Franz von Waldeck
In the early 1530s, the city of Münster instituted reformation, but soon fell under the control of the radical Bernhard Rothmann. Franz von Waldeck took action against the city, including the confiscation of goods owned by city merchants. In February 1533, both sides came to an agreement and the hostilities ceased.
By early 1534, Anabaptists were in control, and Bishop Waldeck besieged the city. On Easter Sunday, 1534, Anabaptist leader Jan Matthys brought a band forth out of the city, and was defeated and killed. John of Leiden then installed himself as king of the city of New Jerusalem (Münster). With the help of a traitor from within, Bishop Waldeck's troops took the city back on 24 June 1535.
Franz was the son of Count Philip II of Waldeck-Eisenberg (1453–1524), who while being originally destined for the ministry, took a greater interest in his Family House's more worldly duties and thus became governor of the County of Ravensberg. His mother was the Countess Catherine von Solms-Lich (1467–1492), daughter of Count Kuno von Solms-Lich and Countess Walpurgis von Dhaun. Franz was the third and last son of six children from the marriage of Count Phillip and Countess Catherine. A year after Franz's birth, his mother died.
Franz von Waldeck was early on destined to fulfill his father's original ambition for a place in the aristocratic cathedral chapter. Because Chapter members were required to obtain a secular law degree, Franz began studying in Erfurt in 1506 and moved to Leipzig in 1510. Without having received sacred orders, he did receive numerous "Kanonikerpräbenden". Franz was among other things, a canon in Cologne, Trier, Mainz and Paderborn, as well as dean of St. Alexander's Foundation in Einbeck.
Franz von Waldeck's attitude towards the Reformation was ambiguous. In 1533, by treaty, he conceded full religious freedom to the city of Münster. When the Lutheran movement failed due to acts of radical Anabaptist sect, he reasserted control over the city with help from the Holy Roman Empire. Soon after the surrender Münster, which was re-Catholicised, Franz turned his influence to simply furthering the teachings of Luther. His reformation efforts in 1541 met with unified resistance in the Bishopric of Münster. In 1543 in Osnabrück, together with Lübeck Superintendent Herman Bonnus, Franz planned to introduce the Reformation. In Minden, where the Lutheran doctrine had been widely accepted even before he took office, Franz attempted in 1535 to reach out to the balance of the city beyond just the cathedral chapter. These efforts at aiding the Reformation were closely linked to his desire to have his relationship with Anna Polmann legalized and to have the three dioceses of Münster, Osnabrück, and Minden secularized, in order to create a secular territory for his heirs.
Marriage and issue
In Einbeck Franz met Anna Polmann (1505–1557), the daughter of local linen weaver, Barthold Polmann, with whom he lived from 1523/24 in a marriage-like relationship, having eight children with her; four sons and four daughters. Whether or not the couple entered into a proper marriage is unclear, however his children were well looked after and proved in any case that Franz von Waldeck was a caring father. His children were:
- Franz von Waldeck, Jr. (1524– ) who was a clergyman
- Barthold von Waldeck (1536– ) who also was a clergyman
- Phillipp von Waldeck (1538–1605) who was also a clergyman
- Elizabeth Catherina von Waldeck (1540–1579) who married Wernerus Crispinus (1535–1604)
- Johanna von Waldeck (1540–1572)
- Ermegard von Waldeck (1542– )
- Christoph von Waldeck (1543–1587) who married Agnes Pagenstecher (1545–1606)
- Katherina von Waldeck (1544–1597).
Francis of WaldeckBorn: 1491 on Sparrenberg Castle Died: 15 July 1553 in Wolbeck (a part of today's Münster)
|Catholic Church titles|
|Prince-Bishop of Minden
as Francis II
|Prince-Bishop of Münster
William of Ketteler
|Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück