Imperial Abbey of Costello

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Imperial Abbey of Costello
Abadach impire de Costello
Vassal of Holy Levantine Empire

Coat of arms

Capital Costello
Government Imperial abbey
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Monastery founded 752
 •  Imperial immediacy confirmed 1196 1062
 •  Prince–Abbacy 1213
 •  Joined Fitzroyal Circle 1500
 •  Joined Holy League 1562
 •  Abbey property purchased by the City of Costello 1525
 •  Mediatised to Burdeboch 1927
 •  Divested of imperial status 1927
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Tarran
Warning: Value not specified for "continent"

The Imperial Abbey of Costello was an ecclesiastical state of the Holy Levantine Empire for centuries until it was annexed to the Duchy of Burdeboch in the course of the Northern Levantine Mediatization War in 1835. At the fall of the Holy Levantine Empire, the Imperial status was revoked and it was returned to its unaffiliated abbacy status, in 1927.


Residence and St Lawrence Church

Located within the former Duchy of Tarran, the Princely Abbey was the second largest ecclesiastical Imperial State of the Ultmarrian Fitzroyal Circle by area, after the Prince-Bishopric of Mallan.

The Imperial city of Costello itself formed an Imperial State in its own right and an enclave within the abbey's territory. The Imperial Abbey of Costello covered approximately 1,000 square kilometres (390 square miles) and included some 85 villages and hundreds of hamlets and farms, making it one of the largest Imperial abbeys in northern Levantia. At the time of its mediatization to Burdeboch in 1835, it had some 42,000 subjects.


The monastery at Costello dedicated to Virgin Mary and Gordianus and Epimachus was established around 752 under its first abbot Augustin.

Augustin, first abbot of Costello

The abbey had financial and political support from the ruling dynasty. It soon became one of the more prominent monasteries in Ultmar. It was rebuilt in 941 by the abbot Iulian after Gaelic raids.

Imperial Status

The status of Imperial immediacy was confirmed in 1062. The Costello abbots assumed the title of a Prince-abbot in the 12th century. In 1213 the king vested them with comital privileges in the abbey's territory and in 1218 also ceded the rights of a secular defensor-protector, confirmed by his son King in 1224.

Several attempts under their successors to regain the secular lordship ultimately failed. The abbey's development of an Imperial estate was accomplished with the bestowing of a single vote in the Imperial Diet in 1548.

By a privilege granted by King, the town of Costello had freed itself from the authority of the abbot and became a Free imperial city, starting a long rivalry. When during the Peasants' War in 1525 the Kempten Prince-abbot had to seek shelter within the city walls, he was forced to sell his last property rights in the Imperial City in the so-called “Great Purchase”, marking the start of a tense co-existence of two independent estates bearing the same name next to each other.

Great Confessional War

Abbey complex

More conflict arose after the Imperial city of Costello from 1527 onwards converted to Protestantism in direct opposition to the Catholic monastery. The citizens signed the 1529 Protestation at Speyer and the 1530 Augsburg Confession. In turn, Costello Abbey joined the Holy League in 1535. During the Great Confessional War, the monastery buildings were burnt to the ground by Roln troops in 1567.

From 1651, the Costello Prince-abbot Roman Giel of Gielsville commissioned a princely residence and the new abbey church St. Lorenz Basilica, one of the first major churches to be built after the war in Ultmar. Still in 1706, Costello was the center of a religious controversy, when the abbot confiscated a Reformed church, which provoked the king of Kuhlfros to confiscate all Benedictine properties until the church was returned.


Oilliam McPherson, Prince-Abbot of Costello (1760-1785)

In 1728, the Holy Levantine Emperor granted the monastery complex town privileges, however, an autonomous municipality was not established. In 1775 the abbey ordered the last witchcraft trial in the Holy Levantine Empire, when a woman was sentenced to death by decapitation, though the verdict was not enforced.

During the Northern Levantine Mediatization War the abbey's territory was occupied by Principality of Burgundie troops in 1832 and was formally dissolved in the subsequent mediatization and secularization. The abbey's territory, as well as the Imperial city of Costello, were annexed by the newly independent country of Burgundie, in 1837 both territories were merged into a single communal entity within the Duchy of Burdeboch.