Imperial Abbey of Ellwangen
Reichskloster Ellwangen
Imperial Abbey of the Holy Roman Empire
Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser)
1011–1802 Flagge Königreich Württemberg.svg

Wappen Propstei Ellwangen.gif
Coat of arms

Capital Ellwangen Abbey
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Founded ca 764
 -  Gained Reichsfreiheit probably 1011 1011
 - Reichsfreiheit confirmed 1347
 - Converted to provostry 1460
 -  Mediatised to the
    Duchy of Württemberg
1802 1802
Ellwangen Kirche 3795

Abbey church

Ellwangen Abbey (Kloster Ellwangen) was the earliest Benedictine monastery established in what is now Baden-Württemberg, in Ellwangen about 60 miles / 100 km north-east of Stuttgart.

It was founded by Hariolfus, Bishop of Langres, in about 764, although there is some evidence that it may have been as early as 732. It later became a "Reichsabtei" (imperial abbey), a privilege probably granted in 1011 by the Emperor Henry II and afterwards confirmed by the Emperor Charles IV in 1347.

Ellwangen in its early days produced many distinguished men. Abbots Lindolf and Erfinan were famous authors of their time, according to Mabillon. Abbot Gebhard wrote part of the Life of Saint Ulrich but died before completing it. Abbot Ermenrich (c. 845) was the author of the life of Saint Solus [{{fullurl:{{wikipedia:FULLPAGENAME}}}}#endnote_Solus]. The monk Adalbero was made Bishop of Augsburg in 894. Abbot Liutbert became Archbishop of Mainz, as also did Abbot Hatto (891). Saint Gebhard, Abbot of Ellwangen, became Bishop of Augsburg in 995. Abbot Milo about the middle of the tenth century was one of the visitors appointed for the visitation of the Abbey of St. Gall.

The Benedictine occupation of the abbey came to an end in the first half of the fifteenth century. In 1460 it was changed into a college of secular canons under the rule of a provost.

Nothing is known of Ellwangen's property during the period of its Benedictine history, but in the 18th century, after it had passed into the hands of the secular canons, its possessions included the court manor of Ellwangen, the manors of Jagstzell, Neuler, Rötlen, Tannenburg, Wasseralfingen, Abtsgmünd, Kochenburg near the town of Aalen, Heuchlingen on the River Lein, and Lautern.

Most of the ecclesiastical buildings still exist, though they are no longer used for religious purposes. In the secularisation of 1802 the abbey was dissolved and its assets taken over by the Duchy of Württemberg.