Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Heinrich Spiegel zum Desenberg
  • Creator:
  • Description: Heinrich Spiegel zum Desenberg was the bishop of Paderborn, a city in northwest Germany, from 1361 until his death in 1380. Born to a prominent noble family, Heinrich began his clerical career as a monk in the Benedictine abbey at Corvey, where he was elected abbot in 1359. In early 1361, with the resignation of Balduin von Steinfurt as bishop of Paderborn, Pope Innocent VI appointed Heinrich as his successor. Over the course of his nineteen-year tenure, Heinrich shifted the focus of the bishop’s office from the divine to the secular. In 1370, he transferred his spiritual duties to a suffragan, or subordinate bishop, so that he could concentrate on his temporal rule; this was a common practice among late medieval bishops. That same year, he was appointed marshal of Westphalia, a position that involved protecting the interests of the archbishop of Cologne, who happened to be a relative of his, through Heinrich Spiegel zum Desenberg Date of Death: 1380 Location: Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Cathedral of Saint Mary, Saint Liborius and Saint Kilian 3300 political and military means. Consequently, Heinrich was able to expand his authority and territory. He held that position until 1377. Bishop Heinrich’s brass monument stands in the nave of the Paderborn Cathedral. His effigy is dressed in full bishop’s regalia, and the richness of his vestments suggests an emphasis on his authority rather than his spirituality. In one hand he holds a crosier, a symbol of the bishop’s role as shepherd of the flock, and in the other, a book, presumably the Bible. Under his feet are a lion and, interestingly, a knight, perhaps signifying the knight’s warring or political persona, reinforcing the inscription on the monument, a “friend of peace.”
  • Source: Haverford College donated by David and Maxine Cook
  • Rights: Permission of Haverford College
  • Subject (See Also): Brass Rubbings Tomb Effigies
  • Geographic Area: Germany
  • Century: 14
  • Date: 1380
  • Related Work:
  • Current Location: Haverford College [brass rubbing]
  • Original Location: Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Cathedral of Saint Mary, Saint Liborius and Saint Kilian [tomb monument]
  • Artistic Type (Category): Brass rubbing
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Heelball; Paper
  • Donor:
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 60.96cm/182.88cm/
  • Inscription: Mille quadringentis bis denis inde retentis
    filius invicti moritur festo Benedicti Praesul is Henricus procerum flos pacis amator
    Singula vir prudens iusto moderamine gessit
    Salvus dum vixit hanc ecclesiam bene rexit cum triplici Speculo proh iacet in tumulo.
    ([From] one thousand four hundred less twice ten and preserved thenceforth, the son of the unconquered died on the feast of Benedict. This bishop Henry, flower of nobles, lover of peace, a man singularly prudent, exercised just government. Sound when he lived, he ruled this church well with a triple looking glass. Alas he lies in the tomb.)
    Latin inscription from the Monumental Brass Society website
  • Related Resources: "Heinrich Spiegel," Monumental Brass Society website. Accessed 2016;
    Norris, M. W. “The Schools of Brasses in Germany.” Journal of the British Archaeological Association 3rd series 19 (1956): 34-52.