Cash box, around 1920, donation Fink family, Alsfeld

Alsfeld pledged!Commemoration: Alsfeld falls under the Reichsacht because of indebtedness

In order to obtain cash quickly, a sovereign could pledge the revenues of one of his dominions to a money lender. This procedure, which was common in the Middle Ages, affected Alsfeld in 1370.

Landgrave Heinrich II obliged the town to pay “120 shillings of good old large turnose gold annually to the monastery of St. Stephan in Mainz from the Beede (that is, from the tax revenues).” In other words, the city had to pay off its debts to the monastery.

However, the city did not meet these financial obligations. The monastery sued for its money before the Imperial Court of Constance, where the Council of Constance met from 1415 to 1418.

Three times the city was invited by King Sigismund’s court judge, Günther Count of Schwarzburg, to a hearing; but neither on February 23, 1418 in Constance, nor on July 18 in Hagenau, nor on September 19, 1418 in Ulm did representatives of the city appear. The reasons for this are unknown, but according to the legal perception of the time, there was only one consequence for this behavior: the imposition of imperial punishment. This was done by King Sigismund on the same day (September 19, 1418), which de facto meant the expulsion of the town from the community, an ostracism that made the citizens honorless and lawless. In 1441, the St. Stephen’s chapter confirmed that the 120 shillings had been paid, but whether and when the imperial ban was also formally lifted is not known. MNic