Our German Bohemian Legacy
Robert J. Paulson
Stockau, located 5 km southwest of Ronsperg in a romantic valley setting, is a town of historic as weil as asthetec merit. The surrounding terrain is composed largely of rocky hills which have produced many notable finds of artifacts from the stone and bronze ages.
The birth of Stockau supposedly took place around 932 when a monastary was established there by Bavarian herrnits. A chapel was built under the direction of duke Bretislav I von Böhmen at the location of the prestent "Klosterkirche"in 1047 in celebration of his victory over King Heinrich (Henry) Ill. In 1256 Pope Alexander IV recognized the various branches of resident herrnits as an independent order. The monks took thier vows of poverty and becaume the frrst Augustinian order to have a monastary in the Böhmen distirct. The monks were responsible for numerous achievements. Various settlements such as Waltersgrün and Frohhaus were founded by friars of the Stockau abbey (friars Walther Grünesand Feorgi Fronhauser). They practiced medicine, growing medicinal herbs in their Stockau gardens. The monks also established smithies and water- and paperrnills. A regular economy developed. In 1421, however, the abbey feil into the hands of the Hussites. The friars were soon able to rctum. Pope Boniface gave the monastary over to the local rectors. After the death of King Wenzel (no date given), the Stockau monastary was destroyed and remained unoccupied until rebuilt in 1573 and again in 1595 (after being destroyed by frre) by Prior Kasper Malesius of Oppeln. 1619 the Protestantorders transferred ownership of the monastay property away from the friars; they got the property back promptly after the battle on the "white mountain" near Prague. In 1641 and 1648 Stockau was overrun and plundered by Swedish hordes.
Architecturally, the monastary's dining hall was built in 1661 and the chancel in 1866 (where the organ is found). Numerous scholars studied in the Stockau monastary during the 18th century and usually they finished their education at the Uneversity of Prague. In 1785 the monastary became incorporated into the Stockau community. The 12 friars became pastors and clergymen. The property was sold in 1800. Stockau, 20 miles from Prague, grew gradually. It consisted of 24 residences in 1789; in 1839 there were 43; in1913, 49 (pop. of 346). The villagers mainly farmed or were foresters to support themselves. As the tourist influx grew, in large part because of Burg Hirschstein, Stockau became known as the health/vacation resort it now is known as.