Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nørre Vosborg, West Jutland, Ringkøbing amt.

Among many permanent castles built in West Jutland during the Middle Ages was Vosborg, one of the castles with the oldest history. It was originally built southwest of the present farm and close to the place where Storåen (river) runs out into Nissum Fjord. The name Vosborg is from Old Norse óss = mouth of å. Oseborg/Osborg with a first letter pronunciation: w = wosborg.

The castle Oseborg was situated north of the river, the farm buildings were south, and between was a valuable salmon-farm. The outlets of the river have moved longer to the north and the castle bank lies  by a rest of the earlier river: Gammelå. (Old river). The legend tells about a castle at the bank, which the mighty Niels Bugge of Hald let build by an English building master. Niels Bugge inherited the place from his father Bugge Nielsen of Hegnet. At the castle bank are vaguely traceable foundations, maybe from a very large four-winged building with a tower.

Niels Bugge was murdered in Middelfart in 1359. His widow Ingeborg Pedersdatter Vendelbo survived him for many years and has probably owned Vosborg for a period, possibly until 1388, where she held administration of hr. Niels' estate. From his numerous estates the manors Vosborg, Støvringgård and Lundholm (a main farm at Skagen which was destroyed by sand) went to his daughter Eline (Ellen), who was married to marsk hr. Christiern Vendelbo, the owner of many Jutland farms. All his daughters (sons of him are not known) were married to men from the finest families in the country, the daughter Ingeborg of Vosborg to the widower Predbjørn Podebusk of Egholm at Sjælland, a son of Valdemar Atterdag's og dronning Margrethe's faithful man. Vosborg stayed in this family for some years.

Nørre Vosborg before restoration

Nørre Vosborg after restoration 2008

A letter is by accident preserved from 1407, where a Danzig-captain in Low German complains that he had stranded "vor deme slote Oseborgh in Jutlande in ghebede heren Prittberns van Potbusch", whom he partly had to give some cloth as salvage money, partly sell some cloth at a moderate price, which he else had to bring to queen Margrethe. It is understandable that the captain was displeased, but the treatment of shipwrecked people was generally very ruthless, so it seems that Predbjørn Podebusk was rather humane compared to others. He still lived in 1425, very old. His widow, who lived 34 years later, possibly owned Vosborg long after his death. Then it came to the son Claus Podebusk, who died in the middle of the 1470s. He had several children with his first wife Jytte Evertsdatter Moltke. The son Predbjørn became the owner of Vosborg during a couple of generations.

Hr. Predbjørn Podebusk, who already is mentioned of "Osborg" in 1477, which he owned until his death in 1541, became - partly by inheritance, partly by marriage, first to Vibeke Rosenkrantz of Bidstrup (+ 1506), then to Anne Gyldenstierne of Aagaard og Bregentved, who was a widow after hr. Oluf Krognos of Krapperup - one of the richest men of his time. Via his family connections and his riches and possibly also because he was a clever man, he played an important role during his long life, but he was very repulsive, brutal and obstinate, quarrelsome and self-willed. He early became a member of rigsrådet, he had many large vasalries, i.e. Riberhus, by which his wealth was increased. He joined, when the reformation-rebellion started, the Catholic party.

before the restoration

after the restoration

When Niels Bugge according to legend had built his magnificent castle , he was foretold that someone in a blue cape would come from the west and break down the castle and the tower. The person in the blue cape was Vesterhavet (North Sea). This prophecy came true in 1532 when a great storm broke all barriers and caused terrible havocs in West Jutland. In a king's letter at Christmas time the king described the great storm and all the damage.

Since the old Vosborg was so close to the fjord and in a low terrain, it is probable that it was damaged badly. The owners might have thought that now was the time to be in more safe surroundings. A new castle was built about one kilometer to the northeast. There are possibly nothing left from those buildings, but the earth works and moats around farm and park suppossedly origin from that time. It is obvious that the great plan was not a common fortification. Undoubtedly was the outer bank mostly a dam/dike, which had to secure the castle against a new storm like in 1532, but to the east, where the attackers had firm ground under their feet, the plan worked as a fortification.

before the restoration

after the restoration

The old quarrelsome Predbjørn Podebusk died in 1541, but first 7 years later was held administration of estate after him, and Vosborg came to his son-in-law Knud Gyldenstierne, the Catholic bishop of Fyns Stift, who after having been forced to give up his crocier had married Predbjørn's daughter Jytte, who was a widow after Niels Brock of Estrup (+ 1534), together with her sister's son Gregers Holgersen Ulfstand, whose mother Anne Predbjørnsdatter Podebusk had died after only one year's happy marriage to rigsråd Holger Ulfstand of Skabersø (+ 1542).

In 1551 the two owners shared farm and estate. Thus arose two farms, the original farm got later the name Nørre Vosborg, while the new farm was named Sønder Vosborg after its placement to the south. It was originally built upon the place, where the old destroyed castle had been or maybe at the place of the farm-buildings south of the old outlets of Storåen (river). Sønder Vosborg was at Christmas time 1593 exposed to a new storm, and after this it was moved to the northeast and existed as a manor until 1799, when a company of manor-slaughters killed it completely. The estate now exists as a smaller proprietær-gård (farm.)

at café and restaurant before restoration

The cosy café has now been moved and changed....

into a cafeteria........

Among Nørre Vosborg's many wellknown owners was Knud Gyldenstierne -one of the most prominent. He was very important to Vosborg, also by in 1550 to buy Oluf Munk of Tvis Kloster's estate in Ulfborg parish, among which was the present Skærum Møllegård at Storå (river), which was a large estate. He transferred it to his main farm, which thus was considerably increased. He also became the owner of Skærum chapel, which he a few years later was told sharply by the king to break down since it had become known that it was used for "idolatry and other bad habits". The tradition says that materials from here was used for building the eastern wing of Nørre Vosborg.

Knud Gyldenstierne's son Predbjørn became in 1560 Nørre Vosborg's owner. He was like most of his predecessors a man who played an important role in his time and from 1596 a member of rigsrådet. After the death of his first wife Birgitte Rosensparre he married in 1589 Mette Hardenberg, who a few years later was afflicted by a serious disease, which created a great stir at that time, because people meant that "the evil spirit" persecuted her. He "has beaten her and allured her when she has mentioned God, so that her body is one bloody flesh " it was said and he pricked in her shinbones, "so they are still in cracks and wounds", but finally she got rid of the evil spirit and was "pretty, healthy and felt fit". These troubles did not afflict her at Vosborg.

Predbjørn Gyldenstierne was buried below a magnificent epitaph in Ulfborg church in 1616 beside his first wife, and 13 years later fru Mette was buried here too. She had spent her last years on her paternal farm Skovsbo at Fyn (Funen). Their son Knud Gyldenstierne, who was oppressed by debt, had already in 1626 sold Nørre Vosborg to his brother-in-law Jens Juel of Åbjerg. It was the first time in 300 years the farm changed owner in this way. The new owner belonged to a respected family and was also a man in high positions. He was like his predecessors a member of rigsrådet, but also vice regent in Norway for some years. After having bought Nørre Vosborg it seems that he regarded it his real home. After his early death in 1634 his widow Ide Hansdatter Lange - who also owned (1638) Aabjerg, Udstrup and Stenumgård - lived there until 1649, when she was killed in an accident.This couple had no sons, and their sons-in-law shared their estates.

The chancellor in Norway,the later assessor in statskollegiet and højesteret, gehejmeråd Ove Bielke of Østråt became the owner of Nørre Vosborg. He had been married to a daughter Maren Juel, who died in 1644 after having given him a daughter Ide Sophie, who later was married to Knud Gjedde of Vadskærgård, who sometimes is written to Nørre Vosborg, but since Ide Sophie died long before her father without leaving any children, the relationship by marriage ended and the farm came at Ove Bielke's death in 1674 to the daughter Maren from his second marriage to Regitze Gjedde. Maren was in 1671 married to amtmand in Trondheim Joachim Frederik Vind of Gundestrup in Skåne, who in April 1687, a few months before his death, sold Nørre Vosborg by contract for only 10.000 rigsdaler to oberst Herman Frans von Schwanewede of Sønder Vosborg.

Schwanewede had distinguished himself several times in the Skånske Krig, which gave him a reputation as a magician and a quick advancement. He was not a peaceable man, he quarrelled with God and everyone. Buying Nørre Vosborg brought him into a long-winded process and he was always in a quarrel with the other landowners by Nissum Fjord. There were many tales about him, one told that he at his death in 1697 hardly escaped the claws of the devil, but that one of the parish priests came to his rescue. His wife fru Christence Dyre survived him till 1705, and the married couple was buried in the Gyldenstierne-chapel in Ulfborg church. Their heirs kept Sønder Vosborg for a time, but put in 1706 Nørre Vosborg at an auction. It was bought by the rich Christen de Linde's son-in-law Niels Leth, who was enobled two years later, mostly because he had got married into a new nobility family.

the park is known for its 1001 rhododendron

Leth's widow fru Maren de Linde kept the farm from her husband's death in 1711 until 1745, where she sold it to her son Henrik Johan de Leth. She was in straitened circumstances in the last years of her life, and it seems that her son was not much better off, even though he was a skilled farmer, who in many ways tried to improve the property. Since he was very strict to his peasants and according to tradition a bully towards them, he was later told to be a ghost in many stories. He died in 1754, the year before his mother, and three years later in 1757 his widow Sophie Kirstine de Linde,who was his cousin, sold farm and estate to her son Christen Linde de Leth, but was like her mother-in-law living at the farm until her death 30 years later.

The new owner became in 1761 landsdommer in Nørrejylland, later byfoged in Holstebro and herredsfoged in the two neighbour-districts, in 1774 he became justitsråd. He lived a merry life at Nørre Vosborg, which did not help much on the modest conditions. He died in 1778 by falling off his horse on his way from Holstebro to Nørre Vosborg. The next year was the farm on auction and bought by a relative Christen Linde Friedenreich of Sønder Vosborg, who was a simple man, who lived in peace and understanding with his peasants and took care of his farms and bullocks, of which he in good years had 5-600 in the stable - and about 60-100 at Nørre Vosborg.
Linde Friedenreich was not married, and shortly after his death in 1786 his estates were on auction and sold for a little more than 170.000 rigsdaler. Nørre and Sønder Vosborg were bought by two brothers købmand Peder Tang in Ringkøbing and kancelliråd Søren Tang of Tim. It must have been a great day for the brothers, when they took Niels Bugge's old farm in possession, since they were the sons of a copyholder from the estate.

Nørre Vosborg was very dilapidated and Peter Tang had enough to do bringing the neglected farm back on its feet. The farm building burnt down in lightning in 1647 and was very ramschackled. He built if again in 1788 from the ground. In 1790 he built at the eastern entrance a monumental, pilaster-decorated gate tower. He gave Nørre Vosborg ab. 1797 to his only child, the son Niels Kiær Tang, a fine and friendly personality, who was a judicial candidate. He became landvæsenskommissær and kammerråd. He died already in 1814 and his widow Marie Cathrine Meinert (+ 1855) married two years later amtsprovst dr. theol. Conrad Daniel Koefoed in Ribe, who then became the owner of the farm. He died as bishop in 1831.

In 1824 Koefoed sold the farm and estate to his three stepsons, of which the two eldest, the priest Peter Tang and later justitiarius Christian Noe Tang, two years later sold their part to the youngest Andreas Evald Meinert Tang, who owned it for many years. He improved and embellished it and collected all the legends in its history - and he made by his hospitality the farm a center of the district. He bought parcels and other estate which had been sold from the farm and also bought most of the sold copyhold farms. Nørre Vosborg was complete again in 1834. He was probably the first in the area, who started to drain (1856) with pipes from his own tile works, and he was among the first, who had the courage to plant a plantation that close to the North Sea. He made more changes at Nørre Vosborg, and in 1868 the south wing was extended to the east so it was in line with the east wing. Thus the castle yard had got its present look. At the entrance to the farm buildings Tang built in 1853 for his eldest brother, the priest Peter Tang (+1876) a villa in style like the east wing of the manor and named it Vosborglille, later used as a dower house.

After his death in 1868 his widow Marie Elise, née Fenger (+ 1885) lived at the farm for some years after having sold a large part of the estate. She transferred Nørre Vosborg in 1878 together with Skærum Mølle, Nørre Tang and the rest of the estate to her son-in-law bryggeriejer Henrik Stampe Valeur, who in his short ownership established the large plantation northeast of the farm down to Storå (river). Since his early death in 1880 Nørre Vosborg belonged to his widow, etatsrådens oldest daughter fru Christine Lorentze Tang Valeur, who in her long life faithfully held on to the paternal traditions and protected the rich memories of the farm and the family. In 1923 she gave Nørre Vosborg to two sister's children, skoleinspektør frøken Anna Tang Barfod and her brother Peter Niels Andreas Tang Barfod. At the end of 1931 the brother became the sole owner and moved into Vosborglille.

In 1946 it looked as though Nørre Vosborg's time as a manor was out. Godsejer Tang Barfod sold it to a couple of property-dealers who wanted to outparcel the old manor. Some areas had already been sold, when overretssagfører Janus Frederik Krarup, owner of Nordfeld, intervened on behalf of the family, since he as a great-grandchild of Niels Kiær Tang, suddenly arrived as a buyer. The old family estate was saved, the main part of the culture-historical valuable inventory, the old furniture, family portraits etc. were allowed to stay in their old place. Krarup worked until his death untiringly to consolidate the neglected estate ; after a fire in 1949 the southern farm wing and the dilapidated castle was restored in 1954-60. After Janus Krarup's death Nørre Vosborg was owned by his widow fru Margrethe Krarup.

Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 13, Nørre Vosborg, by arkivar, cand mag. S. Nygård.

Nørre Vosborg was recently restored with finish in 2008.

Nørre Vosborg today:

photo 2006/2008: grethe bachmann


Jane Teague said...

Thank you for this interesting blog. I am searching for information on the Gjedde family. If you have further information, I would be very grateful to receive it.

Jane Teague said...

You may contact me via email.

Thyra said...

Hello! I haven't got any information about the family Gjedde. I can recommend you to search Google: Gjedde and you'll get a site with Ove Gjedde.
Kind regards

Jane Teague said...

Thanks for your reply. It is, indeed, that line that I am trying to link up to. But, I am missing some critical information. Fortunately, more and more information is being translated and placed online, so the search will continue.

Jenny said...

Hello, one of my ancestors, Nicolai Wissing, was manager of Sønder Vosborg/Nørre Vosborg in the late 1700s. I found your article very interesting reading. Wondering, do you have any information regarding Nicolai Wissing?

Jenny (Australia)

Thyra said...

I'm sorry Jenny, I haven't got any information about your ancestor Nicolai Wissing. If I find any I'll remember you. Thanks for kind words.

Unknown said...

However, may be it will interest you that Christian Noe Tang rented a property in Viborg from a Wissing

Jenny said...

Interesting Knud, wondering if you have any further information.