Cranach houses in Wittenberg

Wittenberg experienced an unprecedented period of prosperity in the 16th century. This boom was a consequence of the expansion of the residence and the founding of the university in 1502, also by Elector Frederick the Wise. The decision to make Wittenberg the seat of the new High School meant profoundly transforming the city both structurally and socially. Within a short time, many scholars and students from Germany and abroad came to Wittenberg.

The construction of the castle, which had already begun in 1486, attracted high-ranking artists to Wittenberg, including Cranach the Elder, who was hired as court painter in 1505 and settled in the city in 1511/12. The needs of the university, but also the humanistic interests of the prince, favoured the rise of the book trade, which was further promoted from the 1520s onwards by the Reformation that started in Wittenberg. Cranach the Elder also ran a print shop for a time. The buildings in the town and on the individual plots of land became denser and there were processes of displacement.

Numerous houses from this period have been preserved to this day and characterise the townscape. Many of the most beautiful and valuable are connected in one way or another with the Cranach family.

If one examines the neighbourly relationships within the town, which is easily possible on the basis of the tax lists, surviving contracts and other written evidence, it becomes clear that the Cranachs were in contact with all the leading Wittenberg families. Many of them had become wealthy in the book trade, many were in the council, as was Cranach the Elder from 1519, and his son probably succeeded him in 1544. The effort to consolidate the social position and to secure the sometimes immense fortune in the long term is also visible in the marriage ties that, for example, the Cranach and Selfisch families entered into. The Cranachs' sons and daughters-in-law preferably came from successful "book families" or from the court and university milieu.

Official residence behind the wall

About the building

In 1560/61, Cranach the Younger appears in the lap book as the owner of a house "Hinter der Mauer" (today Pfaffengasse), the value of which was estimated in the Turkish tax register of 1528 at 80 gulden and in 1542 at 130 gulden. The owner at that time was the clergyman Johan Hartwigk, who remained there until 1553. Like other clergymen, he had been granted a lifelong right of residence in the course of the Reformation and had remained in the town. After Hartwigk's death, the house fell to the council, which sold it to Cranach, himself a council member. In 1558 the treasury recorded a revenue "Extra ordinarie": "35 ß [36 Schock Groschen = 100 Gulden] from Lucas Cranach before the heußlein so erkaufft vom Rath." (1 shock groschen is 60 groschen).

Cranach probably used the house for rent until 1586. After his death in 1587, the property was added to the adjoining market quarter 26, so that its owner Dr. Lemmer henceforth had to pay the 8 groschen for the "Bude" in addition to the lap for his house (24 groschen annually).

The area of the street now known as Pfaffengasse all the way to the corner of Juristenstraße was particularly affected by reorganisations and redesignations, partly triggered by the Reformation. On the other hand, the construction of the "Collegium iuridicum" had begun at the end of Brüdergasse (today Juristenstraße) in 1519. Flats for students and teaching staff were built in the vicinity of this new university building, often through investments made by university members such as Paulus Eber, Joachim von Beust and probably also Dr Lemmer. In 1553/54, Cranach sold the nearby house at Marktviertel 22, which he himself had acquired in 1552, to the later city pastor and general superintendent Paulus Eber (> see Pfaffengasse (undeveloped)).

Bürgermeisterstrasse 12

About the building

For a short time at most, Cranach the Elder was also the owner of the house at Bürgermeisterstraße 12 (formerly Jüdenviertel 37). According to the tax list (Schoßregister) in the Kämmereirechnung of 1519, he paid the summer tax of 15 groschen for the house instead of Hans Mewrer. Meurer or his family again paid the winter's rent. From 1520 onwards, Magister Philipp Reichenbach appears in the registers as the owner.

Presumably Cranach stepped in with the lap payment in 1519. He had been appointed guardian of Meurer's heirs by the council and in this capacity sold the house to Reichenbach, who succeeded Andreas Meinhardt as town clerk in 1525 and repeatedly acted as mayor from 1530. Reichenbach housed Katharina von Bora in his house in Bürgermeisterstraße after her escape from Nimbschen Monastery. Katharina's engagement to Martin Luther took place here in the summer of 1523, in the presence of Cranach and Bugenhagen.

In the "Turk Tax Register" of 1528, the house is valued at 180 gulden. In 1542 Philipp Reichenbach gave 500 gulden as the value, so he had extended the house in the meantime. In 1638, the house at Bürgermeisterstraße 12 was uninhabitable ("deserted"). Today, a building erected in 2004 stands here, which had to make way for a half-timbered house built in the 18th century.

Coswiger Strasse 28

About the building

Whether the owner of the house at 28 Coswiger Strasse, a Christian Kranach or Kranich, is a "real Cranach" at all has not yet been clarified beyond doubt. He appears for the first time in 1619 as a lap payer, namely as the successor of Anthonius Trinckwitz, who in turn may have been a descendant of Else Trinkwitz, who had sold her house on the market to Cranach the Elder a good hundred years earlier (> see Markt 5 and Trinckwitz's house).

The house at Coswiger Straße 28, formerly Coswiger Viertel 83, was only occupied with a lap since 1571 and was until then probably part of the property at Marstallgasse 20, for which the amount of the lap was reduced from 43 gr to 6 gr in 1571. The division of the property had opened up interesting possibilities for a new building on the corner of Marstallgasse and Coswiger Strasse. In 1638, a two-storey half-timbered house with 10 rooms and a rear building is described there, which has not been preserved. The present house was built at the end of the 19th century.

Fleischerstrasse 7

About the building

From 1528 to around 1560, Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son of the same name were the owners of the cottage at 48 Elsterviertel in today's Fleischerstrasse, then known as "Hinter der Mauer". The value of the small cottage, which "Matthes Segemacher gewesdt", is given in 1528 and 1542 as only 40 guilders; in 1638, when a quartering register was drawn up during the Thirty Years' War, it is recorded as a single-storey half-timbered house with three rooms. Here, too, it is likely to have been a property used for rent. Probably in the 19th century, the houses at Elsterviertel 47, 48 and 49 were combined to form Fleischerstraße 7.

Juedenstrasse 26

About the building

In 1529, Cranach the Elder also appears for the first time as the owner of the house at Jüdenviertel 151. It is interesting to note here that the previous owner was Simprecht Reinhart, who worked for Cranach for a long time as a mould cutter and printer. Reinhart owned the property from 1526 to 1528, having acquired it from the council or Gemeiner Kasten, to which it had fallen after the dissolution of the Elendenbruderschaft. The brotherhood had been paying taxes on the property, which had two buildings, since at least 1481. In 1526, the account of the Gemeiner Kasten, the general church treasury established in 1525, records among other things "17 ß 30 gr [from] Zumprecht buchdrucker vor die Elenden 2 heuser die im vorkaufft vor 100 fl [Gulden]" under the income from 'Abgelösten Hauptsummen'. Reinhart therefore paid half of the purchase price or credit in 1526 (17 ß 30 gr are 1050 groschen equal to 50 gulden). The value of the house is given as 100 gulden in the Turkish tax register of 1528.

Cranach's successor was a Matthes Meyer (1532), about whose profession nothing is known. He was followed by the printer Wolf Furnschild in 1550 at the latest. He or his heirs sold the property in the 1560s to Veit Creutzer, who was active in the same trade. Reinhart and Cranach, like the Elendenbruderschaft, paid 15 groschen lap annually, their successors twice that amount.

According to the quartering register of 1638, the house was "deserted" at that time; von Arnim's body regiment, which was supposed to defend the town, had demolished the house the previous year.

Markt 4

About the building

Lucas Cranach the Elder took up residence on Wittenberg's Markt after he married in the autumn of 1511 and moved out of the painter's room in the castle. The court and trade book shows that the descendants of Blasius Welmsdorf transferred the house at Markt 4 (market quarter 3) to him on 3 November 1511.

On the same day, the painter also became the owner of the house of Else Trinckwitz, which he exchanged for the house of Markt 5 in March 1513, thus coming into possession of the two neighbouring houses of Markt 4 and 5 (> see Markt 5 and Haus der Trinkwitzin).
From 1512 onwards, Cranach paid an annual land tax (Schoß) of 100 groschen for Markt 4. These payments are documented until 1517 by the Schoßregister in the annual accounts of the Ratskämmerei. Lucas Cranach the Younger was born in Markt 4 or Markt 5 in 1515.
In the period from May 1512 to April 1514 Cranach regularly obtained bricks from the council barn, from which it can be concluded that he extended the houses for his needs.

As early as 1517/18 Cranach sold Markt 4 and Markt 5 again and acquired the property Schlossstraße 1 (> see Schlossstraße 1). Market 4 was taxed from 1518 to 1522 by Hans Moddo, then Ambrosius Reuter. Reuter estimated the value of the house in 1528 at 500 gulden, but in 1542 at 1,600 gulden, so he had invested considerably in the meantime.

In 1550, Cranach's son-in-law Caspar Pfreundt exchanged his house at Markt 5 with Ambrosius Reuter for the latter's property at Markt 4. The background to this exchange transaction was Reuter's debts to Pfreundt. Perhaps Cranach the Elder was also trying to get his finances in order, which would be plausible in the context of his move to Weimar in that very year.

The house at Markt 4 was acquired by the city of Wittenberg in the early 1990s and carefully renovated. In the exhibition set up in 2015, many building components and original colour versions from the time of the Cranachs can also be seen.

Markt 5 & das Haus der Trinckwitzin

About the building

Lucas Cranach the Elder took up residence on Wittenberg's Markt after marrying in autumn 1511 and moving out of the painter's parlour in the castle. On 3 November 1511 he became the owner of Markt 4 and the house of Else Trinckwitz. As early as March 1513, Cranach sold the latter to Caspar Teuschel and at the same time took possession of his house at Markt 5, so that he could call the two neighbouring houses at Markt 4 and 5 his own. Lucas Cranach the Younger was born in one of the two houses in 1515.

The house of Else Trinckwitz stood on the east side of the market and was part of a row of houses that was demolished between 1521 and 1570 when the market square was extended. The location can be reconstructed, at least approximately, on the basis of the order in which the houses were collected in the tax collectors' round. The house was demolished in 1547/48.

For Markt 5, Cranach paid 54 groschen a year in land tax (Schoß). These payments are documented by the Schoß lists until 1517. In the period from May 1512 to April 1514 Cranach regularly obtained bricks from the official brick barn, from which it can be concluded that he extended the houses for his needs. As early as 1517/18 he sold the two houses again and acquired the property Schlossstraße 1 (> see Schlossstraße 1). In 1521/22, however, he bought back the property at Markt 5, possibly in order to set up the printing works here. An undated but probably 1550 invoice by Cranach the Elder shows that in 1521 the printer Melchior Lotter the Younger lived or worked in Markt 5.

From 1547 at the latest - the treasury account books for the years 1542-46 are missing and with them the tax lists - Cranach's son-in-law, the apothecary Caspar Pfreundt, used the house at Markt 5. In the "Türkensteuerregister" (Turkish Tax Register) from 1528, the house is valued at 800 gulden, likewise in 1542. In 1532 Georg Tasch, who came from Würzburg, rented a room from Cranach and married Ursula, a daughter of Cranach, in 1537, lived here. Dasch went with his family to Gotha after the Schmaldkaldic War (1546/47), where he again lived in a house of Cranach the Elder and later became mayor.

In 1550, Caspar Pfreundt exchanged the house at Markt 5 with his neighbour Ambrosius Reuter for the latter's property at Markt 4. The background to this exchange transaction was Reuter's debts to Pfreundt. Perhaps Cranach the Elder was also trying to get his finances in order, which would be plausible in the context of his move to Weimar in that very year.

Markt 5 was gutted in the mid-1990s and converted into a department store. The façade, the western and eastern outer walls and the barrel-vaulted cellars remain from the 16th-century buildings.

Town hall construction and market expansion

When Cranach acquired Markt 4 and the Trinkwitzin house in 1511 in order to exchange the latter for Markt 5 shortly afterwards, it could hardly have been foreseen that the construction of the new town hall would in the medium term lead to the abandonment of the house formerly belonging to the Trinckwitzin, which is only understandable in the context of the market expansion. If this plan had already existed at the beginning of the century, Caspar Teuschel, himself involved in the council's decisions, would have embarked on a risky business. The legal foundations, the far-reaching powers of the council builders to construct and, more importantly here, to demolish buildings, were nevertheless created with the statutes enacted in 1504.

The location of the Trinckwitz house, described in 1511/12 as being between the "Peter Huterynn and the weyn hauße" and at the same time close to the 'Schottenhaus', can at least be roughly deduced from the order of the names in the lap register, which can be read as a reflection of the way in which the lap collectors moved around. The 'town restructuring' that took place from 1520 onwards also had an effect on this circuit, which is easy to imagine in view of the described new layout of Scharrengasse and the connection of Neustrasse to Mittelstrasse. Changes in the lap lists have been noticed before, but could not be explained until now.

For example, until about 1549 MV 1, the property now known as Beyerhof, Markt 6, does not appear first in the Schoßregister, but almost at the end of the list and thus at the end of the round of Schoßeintreiber. The entry for MV 1 is followed only by the houses on the east and west sides of the market square, and from the south in an anti-clockwise direction. Between MV 1 (today Markt 6) and the house of Trinckwitzin, a total of 16 houses are listed in 1510 and also still in 1521, of which seven, possibly even eight, disappeared between 1522/23 and 1570/71, while the houses to the east, numbered MV 65 to 73 in Goldmann's plan, remained.

The reason for this disappearance was the construction of the town hall, begun in 1522, to which initially (1521/22) four or five houses and a stall on the north-eastern (old) market square had to give way. The extension of the town hall, for which Cranach still invoiced material deliveries in 1528, was obviously connected from the outset with the urban planning idea of widening the square in the east and making it more uniform in outline. Without the abandonment of the aforementioned buildings, it would not have been possible to extend the old town hall, which was very probably on the same site as the new one, towards the east and still place it freely on the square. An indication that the predecessor building was approximately the western third of the present building is the irregular basement floor plan.

With regard to the location of the old town hall, which was extended from 1523, several observations are relevant, which can be deduced from the sequence of house locations in the lap registers: The round was taken, as stated earlier, on the south side of the market opposite the town hall, then the houses in the Coswiger Viertel were visited, after returning from the Coswiger Viertel and Juristengasse the houses on the north side of the market (MV 55 to MV 64) were cashed, then the eastern town. At the end of the round, the houses on the east and finally the west side of the square were reached. The collectors came from Collegienstrasse, collected on the east side of the market, passed the south side of the town hall, which was apparently conceived as the edge of the square, and finally reached the houses on the west side.

An exact reconstruction of the locations of the demolished houses is difficult, among other things because changes also occurred with regard to the preserved house locations on the east side of the disappeared alley (MV 65 to MV 73), for example by later merging houses. In addition, some houses were accessible from the alley, others from the churchyard.

Nevertheless, it can be deduced with some caution from the order of house owners in the Kämmereirechnung for 1510 that the house of Urban Teuschelin stood on the north side of the square or at the northern end of the ultimately demolished row of houses, that then - at the level of the town hall to be extended - the buildings of Lepper (also Lepperer), Huling, Seiler and Otho, which were demolished first, followed, and that the houses of Trinkwitzin and of Peter Hutter stood roughly opposite the house locations MV 70-73. In 1521 the picture is similar: Following MV 67, Hans Ebell (successor of Urban Teuschelin), Hennrich Lepper, then four house places on the east side of the alley are cashed out; they are followed by Merten Levin, Gores Seiler, Wilhelm Hoffman, Caspar Teuschel and Stefan Wulff, the latter as successor of Peter Huterin. At the end of the list are the names of the owners of MV 68 and the houses on the west side of the square (MV 9, 8 and 7).

Teuschel, who had been a member of the council since 1504 and also in 1512, 1520 and 1521, kept the Trinkwitzin house, which he had taken over from Cranach in 1513, until 1522, the year in which the building of the town hall began, when Caspar Stiglitz took up residence here. Hennrich Lepper (4 gr 6 d), Merten Levin (12 gr), Gores Seyler (9 gr) and Wilhelm Hoffman (5 gr), who no longer appear in the register for 1522 and are compensated by the council, paid the winter's wages for the last time in 1521. Gores Seiler, who, as mentioned above, acquired the old convento in Juristenstraße in 1522, did not necessarily deteriorate.

In 1522, Hans Ebell still appears in the register, probably as the owner of the northernmost house (half-year's bail 9 gr 6 d), in 1511 in the possession of Urban Teuschelin The houses of Caspar Teuschel (then Caspar Stieglitz, 16 gr half-year's bail) and Peter Hutterin, now in the possession of Stefan Wolff (20 gr half-year's bail) also remained for the time being. The house of Ebell, owned by Schittel in 1547, and that of Stiglitz, owned by Andres Baitz/Bertz in 1547, disappeared in 1547/48. The account for 1550 records only Wolff.

The house of Peter Hutterin was last taxed in 1570 by Stefan Wolff's widow; in 1571 it was bought up by the council for the expansion of the market, as can be clearly seen from the treasury account: "Steffan Wolffin Such a house has a council for obvious reasons so that the market would be expanded, bought out, therefore the 57 gr 4 d ßo es jherlichen geschoßett, alhier hinforder fallenn."

The inconclusive result of an archaeological investigation carried out in 2009 on the east side of the market square can neither be used to confirm nor refute this thesis of the existence of a row of houses on the east side of the square. Nevertheless, a fieldstone wall remnant, the relict of a cellar, was uncovered in the south of the excavation area, approximately in the area of the house of Huterin/Wolff.

That last detached house is followed in the court registers by the houses MV 68 and then those on the west side of the square, MV 7 to 9 (Markt 25-23). Since in the court book not only the house of Elße Trinckwitz but also MV 3 is described as being situated "on the market", it can be ruled out that the demolished houses were situated parallel to those on the south side; moreover, the connection to the building of the town hall is proven by the compensation payments to Lepperer, Hofmann, Seiler and Levin. Henrich received the payment for a shop, which was presumably located in the old town hall.

The fact that MV 1 was listed with Christianus Baier in the first place of the lap register from 1549 onwards, until then always almost at the end of the circuit, therefore allows the conclusion that the change in the circuit was made when the houses on the south-east side of the market had also 'become Grundt' - and Beyer's estate MV 1 a "house on the market". Claws Heffner, owner of the house MV 71 until 1520, was, like Beyer, a councillor in the decisive years 1512, 1515, 1518, 1521; he repeatedly acted as council builder together with Stefan Schmelzer. Like Beyer, Heffner probably profited from the demolition of the houses mentioned; his house MV 71 also fell into a market situation as a result. In 1528, however, the value is only given as 110 fl.

Markt 23

About the building

Cranach the Younger married Barbara Brück (1518-50) in his first marriage in 1541, and his sister (1520-1601), who was also baptised Barbara, became the wife of Christian Brück two years later (1543), so that close ties existed between the two families. The Brück family had been resident at the Markt since 1518 or 1522 and paid the lap for the property Markt 23 (formerly Marktviertel 9) until about 1563. Dr. Gregor Brück (Pontanus) belonged as a court counsellor and chancellor to the direct environment of the elector. From 1564, a Dr. Johann Herrmann, who had married Barbara, the daughter of Cranach the Younger from his marriage to Barbara Brück, paid the rent. The son of Cranach the Younger, Augustin Cranach († 1595) or his widow, were liable to pay fees for Markt 23 from about 1582 to 1611.

Augustin Cranach had been married to Maria Selfisch since 1577. She came from the house at Markt 3, so she was a "neighbour's child". Augustin Cranach's widow and heirs were succeeded in Markt 23 first by Christoph Wüst (+ 1617), publisher and also a son-in-law of Samuel Selfisch, then around 1619 by Michael Bluhme (1595-1649), merchant, councillor, mayor and patron.

The value of the house, which still dominates the west side of the market square, was given as 1,000 gulden in 1528 on the occasion of the levying of a "Turkish tax", when it was owned by Gregor Brück, and as 2,100 gulden in 1542, after extension work had apparently taken place; at that time, too, armaments were being made against the Turks.

In 1638, a surviving quartering register does not give any information on the construction method, since Bluhme, as mayor, was spared from taking in soldiers. However, the structure at that time probably corresponded essentially to the present building, which was erected around 1560/70. The ground plan of the two upper floors is very regular and is obviously based on a basic mathematical scheme. This makes the house similar to the Melanchthon House (1536) and the Old Latin School (1564-65). Like the houses at Schlossstrasse 1 and Markt 3, Markt 23 also has a spiral stone attached to the courtyard.

Mittelstrasse 4

About the building

Polycarpus Kranach is listed in the Schoßbuch for the period 1713-74 as the owner of the house at Mittelstraße 4 (formerly Jüdenviertel 165). There we also read that he was a faculty clerk by profession, as employed at the university. The first name indicates that he was a "Cranach scion", as it is reminiscent of the famous theologian Polycarp Leyser, the son-in-law of Cranach the Younger, a resident of Schlossstraße 1.

The street side of the front part of the house at Mittelstraße 4 shows remnants of 16th century construction, including an extensive cellar. However, the interior of the building is characterised by the sophisticated staircase and the 18th century furnishing details, which could go back to Polycarp Cranach. Before Polycarp Cranach, the house belonged to Christian Gottlieb Ludewig, a bookseller who sat on the council and also acted as mayor. Paul Gottlieb Kettner reports in his history of the council, published in 1734, that Ludewig had distinguished himself as a collector of antiques and coins.

No statement is made about the building method in 1638. At that time, the property was owned by Michael Geyer, a bookbinder. Geyer or his heirs respectively paid the lap from about 1610 to at least 1644, before that Heinrich Blume (ca. 1580 to ca. 1610), who also worked as a bookbinder. At the time when Bartholomäus Vogel, and later his successors who were also active in the book trade, lived in the neighbouring house at Mittelstraße 5, people of this profession were also resident here.

Mittelstrasse 5

About the building

Christoph Cranach († 1596), a son of Lucas Cranach the Younger, married Veronica Vogel, a daughter of the book trade, in 1583, following the example of his brother Augustin. Veronica's father Bartholomäus Vogel (1504-69), together with Moritz Goltz and Christoph Schramm, had founded the Wittenberg book trade consortium in 1533, which was privileged with the exclusive distribution of the Luther Bible in 1534. Later, Vogel, together with Samuel Selfisch and Conrad Rühel, formed the Wittenberg Bible Consortium, whose monopoly was renewed in 1564. Barthel Vogel or his widow and later his son of the same name owned the house at Mittelstraße 5 (formerly Elsterviertel 1) until at least 1592. As late as 1598 it was still taxed by Christoph Cranach or his widow, whose successors were first the publisher and bookseller Andres Hoffmann, then the bookseller and publisher Zacharias Schürer.

In 1528, the house had been owned by the garment tailor Valten Eberhard, who estimated its value at 1,300 gulden. Barthel Vogel gave a value of 1,800 gulden in 1542.

In 1638 the house belonged to Dr. Thomas Tobias Mevius, husband of Catharina Wüst, a granddaughter of Samuel Selfisch, who had a doctorate in law. Mevius, who ran a publishing house in addition to his activities as a lawyer, among other things as a court court advocate, was not subject to the obligation to take up quarters as a university member, so that nothing has survived about the building at that time in the list of quarters drawn up at the time. Today, however, the front building still has window panelling and cell arches from the 16th century, and remnants of polychrome painting have survived on one of the side buildings, which is why the property at Mittelstraße 1 can be described as one of the outstanding testimonies to the economic success of the Wittenberg book trade in the Reformation century.

Neustrasse 8

About the building

From 1521 Cranach the Elder was also the owner of the house at Neustrasse 8 (Jüdenviertel 146). This was a new building on a plot of land that had first been assessed with 16 groschen Schoß per year in 1521.

In 1528, Cranach's list of assets put the value of the "kleyne hauss in der Newen gassen" at 200 fl. He probably acquired or built this house as a financial investment and for rent. In 1540, he sold it to the town pastor Johannes Bugenhagen, whose family remained resident there until the end of the century. Magister Johann Pommer, the son of the town pastor, paid 30 groschen instead of 16 groschen a year for the property from 1561 onwards, which is probably connected with the brewing right that the Wittenberg council had granted the town pastor on an honorary basis shortly before his death. From 1595, first Hans Schmidt, then Magister Georg Müller paid the lap of 30 groschen, followed by Hans Richter's widow and Job Wilhelm Fintzelius. Schmidt, Müller, Richter and Fintzelius were book printers, Fintzelius also a councillor and for a time mayor. In the course of the 16th century, Neustraße developed into an area favoured by university members and book printers.

In 1638, a large house with two side wings is described on this site, consisting of a stone ground floor and two half-timbered upper floors - "stone below, wood above" - with a total of ten rooms. The house site, like the neighbouring ones, was built over with a hotel complex in the early 1990s, uniting the plots Jüdenviertel 143 to 150 into one property. Unfortunately, the buildings that had existed until then or their relics were not documented at that time.

Corner of Neustrasse / Mittelstrasse (undeveloped)

About the property

At about the same time as the house at Neustrasse 8, according to the treasury account for 1521, Cranach also took possession of the nearby corner property at Neustrasse/Mittelstrasse, designated as Elsterviertel 12 in Goldmann's town plan. It is highly probable that the "windmill", perhaps a tower-like, detached house, stood here. An archaeological investigation in 2010 revealed, among other things, the remains of a Romanesque stone building that had been left over from the building, which was already historic in Cranach's time.

Cranach kept the property at least until 1542, and later Barthel Liberau and Nickel Moller, two of Wittenberg's leading bookbinders, lived there; so here too successors appear as the book trade, with whom the Cranachs may also have had other business relations. In the course of the archaeological investigation mentioned above, an unusually wide-span cellar barrel was also uncovered, the existence of which could suggest that the bookbinders, and before that, at the beginning of the 1520s, perhaps already Cranach, operated a workshop here which required large storage rooms.

The Turkish tax register from 1528 records a value of 600 gulden, in 1542 only 400 gulden are estimated for the "wyndtmolen". In 1638, the building, which had presumably been renovated in the meantime, consisted of a two-storey half-timbered house, for which 40 groschen Schoß had to be paid annually, as before.

Changes in the Neustrasse

Around 1520, the parcelling in the southern Neustrasse, the layout of the properties Elsterviertel 11 and 12 and Jüdenviertel 139 to 141 were changed, and the Neue Gasse, which until then had only been accessible from the north, was connected to the Mittelstrasse.

The road construction work began in 1518. The treasury account for 1520 contains evidence of a compensation payment for the house at Jüdenviertel 141. "The town council gave Phillip Tribitz 21 ß [60 gulden] for his house. Zur Newhennen gassen in die Fahrstraß kommen." Tribitz thus had to give up part of his property for the construction of the road, apparently the one on which his house stood.

This improved the passage and ventilation of this area of the town. In addition, new building plots could be designated, which were urgently needed. Accordingly, between 1520 and 1523, the newly developed house sites Jüdenviertel 131 to 140 were first occupied by Schoß.

The city pastor Johannes Bugenhagen moved to the property Jüdenviertel 133 (Neustraße 14, southern part) in 1523. Among the owners of the neighbouring properties in the tax lists are the councillors Caspar Teuschel (Jüdenviertel 137, since 1521) and Mathes Globigk (Jüdenviertel 135), who presumably bought these areas as "yield properties". The prime plot at the corner of Neustrasse and Mittelstrasse went, as described, to Cranach.

Pfaffengasse (undeveloped)

About the property

The lap register for 1552 shows that in that year Cranach the Younger paid 4 groschen for a house at Marktviertel 22, which until then had belonged to Gores Heiden or Heydehain. This was right next to the law college in Pfaffengasse, then still called Hinter der Mauer. As early as 1554 Paulus Eber paid the lap for this and the neighbouring house. Cranach probably acquired this property near the teaching building of the lawyers for rent or as a speculative object. Later, like two neighbouring houses, it was owned by the jurist Joachim von Beust, who taught at the Leucorea. The value of Cranach's house was put at 60 fl ten years before the purchase (1542). (> see also the official house in Pfaffengasse).

Schlossstrasse 1

About the building

Cranach the Elder acquired the largest inner-city estate, which was also subject to the highest treasury payment of 2 shock groschen (120 groschen) annually, from the heirs of Martin Pollich of Mellerstadt in 1517. With the estate he also brought Pollich's pharmacy privilege into his possession, which was ultimately inherited by Caspar Pfreundt, who married Anna, Cranach's youngest daughter, in 1550. Martin Pollich, who died at the end of 1513, had been a professor of medicine and founding rector of the Leucorea, as well as personal physician to Elector Frederick. Pollich had taken up residence at the corner of Schlossstrasse and Elbstrasse in the year the Leucorea was founded (1502). Cranach first paid the land tax for the Coswiger Viertel 1 house in the summer of 1518, while the winter tax was paid by the "Apotecarius" in 1517. This refers to Petrus Culitz from Mittweida, also known as "Peter Apoteker", who had matriculated at the Leucorea in the summer of 1515. From 1518 he was resident in Marktviertel 9, today Markt 23, presumably as a tenant of the Brück family (> Markt 23). Cranach had employed Culitz as a pharmacist, as he would otherwise not have been entitled to run the pharmacy.

To finance the property at Schlossstrasse 1, Cranach sold his houses at Markt 5 and Markt 4. Markt 5 went to Valentin Mellerstadt, who entered into a barter transaction with it; in 1518 he is listed as the lap payer for Markt 5 in the treasury accounts. Market 4 was taken over by Ambrosius Reuter. As early as 1524, Valten Mellerstadt, the brother and heir of Martin Pollich von Mellerstadt, settled in the property now known as the "Hamlethaus" at Collegienstraße 12/13.

The Cranach family owned the property at Schlossstraße 1 until at least 1644: Cranach the Elder was followed by Cranach the Younger at the latest when he moved to Weimar, and after his death by his widow Magdalena née Schurff and after her death (1606) by his son-in-law Dr Polycarp Leyser. Leyser had married Elisabeth, the youngest daughter of Cranach the Younger from his second marriage, in 1580. He worked in Wittenberg from 1576 to 1587 and again from 1593 to 1594 as city pastor and general superintendent; later he held the office of court preacher in Dresden. Leyser's coat of arms shows two crescents; it decorates the gateway together with the Cranach serpent. As a (nominal) tenant of his mother-in-law, Leyser received a considerable "Miethgeld" (rent) from the Gemeiner Kasten, the general church treasury, in 1583, 1585, 1587 and 1593.

In the Turkish tax register of 1528, the value of the property at Schlossstraße 1 is put at 2,000 gulden: "vii c ß [700 Schock Groschen, i.e. 42,000 Groschen] ader ii m [2000] gulden, das grossi Hauß die Apotheka". This amount corresponded to the purchase price agreed in 1517/18, which Cranach paid off in instalments until 1527. The inventory described in the 1638 quartering register - a three-storey front building, two rear buildings, one side building, 20 heated rooms (Stuben), built in stone - probably corresponded essentially to what still exists today, although the front building was badly damaged by fire in the 18th century.

Like Markt 4, the property at Schlossstraße 1 was bought by the town of Wittenberg in the early 1990s and has since been renovated in several stages. The contracts concluded in 1517 and 1521/22 have been lost, so that the transaction between Cranach and Valentin Mellerstadt, which took place in 1517/18, can only be reconstructed with difficulty. Some later entries in the trade and court book are informative, to which Monika Lücke (Literature: Lucas Cranach und die Cranachhöfe, 1998) has already referred. On 9 November 1525, the goldsmith Christian Döring, who had been involved in the purchase of the "apothecken", mortgaged his house (Coswiger Viertel 9/ Schlossstraße 4), "zcwyschen Burckhardt Krinitz unnd er Georgen heusern gelegen", to Valten Mellerstadt. Döring had not fulfilled his obligations for the payment of 200 guilders due by 1524. A week later, on 16 November 1525, Mellerstadt and Cranach agreed that Cranach should pay his own outstanding purchase sum of 428 Rhenish florins in instalments. Only after the last payment was made did Mellerstadt want to hand over the Schlossstraße house definitively to Cranach.

Accordingly, it was recorded on 12 July 1527 that Cranach had now paid the purchase sum of 2,000 gulden - the value assessed in 1528 - in full and that the house was now entirely his property. Who used which of the houses at Schlossstraße 1, Markt 5 and MV 84 at what time between 1517 and 1527, and in what way, and whether Valentin Mellerstadt's house on the square now known as "Holzmarkt" was still under construction, cannot be deduced beyond doubt from these fragmentary records. It is possible that Cranach had signed over Markt 5 to him as security, without any practical consequences arising from this and without anyone having to move out. It is also interesting to note that Döring was involved in the acquisition of the Sch

Schlossstrasse 13/14

About the building

On the open space to the east of the outer castle (youth hostel) and to the west of the property at Schloßstraße 13, which is now used as a car park and passageway to the park, there was presumably a building until the partial destruction of the town in the Seven Years' War on 13 October 1760, for which Lucas III Cranach (1541-1612), son of Cranach the Younger from his first marriage, paid a total of 2ß 41gr 20d (161 groschen and 20 pfennigs) in taxes and other duties in 1611.

He was the successor to the widow of the Amtshauptmann Hans von Kemnitz, who had also owned a bathhouse and another house from 1563 onwards, both of which were also situated on this area belonging to the castle. In 1610 Lucas Cranach III took over the house at Coswiger Viertel 21 from the younger Hans von Kemnitz. From 1612 Abel Volck (1575-1622) paid the taxes; he had married Euphrosina (1585-1627), a daughter of Lucas III Cranach, in 1604. He then also owned the aforementioned house at Schlossstrasse 4, which had belonged to the goldsmith and Cranach's business partner Christiane Dörings two generations earlier (> Schlossstrasse 1).

The value of 200 guilders in the Turkish tax register of 1528 is no longer meaningful almost one hundred years later, as the building development may have been changed in the meantime. There is no information on this property in the register for 1542, nor in the quartering register for 1638, because the building served as an office or commandant's house at both times. What is interesting here is the neighbourhood, on the one hand the castle to the west, and on the other the property at Schlossstraße 13 (CV 20), where Andres Garei was resident. Lucas Cranach III had married an Anna Gareis in 1570, who may have been descended from the family that had lived in Markt 5 at the beginning of the 16th century.

Literature reference:

Insa Christiane Hennen, "Cranach 3 D": Houses of the Cranach family in Wittenberg and the image of the city, in: Das ernestinische Wittenberg: Spuren Cranachs in Schloss und Stadt, commissioned by the LEUCOREA Foundation and edited by Heiner Lück et al, (Wittenberg-Forschungen, vol. 3), Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag 2015, pp. 313-362. - Here also the older literature!

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