Abbot Conrad Zumbrunnen

The Abbey of St. Urban

The Abbey of St. Urban today. The original structure in which Conrad lived is long gone.
Roland Zumbuehl via Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-3.0

Life Sketch
Abbot Conrad Zumbrunnen (or Konrad) was born in the mid- to late-1200s, the son of Arnold Zumbrunnen. According to some sources he was from the town of Brunnen, although this may be a mistaken assumption based off his name.

He was a monk of the Cistercian Order, also known as the Bernardines. They were a branch of the better known Benedictine monks. They were also known as the White Monks for the distinctive pure white robes that they wore. They were a deeply traditional order that sought to closely follow a traditional monastic life of prayer, sleep, reading and manual labor.

Joining the priesthood was a common vocation for young men from secondary lines of prominent families, as it offered a prestigious and highly-respected life. Conrad Zumbrunnen belonged to the St. Urban Abbey, which still exists. It is outside the city of Lucerne. Abbeys could be very powerful institutions and indeed over the course of the 1300s, when Conrad was a monk, the abbey acquired vast landholdings in central Switzerland.

Conrad became the Abbot of St. Urban in 1349 and remained so until 1356, which was likely when he died. Although Conrad had no children of his own, it was prestigious for families to have a cousin in a position as prestigious as that of Abbot.

There is a Conrad memorialized on February 20 in the yearbook of the St. Andreas Church in Attinghausen. It’s possible that this refers to Abbot Conrad but could also be his distant cousin Conrad Zumbrunnen who was a Knight in the Order of St. Lazarus.

Vital Information

Name: Conrad Zumbrunnen
Sex: Male
Birth: Late-1200s
Residence: Brunnen or Altdorf
Offices: Abbot of the St. Urban Abbey, 1349-56
Death: Likely in 1356

Family Members

Father: Arnold Zumbrunnen
Mother: Unknown
Siblings: None known

Spouse: None
Children: None

Second cousins: Heinrich Zumbrunnen, Johann Zumbrunnen, Mechtilda Zumbrunnen (Püntener)


  • Conrad Zumbrunnen is mentioned in the Zumbrunnen entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland
  • German Wikipedia has a list of the abbots of St. Urban which includes Conrad.
  • Conrad Zumbrunnen entry at (free registration required). His birth year is estimated as 1263. Although it was common for people to become an Abbot very late in life, it’s unlikely that Conrad was born quite this early. The 1270 or 1280s are probably a better estimate, which would mean he became an abbot in his 60s or 70s (still quite old!).
  • The Necrology of the St. Andreas Church in Attinghausen memorialized a Conrad ze dem Brunnen on February 20. It’s possible, however, that this refers to his distant cousin Conrad Zumbrunnen and not this Conrad.

    1. […] closely linked culturally and politically. I know of two connections with the Zumbrunnen of Uri. Conrad Zumbrunnen was from the Zumbrunnen of Uri but became an Abbot of a monastery near Lucerne. In the 1400s, […]

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