There was never an abbey at “Kempen, Rhineland”

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts is like other foreign catalogs a great source for incorrect determination of German provenances. Let’s have a look on the entries of “Kempen Abbey, Rhineland”:…

1. 1977 – All Saints’ (Church : Bristol, England) – Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, v.2, London (N.R.Ker) (Collection Catalog) # 3

There is a little article on this Augustinus manuscript (1465) by D. W. Whitfield, A Fifteenth century Ms from the Third Order Convent of St. Anne, Kempen, in: Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 45 (1952), pp. 231-232 citing the colophon: “Scriptum et consommatum apud sorores tercij ordinis francisci, Conventus sancte Anne in Kempen. Anno domini M° cccc°. lxv”. There is also an inscription “Liber sororum 3i ordinis Anne sancte in Kemp'” in the book.

Gerhard Rehm presented a summary of the history of the convent (which was no abbey) in: Nordrheinisches Klosterbuch 2 (2012), pp. 641-645. He treated the library in: Geschichte des Annenklosters im 15. Jahrhundert, in: Campunni-Kempen. Geschichte einer niederrheinischen Stadt, vol. 2: Aufsätze (1993), pp. 67-86, esp. 81-85. He has not used the extremely faulty compilation “Handschriftenerbe” by Sigrid Krämer (1989/1990), available as augmented database “Bibliothecae codicum medii aevi” (2009-2010, Dr. Erwin Rauner). 40+ mostly latin manuscripts written by the sisters were sold in Hamburg 1808. A manuscript – not in Krämer’s list – in the auction catalog 1808 no. 12233 (copy with manuscript notes digitized by the Bonn university library) has been identified by Rehm with a manuscript now in the Hamburg university library (he cites only the catalogue, but gives no call number). Krämer has found a few manuscripts in the Bibliotheca Büloviana e.g. III, no. 86 (Marburg UL) which is, according to her, London, BL, Add. MS. 10949.

From this Kempen library there is another manuscript in the Schoenberg database, falsely attributed to “Kampen, Netherlands, Low Countries, Europe (Franciscan nunnery of Sancta Anna in Kemp(en))”:

2. 1983-11-23 – F. Dörling (Hamburg)‏ – No. 107: Wertvolle Bucher [sic!], Manuskripte und Autographen, alte und moderne Kunst, dekorative Graphik, Gemalde [sic!] … (Auction/Dealer Catalog) # 6

A psalter saec. XIII written in Northern France with provenance information “Cloister Maria Kemp-Dinslaken”. This is the Augustinian women convent Marienkamp in Dinslaken.


Krämer has no manuscript for this sister house. I only know a saec. XV manuscript in the Dinslaken city archive “Liber conventus Regularissarum yn Dynslaycke”, see

3. 1991-06-18 – Sotheby’s (Firm) – Western manuscripts and miniatures, to be sold with the Froissart of Cardinal d’Amboise, and including the prayerbook of the Antipope Clement VII. (No. 1691) (Auction/Dealer Catalog) # 114

“Stifftung des Gotzhaus Kempten”. This is Munich, State Library, Cgm 9470 (the manuscript is online). The provenance Kempten, OSB abbey, is not clear. Elisabeth Wunderle gives in her description a different lot number for the Sotheby’s 1991 sale (# 116). See also

English Wikipedia on Kempten abbey:


4. 1976-11-30 – Sotheby’s (Firm) – Bibliotheca Phillippica; Medieval manuscripts. New Series: pt. 11 : catalogue of manuscripts on papyrus, vellum and paper from the celebrated collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) (Auction/Dealer Catalog) # 865 = Philipps No. 470 – Van Ess No. 85

This is according to Krämer in her entry on the Cistercian abbey Kamp “Berlin, SBPK, Hdschr. 131 (Phill. 470; van Ess 85) – s. XIV1 – Gregorius M., Regula pastoralis”.

English Wikipedia on Kamp abbey:


Kamp and Kempen are different places!

5. 1969 – Dawson, William & Sons – Catalogue … :Dawsons of Pall Mall, London 200 (Auction/Dealer Catalog) # 3. Buyer: Yale University = Philipps No. 522 = Van Ess No. 137 (GBS)

Pertinet monasterio Campensi ordinis Cisterciensis

There is no way to find this manuscript from Kamp OCist in the Beinecke catalogs with the title: “Turris Virtutum & Pomerium Fidelis Anime”. It is the “Speculum theologiae, etc.”, Beinecke MS 416, completely online: “Written in Germany at the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th century, perhaps at the Cistercian monastery of Kempen near Duesseldorf to which it belonged in the 15th century” (same error also in the catalog). I find the correct place Kamp in an article by Brian Noell and in an article by Milvia Bollati. Marry J. Carruthers 2009 has “Rhineland, Cistercian monastery of Kempen” (JSTOR, without original pagination).

From the 69 numbers of the Krämer list of Kamp OCist manuscripts four are referring to this manuscript:

Düsseldorf, HStA, s.n. (Phill. 522) s. XIII. Turris virtutum; etc. Lit: Sotheby Sale Catal. 1965, S. 31.
New Haven, CT, Yale UL, Beinecke Library, 416 (Phill. 522; van Ess 137) c. 1410 Tractatus super sex alas Cherubim de confessione; etc. s Hermannus Zoestius. Lit: Sotheby Sale vom 30. 11. 1965, Nr. 10; Knaus-Krämer, S. 1554; Shailor, Catal. New Haven 2, S. 329f.
(0; Phill. 522; van Ess 137), s. XIII. Turris virtutum; Pomerius, Fidelis animae; etc. p Hermannus de Kempen. Lit: *Sotheby Sale Catal. 1966; Catal. 1979 (London 1967), Nr. 563; Catal. 200 (London 1969), Nr. 3; Scriptorium 21 (1967), S. 354 Nr. 702; 24 (1970), S. 233f. Nr. 534; Catal. Dawson of Pall Mall 200, London 1969, Nr. 3.
(0), s. XIII Tractatus de virtutibus Lit: *Antiquar. Dawsons of Pall Mall, catal. 168 (London 1966), Nr. 675; Scriptorium 21 (1969), S. 177.

According to the Knaus-Krämer article 1977 (page in GBS), which gives additions to the Rathgen 1936 article (Internet Archive) on the Kamp manuscripts, the false Düsseldorf notice is based on a phone call.

Hopefully authorities data like Wikidata will help to avoid such shameful mistakes in the next centuries.


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Klaus Graf (2020, 30. Mai). There was never an abbey at “Kempen, Rhineland” Archivalia. Abgerufen am 24. April 2024, von

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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