Welcome to this tour.
We are standing in front of the church in Thorn. One of the most important buildings in the village and very important for the development of the place.
In the early Middle Ages, the territory where you are now consisted of lands and forests. Count Ansfrey received the estate from Emperor Otto I as a reward for his good services. Ansfrey founded a monastery on the estate around 992.
In the absence of heirs, Ansfrey donated the monastery, ie Thorn, to the diocese of Liège.
In the beginning was the monastery not very successful.
In 1102 the monastery had 8 residents, 4 canonesses and 4 canons. These canons were the pastors and teachers of the spiritual life. They served as priests and were employed by the canonesses. They lived on the produce of a piece of land called the prebends.
In later years Thorn grows into a completely secular abbey. The ladies could enter the monastery and could decide to leave again later. The noble ladies were parked here until they got married.
These ladies learnt the manners and how to behave in the noble world. The ladies slept in the abbey's dormitory but during the day had their own secular activities: embroidery, making music and reading. They stayed in their own home during the day. The abbey was led by the abbess. If a lady was appointed abbess, she could no longer step down and remained attached to the abbey.
Do you realize that until the arrival of the French in 1794, Thorn was a country of its own? It was part of the Holy Roman Empire, also known as the German Empire.
If you want to know more about abbeys, choose the button extra info.
Standing with your back to the church entrance, you turn left around the corner at the church and you arrive at the "Wijngaard", you see a memorial pillar almost opposite us.
Women's abbeys were a common sight in the Middle Ages and later. Thorn was not unique in this.
Highly noble ladies went into an abbey to learn how to behave. However, the abbey in Thorn was very chic and the only superior one is the abbey of Essen. In Thorn and Essen one had to have as many as 16 noble ancestors. Without them, the door remained closed. It is therefore not surprising that princes and kings came shopping for a woman with status in Thorn.
An example: Charles Emmanuel, Crown Prince of Piedmont Sardinia, married in 1722 Anna Christina, 18-year-old Princess of Palts Sulzbach and canoness in Thorn. She dies a year later and Karel then marries Polyxena, Princess of Hesse Rheinfels Rotenburg, also an canoness in Thorn. Charles married her in 1724 and she later became queen of Piedmont Sardinia.
This shows that Thorn was “the place to be” for the crème de la crème of the nobility.
Standing with your back to the church entrance, you turn left around the corner at the church and you arrive at the "Wijngaard", we see a memorial column almost opposite us
Photo: Christina-Palts-Sulzbach and Polyxena-Hessen-Rheinfels-Rotenburg.
Additional content is available on several pages!
Let others know how you experienced the tour or share your unique findings!
As a real education family, the idea was to offer the children a tour in Thorn, in order to generate interest in Thorn but also in history in general.
Children come with their parents and go the same route as the adults. The route was thus determined by that of the adults.
That adult route could also be improved, since the software made this possible, it was ready before the children's tour.
Collaboration with the Thorn Museum.
Even in the first test phase, Museum Thorn showed an immediate interest in our tours and it was soon decided to enter into a collaboration.
The vision of the Thorn museum is that the town of Thorn is actually a large open-air museum. We can only endorse that.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Thorn and look forward to seeing you again.
Hélène, Sanne and Geert Stams.