Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Boller Castle, East Jutland, Vejle amt.

Boller Castle, 6 km east of Horsens
Uth sogn, Bjerre herred, Vejle amt.

The earliest known owner of Boller is Otte Limbek, he is in 1350 written to Boller and has, as one of the followers of the Holstein Grafs, become the owner of the manor; but Boller belonged in the end of the century to Mogens Munk (Bjælke-Munk), queen Margrethe's trusted man. In spite of this it seems they had a break , for after Mogens Munk was killed in a fight with the Holsteiners in 1410, the queen was accused of having taken his furniture and personal property at Boller; this was later given back to his brother. But earlier had queen Margrethe, according to the family books, intervened in Mogens Munk's fate, since she had forced jomfru Kirsten Pedersdatter Thott from Næs - who else was meant to be Mogens Munk's wife - to marry Jep Mus, who kidnapped her from Bosø kloster and married her in Helsingborg. This deed cost Jep Mus' his life, Mogens Munk killed him, and jomfru Kirsten moved into Boller as Mogens Munk's wife.

Mogens Munk and Kirsten Pedersdatter had three daughters. Anne, called "the haughty", married rigsråd Henrik Knudsen Gyldenstierne, who was rich in estate and by this marriage also became landlord at Boller, which he by exchange of property in 1444 increased with Dagnæs village. Fru Anne survived her husband and owned Boller until her death; in 1452 the farm with the belonging, considerable estate in the districts by Horsens went to their daughter Sophie Henriksdatter Gyldenstierne and her husband Erik Ottesen Rosenkrantz of Bjørnholm.

By this marriage Boller came into the ownership of the famous family Rosenkrantz for more than 150 years. With his far and wide estates (ab. 800 peasant farms) must Erik Ottesen Rosenkrantz undoubtedly have been one of the richest men in the country. He gave the management of Boller to his son Holger Eriksen Rosenkrantz, who is mentioned for the first time in 1485 and already at that point is written of Boller; nine years later hr. Erik conveyed the farm with belonging property to his son, and after Holger Eriksen's death in 1496 his father let - with authority from his other sons Niels and Henrik and his daughters' husbands - in 1499 issue a new letter, where Boller - while Erik still lived (he died in 1503) - was laid out to Holger Eriksen's children and their heirs, who then owned the estate forever.

Holger Rosenkrantz was married twice. With Margrethe Flemming he had the son Otte, with Anne Meinstrup, "fru Anne Holgers" - first court lady of three Danish queens, known for her masterful manners and tragic death - he had the son Holger. Otte Holgersen Rosenkrantz, who since 1508 had owned Boller, died together with his wife of plague in Lübeck in 1525 and left 6 children. His father's halfbrother Holger Holgersen Rosenkrantz got the guardianship, which did not last long, but it was mostly a way to secure the brother's children the so-called "Norwegian inheritance", which was about 1/24 of Norway's owed land, and the guardianship had not yet finished, when he was killed in the battle at Svenstrup in 1534. A message from Johan Friis to Anders Sørensen Vedel makes it obvious that the terrors of the civil war also had been close to Boller. The peasant-army attacked the fortificated Boller.

In the meantime were Otte Holgersen Rosenkrantz' children grown-up, and in 1537 the guardianship went to the oldest brother, Holger Ottesen Rosenkrantz, who was born in 1517. He had just returned after an education abroad and was now full-time occupied by taking care of the family estate. Holger Rosenkrantz is mentioned of Boller in 1540, when he gave Christian III a money supply, and from 1548 he took permanent residence at Boller after having married Mette Krognos. But he was not the sole owner until 1551 after various family matters about exchange and inheritance had been solved. The farm had now achieved an owner, whose name shows everywhere in the history of that time, in politics and diplomacy, in administration and military, and also at court, and with a close personal relation to the king. He was appointed governor in Nørrejylland (1567-1575) and he was Danmarks Riges marsk (military top chief) until 1573.

In connection to his collecting estate Holger Rosenkrantz was allowed to place the villages Tyrsted, Ustrup and Nedergård and a farm Rold under Boller birk (judicial district); he got jus patronatus of Tyrsted and Uth church and in 1574 a gift letter of Sejet church, the church land etc. and allowance to break down the church to re-use the materials for his parish church in Uth. He started some building work on both Boller and at another property, Rosenvold, but death interrupted his plans. He probably only achieved to build the northern house at Boller. He was a man, who wanted to help others, he let buy and place books in Uth, Tyrsted and Hatting church, and in his position as a vasal at Bygholm he established Horsens hospital and made the king give favours; he also gave some estate - which his parents had founded for masses in Mariager kloster - to the hospital, since the masses were now abandoned; he set up five beds at the hospital with rights for himself and his heirs to choose them for poor people. The old inventory from Skt. Hans kloster at Horsens - which he by a special royal favour was allowed to keep - was given to the hospital.

With many important state assignments, as the owner of widespread and rich estate and with his good relations to the king he had a prominent position in the social life of that period. From what is told about him is it obvious that he was a Renaissance man. He did not spend much of his time at his estate Boller, even his son Otte Christoffer's birth and a younger son's baptism were celebrated elsewhere. He died at Bygholm in 1575 and was brought to Boller, where he was buried in his parish church in Uth. His wife Karen Gyldenstierne, whom he had married in 1568, was an active and energetic lady, but also somewhat stubborn and self-assured, her authoritity often turned into aggression. She managed the estate during her son's underage years with a firm hand.

First of all she wanted to find a resting place for her husband, befitting his rank - the strong Renaissance sense of the undying fame. The year after his death she let Uth old church break down and let build a new three-naved church; she decorated it with the impressive, characteristic painting of Holger Rosenkrantz, herself and their four sons, and she let set up the beautiful altar piece. She increased the family estate via numerous exchange of property, and Boller's and Rosenvold's adjoining land grew fast. She had given her sons the best of educations and in wise dispositions she had managed for each of them that they could enter a large estate with widespread adjoining land and a perfect finished main building. After in 1585 having re-built Rosenvold, she finished in 1588 the main building at Boller, which is told at the inscription-tablets on both manors. She - "fru Karen Holgers" - had now taken care of her closest family, and after Otte Christoffer had become of age and took over Boller as a married man, she could now withdraw to the rich Skt. Hans kloster, which her husband had achieved in 1575. She re-created it into Stjernholm, a name she decided herself.

However she was still active and energetic, and she became a difficult and expensive neighbour of the citizens of Horsens town. They probably felt relieved, when she died in 1613 and was brought from Horsens to the family burial in Uth church. Her last years were troublesome. Her son Frederik was in 1599 given a hard punishment for his relationship to Rigborg Brockenhuus and died three years later in exile. Also Otte Christoffer Rosenkrantz was a troublemaker. His richness turned completely his head, he spent money for splendour and glory, and he was involved in raising loans at high interests and lost great sums. He contracted debts, and raised loans and contracted debts etc. etc...... When he died was only Boller left from his large and rich estate, and his debts were 100.000 rigsdaler, an enormous sum at that time. His finansial transactions were a pathetic counter-example of his father and mother's strong, deserving administration.

The ill-treated Boller manor was still in danger. The creditors from Holstein threatened to take the estate, and Otte Christoffer's heirs, the son Holger and three daughters, were in such a difficult position that they sold the estate in 1621 to fru Ellen Marsvin, and at the same time they came under some administration in order to secure that the interests of the debts were paid with the interests of the purchase price. This was a painful getting through. Both Boller and Rosenvold had vanished from the ownership of the family Rosenkrantz only eight years after the death of the rich Karen Gyldenstierne, and the new owner, who was a widow after Ludvig Munk of Nørlund (+1602), could join an imposant estate to her other considerable properties.

She did not own Boller and Rosenvold for many years, and she had to give it up under sad circumstances, caused by her own flesh and blood. The break between her daughter, Kirsten Munk and Christian IV caused among other things that the king after in vain having asked for Boller and Rosenvold commanded Ellen Marsvin "without any trouble" to give the estates to her daughter. Nothing is known why the king had disposal of the estates, as if he was the owner; perhaps had he given Ellen Marsvin money to buy Boller and Rosenvold for her daughter instead of another promise about a vasalry, but the order of cession was from 1. May 1630. Ellen Marsvin had to follow order, but tried to rescue as much as possible for herself, she took both the large furniture and movables, and broke down from the building what she could bring with her.

Chr. IV wanted in this way to stop his mistress Kirsten Munk from making trouble. When she left the king in January 1630 she went from one family to another in order to intrigate; the king intervened and put a stop to it by the mentioned arrangement, and he also referred to that it was harmful to their children that she behaved like this. Furthermore he had given her the promised vasalry, and on 13. April Kirsten Munk arrrived at Boller castle. The day after her arrival she wrote to bishop Morten Madsen in Århus, who had been a teacher for her children, that God had really to help her, for there was a terrible mess and filth at Boller, and she asked him to bring duvets and sheets, for there were only a "little to eat and nothing to sleep on". But it seems she soon got things into shape in her forced residence, for the king later wrote that "she is sitting at Boller and Rosenvold like a mighty princess".

She was not allowed to leave the two manors, but partly was the king's ban later relieved, and partly she went on various travels without permission, which meant house arrest for her at Boller under close guard. After some strange interrogations of her about her relationships to the king and the Rheingraf she was in 1635 locked up at Stjernholm for several months. Her stay on a ship at Horsens was just as much against her will, when she had to flee from the Swedes, who were said to have stolen some of her possessions at Boller.

From the Japanese garden

From the fuchsia garden and the rose garden

The Japanese garden and the old oak tree.

From the rose garden

The ownership of the large estate, which Kirsten Munk had inherited from her mother, made her able to lead a carefree life economically. As a landowner she bought much land for the Boller-estate and established a hospital at Uth church, where the maintenance was ever since paid from Boller, and in 1635 she founded a capital for Horsens kloster church. She was told to be a pious and devout woman and a good landlady for her staff. In 1658 she had a stroke and sent for her favorite daughter Leonore Christine, who came to Boller, but she was not with her mother, when she died shortly after. Her body was brought to Sct. Knud's church in Odense.

Five years after Kirsten Munk's death Boller was still in the ownership of her heirs, but was then laid out to the important businessmen Albert Baltzer Berns and Leonhard Marselis as a payment for debts of her late son grev Valdemar Christian. In 1664 it went to Mogens Friis of Favrskov and Frijsenborg. In 1844 it came under this county, while the manor Rosenvold already in 1660 was out of its 100-year old connection to Boller by a sale to gehejmeråd, stiftamtmand Henrik Rantzau. In the owner-community with Frijsenborg Boller became a part of the county and lost its independent mark. Christine Sophie Reventlow, a widow after the county's second owner Niels Friis, had Boller and Møgelkær as a life-ownership. Its third owner Christian Friis decided in 1760 that the two manors had to be a dower house for man and woman, but they had to be administered from Frijsenborg.

Among later owners were i.e. greve Jens Christian Carl Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs, who in 1849 took up residence at Boller after having given the northern part of the county to his son greve Christian Emil, who withdrew in 1882 to Boller, where he died in 1896. After this the manor had no permanent resident, and the main building was only used in huntings and other short visits from the county-owner and his family. After the county's transfer to free property in 1920 and lensgreve Mogens Friis' death in 1923 Boller was laid out with land and forests to his daughter lensgrevinde Agnes Louise Bernstorff-Gyldensteen. She sold the estate in 1930 to the Danish state.

The forests and the park were now "Boller Statsskovdistrikt", and the main parcel was sold to proprietær ("large farmer") Hans P. Andreasen. The rest of the land was outparcelled into small-holders. After a fire in 1937 the main parcel was also outparcelled into small-holders. The main building was sold by the state in 1930 to Sygekasserne (sick-benefit associations) in Horsens, Kolding and Skanderborg, an the castle was changed into a convalescense-home. The Sygekasserne sold in 1965 Boller castle to Horsens kommune (municipality).

The main building of Boller stands at its castle bank, surrounded by broad moats, but it is not marked by the first strong medieval castle-building or by the later fine castle or palace, but is more like a common manor, firmly plant upon the ground. The northern wing is the earliest. In its original look the large house had two storeys; there are no traces of towers. In the middle of the bottom storey is a hall, where the supporting pillars partly derive from a Romanesque church, and rests of Romanesque building-parts are found elsewhere in the main building. According to materials, walls and constructions the wing is late Gothic, maybe from ab. 1550 and maybe built by Holger Rosenkrantz. The materials from Sejet church was not only used at Uth church, but also at Boller.

On the eastern wing is an inscription, where Holger Rosenkrantz' widow fru Karen Gyldenstierne announces that she built this house in 1588. On both sides of the pillar-hall are Renaissance-vaults, and the eastern gable room is furnished into a kitchen with a monumental-chimney, one of the finest kitchen-rooms in any Danish manor. The two other wings are in their present look from the 18th century. During time they had become so dilapidated that they were rebuilt as new brick-built houses in 1759 with new, modern rooms. The entrance gate is at the west wing. The garden is very large and pretty. Among the sights worth seeing is a several centuries old oak. A lime tree was so big that Christian VIII, who in 1844 resided at Boller, is said to have set the table for 180 persons below the tree. It has now been cut down.

Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 15, Fra Århus til Kolding, 1967, "Boller" by museumsinspektør P. Westergård.

photo Boller slot 2002/2008: grethe bachmann


Mary C. Melchor said...

Your article on Boller Castle in East Jutland was very interesting reading. It appeared to be well researched, and was presented in a clear and concise way. I enjoyed that! Thanks for doing such a good job. Mary

Thyra said...

Thank you very much, Mary, I'm glad that you can see what it is I want. Something like this has to be trusted. If there is some legend attached to a place, then I add this, but I always tell the readers, if it's fiction and not facts.
Sorry I haven't seen this comment until now.
Grethe ´)

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