St. Peter –
a foundation of the Dukes of Zähringen

Welcome to the Zähringer village of St. Peter. The Zähringer tradition is just as alive in this Black Forest village today as it is in the House of Baden, which is descended from the Zähringer. The Margraves of Baden still bear the title “Duke of Zähringen”. A common history unites St. Peter with the Zähringer towns in Baden-Wurttemberg and Switzerland.

The Dukes of Zähringen

The village of St. Peter is also linked to Herzogenbuchsee and Seeberg in Switzerland. These villages were once given to the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter by Agnes of Rheinfelden and her husband, Duke Bertold II of Zähringen. As a consequence, from 1109 up till the Reformation 1527 the clerics in the priory there were appointed by the monastery of St. Peter.

The Dukes of Zähringen played a similar role in the southern Black Forest and the western part of Switzerland as the Hohenstaufer did in Swabia. Next to the Staufer and Welfs they were the most powerful noble dynasty in the High Middle Ages. Bertold V was proposed as German king in 1198. He withdrew his candidacy and renounced this royal honour.

Bertold II and his wife Agnes of Rheinfelden. Painting early 18th C.
Bertold II and his wife Agnes of Rheinfelden. Painting early 18th C.

The Zähringer

The Zähringer established a pioneering realm from the Central Black Forest to the Lake of Geneva. They penetrated the unpopulated Black Forest and were protectors of a number of monasteries, such as St. Georgen and St. Blasien. In 1093 they founded their family monastery at St. Peter. They were also outstanding for their foundation of towns: Apart from Freiburg im Breisgau and Villingen, a number of other towns such as Berne and Fribourg in Switzerland owe their existence to the Zähringer.