The History of BUER

This is a short history of the parish and community of Buer. It is a rural hilly countryside south of the Wiehengebirge.

First settlements date back to the bronze and iron age. (ca. 700-500 BC ). Near the village of Wetter an ancient graveyard was found with barrows and urns.

Two thousand years ago Germanic tribes like the Cheruskians lived here. The Romans, in an attempt to expand their empire to the north, made several campaigns into this area. In 9 AD twenty miles northwest of Buer three Roman legions were defeated by Germanic warriors.

About 500 to 700 AD the Saxons spread around Northwest Germany (today Lower Saxony). The Saxons were farmers. The region around Melle was called "Graingau" (today Groenegau). The Buer area was mainly covered with woods and brush land and only sparsely populated.
The Saxons lived with their cattle in rectangular wooden houses, early examples of the Lower Saxon farmhouse still seen today. With their families they cleared the woods and settled in smallholdings or tiny hamlets. Most probably the following villages originate from that period: Buer, Loehlingdorf, Tittingdorf, Wehringdorf, Dueingdorf, Wetter, Sehlingdorf, and Meesdorf .
From 772 until after 800 the Christian Franks fought the heathen Saxon tribes. The Franks established churches in Osnabrueck and Melle and converted the unruly Saxons to Christianity. More woods were cleared to enlarge the farming communities. Eight new major farms were erected near Buer to control the rural population.
These were the Meyer Farms in Buer, Wetter, Tittingdorf, Bulsten, Barkhausen, Sehlingdorf, Hustaedte and Meesdorf.

The first church of Buer may have been a wooden one perhaps from about 1000 AD. A fortified stone church was said to be built in 1111.
The earliest records of Buer and its surrounding villages are from this time:
1000: Metdisdorphe ( Meesdorf )
1050: Thiedeningthorpe ( Tittingdorf )
1150: Liudolfinctorpe ( Loelingdorf )
12th C: Bulseten ( Bulsten )
12th C: Ecquardinctorpe ( Eggendorf )
1204: Dodinctorpe ( Dueingdorf )
1209: Bure ( Buer )
1215: Wettere ( Wetter )
1223: Werssholthusen ( Holzhausen )
1223: Selencthorpe ( Sehlingdorf )
1230: Eknen ( Eicken )
1240: Bareghusen ( Barkhausen )
1244: Weringtorpe ( Wehringdorf )

The earliest recorded farm was Plohr in Wetter (1216).

Buer was located at the eastern border of the Bishopric of Osnabrueck, adjacent to the Bishopric of Minden. In medieval times there were numerous boundary disputes.
This was also the time when the Buer farmers suffered from the feuds of the local landlords and knights. The farmers sought protection offered by the church or by the nobility. Two of the noble estates, Ostenwalde and Huntemuehlen, were situated at the edge of the Buer parish.
During the Middle Ages most farmers became dependent on their landlords. Only 10% of the Buer peasants remained free farmers.

A 1593 tax register shows a total number of 298 farmsteads in Buer and vicinity. The farms were categorized according to their status. The Vollerben (113) and Halberben (10), located in the village centers, were the oldest and biggest farms. Given the consent of their landlords they were inherited from generation to generation.
The Erbkoetter (92) und Markkoetter (83) arose later. These were smaller farms usually at the outskirts of the villages.

About 1550 the parish of Buer completely converted to the Lutheran faith.

In the 1600's the population grew rapidly. Many of them were from the new class of Heuerlinge (farm laborers). They had no land but rented a cottage from the owning farmers. The beginning of flax production in the Buer area provided extra income for the Heuerling families (spinning and weaving).

During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) the Buer area escaped from direct military action, but had to bear several armies marching through and camping.

Since 1671 a church book was kept in Buer. The complete marriage and death records were preserved, birth records only since 1711.

In the 18th century the commonly used meadows and woods (called "Mark") were increasingly depleted, which exhausted the natural resources of the Buer Mark. That is why in 1763 it was agreed to divide the Mark. Each farmer got his share of the surrounding woods.

1807 was the beginning of the French period in northern Germany. Buer became a „Mairie“ under the rule of the French government. Although this period ended in 1813 after Napoleons defeat, some liberal reforms remained.

The liberation of the farmers had to wait. In 1831 the Kingdom of Hanover enacted a redemption law. Now the farmers of Buer were able to buy their farms from the landowners.

Since 1820 (until 1973) the superintendent of the Lutheran church districts of Melle and Wittlage had his seat in Buer.

The old church had become dilapidated and too small. The old graveyard next to the church had already been removed in 1818. In 1852 the old place of worship was pulled down. The present St. Martini Church was completed in 1855. Its 220 feet tower called „sharp pencil“ became the symbol of Buer.

The 19th century saw a strong population growth. In 1842 the parish had 5800 inhabitants. About two-thirds were Heuerlinge and day laboureres with little income. From the 1840's to 1900 emigration became very popular in North West Germany. More than 4,000 people from the parish of Buer moved to America during this period.

The year 1866 marked the end of the Kingdom of Hanover. Buer was Prussian now; in 1871 Prussia became part of the German Empire.

Many young men from Buer died as soldiers in World War I and II. On the old cemetery of Buer a war memorial commemorates the dead.

Following a local government reform in 1972 the community of Buer became part of the Township Melle.

Buer is still rural today. It has no big industries and no major tourist attractions. That's why it stayed somewhat isolated and quiet. Perhaps it's better that way.