Not only the local population, but especially visitors and guests always ask about the origin of the name. In the course of more than 1100 years, the age of the parish of Hellefeld, it can happen that certain "little things" are forgotten. Exactly this has happened with the origin of the name "Old Testament". Many experts and specialists have tried over the years to get to the bottom of this mystery. The most widespread are these two theories:
The term "Old Testament" originally means "Old Covenant" (Latin testamentum), and refers to the people of Israel, which at that time consisted of twelve tribes. The parish of Hellefeld, for its part, originally consisted of twelve villages (Hellefeld, Herblinghausen, Frenkhausen, Visbeck, Altenhellefeld, Linnepe, Meinkenbracht, Weninghausen, Westenfeld, Bainghausen, Schnellenhaus and Selschede) and is one of the original parishes of the Sauerland, so that this designation refers to the old age of the parish.
The vernacular likes to quote the statement of Friedrich Wilhelm Grimme in 1866 that there had already been a church here before the birth of Christ and that is why the name "Old Testament" came into being. In fact, this cannot be completely dismissed out of hand, because it was widespread at the time of the missionaries to build churches on the old Germanic cult sites, so that there may have already been some kind of "meeting place" there before a Christian church was built.
In the resort Altenhellefeld, situated in the middle of the "Old Testament" and mentioned for the first time in 1236, an extraordinary natural landscape awaits you with the Wacholderheide in addition to the well-preserved structure of the half-timbered houses in the village center. Since larger village fires in Altenhellefeld have not been proven since the Middle Ages and the original cadastre of 1829 mainly still mentions the farm names, which are already listed in 1484, the assumption is close that the present village structure has already existed since the beginning of the Middle Ages.