Ten dramatic highlights from the history of Hvedholm
For five centuries, Hvedholm Manor passed from one generation of the family to the next until a new law spelled ruin for the owners. Join us in exploring the crazy history of the estate and, in particular, the family.
1. Hvedholm is mentioned for the first time in King Valdemar Sejr’s court roll from 1231, where it was listed as the royal estate Horn.
2. In 1430, the king exchanged estates with a noble family, in whose possession Hvedholm remained for the next 500 years.
3. Two generations later, Erik Hardenberg inherited the family seat. He died at the Battle of Hemmingstedt, where he became trapped in the mud by his heavy armour. This made him – and the 359 other nobles who died there – an easy target for the local peasant farmers, who knew the territory.
4. His son, Jacob Hardenberg, then took over the titles of estate owner and count. On his death, Jacob was succeeded by his wife, Sophie Lykke, who ran the estates and attended to the duties of a countess. The farmers complained about her strictness, but a series of threats was sufficient to deal with that issue.
5. Two generations later, estate owner Erik Bille ran his cousin, Jørgen Rud, through with a rapier, fatally wounding him. Erik Bille then fled the country and did not return until a settlement had been reached with the Rud family.
6. In 1611, the estate passed into the hands of Jørgen Brahe, who became a defining figure over the next 40 years. He owned nine estates – including five in South-East Fyn – and was known as “The little king of Fyn”.
7. After a couple of generations of Brahe remained childless, Hvedholm came into the possession of 16-year-old Preben Bille Brahe. In 1810, he presented the “jewel” of Hvedholm library, the mediaeval handwritten Hornebogen, to the “Oldnordisk Museum” (the precursor to the National Museum of Denmark).
8. During the war of 1864, the booming of the guns at Dybbøl Skanse could be heard at Hvedholm. The castle also received wounded Danish soldiers from the front. At the churchyard a few hundred metres from the castle, there is a communal grave and a memorial to the soldiers who died at Hvedholm.
9. When the law barring conversion of entailed estates into fee simple was passed in 1919, estate owner Hendrik Bille-Brahe-Selby was unable to pay the public duties of 25 percent of the value of all the property, land and interior to the state. He had three estates at that time and had to sell two of them to cover his debt. One of these was Hvedholm. The state then used the main building as a nursing home under the Mental Hospital in Middelfart.
10. In 1996, Hvedholm was purchased by new owners who converted it into a castle hotel, which it remains to this day.
The manor tales are written by Linda Corfitz