Kloster Graefenthal & The Consorts of Gelre

Photo by Moniek Bloks

This little gem, Kloster Graefenthal, or Gravendaal Convent, is just across the border into Germany in the town of Goch. The convent was founded in 1248 by Otto II of Guelders on the insistence of his wife Margaret of Cleves. The first nuns were mostly unmarried noble women, and Margaret of Cleves was the first to be buried there in 1250. Between then and 1376 several counts and dukes, and their consorts, of Gelre, found their final resting place at the convent. However, during the 15th century, it was heavily damaged by war, and it was finally restored with the help of John II of Cleves in 1474. After 1802 the convent fell apart. Buildings were sold to different people, and the convent church was torn down. Otto II’s monument was saved and is now in the open air, protected by a wooden roof. He was originally placed in the choir of the church, and the monument is lined with large rectangular stones indicating where the rest of the church was.

Today, the surviving buildings are open to the public and events are held there as well.

Here’s the list of those who were originally buried there and it includes five consorts:

  1. Count Otto II of Gelre
  2. Margaret of Cleves (first wife of 1)
  3. Philippa of Dammartin (second wife of 1)
  4. Count Reginald I
  5. Ermgard of Limburg (first wife of 4)
  6. Margaret of Flanders (second wife of 4, previously married to Prince Alexander of Scotland, son of Alexander III of Scotland)
  7. Duke Reginald II (his second wife was Eleonor of Woodstock, who was buried in Deventer)
  8. Sophia Berthout (first wife of 7)
  9. Duke Edward (son of 7 and second wife)
  10. Duke Reginald III (his wife Maria of Brabant was buried in a convent in Brussels, which no longer exists)

I’m not sure if the demolishment of the church also meant that the graves were emptied, or whether those are still somewhere on the grounds.


Otto II’s Monument





The stones indicate where the church must have been


It’s really a lovely place to visit, and there’s even a little cafe (good coffee, too!) in the building above. I’m afraid I can’t find much more information about the women who were buried here. It’s a shame, really!

About Moniek Bloks 2590 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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