The monastery was founded, probably in 1147 or 1148, by Count Berthold of Eberstein as a family monastery, although the foundation charter only survives in a corrupt copy of 1270. The new monastery was settled by monks from Neubourg Abbey in Alsace.
The Vogtei (advocacy or protective lordship) was the property of the founder and his family, but the abbey had the concession that within those limits it was able to choose which individual it wanted for the role. In 1289 the Margrave of Baden became Vogt and in 1338 the Count of Württemberg, who thenceforward retained the office despite continuing efforts of the Margraves of Baden. The abbey at some stage received Reichsfreiheit as an Imperial abbey.
It was laid waste in the Peasants' War of 1525. After Duke Ulrich of Württemberg introduced the Reformation in Württemberg in 1534, the monks were forced to leave the abbey in 1536. A school was set up in the buildings in 1556 but was closed again in 1595.
The abbey owned scattered estates in the Alb valley in the northern Black Forest and round the communities of Ottersweier, Malsch (acquired 1318), Bruchsal, Oberderdingen, Vaihingen an der Enz and Merklingen (acquired 1296), among others. The abbey was however never able to concentrate its lands so as to maximise their economic potential, and never became particularly wealthy.
Some buildings still remain of the original monastic complex, among them what appear to be the abbot's lodgings and the infirmary, besides ruins of the cloisters. The Romanesque tithe barn also still survives. Of the abbey church there are substantial remains of the Romanesque paradise (entrance hall). The Gothic choir was converted for use as a Lutheran church in 1739 and still contains many relics of its former use, including a monument to Bernard I of Baden (died 1435, but not buried here). An impressive sculptured panel of the Crucifixion from the abbey was removed from Bad Herrenalb to Schloss Eberstein in the Murg valley in the 19th century.
- Rückert, Peter; Schwarzmaier, Hansmartin: 850 Jahre Kloster Herrenalb. Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7995-7819-6
- (German) Account of the abbey on the website of the Lutheran parish of Bad Herrenalb
- (German) Klöster in Baden-Württemberg: Herrenalb
- (German) Abbey history on the website of the Roman Catholic parish of Bad Herrenalb