An episode of the Obermassfeld history

From Helmut Mueller

In medieval times, when the dukes of Henneberg reigned over the country, it was a thorn in the dukes´ side to see that the city of Meiningen was not part of their sovereignty but that it belonged to the bishops of Wuerzburg.

By supporting Obermassfeld´s infrastructure by holding weekly markets, they intended to enforce a strong competitor to Meiningen. Finally, the dukes had reached their goal by receiving Meiningen from the bishops of Wuerzburg as a kind of pawn during the years 1434 until 1495. However, they had to promise to no longer hold markets in Obermassfeld but only in Meiningen as the bishops did not want Meiningen´s market operations to be restraint just because it was pawned. This was ensured but not adhered to.

The people of Meiningen did not achieve anything by filing complaints about the market operations in Obermassfeld. At last, in the year 1464, there was a bad harvest which led to a strong increase in crop prices.

This situation forced the people of Meiningen to travel to the walls of Obermassfeld´s church for several times during May and June 1464. Their intent was to confiscate the crop that was stored in the halls of the castle church. But the Obermassfeld people were alert and managed to drive the invaders away.

However, the people of Meiningen also had their source of information in town.
Finally, they found out by the chattiness of an old hag that most of the men were at work downtown, which meant that the castle church was guarded by only a couple of men.

It was July 6, 1464.

This time, the Meiningen people were successful with their attack.
The walls were climbed, the guards were overwhelmed, the gate of the castle church was opened from the inside, the crop was loaded on the wagons and taken to Meiningen. The halls were set on fire. Later on, they were rebuilt.

Nowadays, this story might make you smile but back in the days, this was harsh competition just as it is today – only by using different means.