About Saint-Hippolyte Convent
The Saint-Hippolyte Convent, also known as the Monastery of Saint-Fulrade, is in the small French commune of Saint-Hippolyte. The convent was founded by the Abbott Fulrade in around 774 AD and formed the centre point around which the estate of Saint-Hippolyte flourished.
The Saint-Hippolyte Convent was originally furnished within with the relics of its namesake, which were brought from Rome and which are now under ownership of the monastery of Saint-Denis.
History of Saint-Hippolyte Convent
The small town of Saint-Hippolyte (also known as Saint-Hippolyte-sur-le-Doubs) is in the north-east of the Doubs area, near the border of Switzerland, and south of Montbeliard.
The Saint-Hippolyte Convent lies at the confluence of the Doubs and Dessoubre rivers. It was built after Saint Fulrad, later 14th Abbott of the Abbey of Saint-Denis, and the counsellor of both Pippin and Charlemange, obtained permission from Pope Stephen II to build two monasteries; one in Saint-Hippolyte, and one in Lièpvre.
Construction began in 760 AD. In 764 AD, Saint Fulrad obtained the relics of Saint Hippolytus, a 3rd century bishop and martyr, which later became the namesake of both the monastery and the village. The monastery is first mentioned in ‘Sankt Pilt’ in 835 AD.
The monks of Saint-Denis were forced to defend their title to the two priories in 853, when an attempt was made to have them granted as a fief to a royal kinsman. The monks were successful in blocking the move, and obtained confirmation of their title in Verdun in 854 AD.
Saint-Hippolyte Convent would later become a cour colongère, which was made up of an agglomeration of farmers who were governed by common law under a Lord. This means of organising the rural world during the Middle Ages was popular, and varied in size from a few dwellings to a whole village or multiple villages.
The convent being a centre point of the cour colongère allowed the estate of Saint-Hippolyte to flourish and grow.
Saint-Hippolyte Convent Today
Today, the Convent is part of the historic scenery which Saint-Hippolyte is famous for. The 5 walls and towers which surrounded Saint-Hippolyte no longer exist, though there is a road that encircles the area, delineating houses and gardens from the vineyards that make the famous Saint-Hippolyte Rouge (red wine.)
Nearby, there is a former 16th century castle which was destroyed during the 30 Years War and rebuilt in the early 18th century. There is also a fortified church of the 14th and 15th centuries which was enlarged in the 19th century. Its stained glass windows depict the life of St. Hippolyte. Saint-Hippolyte also has many fountains.
Getting to Saint-Hippolyte Convent
Saint-Hippolyte is reachable in around 40 minutes from Strasbourg by car, via the A35. There’s also a ‘TER’ bus that takes around 45 minutes from Strasbourg.
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