Heggbach Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1231 Beguines from nearby Maselheim, close to a church whose dedication to Saint Pancras suggests may have been a proprietary church of the Counts of Berg. This church was supervised by Salem Abbey. The following year, the small convent at Heggbach was also put under the supervision of Salem Abbey. Between 1233 and 1244 Hekebach was incorporated into the Cistercian order and received a charter, dated 26 June 1248, affirming its status as an independent abbey.
The abbesses and nuns of Heggbach Abbey were drawn predominantly from peasant and merchant families of the villages and cities in the vicinity. However, in later times, nuns also came from more distant areas and from local families of the lesser nobility.
Although major building works were completed under abbess Halwig Wachsgäb (1312-1322), the basic structure and layout of the nunnery, seems to have already been largely finished at around the time of its establishment, since during restoration in 1980 late Romanesque round-arched windows were discovered, as was the northern entry of the enclosure, similar in style, in the west wing. Similar openings, later bricked up, have been preserved above the vaults in the cloister.
The abbey's extensive property at the time of its foundation came from donations and acquisitions. The property was enlarged by the watermill in Maselheim in 1245 and soon afterwards a number of farms also came into the possession of Heggbach Abbey. In 1267 the abbey received the patronage of the church in Maselheim as part of an inheritance and in 1293 (temporarily) the village of Ringschnait.
The nuns, who at first had lived in a building next to the church of Saint Pancras, soon moved into the new convent buildings, performing their prayers in the small abbey church. This church was redesigned at the beginning of the 14th century and dedicated to Our Lady and Saint George. The lords of Freyberg seem to have been patrons of the abbey since they supported it financially and, in 1493, received the right to use the choir as a burial place for members of their family.
Two of the three co-heirs to the lordship of Achstetten, Eberhard and Hans von Freyberg, sold their rights of patronage over Burgrieden to Heggbach Abbey in 1420. Their descendants also disposed of the chaplaincy of Mietingen, selling it to the abbey in 1460. Heggbach Abbey also possessed the right to dispense low justice from at least 1429 in Sulmingen and in Baustetten from 1491. In Mietingen the abbey had acquired the right to dispense both low and high justice in 1442. In 1429 Heggbach Abbey was granted imperial immediacy and from 1500 was a member of the Swabian Circle.
Abbess Elisabeth Kröl (1454-1480) reformed the nunnery in 1467 and in the same year had a new altar built, dedicated to Our Lady. During the reign of her successor, Agnes Sauter (1480-1509), more altars were added to the abbey church, the chapter house received a chapel and the west wing was extended. Further improvements to the structure of the monastic buildings were carried out under abbess Margaretha Hautmann (1532-1539). The physical protection of the abbey, originally a task of the Empire, was transferred to the Imperial city of Biberach in 1481.
During the German Peasants' War, the abbey was looted on 27 March 1525 by rioting farmers of the peasants' army from nearby Baltringen (Baltringer Haufen) after several complaints regarding the burden of heavy taxes had been ignored by the abbess. As a symbol that the abbey was now subject to the peasants, a red cross was put on the main gate. In 1529, during the early phases of the Protestant Reformation, citizens of the nearby Imperial City of Biberach attempted to convert the Heggbach nuns to follow the doctrines of Martin Luther, an attempt which failed when the then abbess, Walburga Bitterler, refused to comply.
Heggbach Abbey suffered several lootings during the Thirty Years' War, particularly during the Swedish and the French incursions between 1632 and 1647.
The interior of the abbey was rebuilt in Baroque and Rococo style in the 18th century during the reigns of the abbesses Maria Caecilia Constantia Schmid (1712-1742) and Maria Aleydis Zech (1742-1773). During the same period, the gatehouse was built. At the end of the 18th century, the territory of Heggbach Abbey encompassed five and two-thirds villages (Baltringen, Baustetten, Maselheim, Mietingen and Sulmingen, as well as possessions in Laupheim), totalling 116 estates with a population of 1,718.
During the secularisation in 1803, Heggbach Abbey came into the possession of Count Waldbott von Bassenheim, passing in 1806 to the Kingdom of Württemberg. The existing nuns were allowed to remain in the abbey and received a pension but no new nuns were allowed to enter the community. The last abbess, Maria Anne Vogel, died in 1825.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.