Marchtal Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery founded in the 8th century. In 776 the noble clan of the Ahalolfinger made a gift of the monastery founded by their ancestor Halaholf and his wife to St Gall"s Abbey. By 993 the monastery had become a collegiate foundation of canons dedicated by Herman II, Duke of Swabia, and his wife Gerberga to the apostles Peter and Paul.
During the 12th century the monastery passed through the possession of a series of Swabian nobles, including the Staufen and particularly Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. These constant changes of proprietor caused a severe decline in the monastery.
In 1171 the monastery was refounded by Pfalzgraf Hugo II of Tübingen as a Premonstratensian double abbey for men and women and given an adequate endowment. The canons were brought from Mönchsrot Abbey in Rot an der Rot. The existing premises were extensive and large-scale construction was not immediately necessary.
The first prior of the new foundation was Eberhard von Wolfegg from Mönchsrot Abbey. Between 1204-1208 Prior Meinhardt had the walls rebuilt. Prior Walther II had the old church extended to a three-aisled basilica, which was dedicated on 2 May 1239 by Henry I, Bishop of Constance. In 1273 Prior Konrad (1226–75) forbade any more admissions to women, and the double monastery soon became one for men only.
Under Prior Heinrich Mörstetter (1436–61) Marchtal was raised to the status of an abbey, in 1440. In 1500 it was made an Imperial abbey, with a place and vote in the Reichstag. In 1609 the abbot received the right to bear the pontificalia (mitre, ring and pectoral cross). At this period more than 20 places and estates belonged to the territory of the abbey, besides houses in the towns of Reutlingen, Ehingen, Munderkingen and Riedlingen.
The Thirty Years" War caused much distress in the southwest of Germany. In 1632 the canons had to flee from the Swedes. The buildings survived the war, but in a very dilapidated state. It was left to the 15th abbot, the young Nikolaus Magnus Wierith, to undertake the restorations. Planning for the construction of the new church began in 1674; the first stone was laid in 1686, and the dedication took place in 1701.
The abbey was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation, and with its territories became the possession of the Princes of Thurn und Taxis, who administered it as part of the Principality of Buchau.
In 1806 the former abbey was mediatised by the Kingdom of Württemberg. The abbey church became the parish church and the monastery became a 'castle' (Schloss) or country house.
In 1919 a group of sisters of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, also sometimes known as 'Salesian sisters', from Chotieschau Abbey in Bohemia (now Chotěšov Abbey, Czech Republic) were given accommodation in the north wing. The sisters ran a secondary school for girls here until 1992, when it was taken over by the 'Stiftung Katholische Schule der Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart'. The convent moved in 1997 to Untermarchtal.
In 1973 the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart bought the entire monastic complex from the Princes Thurn und Taxis, and converted it into a teacher training academy, opened on 8 September 1978. On 16 September 2001, to mark the 300th anniversary of the dedication of the church, Bishop Gebhard Fürst raised the abbey church to the rank of a minster church.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.