The District of Großvillars

In 1699, the Württemberg duke, Eberhard Ludwig from Ludwigsburg, decided to accept 3000 religious refugees from the French/Savoy Alps into his land.

Due to the 30-year war, his land was heavily devastated and unpopulated. People, who were displaced due to their religious beliefs, must have actually been really well suited to repopulating and cultivating a desert land.

In January 1700, the surveyor Johannes Stahl from Hohenhaslach was commissioned to measure the streets and building lots. The main street, which is Freudensteiner Straße today, was long and straight and, on one end, a shorter road, which is today's Heilbronner Straße led to one corner in a right angle from both sides. 13 houses, a church and a vicarage were planned. The Communaute [community] de Villars, as Großvillars was known then, was to become an independent community. The first houses were created from simple shacks, while the plots for the church and vicarage remained empty.

In 1703, 190 wooden houses, 16 houses that were still being built and 26 barns were destroyed in a fire. 119 people became homeless and the town had to be rebuilt again. Duke Eberhard Ludwig decreed that all houses must be made exclusively from stone. The necessary stones had to be procured by Derdingen and Knittlingen residents.

In 1720, there were already 46 solid houses, 26 barns and 18 wooden shacks.

In 1704, the Waldensian village was named. As the name Villars was already known and could even be pronounced by the Germans, the desire was to retain it.

The communaute de Villars became Großvillars and Kleinvillars.

From 1720, Germans settled increasingly in Großvillars. A ducal order meant that a barber, a wainwright and a blacksmith had to live in every place. However, these professions were not practiced by the Waldensians. The children of German families had to go to school in Knittlingen as in Großvillars itself, the lessons were only given in French.

In 1715, church services in Großvillars took place in a church shack before a first church was built in 1716 in a half-timbered building. 

Between 1748 and 1752, with help from the reformed church of England and the Netherlands, a new church was built from stone.

1821 - A school house, today's town hall, was built. This contained a schoolroom and a counselling room on the ground floor and a teacher's apartment on the first floor, which was used as such until 1965.


1852, 100 years after the edification of the church, the rectory was built.

1866, King Karl visited the land, in doing so he also came near to Großvillars. The provisional Schultes Combe reported to the king about the problems of the community, which although independent, had no money for community concerns as all taxes had to be paid to Derdingen and Knittlingen. He asked the king to dissolve the independence of the community and to allocate it in whole to either Derdingen or Knittlingen. The king approved the request but because neither Derdingen nor Knittlingen had any interest, Großvillars was split exactly on the district boundary. 2/3 of the town went to Knittlingen, the rest to Derdingen. Some of the homesteads were partly divided.

Only 107 years later, in 1973 during the district reform, could the entire community of Oberderdingen merge together.