Origin and history of the
village Fischerhude

more about the village Fischerhude
detail of ancient map
The village was first mentioned documentarily
in a document of Pope Calixtus II in the year 1124.
That time, the place was called Widagheshude;
the name Fischerhude originated later.

Since the Late Bronze Age, people lived in the lowlands east to the city of Bremen; they were called Chauken and regarded as peaceable farmers.

Beginning 500 BC and in the course of the following centuries, the sea level rose, the climate cooled down, and the rainfall increased causing a rose of the level of ground water. This caused a futher split up of the Wuemme river and finally a turn of the low laying river plains in the lowlands into a permanent swampy flood area.
After years of increasing cold and damp weather and bad grain harvests, living and farming arrived a standstill even in the higher laying plains of the lowlands.
The Chauken left all the area and moved to hilly regions northwards.
The lowlands east to the city of Bremen became deserted.

Around 400 AD, the climate warmed up again and the sea level dropped too, turning part of the marshy river plains of the lowlands into dry and fertile land.
The former left land was resettled again by incoming Saxons from the North.
The incomers were living fine from stock farming and fishing and bartering;
they were called "Waldsati" people, because of the large oak forests in the region.
Noble Saxon woman, around 500Noble Saxon, around 500
They were free and proud farmers and they did everything to defend their freedom;
therefore, each free farmer was also a warrior.

They accepted no temporal and spiritual authorities, only in the event of war they elected a leader and called him "Herzog" and followed him.
They fought as cavalry with lance and battle-ax.

The tribe became insignificant in the year 796 AD, when the last battle against King Charlemagne was lost, and the surviving members of Waldsati families were forced to leave their farms for good.

Around 900 AD, there still was the large estuary delta of the Wuemme river, situated between the northeastern part of Bremen and Widagheshude.
The low lying areas were flooded frequently by the high tides of the North Sea and the backwaters of the Wuemme river. The other parts of the estuary delta were marshy and wooded in part, and were run through by many watercourses.

Transportation of all kinds between Bremen and Widagheshude could only be done on boats, and this was contracted by the bishop of Bremen to Widagheshude people only.

The landing stage in Widagheshude was located at a transitional point, where a main course of the Wuemme river was leaving the marsh and was close to dry land.
At this place, boats could reload cargo onto bullock carts for transportation to other regions like Otterstedt and the Zeven area.
Near the landing stage there also were customs officers to impose a road toll for the benefit of the monastery in Rastede on behalf of the archdiocese Cologne.

At that time, shipping to Widagheshude was a normal business, only limited by the daily tide of the North Sea.
When the high tide was coming in, the boats started sailing on the Wuemme river in the northeast of Bremen way up to Widagheshude, supported by the pushing sea waters of the high tide. At the beginning of the low tide, when the waters were streaming back into the North Sea, the boats started sailing back to Bremen, supported by the current of the water and in part pulled by Widagheshude people.

In addition to shipping, dairy and horse breeding, the farmers earned good money by fishing eels, which were smoked and usually sold to traders from Bremen.
The Wuemme water close to Widagheshude was sweet, but partial brackish in direction of Bremen. All watercourses were blessed with a real fortune of fish.

ancient farmhouseAfter a terrible sea flood cataclysm in all of north Germany, descendants of Dutch colonists from the marshlands around Bremen moved to this region.
They introduced a new model of half-timbered house, which could not collapse even during high inundations.

The great stability of this kind of house based on 4 big oak props on stone foundations; on top of it rested a wide overhanging and reed covered roof.
The sidewalls consisted of a wickerwork made of wooden branches, filled with a compound of straw and loam; the outsides were plastered with lime mortar.

ancient farmhouseDuring inundations, the sidewalls could be softened and washed out by the waters, but the house itself, its roof and loft remained undamaged and it became model for almost all farmhouses in this area.
People mostly stored the harvest and all vital things in the loft, and even slept there in a pinch. And there was no more fear of losing food and seed and home because of a sudden flood.

The frequent inundations caused a lot of misery; but during summer time they were a real blessing, for they fertilized the meadows. Even in the hot midsummer these meadows remained juicy green; rearing of cattle was very lucrative for the farmers.
Several productive hay harvests could be done within one year. The hay was stored in the loft or in separate barns and could be sold very profitable during winter time.

inside farmingPeople and animals lived in the same house at that time.
The open fire place in it was the central point of the family.
For cooking and heating black peat was taken from the surrounding bogs; and because chimneys and windows were still unknown, during winter the interior of the house was constantly filled with smoke. Fresh air could only get inside if the doors were opened.

The smoke caused many illnesses, but it also kept away vermin and prevented the supplies of meat, sausages, grain and seed from getting mouldy.

central cooking placeIn the evening, the farmer himself locked the main door and the extended family took their places next to the open fire place for a common supper.
Later on, in the flickering light of the cooking fire, women and girls were spinning wool and weaved materials, men knitted socks and pullovers, and they all sang in common.

At that time, most of the farms were still scattered along the main watercourses.
But increasing raids on these detached farms caused the inhabitants living closer together in a larger social community:
near to Widagheshude, on a sand dune and completely fenced off by courses of the Wuemme river, a new small village was established and named: Fischerhude,
Fischerhude coat of arms
and it became the most prosperous village of the region.

historic farm in Fischerhude
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in memoriam Dr. John Muller, Cisco TX
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more about the village Fischerhude