Friday 20 September 2019


There’s a really intuitive and simple feature in the mobile version of Wikipedia that I think makes it a quite indispensable feature for its capacity to generate serendipity (a rather scarce commodity these days) that allows one to find articles about features nearby. Without this exploratory function, I would have dismissed the Poor Souls Chapel, a wayside sanctuary that is very abundant in this region along with Bildstock and other roadside monuments, as something fairly unremarkable. I found however that this tiny chapel along the country road that we pass regularly to have a very well maintained and well connected page associated with it, which chronicles the history of the area through one act of remembrance and penance.
During the August 1078 battle between Oberstreu and Mellrichstadt, Count Poppo of House Henneberg was severely wounded and later died, being delivered his fatal blow here, expiring in transit, or according to local lore, imploring his sons to honour his memory with a pilgrimage site in view of his beloved Lichtenberg that watched over Ostheim.  The conflict itself was a direct result of the Road to Canossa, around a year prior, which dashed Henry IV to be restored as to the throne after his excommunication, and strengthened the position of his challenger Prince Rudolf of Swabia and his supporters, precipitating the fight between neighbours, who happened to be opposite factions. The medieval wooden pietร  was stolen sometime in 1995 and later replaced, as was the earlier cross taken down and replaced with a sturdy one to better weather the elements. Be sure to check out the Wikipedia app and share what historical connections you find just under foot.