Station 9

At the water gateTrade and craft in medieval & modern times

Information point:
- Historical path "Water Gate"; Eastern city gate "Water Gate

In the Middle Ages,
Schmallenberg was a town of craftsmen and merchants; at the same time, however, all the inhabitants were also engaged in agriculture and kept cattle. Bakers, tailors, shoemakers and wool weavers worked here, and there is evidence that there were already smithies in the town in 1273 and 1292. Outside the town mills were operated (since 1416 the fulling mill "Auf der Lake", in the east of the Lenne since the 11th century the monastery mill, the town mill further upstream as well as other mills). In 1560
the town council and mayor issued a "Kauf- und Wandhausordnung", according to which the town demanded a tax from the proceeds of converted textiles. Shortly before, the merchants had built their "Kauff- und Wandhaus" at the market. In 1625 the cloth makers and tailors gave themselves their own guild statutes.
Also in the 16th century, water-powered iron hammers were built on the river Lenne, which produced sickles, scythes, weapons, straw knives, hoes and scales. This production reached its peak at the beginning of the 19th century. Around 1800, Schmallenberg had 16 ironworks and hammers, making it the second largest ironworks in the Duchy of Westphalia after Olpe. In 1847, only 11 iron and metal works were still in operation due to the growing competition from the Sauerland region of Brandenburg, the high cost of raw materials and the emergence of new processing techniques.

The town developed into a centre for local market traffic, as holding a market was a municipal prerogative. The inhabitants of the surrounding villages were not allowed to trade or carry on any business. Originally there were seven annual fairs in Schmallenberg, later (1575) three. The craftsmen and merchants played an important role as suppliers for the long-distance trade of the medium-sized and large towns: Schmallenberg was a part of the Hanseatic League as a facing town.
For the 14th century a not inconsiderable long-distance trade can be proven in the Sauerland, which however decreased in the 15th century. The first sources of evidence of a likewise not insignificant migratory trade date from the 16th century. The goods with which the traders went on their travels were locally produced wood, iron and textile goods. While the neighbouring towns of Medebach and Hallenberg developed into farming towns, there was a continuity of trade in Schmallenberg and Winterberg. One reason is the comparatively poor agricultural conditions in this area. While itinerant trade had reached a considerable volume in the middle of the 18th century, it almost completely disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century.

Street "On the Wall", 1st half of the 20th century

Man on horseback in the street "On the Wall".

Catholic procession on Ascension Day from Wilzenberg

At the water gate with view to the Wilzenberg

In the picture view of Schmallenberg, the mill on the river Lenne and the path from the east gate are clearly visible

View from the street "Auf der Mauer" towards the church; in the background the memorial for the fallen of the 1st World War, before 1961