Station: [105] Carthusian Monastery / Yew Tree / Immunity Wall

  • Immunitätsmauer
  • Immunitätsmauer
  • Immunitätsmauer 3
  • Eibe

In the late 14th Century, many monasteries could be found in the County of Cleves. Only the Carthusians were yet to be represented. The efforts of Duke Adolph to introduce the Carthusians to the county finally succeeded on 6th August 1417. Originally, the Chartreuse, that is to say the monastery, was located in Flueren near Wesel. In the Eighty Years War, the monastery was besieged by both Spanish and Dutch troops. The Reformation increasingly gained ground, and nature in the shape of the rivers Lippe and Rhine, which continuously altered their courses, forced the monks to leave their monastery. In 1628, inter alia, they occupied the house before you, which stands just 100 metres from the Xanten Cathedral and the Abbey Museum. In 1802, under the secularisation decreed by Napoleon Bonaparte, the monastery was closed. Nevertheless, the “thousand-year-old yew tree of Xanten” before you, survived all these historic upheavals. Only a few thousand-year-old yews trees have survived: One is in Vienna and one, which is said to have healing powers, is in St. Corneli In common parlance, the Xanten yew is also called the “snot-nose tree” because of its white secretions; in the original German “Schnotterbellenbaum”. The high dark-red brick wall on the other side of the road separated the area of the monastery Immunity, in which the canons lived, from the other city districts. It was the boundary between the civil and clerical life around the cathedral. The Immunity Zone, in which the canons lived, was a tax-free zone where the secular courts had no jurisdiction. An unknown high-ranking public authority granted this special legal status to this area around the cathedral. The area is now bordered by the Middle Gate, Cleves Street, Rhine Street, Michael’s Gate, Kurfuersten (Prince's) Street and Chartreuse Street, on which you are now standing. The Canons lived and worked in this [emphasise] little city [end emphasis] within the city. There is no documentary evidence to show exactly when this immunity Zone was set up.