Saturday, January 8, 2011

From the mouths of drunks and babes

It was, as they say, later the same day.

Schaffkopf cards

Schmitt was having a relaxing time, being happily pampered at the House of Madam Palme. He was now of an age where a comfortable salon was of more importance to him than the pleasures of the flesh, preferring to spend his time in a seat by the fire, sipping a good schnapps and chatting wittily with young ladies who flattered him by laughing at his jokes and hanging on his every word.

That had not prevented him from keeping a weather eye on some of Madam Palme’s other clients. The unspoken rule was that no-one spoke of such meetings outside of the premises, but Schmitt occasionally saw individuals whose public stances were clearly at variance with their private morals. Frequent nocturnal visitors often included older and more senior members of the Abbey’s religious hierarchy and supposedly happily married Burghers along with wealthy farmers and landowners from the countryside.  Other customers included the usual run of drunken soldiery on payday as well as visiting tradesmen and travellers from out of town.

Madam Palme's salon

This allowed Schmitt to pick up a useful trail of gossip, and he was currently embarked on a gentle fishing expedition with a visitor from out of town. The circumstances involved alcohol, a couple of pretty girls and a game of ‘strip Schaffkopf’, a card game recently brought back from the fleshpots of Munich by Schmitt himself. The visitor was a Major from the Emperor’s Court, and apparently he had found his way to Madam Palme’s establishment after visiting the Abbey, via a couple of local taverns.  As one of the girls gigglingly removed her petticoat (the girls were very good at losing this game to entertain their clients) Schmitt prompted the Major further:

Experts at losing

‘So, you do not know what was in the despatch? Seems a shame that His Imperial Highness did not see fit to take you into his confidence’

‘Is, whatsit...secret’ the Major averred hazily. ‘But it’s obvious, really, when you think about it...’ The Major’s furrowed brow suggested actual thinking was something he was struggling with right now.

‘Well, I am just a humble businessman’ Schmitt said silkily, ‘but I am responsible for this town and I am sure we would like to help if we could.’ He poured the Major another schnapps as one of the girls stroked his thigh provocatively.

Cards at Madam Palme's

‘Well, the way I see it is like this’ The Major commenced, before drifting away drunkenly. Schmitt waited until he drifted back again.  ‘Oh yes,' the Major said, suddenly discovering that he was still talking, ‘the Emperor needs all the friends he can get right now, to prove his wassname with the Elector is not just him bullying people. So my guess is that he has asked the Abbot to join the war. Is political I fink...’ he trailed off as his cards swam in front of his eyes again.

‘Really..?’ said Schmitt. ‘Well, I am sure that you can tell His Imperial Highness that the Free City of Kempten stands four square behind him.’
And that is where we are staying, Schmitt added mentally.

The Major slumped forward, finally giving way to an alcoholic stupor whilst Schmitt pondered the implications. Idly he wondered what Major Forster of the Burgherwehr was up to.

Friday, January 7, 2011

War Despatch

Brother Gumbolls

It was time for the military review and formal investiture. Alois thought that, looking over the order of service, that Gumbolls must have gone mad. It was less an investiture than a form of bladder torture, whereby the congregation and guests, highest and lowest, would be expected to ‘hold it in’ for several hours. The actual formalities would be conducted by Brothers Himmelstoss and Richardt, both of whom at least had vague religious duties (as opposed to commercial or political ones) and upon his robing he would be expected to give a resounding sermon to set the tone of his suzerainty. This had been thoughtfully written for him by Gumbolls.

Standing somewhat sidelong and talking at something above Alois’ left ear, Gumbolls had explained that the delicate balancing act in the Abbey, between the Abbey and the Stadt, and between the Prince-Abbot and his Patrimony, and between the Patrimony and its larger neighbours and the Imperial Diet and the Emperor himself meant that things had to be handled ‘with delicacy’. Alois had been somewhat surprised that the permanently swaying Gumbolls could even spell the word, but as Gumbolls reeled off the political ramifications of whatever he said, why and to whom Alois began to get a mild headache. Innocently Alois suggested to Gumbolls that what was more important was the Abbey’s relationship to God rather than all this rather grubby secular business. This did not earn Alois the expected explosion but rather a didactic lecture from Gumbolls who had clearly come to the conclusion that Alois was even thicker than he remembered.
After half an hour of Gumbolls’ beery breath wafting over him Alois weakly agreed to deliver the sermon as written and set himself the task of learning it by rote. He had only managed a few lines when the Graf von Limburg was announced, or rather barged in as the novice stumbled through his name.

Graf von Limburg

‘Right, your Grace...’ said von Limburg, in a voice that clearly had developed a sense of purpose over the years ‘you understand that, at your investiture you will be reviewing the troops of the Patrimony?’

‘I believe so’ replied Alois with a high pitched irritability. ‘What of it?’

‘Well, your Grace, I am Colonel-in-Chief of your regiments and I am keen to ensure that there are no errors’ von Limburg said, insinuating most clearly that Alois was certain to commit numerous military crimes as he was simply a bumbling civilian.

Alois chuckled ‘But my dear Graf, this is not the Imperial Army, this is a small police force, a Gendarmerie at most whose duties are...’
The Graf exploded like a gigantic belch, his face going a shade of purple that Alois would have been certain never existed in nature.

‘YOUR GRACE!’ roared von Limburg gently, ‘You must not speak like this. Our army may be small but the units are models or professionalism with the highest standards of drill, the very best equipment, the most professional officers the...’

Abbots Lifeguard on dismounted duty

Alois held up his hand, soothingly. ‘Yes, my dear Graf, yes...’ he said placatingly, ‘but tell me, when was the last time we actually went to war?’

The Graf stopped, hush descended. His left foot started twisting as if he was stubbing out a burning ember on the floor, which he was staring at intently.

‘Yes..?’ prompted Alois when it became clear that von Limburg was not going to answer easily.

‘Er...well, about 27 years ago, your Grace, as part of our contribution to the Imperial Army’

‘Indeed’ said Alois, smiling faintly. ‘And how many of our people were killed or maimed in that conflict?’

‘One’ von Limburg muttered eventually.

‘One’ Alois repeated. ‘Killed or wounded? Was it bullet or bayonet?’

‘Neither, your Grace,’ von Limburg replied miserably, ‘A shaving accident. You see we only marched as far as Bingen and then we got told to go home, because the Emperor didn’t need us and we were only asked along by mistake...’ the explanation became increasingly hurried.

‘So, what you are telling me in fact,' Alois applied his words with the delicacy of a watchmakers tool, ‘that in a generation we went to war once, which was the result of a clerical error and lasted a day? With one wounded man through a blunt razor?’

‘No sir, two to Bingen and one back’ von Limburg replied smartly. He was clearly determined to wring as much out of the adventure as possible.

‘Turning to the present,’ Alois continued, ‘you mentioned Regiments, plural. I was under the impression there was only my Lifeguard.’

‘Oh no your Grace, you have two. Your Lifeguard under Hauptman Lachen and your own regiment of foot, commanded by myself.’

Abbot's Regiment of Foot

‘And how large is this force?’ Alois asked, intrigued.

‘Well...,’ said von Limburg evaisively, ‘the Lifeguard has about sixty men, on a good day, and nearly two dozen horses when they are not needed for ploughing and such. Their job is to see to your day to day security, collect taxes, man the border patrols, carry messages and chase deserters. Your foot regiment can turn out nearly five hundred men, assuming they are not needed for the harvest that is, or when the breweries ship out their stock. We also have a cannon!’

‘Really?’ Alois looked bored. ‘And what am I to do with such a mighty legion?’

‘You never know, your Grace, when a letter may arrive from the Emperor. He is in a struggle with the Elector and, well, it could be anytime.’

‘Hmm...I remain unconvinced’ Alois sniffed.

The Imperial messenger

There was a hubbub at the door as the novice was heard arguing with a stentorian voice at the door.

‘Whoever it is, Georg, show them in!’ Alois shouted. Anything to give Limburg the hint that his audience was over. But Limburg stood there, awestruck, as through the doorway marched a mud spattered cavalry officer. No chocolate soldier this, thought Alois, feeling somewhat intimidated as the heavy cavalry boots hammered smartly across the wooden floor. Bowing stiffly the officer silently presented Alois with a sealed despatch, sidling close von Limburg noticed it bore the Emperor’s own seal. 

‘Well?’ hissed Limburg, ‘Aren’t you going to open it?’

The colour had drained from Alois’ face, and his trembling hands fiddled with the seal until he prised it open. The Imperial officer looked on intently, Limburg hungrily. Alois read the message, then again, before limply passing it to Limburg and collapsing back on his throne. Limburg’s hungry eyes devoured the despatch and he smiled triumphantly. His time had come.

The Council of the Burgomeister

Kempten Rathaus
As Alois was wrestling with his advisers, his conscience and his faith Burgomeister Hans Schmitt was chairing a meeting of the council of the good Burghers of Kempten gathered to respond to the enthronement of a new Prince-Abbot.

They were, Schmitt ruefully admitted, all very fat, very corrupt and devoted to the making of money. Their only saving grace, and it was certainly a large one, was that they were also uniformly stupid. Of course this combination of greed and stupidity had been primarily responsible for the turn to Protestantism and its survival in the face of the Abbey's wrath for over 100 years, as it had provided a Heaven-sent (Schmitt permitted himself a small blasphemy) opportunity to break the Abbey's monopoly on brewing. Looking at the dozen faces around the council table, at least half owed their position and fortune to the production and sale of beer, and the rest owned interests in industries dependent on the income the trade brought to the city.

The table was a hubbub of voices and argument, wigs shook and bloated faces reddened as conversations became heated. After all, the Abbot and his followers may be the enemy, but this lot were usually in competition with each other. Such ruses as small insurance fires, rotted barrel staves and bad hops characterised their relationships.

'Gentlemen, gentlemen', Schmitt gently banged his gavel, 'this is no time to indulge ourselves in petty squabbles'

Hans Schmitt, Burgomeister of Kempten

This had its intended effect in most cases, except for the Rohrschach brothers who were busy arguing over whether an ink blot one had made on his notepaper was a simple inkblot or looked like a butterfly. Schmitt brought the potentially groundbreaking discussion to an abrupt halt with a glower.

The Burgers of Kempten on a fact-finding mission

'Now, my friends. We all now are aware that the new Abbot has taken up his throne. We shall, of course, be sending him a message of goodwill and God's blessing in his new appointment'. This was accompanied by nodding of heads and mumblings of 'rhubarb, rhubarb'.

'Further to this...' Schmitt soldiered on oblivious, 'the Abbot has invited me to discuss the current poor relations between the Abbey and our fair city. I have agreed that a small delegation, composed of myself, will meet with the Abbot and open discussions'

This began a gale of argument, as Burghers around the table agreed, disagreed, changed their minds or continued arguing about what they had been arguing about before. Schmitt banged his gavel and closed the meeting, leaving the tumult to subside on its own. He slipped out of the Rathhaus and along a few side alleys until he came to an unobtrusive door. Knocking in a rhythmic way the door opened and he flitted inside. Discarding his cape he looked around a room sumptuously, one might even say over, dressed. He passed cape and hat to a gargantuan Tartar who everyone called Otto, and cast himself down on a rather over stuffed red velvet chair.

Madam Palme

In moments in swept a woman. Not a lady, Schmitt mentally noted, but a woman trying to ape one and outwardly suceeding. The whitened face, elegant dress and resplendent wig indicated a woman fighting a determined rearguard action against the onset of late middle age.

'Madam Palme' Schmitt jumped to his feet and bowed, turning on his not inconsiderable reserves of charm.

'Herr Burgomeister' She responded, fluttering a fan in a move that would have been coquettish in a younger woman but in Madam Palme's case looked vaguely grotesque.

'And which of your five lovely daughters should I entertain this evening?' Schmitt enquired, the charm had an edge to it this time. One advantage of being Burgomeister was the ability to turn a blind eye to Madam Palme's establishment in return for favours. In the same way he was able to borrow money from the Jew Goldblum at remarkably reasonable rates and the local Masonic Lodge never seemed troubled by the normal suspicion of such places, a relief to Grand Master Schmitt.

Yes, Schmitt permitted himself an inward smile of complacent contentment, everything was just fine, not a cloud in the sky.

Unfortunately, well, for Schmitt at any rate, his ability to predict the future was not as compliant as he would have liked.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Diary Entry of Hauptmann Lachen

Dear Diary...

It is becoming obvious that even an apparent innocent like Alois has appreciated the deep political rifts that exist in his Abbey. He may even suspect that he was elected, sight unseen, for the very reason that he is a political innocent.

Of course, from the first, all of the respective factions wanted ‘their’ man in, and consequently could not agree on who it could be. Himmelstoss wanted an aggressive religious policy, Thengen an aggressive economic policy and von Lindburg an aggressive military policy all aimed at the Free City. Balanced against them were Krackenfart who, despite his old-womanish ways, wanted a more academic and less worldly institution and thought the goings on of the Free City an irrelevance and Durffaendel who automatically connects the words aggression with expense in his mind. Nobody really knows what Fassbinder thinks, as he is such a manoeuvrer anyway, so it was up to that snake Gumbolls to find a compromise.

He said that he remembered a student of his from the past, very committed to the scriptures and to art and music, and always was talking about our duty to God. He also said, apparently in private to Himmelstoss and Krackenfart, that he was also the dimmest student he could remember teaching. So, Alois was nominated Duke-Abbot, and in a week elected Duke-Abbot unopposed. The supposition was that he would neither rock the boat nor upset the balance of competing interests.

Having spent a lot of time with this man I am not sure they are right. Behind that other-worldly innocence lays a steely resolve to do his duty by God as he sees it. This is not the swivel-eyed lunacy of Himmelstoss, but rather a firm irreducible faith. This may yet lead to a conflict with most of the key people within the Abbey.

Personally I have no time for most of them: Gumbolls is a drunken lecher, Krackenfart an old woman, Thengen is corrupt, Fassbinder a pederast and Richardt a half wit. But I shudder to think about Himmelstoss and von Lindburg. The former has never forgiven me for being born and spending much of my life a Protestant and converting to get this job. It is true I have nothing but a vague belief in religion, but a strong belief in God – how can I not have, a survivor such as me? Von Lindburg, on the other hand, fancies himself a soldier. Thankfully it is a desire that is not shared or appreciated by anyone else, least of all me. I have seen many wars and met many good soldiers, and I am not convinced by Lindburg’s bluster. Luckily Alois is committed to ‘God’s Peace’, not a fact appreciated or understood by the likes of von Lindburg.

So, now, after 4 days in silent prayer (shock) the good Father-Abbot is ready to undertake a tour of the Patrimony. It should give him even more to think about.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Alois looked around the small audience chamber from his throne. He barely knew who any of these people were, he noted, and indeed they barely knew him.

Of the monks in the room the only one he had any real knowledge of was the stooped figure of Brother Gumbolls, who had formerly been his teacher of Greek and Latin and now, Alois understood, was his secretary. Gumbolls had a reputation when Alois was a novice to be a consumer of gargantuan amounts of alcohol, be it beer, wine, brandy or anything else he could lay his hands on. By his slight swaying and somewhat slurred speech it seemed that nothing much had changed, despite the fact that it was just after Matins.

Gumbolls introduced the rest of the throng. There was Brother Krackenfart, the Chief Librarian, Brother Himmelstoss who headed up the Seminary, Brother Fassbinder, who had responsibility for the schools throughout the patrimony, Brother Thengen who looked after the breweries and Brother Richardt who oversaw the workings of the churches and satellite monasteries in the patrimony.

There were some secular figures too. A rather red faced individual, whose face was almost totally obscured by an enormous wig, was introduced as the Graf von Lindenburg, whilst a smaller individual, whose darting movements made him look to Alois like an overly-nervous sparrow, was apparently Michael Durffaendel, the treasurer of the Abbey. Looming behind Alois' throne was the battle-scarred figure of Lachen.

“Greetings my Brothers and fellow good Catholics,” Alois began, “I thank you with all my heart for your greetings and hope that, with the help of God, you will be my support as I wrestle with this most challenging of jobs that The Lord has seen fit to elevate me to.”

Then it all started.

Gumbolls blankly stated that the Lord had nothing at all to do with it and he had been elected by his fellow Brothers and ought to “do his best to recognise that fact.”

Thengen then asked what he was going to do about the Free City, whose production of beer was increasing and was damaging revenues. On asked by Alois what he suggested Thengen replied that all hops entering the Free City should be subject to crippling tariffs.

“Nonsense!” bellowed von Lindburg, who declared that the best way to deal with these scoundrels was by the use of force and the Abbey should send in it’s troops.

“What, all sixty of them?” queried Lachen.

“They all should be burned as heretics, that what we should have done centuries ago…” the icy voice of the aesetic Himmelstoss cut through the general hubbub.

“But this Abbey has not been responsible for burning someone since 1579!” responded a genuinely shocked Krackenfart.

“One might say we stopped too soon” Himmelstoss responded.

The conversation overflowed then into many separate arguments.

“Brothers, brothers,” cried an anguished Alois, standing from his chair, “can we not put aside this language of conflict and respond with the Peace of God…?”

“To hell with the Peace of God,” replied Thengen, savagely, “this is Abbey revenue”

“And remember who put you in that Throne…” followed Gumbolls

“Just sit there, read some books and leave the governance of the patrimony to us, I think that would be the best for all concerned” finished von Lindburg.

Alois slumped, disbelieving, into his chair. The general yammer of voices washed over him as he realised the futility of his position: all his councillors and advisors were little more than Godless cynics, far removed from His Good Grace and clearly buried in the secular world. His mind raced, despair mounted upon agony, until a quiet voice in his ear said: “bring the audience to an end.” It was Lachen. Alois, appearing like a wounded man, could only wave at one of the Novices who announced it for him. The crowd shuffled, still arguing, out of the chamber.

“Not you,” Alois croaked, pointing at Gumbolls. “There are letters to reply to from friendly rulers on my accession…”

“Indeed Father-Abbot. And?” Gumbolls replied.

Alois looked at him uncertainly and then gave in and waved him away.

Clearly, of all the many duties that Gumbolls had, writing letters was not one of them.

New Duke-Abbot

Alois-Friedrich von Dietmann, Duke-Abbot of Kempten

God’s Mysterious Way

It had, reflected Alois ruefully, been a very confusing three months.

There had been no sign that God was about to pluck him from obscurity and make him His instrument, but this was exactly what had happened. Alois did not know what to make of the turn of events, truly, but realised that he was merely an instrument in God’s design and he must accept His will.

It had begun in Pavia. Alois had been teaching in Pavia for over twenty years, preserved by the university’s rareified atmosphere of hot air and alcohol, and he had more-or-less resigned himself to be there for the rest of his life. This did not trouble Alois one bit, he was doing his part for God and the Benedictine order and was happy with his modest lot.

This peace was shattered by the arrival of a letter from the deputy Abbot at Kempten, his old Monastery. The letter informed him that he had been nominated for the election of the next Duke-Abbot, Abbot Ernst having recently been taken up to the bosom of God. Alois did not quite know what to make of this: he had not been at Kempten since he was a novice and was a little baffled by the choice, having originally thought it a joke. So he pondered about this for a good deal, but while he was pondering another letter arrived informing him that he had been elected and that the messenger would bring him further news.

The messenger turned out to be a character called Georg Lachen. With him were twenty rather scruffy horsemen in bearskins that Lachen described as ‘Father-Abbot’s own loyal Lifeguard’ and two bewildered novices who were to be at his call for the journey. Lachen told him that he was to go directly to Rome, with Lachen and his men as escort, so that he could be installed by the Holy Father. Then the party were to return to Kempten where Alois would be installed.

So the party set off for Rome. Alois tried to talk to the two novices about things in Kempten, but they either seemed to know very little or were half-witted. Lachen said he was “…unable, in my humble position, to comment on the higher workings of the Abbey.” Hmm. Alois had more luck in getting to know Lachen generally. The man had an extraordinary appearance: the face was a mass of scar tissue and Lachen boasted to carry the marks of “22 great wounds” and had never once visited a surgeon, which he took to be the mainspring of his healthy constitution, although Alois suspected that the large quantities of alcohol he imbibed every night had proofed his body against all disease many years ago.

Hauptmann Lachen

Lachen also claimed to have fought every war since Thermopylae, or so it seemed to Alois and it turned out that he was not a native of the Allgau district at all, but a soldier of fortune who saw his current little command as something of a retirement sinecure. The men, meanwhile, although they seemed polite enough on the surface were boorish and drank at night: Alois fancied he caught them laughing at him at times when they were drunk or off-guard, but dismissed it.


On reaching Rome Alois and his party had to wait a week for an audience with His Holiness. His growing nervousness had now reached fever pitch and as his audience day came he was wretchedly sick. The awe soon dissipated, however, when the audience took place. The shrunken and shrivelled figure mumbled some inaudible words in Latin whilst Alois strained to hear. Then he noticed that, under the Holy Father’s robes, his two feet were encased in two different coloured slippers and Alois drifted through the rest of the event pre-occupied with wondering who had got the Holy Father ready that morning.


For Alois the journey to Kempten was agony. The men were as boorish as ever, the novices as incompetent and Lachen continually regaled him with war stories and tales of his wounds. Things took an even stranger turn on reaching the patrimony of the Abbey. Instead of the expected crowds to wave and cheer he met a rather quizzical and vaguely disinterested reception on the road. One or two members of the older generation did greet him enthusiastically but other people were somewhat muted. It was not sullen, he reflected, but rather he was being treated as something of a curiosity.

The Inn at Isny

The party spent the night at an Inn at Isny while the arrangements for his formal entry were made. The following day he dressed in his remaining clean robe and mounted his horse. Followed by Lachen and his men he made his entry through the streets of Kempten-in-Allgau to the gates of the Abbey. The townspeople here had turned out in greater numbers and showed a little more enthusiasm than their country bretheren, and dotted among the crowd he could see monks from his own order, plus the odd Franciscan, waving madly.

On reaching the Abbey he dismounted and with all due ceremony was installed as Duke-Prior of the Abbey and Patrimony of Kempten by his peers. Dazed by the ceremony, and dazzled by his new residence, he informed his novice-companions that he wished to see no-one for the rest of the day, but would hold an audience in the morning. In the meantime he prayed to God in his new Chapel for guidance and help so that His poor instrument, Alois, could do his will.

Whatever that turned out to be…

The Abbey of Kempten


The Abbey of Kempten is part of the Benedictine order and was founded in 752 by Empress Hildegarde, wife of Charlemagne. Situated in the Allgau area of southern Germany it has grown over the years and is currently a principality in its own right. The Duke-Abbot owes no alliegance to any Bishop and instead is directly appointed by the Holy Father.

The Abbey

The Abbey is a large organisation with over 1000 brothers spread between the main buildings at Kempten and satellite Abbeys at Sonthofen, Oberstdorf and Lindau. Although the Abbey undertakes the usual functions of a religious house: healing of the sick and supporting travellers, its main function is that of a place of learning. Nowhere is this more marked than in its Library, which is a massive collection of books, manuscripts and folios used by scholars from across the Catholic world. Although illumination still takes place within the scriptorium, the Abbey now has several presses to produce expurgated copies of some of the books it maintains.

The Abbey is also a place of pilgrimage to see the resting places of several Saints, including Magus, Gordianus and Hildegarde herself.

The Abbey has recently completed a process of rebuilding, begun after the Thirty Year’s War and completed by Duke-Abbot Anselm von Reichlin-Meldegg (1732-1742) with much Baroque and Rococo decoration. There is also a very impressive Basilica and palace for the Duke-Abbot.

The principality

The Duke-Abbot rules, in his own right, a considerable patrimony. Stretching from Wiggensbach in the north and Oberstdorf and the Tyrol in the south, and the Oberallgau Forest in the east to Lindau on Lake Constance in the west, the territories of the Abbey provide much in the way of labour and money to supplement fees from scholars and pilgrims. The country is rolling hills to the north with much cultivated land giving way to increasing woodland and alpine pasture to the south.
The connection to the Bishoprics of Augsburg, Constance and Bregenz is strong, the latter in particular due to their bordering the lake leading to easy communications. These Bishoprics in particular send their Priests to study at the Library and seminary at Kempten.
Due to its geography the agricultural produce of the region is primarily dairy produce, logging and rougher cultivated crops such as rye. Some wheat and hops are also grown, but these are for the speciality of the region: beer. The major industry is brewing, over which the Abbey has a monopoly and beer from the Allgau region is justifiably famous. There is some weaving of locally produced wool and tanning of leather products.

The Free City

The major local source of tension is the Free City of Kempten. The city grew up in the valley of the river Iller overlooked by the Abbey and everything seemed fine until the city swung heavily in favour of Protestantism in the 16th Century. The Free City is governed by a city council, headed by a Burgomeister, and has clung on to its Protestant faith with great determination, the proximity of the Catholic Abbey and being surrounded by its patrimony just adding to the siege mentality. The Free City is a major competitor to the Abbey in the brewing of beer and relies on its Imperial Charter and Burgerwehr to defend its interests.

The new city

Chartered in 1713 the new city of Kempten (Kempten-in-Allgau) has grown up steadily around the Abbey and is devoted to servicing pilgrims and scholars who choose to visit. It does not have the commercial character of the Free City and instead is a settlement for Catholic servants and service industries.

The Nobility

The principality has one senior noble family, that of the Lindenburgs. This family has for many decades been the leading secular force within the principality and it, or its allies and servants, fill many of the government posts around the Duchy. Other families of note include the Dietmannsrieds, Schweckenfelds, Fraimerstorffs, Hammersteins and Molenarks.