The Legend of the Knight of Boppard

Around the time of the crusades, it is said that a large group of knights left Boppard and the surrounding castles to travel to the holy city. Konrad Beier of Boppard, however, was tasked to stay behind and defend the city if necessary. Initially, the enjoyed the responsibility and looked after the citizens of the region as well as marrying Maria, a beautiful lady who was alone in her castle, just like him.

Alte Kurfürstliche Burg, Boppard
Alte Kurfürstliche Burg, Boppard – HOWI – Horsch, Willy, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

However, after a while his responsibilities started to grate on him. Whilst stories of riches and heroism were told about his friends in far away lands, he started to gamble and drink and neglected his young wife. Week after week she waited for him, but he did not turn up until she eventually wrote him a letter. His reply came swiftly and he told her that he was not made to live a married life but wanted to be free and without constraints. In fact, it would be better if she forgot all about him. Maria, reading his reply, got very angry and swore to take revenge for this lack of loyalty and honour.

The next day, when Konrad rode through the forest as he often did at this time, a young knight in full armour blocked the way. When Konrad came closer, the young knight threw a glove towards him and proclaimed that Konrad had neglected his wife and he was there to defend her honour. ‘One of us,’ he proclaimed,’ will die today!’. Both knights jumped from their horses and Konrad, not one to turn down a fight, drew his sword and advanced on the other. After only a few seconds though, he had already dealt a mortal blow and when he lifted his opponents helmet to look upon the knight he had killed, he recognised Maria, who had disguised herself. ‘I wanted to die from your hand’, she managed to say, before breathing her last. 

Konrad fell on his knees and prayed but to no avail. Maria had died and he had killed her. He ordered her body to be brought to his castle in Boppard and made plans for a new monastery to be build in her name: St. Marienburg. Then he saddled his horse and took up his weapons to journey to the holy land, where he fought and died. 

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