The Haydau Convent

Middle Ages

1235

a chapel was founded in Morschen by the knights of Treffurt in order to be released from excommunication for having destroyed and stolen the treasury of the cathedral in the town of Fritzlar in 1232.

1257

a convent of Cistercian nuns was first mentioned in Morschen

1280

the church of the convent was finished

around 1300

the cloister was finished

1319

the Haydau convent was burnt down but rebuilt 5 years later

1350

the convent has been built; Haydau was sold by the family of Treffurt to the landgrave of Hesse and was the wealthiest landowner in the region.

late 15th century

nuns were replaced because of demoralisation

early 16th century

nuns participated in selling indulgence letters

1525

Haydau got sacked during the peasants’ war

1527

the Haydau convent was dissolved by landgrave Philipp of Hesse after he enforced the Reformation in his territories. He used the complex for agricultural purposes.

Early Modern Age

1616-1619

landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel transformed the convent building into a renaissance palace without changing the layout of the cloister. He also made a garden outside the convent enclosure and constructed economic side buildings like stables.

late 17th century

landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel enlarged the renaissance garden and turned it into a baroque park. He added the cavalier house to accommodate higher ranked servants and built an orangery to keep potted plants save in winter. The grotto and water basins in the park were designed by Paul du Ry who also planned the Hercules monument in the mountainous park “Wilhelmshöhe” in Kassel.

1830

the family of the landgraves lost interest in the palace of Haydau. Furniture was moved to other palaces, expenses to maintain the complex were cut. The gardener lived in the cavalier house.

19th and 20th century

1830-1938

Haydau was turned into a state property. The side buildings and the main convent/ palace complex were used as barns, stables, commercially and industrially.

World War II

Prisoners were placed in Haydau, later families who lost their homes after the bombing of Kassel in 1943 lived in the convent. After the war refugees from former eastern German territories went west, some of them stayed in Haydau.

1940s-1980s

people continued to live in the convent, the building was also still used commercially and industrially. Public institutions like the fire brigade, school, gym or the town hall were established in the side buildings at various times. As time went by the people living in the old convent moved out and the businesses were closed or moved to other locations.

1985

The former convent and later palace was empty and, due to the partly intense economic and industrial use in the end of the 19th and in the 20th century, had started to decline until the decision was made to save the old building and renovate and restore it.

21st century

2001

the works were completed and the convent reopened in September on the national “Tag des offenen Denkmals” – the day of the open monument.

2005-2017

restoration works in the park according to an undated plan presumably from the 17th century, incorporation in the European Garden Heritage Network in 2009.

2009-2014

restoration of the side buildings by a private company who also built the new hotel on the convent grounds that was opened in 2013. The guard house had to be taken down to build the hotel. It was later reinstalled south of the convent grounds and now belongs to the kitchen garden, a charitable social project. Use of the renovated side buildings for conferences and seminars.

today

Use of the convent for marriages, other family events, cultural events like art expositions, readings, theatre and concerts as well as seminars. The association “Förderverein Kloster Haydau e.V.” is renting the building from the municipality that also owns the church which is rent out to the local protestant parish.