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A Cistercian abbey in the Diocese of Minden, formerly in Brunswick but now included in Hanover, was founded by Count Wilbrand von Hallermund in 1163. The first monks under Abbot Eccardus came from Volkenrode in Thuringia, through which house the foundation belongs to the Morimond line of descent from Cîteaux. An ancient writer describes Loccum as being "in loco horroris et vastæ solitudinis et prædonum et latronum commorationis"; and adds that, after suffering much from want and from the barbarity of their neighbours, the monks in time brought the land into cultivation, and the people to the fear of God. The history of the abbey presents nothing to call for special notice. It filled its place in the life of the Church in Brunswick until the tide of Lutheranism swept the Catholic religion from the country. The chief interest of Loccum lies in its buildings, which still exist in an almost perfect state, being now a Protestant seminary of higher studies. The group, which is considered inferior in beauty to Maulbronn and Bebenhausen alone amongst German abbeys, consists of a cruciform church about 218 feet long by 110 feet wide, built between 1240 and 1277, and restored with great care about sixty years ago; a quadrangular cloister of remarkable beauty; the ancient refectory, now used as a library ; the chapter-house, sacristy, dormitory, and lay-brothers' wing ( domus conversorum ), all practically in their original state. By an odd survival the title of abbot is given to the head of the present establishment, and the abbatial mitre, crosier, etc., are preserved, and apparently still used on occasion.
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