Kloster Rumbeck is a nunnery founded in 1190 as a subsidiary of Wedinghausen monastery. The nunnery and part of the church burned down in 1914, but have been partially rebuilt. Of the nunnery buildings, the priory (1724) and the guesthouse (1695) remain intact.
The history of the nunnery
The history of the Kloster Rumbeck nunnery goes back to the 12th century. In 1185, Count Heinrich I. donated his main court to the Premonstratensian monastery of Wedinghausen, which he founded. Several years later, the Premonstratensians founded a nunnery, Kloster Rumbeck, in the donated court buildings. The first nuns arrived from the Bredelar nunnery at the request of the Cologne electorate princes, when the nunnery was converted into a Cistercian monastery. The convent included around 20 nuns, 10 lay sisters and 3 novices. Most of them came from the upper middle classes, although there were also members of the lower nobility of Westphalia here. Little is known of the nuns’ everyday lives. We do know that they led pious lives, produced fine-quality sewing and embroidery and that they conducted charitable work. They also ran the nunnery business, and owned hunting and fishing rights.
One jewel in the Rumbeck church is the Klausing organ. The gallery on which this valuable instrument stands used to extend further into the church space, and was directly connected to the sisters’ cloisters. There was already an organ here in the nunnery church - and there is proof of this - in 1658. It was played by the organist and nun Anna Emiliana von Strotzingen. In 1700, the organ builder from Herford, Hinrich Klausing, built a new organ for the Rumbeck sisters. He used large parts of the former instrument. When the organ was restored a few years ago, it emerged that it still contains pipe material from the 15th century. This makes it especially valuable. Hinrich Klausing was among the most famous organ builders of the 17th and 18th centuries. He produced over 100 organs in his workshop. Unfortunately, only a small number of instruments from this period remain. Right next to the nunnery directly at the Landgasthof Hoffmann restaurant, it’s worth taking a walk through the nunnery wood, now the valley of the Mühlbach river, which was cultivated by the nuns 800 years ago. It’s well worth taking this hour-long circular route through the valley with its woods and meadows, since along the way, the dams can still be seen that were built to secure the water supply for the fish ponds. The circular walk is now also a poetry path. At 20 stations along the way, you can enjoy not only the nature, but also selected literature.