Monday, May 31, 2010

Støvringgård, East Jutland, Randers amt

Støvringgård, 12 km northeast of Randers
Støvring sogn, Støvring herred, Randers amt

Støvringgård's history can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The farm is mentioned the first time in the beginning of the 1300s, where it is called Stiuringh or Steffrynge. It belonged to hr. Palne Jensen of "Stifring", who had the family Juul's coat of arms with the lily. The farm was placed downside the slope towards the meadows at Randers fjord upon a small landtongue, where the castle bank was later excavated. This castle bank might have existed already in the first centuries of the Middle Ages. The castle bank is artificial, a bank ab. 6 m high, which catches the water from the sources that trickle out from the slope itself. The good position made probably a magnate decide to build a castle.

After Palne Jensen was Niels Bugge probably the owner of Støvringgård. Hr. Palne's and fru Eline's daughter was his first wife. It is known that Eline Buggesdatter and her husband hr. Christiern Vendelbo, who died ab.1400, owned the farm, and after Christiern Vendelbo's death it came via inheritance to the daughter Else. "Fru Elseff af Steuringe" was the first time married to Axel Jepsen, who belonged to the Jutland lineage of the Thotts, and the second time to Lyder Holck, who in 1434 and 1437 is mentioned of Steuringe. After fru Else's death came Støvringe to her son of first marriage Jep Axelsen Thott and then to his son Axel Jepsen, who died in the last fourth of the 15th century. Other relatives had possibly also owner-ship of the farm.

Axel Jepsen was married to Margrethe Andersdatter Bjørn of Stenalt, and in the marriage was only one daughter, who was kloster-given to Ringkloster(Skanderborg). For unmarried women of aristocracy the kloster-life was the only one offered, it was some kind of life-insurance and support when they grew old. No wonder that the parents often took this way out to give their daughters a carefree life. Not all daughters were married, but behind the walls of the kloster was room for everyone. Maybe Axel Jepsen's datter was really a " wild and insane woman" like the tradition says, whom they had to shut up, maybe it is not a true story - but she was an heiress and giving her to the kloster lead to a big inheritance-feud about the farm. It was a fat bite, and no one let it go if the had possibilities to get a bite of the cake.

The result was that Axel Jepsen's brother-in-law, ridder and rigsråd Jacob Andersen Bjørn got the farm. He was a great estate-collector. When he married Margrethe Poulsdatter (Fikkesen?), he got as a dowry Tybjerggård, and he was the owner of Vorgård in Himmerland. And also Støvringgård after his marriage. After his death fru Margrethe managed his estates for many years, but she lived mostly at Støvringgård. From two children her son Anders died unmarried in 1536. The daughter Dorte was married twice, first time to Christopher Hak of Egholm and second time to Oluf Glob of Vellumgård, but there were no children in either marriage, and the estates went after her death ab.1562 to her cousin Anne Bjørnsdatter's children. Fru Anne was married to Niels Kaas of Stårupgård and Tårupgård, and two of their sons, Niels and Erik Kaas, inherited Støvringgård.

Mostly known of the two brothers is Niels Kaas. He had spent a part of his youth at Denmark's famous theologian Niels Hemmingsen and had achieved good knowledge of theology, Latin and other humanioras. All his life he embraced science and university-conditions with the warmest interest. In 1560 he entered the kancelliet and advanced quickly, until he in 1573 was appointed the king's kansler, one of the highest offices in Denmark. After Frederik II's death he was one of four rigsråds who made up the regency. The scene - where Niels Kaas on his deathbed gives the young Christian IV the key to the vault with the regalia and says goodbye to him in some beautiful and admonitory words - is famous. Niels Kaas will always be a fine representative of the Danish nobility in its prime.

It was especially his brother Erik Kaas who was connected to Støvringgård - Niels Kaas did not have the time to take care of the management and has possibly given the farm to his brother. After Erik Kaas' death in 1578 the farm went to his two sons, Niels Kaas ( + 1620) of Birkelse and Mogens Kaas (+ 1656), and in their time the building begun of the present buildings at Støvringgård. The family Kaas has thus left themselves a lasting memory in Danish manor-history.

From Niels Kaas' time origins probably the oldest north wing, under which were found foundations. In 1622 was the building of the parallel south wing finished , which still exists. In 1630 the south wing probably got a small addition to the south. Mogens Kaas was responsible of these extensions of the farm. After he in 1614 had outbought his brother, he was the sole master of the manor. He was a rich and distinguished man, who received great esteem. He owned much estate and land, besides Støvringgård also Tårupgård, Gudumlund and Herrestrup, he was a member of rigsrådet and had large vasalries.

Above the gate in the long west wing was a sandstone tablet with the year 1623 and the names and coat of arms of Mogens Kaas and his wife Sidsel Friis. This tablet is together with another sandstone tablet with the coat of arms of Galt , Kaas (with the Chevron), Skaktavl-Friis and Bjørn (these are the paternal and maternal coat of arms of the married couple Kaas) - kept and in a very crumbled state walled in under the veranda of the east side of the middle wing. The last mentioned tablet was possibly set up by Mogens Kaas in the castle yard. A few years after Mogens Kaas' death in 1656 Støvringgård was shared between his three sons and four daughters, but at that time the greatness and riches of the family Kaas was over. The debt quickly grew over the heads of the children, and Støvringgård went to their creditors. In a parliament-verdict in 1672 bishop Hans Svane's heirs and Thomas Fuiren were entered into the son Erik Kaas' estate as a pay for their claims, and in the following years the family Fuiren succeeded in bringing the farm into their own hands.

The family Fuiren, who also forced out the Rosenkrantzs at Vindingegård (Fuirendal) was one of the richest and most esteemed civil families in Copenhagen in the 17th century. Købmand (merchant) Henrik Fuiren immigrated from Mecklenburg in the middle of the 16th century. His descendants were closely connected to the university-circles in Copenhagen, among them were serveral respected physicians, like Thomas Fuiren. One of his sisters, Marie, was married to the most distinguished clergy of the absolute monarchy, archbishop Hans Svane. After 1660 the family played a role inside Danish agriculture-history, when they were involved in estate managing and took a leading position in the group of the landlords of that period. After Thomas Fuiren's death Støvringgård was taken over by his brother's son baron Diderik Fuiren and his wife Margrethe, née Eilersen. After her death 1708 the farm came to baroness Christine Fuiren, who was married to overkrigssekretær gehejmeråd Jens Harboe, who died in 1709. There were no children in this marriage.

Støvringgård Kloster, a "mild institution" for daughters of men from the upper ranks, owes its existence to Christine Fuiren. She was an energetic and clever woman, who was also honourable and charitable. The painting of her at Støvringgård shows her as a beautiful and stately lady. If anyone dared opposed to her, she rode out gallopping up and down the old avenues, of which one still bears her name. Generosity was one of the family-traditions; her brother, baron Diderik, who died young, had given rich gifts to the university. Besides Støvringgård Kloster Christine Fuiren also established Det Harboeske Enkefrukloster, (The Harboe Widow-kloster). It was up in the time to establish frøkenklostre (for unmarried women); from the late 17th and into the first half of the 18th century were several noble klosters established, like in 1698 Den Thaarupgaardske Stiftelse, 1699 Roskilde adelige Jomfrukloster, 1701-02 Gisselfeld, 1717 klostret i Odense og 1735 Vemmetofte adelige Jomfrukloster. At baroness Fuiren's will, dated on her day of death 23 November 1735, came the establishment of Støvringgård Jomfrukloster and of Det Harboeske Enkefrukloster. To those two institutions had daughters and widows of men from the first five ranks admission.

The decision was that Støvringgård with estate, taxes and adjoined estate had to make a kloster, where twelve jomfruer (unmarried women) and a prioress could live. Christine Fuiren had managed her estate in an excellent and sensible way and among other things achieved that the peasant-eastate had been increased. It took however some years, before the kloster was ready to receive the twelve women, but on the 12. March 1745 was the royal instrument of foundation issued, and the king was since then the protector of the kloster. He occupied the places, while the kloster-women themselves elected a prioress. The management of the kloster was in the hands of the stiftamtmand and the bishop in Århus.

In 1742-47 was made a thourough restoration of the building, done by the first director of the kloster, Jacob Benzon of Rugård and Katrinebjerg, the later viceregent in Norway. The wings were connected, and to the east was built a wing with the kloster church. The master of this rebuild was the German-born architect Nicolaus Heinrich Riemann,who at the same time built a new farm building, which was changed in 1830-40. Mogens Christian Thrane did all the paint-work and the drawing for the altar piece and the pulpit in the church. On the 2. October 1760 was the inauguration of the building, and from now on the church service was held in the chapel by the parish priest. Outside Støvringgård is the garden, which was planned by Christine Fuiren in French style, and from her time is kept a parterre-garden with her reflection monogram CF in box tree.

After a long time of declining economy an idea ripened during the 1970s about a recreation of the kloster, so that apartments were offered also to men and married couple. In December 1981 the last of four konventualinder (kloster women) moved from the kloster. With support from Det særlige Bygningssyn was made comprehensive restorations and by the help of own means from some of the kloster-estate and support from several funds were established 12 modern apartments in the kloster. Today Støvringgård is managed by a committee: stiftamtmanden and the bishop of Århus bishopric and the mayor of Nørrehald Kommune.


Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 11, 1966, Himmerland og Ommersyssel, Støvringgaard af cand.mag. Elin Bach.

photo Støvringgård 2002: grethe bachmann

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