At the end of the 10th century, the estate Helmwardeshusen was owned by the nobility Eckhard and Mathilde of Reinhausen. After the death of their son, the couple used their estate in order to establish a foundation for a Benedictine monastery. Permission to establish a free imperial abbey was granted by Pope Sylvester II and Emperor Otto III on 8th October 997. Meinwerk, Bishop of Paderborn, disputed the status successfully and the abbey was put under his control.
After the abbey was founded, a scriptorium was established as well as a gold- and silversmiths. The convents work was characterised by highly artistic pieces. The most famous example must be Henry the Lion’s Gospel, of which a facsimile is kept at the museum of the local historic society.
The foundation walls of the abbey church were partially excavated between 1965 and 1968 and later outlined by stone slabs. Today, the ground floor can still be visited on the former premises of the monastery. (Taken form the website of the local historic society)
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