Monday, October 18, 2010
Haraldskær, East Jutland, Vejle amt.
Haraldskær, ab. 6 km west of Vejle
Skibet sogn, Tørrild herred, Vejle amt
Haraldskær was mentioned the first time in Erik of Pommern's rule. In 1434 it belonged to Niels Friis, one of the earliest from the Friis-family with a skaktavl (chess pattern) in the coat of arms/shield, the Friis' "of Haraldskær", as they are called. The name of the farm was then written "Harildkerr". Later other names Herritskier, Haritzkier etc.
Niels Friis got, according to tradition, the farm via his wife fru Ellen Henningsdatter Moltke from Bavelse. He wrote himself in 1432 "of Skibet", later until 1448 and the last time he is mentioned, of Haraldskær. His son Anders Friis was the next owner of the farm and lived still in 1507. He was married the second time to fru Bodil Cristensdatter Steenfeld, who was a quarrelsome lady. It seems she ruled for a long time at Haraldskær, where she lived still in 1543. She is often mentioned in the documents of that time. Anders Friis and Bodil had, among other children, the sons Jørgen Friis, the later wellknown belligerent Viborg-bishop, who rebuilt Hald, and Iver Friis, who died in 1557 as the owner of Haraldskær. He was buried in Skibet church, where was placed a large stone on his grave. Fru Sophie Albertsdatter Glob, who outlived him for several years, kept probably the farm until later, since some of the children were still underage. Later the farm went to the son Albert Friis, one of the most known owners of Haraldskær. He was a member of rigsrådet and owner of several larger and lesser vasalries, especially the important Riberhus.
Besides other estate Albert Friis was also the owner of Hvolgård. He was a very rich man, who improved Haraldskær in many ways. By exchange with the Crown he increased the estate; he also bought the vicarage in 1576, which was situated close to Skibet church, and placed its land under the main farm. Albert Friis built the main wing of the manor, the western, which is originally a free-standing building. The coat of arms on a fireplace in the second storey says that Albert Friis was the building master. Later, in 1768, was added an 18 bay long brick-walled building in one story, where from earlier were 8 bays half-timbered work. The buildings were surrounded by moats, which were filled up in the middle of the 1800s. Close to Haraldskær leads a bridge across the river (Vejle Å). It was after consent from Albert Friis built by Frederik II as a drawbridge (1585) in order to obtain an easy connection between Koldinghus and Skanderborg (castles).
Albert Friis died in 1601 and was buried in his parish church beside his late wife and some children, who had died infants. His surviving 6 daughters shared the rich inheritance and got each 27.000 rigsdaler in estate and money. This was a large fortune after that time's slide rule, but it never was much blessing for the daughters. The following 75 years became a confused time, where the farm either went from hand to hand or was divided into small parts among the heirs and their creditors. The daughter Karen Friis was married to the indebted waster Truid Bryske of Langesø, who had become the owner of Haraldskær, which he had to transfer to his sister-in-law fru Lisbeth Friis, since she had stood surety for him. She was indebted herself, and when her brother-in-law Frederik Munk (Lange) of Krogsgård, who was married to her sister Sophie, stood surety for her, she had to transfer the farm to him in 1622. He had until that point been a wealthy man and the owner of several manors, but he was now ruined and had to give up most of his estate. However, he kept Haraldskær until his death in 1634. His widow fru Sophie Friis also hold on to Haraldskær in spite of her economic difficulties, until she about 20 years later (ab. 1654) followed him to the grave. The son Jørgen Munk died almost at the same time as his mother.
Vejle Å river at Haraldskær
The daughters of Frederik Munk had shared the small rests of former glory and owned each a small part of the main farm. They lived in very straitened circumstances. Anne Munk showed to be a very enterprising lady. She succeeded in buying extra land and a little estate for the main farm. The year of her death, in 1677, she had sold it together with the added parts she had bought, and it seems that she owned all of it. The buyer was oberst Conrad v.d. Brincken of Fårup. He gradually succeeded in collecting land and peasant-farms to make Haraldskær profitable. The land of Fårup was also used for the completion, until more peasant-estate could be bought. When he died in 1696 Fårup came to his son Bendix, while Haraldskær and completed estate came to his son, ritmester Godske v.d. Brincken (+1730).
Main farm and estate were on auction in 1731 and was bought together with Skibet church by oberstløjtnant Pierre d'Andischou. When he died in 1751, almost everything had been pawned.
Maybe it was because the farm building burnt down in 1747 and was rebuilt, but it might also be caused by his establishing a comprehensive firm, i.e. a small-arms factory and a powder mill. This did not work out, and in order to get as much as possible from the estate after his death the exchange-commissioners had to put the estate on auction in small parts. But the estate was not divided however, it was sold to merchant and manufacturer, etatsråd Gert Hansen de Lichtenberg, who owned the two neighbouring manors Engelsholm and Kjeldkær.
Haraldskær at farm buildings
He transferred three years later (1754) all three farms to his son-in-law Christen de Linde, who moved the factory longer to the west and put Skibet church through a thorough restoration. He sold in 1767 all three farms to his brother-in-law Hans Henrik de Lichtenberg of the entailed estate Bidstrup, who the next year had royal permission to sell farm and estate separately . The same year he sold Haraldskær with only a little part of the estate and Skibet church and Jerlev parish' royal taxes to major Ove Bernhardt Lüttichau from Lerkenfeldt, who a few moths later married fru Margrethe Bülow, née Kaas, who died at the farm in 1777.
Lüttichau at once began buying estate in order to complete the farm. In 1791 the cultivated area was 350 tønder land. (1 tønde land = about 1.363 acres) When Lüttichau died childless in 1781, only 35 years of age, farm and estate came on auction again and was bought by Henrik Schmidt, who owned it until his death in 1793. His widow Birgitte Ravn married the next year major Severin Laurentius Lautrup, who in 1806 sold the main farm with Kvakmølle and a small part of the estate to Johannes Ditlev Rahr. He run Haraldskær in an old-fashioned way and could not cope during the difficult times, which arrived in the country, ruining so many people. Agent Nikolaj Nyholm, a merchant in Vejle, became the owner of several large and smaller Jutland manors, Brejninggård and Søndersthoved, Dueholm and Oxholm etc. - besides an obligation issued by Rahr of 45.666 rigsdaler with accruing interests. Nyholm obtained judgment against Rahr in 1820, and at last he bought Haraldskær. He sold the farm in 1829 to August Theodor Schütte, who later, as the owner of Bygholm, was known as a good farmer.
Vejle Ådal at Haraldskær
The farm then went from Schütte to Danqvart Neergaard of Lille Grundet, who owned it from 1838-42, and from him to Carl August Søltoft, who belonged to a solid Jutland proprietær-family. He was born at Tyrrestrup by Horsens, which was owned by his family from 1770 till 1914. He was an enterprising farmer, who did much for his farm by marling and drainage. He partly rebuilt the old farm buildings in 1855 and the following years, and the mill was extended. He sold the last small part of the estate and filled up the old moats around the manor. The main building was modernized in 1852-53. Søltoft was interested in two special things: willow planting and starlings. He planted various sorts of willow and sold considerable quantitites for basketmaker-work, and he had tried to fight the cockchafers by protecting the starlings. During 12 years he had 500 starlings' nestboxes in the garden. 134 boxes were placed in the five magnificent limes at the manor, the rest were in the forest belonging to the manor. He finally decided that now were the cockchafers almost extinct - so therefore the starling must be the most useful bird in agriculture.
Haraldskær at farm buildings.
During the 30 years Søltoft owned Haraldskær, from 1842 till 1871, (he lived until 1893) it rose to almost double value.This was due both to his improvements and to the market conditions. He was followed as owner in 1871 by løjtnant Oluf Henrik Niels de Bang of Sparresholm, co-owner of the Bangske fideikommis (entailed estate). He died already the same year and was succeeded by his son Hjalmar, who rebuilt the last of d'Andischous farm buildings in 1914. A few years before his death 1918 he transferred Haraldskær to his son Oluf de Bang, who for long had been the tenant, but he sold it shortly after in 1916 to manufacturer Christian M. Hess in Vejle, who built a new tenant-house and carried out a thorough restoration of the inside of the manor in consideration for the old look. Several plaster-lofts were removed, so the heavy oak-beams were of their best advantage again. The ramschackled side wings were rebuilt in 1917.
Chr. M. Hess died in 1929, and his eldest son, civilingeniør Christian E. Hess was by inheritance the owner of the farm in 1931. He sold some land in 1941 for a projected school and gave land to an extension of the church yard (Skibet church). The land was in his time very improved by marling, drainage and cultivation, and the yield was growing. The farm buildings burnt partly down in 1937 and was rebuilt in modern look. Ingeniør Hess died in 1963, but he had already in 1962 transferred the estate to his sons, amtsfuldmægtig, cand.jur. Christian Martin Hess and sekretær, cand.jur. Mogens Hess.
Skibet kirke ved Haraldskær
It was especially as the home of the largest and most prominent line of the famous family of the Skaktavl-Friis which caused Haraldskær to be famous among the Danish manors. Among the following owners were only few of that high reputation. Even though the building lost some of its venerable look by modernizing, it is however worth a visit, where it lies in Vejle river valley, surrounded by vigorous growth and green meadows. The country road from Vejle to Varde runs upon the hill with wide views and passes close to Skibet church, where many, who lived and worked at the farm, have got their final rest.
Kilde: Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 15, 1967, Fra Århus til Kolding, "Haraldskær", af arkivar cand.mag. S. Nygård.
photo Haraldskær/Skibet 2002/2007/2008: grethe bachmann