and that you should return to that place the church ornaments, chalices and other things, along with its incomes, revenues and duties, discharge the aforementioned procurator, and furthermore allow the abbot and convent to possess in peace their properties and estates as well as the administration as in past times, and that you show no disobedience or displeasure to this, so that there may be no need to proceed further against you to resolve the aforementioned punishment.”  The emperor allowed 45 days for a protest to be raised.

            This order was easy enough to give, but it was difficult to carry out, and it never was carried out.  The abbot and convent of the Monastery had moved away and received a settlement.  Besides, Bishop Franz had other concerns than the distant and deserted Monastery.  Dr. Hosz in Speyer suggested to the Alderman, abbot and convent of the Monastery that they raise a complaint at the Supreme Imperial Court in Speyer, but they did not follow this up.  They were completely satisfied with the settlement and annuity they had received.



The Verdict of the Imperial Court of Justice

Yet, another attempt was made to restore the Monastery, even after the Augsburg Interim of 1548.  The legate of Pope Paul III, Cardinal Franciscus Sfondratus, wanted to entrust the Osnabruck prince-bishop, Franz von Dey, with this duty.  But this effort had no hope of success.

Things had dramatically changed in Oldenburg.  In 1547 Count Anton had surprised and captured the city of Delmenhorst.  That made him lord of the Countship of Delmenhorst, and owner of the Hude Monastery.

The legal wrangling between Munster and Oldenburg over the Monastery was finally settled by the Imperial Court of Justice in Speyer.  A commission of the Court of Justice was convened in Bremen.  The testimony of eight witnesses lies before us.  They were Hermann Lasterpape from Bremen, previously a retainer of Count Anton, Hermann von Langen, Wilke Steding, Johan Weldinge, Steward of Delmenhorst (which made him a retainer of the Oldenburg counts), Gerd of Barnsfeld, forest steward of Delmenhorst, Gerd Stoer of Schweye from Lockfleth, Heinrich Lüschen of Hude, born in Lintel (not the former monk), Bernd Schmith, born in Twistringen but living in a village near Hude.  Since nothing more could be anticipated to surface, the remains of the Monastery were awarded to the counts of Oldenburg. 



The Witzlebens as Heirs

The remains of the once proud Monastery lay abandoned.  For a while Count Anton Günther of Oldenburg stopped by to hunt in the thinly settled, heavily forested surrounding area.  On Sundays and festivals a little congregation gathered in the former Torkapelle (Gate Chapel) for evangelical worship.  The watermill was again in use, and an inn, the Klosterschänke, was kept in the monastery Brewery.

When Count Anton Günter of Oldenburg died without a legitimate heir of the blood, his closest relative, the King of Denmark, became his heir.  In the “Danish Era,” which continued for 120 years, a decision was made about the ownership of the Monastery.  King Christian V. of Denmark transferred the Hude Vorwerk[37] including the mill, as a noble estate to his long-standing officer and Master of the Hunt, Kurt Vieth von Witzleben by contract for an inheritance-rent of 150 Reichstalers (in lieu of cavalry service).[38]  The inheritance-renter later became the owner.

The Witzleberns were old Saxon-Thuringian military nobility, but not yet landed.  Many of them had served in foreign armies during the wars.  A Herr von Witzleben had served in a Finish cavalry regiment under Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years’ War.  The Witzlebens remain estate owners in Hude.  The estates were let out as dairies, in addition to which a few small country places still belong to the estate.  The last heir, a well-known surgeon, emigrated during the Nazi era to the USA and lives in Chicago.  After the collapse,[39] the dairies were divided into two farms and sold.  The remainder, with the estate house, the park, the now closed mill, the Klosterschänke and a part of the Reiherholz were purchased Carl Maria von Witzleben, a great-grandson of the composer Carl Maria von Weber.  He is an industrialist living in Finland, a cousin of the murdered Fieldmarshal von Witzleben.[40]  The trustee of the estate is his sister Viola von Witzleben.  The monastery ruins also belong to the estate.



The Hude Church Parish

The village of Hude differs in its physical layout from most church-centered villages of the Geest.  In most cases the village has been built around the church.  On Sundays and festivals the people came together, to talk to each other, relax, hold sales and barter merchandise.  Around the church, even today, are inns, stores and handcraft shops.  Hude was completely different.  The few inhabitants of what is now the Hude parish were then connected to the Ganderkesee parish.  An independent church parish was first established at Hude in the mid 16th century, after the introduction of the Reformation and the destruction of the Monastery.

The gate chapel remained standing.  Dedicated to Saint Elizabeth, it was first mentioned in a deed of 1330.  This unassuming gate chapel was now put to use as an Evangelical house of God.  But the chapel was surrounded by monastery property, so no one could settle in its immediate vicinity.  Even the parsonage does not lie near the church; it is a quarter hour walk away, on what is now Vielstedt Straße.



The Bauerschaft

Among the Bauerschaften[41]of the Hude parish, the Hude Bauerschaft is certainly not the most important.  Most valuable land had belonged to the Monastery, and later, with it, became the property of the Witzlebens.  A large farm[42] for the pastor and a smaller one[43] for the Sexton were petitioned off when the church parish became independent.  All the other agricultural properties  were “Brinksitzungen.”[44]

All those who lived in the parish were farmers, and probably they all carried on a trade also, such as blacksmith, carpenter or wheelwright.  But everyone worked the soil, including the pastor, sexton and schoolmaster.  Depending on the size of their farms, farmers were classified in three levels: Baumann, Köter and Brinksitzer.[45]

Much more important than Hude were the Bauerschafts of Vielstedt and Lintel, followed by Hurrel and Nordenholz, later by Neuenkoop (Pfahlhausen) and Maibusch, which consisted only of Brinksitzers.  Nordheide and Altmoorhausen were settled later, and lastly Nordenholzermoor and Hudermoor.



The Pastors

Parish pastors in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and even into the 19th, were not only spiritual leaders[46] of the congregation but authoritative representatives of the government.  Since the introduction of the Reformation the secular ruler was, in fact, the summus episcopus, the highest bishop of the country.  The Peace of Augsburg, 1555 established the principle known as: Cuius regio, eieus religio, i.e., whoever ruled determined the religion of his subjects.  So everyone who lived under the government of the Counts of Oldenburg had to be an Evangelical (Lutheran).  The pastor had to announce the laws and decrees of the Counts of Oldenburg, and later, the Kings of Denmark, at Sunday services; no one could plead ignorance of the law, since every household had to attend church every Sunday,[47] Attendance was required by the secular authorities.  Annually, and later every three years, a church visitation was conducted by the Countship authorities.  For this occasion an ominous list had to be prepared.  The Pastor himself had to prepare this, and it bore the title, “Personae Scandalosae.”  The lists for Hude still reside in the parish archives and are very informative.  One could write a novel about a single entry.  Next to “worked on Sunday” or “swore” might stand a child who quarrels with her parents, or an adulterer, or even the murderer of a child.  These personae scandalosae had to appear at the church visitation receive their punishment, perhaps an hour in the stocks or maybe a cash fine.  The use of the stocks was abolished in 1719 and replaced by fines or detention with bread and water.  The Pastor was required to execute the punishments, which in the long run was not in the best interest of the church.

So the Pastor’s character was of importance to the whole parish.  From the Oldenburg State Archives and the Muhle Chronicle we know the entire list of Hude pastors, and the curriculum vitae of most.  Still, what can a list of names and dates tell us moderns about the men?  We will discuss only a few.

The first Evangelical Pastor at Hude was Christoph Gühlken, who probably took office in 1550.  Among his successors, Frederick Mebesius may be mentioned; he took office in Hude in the middle of the Thirty Years War (1631) and held it for 32 years.  Mebesius was the son of a pastor in Ganderkesee and had received a basic theological education.  He was followed by the two Strackerjans, father and son; their descendants still live in and around Hude.  Hermann Strackerjan, the father, came from Halle in Westphalia, and was the son of a carpenter although his uncle was a famous theologian in Oldenburg.  He himself seems to have been devoted to his work, and in addition was active as an author.  He was responsible for introducing the Baroque pulpit in the church (1672). 

His son and successor, Justus Hermann Strackerjan, was of a different nature.  Through an entire century, from 1697 to 1797, Hude only had two pastors, Justus Hermann Strackerjan and Johann Peter Lammers.  Strackerjan was more farmer than pastor.  Distinguished by his powerful physique, he was an awesome person whom no one dared to oppose.  He did not live in the parsonage, but built his own Brinksitzerei on today’s Park Straße--the present Rathaus.[48]  The large bolders behind the hedge on the grounds were hauled there by the older Strackerjan to mark the borders of his property.  He also built a sheepcote out of fieldstone with his name chiseled into it.  The late innkeeper, August Wisse, captured this hut in his paintings.  Since he was so preoccupied with farming, we can understand why this Pastor’s record keeping suffered.

It remained for his successor, Johann Peter Lammers, who was originally his “Adjunct” or subordinate, to bring everything up to date, which he did very diligently.  For us today it is interesting to learn that Pastor Lammers had to pay his predecessor, Strackerjan, 200 Reichstaler annually as a pension as long as the old gentleman lived.  He also had to keep a room in the parsonage ready for his use.  Since Strackerjan eventually went to live with his son, Capt. Martin Strackerjan in Hatten, and the room was no longer required, Lammers had to pay him 15 Talers more for it.  Here too we can see the old rural tradition that an heir had to maintain his predecessor until death.  Deep into old age, when he was limited by illness and the difficulties of aging, Lammers faithfully filled his office.  Many manuscripts in his own hand provide information about our congregation in the second half of the 18th century.  If Strackerjan was generally feared by the congregation, Lammers was respected by all.  Everyone who enters the Hude church today can see, near the entrance on the left, this honorable pastor’s gravestone.

A man of interest not only to the Hude congregation but also the whole of Oldenburg was Pastor Diederich Konrad Muhle.  In large part, we have him to thank for our knowledge of the congregation’s history, because he dedicated himself in large measure to historical research and writing.  In that, he was a true child of his era, the Romantic, with its strong interest history.  Muhle undoubtedly had many fanciful ideas, so his presentations of the distant past are of questionable value as historical sources.  I based my writings on the history of Monastery on archival sources and not on Muhle. But we may assert that Muhle’s accounts of the time in which he lived and its recent past are trustworthy.  Muhle was pastor in Hude 1815-1834, and before that was a catechist at Berne; he was born in Oevelgönne (Brake), so his reporting of the French Era is very instructive.  Muhle was an uncommonly industrious writer.  Anyone who has examined his handwritten records, in their thick leather-bound volumes, at the Hude Parish Archives, titled “Reports on the Hude Parish” and “Chronicles of Hude Parish,” will hold this man in high regard.  Here’s an example.  From his records we can tell, even today, how many sunny, rainy, stormy or cold days there were in Hude during Muhle’s pastorate.  In addition to these writings about Hude, Muhle also left behind works on Oldenburg history, in addition to his “Poems and Hymns, Odes, Idylls Parables, Legends, etc.”

            It may also interest us today to learn that for a full century, 1715-1815, the Hude parish worshipped without the use of an organ.  Pastor Strackerjan, during whose pastorate the organ became unserviceable, apparently did not bring sufficient energy to the task of procuring a new one.  His successor, Lammers, made several different attempts to bring things together, collecting money for the organ, but never gathering enough to buy a new one.  At that time we had to perform the music of the Liturgy in the traditional way, like many other congregations.  The Sexton ‘lined out’ the music, saying the words line after line just before the congregation sang, then he lead the singing in a loud voice.  At that time some people in the congregation still could not read, but they joined in the singing.

            At one time there was also a real uproar in the generally peaceful town of Hude.  In 1791 a new hymnal had to be introduced.  It had been compiled by the famous Mutzenbecher in the spirit of those times, of the Enlightenment and intellectual religion (we should note that it remained in use in the Oldenburg Landeskirche[49] until 1871).  An example can still be found in the Hude pastoral archives.  At that time a new hymnal was a major innovation, because the hymnal was second only to the Bible; with Stark’s Prayer Book and a Hauspostille,[50] was often the only book in the house.

When use of the new hymnal was to begin, about two-thirds of the worshippers left the service with a loud protest.  The next Sunday magistrate Bruns from Delmenhorst stepped in with governmental authority to force the introduction of the hymnal.  The protest, however, does not seem so much to have been about the modern spirit of the Enlightenment as that something “new” was taking the place of that which was “old and trusted.”

Perhaps some will still be interested in the baptism of a Jew in Hude.  In 1759 Pastor Lammers was received the request of a 22 year old Jew, Joseph Arin, to receive Baptism and be received into the evangelical Lutheran congregation.  He came from Poland, but had moved with his parents as a child to Groß-Glogau.  He had been employed as a servant by the Jew Samson in Elsfleth and later by the Jew Hayne Meyer in Delmenhorst.  The pastor in Ganderkesee had refused his petition for baptism, suspecting that he really just wanted to obtain the secular advantages of being Christian.  Pastor Lammers examined the young man, who in the meantime had obtained employment with a farmer, Meyers, in Vielstedt, and instructed him in Luther’s Large Catechism.  On St. John’s Day (June 24), 1760, Joseph Arin was baptized and took the name of Christian Hude.  Adam Levin, II von Witzleben was his godfather.  On his baptismal day he was given the money from the collection-bag as his godchild gift.  He owned a Brinksitzerei in Nordenholz.  His family has since died out.



Property Rights

            Until about a hundred years ago agriculture was about the only source of income for the population of Hude.  Even artisans, innkeepers and storekeepers worked farms as their principal occupation.  As we have seen, even the pastor was a farmer, and especially the Schoolmaster.

            As we have already mentioned, farmers were known as Baumann, Köter and Brinksitzer by the size of their property, and the Brinksitzers were still further divided into the three classes.

            Agricultural properties in the Duchy of Oldenburg could not legally be divided or reduced in size by sale.  There were exceptions.  For example, the Meyer voll Bau in Nordenholz was once divided into two halbe Bauen because the heirs were twins.  The government allowed this to keep the property productive.

            In the Middle Ages the peasants of Oldenburg had, for the most part, surrendered their freedom and become serfs.[51]  They were “bound” to the Counts, or to a monastery, to the Bremen foundation[52] or to a noble lord.  This bondage had its benefits.  A freeman was obligated to perform military service in wartime, for which he had to arm and maintain himself; if he had a large property, he even had to provide a horse.  And military service was common.  So it was probably more advantageous to be a bondsman and just pay an annual tax.  Taxes were mostly paid in kind, seldom in money.  Cash money was scarce and was seldom used in business and ordinary transactions.  In the parish of Hude, for example, the entire Bauerschaft of Lintel was bound to the Hude Monastery.  A serf could not be driven from his farm,[53] and handed down his real estate[54] (in the parish of Hude) to his youngest son.

            Inheritance by the youngest had both benefits and disadvantages.  For the state, it provided adequate regulation of the transfer of farm property, for the care of the aged and dowries for daughters who had no inheritance.  It ensured that no one would die of need and penury, for one could always take refuge on the farm where he/she was born.  At the time of their engagement the pastor drew up a marriage contract for a young couple, which was signed by witnesses.  The state official—in this case the Amtmann in Delmenhorst—added his approval.  Only after he certified that there were no objections to be raised by the government could the marriage be solemnized.  There are many marriage contracts from Pastor Lammer’s time in the pastoral archives at Hude.  One will suffice as an example (with modern spelling and punctuation):


In the Name the Most Holy Trinity

Anno 1750, 21 April.  At Vielstedt, conformably to church discipline, the honorable and reputable bachelor Sanders Busch, legitimate son of the honorable and reputable Reiner Busch, Baumann at Lintel, groom, and the respectable Wübke Margarethe Würdemanns, legitimate daughter of the late honorable and reputable Berend Wüdemanns, Baumann of Vielstedt, became engaged; and concerning their temporal estate they agreed on the following terms, on which the marriage is to be established:

1.        The bride will bring to her future husband 100 Reichstaler (at 72 Grote[55]), to be delivered on the wedding day, of course.

2.        Another 100 Reichstaler (at 72 Grote) are to be paid in two installments, in the two years next.

3.        A horse, second best, 12 head of cattle, namely 4 cows, 4 oxen, and 4 dun-colored (Queren[56])

4.        A malter[57] of rye and a malter of grain (barley).

5.        Two fattened and two lean hogs.

6.        One wagon without a cover.

7.        One Cupboard, one trunk and one suit of good clothes.[58]

In return, for the pleasure of his bride, Sanders Busch [will provide] the house lying in Lintel, its fields,[59] and everything that belongs with it, according to the customary rule in the country: “Länger Leib, Länger Gut.”[60]


Eodem die (On the same day)

The parents of the groom, Reiner Busch and Metje Busch and their two engaged children, were informed and agreed that if they are able to get along well in the house with their son and their new daughter-in-law, to whom they herewith surrender management [of the farm]:

1.        They will eat at the same table with them and be satisfied with the fare.  If they become ill, however, they may request somewhat better food.

2.        One share in the enclosure[61] and two small shares in the field[62] at Barkenbusch for the mother in the house.

3.        The father shall have one horse on the place for his own use and none other’s, and also the so-called “product”[63] or foal of the horse; but he will not have the power to sell the horse during his son’s lifetime.

4.        The mother is promised that each year ¼ hemp seed[64], which she is to buy herself, will be sown; in exchange, she will entertain herself with working linen.[65]

If it happens that the parents, despite their desires, cannot live in the same house with their children because of strife and disunity, they will be contented with the following arrangement:

1.        The small house in the field for the rest of their lives, and a share in the field.

2.        A malter of rye annually for the father and a malter of rye annually for the mother, and for the two together a malter of groats.

3.        Two so-called “iron cows”[66] from the place for their use.  But if one of the parents dies, then only one “iron cow,” which is to be kept on the place under any circumstances for their use.

4.        If there is Mastung[67] one fattened hog, but if there is no mast, one lean hog.

The witnesses named below are required to guarantee that this contract, made today, shall be adhered to firmly and fully as written by the contracting parties, and with their signatures pray to attest that it was entered into freely.

          Done at Vielstedt on date above

                Gerd Wachtendorf                               Reiner Busch

                Mark of Jakob Würdemann                Sander Busch

                Gerd Oetken                                          Lange

                Gerdt Wübben Horst                           Gerd Busch

                Johann Busch                                       Johann Hinrich Drieling

                                In fidem scriptsit

                                                J. P. Lammers


            Everything was precisely stated; misunderstandings were impossible.  For clarification, the following should be added to the sentence, “If there is Mastung:”  

`           The forests were held in common, as were heath and moor, i.e., they were jointly owned by the Bauerschaft which used them, when they were not owned by the lord.  If the acorn crop was sufficient, every farm in the Bauerschaft would be allowed to drive a certain number of hogs into the woods on its appointed day.  If the crop was poor, there would no Mastung (grubbing for the pigs).

            The record of the marriage settlement was legitimized by the signature of the Amtsmann and verified by the pastor.

            So what happened to sisters of the heir to the farm?  Generally sisters married, and, as the example above shows, received a dowry.  But in order to provide this, the heir had to “marry up to his station” and obtain a wife who brought a good dowry.  For a girl who never married the only possibilities were to take employment as a “Magd[68] on another farm or remain on her brother’s farm as a Tante.[69]

            For sons, there was only a remote possibility of establishing an independent living.  Real estate was held by families and was inalienable.[70]  New farms were established before the end of the 17th century in Maibusch, and at Nordenheide and Moorhausen in the 18th century, but the chance of doing this was slim.  The population of the parish could not have grown by much.  In 1700 it may have been about 900, and all thing considered, by 1800 may have doubled.

            An example of the founding of new a farm would be the present Bruggemann place in Nordenholzermoor.  This was established in 1794 by Berend Hinrich Heitzhusen of Vielstedt; he was the first person to move onto the Nordenholzer moor.  Since there were no sons in several generations, the name changed from Bruggeman to Lange and then Meyer, but the family remains the same.

            The settlement of Nordheide is another example.  In the earliest deed that mentions Hude, in 1236, the Nordheide is mentioned as a pasture of the Monastery.  Along with the Monastery estate, it passed to the Witzlebens.  At the end of the 18th century Herr von Witzleben sent in six settlers, named Munderloh, Meyer (later Stöver), Haverkamp, Wefer, Hedenkamp and Berens.  The Stöver name is still perpetuated in a place named “Stöverskamp.”  The six settlers were each required to give one day’s work a week in the garden of the Witzleben estate.  Apparently they received their property on the Nordheide free of charge; no purchase price in mentioned in the records.

            The better [way for a son without an inheritance to get ahead] was to “marry into a farm.”  An example of this is a marriage contract from the same family as that in the above contract.  That marriage, solemnized in 1750, produced sons and daughters.  In the meantime, Sander Busch had died; the heir to the farm was his younger son, Berend; the older son, Reinert, remained after that on the farm as “Onkel.”  The daughter, Metje, received her dowry and married.  The same Pastor Lammers who had written the parents’ contract in 1750 composed the following marriage contract:

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity.

                On the 9th of  September 1791 the honored and respected young bachelor Reinert Busch, eldest remaining son of the late Sander Busch, former Bauman[71] at Lintel, and the respectable, virtuous Gesche Drieling, widow of the late Gerdt Drieling, former Brinksitzer at Lintel, entered a Christian engagement.  Concerning their temporal possessions this marriage contract was agreed upon in the presence of accompanying witnesses.

                As bridal dower for the parental portion he will provide his affianced bride and her estate what his sister Metje, who is married to Johann Henrich Busch of Moorhausen, received as her marital portion: in cash, 100 Reichstaler--written: one hundred Reichstaler--at 72 Grote in gold, which is to be paid in full on the morning of the wedding.  In addition, in livestock, 2 milk cows, one horse second-best, and further a complete bed, fully made, and two cupboards, besides a trunk and one ceremonial dress.

                For the portion from his own resources he has nothing to write down.  And so as the stepfather he cannot at present inherit or have as his own possession the Drieling’s portion,[72] though he will manage this and use it until the youngest child, the daughter Alke, who is now 7 years old, reaches her majority, which is 18--written: eighteen years--when he will turn over the administration of it.  He will adopt the stepchildren as his own children, provide for them, clothe them and especially educate them in a Christian manner, and also fully pay the debts which still encumber the farm.

                If God blesses this second marriage with children, they will be treated in every respect exactly like those of the first marriage, even regarding their discipline.  And if his wife dies before him, he will receive as lifelong residence on the farm and adequate maintenance.

                All of this has been written down in the presence of the accompanying witnesses, although the groom’s brother, Berend Busch, though he promised to do so, has not appeared but remained at home.  And salva approbatione through their signatures below on this rough draft, it will become effective.  Actum in fidem scripsit et subscripsit.

J. P. Lammers, Pastor

                Reinert Busch                                       Johann Henrich Würdemann

                Johann Dierk Busch                            Johann Berns Barkemeyer

                Johann Henrich Busch                        Johann Wübbenhorst


            Again everything was painstakingly and precisely arranged, and Amtmann Bruns could write with a clear conscience beneath this:

                Having examined this marriage contract I find nothing of concern to the government to note.

Delmenhorst, 30 Sept. 1791                                                                                A. Bruns.


            Obviously, the son of Baumann Sander Busch was reduced in social position.  He became the administrator of a Brinksitzerung.  But he remained independent, was a married man and the father of a family.  Concerning the last sentence of the agreement it should be mentioned that this marriage arrangement brought no pleasure to the brother of the fortunate groom.  That’s no wonder, since he had to pay the marriage portion which is noted in the contract, and in addition he lost the competent and cheap labor of his brother.

            Finally, for a venturous man who had no inheritance there was another possibility: if he did not want to live as an “uncle” on his father’s--now his brother’s-- farm, he could take up another vocation.  However, the small towns in the immediate region, and even the Hanseatic city of Bremen, offered few possibilities.  If the attempt to become independent failed, the family farm always remained as a refuge.  An example from Vielstedt shows us the path of such an enterprising young man.  Our historian Muhle reported in his Chronicle:

1808, Dierk Sandersfeld, schoolteacher at Vielstedt, died on 22 April.  He was born at Vielstedt, No. 11, in 1753 on the 3rd of July, and after his confirmation served 2 years with Forester Runten, then 2 more years in Stedingerland.  After that he made 6 trips to Greenland as a whaler remaining each time for a while in Holland when he returned.  There, because of his punctuality, orderliness and proven competence, he was entrusted with the supervision of whale oil processing.  Finally, he came home ill as a result of his strenuous life, and spent an entire year recovering from physical weakness.  This moved him to give up his former way of life and apply for the vacant school position at Vielstedt (which also serves Nordenholz).  It was conferred on him over his competitor Hinrich Wittenberg (who is now Choral Director at the Oldenburg Seminary) on 18 October 1781, and he held the position for 26½ years, until his death.  This man, who is still held in high esteem, always had conducted himself reasonably, loved good order, and was discrete, so that General Superintendent Janson, who examined him for the school position, wrote to Pastor Lammers about him, “His reasonableness and carefully considered answers really pleased me.”  He administered the school faithfully with much diligence, and Pastor Lammers was very happy with his work.  One of his sons is the current schoolteacher at Vielstedt, Johann Hinrich Sandersfeld; he has his father’s spirit, and has distinguished himself especially with his knowledge of nature.  Among other things, he has an interesting cabinet of stuffed birds.


After the founding of the Teachers’ Seminary in Oldenburg (1803) it was possible for the gifts sons of farmers to become teachers.  Muhle reports that by 1823 five young people from the Hude parish had already attended the Oldenburg Seminary.

            Finally, we must mention emigration to America, which of course at that time involved a final break from the homeland.  Muhle also mentions several instances of this.



Forest and Game

            Hude is a popular get-away place for everyone who lives on the nearby Wesermarsh.  In its forests, our parish has something that the marsh lacks. 

            In past centuries, when the land was thinly settled, there was much unused land-- moor, heath and forest--so there were many wild animals which have been exterminated today or are much less common.  Diederich Konrad Muhle, pastor at Hude from 1815 to 1834, gathered and preserved many tales about the wild animals and the forest.

            About 1630, which would have been during the 30 Years War, the number of wolves increased sharply.  People tried to capture them in wolf pits.  In Muhle’s time they were still found in the fields of Vielstedt, at Rabbenkamp, on the Hühnerwinkel and in the Reiherholz.  Near the Heitzhusen house in Vielstedt there was a hut, “where livestock grazing in the pasture were protected from the wolves.”  Muhle says,

“In the night wolves often came into Hude.  A monastery farmer[73] once tied a well-shoed stallion to a chicken coop and in the morning found a wolf that had been kicked to death behind it.

A Bauman at Vielstedt, Johann Molle, was driving during the night through the opening[74] behind the Vielstedt field, where there was a woods at that time, and was attacked by wolves along the way.  Terrified, he unyoked his best horse and escaped on its, leaving behind the wagon and second horse, a worn-out, old mare not worth saving.  In the morning, when he went to get his wagon, he found several wolves, which had been stamped to death, behind the horse.

Another horse, which belonged to Heitzhusen, ran out of its pasture in the Hasbruch with wolves in hot pursuit.  It saved itself by running to the outbuilding on its owner’s farm (the “Wambe”), where it was found in the morning safe and sound.  Two dead wolves were found behind it.

At the Reiherholz, a girl fell one evening into a wolf pit, where she waited in terror for day to break.  She was almost overcome by fear when a wolf came in the night and jumped into it with her.  If she had only known how a wild animal acts when it is caught, she wouldn’t have been so afraid.  The wolf cowered timidly in the corner, not threatening at all to attack her, until the next morning.  Then the two unfortunates were both pulled out and sent to their separate fates.


            The last wolf to be seen in this area was shot by Forest Warden Brand in a field at Hurrel in 1740.  In Muhle’s time, about 1830, there were again rumors that wolves had been seen; but these seem to have been occasioned by a wild dog.  Muhle tells us something else interesting, though:

The wolves were hung up at Hude, dead or alive, on the Ziegelhof, and there were generally three hanging there as trophies.  In Jeverland, not far from Schortens, there is still a gallows where these robbers were strung up.


            Muhle also knew about stags[75] and roe and described them, though he does not mention wild boar.  Our Historian says, among other things, that:

In 1740 the Forest Warden at the time, named Brandt, traveled to Copenhagen with a huge, especially magnificent, stag, to give it to the king as an oddity.  In the Forester’s absence a great deal of wood, especially pine (which at that time was very valuable), was stolen.

            During the French Era (about 1800) many harts were heedlessly shot by soldiers passing through.  After the French occupation they became plentiful again.  Forester Richberg tried to protect them, but the farmers complained about the damage they were causing.  Finally, in 1829, the order came from Oldenburg to shoot all the stags.  Nevertheless, in the end, 18 of the animals remained, a few of whom had wandered in from the Harz; these can be recognized because they are “smaller in stature and have little, white antlers.”

            Among the unusual animals in the Hude area, Muhle mentions the appearance of silk swans in 1552.  They came from the north, and in such numbers that they nearly blocked out the sun.  In keeping with superstitions of the times, wars and plagues were prophesied, particularly because of the red appendages on their wings, and also because they had never been seen before. .In 1828 a pair of black storks nested in the Reiherholz, and raised three young.  That August two of them were shot (!) and stuffed by the teacher, Sandersfeld in Vielstedt.  According to popular beliefs, the black stork foretold a wet year.


            The significance of acorns[76] for the operation of farms has already been mentioned.  For the period around 1750, Muhle provides the following statistics for the “masting” of swine in the region around Delmenhorst:

            Tiergarten, Elmelohe woods and Schlutterfeld                                 100 swine

                Bürstel Woods                                                                                         40 swine

                Feldhorst bei Bergedorf                                                                          48 swine

                Stenum Woods and Middehoop                                                         200 swine

                Hude woods, Reiherhoz, Schithilgenloh                                            200 swine

                Hasbruch                                                                                                               1000 swine

                Kimmer woods                                                                                        200 swine

                Lintel Regt                                                                                                                   8 swine

                Hockforst                                                                                                         3 to 4 swine

                Hengst woods                                                                                                 4 to 6 swine

            The “mast rights” of the pastor and sexton in Hude was controversial.  In 1819 they were addressed by an “Administrative Order:”  The pastor was allowed to send 3 hogs, and the sexton 1 to “the masting.”



The School System

            Usually the idea of a medieval monastery includes the image of a monastic school.  There is no mention of such a the Hude Monastery records.  And if such a monastery school did exist it would only have been of significance for the Cistercian Order, and not for those who lived in the area.  The beginning of the public school system in our land occurred in the Reformation Era, which was also when Hude parish was founded--about 1550.

            Without doubt the oldest school in Hude parish was the school at the watermill.  It was probably established early, in the 16th century, and was taught by the sexton of the parish.  We have no details of this period, however.

            In the 17th century the name of a schoolteacher and sexton appears, Martin Neumann.  Here is a surprise--he came from East Prussia!  From the minutes of the church visitation of 31 October 1658 we learn that sexton Martin Neumann had been born in 1609 in Soldau in Prussia.  His father was mayor[77] there, and his grandmother sent him off to a variety of schools.  Since Pastor Spanhake, who served in Hude 1620-1631, invited him to be sexton and schoolmaster, he had come to Hude at the latest by 1631 as a young man.  How and why did the young man get from East Prussia to Oldenburg in the confused period of the 30 Years War?  That we do not know.  In the Visitation Protokol of 1687 Neumann, now 77 years old, is mentioned again.  Concerning his income, it was reported in 1658: “Salary--15 Reichstalers (yearly!), a cabbage patch, 1 Juck of land, with perquisites for funerals, baptisms and weddings according the position of those served at 1, 3, or 6 Grote.

            There would be no value in listing all the sextons and schoolteachers who worked in the school at the watermill until it was closed; it is more important to get a picture of function of the school-- internally and externally--in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Not all teachers had themselves received extensive education, as Martin Neumann had.  Students nearly all could teach read; the Bible was textbook and reader.  The Lutheran Small Catechism was learned by memory.  Those who reached a higher level of education at school learned the art of writing, but they had to pay a special writing fee[78] over and above the regular charge for schooling[79].  Dinte” (pen-sharpening) was a secret generally known only to the schoolmasters.  Pens, of course, were really feathers, usually goose feathers, and were blunted by writing.  So the schoolmaster had to put a new point on them with his “feather-knife.”  The highest level of education attained by students was doing “sums,”[80] as arithmetic was called.  In about 1820 all students learned to do sums for the first time.

            In the meantime two outlying schools separated from the main school in Hude.  These were called Klippschule[81] and were located in the important villages of Lintel and Vielstedt.  I do not have precise information as to how they were founded.  In any case, both of these schools were mentioned in the Visitation Protokoll of 1734.  “The Schoolmaster in Vielstedt and Nordenholz is Dierk Meyer, born in Nordenholz, 52 years old, at the school 32 years.  The Schoolmaster at Lintel and Hurrel is Gerdt Schroeder, born in Lintel, 59 years old, at the school 26 years.”  As income, these three teachers in Hude Parish received the following--the sexton, 50 Reichstalers for the year, for Vielstedt and Lintel, 12 Reichstalers each.

            For the outlying schools it is presumed that at that time they were held in someone’s Stube[82].  The Schoolmaster had no professional education; whoever felt himself qualified, started a school.  The master of a school that was already established would try to prevent the opening of a new one, because it threatened the Schulgeld an important source of income for him. The Protokol of  1734 says,

The Vielstedt Schoolmaster complained that in his school district someone named Röbe Kreye (in Nordenholz) has taken up teaching in his house without permission, which is hurting him, whereupon Röbe Kreye was summoned to appear and charged with an infraction not allowed according to the school ordinance.   He pleaded ignorance of the law and promised that he would obey the ordinance better in the future. 

Earlier Sexton Neumann, Hude’s first sexton known by name, had complained about the opening of a Klippschule in Vielstedt and Nordenholz.  The Consistory had decided in that case to allow small children to attend the Klippschule, but thought those 9-10 years and older could travel the road to Hude.

            As late as 1823 teacher Meyer in Lintel complained that Carsten Suhr of Moorhausen was sending his son to school in Wüsting.  He claimed that he should at least receive the Schulgeld, which had been promised to him.

            In a Schulacht,[83] the Schulgeld was collected by Schuljuraten,[84] often despite the fierce resistance of those who had to pay it.  Not until 1897 (!) was it abolished by law in the Grandduchy of Oldenburg.

            Attendance at school had been required it earlier, but the demand for it was renewed by the National School Ordinance of 1706, which stipulated that:

 In winter all children without exception who have attained the right age shall be sent t school.   In the summer, however, since older children sometimes cannot be spared from compulsory labor[85] and housework, they may be excused; children 7-10 years old, however, must attend. Older children who are so excused, however, shall attend school on a regular basis at least one day a week, preferably on Wednesdays or else on another convenient day, so that they do not forget in the summer what they learned in the winter.

But it was one thing to adopted this requirement, and another to obtain compliance, especially when the parish authority was Pastor Justus Hermann Strackerjan.  The Visitation Minutes of 1734 show the number of students in attendance: Hude, in winter-60, in summer-8, Vielstedt, in winter-40, in summer none; Lintel, in winter 42, in summer none.  The school day was 6-7 hours long.

            School attendance began to improve for the first time when Pastor Lammers with great effort began to bring order to the Hude school system.  In 1782 it could be reported that school attendance at Hude was 77 in the winter, 70 in the summer; at Vielstedt 80 in the winter and 50 in the summer; and at Lintel (which fought hardest against summer school) 80 in the winter and 30 in the summer.

            Historian Muhle paints a dark picture of the Hude school system in the 18th century:

A miserable, small, inferior, dark, room, in which there was not a single window that opened.[86]  It was so full of dust from the children, even in the morning before the day was half over, that the teacher’s lungs became tight from the awful, damp, moldy air, caused by the lack of a wooden floor.  Often the room was filled with the angry shouts of uncouth, disruptive boys.  If there were a good number present, many had to sit on the ground.  This was the residence of a Christian teacher of children in the village.[87]

            But probably he did not realize the school’s shabby and inappropriate condition, since his own situation could not often have been much better.  He could read and write, at least in a sing-song monotone, without pausing for punctuation, or raising and lowering his voice.  He didn’t have the slightest knowledge of orthography or grammar and couldn’t spell a single word correctly.  He only knew a few songs to sing, and often got them wrong since he didn’t know the scale.  He had to recite Catechism, but did it by heart, with little understanding.  He seldom did “sums”, and then only mechanically.  For the most part he used corporal punishment to drum into his students what little he knew.  He did not maintain schedules or disciplines in the school.  In short, he had no method.  The main thing that hampered him and the source of the problem was that such a schoolmaster gave no thought to improving himself because he had no education.  Often he had obtained the teaching position--which is so important--because he had a good memory and demonstrated an unusual ability to pick things up--or else he had important connections in the school district.  The schoolmaster, who usually owned a farm, was more interested in agriculture and taught school as a sideline.

            Muhle complains further,

How can anyone expect that even those interested in the school district will contribute something to improve the teacher’s salary!  They didn’t learn much themselves, and are under the delusion that children don’t need education.  They even think that it’s a drawback.


Improvement first began when concern for authentic teacher’s education set in.  That was occasioned mainly through the teachers’ education course in Oldenburg about 1793.  The course lasted three months and was known as the “Schoolmaster’s Seminar.  In 1807 an independent Teachers’ Seminary was established, which at first offered a one year course, but was lengthened several times until it required 6 years.  By Muhle’s time the improvement in Hude was already remarkable, so that in 1823 he could write, after praising his predecessors, Pastors Lammers, Hüpers and Langreuter, that:

the teachers in the schools at the time of the last named were already partly educated at the Seminary, and were well motivated.  The children were kept in school by their interest, and if that didn’t work, by force.  The new hymnal and textbook (introduced in 1791 and 1797) must propagate a better spirit.  The ability to write, mandated in 1772 has become universal; though the demand that all children learn “sums, enacted in 1819 still does not have universal approval.  The wildness of rude youth will gradually subside. -- Hope has been planted and promises us that the coming generation only learn about the deficient school system from old records.


            The smallest territorial administrative unit of the school system was the Schulacht.  Three Schuljuraten were chosen from the parents of the village.  They, the pastor and the teacher comprised the Schulvorstand,[88] to which the Amtmann also belonged.  An administrative board member collected the school tax Schulgeld and supervised the school buildings.






The French Era


Opening Remarks

It may seem odd that the short and historically distant French interlude in our history is recounted in such detail.  The reason is that the French Revolution of 1789 and its aftermath introduced ideas that were to become central to the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the concept of individual freedom, equality before the law, separation of church and state and the people’s rule (democracy).  In the brief period from 1811 to 1813 an attempt was made in our land to establish these concepts in a single stroke.  It failed, and it had to fail; it was to take a long time for these concepts to blossom into law.



1. The Prelude

            In the 18th century, when the term “French Era”[89] was used in Oldenburg, people were speaking about 1679, when Oldenburg was ruled by the king of Denmark.  He had joined a coalition of other European powers in the war against Louis XIV of France.  As a result, the duchy of Oldenburg was overrun by French troops under Marshal Joyeuse, who pillaged the land and laid it under tribute.  In the 30 Years War, thanks to the shrewd policies of Count Anton Gunter, Oldenburg had not suffered so badly as neighboring states, so its inhabitants were the more upset by enemy occupation.  At the time, Pastor Hermann Strackerjan of Hude penned the poem “Vom allgemeinen Friedensseufzen.”[90]

            Now again at the end of the 18th century, “fate was knocking at the door.”  Many historians have recorded what the great French Revolution of 1789 meant to the world; Dr. Hermann Lübbing explained what it meant for Oldenburg in his Oldenburgischen Landesgeschichte.  How our community experienced the effects of the French Revolution will be related here briefly; our major authority is Diederich Konrad Muhle, who lived in Berne, in our immediate neighborhood, during these years. Shortly thereafter, in 1815, he became the pastor of Hude.

            The first portents of the impending calamities came in 1795, when Hanoverian and English troops crossed our region, camped at Hoykenkamp and got into all kinds of mischief.  But they were thoroughly cheated in return.  Muhle notes an unusual event: “A high officer of the English cavalry which camped at Schönemoor, was thrown headlong from his horse onto a Sannumer helmet[91].  He was first laid out in the Schönemoor church, and later put in a tin coffin, which was sent back to England, his fatherland.”  The local people suffered because of the many wagons, which had to be cared for, a task from which, as the historian remarked, even noble families were not exempted.   On the other hand, the soldiers brought money into the country.  People sold everything at inflated prices.  A cartload of hay, for example, brought 10 Talers, and even more in English pounds.  In 1796 Hanoverian and Prussian troops traversed the country again.



Disaster Draws Near

            In 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte had himself crowned emperor, and on 14 October 1806 badly defeated the Prussian army at Jena and Auerstedt.  He set up his brother as king of Holland, and in November 1806 Dutch troops entered East Frisia, which then belonged to Prussia, and then went on to occupy Jever, Varel and Oldenburg.  At the time Duke Peter Friederich Ludwig was in Eutin, which he preferred to Oldenburg.  He could do nothing, as the adage says, but “make do under the circumstances.  In 1808 it was required that general property and incomes taxes be imposed everywhere to cover the cost of the occupation and of watching the coastline.  Property was taxed at a rate of 3 per 1000, and the income tax graduated from ½ to 5 per cent.  Foreign troops marched across the country; in Vielstedt and Nordenholz alone 300 men were quartered that summer.  In the fall and winter again many troops were quartered in houses for up to six weeks.  The Duke, against his will, became the last German prince to join the Confederation of the Rhine, an alliance of German princes supporting Napoleon.



The Continental Blockade

To bring England to its knees, Napoleon closed all continental ports; all shipping and trade with England was strictly forbidden.  This, of course, led to smuggling.  There was a superabundance of agricultural products on the continent, but foreign products, which people had grown, used to in the preceding century, like coffee, tea and spices, were not available.  The English had occupied Helgoland, so ships sailed there at night from all the inland ports of Oldenburg and East Frisia and carried on a lively black market.  Of course, smuggled goods were very expensive. French customs agents (Douaniers) watched the coasts carefully.  The mouth of the Weser was guarded by entrenchment at Blexen; lumber, needed to construct the earthworks, was cut in the forests of the Geest (the North German plain), and cut trees were often just left lying on the ground.  The Hasbruch[92] was devastated by this.  Local men were impressed into a militia [Landmiliz] to guard the earthworks.  The main lament of the historian, though is “the bad influence on morality,” since people became used to lying, stealing and bribery.



The Black Duke

            In 1809 Austria rebelled against Napoleon.  In the war that followed a Freikorps (volunteer unit), with black uniforms, fought in Bohemia under Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig-Oels.  When Austria was defeated, “the Black Duke” broke through to the coast and came to the region of Delmenhorst with, according to Muhle’s report, about 3000 men.  Soldiers of the Confederation of the Rhine, whom Muhle calls “Westphalians,” were sluggish in pursuing the Freikorps, and the “blacks” were able to set up defensive works at Berne, securing the Hunte river crossing at Huntebrück.  At Elsfleth and Brake they were able to commandeer ships for the trip to Helgoland, and from there took English ships to Spain and continued the war against Napoleon.  “The Back Duke” was killed on 16 June 1815 at Quartre Bras in Belgium; a monument to him stands in Elsfleth.  This break-through led to brisk trade with the farmers, as the Braunschweigers sold their horses and whatever they could not take with them at low prices.  But the joy was short-lived; the pursuing “Westphalians” confiscated the horses from the peasants as war booty.  Muhle says that, “The only thing our parish experienced of this was that a deserter, Ahrend Oetken, drove a horse off to Vielstedt; but its owner recovered it.”



Hude becomes Part of France!

            By a decretal of 9 July 1810 and a Senate resolution of 13 December 1810, Napoleon declared Holland and North Germany to be part of the French Empire from the North Sea to a line drawn from the mouth of the Lippe in the Rhine to the mouth of Steckenitz on the lower Elbe.  The Duchy of Oldenburg thus ceased to exist and became part of the empire of France.  Napoleon offered his “ally”, the Duke of Oldenburg, the country around Erfurt as compensation, but Peter Friedrich Ludwig declined this offer and joined the princes royal (heirs to the imperial throne) in emigrating to Russia.

            On 22 January 1811 the state of Oldenburg was formally incorporated into the French Empire. Marshall Davoust, Governor-General of the Three Hanseatic Departments in Hamburg, sent von Löwenburg, Prefect of the Department of the Upper Ems, to receive the Oath of Allegiance at Oldenburg on 28 February.  This took place in the Lambertikirche.[93]  Löwenburg, standing in front of the altar, “haughtily painted a sweet-worded picture to whitewash the occasion, talking about the inexpressible good fortune which had caused a golden age to rise upon us, among other things boasting that our little pathways, now so frightful for travelers, would become broad highways, and that our barren heaths would become fields of waving grain.”   At this a farmer from Lübbing remarked, “If the Herr Prefect talks for an hour, it’ll be raining cow shit.  That’s something he’s good at.”[94]



The French System of Government and Administration

            The Arrondisement of Oldenburg was divided into ten cantons, each of which was subdivided into communes or “Mairies.”  Throughout the 2 ½ years that it was part of the French Empire there was a commune of Hude, which included Neuenkoop/Berne.  The Burgermeister, or as he was called in French, the “Maire” was Johann Haverkamp of “Großen Haverkamp” in Lintel.[95]  The Hude Commune belonged to the Canton of Hatte.  An attempt was made to make the office of Maire more palatable by providing it with a fancy uniform.  Haverkamp had certainly not sought the office; he was appointed against his will.  He was not one of the ignorant, arrogant “big shots” of whom Muhle wrote “They are certainly splendid, these hordes of gaping upstarts, when they show off in their uniforms, buttons embossed with eagles, towering hats with silver brims, collars decorated with silver braid and sashes that are woven in one piece.”  Haverkamp was no upstart; he owned a huge farm.  The Maire was assigned an adjunct, Johann Müller from Vielstedt in this case, and to keep records, a secretary was assigned.  Since the farmers elected a municipal council, there was, to some extent, democracy.  The council was supposed to advise the Maire, though according to Muhle they usually gave in to his ideas.  The Maire in turn was himself nothing but a Posaune[96] pushed by Prefect; at the least mistake he was threatened with imprisonment in the fortress at Wesel.



Civil Laws

            The Maire performed the tasks of a modern registrar, doing things which had previously been done by the pastor.  Church registers were handed over to the Maire; he entered nothing in them but the births of newborns, before they received baptism.  Marriages could be solemnized by the Maire; church marriage was no longer required by law (though with a single exception, church weddings remained the rule at Hude).  The Maire was also to be informed when a death took place, and it was recorded in the register.  Thus, with a single stroke radical change was ushered in, which came close to the separating church from state.



The Administration of Justice

Public courts, with lawyers, advocates and prosecutors, were introduced to replace of the old ducal legal system.  In every canton there was Peace Court, with a justice of the peace, an advocate and an interrogator.  A Tribunal was set up in Oldenburg, which served the whole Arrondisement.  It was provided with a president, 3 judges, a questor, and an imperial solicitor.  The highest court was the Imperial Court of Justice in Hamburg; but according to a comment of our historian Muhle, its judges were paid so poorly, that if not deterred by an inbred sense of personal honesty they became easy prey for the dishonest and corrupt.  Pastors were no longer responsible for handling such personal matters as agreements, testaments, etc.; these were now the business of cantonal and district notaries.  Above all, the people detested the sheriffs.



The Police

            The French police, of course, were also unpopular.  Muhle acknowledges that they were very conscientious in pursuing lawbreakers, but around here they mainly concerned themselves with tracking down signs of hostility to French rule.  Our historian writes: Secret agents were employed and kept busy throughout Oldenburg spying on the opinions and actions of natives.  It was miserable enough that Frenchmen upset their new fellow-citizens by reporting anti-imperial opinions that had been carelessly expressed, but still worse were the local people recruited as informers by the secret police.  They lurked at the windows and in dark places, going into taverns to spy, and even into the churches, where they listened to everything the pastor said, catching every word addressed to oppressed hearts that had come there seeking relief, and reporting it all.  They well knew that later on they would reap the harvest of their bitter deeds and be universally shunned.  It is now known well enough how many people, guilty and innocent alike, were taken to jail by these spies.  And those in jail suffered terribly.  Hunger and illness were the rule; they either faded away from lack of nourishment or were released in their emaciated condition.



The Inheritance Rights of Farmers

            Inheritance rights to farms did not conform to the French Revolution’s commitment to equality, so they were legally repealed.  All of the children of a testator were supposed to receive an equal share of the inheritance.  That seems to be fair, but in fact, it destroys the farm.  In the parish of Hude, in the brief time of the French occupation, this is what happened to two farms that fell under the inheritance law: Becker’s farm in Vielstedt was partitioned, and Wefer’s place in Hurrel was sold so the heirs could get equal shares.



Business Freedom

            Everything derived from the old feudal administration was set aside, including the Muhlenzwang.[97]  Before this, those who lived in Hude parish had to have their grain ground either at the water mill in Hude[98] or at the new mill; both of these were owned by the Witzleben family.  With the introduction of “business freedom,” and everyone could patronize any business he liked so long as he purchased a yearly permit to do so and paid a business tax.  A resourceful man in Hude exercized this new right and built a windmill at “the Burg.”  After the French were driven and the old order was reinstated, there was a lawsuit between the Witzleben heirs and the windmill owner; it ended in a settlement.



Under Napoleon’s Flag

            The most serious burden borne by local people was the institution of the draft.  Now that they were Frenchmen, they had to serve this new “Fatherland” and its emperor mit Gut und Blut.[99]  By April 1811 naval conscription and compulsory service in the navy had been introduced.  Both the Pastor and the Maire were required to submit “a list of qualified subjects.”  Pastor and Maire were not allowed to consult on this.  Young men registered were divided into four groups: unmarried, childless widowers, childless married men, and fathers of families.  Although only 250 could be excused, 471, and later on another 100, were called up.  Little attention was paid to the aforementioned four classes, so about 200 of the men were fathers of families.  From Hude parish the following men were drafted into the French navy: Johann Gerd Logemann from Vielstedt (who later deserted), Diedrich Pieper from Maibusch, and Martin Kruse from Vielstedt.  A number of sailors from Hude were fortunately away on ocean voyages and so could not be registered.  Our historian, Muhle, movingly pictures the draft of the recruits: “Most lamentable was the leave-taking of these unfortunates, who were often removed forcefully, from their wives and babbling children by the Military Court and taken to Oldenburg.  They were dragged to the ducal castle and locked up there until the conscription was completed; from there—some weeping, some laughing in desperation, some cursing and making bold insults—accorded no respect by the drunken soldiers, they were loaded on wagons for transport to Antwerp, often in the presence of heartsick wives.  There they were treated roughly, and their fare was poor and scant.”

            Being draft into the infantry was not quite so terrible; those recruits at first remained at home.  The worst thing was the fear that they would have to serve in Napoleon’s battles in foreign lands, a fate they were not spared.  Under Napoleon’s colors and in French uniforms ten young men from the Hude parish alone were wounded or killed, mostly in the war with Russia in 1812.  Muhle mentions them by name: Herman Logemann from Maibusch, Johann Dirk Koopmann from Neuenkoop, Tonjes Hinrich Windhusen from Vielstedt (who had to serve as a substitute), Berend Osterloh from Nordenholz, who died in Bremen of natural causes, Hermann Lange from Nordenholz, who died in Hamburg in a hospital, Christian Schütte from Hurrel, Tönjes Hinrich Haverkamp from Hurrel, who died in Cologne, Gerd Oetken from Hude, Jost Fitter Weinberg from Moorhausen, Tonjes Hinrich Schwertmann from Moorhausen, who fell at Moscow.  Soldiers’ letters were closely censored; to escape the censor one soldier from Hude wrote: “Turn to No. 505 in the hymnal, the 2nd verse.”  The Mutzenbecher hymnal used at that time is in the parish archives.  I looked up this verse, which is sung to the tune, “Ein Lämmlein geht and trägt die Schuld.”

                        We glanced here, glanced there,

                        So many brothers dying,

                        On every side we were

                        Surrounded by destruction,

                        There was no protection; every hour

                        Terror increased; danger at hand;

                        And every weapon gone.

                        Nothing could drive the destroyer back.

                        Every second seemed to us

                        The last one of our lives.



Passive Resistance

            Not everyone let himself be put in French uniform.  Many managed, as Muhle wrote, “to escape the iron rod.”  They hid themselves before they could be drafted.  Others managed to desert.  Theirs was, to be sure, a dangerous, hard life.  Day after day they hid in haylofts, or in the underbrush, on the moors or in grain fields, picking up necessities from their parents’ home at night.  Relatives of deserters were punished.  Police and field-searchers, quartered in their homes, plundered their possessions; relatives were often put in jail.  It did not help that wealthy people in the neighborhood were blackmailed into spying; until the fugitive was found, they had to pay a few Franks every day.  It also was no help that there was a still more onerous law: for everyone who hid out, two others would be drafted, one from the whole list of men between the ages of 20 and 30, and one from the family of the resister.

            The historian says that first place among the deserters and resistance fighters in Hude went to Christian Strackerjan, son of the Danish Premierleutnant Christian Strackerjan, and grandson of Pastor Justus Hermann Strackerjan of Hude.  The pastor’s house in Hude, which is now the Rathaus, became a hideout for deserters.  Another place of refuge was Heitzhusen (now Bruggermann) place out on the Nordenholz Moor, which had just been settled in 1794.  Deserters from Steding also found refuge here.  Among these refugees Muhle mentions Johann Hinrich Ahlers from Nordenholz, Dierk von Seggern, Ahrend Albers, Johann Hinrich Voigt, Johann Dierk Hedenkamp, all from Vielstedt, and Hinrich Drieling from Hude.  In their forced inactivity, the refugees often entertained themselves with knitting.



Premature Hope

            In the winter of 1812 Napoleon’s “Grand Army” was defeated in Russia, and all over occupied Germany the hope of liberation was awakened.  Prussia allied itself with Russia and started a war of liberation.  When in March 1813 the Prussians captured Hamburg and failed to cross the lower Elbe, riots against the foreign occupation began in Oldenburg too.  Underprefect Frochot fled from Oldenburg to Bremen leaving the protection of the offices in Oldenburg to a committee of five civil servants headed by councilors von Funckh and von Berger.

            Thee riots spread to the lower Weser.  Our historian, Muhle, does not always speak well of the freedom fighters.  “The resistance was not universal, but for the most part only in the marshlands, where it was mainly the reckless rabble who, here and there, urged on hope of plunder, broke loose like a stream that had been dammed up, cursing and mocking the remaining Frenchmen, throwing dung and stones at them, sacked the warehouses of the Douane (toll collectors!), the tobacco monopoly, and the counting house (which was empty anyway), tore down the French coat-of-arms and trampled it under foot, laughing and joking about “the crow” (referring to the eagle) and raised again the Oldenburg flag.  They walked around with a blue-red cockade. Staggering with drunkness and rage, they boasted about the Duke and his terrible anger—especially toward native Oldenburgers serving the French—about his opinion of those who cheerfully served the despot.  Many people, guilty and innocent alike, were badly abused by them.  Many, fearing death, had to flee away and hide themselves in remote places, where this Knupplegarde[100] were not raging; while they were gone their houses wares were plundered and their household utensils smashed to pieces.”  In addition, Muhle remarked about Hude, “In the parish of Hude everything remained calm throughout this time; neighboring Berne experienced disorder only when it was visited by the Elsfleth Patriots.”

            This drunken bender in the spring of 1813 resulted in a bad hangover.  A French “colonne mobile” appeared to re-establish order.  The councilor von Finckh and von Berne, who had their done best to stop the riots, were taken to court, condemned and shot.  At the church in Blexen, ten cannoneers, who had mutinied under the leadership of Lübbe Eilers, were also shot.  The French dragged off many men as rebels or just as hostages, several of these were shot without consideration at one place or another.  Three men from Hude parish were to be arrested as hostages, namely Hinrich Jordans of Nordenholz, Ahrend Oetken from Vielstedt and Borchert Bulling from Neuenkoop.  Maire Johann Haverkamp in Lintel learned of the order in advance and informed the men to their danger so they could seek safety.  Policemen hunting for them were bribed by relatives, so the usual repercussions were averted.

            The summer of 1813 was an especially difficult time; supplies were exorbitantly expensive.  Oxen and horses had to be driven to Bremen and surrendered.  For every animal missed a find of as much as 100 Talers was levied.

            The hour of deliverance came that Fall.  Napoleon was decisively defeated by the Allies at the battle of  Leipzig.  Prussians and Russians entered the country.  On November 27 the Duke again returned to Oldenburg and resumed his reign.



The Last Battle Against Napoleon

            Oldenburgers, among them soldiers from Hude, participated in the last battle against Napoleon, when he escaped from Elbe and sought to regain power.  The Oldenburg contingent, 1500 men strong, served under Colonel von Wardenburg in the army corps of Prussian general Kleist von Nollendorf.  It went to Trier, occupied Sedan, invested the Mezieres and Malmedy fortresses, leaving France on 20 November 1815, and returning to Oldenburg on 7 December.  Muhle reported, “The Prussian government bestowed on it the Order of Merit and 3 service medals, and also gave it two Prussian cannons which it had used during the campaign.  The Duke gave everyone who had come under enemy fire a Medal of Honor, which was worn on a blue band.  A few men from Hude had participated in the campaign, including Hermann Hinrich Neels from Moorhausen, Wohlert Osterloh from Lintel and Johann Hinrich Hoffrogge from Lintel. They also were also given a desk plaque for participating.











Hude 100 Years Ago

            Only with great difficulty can people today imagine how things were 100 or 150 years ago in our hometown, and how our grandparents and great-grandparents lived.  That is just about impossible for children today; the world is changing at a pace never seen before.  Still, we will try to do it.

            To start with, we have to forget many things that are commonplace today.  There were no railroads, no cars, no bicycles.  No airplanes flew through the skies.  The fastest mode of transportation was, as it had been for thousands of years, the horse.  The trip to the Oldenburg Market was generally made on foot.  There were no telephones, no electricity.  The only light in the evenings was beside the flickering hearth fire was an oil lamp.  On festive occasions and at church there were candles.  The invention of gas lamps,[101] with their brilliant, steady light was an enormous achievement.  In our area the houses, fachwerk in design[102] with thatched roofs, were almost without exception full of smoke.  One paved road had existed since 1821; it ran along the edge of the parish, going through Altmoorhausen from Lintel to Hurrel, connecting Oldenburg with Bremen.  All the other streets we use today are still dirt roads.  Can you envision this?




            Our parish was, as it always had been, a farm community.  After the return of the Grandduke conditions, as far as possible, were returned to what they had been before Napoleon.  The old law of inheritance was enforced, though marriage contracts of the old sort were not reinstated.  Lawyers and notaries took over the legal work that pastors had done before.  Peasants retained their freedom from serfdom.

            The cultivation of potatoes had been introduced in agricultural areas, without any government pressure, about 1760.  About 1800 “moor burning,” and the extensive cultivation of the moors, began.  On the Geest, soil quality was improved by spreading dung.  Compared to today, the fields were not very fruitful, but it is important to remember that at that time agriculture was essentially a matter of providing for the family; not much was sold for profit.  That was especially true of field crops.

            An important change in agriculture was the distribution of commons, which took place in farming communities at the beginning of the 19th century.  The term “commons” refers to fields, generally of minimal value, which had always been owned in common by the farm community.  Mostly these were heaths and had served as common sheep pastures.  When the commons were distributed, Muhle tells us, sheep culture received a serious setback.  The commons were distributed to “interested parties,” i.e., those who owned farms in the communities.  They were also used in part for roads.  A case in point is the “Postweg,” which now connects Hurrel Straße with Sandersfeld (The Imholtze Inn).  It was built entirely on an old commons.  That made it possible to create a perfectly straight road, and not one full of twists and turns, like so many of the old parish roads.  The Hude commons were distributed in 1808; in 1814 those of Neuenkoop; the Hurrel commons, partly in Hurrel and partly in the new settlement of Moorhausen, followed in 1821.  For the distribution of the Vielstedt commons, which began in 1823, boundary disputes with Kirchkimmen had to be settled.  In Nordenholz border issues arose with Hohenböken.  The Lintel commons in the hunting grounds, owned jointly with Wüsting, have survived; the Lintelers did not want a distribution.  Through these measures either existing farms were enlarged, or new farms were created.

            Something similar was done with the small woodlands, which up to that time, had been owned in part by the government.  The state was looking for sources of revenue, since the nation debt was large in the wake of the War of Liberation, and cash money was in short supply.  So in 1816 farmers were given the opportunity of purchasing and owning the woodlands they were using.  In this was farmer Sander purchased his woodland in Hude for 80 Reichstalers.  The state made proper maintenance of the woods by the purchaser a condition of purchase, so thereafter there was a yearly inspection of farm woodlands by the forestry agent, parish prefect[103] and farm prefect.[104]  A record of these inspections was kept.

            The grand ducal government was also concerned that pools of quicksand, e.g. at the Hurrel Post House, be planted in trees.  The planting of a border as a “living fence,” around them was promoted, with oaks and beechnut trees mandated.  The breeding of horses was also advanced by the introduction of selective breeding in 1819.  The Agricultural Society[105] in Oldenburg contributed to the advance of agriculture.  It was founded in 1818, had branches in different places, and awarded prizes for special achievements.

            In other respects farm work was a matter of human and animal labor.  Grain was sown by hand, mowed with a scythe, shocked manually, and threshed with a flail in the winter.  Potatoes were sown by hand, then hoed, dug out with a plow or shovel, then picked up and sorted by hand.  Wind and rain served to drive mills.  These “natural servants” had tremendous power, to be sure, and they worked without pay; but they had one shortcoming--they often went on strike!



Rural Tradesmen

            Country tradesmen were rural landowners--Brinksitzers, who owned cattle and conducted a trade on the side.  They were not protected by a powerful guild, like tradesmen in the city.  A simple trade, like that of the wooden-shoe maker (or Hölschers) was generally passed on father to son and only practiced in the winter.  Blacksmiths were important to the village.  Their trade required great skill as well as “horse sense,” and they also practiced veterinary medicine, at least in the care of hooves.

            Construction work was nowhere near as specialized as it is today.  It was practiced by carpenters, with additional assistance from masons, cabinetmakers, and slaters (or at least roof tillers).  Wheelwrights were found in the village, whose job demanded exacting skill.  We have already mentioned the laws about mills.  Bakeries were not operated by tradesmen yet, because baking was still done in farmhouses.  In our parish you can still find here and there the old stone bake-ovens.  Our historian, Muhle, mentions again and again that in 1815 the first bakery was established in the Monastery brewery (the Klosterschänke).   Muhle also informs us that boots began to be worn in the parish about 1800, from which we gather that a competent tanner and shoemaker were active here.  Muhle says, “On 8 February 1819 the Brinksitzer Christoph Helmerich Fastenau in Maibusch, a shoemaker and tanner, died.  He was born in Albringhausen in Hanover and was a very skilled tradesman.  He even had a shop in Oldenburg.”  Muhle also reports that about 1800 striking clocks came into use here.  Once a year the clockmaker would go from house to house in order to repair and regulate the clocks in the houses.  Wool and flax were spun in the farmhouse on winter evenings.  Weaving was sometimes begun early in the new year on a loom, which was kept on the floor; but sometimes it was done professionally by a weaver.  The tailor generally went house-to-house, sitting at the table on a “tailor’s stool,” sewing by hand.

            That’s what it was like in the “good old days.”  If anyone wants to get a better picture of what it was like, he doesn’t have to do to the Museum Village in Cloppenburg;  Onkel Ernst” in Vielstedt can describe it and show him lots of things.  If you want to learn about Hude in the old days, just visit the Vielstedter Bauernhaus.[106]




            There were no large stores in the village.  Most of life’s necessities could be supplied through the products of our own farmer-tradesmen.  But the desire for new luxuries, like coffee, tea, tobacco and foreign spices--was gradually growing.  Mostly these things were purchased at the small inns that were beginning to appear.  Muhle complained that about 1750 the bad habit of drinking whiskey had arrived.  In addition to wool and linen things produced in the home, cotton good came into use in the first half of the 19th century.  Silk and velvet were also no longer worn in only princely courts and in the homes of the wealthy.  If all these desires were to be satisfied, farmers had to have money, and so they took their products to market--in the most literal sense.

            At that time markets[107] had much more significance than they does now.  The most important markets were, and still are, held in the autumn.  This is to be expected, because that is the season when farmers bring in the harvest and cattle have been fattened in the pasture.  So rural people have something to sell, and thus they can buy.  So at the beginning of October, the farmer drove his cattle (on foot, of course) from Hude to Oldenburg, to the Kramermarkt.[108]  There he dickered and sold his produce, and bought the household items and clothes needed for the winter.  And there he also had a little fun.  Showmen of all kinds were there, and pleasures not available in the countryside.  What the Kramermarkt is to our region, the Freimarkt is in Bremen, and the Rodenkirchenermarkt is to Butjadingen, the Zetelmarkt to the Frisian Wehde, the Gallimarkt in Leer to East Frisia and the Stoppelmarkt at Vechta to South Oldenburg.  These are just the best-known fairs--and they are all held in the autumn.



Church and School

            The French had been driven out.  Oldenburg was once again an independent county, now even a grand duchy.  The old way of life, so far as it could be, had been re-established.  There was no longer a Maire in Hude.  Church books had been returned to the parish office; birth and death records were being registered by the pastor.  Those who wanted to be married again had to report to the pastor, have their banns properly published in the church, be married in a church service and entered into the marriage register.  Pastors had taken over the functions of the former Maires, which would later be transferred to civil magistrates. 

            To be sure, the pastor had been relieved of some of his old secular duties and requirements.  As early as 1791 he no longer announced from the pulpit government decrees and laws.  After 1797 pastors were no longer responsible for drawing up marriage contracts, though people often continued to do things the old way.  Our parish archives contain marriage contracts from as late as 1817.

            In 1815 the Hude pastoral office came into the able hands of Pastor Muhle.  He certainly spent much time on his historical research, but he also managed the church well.  Before he arrived, on 1 January 1814, an organ had already been heard in the Hude house of worship once more.  The parish population was growing and more room was needed in the church.  A new balcony (or “Priechal”) was installed.  Above all, people were anxious to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in a fitting manner on 31 October 1817.  Much of the church interior was remodeled; the spirit of the times dictated the use mostly of white, or at least bright colors.  The valuable old altar retable received little attention, standing against the wall to the left of the pulpit.  In 1821 the small tower on the roof was renovated and received a swan-shaped weathervane.  People often ask what the swan on the church tower symbolizes (one would expect a rooster there).  Well, the swan was Luther’s emblem.  In east Frisia it is found on many Lutheran churches, while the towers of Reformed churches have a rooster.  In 1826 our church received its yellow decoration.

            The most beautiful view of our church is from the Lindenallee, which goes from the Klosterschänke to the church.  We must thank the von Witzleben Jägermeister[109] for this Lindenallee.  He removed the rubble from the Monastery ruins and used it to build a wall along the bank of the Bäke.  According to Muhle’s report, “beautiful, shiny tiles, each one square, green, red and yellow, and glazed in many colors, all still undamaged” were found there.  At that time the floor of the main ruins was still covered with colorful tiles laid in straight rows.  An underground tunnel leading to the millrace was discovered in front of the brewery (Klosterschänke).  It was constructed of large fieldstones, forming an arched vault. The walls were nearly 4 feet (1.20 meters) thick.

            The cost of the church restoration was completely covered by the rental of the church pews.  That seems very strange to us today.  Nowadays everyone can sit in his favorite place at church, but years ago each family had its own pew, which it had purchased.  In the old records there is a complaint about this.  The wife of a teacher or forester who had moved into town could not go to church because there was no pew for her to use.  In those days the pew register was at least as important as the cemetery lot register is today.

            The care of the poor was gradually shifting from church control into secular hands.  Traces of it still remain with in the church system of our day.

            The educational system was still run completely by the church. Nothing else was possible.  The teachers’ college was helping tremendously to improve elementary school teachers, but rural teachers were far removed from that.  They were appointed by the pastor without counsel, aid or even oversight.  He was the only educated person in a rural parish.  The benefits of the teachers’ college, to which Muhle refers, had already begun to be felt.  In the records appears the pretentious term “industry school.”  That startles us. We think of modern school innovations; but here it only refers to instruction in handwork, taught by the schoolmaster’s wife or a woman of the village.

            When Pastor Muhle moved to Schwei in 1834 his successor was Pastor Gröning.  He was a well-educated man, who with pride noted, in the Hude Chronicle, the names of many professors under whom he had studied; they include not only famous theologians, but also well-known philosophers.  While he was still in Hude, where he served 1834-1839, he founded a periodical, the Oldenburger Volksboten, which he edited until he died.  In addition, various books of a religious nature for home and school came from Gröning’s pen.  He went from Hude to Oldenburg;  he was probably better suited to serve in a city parish than as a country pastor.

            His successor was Pastor Folte, who did a great deal for the Hude school system.  By 1 June 1840 he had founded on his own initiative the Hude Teachers’ Conference, to which the five teachers working in the Hude parish belonged.  They came monthly to Hude along with their older students to teach and learn from one another.  The conference lasted the entire day and consisted of 8 segments of a half hour each.  The pastor also led a segment, teaching not only religious subjects but others too, like the Kingdom of Saxony, which combined geography and history.  We have in the parish archives exact minutes of the first conference.  A minute book circulated among the five teachers, so that each one could fill a page with his remarks on the lessons and write down questions for the next conference.  Considering Muhle’s account of the conditions which prevailed in the previous century, these minutes reveal a noticeable improvement in the area of education.  A new spirit was abroad, spurred by the thinking of the great Swiss pedagogue Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.  Oldenburg had the good fortune to obtain Pestalozzi’s gifted student, Johannes Ramsauer, as its educational leader.  Then he became the prince’s tutor, working with the entire Oldenburg educational system.  How many people named Ramsauer have made a mark on our cultural life in Oldenburg!

            As we have already mentioned, in the first half of the 19th century there were five schools in Hude parish.  Nordenholz, which had been trying for a long time to get its own school, and had made several attempts to start one, received one in 1814 and became an independent school district.  Somewhat later, out of Lintel, came the new settlement of Moorhausen, called Altmoorhausen today.  The schoolchildren of Hurrel, after as before, attended the Lintel school.  In 1840 all five schools had only one class.  In 1847 the school in Hude received a second teacher, so now there were six teachers working in the Hude parish.



The Advent of Local Government

            The County of Oldenburg, as well as the later duchy and grand duchy, was ruled from above until 1848.  The ruler was first the Count, then the King of Denmark, then the Duke and lastly the Grand duke.  His will was law.  The estates (nobility, clergy and cities), as in many German principalities, never acquired significance in Oldenburg.  The monarch ruled and administered his land with the assistance of his officials, who were chosen by him and answered to him alone.

            After the War of Liberation there was aloud demand everywhere for the people to have a voice in government.  The ideas of the French Revolution--Freedom, Equality, Fraternity--began to sink in.  Support grew for the establishment of a limited monarchy, with a people’s parliament joining in legislation, even for the establishment of a republic.

            Ideas of freedom were stirring in Oldenburg as well.  Certainly no one thought of the grand ducal government was tyrannical.  The royal house was close to the people, and has continued to be so right up to the present.  The grand duke thought of himself as the Father of the Nation in the truest sense of the word.  Many historians condemn the cultural regression that took place in 1815.  From the standpoint of the growing middle class, that is correct, but still the people in our land had not had the right to determine their affairs very long.  Progress was being achieved by high officials who ruled on behalf of the grand duke.  The “people,” on the other hand, were stagnating, even going backward.  The leading men of Oldenburg were in favor of freedom and uniformly supported the new ideas.  That had been true since the Danish Era, when many liberal thinkers were driven out of Copenhagen to distant Oldenburg.  It is still true.

            The names of those pressing for change can be found in every history of Oldenburg.  In our village, they were not the norm.  Consider these few examples of progress and stagnation in our parish.  The government had decreed in 1798 that children should be inoculated against smallpox; the people in Hude were strongly opposed.  About 1820 the government ordered lavatories to be installed in parish schools.  “Concerned people,” protested strongly against this sanitary measure.  The story of the rebuilding of the Lintel school in 1840 is especially amusing.  “Concerned people”--i.e., people from the village--were outraged at the “luxuries” that were proposed.  The new school, for example was supposed to have a tile roof and a chimney.  The worst thing was that the classroom would have a wooden floor instead of an everyday dirt floor.  What would these ancestors of ours have said if they could see the central school in Hude today!  The number of students in Lintel (including those from Hurrel and Altmoorhausen) was about 150.  Parents thought that it was unnecessary to have a second classroom.  And when the government insisted on it, they said that the head teacher should not pay the new assistant, but just give him pocket change, because his own workload was being reduced by the young man!  So who were the progressives?  The people?  Or the authorities?



Administration after 1813

            In one way or another, the people had participated in the administration of their own affairs for a long time.  The pastor was assisted by Kirchenjuraten (church wardens) and Armenjuraten (charity wardens). These were respected offices, to which distinguished men of the community, preferably Vollbauern (owners of large farmers) were nominated by the pastor and appointed by the administration.  These offices were not exactly coveted, since they were unpaid and involved work.  Every Bauerschaft had its own “Armenvater” (Father of the Poor), every school board a Schuljuraten (school warden).  Most parishes were connected to Vogtei (prefecture).  In each Vogtei there was Vogteigeschworene (Prefect officer).  In every Bauerschaft (farm community) there was a Bauergeschworene (Bauerschaft officer).  These office holders took the needs and concerns of subjects to the authorities.  They were the communities “voice” in official councils.

            In 1830 revolution again broke out in France.  The unlimited monarchy gave way to a limited monarchy.  In the wake of the “July Revolution” Belgium separated from Holland became an independent kingdom.  A result of these radical changes was the adoption of measures which resulted in the establishment of a political parish in Hude.

            On 28 December 1831 the Grand duke issued a decree, the “Order for the Constitution and Administration of Rural Parishes.”  Concerning the institution of this reordering of the rural parish of Hude, Muhle wrote, “This year (1832) was introduced a new standing constitution, establishing a preliminary order for parishes, which was arranged by a commission sitting in Oldenburg, which in 1833 was extended to include religious affairs.  However, the parish prefect (Kirchspielvogt) is a member of the charity directors and attended its meeting here on the 18th of July.  Up to this point it has met here, usually four time a year, but now it is meeting monthly, for the good reason that the needs of the poor have increased, which has also required extra meetings in past years.  --According to the new constitution a great many people should elect the committee, but only a few showed up.  Twelve committeemen and six substitutes were elected, and they chose to add the former parish prefect (mentioned above).  Also, the parish prefect has been given a seal.”

            That was the beginning of the Hude political parish.  The Parish Prefect was the forerunner of the Bürgermeister, and of today’s Bürgermeister and Parish Director (Gemeindedirektor).  The Committee later became the Parish Council (Gemeinderat).  Certainly if anyone compares this election to modern parish elections there is a lot of difference.  At that time only those “who had property under their feet,” that is, who owned land, could vote.  And voting rights were graduated according to the amount of property owned.  Voting was by voice, so public.  And if anyone had said then that women should have the right to vote, he would have been laughed at.  How little support there was for extending the vote to the masses is revealed by Muhle’s remark that only a few people turned out to vote.  When the Grand duchy of Oldenburg got a popularly elected parliament (Landtag) in 1848, only 10-20% of  the people were entitled to vote.  But our parish was not lacking in self-will at that time!  Here’s a small example:  We have already mentioned the new school building in Lintel, and the conflict over the roof, whether it should be tiled or thatched, whether the floor should dirt or wood.  But there was also a dispute about the building site.  Five oak trees stood on the site that had been selected.  It was unanimously agreed that one had to be felled for lumber, but the other four stood in a row.  Schuljurat (School warden) Wiechmann wanted the schoolhouse erected close to these.  But the school directors, including the Pastor and Amtmann, agreed that, since the trees were still growing, the building should be placed 10 away to protect its roof.  Wiechmann however had it built according to his own opinion.  For that he was fined 50 Reichstalers.  There is a long petition, which was submitted to the Consistory and finally even to the Grand duke himself.  In the end, the only adjustment was that Wiechmann was permitted to pay the fine in installments.

            In 1814 the Grand duchy of Oldenburg was divided into 25 Ämter (Offices); in today’s Landkreis (County) of Oldenburg, including Delmenhorst, there are only four.  Our parish of Hude, together with Ganderkesee, constituted the Amt Ganderkesee, with its Amt capitol located after 1825 at Falkenburg.  In 1858 the small Amt Ganderkesee was dissolved and merged with Amt Delmenhorst, which included also the parishes of Delmenhorst, Hasbergen, Schönemoor and Stuhr.  The highest official was the Amtsmann, later changed to Amtshauptmann; he exercised the combined powers of today’s Landrat and Oberkreisdirektor.  Administrative and judicial functions were now carefully separated.  The Amtsmann (later Amtshauptmann) now had nothing to do with the administration of justice.  That was exercised by the Amtsgericht (the Amt Court of Justice), led by the Amtsrichter (Amt Judge).











            In 1850 Hude was just a rural parish with a population almost exclusively of farmers.  The prefecture map of 1843 contains a picture showing only a few houses in the actual village of Hude.  The parish was distant from major highways and navigable rivers.  Inhabitants lived in every way just as their ancestors had.  The development of Hude into a “town center” with the feel of a suburb could never have been foreseen.  It first began in 1867 when the Oldenburg-Bremen railroad was built; in 1873 the branch-line from Hude to Brake, which was later extended to Nordenham-Blexen, was added.  To the chug-a-chug-a-chug of the steam locomotive Hude awakened, like Sleeping Beauty, from her deep sleep.


The End

[1] I.e., the Geest, the sandy North German Plain.

[2] Geesthugel, apparently a small hill on the plain.

[3] Furze, genus Genista.

[4] This is a small creek along which early settlements were made.

[5] Trichterrandbecher.

[6] Bohlenwege.

[7] If the author means to imply here that this “Bohlenweg” was built by this army in the middle ages, he is in error.  After he wrote carbon tests were conducted on the wood in this and several other such roads, which established that all date from before the time of Christ, as early as 300-200 B.C.  These were apparently part of an extensive network of such sites which connected primitive German settlements with each other and with the seaports.

[8] Where Count Christian had been murdered.

[9] “Year 1232: An abbey, the Haven of St. Mary, was founded.”

[10]Since an establishment of the Cistercian Order, has been made at the place formerly called, in the local language, Hude, now named “Rubus of St. Mary” [shoud this read Portus?], and the brothers of this establishment have approached us with their request, we are pleased to assist them in caring for their cattle, and therefore grant them, as an extension of their boundaries, all right to that heath which, in the common tongue, is called Nordheide. (Subscribed).”


[11] Torkappele.

[12] Monastery Church

[13] Gatechapel

[14] The wording relates to medieval guilds.

[15] Microscopic animals, such as rotifera or infusorian.  The word can also refer to such things as flies and small rodents.

[16]  Perhaps this unnatural preoccupation with the afterlife stemmed from the terrible depradations of the plague, which killed so many in the 13th and 14th centuries. [Translator]

[17] “im Streite vom Teufel verleitet”

[18]  Hasbruch was, and remains, an important forest, primarily of oak trees.  Farmers used it to fatten hogs on the crop of acorns.  The right to do this, known as ”mast rights,” was apportioned among the farms.

[19]  Farmers would travel considerable distances to cut the hay on the moors.

[20]  The Reiherhoz (the name means “crane forest”) was used in the same way as the Hasbruch.

[21]  I.e., the farm owned by the Kreye family at the time this book was written.

[22] Citeaux was the original house of the Cistercian order and its administrative center.

[23] A lovely and popular restaurant and pub today.

[24]Jahresrente,” or annuity, rather than Zinsen, or interest.  The idea was that the borrower was  “renting” the principal.  The difference is sheer casuistry.

[25]  The Witzleben family eventually assumed ownership of the monastery property, which it still retains.

[26]  I.e., a hunting bow (“bow and arrow”) made of steel.

[27] Anthony Arthur, in his history (The Tailor King, 1999, St. Martin’s Press, NY) of the Anabaptist rebellion in Münster, says “The Catholics were encouraged because they saw in von Waldeck a ‘brave and righteous knight,’ endowed with new authority from Emperor Charles V to quell this troubling source of unrest in his realm.  The Lutherans for their part regarded von Waldeck as anything but “righteous;” he was not even an ordained priest, but a typical lusty baron who lived for the hunt, for drink, and for women—in addition to his wife he had an official mistress who had borne him a son.  He owed his power to family connections with Philip of Hesse, himself a Lutheran, and insofar as he had any religious leanings, he was inclined to sympathize more with the Lutherans than the Church of Rome.”  Waldeck lived outside the city, at Billerbeck, from which he initiated a blockade of Münster in October, 1532.  He finally took the city in June of 1535.”  This was one of the great turning points of the Reformation, and the expense associated with the siege of Münster was certainly a significant cause of the demise of the Hude Monastery.

[28] Sterling gulden of full weight.

[29] I.e., the Fourth Sunday after Easter

[30]  “fallen lassen.”

[31] I.e., a member of a monastic order.

[32] The Liebfraukirche.

[33]  A property of the Hude Monastery, where he was living.

[34]würdigen und lieben andachtigen Herrn.”

[35] I,e,, council of the whole church, which was widely anticipated at that time, but was not held until the Council of Trent.

[36] Wollenhaus; sheep cote?  Shearing house?

[37] I.e., royal farm.

[38] At the time the medieval obligation of nobles to provide military service to their lords still obtained; it was however giving way to monetary payments.

[39] I.e., of the Hitler regime.

[40] This Field Marshall von Witzleben was a participant in the July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, when der Führer survived a bomb placed beside him in a bunker.  Like other participants, von Witzleben was executed shortly after.  His imposing gravestone is in the von Witzleben burial ground at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Hude, the old Monastery Torkapelle.

[41] Bauerschaft is often translated “village,” but it is not a village in the American sense, in which houses are clustered together, but rather a “farm community,” with the houses strung out along the road somewhat removed from each other.  Unlike American farm communities, however, the Bauerschaft was organized politically.  Its members had stipulated responsibilities to each other and the whole, and elected officers.

[42] Vollbau.

[43] Halbe Bau.

[44] Brink, in German, means about the same as it does in English, “edge” or “border;” so a Brinksitzerei was a farm situated on the edge of or outside the community center.  They were usually medium sized farms, often unable to support a household, so that those who owned them, Brinksitzers, were often tradesmen (shoemakers, carpenters, etc.).

[45] A Baumann (the term means “farmer”) owned the largest farm, a Vollbau or a Halbbau.  See last note for a description of the Brinksitzer.  The smallest farmer was the Köter, or Cottager, whose farm would have been inadequate to support his family, and therefore would have had to support himself mainly with a trade. These terms are used in the area.

[46] Seelsorger.

[47] Not necessarily every person, of course, but at least a representative.  The size of parish churches in the area would indicate that one or two came.

[48] Actually not the Rathaus standing in 2004, which is a much newer building, but presumably at that location.  It is in the center of the town.

[49] I.e., the National Church of Oldenburg.

[50] Book of sermons.

[51] The German word is Leibeigene, stressing ownership, like “physical possession.”

[52] Stift Bremen probably referring to a religious establishment.

[53] Grund und Boden.

[54] Seinen Besitz grundsätzlich.

[55] Apparently setting the value of the Reichstaler.

[56] I do not understand the word and cannot find it in a lexicon.

[57] This is a now obsolete measure.

[58] Ehrenkleid I.e., ceremonial clothes.

[59] Ländereien, literally “landed property, estates.

[60] Literally, “So long life, so long goods,” the equivalent of Eng., “so long as they both shall live.”

[61] Kampe.

[62] Felden.

[63] Zubring.

[64] It seems like there should be a measure here, but there is none in the original.

[65] …will sie sich selbst mit Leinenzeug unterhalten.  Apparently she enjoyed needlework. But is linen derive from Hemp?

[66] Eiserne Kühe.

[67] I.e., acorns in the forest, on which pigs from the village were fed.  See explanation of Mast rights below.

[68] Hired girl.

[69] Aunt

[70] I.e., it could not be sold.

[71] I.e., owner of a Vollbau or large farm.

[72] I.e., the farm which his wife’s first husband had left.

[73] Of course, the Monastery had been destroyed long before, and its farms were now part of the von Witzleben estate; but they were still known by this term.

[74] Schrum, read as Schram.

[75]  These were deer.  The stag, or hart, was a red deer.  The others were roe deer.

[76]  In German the word is “Eichelmast,” from which is derived the noun “Mastung,” the acorn-laden woods on which hogs were fattened, and “mast rights,” the right of a farmer to send a specified number of hogs to the woods for fattening.  This was a property rights that frequently became an occasion for controversy.

[77] Bürgermeister.

[78] Schreib und Dintengeld.

[79] Schulgeld.

[80] Rechnen.

[81] The lexicon translates this as “infant school,” but the word “klipp” means in German as in English “to cut or snip,” so here the term should probably translated something like “separated school.”

[82] I.e., a small room in a farmhouse.

[83] Say, school district.

[84] Like our school directors.

[85]  herrschaftlichen Arbeit,” i.e., the work required by the landlord and government.

[86]  Schlagfenster.

[87]  School was held in a room of the teacher’s home

[88] School Board.

[89] Franzosenzeit.

[90] On the Universal Cry for Peace

[91] “Sannumer Helmer.”  I don’t know the exact significance of the term, but suspect it was a pointed helmet.

[92] The Hasbruch is a famous and beloved forest area nearby.

[93] St. Lambert’s Church in the city of Oldenburg, adjacent to the Grand Duke’s Schloss (or residence).  The building, which was then quite new, is a striking example of  a “church in the round.”

[94] “Wenn de Herr Präfekt man eene Stunn Kohshiet rägen laten wull!  Dat annere will wi sülfs woll don.”  It’s in plattdeutsch, and I’m not too sure of the translation.

[95] This is one of the farms owned by ancestors of the Schroeder family.  A large and prosperous farm, it goes back to Roman times, and has been in the Haverkamp at least from the 1400’s to the present.  Johann Haverkamp would have been related to our ancestors.

[96] Trumpet.  But here the word seems to refer to the stop on an organ, which is pulled out by the organist to create a sound, pushed to end it.

[97] This was a requirement that one’s grain be taken to a specified mill for grinding

[98] This was the mill originally built by the monks.  It had burned down and was rebuilt by the Witzleben family.

[99] I.e., with life and property.

[100] The words seems to mean a militia armed with  clubs.

[101] Like our Coleman Lanterns.

[102] Post and beam construction, with watt and dauble or brick siding.

[103] Kirchspielvogt.

[104] Bauervogt.

[105] Landeswirtschaftliche Gesellschaft.

[106]  A local restaurant, which serves meals in a reconstructed farmhouse of the old type, with many historical displays.

[107] The word here is being used not of  weekly markets, but annual ones, like our fairs.

[108]  This is the major fair in the area, which has been held in Oldenburg since the 16th century.

[109] Master of the Hounds.