The Priory was founded between 1072 and 1076 by Lütold of Rümligen. He granted the property and estates to Cluny Abbey making it the first Cluniac house in the German-speaking world. Under Cuno of Siegburg and Ulrich of Zell the first cells were built. Construction of the Romanesque church lasted from about 1100 to about 1185, of which there still remain the north transept and parts of the crossing tower.
The priory was one of the most important monastic houses of Switzerland during the Middle Ages, but in the late medieval period decline set in, and in 1484 it was incorporated into the newly-built college of the Augustinian Canons of Bern Minster. By 1532, when much of the town was destroyed in a fire, the Priory was abandoned. The church was shut down in 1541 during the Reformation. The monastic buildings thereafter served as a source of building stone and partly as a barn.
Between 1938 and 1947 on an archaeological dig the old foundations were again laid bare, as may be seen in the little museum next to the rectory.
The ruins are generally open to the public, though they may be reserved for picnics or other gatherings. Each November an advent market is held in the ruins and over the years a variety of open air plays and concerts have been held here. Between Easter and September, church services are held monthly in the ruins.
- "Ruine des ehem. Cluniazenserpriorats". GSK: Kunstführer durch die Schweiz. Bern. Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte GSK. Retrieved October 30, 2012. (German)
- Rüeggisberg Parish Website (German) accessed 30 October 2012
- Flüeler (1982). Kulturführer Schweiz. Zurich, CH: Ex Libris Verlag AG. p. 307.
- Rüeggisberg official website (German) accessed 30 October 2012
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- Information on the priory on the Rüeggisberg town website (German)
- Information on the priory ruins on the Rüeggisberg Parish website (German)
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