The ruin of the village Wetenborn/Wittenborn between Scheden and Jühnde

Posted on Facebook on 18 November 2015.

If you want to experience what the world looked like for your ancestors in 1400, I think that you cannot come closer than driving from Scheden to Jühnde via the old post road. About 1.5 km east of Scheden, on the left hand side, you find the ruin of the church of the village Wetenborn/Wittenborn. On the website you find a description of the excavation and pictures of what the site looks like now.

When you stand there, on the low-relief hill, in the silent landscape, at the edge of gently sloping fields and with a forest nearby, you do not have to close your eyes to mistake the present for the 14th century.

What is known about the village can be summed up in very few words. The village, consisting of no more than a 7 by 10 meter stone church and a number of wooden houses, was deserted by the inhabitants, vicar first, in 1398. The reason for leaving the village has not been passed down, but there was no shortage of turmoil and disease in those days.

I can well imagine that the inhabitants would have adopted the name of the village as identification of where they were from. But we will never know. Few documents have been written about the common people before 1600, and even fewer still exist today. So the two centuries between 1400 and 1600 are shrouded in silence.

I know from the "Calenbergische Musterungsrolle" (inhabitants register of South-East Niedersachsen) of 1585 and 1592 that farmers Ludeke and Hans Weteborn were then living in Holtensen, and brewer Henrich Weteborn in stadt Eldagsen. No Wetenborn/Wittenborn lived in these places in 1689. To relate Ludeke, Hans or Henrich to the village will not be possible at all, and relating them to people living today is work still to be undertaken.

Standing inside the ruin of the small church and imagining that my ancestors were around when this village was inhabited, if not in this village, then in a village very much like this one, that happened to me all by itself.