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The monastery was founded in 762 by Waltrich, a Benedictine monk of noble family, on his own land. During the next two centuries the monastery grew as a result of various gifts and endowments (among them the estates of Schwabing and Hesselohe).
The school was closed between 1941 and 1945 by the National Socialists. Immediately after the war the school, which is private, was re-opened as a "Progymnasium", that is to say, only for German forms 5 to 10 (equivalent to the Upper Fifth form), to the year before the Abitur. Abitur examinations were not conducted in Schäftlarn until 1973. In 2005 the school had about 420 pupils, both day pupils (boys and girls) and boarders (boys only).
The present abbey buildings were constructed in 1707 to plans by Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. The church of Saint Denis, built as the abbey church, is a beautiful example of Rococo style. It was begun as a new building from 1733 to 1740 under Francois de Cuvilliés the Elder, and finished during the period from 1751 to 1760 by Johann Georg Gunetzrhainer and Johann Michael Fischer. From 1754 to 1756 the church was painted and decorated with stucco by Johann Baptist Zimmermann. From 1756 to 1764 Johann Baptist Straub worked on the altars and the chancel. There is also a formal garden here, the "Prelate's Garden", recently restored.
- Winhard, Wolfgang, and Peda, Gregor (nd). Kloster Schäftlarn: Geschichte und Kunst. Kunstverlag Peda Gregor. ISBN 3927296805
- Mitterer, Sigisbert, 1962. 1200 Jahre Kloster Schäftlarn. Seitz Verlag.
- (German) Schäftlarn Abbey website
- (German) Klöster in Bayern: Schäftlarn
- (English) "Schäftlarn". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Sch%C3%A4ftlarn.