Rimbeck, in Diemeltal at the southern edge of the Egge mountain range, eight kilometres north-west of the town of Warburg, a little less than two kilometres from Scherfede – the two villages practically merge – celebrated its 1100-year anniversary in 1983. The village, with a population of 1500 in 1994, was already mentioned in the ninth Century in the old Corvey property register. Rimbechi, Rymbeke, Rimbeke were old terms and mean “drainage stream”. Old documents relate about two little watercourses which in earlier times flowed open through the village and ran together into the Diemel.
When the Zisterzienser monastery was founded in Hardehausen in 1140, the monks acquired extensive property in Rimbeck too. In 1438 a monastery village was built in Rimbeck. Bit by bit the whole property in Rimbeck belonged to Hardehausen monastery, which secured the village with ditches, hedges and fences and set up village rules for Rimbeck around 1450. This “village law of Rimbeck”, which according to Professor Hallermann, from Münster, was unique in Westphalia, laid down the rights and duties of the inhabitants in 29 paragraphs; they were controlled by a mayor and a town council; at the time an exemplary regulation of self-administration. Generally speaking old sets of village rules from the Wesphalian area are not known. It can be supposed that in villages of the middle ages, law was based on old customs, earlier court rulings and decisions of the town councils; also in later times there would have been agreements between the landlords and the inhabitants of the villages or the landlords and the monasteries declared the law unilaterally.
The village law of Rimbeck from 1501 – the first version from 1450 was mislaid – with its 29 paragraphs was something special. It was also a unilateral statute the monastery in Hardehausen gave to the village of Rimbeck. Rimbeck alone among the monastery villages Scherfede, Bonenburg and Norde had a set of village rules. It is not known if these village rules also applied analogously for tha?e other monastery villages. Indeed these villages did have a council – possibly at a later time – like Rimbeck according to number 7 of the village rules. It is also conceivable that the association of Warburg from the old town and the new town in the so-called “big letter” of 1436 was an example of providing a legal basis in village law also in Rimbeck. Scherfede was almost totally destroyed in 1436 whereas Rimbeck was apparently spared from the troubles of the time. Number 7 stipulated that besides the chairman of the parish council called mayor here, there were also three councillors who were elected every year with the mayor (see also the section: Warburg “Functions and significance of the council”).
In the village law the tasks and duties of the population are regulated in the same way as the rights of the judge and mayor. Also details were subject to regulation, e.g. observance of the cultivation borders in the case of tilled land, sale of the house or also cleaning of the water drainage ditches on particular days. Of course the payment of fees is also regulated and penalties are laid down in the event of a lapse on the part of the villager. The wording of a short paragraph in the standard German of the time follows:
“Item we dar wont, schall redeliken leven und neimant schall den andern schedigen mit worden edder werken, noch gewalt an enne stellen bi bescreven rechten.”