The History of the Monastery
Church of St. Georg, at Grauhof

The former Augustine Monastery as you see it today, will shortly be celebrating its third centenary. The present building was started in 1701 and later the Church of St. Georg was built between the years 1711 and 1714.

The plain dates say nothing about the history, so, in short: The monastery at Grauhof is considerably older. In mediaeval times Grauhof was the farm of the self-supporting Monastery of St. Georg which was situated at the top of "Sassenberg". This hill then became known as Georgenberg. The monastery was founded in 1205 by Emperor Konrad II and later donated to Bishop Kuno of Hildesheim by Henry V. This donation included the wood Al (Ohlhof and its surroundings). The impressive octagonal monastery building at the top of the hill to the north of Goslar was outside the town walls and during the time of the reformation was destroyed in the religious and political upheaval between the citizens of Goslar and Duke Henry the Younger. The Augustine Canons transferred the monastery to the supportive farm at Grauhof.

Religious uncertainty in the area was the reason why the question of the ownership and use of Grauhof remained an unsettled political affair for such a long time. It was not until the time of Provost Goerken (1690 - 1726) whose influence extended far beyond the boundaries of Grauhof, that this monastery became the now centre of religious belief and culture.

During the 36 years that Goerken was Provost of Grauhof, the rebuilding of the monastery was begun. After its completion, work started on the large abbey church. The provost who had an understanding and a devotion for art was able to attract Italian architects for this project: Francesco Mitta, Josefo Crotogino and his son Sebastiano - all three well-recognized architects in southern lower saxony at this time.

The Grauhof church is quite unique in northern Germany, there being no other church of the same architecture either before or since. The church and monastery buildings cover a considerable area. The church itself which is supported by two rows of three pillars leading to a raised sanctuary, is very impressive. The visitor is immediately struck by the unusual spaciousness.

Goeken’s successor, Provost Heinrich Eikendorff, completed the interior of the church. During this time the large organ was constructed by Christoph Treutmann d. Ä. From 1734 till 1737 Treutmann worked on the building of the organ making sure that it fitted in with the architecture as a whole. The organ in Grauhof is one of the great organs of the baroque period. It is the largest and at the same time the only authentic surviving example of Treutmann’s work and is one of the most beautiful organs in northern Germany.

After secularisation, the monastery was dissolved. Grauhof changed hands and became a part of the Kingdom of Hanover. In 1818 the monastery including the farm was delegated to the Allgemeinen Hannoverschen Klosterfonds. Today this is known as the Klosterkammer Hanover. It is responsible for the upkeep of the monastery buildings and the church. The Klosterkammer itself was considerably responsible for the restoration of the Treutmann-Organ with the generous donation of 1.2 million DM for this purpose.