View to the meadow close to the village green in 50s of the last century where the pond once was. Left hand recognisable the old fire engine house with its tower fort the hoses. (in dialect: „s’Schbridzenhüüs“).
Although „village green settlements“ were characteristic types of settlements during the period of the German colonisation of the east in the middle ages, this does not apply to Datterode and the other villages of the Ringgau area (cf. „Landscape and settlement in the Ringgau area“). The village green was surrounded by lime trees – sometimes with a lime tree in the centre. On the village green under the lime tree court procedures of the sovereign took place. At some places there were stone tables at which jurisdiction for the inhabitants was announced or judgements were executed.
In „Hessischen Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte“ (Hessian Yearbook for Country History), Band 51, 20011, we can read of the village court places in the old county of Eschwege:
Man legete einen teppech ûf daz gras,
dâ vermûret und geleitet was
durch den schaten ein linde.
They laid a carpet on the grass,
Which was affixed and contained
By the shadow of a lime tree.
„These verse of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s in 1210 originated „Parzival“ poetry, Karl Frölich, whom we owe a lot about the essential knowledge of the village court places, starts his article about „lime trees on hessian village places“; these verse demonstrate that there were already contained lime trees at the beginning of the 13th century. Legal acts under the lime tree (sub tilia) are founded on documents in upper Hesse since the mid-13th century. But there are no such documents for the Werra River area and also not for the Ringgau. Anyhow the former county of Eschwege (lower Hesse) was chosen because village greens can be documented in nearly all villages with one or more village green lime trees. “
The ancient department of Eschwege included among other things the Court of Boyneburg, to which on the other hand Datterode belonged. „Originally the court had been at the Boyneburg castle itself, where there was a jail in 16th century. Gallows as symbol for an execution place are shown in the Mercator map of 1592 northwest of the Boyneburg close to the Netra Creek und east of the village of Netra.“ An area at the highway B 7, app. 1500 m direction to Röhrda, is still known today as „Gallowscant” and “Gallowscant Creek”. Whether there was really an execution place is not known.
The village green of Datterode which today is restored again and has history over centuries. The first hint was documeted in 1570 by telling about a house beneath the village green („um 1570 zu einem Haus under dem anger), 1636 you find documented a place in front of the school, named „the little village green („platz vor der schuelen, der kleine Anger genant); 1629 a house and a yard are discribed at the big village green (Haus und Hof beim grossen anger), 1717you find documented the word village green (Anger), 1787you find community village green (Gemeinde Anger); today at the same place an the Netra Creek, not at the church, 4 young lime trees contained in plain wall. 1844: Community village green (lime tree) … the only public place used for conventions of the community members to publish laws etc. and used as dance floor for the youth at common merriments (Der Gemeindeanger (Linde) … ist der einzige öffentliche Platz und dient zur Versammlung der Gemeindemitglieder bei Bekanntmachungen von Gesetzen etc. und als Tanzplatz für die Jugend bei allgemeinen Belustigungen.“).
If the germ cell of the village was around the church (cf. “History of Datterode”) there must have first been the „little village green“ as mentioned above in the near of the church. The “place in front of the school” is a hint because the old school house stood in front of the church (street called “Kirchrain” which means “Churchcant”) till they break it down (1978) and beneath that area there is still a half-rounded place noticeable.
The increasing settlement forced the people to settle more in the sole of the valley where you find today the village green („the big village green“). While the “little village green” lost his importance during the increasing settlement and a bigger place was necessary the „big village green“ could have been arranged. Thats how the cources can be interpreted.
The village green was nearly preserved in its old shape till the 60s of the last century. The surrounding blocks of stone were not in their original shape but the trees with the lime trees marked the area as the historic place. The blocks of stone in the direction to the Netra Creek were removed to bring crop wagons under the trees as a shelter when thunderstorms or heavy rain hit the village. And of course the place was used to store lumber which required a drive way on the place.