Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Lindenborg, Himmerland, North Jutland, Ålborg amt.

Lindenborg, ab. 15 km south of Ålborg
Blenstrup sogn, Hellum herred, Ålborg amt.

Lindenborg is the main residence in the earlier grevskab (county) Lindenborg. It is the largest estate in the northern Jutland and is situated in the broad valley, where Lindenborg å (river) runs towards Limfjorden, just south of the bridge, which leads the road Ålborg-Hadsund across the river. The castle is surrounded by moats and sheltered by old trees and a thick planting against the windy weathers of Himmerland.

Lindenborg river now runs surrounded by broad meadow areas, but originally was an arm of the sea or a fjord stretching into the land. Still in the 18th century was the river much broader. Upon the narrowest part of the valley, where the road crosses the river, was ferry traffic between Ålborg and eastern Himmerland until the middle of the 18th century.

The first evidence about a farm here by the ferry place in the valley origins from 1367. The name of the farm was Næsholm and the owner was Niels Kirt. It was placed in Næs parish, which existed for a long time together with Blenstrup parish - and as it happened in many other places the large farm swallowed the whole town and became a manor. It was possibly a man of the family Kirt, who in the 14th century built a fortificated farm on an islet in or by the river. In 1376 Niels Kirt conveyed Næsholm, now called Næs, to his sons Jakob and Palle Kirt. The first became the sole owner and gave in 1416 the main farm Næs with adjoining estate in the parish to Viborg bishopric, on the condition that masses were held in the cathedral for the salvation of his own, his wife's and his parents' souls. In the gift letter Jakob Kirt probably reserved the farm for his own lifetime.

Lindenborg Å

Until the reformation the estate now belonged to Viborg bishopric, and the bishops had officials and priests there, thus is mentioned Sti Vestenie at Næs in 1480 and Mikkel Krabbe in 1499 and 1503. In 1504 Mogens Thomesen Kaas of Næs had a case about a field boundary. These three men were probably the bishop's vasals at the farm. In 1534 Næs shared fate with many other North Jutland farms, when the hated manors were put on fire. In the northern wing of the present main building are well-preserved cellars and in the eastern wing considerable rests of a building, which has survived the fire.

At the reformation Næs came to the Crown, and in 1544 Iver Friis of Haraldskær had the farm as a pawn for 1.500 joachimsdaler, which he had lent to the king. Iver Friis also got some of the peasant-estate from the Crown, which earlier belonged to Hald. Iver Friis died in 1557. He was the brother of the last Catholic bishop in Viborg, Jørgen Friis. Already before his death the king's stable-master Holger Tønnesen Viffert was allowed to redeem Næs, but because Friis died the relief did not happen. Holger Viffert had the farm in an exchange with the Crown in 1561; he exchanged Næs with his maternal estate in Skåne. He took part in the Ditmarsker War and got a bullet in his arm, but he did not die from this - he succumbed to a disease in Landskrona during the Nordic Seven Years War. He had been engaged to Anne Gyldenstierne, a daughter of the rich Knud Gyldenstierne of Vosborg. After his death his brother Corfitz took over both his fiancé, whom he married in 1571, and the farm Næs.
Blenstrup church, foto stig bachmann nielsen, Naturplan.dk

Corfitz Viffert was one of the influental noblemen of the country. He achieved important vasalries, in 1565 Katsløse, later Hald, Helsingborg, Malmøhus, Lundegård and finally Kalundborg. In 1586 he became a member of rigsrådet. (state council). In the time of his ownership the adjoined estate of Næs was increased considerably. He bought by exchanges with the Crown in 1579 and 1583 31 farms, 6 bol (small farms) and 2 houses in Blenstrup parish and surrounding parishes. To these he added in 1591 kongetienden (taxes) from Blenstrup, Fræer and Brøndum parishes. He also gave the farm a new main building, which was finished in 1583, and from this pretty building is the main wing kept in a somewhat changed condition.

Corfitz Viffert died in 1592 at Kalundborg castle, where he was a vasal. When his widow Anne Gyldenstierne died in 1595 the daughter Christence, who was the only child, became the owner of Næs. She was first married to Henrik Bille of Mogenstrup and then to rigsråd, statholder in Copenhagen Breide Rantzau, who was one of the biggest landowners in Denmark. When fru Christence died in 1604, the son Frantz Rantzau inherited her estate, also Næs, and after the father's death in 1618 also some of his estate. Frantz Rantzau's estates gave him a yearly income of 20.000 rigsdaler. A rich man like that had of course political power and influence. Already when young he was highly promoted, he became rigsråd, statholder and rigshovmester, the last title in 1632, but this joy was short, the same year he got extremely drunk in a party at Rosenborg castle by Christian IV and drowned in the waterfilled moat, only 28 years old.

The farm went to Frantz Rantzau's halfbrother Cai Rantzau's widow Anne Lykke, who was observed for her open advances of the heir to the throne and later was married to Knud Ulfeldt of Ulfeldtsholm. He sold Næs in 1637 to rigsmarsk Jørgen Urne, who owned the farm until his death in 1642. The next year his widow Margrethe Marsvin let paint a picture of her blessed husband, herself and their 13 children, 5 sons and 8 daughters. In order to show that one son had died, he was painted in white clothes. The painting is an important work, it hung earlier in the chapel of the parish church, but was later moved to Lindenborg. Margrethe Marsvin finished some exchanges, among others with the Crown, and the peasant estate of Næs, and in 1647 she got jus patronus of Blenstrup church. She died in 1650 at Marsvinsholm at Turø, (island south of Svendborg, Funen), but was buried in Blenstrup church beside her husband.
Memorial stone for the various owners of Lindenborg, raised at Blenstrup church in 1955.
At her death Margrethe Marsvin left a large debt, and in order to meet this the children had to sell Næs, which was bought by rigsråd Jørgen Seefeld, landsdommer at Zealand and vasal at Ringsted kloster. He was the son of Christoffer Lauridsen Seefeld of Refsnæs, a neighbouring farm of Næs. He was born in 1594. His offices made him stay at Zealand, and he probably had little time for his Jutland manor. He was noticed for being a misogynist and bibliophilic. He was famous for his large book-collection, more than 26.000 volumes, which he had at Ringsted kloster. It was however lost during svenskekrigene, (Denmark's wars with Sweden) when Corfitz Ulfeldt made the Swedish king give him the book-collection and later let it bring to Malmø.

Lille Vildmose at Høstemark skov.

Jørgen Seefeld extended the adjoined estate of Næs considerably. He advanced the king with large sums in cash and provisions in the 1650s, and he got landed property as a pawn. He bought his maternal farm in Tustrup from his brother, and it was attached to Næs for a period. Some of the pawned estate he had from the Crown were Dronningborg, Hald, Ørum, Skivehus and Kalø vasalry. He earlier owned much more pawned estate, when he a few years before his death had economic difficulties and had to repawn several estate to his creditors. His rich estate seems to have rested upon an unstable base, and winding up the estate showed that he was ruined. Svenskekrigene had also contributed to this, for when the Swedes marched across Zealand towards the capital, Jørgen Seefeld had to take flight to Copenhagen , where he lived until his death by auktionsforvalter Caspar Rollufs, whom he got indebted to. About 50 creditors signed up at the estate after Jørgen Seefeld, of which only Corfitz Ulfeldt was a nobleman, the rest were civils. The main farm was divided between magister Hans Zoëga from Københavns Universitet and his brother-in-law Caspar Rollufs. They owned Næs, until Claus Olufsen Daa of Borreby and Vedtofte bought it in 1671-72.

Claus Daa changed the name of the farm to Daasborg, and at the same time he renamed Vedtofte into Brahesholm after his mother Anne Brahe. In 1674 Daa was married to Sophie Amalie Lindenov, who was a daughter of Hans Lindenov of Iversnæs and Christian IV's daughter with Kirsten Munk, Elisabeth Augusta. Both main farm and peasant-estate were in a bad condition after the svenskekrigene. Daa succeeded in a few years to collect most of the earlier adjoined property again, but his economic situation was bad and his marriage was worse. The conflict ended, when Sophie Amalie according to all accounts let her husband murder in 1678 by a sniper, when they drove together home to Daasborg after a visit in the neighbourhood. The murder was never solved, and the murderer never found. The common opinion was that it was "the evil lady", who had instigated the crime. On her deathbed however she was said to have confessed to be the instigator of the murder of Claus Daa.

The only child of the marriage was a one year old son, who died shortly after his father's murder, and the young widow now owned Daasborg completely to herself. Just as energetic she apparently had been getting rid of her husband, just as active she was now in order to extend and manage the estate. In the years after 1678 she bought much property in various parishes. Via a patent she was in 1681 admitted in the friherrestanden (barony) as friherreinde (=baroness) of Lindenborg, since Daasborg contemporarely was established to be a friherreligt vasalry by this name. The condition was that she did not marry again - and that Christian V's illegitimate son Christian Gyldenløve had to be installed as an heir of the barony. It seems difficult to understand, why Sophie Amalie Lindenov, who with cause was under suspicion of being a murderess, had earned the distinction as baroness. However it was decisive that the king in this way secured his illegitimate children. The following years the baroness continued to collect estate and enjoyed in this the full attention from the Crown. She owned jus patronus of several churches, and in 1683 she bought the right of still some churches from the Crown, which in the following period gave her still more income, in all at least 7000 rigsdaler.

As to her private life the legend has spun a yarn of painterly stories. The merry young widow did not live the life of a nun, but whether the number of her lovers, illegitimate children or daily misdeeds were as big as the gossip told, is probably doubtful. It was told about her last days that she was pregnant as so many times before and had problems in giving birth, and she was brought to a doctor in Ålborg. She could not endure the vibrations from the waggon and was transported in a horsecloth, which was stretched between four horses. An orchester followed her on the travel and played in order to drown her screams. However, her life could not be saved, and she died in terrible pain. Since then she has haunted Lindenborg, her grey figure walks stairs and corridors with flowing hair and clacking slippers at night. Reality hardly matches the dramatic legend. In the beginning of July 1688 she became ill at Lindenborg, and a month later she died in assessor Thøger Lassens Gård at Nytorv in Ålborg, where she had an apartment. The cause of death was "vattersot og hidsig feber" (dropsy and hot fever). In the exchange her possessions, furniture, clothes etc. was in all 1.254 rigsdaler.

Sophia Amalia's dramatic life and unhappy marriage is now described in a novel by Bodil Brændstrup. Historic facts about places and persons are correct, but BB has been adding a little more to the story which really rises a doubt about Sophia's guilt. After having read this book I don't think Sophia was gultiy in the murder of her husband Claus Daa. No one knows the truth, but Bodil Brændstrup has done a thorough research and contributed to a much more nuanced image of the beautiful and unhappy woman, Sophia Amalia Lindenov, who was the grandchild of Christian IV and Kirsten Munk.

The book is available (in Danish) on Forlaget BB-Kultur, Øverødvej 13-1-14, DK-2840 Holte.
the book's website: www.bb-kultur.com

After fru Lindenov's death the barony went to grev Christian Gyldenløve of Samsø and after his death to his son, the wellknown book collector Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe. Since Lindenborg did not mean more than a name and a yearly income, the farm and the adjoining churches fell into decay in this period. Neither Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe's son Frederik Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe showed interest in Lindenborg, and after a royal accept he abandoned and sold the barony in 1753. The barony-rights were kept for the estate as long a Danneskiold lived. Frederik V's influental councillor grev Adam Gottlob Moltke of Bregentved took over Lindenborg. In his time as owner the ferry across Lindenborg river was replaced by a bridge. In 1759 the king gave Lille Vildmose to his favorite on the condition that Moltke started a cultivation of the moor, and already the next year this work begun. The work by drying out the four lakes in the middle of the moor was almost finished, when Moltke in 1762 sold Lindenborg to Schimmelmann.

The new owner Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann managed through 20 years the economic politics of the Danish state and performed as a financier all transactions necessary for his politics. When he died he left a fortune of between 5 and 10 million rigsdaler. He was born in 1724 in Demmin in Pommerania. After being educated as a merchant he followed in 1774 Frederick II's army into Bohemia, established later a chemist's shop in Dresden and took over in 1756 the provisions of the Preussian army. In the middle of the Seven Year's War he suddenly fled in 1759 with his large fortune and took up residence in Hamborg. In 1761 he got attached to the Danish resident in Hamborg with right to be his successor. After in 1762 having provided large loans to the Danish government, he became the same year a member of the overskattedirektionen (=first office of taxes) etc. In 1768 he achieved the title of skatmester, and in 1759 he bought the Rantzau-family estate Ahrensburg, which was situated on Danish land outside Hamborg. In 1762 he bought the estate Wandsbeck in Holstein and Lindenborg in Jutland. He owned plantations in the Danish West-Indies and run a sugar refinery at Christianshavn (in Copenhagen) and a small-arms factory in Hellebæk. In Copenhagen he held a small court in his palais in Bredgade.

In 1764 Schimmelmann had Lindenborg established into a barony. He showed great interest in the management of the estate and bought more estate, but he was careful and did not buy until he knew the price was right. He bought several farms and peasant-land, and in 1773-80 he bought Fræer, a whole village. 150 peasants and 122 husmænd (small-holders) belonged to the estate. He was interested in the technical progress of the farming and carried through various improvements in the management of the main farm. Lindenborg's peasants had to work in the fields of the main farm, but also as work-reserves in his industrial activities. In 1781 a linen spinning mill was established, which later achieved a considerable size. In 1779 Schimmelmann was elevated to greve( count) and two years later Lindenborg became a lensgrevskab. (vasalry county). Schimmelmann died in 1782, and his eldest son took over Lindenborg.

Heinrich Ernst Schimmelmann, who was born in 1747, managed the Danish monetary matters as finansminister in 1784-1813. He became therefore one of the men, who was given a coresponsibility for the national bankruptcy, which ended this period. He had more sense of cultural phenomenons than his father, but as a landlord he was a supporter of the reform efforts of the period. He followed his father's footsteps at Lindenborg, but he seldom visited the castle. Ab. 1784 a gardener was employed to assist the peasants of the estate to lay out kitchen gardens, planting of hedgerows, potato-cultivation etc. The gardener also had to raise fruit trees, which were given to the peasants in order to promote the fruit growing. The spinning mill was extended. When Schimmelmann and his wife visited the estate in 1783, there was served a meal to the guests, only to the farmers and not to the peasants. Schimmelmann arranged a popinjay shooting and let dish out prizes "what was a great joy for the poor good people" his wife grevinde Charlotte Schimmelmann wrote in a letter to grevinde Reventlow.

Through the years a large renewal happened of the peasant-estate and the farms, but the reforms did not happen without problems. In a large village like Fræer the implementation was especially difficult. In 1798 Schimmelmann bought Gudumlund and some peasant-property. Around 1800 the reforms at Lindenborg were fairly established. After having taken over Gudumlund Schimmelmann continued for some years the large industrial plan, in 1805 he established a stoneware factory and a glass work, but they run economically bad and had to close. Besides the linen spinning mill at the grevskabet, which achieved good results, were in the beginning of the 19th century 8 blacksmiths living at the estate, who besides the blacksmith- and metalworker-work made hay scythes and knives, which were sold far and wide. There were also 20 potters, who were allowed to sell their pottery at all markets for many miles around.

In order to promote the health service Schimmelmann engaged a physician at Lindenborg and furnished a hospital for free use for the peasants at the estate. The educational system had his special interest, and he established a new school system at Lindenborg. The Schimmelmannske Schools, which built on the new Rousseau -methods of upbringing, were approved by royal respolution of 1876. Grev Schimmelmann engaged a school-inspector J.C.C. Claussen during the first years, and he succeeded in overcoming the resistance, which this "new thing" awoke by the peasants. The agricultural crisis, which followed the Napoleonic wars, meant hard times for the peasants at Lindenborg. And these years showed that Ernst Schimmelmann had not been able to stabilize or increase the immense riches he had inherited after his father. The fortune crumbled away, and after his death in 1831 it showed that his estate was insolvent.

When Schimmelmann died childless Lindenborg went to his brother's son Joseph Frederik Carl Schimmelmann, but he died already in 1833, and grevskabet was taken over by his son Ernst Conrad Ditlev Carl Joseph Schimmelmann. He was in 1853 allowed to sell the peasant-estate for free property. After his death his son Carl Gustav Ernst Schimmelmann inherited Lindenborg. He restored the castle, which for long had been uninhabited. At his death in 1922 the estate was taken over by lensgreve Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann, to whom the grevskabet in 1923 became free estate, where a piece of land was transferred for outparcelling. The northern section of Lille Vildmose was in 1936 sold to Statens Jordlovsudvalg.

Lille Vildmose at Portland

Upon the main wing's octagonal tower inside the castle yard is a tablet above the door with an inscription, which says that honest and velbyrdig (of noble descent) man Corfitz Viffert and Anne Gyldenstierne let build this house in 1583. A legend describes about the building that Anne Gyldenstierne, who actually had no deep feelings for Corfitz Viffert, imposed as conditions for the marriage that he had to build a building in the swamp at Næs. This condition was met to her great surprise, and a magnificent building raised from the marsh. The legend is a typical urban legend and is probably only connected to Næs because of the difficult spadework, which was necessary to make the moist meadow-land bear the large building.

The large house, which Corfitz Viffert built, was raised in two storeys, above which was placed a low half-storey. The building was in bricks and rested upon a heavy granite plinth. Under the house were large vaulted cellars. At the southeast and southwest corner were two circular corner towers and to the south was the passage flanked by two bay towers. In the castle yard was an octagonal spiral stair tower. All windows had sandstone frames and in the triangular window recess were sandstone sculptures. The facade was probably originally red or red-painted wall. The eastern wing of the main building is the oldest, but its age cannot be completely decided. It has wall work from the Catholic period, but an older description claims that it was built by Jørgen Urne. His and Margrethe Marsvin's names were found in 1769 upon a walled gate between the eastern and southern house. The northern wing was built by Corfitz Viffert contemporary to the southern house.

It seems that the buildings already in fru Lindenov's time were badly kept, and in the following time they were completely in decay. The owners did not stay at the estate; it was managed by farm bailiffs. In a description of the conditions in Himmerland in 1735 it is said about Lindenborg, that it is very much in decay but " it was once a pretty building, which was brick-built even in the horse stables." In March 1715 a violent storm swept across Himmerland, and the buildings at Lindenborg were badly damaged. The repair, which was made the same year, cost 525 rigsdaler. There are no informations about the interior of the farm at that time. In 1764 H.C. Schimmelmann let the main wing have a thorough repair, and the building got mainly the look it has today. Corfitz Vifferts fine Renaissance building lost its proud raising by these changes. In 1925-27 the owner of the castle let do a thorough restoration of the inner castle, which partly brought it back to its old look. Among the inventory is much valuable furniture from the 18th century and a French writing desk, which according to tradition belonged to queen Christina of Sweden. From the collection of paintings is a Madonna by Rafael.

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

Lindenborg today

photo Lindenborg og Lille Vildmose: 2003/2006/2009: grethe bachmann

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