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In the 14th century, the former royal court of Wormsalt became the imperial village of Wursulden. Like other villages in the area, Wursulden was closely linked with the city of Aachen and its authorities. This was already ensured through the common Carolingian past. But this is also ensured by an imperial document of Louis IV from 1336. In this document the citizens of Aachen are confirmed “that these villages, located within the banner mile of the city of Aachen, with all their accessories and their inhabitants, and that you and the city of Aachen are so to this day were, stick and stay unlined. "

And at the end of the document, Ludwig IV solemnly assures "If someone, whoever it may be, has received from us or our predecessors - under any forecourt or form - a document that contradicts the present one, (we) so revoke the same and exalting them completely. And that is about peace, honor and the advantage of the kingdom." Now, though, it is not entirely clear which kingdom Ludwig means in the last sentence of the deed, possibly the German one of which he is the ruler. But henceforth there is a new term in the history of the Aachen country, which from now on naturalize as a name for the city of Aachen and the imperial villages and finds its way into all documents; The Aachen Empire.

The municipalities belonging to the Aachen Empire in the bypass of the city were divided according to "quarters." Three of them Würselen, Haaren and Weiden lay to the right of the river Wurm and were considered the "Quartiere over Worm." Two others were on the left side of the river Wurm, Orsbach and Berg, now called Laurensberg. Later on there was a sixth quarter, the district of Vaals, whose name still reminds us of its affiliation with the Aachen Empire at that time: Vaalserquartier.

The Würselen district consisted of the villages of Elchenrath, Grevenberg, Morsbach, Scherberg, Schweilbach and Würselen itself, while Drisch, Haal, Oppen and Dobach belonged to the Weidener Quartier at that time.

Under the government sovereignty of the Aachen Council, the inhabitants of Würselen had thus become subjects of the Aachen Empire. From the beginning, we see the imperial farmers as people who had the same rights as the citizens of Aachen themselves-with one exception: They were denied full citizenship and thus also the opportunity to participate in the government of the Aachen Empire was denied.

Though they were not admitted to the government, they were admitted to contribute equally to the imperial coffers paying the tax wine, beer and flour tax weighed on them to the same extent as the citizens of Aachen, and the Aachen magistrate paid strict attention to the fact that not (tax-free) foreign beer or foreign liquor were drunk.

In addition, there were property and business taxes and - especially in times of war - numerous special taxes. For many lands and tithing ‘The Tenth’ (Der Zehnte) had to be paid to the churches and cloisters, the ‘Lehnspfennig’ to the lord was due, and once a year the Aachen Council demanded its "Maischatz". You can see, there was no shortage of opportunities to empty the pockets, even then.

If one adds the districts and the manifold hand and clamping services in times of war, one can understand that the farmers sometimes rebelled against renewed burdens and the Aachen magistrate had to send out his city soldiers in order to collect the taxes.

The first news about the war achievements of the Würselener Quarter for the Aachen Empire dates back to 1385. At that time, the ‘Raubritterburg Reifferscheid’ (a robber-knights castle) was besieged. And “Pauwele van Scherberch” was, according to old protocols “10 dage myt 4 perden" (10 days with 4 horses) on the side of the besiegers.

For centuries, Würselen made up most defensive men in the Aachen Empire. The weapons carriers of the Würselener Quarter formed a company, the so-called ‘Schützerei’ which stood under a captain. The “Sebastianus Schützenbruderschaft“ was formed from this company in 1624.

Though the burden of taxes and military service on the villages were quite considerable, the membership of the larger protection association of the Aachen Empire also brought great benefit to the imperial villages.

The magistrate of Aachen, as landlord, was not always able to protect the imperial villages against warlike raids and acts of violence by fire-treasure mercenaries. In many of such cases, however, the imperial villages received at least a redress for the damage applied by the district chief to the magistrate of Aachen.

Here it is now the time to introduce an official to the story whose name may sound a bit strange at first: The "Hunne". The Hunne who was at the head of every quarter originally was the head of a village hundred of soldiers or "Hunnschaft”, from which his name is derived.

In the quarters of that time, the Hunne provided the office that the mayor and/or the city director now holds. His powers were correspondingly great, and there was one crucial difference yet: The Hunne was not elected by the inhabitants of the quarters, but was appointed by the Aachen Magistrate, the actual governing body of the Aachen Empire.

In the individual villages of the quarter, the so-called “Dorfmeister” supports the Hunne. They were responsible for the local implementation of council laws and orders. These Dorfmeister were elected by the inhabitants of the villages themselves, as were the other church and municipal officials of the individual quarters. For these elections, which took place on Ash Wednesday, there were five electoral districts in the Würselen district.

They elected

  • the ‘churchmaster’ (Kirchenmeister) who managed not only the church, but also the municipal treasury and the poor assets,
  • the forest master (Fortmeister),
  • the field shooter (Feldschütze) who provided the police services and received a yarn of grain from each farmer on three morning of land, and finally,
  • the verger.

At that time, the verger was still called "Offermann" and was used as a court messenger at the same time. It was clear that all elected people need to be settled and respected. This was mandatory for a municipal office, a requirement that was strictly observed through all time.

Citizens' participation in the self-government of their quarters, however, was evident not only at the annual municipal election day, but especially at the court days, where community matters were also dealt with. This is especially true for the ‘Synodal’ or ‘Send’ Court, which originally was responsible only for the jurisprudence in matters of faith and custom. The chairman of the Send Court has always been the local priest. He was assisted by volunteer jurymen, who were elected in Würselen for a term of seven years.

As the Send Courts become stronger, their chairmen and the jury are increasingly intervening in the local authority. Particularly important congregations were negotiated in specially convened public assemblies, the so-called "Kirchenständen".

Sometimes, however, the discussion of worldly affairs in the Kirchenständen went too far for the clergy - when the religious duties threatened to suffer. Thus, in 1613, the Würselen-based Rev. Bont complains bitterly that the participants in the Kirchenständen “sometimes remain seated at the Drunk dealing with worldly business during the Holy Mass, which was really annoying."

The interference of the Send Courts in the administration de quarters had to sooner or later arouse the displeasure of the Aachen Magistrate. Especially in the "over Worm" quarters, whose relative independence was favored by membership of the diocese of Cologne. The administration threatened to slip more and more from the hands of the Magistrate and its Hunne and to move on to the jury, chosen by the citizens.

The Aachen Magistrate followed this development with extreme discomfort. The Magistrate had repeatedly tried in the past to extend its authority to influence the self-administration and even the possessions of the quarters. Especially with regard to their property rights on the valuable forest areas, the quarters had to be always on their guard against the expansionary aspirations of the Aachen Magistrate.

With respect to ownership, there were often difficult legal disputes between Aachen and Würselen, which were carried to the ‘Reichskammergericht’ (the highest court at that time). But it was not only by legal means that the conflicting parties came together. The disputes sometimes hot rough and turned to violence.

In 1527, for example, an Aachen councilor was slain in Dobach. In 1664, three Aachen city soldiers wanted to single out the Würselen-born citizen Johannes Becker from the middle of a procession. For what reason, is not known. What is known is the nasty end of this action: The Aachen city soldiers were hardly beaten by the boasted processional participants and had to return, their mission unaccomplished.

When the disputes between the Council and the imperial villages reached a climax once again in 1681, it was enough for the peasants in the "over Worm" quarters. In agreement, Würselen, Weiden and Haaren tried to break away from the Aachen Empire and thus from the dependence on Aachen and to become subjects of the Duke of Jülich. The Jülicher of all people! As if in Aachen you hadn't already had enough trouble with the power-hungry gentlemen from Jülich! In this case, however, the Duke of Jülich's political cleverness prevailed over his ambition. Under the current political circumstances, it seems too daring to accept the offer of the breakaway quarters. For it was predictable that neither the Aachen Magistrate nor the Emperor would accept this territorial change unchallenged. Würselen thus belonged, just like Haaren and Weiden, to the Aachen Empire. There was no other choice.

The influence of the Send Court, however, on the management of the quarters became stronger and stronger. They are the actual municipal administrative body in the 17th century, and they were smart enough to find the support of the district leaders, who are now no longer called ‘Hunne’ but captains. Also the ‘Dorfmeister’, the ‘Kirchenmeister’, the ‘Feldschütze’ and the ‘Forstmeister’ operate their orders.

Of course, the Aachen Magistrate cannot stand idly by with this development. It catches up with a blow against the Send Court, firstly restricts their jurisdiction as an organ of public self-government and finally repeals the Send Courts in the quarters altogether in 1758, ordering the imperial subjects to deal only with the "alone Privileged "Aachen Magistrate.

This command finds sharp rejection in Würselen. The chairman of the Würselener Send Court answers the Magistrate by saying that he will impose the maximum allowable punishment on anyone rebels against Würselen’s Send Court and go to Aachen Send Court. The maximum allowable sentence was the loss of community affiliation with all its consequences for the person concerned. Even in previous centuries, the Würselen-based Send Court had always reacted very sensitively if one wanted to deprive it of its prerogatives and its independence and if Würselen residents were to be summoned before another Court.

In 1479, there was even the threatening instruction saying to catch any messenger who would come up with a letter of charge before a foreign Send Court or even with the threat of ecclesiastical punishments. This messenger " should eat the letter, and one should make a pit and put the man in and throw soil at him until he is dead.

In the constant tug of war, the inhabitants of Würselen kept the upper hand again and again. In the end, the Würselen Send Court was even confirmed as lawful by the Cologne Curia. The Send Court under the chairmanship of the pastor with its seven jurymen, could continue to meet in the church-"under der Kronen" -under the chandelier of the church, speak law and, as bitterly this would be for the Aachen Magistrate, strengthen the common self-government of the quarter. But as great as the independence of individual quarters became over the years, the Aachen Empire with the city of Aachen and the surrounding imperial villages remained untouched under the supremacy of the Aachen Council as a political entity.

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