History of Håkansböle, part I

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The history of Håkansböle estate can be traced all the way back to the sixteenth century. Back then there was a Sotunki farmstead called “Hokonsbolle”, “Hokon’s new farm”. Thus, the village was named after the owner of the estate, Håkan Jönsson. Little did they know that one day the King of Sweden would visit the estate.

The cellar of the main building of Håkansböle manor is from the eighteenth century. On the wall is a portrait of Gustavus Adolphus, or Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632).
Photo: Matti Huuhka, Vantaa City Museum.

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The 17th century of cavalrymen 

In 1607, Botved Hansson from Borgå (Finnish Porvoo) took possession of two abandoned farms in Hokonsbolle, to which his wife Magdalena Mårtensdotter held the right of inheritance. One of the farms had previously belonged to Håkan Jönsson. 

In the 1610s, in exchange for paying lower taxes on his land, Hansson began to provide for a cavalryman and his horse serving the Swedish crown, a so-called 'rustholli'. Botved’s son, Elias Botvedsson, for his part, spent 25 years fighting in the Thirty Years’ War. As a token of gratitude, Queen Christina exempted him from property taxes for the estate “in perpetuity”. Elias was raised to the nobility as Elias Botvedsson Blylod.    

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The cavalry regiment for Uusimaa and Häme in 1634-1670 (left), and 1687-1778 (right), Soini Talaskivi’s paintings from 1978, Lappeenranta Museum. 

On this occasion “in perpetuity” only lasted 38 years, as the property tax exemption was withdrawn during the lifetime of Elias’ son. In 1683, King Charles XI carried out what became known as the Great Reduction, by which earlier gifts of land were reclaimed for the crown. The estate was turned into a so-called ‘seat farm’ (säterirustholli), which maintained its right to tax exemption in exchange for provisioning a cavalryman. The farm was named Fagerlund. 

Later on, additional buildings and tenant farms were added to the estate. A military official named Johan Gripenberg purchased the estate in 1695. After him, the title deeds to the property indicate ownership by various soldiers and officers, until 1760 when the seat farm was bought by Johan Sederholm. 

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In the eighteenth century, manors still looked rather similar to the houses of wealthy peasants. The oldest houses in Helsingin pitäjän kirkonkylä (lit. Helsinge Parish Village) are from the late eighteenth century.
Photo: Lauri Leppänen 1965, Vantaa City Museum. 

The Johan Sederholm period, 1760-1792 

Johan Sederholm was one of the wealthiest members of the landed gentry in the Helsinki area. Usually, the gentry would not have had the right to own a seat farm, but Sederholm had been granted the privilege by King Gustav III of Sweden. In addition to Håkansböle, Sederholm owned the manors in Hertonäs (Herttoniemi) and Gumtäkt (Kumpula). 

During Sederholm’s time, the Håkansböle manor and its lands began to be put to good use. The manor archives hold many documents signed by Sederholm himself. A park was built around the estate grounds, and a local steward was hired to take care of it. In addition, a distillery was built, which most likely sold its products to the Viapori sea fortress (Suomenlinna).

Håkansbölen kartanopuiston avajaisissa oli vieraana "Kustaa III".

During his 1775 visit to Finland, King Gustav III rested on Håkansbole land, close to Kuusijärvi lake. “Gustav III” and “Johan Sederholm” greet each other at the manorial park opening in 2011.
Photo: Pekka J. Heiskanen, Vantaa city museum.  

Eight new crofts were built on the manor grounds, in addition to the four that were already there. The village population also grew by nearly 40 per cent in less than 20 years. In 1792 Johan Sederholm sold the manor, along with its assets and animals to a court official named Carl Gustaf Krook. However, Håkansbole did not truly flourish until the mid-nineteenth century, during the time of the Munsterhjelms. 

The source material for this blog is Elina Riksman’s book Håkansbölen kartanossa - På Håkansböle gård (‘At the Håkansböle Manor’).

The blog was translated by English students Kim Keskiivari, Julia Lehtinen, Anniina Levo, Emmi Linnakangas, Neea Mantere, Django Monto, Sante Ngiesi, Tino Nirkkonen, Niko Närvä, Milla Partonen, Pilvi Pietikäinen, Leena Ravi, Pilke Valta, Luukas Viitanen, Sara Vuoni and Camilla Ylikoski, under the supervision of John Calton, lecturer in English, University of Helsinki. 

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