Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Steensgård Manor and Svanninge church /Svannninge kirke, Sallinge herred, Svendborg amt.

7 km northwest of Fåborg

7 km nordvest for Fåborg

The first known family at Steensgård is the fynske (Funen) uradelsslægt (belongs to oldest nobility families in Denmark) Bjørn with a bear's paw in their coat of arms. The ancestor was Oluf Bjørnsen. In 1391 it is known that Albert Albertsen Eberstein of Rydhave (+ ab. 1405) pawned Steensgård etc. for his wife Elsebe Henningsdatter Podebusk's bridal tax, and in 1412 the væbner ( esquire) Claus Krummedige and hr. Bjørn Olufsen Bjørn (+ ab. 1433) pawned all rights in Steensgård and other estate at Funen.

Bjørn Olufsen Bjørn was a great-grandchild of the before mentioned Oluf Bjørnsen and a son of Oluf Bjørnsen Bjørn (+1381) who is mentioned among the rigsråder, who negotiated with Hansestæderne in Stralsund. Valdemar Atterdag installed him as an executor of his will and in 1377 he was a vasal at Gurre Castle.

The son Bjørn Olufsen Bjørn was the first of the family Bjørn to be the owner of Steensgård and he had an office of State which was just as important as his father's. In 1382 he was the best man for queen Margrethe I in a pawn business and in 1392 he acted on behalf of the queen in the agreement at Lindholm. He was also present at the coronation in Kalmar in 1397 and in 1402 he was a vasal at Næsbyhoved slot, and in 1409 at Vordingborg. In 1425 he was a judge in the feud between queen Philippa and the heirs after bishop Bo of Århus.

His second wife was Elsebe Kabel, in 1433 he arranged mass in Sankt Hans Kloster in Odense for the souls of queen Margrethe, his own and his family and gave estate in Lumby-Thorup. Shortly after he died and Steensgård came to his son Johan Bjørnsen Bjørn of Nielstrup who in 1433 sealed his fathers sjælegavebrev (deed of soul gift) - and besides he followed the family traditions of the family management. He was present in Stockholm when king Erik in 1435 confirmed the agreement in Halmstad and also present at the agreement in Vordingborg with grev Adolf. In 1449 he became rigsråd (councillor of State) and sealed in 1450 the Union between Denmark and Norway. In 1455 he sealed king Christiern's confirmation on hertug Adolf's vasalry letter. Besides he had several vasalries, among others he was a vasal at Skivehus - and his connection to his home showed when he in 1442 bought an estate in Odense.

He died latest in 1475, but already long before his death he had left Steensgård to his brother's son Anders Jachimsen Bjørn of Voergård and to Anders Jachimsen's brother Jep and sister Sofie, who later was married to Tielluf Reventlow of Gram. Anders Jachimsen's daughter Anne married Otte Emmiksen, who in 1494 bought Steensgård from Tielluf Reventlow's son Joakim.

The three-winged plan is from the 1500s. The building master was the knight Anders Emmiksen who owned Steensgård from the beginning of the 1500s til his death in 1566.The main building is placed upon a motte surrounded by water-filled moats on three sides. Around 1640 the manor was raised and from the same time origins the unique Baroque sandstone portal.

Anders Emmiksen's son had a violent death. He was named "The Evil Otte" by the peasants and was murdered in 1594 at Steensgård by a servant Hans Kok, named "kokken". Otte's third wife persuaded Hans Kok to murder her husband and promised him an award. While Otte was sleeping Hans Kok cleaved his head with an axe. Fru Dorte was brought to the women's prison in Copenhagen, and there is nothing known about her fate - but the murderer was sentenced to death and his body was cut up and broken on the wheel on Sallinge Herred's Thing. According to legend Ottes ghost is still wandering about at Steensgård leaving blood stains in the room where he was murdered.

From 1956 Steensgård was furnished as a herregårdspension (bed and breakfast) with an inspiration from the cosy English manor style. There is public access to the big park with forest lake and dramatic hills, animal park, docks and flower gardens, and there are still traces from the earlier Baroque garden with form cut beech hedges and a lime avenue.

Link: Steensgård herregårdspension

Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, Sydfyn, bd. 8 ; Trap Danmark, Svendborg amt;
Politikens bog om Danmarks slotte og herregårde; Jytte Ortmann: Slotte og herregårde i Danmark.
photo 2005: grethe bachmann

Svanninge kirke,
5 km north of FåborgThe church is an impressive yellow-washed building with a western tower, a longhouse and two cross wings. The tower is granite boulder and the oldest part of the church, it origins probably from the Romanesque period. In the late Middle Ages the church was changed into a longhouse. The material in the new sections was tile. In the late Gothic period the church had two additions, a chapel partly in boulder and a western tower. Today the church is strongly marked by a rebuild in 1837, among other things the tower was raised with a slender half-timbered spire and the church was yellow-washed.
The inventory was completely renewed in 1837. The middle part of the altarpiece is late Gothic from ab. 1475-1500, the rest is from 1837. A Romanesque granite font is placed at the church yard. In the wall of the tower is a bronze relief made by Thorvaldsen for the parish priest Hans Madsen, who during grevens fejde (civil war) told Johan Rantzau about the enemy's plans.

Source: Trap Danmark Svendborg amt.

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