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St. Stephen's Abbey was founded by Henry of Rothenburg, Bishop of Würzburg, about 1013, for regular canons who followed the Rule of St. Chrodegang. In 1057 Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg replaced the canons by thirty Benedictine monks from Ansbach.
After a short period of decline in the first half of the fifteenth century, the abbey joined the reform Bursfelde Congregation in 1459. After suffering another period of decline in the latter half of the sixteenth century, it continued in a flourishing condition until its secularization in 1803.
After that, the abbey church and the monastery were used as a Protestant parish church and school.
The historian Ignaz Gropp (1695-1758) was a monk of St. Stephen's. He wrote the history of several Franconian saints and monasteries, and edited "Collectio novissima scriptorum et rerum Wireceburgensium a saecula XVI hactenus gestarum" (4 vols., Frankfort and Würzburg, 1741-50).