The oldest reference to Bentlage is contained in the register of Werden monastery on the River Ruhr in 890, although at that time it was known as “Binutloge”. 
The Bentlage Crosiers acquired the aforementioned farm, which was later known as “Niederbentlage” (Lower Bentlage) from the Bishop of Münster in the same year as the foundation of the monastery (1437). 
Together with the farm they acquired the right to produce salt in Bentlage and the fishing rights in the River Ems, thus securing the economic basis for the monastery. 


According to the charter, in 1437 Crosiers from Cologne and Wuppertal took over a small chapel with a cemetery and the house of the former rector. They also bought the neighbouring Niederbentlage farm with the accompanying cottages Salthuis and Sonderhuis in order to create sufficient space for the founding of a new monastery.

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In 989 King Otto III appointed a reeve for the monasteries of Borghorst and Meleten, Wichmann III from the Saxon high noble family of the younger Billungers. However, in 1016 Wichmann was murdered in the course of a political power struggle. His wife Reinmod, daughter of Count Gottfried of the Hattuariergau on the Lower Rhine, was seemingly very concerned about the well-being of her husband’s soul when, in 1022, she donated money and lands for seven independent churches, including Buntlagi (Bentlage).

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The territorial principality of Rheina-Wolbeck was recognized by virtue of the Final Recess of the Reichsdeputation of 25.2.1803. Duke Wilhelm Joseph von Looz-Corswarem became the territorial prince, thus being compensated for his lost possessions on the left bank of the Rhine. The principality extended over 90 km along the left bank of the Ems with a width of between 10 and 15 km, stretching roughly from Nienberge near Münster to ca. 20 km north of Lingen. Rheine became the capital of the principality and Duke Wilhelm Joseph chose the secularized monastery of Bentlage as his residence, but died just three months later.

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The Order of the Holy Cross, whose members are known as Crosiers, founded its third monastery in Westphalia in Bentlage in 1437. The Bishop of Münster transferred the Chapel of St. Gertrude with the accompanying rector’s house to the Order. The convent was limited to 8 ‘regulars’ or members.

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Following the dissolution of the territorial principality of Rheina-Wolbeck, Duke Josef Arnold von Looz-Corswarem was granted the former residence, the surrounding lands and other possessions.

Up until 1978 the aristocratic estate was in the possession of the following branches of the family:

  • 1803-1827 Looz-Corswarem
  • 1839-1912 Lannoy-Clervaux
  • 1931-1946 Looz-Corswarem
  • 1955-1978 Bogaerde-Terbrügge-Heeswijk
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