The Night Watchman of Quedlinburg


The profession of a night watchman had existed since the Dark Ages. Unfortunately, it is not mentioned in the documents of Quedlinburg, since when a night watchman had been doing his rounds. Probably the profession of a night watchman came from the profession of a tower watchman. The night watchmen had to take care of law and order, but also to avoid the outbreak of a fire. The night watchman was armed with halberd and not forgetting a lantern. And so the night watchmen of Quedlinburg appear like that still today. With the introduction of the church clock, it was also the job of the night watchmen of several towns to announce the time. This was done by the horn and in some cases by a suitable song, the “Call of the Hour”. No records have survived, how it used to be in Quedlinburg. There are also records that the night watchman of several towns also had announced the weather. It has not been common yet that the night watchman started singing on his rounds, the oldest songs date from the years around 1520.


There are still 6 night watchmen written down by name at the directory of Quedlinburg of the year 1800.


In 1719, as records indicate, there were only 2 night watchmen each responsible for the old part and 2 for the new part of town. 100 years later, about in 1800, the number of night watchmen had increased into 12 for the old part of town and 6 for the new part of town. One half of them were on duty by day generally, so that 6 night watchmen in the old part of town and 3 night watchmen in the new part of town were on duty nightly.

Finally the job of a night watchman in Quedlinburg was discontinued in 1886. Since that time there have not been any night watchmen, but at the end of the 20th century they reintroduced the night watchman for the pleasure of the many visitors and tourists of the town of Quedlinburg. All of the night watchmen are members of the “Gästeführerverein Quedlinburg e.V.” (Association of Guides Quedlinburg e.V.) This association has already been existing since 1985 and has got a big number of members, so that we are able to fulfil even the smallest and unusual wishes of our guests.