Halfway between Haseluenne and Meppen lies the village of Lehrte in a place covered with the alluvial sands of the Hase river. The river has always shaped the history of the village.

Its unpredictable floodwaters, leading to fertile mud and full bow nets, attracted farmers, but it remained a constant threat for houses and harvests and interfered with traffic and development until adjustments were made in the middle of our century..

St. Laurenzius Church in Lehrte

Lehrte was first mentioned under the name "helerithi" in the tenth century as one of the counties belonging to the Bokeloh parish. The reason for this documentation is the inauguration of a church in Bokeloh through bishop Dodo of Osnabrueck (as the year of the inauguration is not mentioned and it is not clear if Dodo I. 919-936 or Dodo II. 978-996 performed it, an exact date cannot be determined).  According to Hermann Abels "helerithi" can be translated as "slope with elders" or "hill with meadows". A cave, located north of the Doergener Moor, where reindeer hunters used to live around 10,000 BC, is proven to be the oldest human settlement. Further prehistoric findings, now in the museum of local history in Haseluenne, support the evidence of settlers from the Stone Age in the area of Lehrte. Excavations at the "Hexenberg" hill, north of the village centre, suggest (according to Dr. E. Schlicht) that a fisherman and his family lived there in the second and third century after Christ. Initially only small settlements developed due to the lack of areas that were not affected by floodwaters. Ernst Giese describes communities consisting of a very small number of farms as typical. For centuries the farmers lived on produce from their pastures. According to Stephan von Duethe, 92 cows and 140 sheep were stolen in Lehrte during the Tecklenburger Feud in 1365.


Early historical documents on Lehrte suggest a medieval feud and interest system. Ancient descriptions like "Taei" (a country where farmers had to contribute 10% of their harvest), "Taeischuere" (a barn where these contributions were stored) and "Taeigerts" (person collecting the contributions) provide evidence for the system of contributions in Lehrte. The local feud registers reveal that the bishop of Osnabrueck and the knights Swartewold (Haseluenne) and von dem Bele (near Herzlake) received these contributions in the fourteenth century. Their successor in 1403 was Johann von Langen, also known as "Kreyenribbe", who was the owner of the castle of Kreyenborg. At the turn of the fifteenth century, castle Kreyenborg was built two kilometres northwest of the village centre where the river Hase makes a bend. It became important for the entire region. The lords of the castle von Langen, whose coat of arms contained scissors for sheep, belonged to the wealthiest, most influential and feared noblemen in the Hase- and Ems-area as early as the fifteenth century. Up to 50 peasants and tithing 20 farmers had to render duties and services to the lords of Kreyenborg. Two bishops from Osnabrueck had to promise during their election campaign, to protect citizens from these quarrelsome noblemen. There were also legal fights with the city of Meppen about the estate of Corvey, which von Langens acquired in 1392. Rolf von Langen supposedly lived on the estate "Westerholtsche Burgmannshof" in Haseluenne as early as in the fifteenth century. In 1816 and 1836 the estates were auctioned to 12 farm labourers in equal shares. Nowadays some local names still reflect their former dependency on Kreyenborg. "Schreiner", "Schomaker", "Backsen", "Schuetten" and "Holtgers" were once carpenters, shoemakers, coachmen, bakers, shooters and woodworkers in their service. Names for meadows like "Langen Esk" and "Scheffers Esk" still remind us of the lords of the castle. There is only one relic left from the moat that once surrounded the largest castle in the Ems-area (according to Geppert). It formed a rectangle of 180 metres by 200 metres and was rounded off on the west side.


Like Kreyenborg, another noble residence of the family von Langen, which was located in the village centre, has vanished. Claus von Langen of Haseluenne, a son of Engelberts and Catharines (nee von Clae) of Westkreyenborg, founded the estate at a run-down place in the middle of the sixteenth century. "Residence Lehrte" had to pay 10% of their earnings to Lehrte and 5% to Small Stavern. Family von Marels acquired the estate at the turn to the eighteenth century and still owned it in 1771. In1802 Heinrich Jansen, Franz Schleper, Herm. Grote and Jan Bernd Hillen bought parts of the property. The inheritance of Residence Lehrte was split among the following persons in 1885: Hermann Thalken, Bernhard Thole, Bernhard Steinkamp, Bernhard H. Winkler, Bernhard Barenkamp, Joseph Schulte, Gerhard H. Gerdes, Ww. El. Bruemmer, Joh. Heinrich Droste and Heinrich Joseph Schleper. A sculpture made of sandstone on the west side of the Schulte farm (in the street Laurentiusstrasse) is the only evidence of the former estate. Furthermore, a cross made of stone from the eighteenth century indicates the place where Lehrte's cultural centre (a chapel with a school attached) was located in 1893. In 1892 a half-timbered chapel combined with a school, located 200 metres south of this place on the so-called Chapel Hill, was closed down. As early as 1703 the local priest of B. had celebrated  services there on the main religious feast days of the church year. He financed these by using chapel funds from Kotten Schomaker and contributions he received from a field owned by the miller from Lehrte. A chapel was first mentioned in Lehrte in 1603. A converted, former Calvinistic sexton, taught there. For many centuries the people from Lehrte had to walk 5 kilometres through the impassable Hase valley and cross the river by ferry in Bokeloh in order to get to church. Only in 1924 Lehrte, together with Bueckelte, gained independence from Bokeloh and got its own priest. Since 1969 both villages have formed a congregation that is independent from Bokeloh.

However, because of the current shortage of priests the priest of Haseluenne leads both congregations. In 1770 sons of farmers who had been educated by the church and knew how to read and write started teaching in the school on Chapel Hill. When the new schoolhouse was built in 1893, the state took over the school administration from the church. Today, children from Lehrte and Bueckelte attend primary school in a building with 4 classes that was constructed in 1957 and then continue their education in Haseluenne. Since 1973 preschool children attend a nursery school in the village. Until some years after the end of the Second World War the mill in Lehrte was very famous in the entire region. It not only served Lehrte but also Bueckelte, Haverbeck, Klosterholte, Helte and Huden for many centuries with flour, bran and brown bread. The refiner and two ovens still exist on the estate of the last miller Steinkamp. Here, on the highest point of the region (23 meters above sea level) a turnable windmill was located until 1927. A mill at the river Hase, which belonged to estate Kreyenborg, dates back to 1450. After the land distribution in 1885, Lehrte grew significantly. While the farms were located closely to each other in the village centre until then, the 437 hectares large Lehrter field was then developed and populated. Three quarters of this area was heathland and was used as sheep pastures. Wool and wool production became an important source of revenue. Increasing herds led to overgrazing and wind covered acres with drifting sand, therefore the government decided to protect farming by building dams and planting trees. Due to these additional efforts, many farmers handed the sandy fields over to their farm labourers extremely cheaply. The use of fertilizers, however, encouraged farmers to cultivate more and more nearby wasteland. Around 1930 the settlement Lehrter Field developed after hard work of the association for settlements of Lower Saxony.


lehrte2Restaurant Redeker

After the Second World War the farming community in Lehrte experienced major structural changes. Regulations, land consolidation, cultivation and resettlement allowed a mechanization of farming and many people became unemployed. Industrialisation in the region led to a significant change in the village. While almost all employees worked in the agricultural sector before the Second World War, the number of farmers declined afterwards. After the war the fields were cultivated by only 13 full-time farmers and 9 part-time assistants. More than 100 commuters earn their living outside the village. Since then 1 electrician, 1 carpenter, 1 clockmaker, 1 butcher, 1 provider of agricultural machines and 2 plumbers have settled down in Lehrte in addition to long existing traditional restaurants.

Population figures increased almost continuously:

1672:
67 inhabitants
1749:
148 inhabitants

1807:
232 inhabitants

1848:
254 inhabitants

1905:
237 inhabitants

1925:
253 inhabitants

1939:
317 inhabitants

1950:
370 inhabitants

1961:
460 inhabitants

1996:
573 inhabitants

   

Due to this population development the building site "Am Hasenoever" was founded in 1959 and grew in 1973 and 1982. In addition, the holiday resort "Bummert" developed in beautiful surroundings. Both residential areas consist of pretty houses with neat front gardens. The integration of the former farming community into the city of Haseluenne in 1974 was an important event; since then, Lehrte has a mayor. Currently Berthold Bange holds this position. More and more visitors are attracted by the good connection with the city and the numerous leisure facilities Lehrte offers. Two lovely guesthouses with restaurants, modern bowling alleys and numerous guestrooms offer accommodation and recreation. Nature lovers and anglers enjoy romantic places on the river Hase. Boats can be rented to discover the idyllic Hase valley on the water. Visitors can also benefit from bicycle lanes and hiking trails close to the river.
Traditional customs and village life are also worth seeing. Festivals like shooting matches, Harvest Festival and sport competitions reflect the traditions of the village community.

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