Monday, May 10, 2010

Kongstedlund, Himmerland, North Jutland, Ålborg amt.

Kongstedlund, ab. 18 km south of Ålborg
Sønder Kongerslev sogn, Hellum herred, Ålborg amt.

Among the farms in Himmerland Kongstedlund belongs to the large manor-plans from the 16th century, but its history goes much further back in time. According to the legend it was founded by an old Danish pirate king, who lived at the farm and was buried in the hill Store Mogens, which is west of Sønder Kongerslev village. It is not known, if Kongstedlund was a pirate's castle, but the building place on the western border of Lille Vildmose is chosen from fortification reasons.

The farm was established by a chief or a large farmer outside the village community and was originally named Kongslevlund. It was first in the late 16th century that the name Kongstedlund arrived, contemporary to the real story of the farm. The information that it belonged to Viborg bishopric before the reformation comes from Arild Huitfeldt, but this cannot be true, since there were owners, which went back four generations to the first known owner, hr. Anders Jacobsen Bjørn, who in 1469 had a thing's witness that " it was (his maternal grandfather) hr. Anders Ovesen's (Bjørn) rightful inheritance after his mother Marie Oves." This Marie Oves was Anders Jacobsen's great-grandmother, married to hr. Ove Stigsen Hvide, and with him we are back in the 14th century. (Marie Oves means that she is Ove's wife.)

After Anders Jacobsen a couple of generations from the family Bjørn was still at Kongslevlund, thus is mentioned his son's son Henrik Bjørnsen Bjørn of Stenalt in 1538. He was killed in 1540 by the bailiff at Hald, the Holsteiner Heinrich Blome, whereafter his sister's sons Jens Kaas and the king's kansler Niels Kaas, and his half siblings, Christoffer (of Odden), Iver (of Tirsbæk) and Kirsten Lunge (Dyre) had parts of the farm. Kirsten Lunge was married to rigsråd Axel Juul of Willestrup ( + 1577). Axel Juul's son Niels Juul was of great importance for the development of the farm. He was born in 1557, stayed for a time at landgraf Vilhelm af Hessen and took part in the war in the Netherlands. After his stay abroad he came home in 1570 and took over his father's part of Kongslevlund. He worked with energy to gather the spread property on one hand, and in the years around 1590 he was the sole owner of Kongstedlund, which the farm was now called. He had difficulties in getting an accurate boundary between his own and the land of his neighbours, and it looks, as if he often took a strong line with it. The peasants of Gudumlund in Nørre Kongerslev complained that Niels Juul without further notice took their land in order to sow some" unusual seeds". He denied to acknowledge an old boundary between Kongstedlund and Smidie village, and not until after some long-winding lawsuits he was forced to give in.

Niels Juul was according to tradition despotic and self-willed, and his economic condition was considered very bad, but this is probably not true; in 1592 he built a new main building at Kongstedlund - and a large and magnificent building-work like this could only be built by a squire, who had considerable means. A few years later he was killed in a feud with Albret Skeel of Jungetgård at the Whitsun-market in Ålborg in 1600. It was obviously a duel between noblemen. The case was settled with that Skeel paid a fine of 2.000 daler to Niels Juul's heirs, and genuflectioned to them. In return the heirs issued a security letter (årfejdebrev) for him.

Niels Juul's widow Anne Thomesdatter Stygge took over the farm together with their son Axel Juul. Fru Anne was in 1608 allowed to "this once taxfree to drive 40 pieces of cattle, mares and horses through Ribe from her farm Kongstedlund to her farm Westerbeck south of Ribe." Axel Juul, who was married to Riborg Arenfeldt of Palsgård, owned beside his paternal farm also Bjørnsholm and Gunderupgård at Løgstør. Three years later he sold Kongstedlund to Iver Krabbe of Albæk, who was married to Niels Juul's brother's daughter Dorthe Juul. He was mostly known as a vasal at Mariager kloster. He bought in 1637 not only Kongstedlund, but also the neighbouring farm Randrup from Jakob Seefeld. The two farms had until 1772 with few interruptions joint owners. Iver Krabbe left a beautiful memorial at Kongstedlund in the door portal of sandstone, which he let build in 1640, a year before his death.

When the widow later married Erik Høg (Banner) of Bjørnholm at Djursland in 1649, this great estate-collector became the owner of Kongstedlund. The new owner, who lived at Bjørnholm, only considered the farm as a far away part of his large estate. Besides collecting estate he made himself especially noticed via his many marriages. He was married five times. With Dorthe Juul he had the son Iver Juul Høg, who at his death in 1673 inherited all the estate in Himmerland and at Djursland. He lived at Bjørnholm and was most interested in his estates at Djursland, and in order to realize his plans on his farms there Iver Høg sold in 1675 Kongstedlund and Randrup. The buyer was the earlier slotsskriver Peder Pedersen Brønsdorff, and this was the first time a civil man became the owner of Kongstedlund. Brønsdorff had via royal permission of 1686 confirmed the adelige frihed (nobility freedom) of his farm. He later bought more property as an addition to Kongstedlund.

After Brønsdorff's death in 1701 Kongstedlund was inherited by his three sons and his son-in-law Laurits Christensen Westerhof, who soon after out-bought his brothers-in-law and became the sole owner. He sold the farm already three years later to his brother-in-law Severin Brønsdorff for 14.000 rigsdaler. The new owner lived at Randrup. His wife Charlotte Amalie Wiegandt was a daughter of the wellknown Copenhagen storhandelsmand Gisbert Wiegandt Michelbecker, whose large riches probably was not without importance for buying the estate. In 1723 Severin Brønsdorff was enobled - and later he achieved the title kancelliråd. Kongstedlund might have been farmed out in his owner-time; around the midle of the century was a monsieur Houman lessee at Kongstedlund. Brønsdorff's economic situation worsened in his last years, and he had to take a big loan in Kongstedlund, 8.000 rigsdaler. In 1746 the cattle plague - which haunted the country in the middle of the 18th century - came to Kongstedlund. It is not known how big a part of the livestock at Kongstedlund was striken, but half the livestock in Hellum herred died in the time 1746 - May 1748.

Severin Brønsdorff died in 1748, and two years later his widow died. The only heir was their daughter Anne Kirstine, who was married to major Hans Georg von Deden, but when she died in 1750, Kongstedlund and Randrup was in 1751 put at auction and was taken over by major von Deden. He lived at Randrup and was mostly interested in this farm, and he had plans about selling Kongstedlund. He arranged an auction at Kongstedlund; the highest bid was 25. 500 rigsdaler, and he would not sell for this sum, so there was no hammer stroke. In his marriage to Anne Kirstine, von Deden had the son Severin Brønsdorff von Deden, who after his mother's death had his maternal inheritance placed in Kongstedlund and took over the farm in 1722, 22 years old, for 25. 500 rigsdaler, the same sum, which had been offered at the auction in 1769.

Kongstedlund had during the previous owners been inhabited by lessees or bailiffs, but now moved a master and mistres in 1772 into the farm. Brønsdorff von Deden was married to a daughter of amtsforvalter Christensen in Ålborg, and the 40 years he owned Kongstedlund, 1772-1812, is one of the most important periods in the history of the Danish agriculture. There is no safe information of, what the great agricultural reforms brought to Kongstedlund. The lord of Kongstedlund was the sole landowner of Sønder Kongerslev with 87 tønder hartkorn. Brønsdorff von Deden died in 1812 at Kongstedlund. The year before he had sold 64 tønder hartkorn, which was a part of the farm in Svanfolk village. It is possible that he in his last year had a foretaste of the economic difficulties, which his successor at Kongstedlund seriously felt later.

Brønsdorff's son-in-law Sigvard Altewelt Færch of Vivebrogård took over Kongstedlund after him. The big agriculture-crisis following the Napoleonic wars came in his time as owner, and he couldn't cope economically. He had to pawn large parts of the peasant-estate, which belonged to Kongstedlund, and when the debt became due leave the estate to the creditors. He transferred in 1825 all of Sønder Kongerslev to the heirs after herredsfoged Claus Nissen, who before his death had advanced Færch with 8.000 rigsbankdaler. The main farm was in a bad state at Færch's death in 1839. At an auction it was sold (without peasant-estate, livestock and movables) to Ole Michael Kjeldsen from Lerkenfeldt for ab. 28.000 rigsbankdaler.

Sønder Kongerslev church

The new owner, whose family is known from several Himmerland manors, was married to Johanne Henriette Ahnfeldt. Kjeldsen managed Kongstedlund cleverly in 60 year's of ownership and created himself a consolidated position as a landlord. He adopted his son Johan Henrik Ahnfeldt Kjeldsen as a co-owner in his last years. Shortly after his death the farm was taken over in the year 1900 by Kreditforeningen af jydske Landejendomsbesiddere for 86.000 kr, but was soon after sold to a partnership with members of the family Kjeldsen. A part of the farm was outparcelled for small-holders. The main farm went to Søren Chr. Nørgaard of Vesløsgård for 156.000 kr. In his time the farm building burnt down and was rebuilt in 1909. His brother Carl Nørgård owned Kongstedlund from 1912-1915, and then it was bought by løjtnant Christian Kjellerup for 275.000 kr. He sold the farm two years later to departementschef, later viceadmiral Hjalmar Rechnitzer, and after this it was sold to hofjægermester, kammerjunker Jørgen Carl Gustav Castenschiold, married to princess Dagmar, in 1922 for 331.000 kr. Godsejer Axel M. Horsens took over Kongstedlund in 1963.

The western wing, the main wing, stands from the main building Niels Juul let build at Kongstedlund. It has two storeys above vaulted cellars and is in red bricks with a high plinth of carved granite boulders. The windows are mostly in the original places, and their irregular placement shows that the building master wanted to follow the Gothic tradition, which let the windows follow the room divisions. The high slender building is finished with a steep tile roof. The facades were originally red, but are now white-washed; they are equipped with wall anchors with a shape like the Lily of the family Juul .

The castle yard was originally three-winged, since it has had a gate-building at the north side. In 1640 Iver Krabbe let made a magnificent sandstone portal in the yard by the main wing. The portal is carried by an Asian and an antique warrior and has the letters I.K.N (Iver Krabbe Nielsen) and D.J.( Dorthe Juul) and the four coat of arms: Krabbe, Ulfstand, Juul and Parsberg. The main building at Kongstedlund was in periods exposed to neglect and decay. Jørgen Castenschiold let soon after his taken over restore the building and modernize the inside. The next owner had to new-restore the main building in 1964 and partly renew and modernize the farm buildings. The park and the moat were also repaired.

Owner 1973-90: Jens Erik Horsens, 1990-94 Christian C. Juel-Brockdorff, 1994 - Arne Houmann Thomsen.

Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 11, 1966, Himmerland og Ommersyssel, Kongstedlund, af cand.mag. Jens Sølvsten.

photo Kongstedlund & Sønder Kongerslev 2003: grethe bachmann

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