Haraldskær Estate, Vejle, Denmark Genealogy

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Haraldskær Manor House

Haraldskær is a Danish estate headquartered in Skibet parish. It was a major land owner in Vejle county.

History[edit | edit source]

Haraldskær's history dates back to the time of Erik of Pomerania (1382-1459). In 1434 the farm belonged to Niels Friis, who was one of the earliest known members of this large, Danish noble family. He got Haraldskær through his wife, Ellen Moltke, and their son, Anders Friis, inherited the estate from them. Anders Friis' second wife, Bodil Steenfeld, became a widow around 1507. She was reportedly a weary lady who lived another 36 years and possibly ran the estate until her death. Her only son, who owned Haraldskær immediately after her, was the famous Viborg bishop Jørgen Friis. He was involved in overthrowing Christian II (1481-1559) and was regularly in conflict with, among others, his subjects in the Viborg area and his own half-brother Niels Friis, often about property rights.

At the Reformation in 1536, the dioceses were abolished and Bishop Jørgen Friis was imprisoned. Between 1536 and 1538 he had to sit in the prison tower he himself had built in connection with the construction of the bishop's manor Ny Hald south of Viborg. Later, however, he again became councilor, as he had been before, just as he took over the estate.

His brother Iver Friis later got the estate, and after his death in 1557 another widow, Sophie Glob, lived for a time on Haraldskær. The farm then came to his son Albert Friis, and he became one of the farm's most famous owners. He was also a member of the Council of State and sheriff of the important Riberhus. He was very rich and improved Haraldskær in several ways. Through barter with the Crown, he thus increased the size of the estate, and in 1576 he also bought the rectory at Skibet church and laid the land from here under Haraldskær.

When he died in 1601, the surviving six daughters each inherited a share in the farm. The following period of 75 years came to stand in the sign of dissolution and confusion. The estate had been divided into several shares, which were often resold. The daughter Karen Friis was married to the indebted Truid Bryske, so they soon had to pass the farm on to other Friis daughters and their husbands. One of them was Frederik Munk Lange, who until then had been quite wealthy, but he got into financial trouble and ended up as ruined.

Haraldskær's change of ownership and division apparently drew a trail of financial ills. Nevertheless, Frederik Munk Lange kept the farm until his death, even though he had to get rid of several of his other farms. First the widow inherited, then the son and finally the daughters divided the estate between them. They had to live in poverty, but one of them, Anne Munk Lange, gradually bought out her sisters and collected more goods for the main farm. Before she died in 1677, she managed to sell the whole farm together for a paltry 3,500 rigsdaler.

The buyer was Conrad von der Brincken, and for the rather modest sum he received only limited attachments. In 1682 came the ordinance on complete estates. The ordinance required that estates had to have holdings equivalent to 200 barrels hartkorn a radius of 15 km in order to become a so-called complete manor with tax exemption for the demesne land itself. By Conrad von der Brincken's death in 1696, he had managed to gather so much land around Haraldskær that his son could inherit a complete manor.

After his son's death in 1730, however, the main farm and estate were put up for auction. Lieutenant Colonel Pierre d'Andischou bought Haraldskær and Skibet church. Again, however, things went financially badly, and when he died 20 years later, there were as many as seven mortgagees on the estate. The breeding farm was burnt down in 1747, and this may have contributed to the aggravation of the situation, but above all it was probably Pierre d'Andishous' futile attempt to exploit the place's hydropower that ruined him. He built various factories, which were to be operated on hydropower, including a rifle factory in 1741 and a gunpowder mill some years later. The restructuring ended up being costly.

Again Haraldskær had to go to auction, where the local proprietar Gehrdt Hansen de Lichtenberg purchased it. He already owned Kjeldkær and Engelsholm, and three years later in 1754 he transferred all three farms to his son-in-law Christen de Linde.

He moved the factory west to Rue Mark and thoroughly restored the Ship Church. In 1767 he then sold the farms to his brother-in-law, Hans Henrik de Lichtenberg, who in the same year received royal permission to split the estate and sell it. In this way, Haraldskær lost much of its land, and together with the ship's church and Jerlev parish's tithe, it again got a new owner, namely Major Ove Bernhardt Lüttichau.

Ove Bernhard Lüttichau did as Conrad von der Brincken did before him, and began to buy goods so that Haraldskær could once again become a complete and thus tax-free manor. It succeeded in 1774, and by 1791 as many as 350 acres of land had been cultivated. Again, however, some changes of ownership came one after the other and in 1806 Haraldskær was once again sold on with only 14 barrels of hart grain under him.

The new owner Johannes Ditlev Rahr ran Haraldskær in the old-fashioned way in many ways. He was ill-equipped to ward off the financially hard times that made life difficult for many in the early 1800s. An unfortunate business with the Vejle merchant Nikolaj Nyholm resulted in Johannes Ditlev Rahr having to put his properties up for sale in 1821. Nikolaj Nyholm himself then bought Haraldskær with an accompanying meager 6.5 barrels of hart grain. Eight years later, however, he made a good deal when he sold the farm on.

Grain prices began to rise again, and in 1842 Carl August Søltoft bought Haraldskær. He was from a solid farming family and did a lot for the estate, among other things by merging and de-watering the soil. He rebuilt the breeding farm and mill and filled the moats with earth. The last small remnant of the holdings he sold off, so the peasants became self-employed. He was also interested in something as different as willow planting and starlings. He put many different species of willow on his land from 1856 onwards, and since he was successful at it, he could sell quite large loads to basket makers. Ca. at the same time he hung 500 starling boxes up in the garden so that the birds could fight the old burrows. In the almost 30 years Carl August Søltoft owned Haraldskær, the farm rose to almost double the value.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Haraldskær again changed owners regularly. The manufacturer Christian Martin Hess from Vejle bought the farm in 1916 and restored and rebuilt several buildings. In 1941 and 1942, his son Christian E. Hess sold some land to a school and the expansion of the cemetery, respectively. He also further improved the soil by merging, draining and cultivating so that the harvest yield grew. The meadows were excavated and the forest tended.

The National Association of Housing Associations bought Haraldskær in 1972, renovated the buildings and turned the farm into a hotel and conference center. As of 2013, Haraldskær is part of the hotel chain Sinatur.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records from Hvolgård estate survive from 1721 until 1812. Facsimiles of the originals can be viewed on FamilySearch by clicking here. Erik Brejl has also abstracted these records and they can be accessed by clicking here.

Land Records[edit | edit source]

Copyhold deeds (fæsteprotokol) for Haraldskær estate survive from 1754 until 1856. These record each person who bound himself to a house or farm, give their place of birth, and their relationship to the previous tenant, if any. Facsimiles of the originals can be viewed on Arkivalieronline by clicking here and the index is available by clicking here. For more information on Danish land records click here.

Estate Owners[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of estate owners up until 1919. For privacy reasons, owner after this date have not been listed. Sometimes the name of an estate owner is given on a tax list rather than the name of the estate proper. When that happens use this list, to determine if is the estate being referred to.

-1434: The Moltke Family
1434-1448: Niels Friis
1448-1507: Anders Nielsen Friis
1507-: Bodil Christensdatter (Steenfeld) Friis
-: Jørgen Andersen Friis
-1557: Iver Andersen Friis
1557-: Sophie Friis, nee Glob
-1601: Albert friis
1601-1622: Truid Bryske
1622: Lisbeth Friis
1622-1634: Frederik Munk Lange
1634-1654: Sophie Munk (Friis) Lange
1654-1656: Vincents Bille
1654-1677: Anne Munk Lange
1654-1677: Daughters of Frederik Munk Lange
1656-: Manderup Abildgaard
1677-1696: Conrad von der Brincken
1696-1730: Godske von der Brincken
1730-1731: Boet efter Godske von der Brincken
1731-1751: Pierre d'Andischou
1751-1754: Gehrdt Hansen de Lichtenberg
1754-1767: Christen de Linde
1767-1768: Hans Henrik de Lichtenberg
1768-1781: Ove Bernhardt von Lüttichau
1781-1793: Henrik Schmidt
1793-1794: Birgitte Ravn first married Schmidt then married Lautrup
1794-1806: Severin Laurentius Lautrup
1806-1821: Johannes Ditlev Rahr
1821-1829: Nicolaj Nyholm
1829-1838: August Theodor Schütte
1838-1842: Danqvart Neergaard
1842-1871: Carl August Søltoft
1871-1872: Oluf Henrik Niels de Bang
1872- : Hjalmar de Bang
-1916: Oluf de Bang
1916-1929: Christian Martin Hess

Estate Properties[edit | edit source]

Because estates were private property they do not fit perfectly within any government jurisdiction such as a parish or county. The following is a table of places where Haraldskær estate owned at least some of the property. If your ancestor lived in one of these hamlets you may want to check and see if they belonged to Haraldskær estate.

County District Parish Village/Place Name
Vejle Jerlev Jerlev Jerlev
Nørvang Givskud Lerager
Hvejsel Hvejsel
Øster Nykirke Vonge
Tørrild Bredsten Bredstenlund, Kjærbølling, Ollerup, Ravning, Rodinghus, Sjøskov
Jelling Kidde, Knude, Vester Hornstrup
Kollerup Kollerup
Lindeballe Nørskov, Store Nørskov, Øster Åst
Nørup Mørup, Trollerup
Skibet Beskjærgaard, Grønland, Haraldskjær, Jennum, Kvakmølle, Mølle Knaberup, Nørre Vilstrup, Ruhe, Skibet