A small monastery was founded in Altomünster by Saint Alto, a wandering monk, in about 750. The vita of Alto, likely written by Otloh of St. Emmeram after 1056 and ostensibly based on oral knowledge (written lore having been lost through plunder), reports that the monastery was visited by Saint Boniface, who dedicated the church. Another 11th-century text notes that Boniface also dedicated the church in nearby Benediktbeuern Abbey.
Sometime before 1000 the Welfs enlarged it and made it into a Benedictine abbey. Welf I, Duke of Bavaria resettled the monks in 1056 to the newly founded Weingarten Abbey in Altdorf, while the nuns formerly resident at Altdorf moved to Altomünster, where they lived until the monastery was dissolved in 1488 by Pope Innocent VIII.
In 1496 by grant of Duke George the Rich the Bridgettines of Maihingen were permitted to establish a Bridgettine monastery at Altomünster. The monastery was dissolved on 18 March 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria, but was later revived. Today, along with a settlement in Bremen, it is the last Bridgettine monastery in Germany. Nearby is a museum of the history of the Bridgettine Order.
Two gospel lectionary created for the abbey in the 12th century are held by the Bavarian State Library.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.