15. Monastic manorial system
Traunkirchen Abbey - an economic enterprise
The society of the Middle Ages was based on ecclesiastical and secular rulers with large possessions, with many servants and subjects (“Holden”).
Founders, benefactors and members of the nuns provided their livelihood. They bequeathed interest-bearing manors from their property to the nuns. 34 farmsteads with meadows, fields, alpine pastures and persons on duty provided income, natural goods and work (“Robot") for the monastery.
The landholding of the monastery braided the Traunsee area, the middle, the upper Traun valley, parts of the lower Traun valley, areas in Styria in Leobengau, scattered property in the Inn- and Hausruckviertel, in today's Lower Austria, around Krems and Vienna and various knights fief. Taxable so called "offices" were the Viechtau, Siegesbach, Ebensee, Lauffen, Ischl, Obertraun, Aussee, Hiltprechting (Ohlsdorf), Laakirchen, places along the Traun shores from Gmunden to Schwanenstadt, Falsbach near Wels, Kemating, Schilddorn, Frauenhofen, Sierning, Hofmark Steyr, Gröbming, Trofaiach, Wilhelmsburg and Neunkirchen. Forests and avalanche forests from Rindbach to Karbach were owned by the monastery. High yields were achieved from wood and the forests from Bromberg, Hohe Schrott, Obertraun to Dachstein, from Hallstatt via Plassen, via the Höllengebirge to Langbath, in the Pötschenpass area to Altaussee. Monasterial fish meadows were the Offensee, the "old" Traun stream and from the Traunsee upwards. Mills in Mitterndorf and Ischl, a monastic farm called "Meierhof" in Winkl No. 3, a brewery (now hotel “Das Traunsee”), a silver mine, shares in the Hallstatt saline and the Ischl salt works were documented.
Monastery and salt
The convent under Abbess Chunigundis von Kirchberg (1305 - 1325) renounced her rights to the mountain of salt of Hallstatt in 1305 in favor of Queen Elisabeth, who made salt mining in Hallstatt a matter of the souvereign, and she made it fourishing. Therefor the monastery received an annual high benefit which was used for nun clothing according to the report. In 1335, Duke Albrecht v. Austria allowed the nunnery Traunkirchen the rebuilding of an already in the 13th century operating salt pan in the Ischlland. In 1449 Emperor Friedrich III doubled the amount of the annual salt donation from Hallstatt to the monastery from 30 to 60 Fuder salt (1 Fuder = 70 kg).
Rights and privileges
The monastery was granted many rights by the sovereign. The wine-growing mining law in Döbling and Klosterneuburg (Vienna), the tax- and duty-free beer and wine counter under Emperor Friedrich III, the hunting and fishing rights in the sovereign forests, in the common fisheries such as the Traunsee.
The Traunkirchen monastery also practised lower jurisdiction through the monastery's manager, later through a learned "court judge". The latter lived in the house next to the St. Nikolai chapel. From 1280, a number of documentary regulations and souvereign charters were needed to defend this right against the emerging city of Gmunden and the reign of Wildenstein near Ischl.
© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH