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"One does not live by bread alone": rural reform and village political strategies after the Peasants' War.

On July 17, 1539, the evangelical preachers in the free imperial city Augsburg petitioned the town council to thoroughly evangelize the surrounding countryside. The clerics bemoaned the treatment of "the poor peasantry, which has been lamentably misled and left to flounder without the word of God. The peasants are very confused, for they recognize papal teachings as deceptive yet are robbed of the Gospel's healthy teaching." It was unnatural that "so many subjects in the countryside are separated, divided, and alienated from their divinely established magistracy in matters of faith." To remedy the situation, the pastors exhorted Augsburg's councilors to provide the villagers "with fatherly care" through "the preaching of the Gospel." They followed this injunction with a warning. If it took no action, "then truly the honorable council will have to answer before God, since the council collects tithes and taxes (zins und gult) from the poor people as its subjects, but it does not supply them with the food of souls." (1)

For Augsburg's evangelical clergy, the preaching of the pure Gospel could not be confined within city walls. Just as it fed the souls of Augsburg's burghers, the Word needed to nourish those outside the city who still lived under the authority of Rome. This powerful ideal of evangelization tied the religious duty of urban magistrates to the spiritual fate of their rural subjects. From 1538 to 1547, Augsburg's council took up its preachers' call by pursuing reform in multiple rural parishes, most notably in two nearby villages named Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim. Both communities owed fealty to monastic institutions located in Augsburg that had come under the control of Augsburg's council after its January 1537 introduction of the Reformation. By using the rights possessed by the Dominican convent St. Katharina and the Benedictine abbey St. Ulrich and Afra to spread reform, Augsburg's council sought to increase its jurisdiction in villages where it had previously exercised limited political authority. The expansion of reform outside the city presented an opportunity to disseminate Augsburg's version of the Reformation while enlarging the council's religio-political sphere of influence, both major goals of Augsburg's external policy during the 1530s and 1540s. For many magistrates and preachers in Augsburg, the consolidation of the city's internal reformation required the exporting of reform to neighboring communities.

The reform initiatives of Augsburg's council and the 1539 clerical supplication highlight the interconnected nature of urban and rural reform during the first half of the sixteenth century. While historians have long characterized the Reformation as an "urban event," (2) each city's participation in regional trade and communication networks ensured that urban reform did not occur in isolation. As Peter Blickle's "communal Reformation" model argues, the movement of reform ideas between city and countryside often shaped the Reformation's course in both settings. (3) Rural agitation for wide-sweeping reform such as the 1524-1526 Peasants' War led many urban magistrates to suppress the Reformation. Conversely, villages that differed in confession from nearby cities offered a religious alternative for Catholics or evangelicals who could not practice their faith openly within city walls. (4) This dynamic placed pressure on urban magistrates to try to regulate religious practices in their rural hinterland. Similar to their influence in the economic sphere, many evangelical cities also acted as regional hubs for the distribution of reform ideas. The importance of this urban-rural relationship has led Rolf Kiessling to conclude that in most south German principalities, "the connection to imperial cities as centers of reform was itself decisive for the disposition to reform [rural territories]." (5)

Peasants and burghers were therefore integrated in an economic, political, and religious framework that stretched beyond the boundaries of local communities. (6) These close ties influenced how religious reform spread. This realization, combined with a focus on the village commune as a site of religious experience, has led scholars in the last three decades to devote great attention to the process of rural reform. One school of thought emphasizes the growing power and reform initiative of central authority against the rural population, culminating in the social disciplining of villagers through the so-called "Princes' Reformation." This perspective has crystallized most clearly in the confessionalization thesis, which remains a dominant concept in Reformation studies. Supporters of this paradigm place the impetus for religious change in the hands of ruling magistrates and clerics, arguing that over the course of the sixteenth century, political authorities imposed new confessional models on the general population. In the process, the confessionalization thesis tends to view rural inhabitants as largely passive recipients of top-down reform. (7) In reaction to this theory, many scholars have argued that rural reform, in both Catholic and Protestant territories, resulted from a process of discourse or dialogue between the laity, clergy, and local magistrates. In this model, political authorities did not impose the Reformation or Tridentine reform from above. Rather, reform evolved from a continual give and take between numerous parties. (8) Recently David Mayes has added another viewpoint, claiming that until the Peace of Westphalia, rural communities in Upper Hesse avoided attempts at confessionalization by practicing a unique form of "communal Christianity." According to Mayes, rural religiosity before 1648 deemphasized doctrinal issues in favor of ethical concerns and the maintenance of communal norms, which allowed it to coexist with confessionalized versions of Christianity favored by central authorities. (9) Despite their differing conclusions, these various studies tend to examine rural reform in the same two contexts: during the early 1520s or after the 1555 Peace of Augsburg. (10) Most emphasize the Peasants' War as a decisive turning point in the Reformation's appeal to rural populations, frequently pointing to the rebellion's failure as a watershed moment in suppressing rural zeal for reform. This conclusion is particularly evident in the work of Blickle, who asserts that the war caused "rural society [to drop] out as a supporter of the evangelical movement." (11)

Such an approach, which Heinz Schilling has dubbed "the 'mystification' of the year 1525," (12) obscures the importance of the 1530s and 1540s for the Reformation's course in many parts of Central Europe. Contrary to the perception that this period was a static or uneventful time for rural reform, the Reformation expanded rapidly across southern Germany during these decades. In numerous areas, the years between the Peasants' War and the Peace of Augsburg constituted a key period that witnessed new attempts to introduce the Reformation into countless communities. This was especially true in Swabia, where many imperial cities and princely territories did not adopt the Reformation until after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg. Ulm in 1531, the Duchy of Wtirttemberg in 1534, and Augsburg in 1537--to name but a few all introduced evangelical reform several years after the Peasants' War, but each had a stake in reforming villages in their regions. A process of conflict and negotiation resulted between ruling magistrates, the common folk, and outside political entities that shaped the Reformation throughout southern Germany. An analysis of peasant reactions to reform during this crucial period reveals that many in the rural laity retained interest in evangelical reform after the end of the Peasants' War. While most villagers no longer sought to totally remake society, many continued to push for localized change through religious reform, which opened new religious, political, and economic opportunities for rural inhabitants. The strategies they employed often depended on the specific political context of their communities, a fact that necessitates a study from the local level in order to address broader issues of causation in the early Reformation.

In this context, the villagers' role in Augsburg's rural reform attempts offers a particularly interesting case study. Unlike other imperial cities such as Nuremberg and Ulm, Augsburg did not possess an extensive hinterland. The council therefore lacked direct jurisdiction in the countryside, instead exercising authority through "indirect lordship" based on individual rights held by the city's monastic institutions. (13) Accordingly, Augsburg's efforts to evangelize surrounding villages encountered opposition from Catholic polities that possessed equal or greater rights of jurisdiction in these communities. The ensuing conflicts frustrated Augsburg's attempts to spread reform, but they also gave local villagers the chance to voice their opinions concerning reform and the proper ordering of relations between rulers and subjects. The circumstances surrounding reform in Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim therefore allow one to investigate the interplay between "multilateral voices and perspectives" in the process of reformation. (14) In both communities, the Reformation enabled the inhabitants to pursue an expanded range of religio-political strategies by breaking down old ties of authority and forming new ones in their place. The villagers proved to be flexible and opportunistic, utilizing Augsburg's desire to spread reform to further their own interests while affirming the validity of their existing rights and privileges. The dynamics of rural reform in Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim therefore complicate models of top-down confessionalization by showing how villagers could manipulate disputes over legal jurisdiction and sovereignty. Rural inhabitants were far from passive recipients of reform, and magistrates and monks alike recognized the need to secure their support. In the decades after the Peasants' War, villagers in Upper Swabia displayed both resourcefulness in how they responded to reform and a willingness to use the Reformation for their political and spiritual benefit.


Augsburg's first major rural reform attempt began in 1538, roughly one year after the council's January 1537 decision to abolish the Latin Mass in all the city's churches. This official introduction of evangelical reform led many of Augsburg's Catholic clergy to leave for exile in neighboring territories. Among those who departed were the monks of the Benedictine imperial abbey St. Ulrich and Afra, one of the city's largest and most important monastic institutions. Founded at the start of the eleventh century, the abbey controlled a sizeable compound at the southern end of town. Its centerpiece was the basilica of Ulrich and Afra, which housed the remains of three prominent local saints: St. Afra, St. Simpert, and St. Ulrich. (15) Its claim to status as an imperial abbey gave St. Ulrich greater independence from the city council than other monastic institutions in the city, but the advent of Augsburg's evangelical reformation caused all but one of the abbey's monks to withdraw to their rural holdings at Unterwittelsbach in Bavaria. One monk, Joachim Gabold, stayed behind to care for the abbey's buildings, but once his brethren had departed, Gabold declared his support for the Reformation by taking a wife and swearing an oath of citizenship. Augsburg's council responded by proclaiming Gabold the monastery's true abbot, since he was now the sole inhabitant of St. Ulrich's urban complex. It then ordered the city's burghers to direct all payments due the abbey to Gabold rather than Unterwittelsbach. (16) The exiled monks objected to no avail.

Emboldened by their seizure of urban tithes, Augsburg and Gabold next laid claim to some rural payments due the abbey. Their target was Haunstetten, a village located a few kilometers south of Augsburg that belonged with all rights of high and low jurisdiction to St. Ulrich. On July 21, 1538, Gabold, accompanied by several armed guards provided by Augsburg's council, entered Haunstetten and compelled the villagers to transfer their oath of fealty from the exiled monks to him. This act meant all feudal payments owed St. Ulrich by the village now went to Augsburg rather than the monks in Unterwittelsbach. (17) It provoked an immediate protest from St. Ulrich's abbot Johannes VII, who petitioned the German King Ferdinand for aid. A lengthy legal conflict ensued that lasted until 1541. At the center of the controversy stood the Haunstetter, to whom both sides appealed directly for loyalty. The villagers' responses reveal how the inhabitants of one rural community sought to use disputes caused by the Reformation to reshape their economic, political, and religious status in the decade following the Peasants' War.

Augsburg's actions in Haunstetten formed part of a larger program to expand the city's religio-political sphere of influence by exporting Augsburg's version of evangelical reform to nearby communities. While the council officially recognized the Augsburg Confession the main statement of Wittenberg reform presented at the 1530 Diet of Augsburg--it did so to maintain membership in the Schmalkaldic League, a military alliance pledged to defend the Confession's adherents. In their own churches, most of Augsburg's magistrates and their preachers favored a local version of reform that struck a balance between the poles of Zurich and Wittenberg theology. Augsburg's reformed liturgy differed substantially from Wittenberg's, (18) while the celebration of the Eucharist in Augsburg occurred according to a formula neither Zwinglian nor Lutheran in orientation. (19) It was this specific Augsburg-style reform that the council wished to spread to nearby communities, including the imperial cities Donauworth and Kaufbeuren, where Augsburg's magistrates hoped to foster "fine, right-believing flank town(s) that, God willing, will not only stand beside the city of Augsburg in religious matters, but also in other Christian and neighborly affairs as well." (20) These efforts to enlarge the city's religio-political sphere of influence led the council to use the Reformation to augment its jurisdiction in the countryside. In the process, the religious and political interests of the council fused in a way that made the religious good politically desirable.

In the case of Haunstetten, the personal ambition of Augsburg's leading politician Wolfgang Rehlinger seems also to have influenced the council's readiness to support Gabold. In 1536, Rehlinger attempted to buy lordship over Haunstetten from St. Ulrich for 60,000 fl. The monks refused to sell the village, citing their exclusive ownership of legal fights in the community as well as "the roughly 600 years that the village Haunstetten has belonged to the monastery, a fight guaranteed by a charter from Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa." The monks took great pains to secure the support of nearby noblemen for this decision, since St. Ulrich's abbot feared "our refusal to sell might provoke displeasure and possibly even anger from [Rehlinger]." (21) The bishop of Augsburg also appears to have suspected an ulterior or possibly vindictive motive from Rehlinger. In a September 1536 letter to Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria, Bishop Christoph von Stadion asked Wilhelm not to support Rehlinger's bid to buy Haunstetten "for reasons we will explain to your lordship in a timely manner off the record." (22) Coming a few months before Augsburg's city council eliminated the Latin Mass within its walls, the bishop's statement could very well indicate a fear that the alienation of Haunstetten to Rehlinger would bring attempts to reform the local parish. Whether or not he relayed this suspicion to Duke Wilhelm is unknown, but the bishop's misgivings, as well as those of the monks, seem to have hit the mark, since Rehlinger's failed purchase likely shaped Augsburg's subsequent policy toward the village. (23) In a 1543 letter to Landgrave Philip of Hesse, Augsburg's city physician Gereon Sailer (24) opined that
   Rehlinger undertook these actions against St. Ulrich in Haunstetten
   with the appearance that he wished to enrich the city. Instead, he
   wanted to buy the village himself. For this reason, Rehlinger
   promised St. Ulrich's chancellor that Augsburg's council would pay
   a commission of 200 fl. if the chancellor could bring the village
   under its control. (25)

In Haunstetten, the individual interests of Rehlinger converged with the broader religio-political goals of the council to encourage the Reformation's spread to a nearby rural community.

St. Ulrich's reluctance to sell its jurisdiction in Haunstetten stemmed largely from the taxes it collected from the village, which represented one of the monastery's most important sources of rural income. The abbey's rights in Haunstetten were greater than in any other community under its authority, which meant the village held symbolic importance for the monks as well, as evidenced by their appeal to Barbarossa's charter. A specially appointed bailiff oversaw the monastery's interests in the community, and St. Ulrich's abbot designated two of the four members of the Vierer, the ruling Council of Four that comprised Haunstetten's local political leadership. (26) This privilege gave the monks substantial influence over Haunstetten's internal political organization, a fact that may help explain the villagers' willingness to pledge fealty to a new lord. Switching loyalties to Gabold gave the Haunstetter control over the appointment of all four councilors, placing greater autonomy in the hands of the commune. It also allowed the villagers to pursue obedience to a different religious authority, which carried the potential for a simultaneous reformation of the community's religious and economic situation.

Although St. Ulrich's abbot permitted the Haunstetter to appoint two of the four Vierer, the villagers had little opportunity to speak for themselves in political affairs. They possessed no right to correspond directly with foreign authorities, and all communication with Augsburg, Ferdinand, and other polities occurred through St. Ulrich's chancellery. By pledging fealty to Gabold, the Vierer became responsible for its own correspondence with outside powers. (27) This transfer of loyalties enabled the villagers to act in ways previously closed to them, making them active participants in the controversy surrounding religious practice in their village. Their responses to the parties involved--the exiled monks at Unterwittelsbach and Ferdinand on one side, Gabold and Augsburg's council on the other--reveal the types of political strategies employed by villagers to justify changes in religio-political orientation. Caught between two opposing powers that claimed lordship over the village, the Haunstetter sought to exploit the situation in order to recast their economic, political, and religious circumstances in the most favorable way possible.

In addition to the potential religio-political advantages of switching loyalties to Gabold, there appear to have been long standing economic tensions between the monks and villagers that shaped their desire to escape St. Ulrich's control. While the monastery had exercised jurisdiction over Haunstetten for centuries, the beginning of the sixteenth century brought a new dynamic, as the village underwent a demographic transformation from a purely agrarian base to a mixed population of farmers and small artisans. This development created an increased level of economic disparity in Haunstetten, which may have been one factor that led some of the villagers to join the rebel forces during the Peasants' War. While the rebellious peasants were eventually subdued, the war soured relations between St. Ulrich and the Haunstetter, many of whom continued to resent the monastery's economic demands. (28) During the 1530s, this disgruntlement manifested itself in the Haunstetter's refusal to pay their yearly tithe money. (29) In 1539, St. Ulrich's abbot claimed the Haunstetter "have been averse to paying for many years" and "owe as much as one thousand Gulden in missed tithes and outstanding loans." Avoidance of payment had therefore been going on for some time before the monks' exile in Bavaria, predating the introduction of the Reformation in Augsburg. Indeed, according to the abbot the villagers "continue to owe unpaid taxes and tithes dating back to 1536 through the time of our departure." (30)

In this light, the villagers' willingness to switch loyalties to Gabold and by extension Augsburg represented the culmination of ongoing reluctance to render payment to St. Ulrich. The Haunstetter's actions fit the category of tithe disputing described by C. Scott Dixon in his analysis of rural reform in Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kuhnbach. Building on the work of James Scott, Dixon argues that refusal to pay taxes or tithes represented "resistance without protest," a strategy "employed by the peasantry ... to secure the utmost advantage from a limited reservoir of possibilities." This form of "native pragmatism" appears throughout the dispute over Haunstetten (31) and is key for understanding the Haunstetter's actions in the early stages of the conflict. The villagers were already resisting St. Ulrich's authority prior to Augsburg's intrusion, and their reorientation toward the imperial city provided a sudden and unexpected way of freeing themselves from the monks. At least initially, the villagers were more willing to deal with Augsburg than with the exiled clerics who traditionally demanded Haunstetten's loyalty.

The long-term deterioration of relations between Haunstetten and St. Ulrich provides the necessary context for understanding the villagers' decisions in 1538-1539. While the Haunstetter did not initiate the monks' exile or the establishment of a new religio-political authority in the village, their oath of fealty to Gabold legitimized their non-payment to Unterwittelsbach. This switching of loyalties also possessed a decidedly religious element. The village's old lords were clergy of the Catholic Church, while its new lord actively supported evangelical reform and had abandoned vows of monastic celibacy. Indeed, both Augsburg's council and the exiled monks were aware of the implications the transfer of Haunstetten's fealty had for the village's religious orientation. According to St. Ulrich's chancellor Mang Nusser, shortly after the Haunstetter swore obedience to Gabold, "the Haunstetten priest Liedel Kamrer ... volunteered to take a wife, to halt celebration of the Mass, and to accept many more things that are very pleasing to the Augsburger." (32) An essential part of Haunstetten's switch in political loyalties, therefore, involved a change in the village's religious affiliation. By renouncing St. Ulrich, the villagers not only denied the abbey's political dominion in Haunstetten. They also rejected the monks' spiritual authority through acceptance of the Reformation.


For their part, St. Ulrich's monks viewed the transfer of Haunstetten's tithes as a religious as well as a political and financial matter. Gabold's actions "violate the imperial peace as well as godly and human statutes. They are a breach of the recesses promulgated by the general imperial estates at numerous imperial diets. Even those who name themselves Protestants have accepted these recesses." (33) Gabold's conduct was illegal on political and religious grounds, and the monks feared setting a dangerous precedent: "Other of our subjects who occupy the countryside around Haunstetten may learn through these actions how easily they can pledge themselves to apostate monks and thereby engage in apostasy themselves." (34) St. Ulrich's abbot portrayed the events in Haunstetten as something greater than a loss of income for the monastery. On a larger scale, Gabold's actions represented an attack on the traditional nature of rural religious practice and political authority that imperiled the souls of all peasants in the region.

For economic, political, and religious reasons, therefore, the exiled monks at Unterwittelsbach were intent on reestablishing their authority in Haunstetten. After an initial complaint went unanswered, on October 8, 1538, the monastery sent a second letter to the villagers condemning their disloyalty. Johannes VII hoped the Haunstetter "would consider your honor and persist in the duties you have sworn to us." The villagers should come to Unterwittelsbach and pay "the yearly tithe. Moreover, you should offer our apostate, disloyal brother absolutely no reverence and pay him not one Heller." (35) To strengthen these demands, the abbot cautioned the villagers about the consequences of continued disobedience. If the Haunstetter "abandon us without any cause, in violation of your honor and duty, we will be forced to take action against your possessions and goods. We offer you this as a fatherly warning to remain loyal." (36)

Both Gabold and the Haunstetter stayed defiant. In response to the monastery's threats, the ex-monk and Haunstetten's Vierer met in Augsburg on October 15 with the imperial notary Silvester Raid. Gabold explained he had remained in Augsburg and taken the citizenship oath "out of the conviction of my conscience and a tree zeal for the Christian religion." (37) Such an act was possible thanks to the city council's decision "to alter and eliminate in its parish churches various inappropriate, godless abuses concerning the papal Mass and other ceremonies that strongly contradict the word of God." (38) Since his fellow monks had "impiously, obstinately, and wantonly" fled the city and abandoned their duties, Gabold had decided, "to collect the yearly rent, taxes, and tithes due St. Ulrich." (39) He had not overstepped his authority, but was simply acting in his capacity as caretaker of the monastic complex.

The Vierer voiced support for Gabold. The villagers had received a "wanton and impudent letter" (frvenliche und vermessen geschefftbrieff) from Unterwittelsbach ordering them "from this point forward to offer Joachim Gabold no obedience and to pay him not one Heller." (40) Instead, the Vierer avowed, "such taxes and tithes have always, in every way, as far as memory records, been paid to St. Ulrich's complex in Augsburg. Haunstetten belongs with rights of jurisdiction to [the complex] in Augsburg alone." (41) From the perspective of Haunstetten's villagers, the traditional location of their payment superseded the new demands of the exiled monks. The Haunstetter owed obedience not to the individual members of the cloister but to the actual physical location of the monastery's buildings in Augsburg. By leaving their complex for exile in Bavaria, St. Ulrich's monks had alienated themselves from their rural subjects. Consequently, the Haunstetter would rather pay "Gabold and the cloister St. Ulrich in Augsburg than a strange, foreign lord." (42)

The Vierer's October 15 pronouncement emphasized two themes that dominated the villagers' perceptions throughout the conflict: the nature of lordship and the importance of traditional rights. Despite their earlier actions, the Haunstetter did not dispute their duty to render tithe payments. Rather, they contested the jurisdiction of the exiled monks based on their physical location. This argument derived from the Vierer's belief in the power of traditional rights and privileges. The village had always delivered payment to the monastic complex in Augsburg. According to established custom, paying tithes to Gabold was the appropriate course of action, since he occupied the proper seat of lordship for the village. Transferring payments to Unterwittelsbach would have violated the traditional arrangements that bound the community and its ruler together, an unjust innovation that threatened to alter the legal status of the villagers for the worse. It would not have resulted in a diminution of taxes, as their tithe dispute sought, but would have added an additional economic burden that lacked historical precedent. In order to protect their traditional rights, therefore, the Haunstetter cleaved to their new religio-political authority in Augsburg.


The Haunstetter's continued refusal to render tithes led St. Ulrich's abbot to seek assistance from King Ferdinand, who issued a mandate to the villagers on December 7, 1538. The king lamented that Haunstetten "has fallen away from its true and orderly authority" by pledging fealty to a monk "who has abandoned his religion." He ordered the villagers "to offer the abbot all proper and dutiful obedience as the one to whom you are bound by vows and oaths of duty. If this does not happen, and you persist in your disobedience, we will be forced to levy penalties against you." (43) This royal ultimatum presented the Haunstetter with an unusual decision. Should they continue paying their tithes to Gabold, as they claimed their traditional rights demanded, but risk punishment by the king? Alternatively, should they transfer their payments to the Unterwittelsbach monks, an innovation the villagers had already opposed for over a year? On January 22, 1539, the Vierer wrote St. Ulrich's abbot "as poor subjects and peasants who greatly desire to do the right thing and avoid injustice." They informed him "we are currently in the process of composing our written response to the king, which we will send out soon. We are of the humble opinion the king will be pleased with our response." (44)

In February, the Vierer answered Ferdinand. The village leaders had "sworn an oath of duty both to the abbot and the cloister St. Ulrich in Augsburg to pay our rent, taxes, and tithes in a subject and obedient manner. According to old customs, this payment takes place in Augsburg." This arrangement worked well until "about two years ago," when the abbot and some of his monks, "for reasons unknown to us, left St. Ulrich and settled in Unterwittelsbach." At the time, the abbot's chancellor ordered the Haunstetter "to pay tithes and taxes to the cloister complex in Augsburg according to traditional practice, which we have loyally and willingly done." (45) Now that Gabold was the abbey's sole inhabitant, the abbot demanded "we should pay our tithes and taxes in another place other than the cloister. Such an arrangement would not only be a breach of our duties. It would violate our rights and privileges." The current "schism and conflict in our lordship pains our hearts," (46) but "the abbot and his convent have sworn to permit us our old customs, rights, and traditions and not to burden us with any additional demands." (47) In order "to fulfill our sworn oath to St. Ulrich," the Haunstetter proclaimed they would continue to pay "our rent and taxes to the St. Ulrich cloister complex. Our forefathers did the same many years ago when another abbot fled the monastery and wished to receive payment from the villagers." (48)

The Vierer's letter to Ferdinand displays the same logic as its October 15 pronouncement. As before, the villagers contested not their duty to render tithes but the demand that they make payments to Unterwittelsbach. For the villagers, transferring the site of tithing from Augsburg to another location violated their long-standing privileges, which the monks had explicitly sworn to uphold. Infringing upon traditional rights represented a breach of the lord subject relationship as well as a contradiction of historical precedent. This emphasis on preserving "old customs and traditions" formed the core of the Vierer's legal justification. In a world where lordship and customary privileges bound communities together, the Vierer used the tithe dispute to contest the very nature of St. Ulrich's dominion in the village. This strategy marked a continuation of their previous resistance to the monastery that predated their allegiance to Gabold. While the villagers did not initiate their reorientation away from the exiled monks, they sought to exploit the conflict brought on by the Reformation to minimize St. Ulrich's authority in Haunstetten.

In their response to Ferdinand, the Haunstetter purposefully avoided mention of religious developments in Augsburg and the surrounding countryside. The villagers remained silent regarding their priest's decision to marry and the elimination of the Latin Mass. They even claimed to be unaware of why the monks departed Augsburg. The Haunstetter could hardly have been ignorant of the monks' reasons for fleeing the city, however. After leaving Augsburg in 1537, Abbot Johannes VII "went to the village Haunstetten and stayed there for many days. He spoke to several people and ordered them not to stray from him or his convent." (49) The Haunstetter knew the motivations for the monks' departure, and they were aware of the larger religious context surrounding their oath of obedience to Gabold. By avoiding mention of the religious question, the villagers offered tacit approval of the changes introduced in their church. If they had found the expansion of religious reform from the city into the countryside heretical or oppressive, they could have petitioned Ferdinand to restore their rightful religio-political lords. Instead, the Vierer self-consciously sidestepped the issue, justifying their actions by accusing St. Ulrich of dereliction in its lordship.

Simon Goll, St. Ulrich's new abbot, sharply rebuked the Vierer's arguments. (50) He dismissed Haunstetten's claim that "it owes allegiance only to the cloister complex and its walls, since my convent and I are the cloister." (51) The abbot asked Ferdinand "to carry out your mandate to return our disobedient subjects to obedience. This will also ensure that we continue to collect tithes from our other renters and subjects." (52) The king obliged, issuing a second decree on May 24, 1539. This time Ferdinand threatened a fine of "10 gold marks" if the Haunstetter did not pledge renewed obedience to their "rightful and orderly prelate." (53) To add urgency to his demands, Ferdinand commanded the royal notary Martin Hochenrainer to visit Haunstetten and read the decree aloud. Hochenrainer and six witnesses arrived in Haunstetten on June 15. The notary assembled the villagers in the central square, but before he could finish reciting the decree, Gabold's agent in the village interrupted and mocked Hochenrainer. He ordered the Haunstetter "not to obey or accept any such royal mandate." The villagers agreed, explaining to Hochenrainer that they "do not wish to disdain the mandate, but neither do they wish to obey or accept it. They say they already have a lord in St. Ulrich in Augsburg to whom they wish to be obedient." After repeated attempts to sway the villagers, Hochenrainer and his witnesses left Haunstetten in dismay. The frustrated notary informed Ferdinand that the Haunstetter "have indeed disdained your majesty's mandate and are in breach of it." (54) The king should deal with them accordingly.

The failure of Hochenrainer's mission marked an escalation of the conflict. What began as a local tithe dispute between a rural community and its monastic overlord quickly evolved into a complex legal battle between royal agents and urban magistrates. The next move came from Augsburg's council, which instructed its jurist Lucas Ulstat to examine Ferdinand's May 24 mandate. Ulstat declared the royal decree invalid, contending that it lacked the proper seal. The king's demands also violated the recently signed Truce of Frankfurt, argued Ulstat, which declared "all clerics, even evangelicals, should be allowed to remain true to their current religious persuasion." (55) Accordingly, Ulstat concluded that Haunstetten should not return to the exiled monks, for such an action would alter the village's confessional orientation, thereby abrogating the treaty's terms. In stark contrast to the Haunstetter, therefore, Augsburg's magistrates employed religion as the primary justification for opposing Ferdinand and St. Ulrich. They did so in a way they hoped would give legal weight to the city's newly acquired jurisdiction in the village. For Augsburg's council, the religious and political stakes at play in Haunstetten were closely intertwined, which made the expansion of the city's sphere of authority dependant on the successful spread of the Reformation. The king countered on September 11 with a third mandate. Ferdinand ordered the Haunstetter "to pay the abbot within one month's time all overdue and unpaid tithes, rent, taxes, and services. From this point forward you should display proper and dutiful obedience toward the abbot." If this did not happen, "we will be forced to proceed against you immediately according to our previously threatened penalties in order to correct your disobedience." (56)

Ferdinand's September ultimatum sparked debate within the village about the wisdom of continued opposition to St. Ulrich. (57) At the same time, the Haunstetter faced growing pressure from neighboring rural communities to capitulate to the monks' demands. In a letter to Augsburg's council written in the first half of October 1539, (58) the Vierer complained "when we meet our neighbors and other honorable people we are often ill-received. They address us as those who abandoned their true lord unreasonably and without need. They say we will have to answer for this before God." (59) Both the king and many of their fellow peasants called for the Haunstetter "to display obedience in all matters to our correct and natural lord the prelate of St. Ulrich." (60) Accordingly,
   we are in no way disposed to continue striving against his
   majesty's royal mandates, which would mean the ruin of our
   possessions and goods. We have no intention to burden our
   conscience and souls further. Above all else, we wish to follow our
   conscience, which directs us to God Almighty and demands that we
   offer full obedience to our correct and natural authority. We
   therefore dissolve our oath of duty to Joachim Gabold. (61)

Both sides responded swiftly to the Haunstetter's announcement. On October 11, the village sent a delegation to Gabold informing him of its decision. Upon their arrival in Augsburg, Gabold "imprisoned the delegates in his house for approximately two hours." (62) The next day, Gabold petitioned Augsburg's council for assistance dealing with "the Haunstetter, who willingly offered vows of duty to me." (63) He asked "the council to offer advice and help so the Haunstetter do not fall under the authority of the abbot and the invalid convent. This is necessary so other authorities do not establish themselves in the hearts of the Haunstetter, thereby turning the rightful master into a servant." (64) Augsburg's council agreed, reacting to the Haunstetter's revocation of loyalty with force and intimidation. On October 16, "three men [from Haunstetten] who were in Augsburg on business were all taken prisoner by the Augsburger and placed in irons." These actions worried the monks at Unterwittelsbach, "since if the Augsburger act against the poor people in such a deplorable manner, there arises the concern that, out of fear, the people may return to their apostasy." (65) To prevent this, Abbot Simon wrote directly to the Vierer. He assured the Haunstetter "if you receive molestation from the apostate monk or anyone else who wishes to help or assist him in this matter, we stand ready to offer you solace, help, and support. This is our fatherly pledge to you, our obedient and beloved subjects." (66)

Despite the punitive measures employed by Augsburg and Gabold, the tide was turning. The villagers' decision to renounce Gabold convinced St. Ulrich's abbot that Haunstetten was once again within his grasp. Abbot Simon therefore issued renewed appeals for aid to Ferdinand while striking a more conciliatory tone toward the Haunstetter. By offering fatherly assistance to his "obedient and beloved subjects," the abbot sought to contrast for the villagers the strong-arm tactics of Augsburg with the promised benevolence of their traditional lord, St. Ulrich. This shift in rhetoric shows the speed with which the tone of dialogue between subject and lord could change based on larger religio-political circumstances. Against the opposition of Ferdinand, St. Ulrich, and now the villagers, Augsburg could not hold out for long. In late November, Ferdinand made good on his previous threats. On orders from the king, "this past Sunday November 23, the knight Wolf Dietrich von Knoringen entered the village with thirty riders. He forced the peasants, who were assembled together in church at the time, to take an oath affirming they would pay their taxes from this point forward to the exiled monks in Unterwittelsbach." (67) Augsburg's council dutifully protested this military action, initiating a protracted legal controversy over possession of the ius reformandi in the village that lasted for two years. As of November 23, 1539, however, Haunstetten returned to its "rightful and orderly prelate." The village once again became a possession of the exiled monks, who restored Catholic religious practice in Haunstetten.

Throughout the duration of the dispute, the Haunstetter never employed religious reform as justification for their actions. Instead, the villagers based their resistance on a specific interpretation of their traditional "rights, privileges, and customs." In this respect, their actions fit C. Scott Dixon's observation that "a tithe dispute was a local concern; it had specific legal and temporal reference, and nothing to do with God's Word." (68) At the same time, however, the events in Haunstetten possessed a decidedly religious overtone, which temporarily opened up new political and economic opportunities for the villagers. The transfer of the village's loyalty from the exiled monks to Gabold entailed a shifting of Haunstetten's confessional allegiance. This development turned the tithe dispute into a conflict between different views of Christianity. St. Ulrich ordered the Haunstetter to renounce both their "apostasy" and "the apostate monk," while Augsburg's council defended the villagers' actions by appealing to imperial treaties protecting religious reform. By avoiding the dispute's religious dimensions, the villagers may have sought to simplify the debate by focusing on "legal and temporal" matters where they felt they had the upper hand. In some respects, the tithe controversy over Haunstetten represented a local affair that centered on rights of dominion and tradition. It also involved competing religious interests that were inseparable from the larger political and economic issues surrounding the village.

While engaged in the dispute, the Haunstetter displayed the ability to formulate complex legal arguments and justifications, as well as the willingness to pursue new religious, political, and economic strategies they believed in their self-interest. By cooperating with Gabold and Augsburg, the Haunstetter were able to escalate their preexisting tithe dispute with St. Ulrich while opening the village to the evangelical faith. Many of the villagers appear to have been receptive to these new arrangements. Unlike their relationship with the old monastic leadership, the Haunstetter even paid their tithe to Gabold. (69) In the end, much as had happened during the Peasants' War, military force returned the villagers to St. Ulrich's fold. Tellingly, von Knoringen's raid occurred on a Sunday with the Haunstetter assembled in church. The timing ensured a majority of people were present in one place at one time to facilitate the new oath of obedience. It also meant a forceful termination of the new religious situation that had existed in the village since July 1538. Symbolically, von Knoringen's disruption of evangelical church services made a powerful statement about the political and religious supremacy of St. Ulrich. In the immediate circumstances surrounding Haunstetten's return to the Catholic Church, the religious devotion of the local villagers intertwined with the ongoing conflict of opposing Christian confessions within the empire as a whole.


Five years after the failure of its policy in Haunstetten, Augsburg's council tried again to reform a nearby village under the jurisdiction of another territorial lord. Control of the council had shifted in the intervening period to a different leadership group, (70) which pursued a more aggressive strategy of religio-political expansion than Rehlinger and his associates had. A central aspect of their external policy involved the extension of Augsburg-style reform to the countryside, efforts that took on increasing urgency as civil war within the empire drew nearer. After securing pledges of support from its ally Ulm, in October 1544 Augsburg's council installed an evangelical preacher named Hans Hess in the vacant parish of Mindelaltheim, a hamlet in the Habsburg Margraviate of Burgau. Low justice, the parish's ius patronatus, and its tithes belonged to the Augsburg Dominican convent St. Katharina, which Augsburg's council had taken under its full protection in 1537. King Ferdinand, in his role as margrave, controlled high justice in the village. As he had done in Haunstetten, the king opposed Augsburg's actions, arguing his ownership of high justice allowed him to determine the religious orientation of subjects in his principalities. After months of legal wrangling, Ferdinand's argument won the day. Augsburg's council ultimately removed Hess in June 1545, less than one year after installing him in the rural parish. Similar to events in Haunstetten, Augsburg's second major attempt at rural reform became "a matter that could make us look foolish." (71)

Despite the similar outcomes, the circumstances surrounding Augsburg's pursuit of religious reform in Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim were quite different. The Mindelaltheim affair did not involve a tithe dispute. The legal debate focused solely on Augsburg's claim to the ius reformandi in a village where Ferdinand exercised territorial lordship. Moreover, Augsburg's installation of a preacher in Mindelaltheim occurred at the direct request of the villagers, who petitioned the imperial city for a pastor in summer 1544, over two years after the village's last Catholic priest had died. (72) During that time, Mindelaltheim had been "left without any church service, pastor, or proclamation of the word of God. (73) Not only are the imprudent youth left without any explanation of the articles of the holy Christian faith, but general morals and fear of God are also less nurtured." (74) The villagers turned to Augsburg as their "dear authority," exhorting the council "not to leave us, a poor, subject community, without your fatherly care." (75) A preacher was needed soon, for
   the longer we wait, the greater the danger and disadvantage to us
   becomes. Since no one besides your honor the council will accept
   our petition, we humbly beseech you to act as our fathers, to whom
   we are devoted with our love and service, and to give us an
   instructor in holy teachings and the word of God.... This person
   should deliver and explain to us the food of souls, for one does
   not live by bread alone, but draws life from the Word that issues
   forth from the Lord's mouth. (76) In this manner, we wish to behave
   as pious parishioners and to serve you in any way possible. (77)

This petition, especially the peasants' desire for a cleric versed "in holy teachings and the word of God" who could bring "the food of souls," echoed closely the injunction Augsburg's preachers had offered to their council five years earlier. The similarity of this rhetoric could reveal a desire for closer contact with evangelical ideas, but it could also indicate a deliberate strategy on the part of the villagers to employ language likely to receive a favorable response from Augsburg. Intriguingly, the Mindelaltheimer's letter did not make any claim to communal control over the local church or pastor. Such requests had appeared in the pre-Reformation era and were a hallmark of peasant demands before and during the Peasants' War. (78) The villagers did assert, however, their right to stipulate which moral and intellectual attributes their new pastor should possess, a move they justified through a call for preaching based on scripture. This request for a specific type of preacher, while distinct from earlier, more radical programs of peasant reform, shows the ongoing ability of rural inhabitants to seize the initiative in recruiting preachers for their community. (79) Taken together with the rhetoric used in the letter, it reveals one way in which peasants continued to use reform after the Peasants' War to push for change in their local spiritual and political conditions.

This reading is supported by the central metaphor the Mindelaltheimer employed in their letter, that "one does not live by bread alone." This expression referred to the Gospel of Matthew 4:4, wherein Christ rejects the first of Satan's three temptations in the desert. Through this appeal to scripture, the Mindelaltheimer expressed a biblical understanding of their relationship to Augsburg that emphasized Augsburg's duty to care for the villagers' spiritual health. Dietmar Schiersner has described a similar dynamic between Augsburg and the inhabitants of Lutzelburg, another village in Burgau where Augsburg's council possessed the right of patronage. In 1603, roughly sixty years after the Mindelaltheim affair, the Lutzelburger petitioned Augsburg to fill their vacant preachership. The absence of a cleric meant the villagers were "without the public proclamation of God's Word." Consequently, they felt "like sheep left without a shepherd." (80) Schiersner reads this statement as a reference to Matthew 9:35-38, in particular to Christ's view of the Israelite crowds as "sheep without a shepherd." By framing their situation in these scriptural terms, argues Schiersner, the Lutzelburger simultaneously expressed "an identification with those living around Jesus" and a demand that "political authority feel sympathy for its 'people' and make sure they were sent a cleric." (81)

In their 1544 supplication, the Mindelaltheimer evoked a similar biblical connection. The villagers stressed that only a preacher sent by their "dear authority" Augsburg could slacken their hunger for the "food of souls." They highlighted this dependence through the idea of fatherliness, a form of address employed in sixteenth-century correspondence to indicate deference toward another party, usually one of higher authority. (82) The Mindelaltheimer's appeal to Augsburg's "fatherly care" implied religio-political reliance on the council. It also offered an injunction to urban magistrates to fulfill their responsibility to care for the villagers' souls. As holder of the parish's ius patronatus, Augsburg's council had a duty to minister religiously to the villagers. Its failure to appoint a new cleric had left the peasants lost in a desert of temptation. (83) Only Augsburg's magistrates could remedy the situation by fulfilling their obligations and supplying the village with preaching based on the gospel. In the eyes of Mindelaltheim's peasants, the city council's rights gave it privilege, but they also made Augsburg responsible for the community's spiritual well being. For this reason, the Mindelaltheimer used their relationship with Augsburg's council to press for what they believed was needed improvement in their community.

Closely connected to Mindelaltheim's request for a preacher was the villagers' desire to preserve moral discipline. This concern resulted directly from the lack of a cleric, which left the villagers without sure religious guidance during their proverbial time in the desert. The Mindelaltheimer's petition cited this as one of their chief concerns, emphasizing the neglect of "general morals and fear of God" that resulted from the absence of an official religious presence. The Mindelaltheimer lamented especially the lack of religious instruction for the village's youth, and they stressed that this erosion of community morals "has given rise to considerable dangers" that threatened the village's social fabric. (84) By appealing to Augsburg for a cleric, the villagers sought spiritual care as well as the restoration of proper discipline, which in their thinking appear to have been intertwined. Ironically, while uncertainty surrounding the Reformation had led to the absence of a cleric and the breakdown of morals in the first place, allowing religious reform into the community now presented an opportunity for the Mindelaltheimer to reestablish moral order while simultaneously receiving confirmation of their rights as Augsburg's subjects. As had the Haunstetter, the Mindelaltheimer sought to manage the religio-political situation in which they found themselves in order to serve the community's best interests.

Augsburg's council granted the Mindelaltheimer their wish by installing Hess. Unlike the Haunstetter, the Mindelaltheimer did not play a prominent role in the ensuing conflict between the city and Ferdinand, although Augsburg's council did employ the villagers' petition as justification for its actions. The magistrates defended their preacher with the claim that he had gone to the village "at the urgent request of the poor people, who had been robbed of all care for their souls." (85) This argument, while it failed to persuade Ferdinand, points to an important connection between urban reform centers and nearby villages. The Mindelaltheimer took the initiative in trying to change their spiritual circumstances, but they could not achieve their goals without Augsburg's cooperation. The village relied on Augsburg religiously, a responsibility the magistrates took seriously. This dependence formed the cornerstone of relations between the two sides. By petitioning Augsburg for a preacher, the Mindelaltheimer sought the fulfillment of their rights as the city's religious subjects. By supplying a preacher, Augsburg's council hoped to extend its sphere of influence while discharging its religious obligations to peasants under its authority.

This dynamic reflects the notion of Herrschaft described by David Warren Sabean and C. Scott Dixon for rural communities in Wurttemberg and Franconia. According to Dixon, "this notion of obedience, inherent in the relations between ruler and ruled in early modem Germany ... was also fundamental to the parishioners' reception of the faith. The villagers demanded the word of God, for ... it was their right as... subjects." (86) This statement rings true for Mindelaltheim. Augsburg's council held the village's ius patronatus through St. Katharina and therefore controlled the appointment of clergy. It was natural that the Mindelaltheimer petitioned aid from Augsburg, but they also recognized their right to proper spiritual care as Augsburg's subjects. In order to meet this need, they wrote their "fathers," reminding the magistrates of their duty and urging them to care for the villagers' souls. As in Haunstetten, the options available to the villagers depended on the local political climate and the constellation of legal rights surrounding the parish. Within these confines, the Mindelaltheimer proved capable of employing specific religio-political strategies that allowed them to address perceived problems of moral and spiritual stagnation in their commune.

The general contours of religiosity evident in Mindelaltheim's letter recall the facets of communal Christianity sketched by David Mayes. This apparent similarity could indicate that the relationship between rural Christianity and official reform present in Upper Hesse during the latter part of the sixteenth century existed in some places already in the first half of the century. However, in attempting to draw such parallels, one must be careful about projecting late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century norms back onto the early part of the Reformation. The pitfalls of doing so appear in the parallel language used by the Mindelaltheimer and Augsburg's preachers, especially in their central metaphor of the "food of souls." Rather than suggesting that clerical authorities "absorbed and appropriated ... certain concepts that would sooner be associated with the peasant world," (87) as Mayes argues for Upper Hesse, the metaphors used by Augsburg's clerics and Mindelaltheim's peasants had a common basis in biblical norms. While each side naturally applied their use of these metaphors to their own interests, the language itself derived from sacred idioms based on scripture with which both could identify. Peasant concepts about religion, therefore, did not always operate in an autonomous sphere shaped by wholly different concerns than those who lived in cities. They existed in a reciprocal environment where urban and rural religious forces influenced and often paralleled each other through a common grounding in biblical imagery.


During the late 1530s and 1540s, the inhabitants of Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim sought to use the Reformation to serve their own local interests. In Haunstetten, the Reformation accompanied the village's reorientation toward Augsburg and the renegade monk Joachim Gabold. Economic disgruntlement over the village's tithe dispute with St. Ulrich fused with religious and political interests to make the local population receptive to this change in lordship. This dynamic opened new political strategies for the villagers that allowed them to ward off a quick return to their former overlord. In correspondence with Catholic authorities, the Haunstetter self-consciously avoided the religious question, justifying their actions based on their "traditional rights and privileges" while remaining silent concerning their "apostasy." For reasons outside the villagers' control, they could not sustain this line of argumentation. Despite the eventual outcome, however, the Haunstetter helped determine the nature and course of the conflict. Their responses to Augsburg, Ferdinand, and St. Ulrich's abbot reveal their sense of Haunstetten's place in the larger religio-political landscape of Upper Swabia, as well as one way in which common folk in the countryside could justify allegiance to a new religious authority.

In Mindelaltheim, the villagers played a less prominent role than the Haunstetter in the legal controversy surrounding reform. This does not mean they were passive actors or indifferent to the religious issues under debate. On the contrary, by petitioning Augsburg for a new preacher, the Mindelaltheimer helped to redraw the boundaries of local religious practice. Their emphasis on the educational and moral standards the new preacher should meet affirmed the community's desire to stipulate the character of their pastor, while the rhetoric of their letter points to an ongoing rural interest in addressing local spiritual and ethical problems through scriptural ideals. Indeed, the Mindelaltheimer's direct appeal to the imperial city advanced a call for ministry that paralleled the hopes of Augsburg's preachers by expressing a hunger for "the food of souls." Augsburg's clergy had been encouraging their council to deliver such nourishment for the better part of five years. When it finally came to Mindelaltheim, the Reformation failed not because of lay opposition or apathy, but because of specific rights of authority in Burgau.

The events in Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim reveal the continued desire of many Upper Swabian villagers for contact with the Reformation, as well as the ability of villagers to use reform to achieve their own goals. In the process, the experience of these villages undercuts the view of the 1530s and 1540s as a static period marked by rural apathy toward religious reform. The Reformation's course in each village depended on multiple contingencies and evolved out of a process of discourse between local political authority, the villagers, and external agents such as Ferdinand. Particularly noteworthy in both instances was the villagers' use of sophisticated political strategies aimed at improving their religio-political circumstances. According to Peter Blickle, the Peasants' War marked "a distinct and irreversible setback" for the Reformation in many rural regions of southern Germany. (88) In Haunstetten and Mindelaltheim, however, support for reform ideas and the attendant reorganization of religious life existed almost two decades after the end of the Peasants' War. Neither set of villagers were passive bystanders but instead sought to manipulate the conditions present in their village while receiving confirmation of their traditional rights. While the Peasants' War represented an important turning point in the history of the rural Reformation, therefore, by itself the war can explain neither the subsequent course of rural reform nor the nature of disputes like the one between Haunstetten and St. Ulrich. Most importantly, even as it may have impaired attempts to communalize local churches, the Peasants' War did not mark the end of villagers using reform for political, economic, or religious gain. Mindelaltheim's requests in its letter to Augsburg, as well as the political maneuvering of the Haunstetten villagers, reveal this ongoing dynamic.

At the same time, the strategies employed by the Haunstetter and Mindelaltheimer operated within restricted parameters. Repeatedly, the peasants returned to the idea of Herrschaft. In Blickle's words, during the communal Reformation, "submission to the gospel became the stamp of legitimacy. Lordship as such meant nothing." (89) By the late 1530s, lordship once again meant something. When viewed from the perspective of the ensuing decades, the radical relationship of the Peasants' War to the Reformation appears as the aberration, not the norm, for how rural communities encountered and reacted to religious reform in the early Reformation. Any timeline that overemphasizes the Peasants' War therefore runs the risk of missing the fluidity of rural reform in the Reformation's first decades, as well as the central place bonds of authority held for rural inhabitants. (90) Authority and lordship sat at the heart of interaction between peasants and larger political entities, but this relationship was a two-way street. It could allow villagers, at least for a short time, to manipulate their religio-political situation to their perceived advantage. Top-down models of confessionalization often overlook this dynamic. The village political strategies employed in Upper Swabia, however, reveal the active manner in which many peasants continued to confront reform years after the tumult of the Peasants' War bad past.

doi: 10.1017/S0009640710000624

The author would like to thank Thomas Max Safley, Rolf Kiessling, the anonymous reviewers for Church History D'Maris Coffman, and J. Melvin for their helpful feedback on earlier versions of this draft. Special thanks also go to Jason Coy, Marc Forster, and Peter Wallace for their helpful comments at the 2009 German Studies Association Conference. The Tuck Fund at Princeton University provided financial support for this research.

(1) Quoted in Friedrich Roth, Augsburgs Reformationsgeschichte (Munich: Ackermann, 1904), 2:476-77. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

(2) Arthur G. Dickens, The German Nation and Martin Luther (London: Edward Arnold, 1974), 182.

(3) Peter Blickle, Gemeindereformation (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1985). All quotations in this article come from the English edition, Communal Reformation, trans. Thomas Dunlap (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities, 1992).

(4) One example comes from Augsburg's neighboring imperial city Kaufbeuren. In a 1546 supplication to the Schmalkaldic League, Kaufbeuren's council complained "ein dorfflen genant Obembeum das gehort one mitl mit aller obrigkheit auch das pfarlehen der star zu ... noch die messe und alle papstliche Ceremonia gehalten werden/ darzu teglich die burger in der star so nach dem papstumb anhengig sind/hinaus lauffen/und ob schon in der stat solch hinauslauffen verbotten ... wurde." Evangelisches Kirchenarchiv Kaufoeuren, Anlage 59, fol. 137v-138r.

(5) Rolf Kiessling, "Reichsritterschaft und Reformation in Schwaben--Auf dem Weg zu einer evangelischen Diaspora," in Staat und Verwaltung in Bayern, ed. Konrad Ackermann and Alois Schmid (Munich: Beck, 2003), 165.

(6) See especially Rolf Kiessling, Die Stadt und ihr Land (Cologne: Brhlau, 1989); Thomas Scott, Regional Identity and Economic Change: The Upper Rhine, 1450-1600 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997); Thomas Scott, Town, Country and Regions in Reformation Germany (Leiden: Brill, 2005).

(7) The literature on Confessionalization is vast. For a recent overview with an extensive bibliography, see Ute Lotz-Heumann, "Confessionalization," in Reformation and Early Modern Europe: A Guide to Research, ed. David Whitford (Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 2008), 136-57. For the origins of the theory, see the following major works: Wolfgang Reinhard, "Zwang zur Konfessionalisierung?" Zeitsehrift fur Historische Forschung 10 (1983): 257-77; Heinz Schilling, Konfessionskonflikt und Staatsbildung (Gutersloh: Mohn, 1981); Ernst Walter Zeeden, Die Entstehung der Kobfessionen: Grundlagen und Formen der Konfessionsbildung im Zeitalter der Glaubenskampfe (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1965). For specific studies that argue for top-down dynamics in the rural context after 1525, see, among others, Blickle, Communal Reformation; Franziska Conrad, Reformation in der bauerlichen Gesellschaft (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1984), 156-75; Paul Hofer, "Die Reformation im Ulmer Landgebiet religiose, wirtschaftliche und soziale Aspekte," (Ph.D. diss., Universitat Tubingen, 1977); Robert Muchembled, Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France, 1400-1750, trans. Lydia Cochrane (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).

(8) See, among others, C. Scott Dixon, The Reformation and Rural Society (Cambridge: Cambride University Press, 1996); Marc Forster, The Counter-Reformation in the Villages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992); Bruce Gordon, Clerical Discipline and the Rural Reformation (New York: Lang, 1992); Philip Hoffmann, Church and Community in the Diocese of Lyon, 1500-1789 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984); Thomas Robisheaux, Rural Society and the Search.for Order in early modern Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); David Warren Sabean, Power in the Blood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Ulman Weiss, "Gemeinde und Kirche in der Erfurter 'landschafft,'" in Landgemeinde und Kirche im Zeitalter der Konfessionen, ed. Beat Kumin (Zurich: Chronos, 2004), 59-90.

(9) David Mayes, Communal Christianity: The Life and Loss of a Peasant Vision in Early Modern Germany (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

(10) One exception to this pattern is Dixon's Refomation and Rural Society, which demonstrates the pitfalls of following a timeline that overemphasizes the Peasants' War.

(11) Blickle, Communal Reformation, 107.

(12) Heinz Schilling, Die Stadt in der Fruhen Neuzeit (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1993), 73.

(13) On Augsburg's use of indirect lordship to wield authority in the countryside, see Rolf Kiessling, Burgerliche Gesellschaft und Kirche in Augsburg im Spatmittelalter (Augsburg: Muhlberger, 1971).

(14) See Joel F. Harrington, "'Historians without Borders? L'Histoire Croisee and Early Modem Social History," in Politics and Reformations: Histories and Reformations, ed. Christopher Ocker, Michael Printy, Peter Starenko, and Peter Wallace (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 79-90, quote at 81.

(15) On the general history of St. Ulrich and Afra, see Wilhelm Liebhart, Die Reichsabtei St. Ulrich und Afra zu Augsburg (Historischer Atlas von Bayern, Teil Schwaben, Reihe II, Heft 2) (Munich: Kommission fur bayerische Landesgesehichte, 1982).

(16) Friedrich Roth, Augsburgs Reformationsgeschichte (Munich: Ackermann, 1907), 3:136.

(17) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 169-74.

(18) For an overview of Augsburg's reformed liturgy, see James Thomas Ford, "Wolfgang Musculus and the Struggle for Confessional Hegemony in Reformation Augsburg, 1531-1548" (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2000), 178-98. For examples of similar tendencies in other south German cities, see Peer Friess, "Der Einfluss des Zwinglianismus auf die Reformation der oberschwabischen Reichsstadte," Zwingliana 34 (2007): 5-27.

(19) Lee Palmer Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation: Incarnation and Liturgy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 46-93.

(20) "so wollen wir gar pald/ein fein artig/rechtglaubig/ flugelstettlin ... das/ ob Got wil/ nicht allein der Religion halben/sonder auch inn anderen christlichen und nachtparlichen sachen/ der stat Augspurg/ wol ansteen wirdet." Michael Keller to Augsburg's Council. Stadtarchiv Augsburg (StadtA A), Reichsstadtakten (RA) 541, 1545 August 27. For Augsburg's attempts to reform Donauwrrth and Kaulbeuren, see Christopher W. Close, The Negotiated Reformation: Imperial Cities and the Politics of Urban Reform (1525-1550) (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(21) "solh obgewellt dorf Haunstetten ... ab 600 Jar bey dem Gotzhaus gewest ... in halt priefe unnd sigels ... durch kayser Fridreichen Barbarossen hochloblicher gedechmuss uss gnaden bey dem Gotzhaus zubeleyben/ gegeben"; "wurden wir durch unnser abschlagen/ grossen undannckh/ unnd villeicht ergers bey dem Burgermayster erlangen miessen." Staatsarchiv Augsburg (StA A), Kloster St. Ulrich, Akten (KA) 207, Nr. 3.

(22) "wie wir dan EFG mit der zeit selbs neben der feder berichten wellen." StA A, KA 207, Nr. 6.

(23) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 169-70; Friedrich Roth, "Die Spaltung des Konventes der Monche von St. Ulrich in Augsburg im Jahre 1537 und deren Folgen," Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins fur Schwaben und Neuburg 30 (1903): 5.

(24) For more on Gereon Sailer, see Friedrich Roth, "Aus dem Briefwechsel Gereon Sailers mit den Augsburger Burgermeistern Georg Herwart und Simprecbt Hoser (April bis Juni 1544)," Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 1 (1903/1904): 101-71.

(25) Geroen Sailer to Philip of Hesse, 26 December 1543, printed in Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Philipp's des Grossmuthigen von Hessen mit Bucer (Osnabruck: Zeller, 1965), 3:339-40, quote at 340. See also Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 169; Roth, "Spaltung," 5.

(26) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 175. Such arrangements were fairly common in Upper Swabia. The abbot of the imperial abbey of Ottobeuren, for example, held the right to appoint all four members of the Vierer in most villages under his jurisdiction. Govind P. Sreenivasan, The Peasants of Ottobeuren, 1487-1726 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 44-45.

(27) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 176.

(28) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 165, 175-76. For similar dynamics in other rural parts of Upper Swabia, see Sreenivasan, Peasants of Ottobeuren, 27-50.

(29) Franziska Conrad has identified similar tendencies in Alsace after the Peasants' War, where several villages expressed frustration with ecclesiastical overlords by refusing to pay their tithe. Conrad, Reformation, 166.

(30) "lannge jar ubel bezalt"; "biss in ain taussent guldin binderstelliger verfallener zinse/unnd gelihen gelts/noch schuldig sein"; "des 36 jars biss uff die zeit unnsers ausszugs/an iren gulten unnd zinseird noch unbezalt ussstendig gewest." StA A, KA 208, fol. 30r.

(31) Dixon, Reformation and Rural Society, 96-97, quotes at 96.

(32) "Liedel Kamrer ... pfarrer zu Haunstetten ... der hat sich erpotten ein weib zu nemmen/die mess zu verlassen und ander ding noch vil mer anzunemmen das denen von Augspurg wolgefellig." StA A, KA 208, fol. 14.

(33) "nit allain dem Lanndfriden/ auch gottlichen unnd menschlichen sazung sonder auch den abschiden durch ... gemainer reichsstende/ unnd auch den jheingen/ so sych die protestierenden nennen/auff ettlichen reichstagen ... bewilligt angenomen ... zugegen ist." StA A, KA 208, fol. lr-lv.

(34) "anndere unnsere hindersassen/ so der Ende umb Haunstetten gelegen/ derohalben gross uffmercken haben/ sych leichtlich uffs abtrinigen ordensman ... zu sollichem abfall begeben mochten." StA A, KA 208, fol. 32r.

(35) "ir werdet ewer ere pedenncken unnd ... in der pflicht so ir unns gethan verharren"; "'die jerlichen zinss/ und furtter unnserem abtrunnigen/ ungehorsamen prueder gar khain gehor geben/ auch ainichen heller raychen wellet." StA A, KA 208, fol. 18r.

(36) "one alle ursach wider ewr ere unnd pflicht von unns abweychen/ wurden wit gedrungen ... gegen ewren leyben/ unnd guettern zuhanndlen ... wellen euch auch hiemit vetterlich gewarnet haben." StA A, KA 208, fol. 18v.

(37) "auss betrangnus meiner gewissen und rechten eifer zur cristenlichen religion." StA A, KA 208, fol. 8r.

(38) "etliche ungeschickte gotlose mispreuch die babstisse mess und cerimonien belangent die zum thaill dem gotlichn wort stracks entgegen ... inn den pfarrkirchn irer statt zu endern und abzuthun," StA A, KA 208, fol. 7v-8r.

(39) "auss frevenlichen truzlichn und mutwilligen bewegnussen,"; "die jarliche rendt gilt und zinss zu obbemelten stifftung zu sanct Ulrich geherig einzunemen." StA A, KA 208, fol. 8v.

(40) "und die jarlichn zinss bezalen und wit Joichim Gabolt furan kainen gehorsam laistn oder ainichn hailer gebn oder raichen solln." StA A, KA 208, fol. 9r.

(41) "solche gildt und zinss in und allwegen inn und ob menschn gedechtung gen Augspurg gen sannt Ulrich geraicht worden und Haunstetten allain gen Augspurg mit aber und aller gerichtsparkait geherig ist." StA A, KA 208, fol. 9v.

(42) "mir [Gabold] und dem Closter sannt Ulrichs zu Augspurg und nit ainer ungewonlichn frembdn herrschafft gewertig zusein." StA A, KA 208, fol. 8v.

(43) "von eurer ordentlichen obrigkeitt ... abfellig zeworden"; "der yon seiner Religion abgetretten'; "Abbte Johannsen/als dem ir mit Glubden unnd aiden verpflicht seit/alle billiche unnd schuldige gehorsam laisstet ... wo solhes nit beschehen/ unnd ir hieruber in eur ungehorsame verharren/ so wurden wir verursacht gegen euch mit straff zehanndlen unnd zuverfarn." StA A, KA 208, fol. 23.

(44) "als ann unnderthan unnd paurssleut die gem recht thun unnd unrecht lassenn."; "yetz inn ubung steen/der ro ko mt ... unnser ... anntwurt inn schrifftenn zum furderlichsten zuthun/ unnd sind unnderthenigsyet zuversicht/dr ko mt werd ... daran zufriden sein." StA A, KA 208, fol. 26.

(45) "obgedachten herrn abbt dessgleichen auch nit mynder dem closster sanndt Ulrichs zu Augspurg geschworn und verpflicht unnderthenig unnd gehorsamb ... inen ire rennt gult unnd zinns wir vor allter herkomen gen Augspurg zuraichen."; "nit wissn wir aus was ursachen/das closster sanndt Ulrichs verlassen unnd sich gen Wittelspach gethan."; "zinns unnd gullt wie vor alter beschehen gen Augspurg in das Closter zuraichen/ demselben wit auch trewlich unnd willig gelebt." StA A, KA 208, fol. 19r-19v.

(46) "das wir unnser zins und gult ... an anndere ort dan in das closster geraicht/das were nit allain unnsern pflichten zuwider/sonnder auch unnsern ... rechten unnd gerechtigkhaiten abbruchhig."; "in diser unnser herrschaft spaltung unnd widerwertigkait/die unns von herzen laidt." StA A, KA 208, fol. 21r-21v.

(47) "prelaten unnd convent vertrosst/das wir bei unnserm allten herkomen rechten und gepreuchen beleiben/unnd gar nichts annders noch weitters beschwert werden sollten?' StA A, KA 208, fol. 19v.

(48) "unnsern zum Gotzhauss sanndt Ulrich gethanen aiden ... nachvolgen und geleben'; "unnser rennt unnd guilt ... in Sandt Ulrichsclosster/wie dann unnser voreltern vor vill jaren/alls ain annder abbt aus dem closster enttrunnen und die gult von ine haben wellen/auch gethan." StA A, KA 208, fol. 21v-22r.

(49) "gan Haunstetterd in das dorff vertrewlich gezogen/viii tag dasselbst beliben/unnd ettlich derselben aigner person angesprochen/ von ime/ unnd seiner Convent nit zu weichen." StA A, KA 208, fol. 29v.

(50) Goll became abbot on March 17, 1539 after tile death of Johannes VII. Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 171.

(51) "alls sollten sy dem Closter/alls dem gemeur verpflicht/dan ich unnd mein Convent sein das Closter.'" StA A, KA 208, fol. 48r.

(52) "auf irer ... mandat ... verfam ... unnd volziehen/damit meine ungehorsame zu gehorsam gepracht/unnd ich unnd mein convent/unnserer zinss wie yon allen anndem/meinen zinssleutten unnd unnderthanen erkhomen mogen." StA A, KA 208, fol. 49r.

(53) StA A, KA 208, fol. 50.

(54) "das sy sollich kunigklich mandat nit horen noch annemen sollten"; "sy wollten [das mandat] nit verachten aber nit horen noch annemen/dann sy hetten ainen herren zu sant Ulrich zu Augspurg dem wollten se gehorsam sein"; "das sy sollich ir mt mandat veracht und verschmecht hetten." StA A, KA 208, fol. 24.

(55) Quoted in Roth, "Spaltung," 21. The Truce of Frankfurt, signed on April 11, 1539, extended the 1532 Truce of Nuremberg, which suspended reformation suits against the Empire's Protestant estates. The Truce of Frankfurt emerged in response to the October 1538 imposition of the Imperial ban on the city of Minden. Thomas A. Brady, Protestant Politics (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities, 1995), 206-10.

(56) "in ainem Monat ... alle und yede/bisher verfalne/und noch unbezalte/zinss/rent/gult und dienstparkaiten ... benantem Abbte furanhin/alle geburende und schuldige gehorsame/erzaiget und beweiset"; "das wir gegen denselben/ umb ir ungehorsame/ auch zu einziechung obbestimpter peen/unverzogenlich und wie sich gepurt/procedieren und verfam lassen werden." StA A, KA 208, fol. 15.

(57) Liebhart, Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 179-80.

(58) Liebhart dates this letter to the beginning of November (Reichsabtei Sankt Ulrich, 180), but circumstances suggest an October dating is more accurate. In their correspondence, the villagers sought to inform Augsburg of their decision to switch loyalties back to St. Ulrich. Such a letter would have been superfluous in November, when the council was already fully aware of the villagers' intentions. It is more likely, therefore, that the peasants composed the missive in October after deciding on their new course of action.

(59) "so wir aber zu unnsern nachtpauren/unnd andern erbarn leutten kbomen/werden wir von inen/ unnd menigclichs ubel angesehen/ und als die jhenigen die unpillich/ und on nott/ von item aignen herren gewichen/unnd dess wir vor gott/und recht schuldig seyen/nit wol bedacht haben/angeredt." StA A, KA 208, fol. 42r.

(60) "unnserm rechtenn naturlichen herren und prelaten S. Ulrichs gotzhaus mit allen dingen gehorsame zu sein." StA A, KA 208, fol. 42v.

(61) "dieweil wir nun ... Ro. Kun. Mandaten ... mit verderbung unsser leib unnd gietten zuwider streben kains wegs gelegen/ auch unnser seele unnd gewissen weytter zubeschweren gar nit vermaint/ sonnder wellen wir zuvorderst got dem almechtigen/ dahin unns unnser gewissen weyst/ unnd unser rechte naturlichen oberkhait ... alle gehorsame laysten/ und Joachim Gabolten unser ... pflicht uffsagen." StA A, KA 208, fol. 42v-43r.

(62) "hat er die gesantten all/in dem haus ungeferlich/biss in zwo stundt verspert/und vencklichen erhalten." StA A, KA 208, fol. 63r.

(63) "die von Haunstetten in glubd und pflicht genomen (dartzu sic sich selbs willigclich angepotten und ergeben)." Quoted in Roth, "Spaltung," 22.

(64) "dass sie mir wollen ratig und hulflich erscheinen, damit die yon Haunstetten ... nit wider undter den abbt und das nichtig convent gedrungen ... damit auch ander herrschaft den fuess nit gar gen Haunstetten und e. ft.... ins hertz setzen und den wirt zue ainem gast machen." Quoted in Roth, "Spaltung," 23.

(65) "den 16. seind drew erbar man irer geschafft halber zu Augspurg gewest/die dan all drew dutch die von Augspurg/fencklichen angenomen/und in die eysen gelegt worden."; "diewyll dan die von Augspurg gegen und wider die armen lewt ... also verschrockenlichen handlen/ist zubesorgerd sy werden uss forcht/widerumb zum abfall gepracht." StA A, KA 208, fol. 63r-63v.

(66) "ob ir ... von dem abtrinningen munch/oder andern/so ime hierin hath/hilff/unnd beylegen thun mochten ... wurden angelanngt/so wollend dess ewm hochsten trost/hillff und beystandt/ sein lassen ... wolt ich euch als gehorsamen/ unnd erliebenden/ hie mit vatterlichen zuerkhennen geben." StA A, KA 208, fol. 61r-61v.

(67) "jetzt jungst verschinen sontags (23. November) emannter herr Wolff Dietrich von Knormgen ... mit 30 pferden gen Haunstetten eingefallen ist/unnd die baum so eben inn der kirchen versamblet gewesen/dahin gemuessigt/ das sie schworen muessen/ den entrunnen munichen zu Wittelspach hinfuro ire guldt zu geben." StadtA A, Literaliensammlung (LitS), November 27, 1539.

(68) Dixon, Reformation and Rural Society, 96.

(69) Roth, "Spaltung," 25.

(70) Katharina Sieh-Burens, Oligarchie, Konfession und Politik im 16. Jahrhundert (Munich: Vogel, 1986), 156-69.

(71) StadtA A, LitS, July 21, 1545.

(72) The letter bears no date. The Findbuch in the StadtA A dates the letter to 1542, while 1545 has been written on the document in modem handwriting. Mindelaltheim's petition, however, must have been sent during the summer of 1544. The villagers state they have been without a cleric "nun biss inn das dritt jar." This corresponds with the timeframe mentioned by Ulm's council in a letter to Augsburg written on August 15, 1544: "der pfarr Minderallthaim ... nun mer inn das dritt jar one alle fursehung des wort gottes/unnd der hailligenn sacrament ledig stee." StadtA A, LitS, August 15, 1544. 1542 would have been too early for the timeline described in these two letters, while 1545 makes little sense, since Hess was already installed in the village in October 1544. Accordingly, the letter appears to have been sent sometime during the summer months of 1544, probably prior to August 15. For more on the legal implications of the controversy over Mindelaltheim, see Christopher W. Close, "The Mindelaltheim Affair: High Justice, Ius Reformandi, and the Rural Reformation in Eastern Swabia (1542-1546)," Sixteenth Century, Journal 38, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 371-92.

(73) Such situations were not uncommon. From 1540 to 1543, the village of Binzwangen in Franconia was unoccupied by a cleric while the local margrave and the bishop of Eichstatt debated control of the ius reformandi. During this interim, the villagers attended Mass and received Catholic sacraments in neighboring communities. Dixon, Reformation and Rural Society, 69.

(74) "on allen kirchendiennst pfarren unnd verkunndigung dess wortt gottis gelassen seien/dadurch nit allain die unverstenndig jugennd/ unbericht der articul/ hailigs christlichs glaubens pleibt/ sonnder auch destweniger zucht/unnd gottis forcht gepflannzt wurt'" StadtA A, LitS Nachtrage 1545, undated. All documents relating to Mindelaltheim stored in the StadtA A, LitS Nachtrage can found in the box entitled "Nachtrag 1545" bound together in a folder entitled "Acta Mindelaltheim 1542-1545."

(75) "wie wir ain armen unnderthenige gemaind ... eur F E W wurden unns mit vatterlichen fursehung nit gelassen." StadtA A, LitS Nachtrage 1545, undated.

(76) This statement alludes to Matt. 4:4 and Deut. 8:3.

(77) "dieweil sich dann die zeit so gar lanng vorweilen/unnd verziehen/auch die farlichait/unnd ye lennger je mehr zu nachtail raicherd unnd sich sunnst ausser E F E W unnser niemannd annemmen will/ so konnen wir nit umbgeen/ eur F E W auffs unnderthenigst zuersuchen/ hie mit diemuettigclichen bittende/ die wollen alls vatter/ den wir mit unnsern leiben/ unnd diennsten verpflicht/an unns unnd unnser armen gemain thun/unnd unns ainen vorgeer/inn der leere und wort gottis ... der unns die speiss der seelen/ weil der mennsch nit allain vom prot/sonnder vom wort/ das vom munnd dess herren ausgeet/ sein leben hatt/ mittailerd unnd ordennlich vorsteen mag so wellen wir unns/nach gesunnder leere/als frummen pfarr volckh zusteet/unnd sonnst inn allen zufallen." StadtA A, LitS Nachtrage 1545, undated.

(78) Blickle, Communal Reformation.

(79) David Mayes has identified similar dynamics among the peasantry of Upper Hesse. Mayes, Communal Christianity, esp. 38-42.

(80) "ohne die offentliche yebung Gottes Worts ... wie Schaaf ohne ein Hirten verlassen sein muessen." Quoted in Dietmar Schiersner, "Die Suche der Schafc nach dem verlornen Hirten," in Landliche Frommigkeit, ed. Norbert Haag, Sabine Holtz, Wolfgang Zirnmermann, Dieter R Bauer, and Hans-Christoph Rublack (Stuttgart: Thorbecke, 2002), 62.

(81) Schiersner, "Die Suche der Schafe,'" 62-63. Biblical translation taken from the New Jerusalem Bible, Matt. 9:36.

(82) Fatherliness was a common trope in subject lord correspondence, but it could also be used for strategic purposes in communication between urban magistrates. During the 1540s, for example, the imperial city Donauw6rth sought to curry favor with Augsburg's council by addressing its neighbor as its "dear sirs and fathers" on multiple occasions. Close, Negotiated Reformation, esps.s 110 19.

(83) The city council decided not to install an evangelical preacher in Mindelaltheim at the 1542 death of the local priest because it feared retribution from Ferdinand and the bishop of Augsburg. To counteract the opposition of these two Catholic lords, Augsburg's council tried repeatedly to gain the official support of the Schmalkaldic League. While it failed to gain the alliance's backing, in 1544 the council received a formal letter of support from Ulna that temporarily assuaged its worries.

(84) StadtA A, LitS Nachtrage 1545, undated.

(85) "das er ... den armen leuten zu gute uff ir hochst anrueffen unnd bill nach dem sie ob dritthalben jar aller seelsorg beraubt gewest/ dahin verordnet worden." StadtA A, LitS Nachtraige, May 26, 1545.

(86) Dixon, Reformation and Rural Society, 203-4; Sabean, Power in the Blood.

(87) Mayes, Communal Christianity, 34.

(88) Blickle, Communal Reformation, 107.

(89) Blickle, Communal Reformation, 100.

(90) In this respect, my findings are similar to Thomas Robisheaux's, who argues that even during the Peasants' War, bonds of authority guided peasant actions in the Hohenlohe region of Franconia. Robisheaux, Rural Society, 41-67.

Christopher W. Close is a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University.
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Author:Close, Christopher W.
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Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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