Prince-Bishop fishing and fish farming

Agriculture & Fishery

Neuhaus, nachmaliger Standort der Neuen Wasserkunst auf dem Gelände der alten Orangerie (unten rechts), 1736 (Planzeichnung des Hofbaumeisters F. C. Nagel, Residenzmuseum Schloss Neuhaus, Foto M. Ströhmer)

In 1445/47, one of the oldest lists of salaries for the Neuhaus castle staff mentions a princely „Hoffischer“ (court fisherman) for the first time.[1] He fished not only in the flowing waters of the Pader, Lippe and Alme, but also „in ponds“ in the Senne and on the later castle grounds. In 1563, a court fisherman „Ebbert“ was paid two pairs of shoes in kind by the court for his work.[2] In 1664, under Prince-Bishop Ferdinand von Fürstenberg, two court fisherman were paid, „Engelbracht Freysen“ and „Johann Duhmen“, and the „Paderschneider“ named Joist Lipbrügger had to „help them fish“. [3] In 1672/73, the court office of a princely „pond digger“ is explicitly mentioned in the person of Vollmar Tränern.[4] In the Neuhaus budget lists of the 18th century, the „Fischerey“ (fishery) is found as a separate organisational unit. Its masters and assistants were paid from the Rentei (treasury) coffers until the end of the prince-bishop era.[5]

For labour-intensive work such as „clearing the ponds“, the sovereign recruited his peasants from Neuhaus or its neighbouring village Elsen.[6] Small boats were also used for the actual pond and river fishing. In the 18th century, for example, a bishop’s farmhand whose farm lay directly on the Lippe was obliged to take „the boat out to fish“ once a week instead of the usual hire of horse and cart.[7] From the 14th century onwards, in addition to net, rod and hand, fish was also caught in the tributaries of the Pader, Lippe and Alme in „baskets“[8] (fish traps?). In the Neuhaus castle ponds on the „Meinolfusberg“ (later „Wilhelmsberg“, a local hill), which were fed by the Krebsbach and other brooks,[9] Prince-Bishop Dietrich Adolf von der Recke (officiating 1650-61) is said to have released carp and tench in the „Bresen“ or „Dümmerteich“ in the 1650s.[10] A „Vorellenteich“, which also belonged to the bishop’s estate complex in the 18th century, proves another farmed fish that also occurred in the natural flowing waters.[11] In order to protect the princely fish ponds from floods or late summer water shortages, the bishop’s household had a small canal built from Lippspringe to Neuhaus even before the Seven Years’ War.[12]

After the secularisation of the prince-bishopric (1802/03), the Pader fishery was leased to private individuals by the Prussian state. In its December 1813 issue, the Paderborn „Intelligenzblatt“ called on the public to buy fishing rights on the „imperial domain parcels“ at auction for one year.[13] During the French period (1807-13), these included the „Fischerey auf der Pader von Paderborn bis Neuhaus“ (fishing on the Pader from Paderborn to Neuhaus) in addition to the Lippe and Alme.


[1] Cf. Rade, Bewohner, p. 27. A „Vysscher“ is named who earned 2 Mark and 1 Schilling each in winter and summer.

[2] Cf. LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus, Nr. 1040 (1562/63), fol. 56r.

[3] LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus, Nr. 1072 (1663/64), fol. 129r.

[4] LA Münster, Fürstbistum Pb, Ämterrechnungen Neuhaus, Nr. 1081 (1672/73), fol. 146r.

[5] Cf. for 1762 Kanne, Elisabeth von: Bürgerliche und adelige Familien in Neuhaus und deren Tätigkeiten am fürstlichen Hof des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (Studien und Quellen zur Geschichte von Stadt und Schloß Neuhaus, Vol. 1), Schloß Neuhaus 1994, p. 93.

[6] Cf. Henning, Bauernwirtschaft, p. 117.

[7] Cf. Henning, Bauernwirtschaft, p. 128.

[8] Cf. Balzer, Untersuchungen, p. 94. In a legal dispute about the use of the Riemeke brook from the year 1365/66, which the Abdinghof Monastery conducted against the Paderborn citizen Menko Grise, it emerges from the interrogations of witnesses that traditionally in the „Rymbeke […] fishing was done with baskets“. On the medieval tradition of fishing with wicker baskets, see Detten, Wirtschaftsleben, p. 50.

[9] Friendly hint by Mr Michael Pavlicic.

[10] Cf. Wurm, Franz Friedrich: Neuhaus – Geschichte von Schloß und Ort, Neuhaus 1937, p. 42.

[11] Cf. EAB Pb, AV Acta 88.

[12] Cf. Paclicic, Michael: Eine altertümliche Wasserzuleitung von Lippspringe nach Neuhaus. Archivische Belege aus dem Jahre 1759, in: Heimatverein Bad Lippspringe (Ed.), Wo die Lippe springt 30 (1999), p. 25f.

[13] Cf. StadtA Pb, Sammlung Paderborner Intelligenzblätter, Jg. 1813, p. 11f.

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This is an excerpt from an essay by the historian Prof. Dr. Michael Ströhmer. The original title of the essay is: "Wirtschaftsregion Pader - Eine geschichtswissenschaftliche Skizze (1350-1950)". Should you have further interest in the economic history of the Pader, we recommend downloading the complete essay (PDF file).

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