Kloster Beinwil. Foto/Photo: TES.

Beinwil Abbey

The first monks came from Hirsau (Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg) around 1100. Centuries before, there was a Celtic sanctuary on this hill.

The first abbot was called Esso (he died in 1133). Hirsau was a monastery that introduced reforms, the Consuetudines Hirsaugienses. The Cluny abbey was the inspiration.

Beinwil was founded with financial support from local rulers. A unique archaeological find revealed the names of a few founders around 1100.

The find is a priest’s stole (textile) from the 12th century. On this stole, the names of women and men are mentioned as founders: Count Ulrich (Udalricus), his wife Cunixa, Humbert, Mahtilt and another Udalricus.

Pope Eugen III (1088-1153) and Emperor Barbarossa (1122-1190) recognised the monastery in 1114 and 1152.

Around 1400, the monastery flourished, with a scriptorium, a library with over 200 books and manuscripts (including the Beinwiler missal), a botanical garden, a Romanesque basilica, a monastery school, a hospice for travellers over the Passwang Pass, estates and numerous valuable objects.

In the 15th century, the monastery became entangled in the struggle between the city of Basel and Solothurn. The monastery was dissolved and transferred to the Mariastein monastery in 1648.

Today, it is a Greek Orthodox Monastery.

(Source: P. Lukas Schenker, ‘Die Beinwiler Stola. Ein Zeugnis aus dem 12. jahrhundert’. In Jahrbuch für Solothurnische Geschichte, Band 93, 2020).