Female Holders of Local Jurisdiction in Denmark

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Female Holders of Local Jurisdiction in Kongeriget Danmark/ Kingdom of Denmark

Originally a "Birk" was a small jurisdiction. Many County Sheriffs (Lensmænd) and other nobles had "birkeret" - owned the jurisdiction of their estate. They had the right to appoint the judge (birkedommer) and received the income from the costs of the proceedings and fines. With the introduction of privilleges of Counts and Barons (Free Lords) in 1671, it became a possibility that the new Counties and Freelordships could function as independent jurisdiction (birker) with direct appeal from the lower court (birketing) to the Supreme Court. When the private holders (or owners) of local jurisdiction (private birkeejere) now appointed judges (birkedommer), it had to be approved by the king. As a result quite a few of the local jurisdictions were abolished and incorporated in the nearest regional jurisdiction (herred or herredsjurisdiktion - shire in English). With the democratic constitution of 1849 the private ownership of the local jurisdiction of the 48 remaining birker was transferred to the regional herred, but the courts continued to exist until 1919

tells which estates had some jurisdiction in each parish

See also Denmark Heads of State and List of Danish Female Ministers

Around 1556 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Catrina Martensen of Ophusum Birk in Slesvig
Sources tell that she had a thief executed.

1558-88 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Anne Rosenkrantz of Krenkerup
After the death of her husband, Albrecht Gøye, she lead the estate (also known as Krænkerup) in a firm and able way. As her son, Otto, died in the Seven Year War, her daughter, Margrethe inherited the estate.

1573-86 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Johanne Oxe of Ryegård Birk
After the deat of her husband, Frantz Banner. She had to give up the right in 1586.

Circa 1576-1604 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction of  Ingeborg Nielsdatter Skeel Voergård
1585-1604 Acting County Sheriff of Sejlstrup Len
1586 County Sheriff of Amtofte and Strekhals Len, Denmark
1578 Ingeborg Skeel had bought Voergård together with her mother, Karen Krabbe and they got the right of lower court in the parishes of Voer, Albæk og Skæve, which meant that they appointed the judge and got the income from fines and the costs of the law cases. She was an able farmer and trader, and administered both her own and her husband's estate. After the death of her husband, Otto Banner til Asdal, she took over the administration of the fief, and after her mother, Karen Krabbe died the following year, she took over her two small royal fiefs; Amtofte in Thy and Strekhals in Mors (Northern Jutland). There are many stories about her as an evil mistress, who killed the architect of one of her estates and a harsh employer towards the peasants, but the stories does not seem to be based on facts. She was daughter of Niels Skeel and Karen Banner, had no children, and lived (circa 1545-1604).

Around 1584 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Mette Ahlefeldt of Ophusum Birk in Slesvig
She held court (holdt ting) and had a women burned as a witch according to sources.

1588-94 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Margrethe Albrechtsdatter Gøye of Krenkerup
Inherited the estate from her mother, Anne (1558-88). Married to Peder Brahe til Krogholm in Skåne, County-Sheriff of Sølvitsborg, who was in charge of the estate in the name of their children after her death

1608 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Christence Bryske of Katholms Birk
She was holder of the jurisdiction over the Estate and the "Birk" after the death of her husband, Thomas Fasti.

1613-27 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Elisabeth Rosensparre of Krenkerup
Held the estate jointly with her brother-in-law Otto Brahe after the death of her husband Axel Brahe, as their only son had died as a child. Otto left her the estate for life and she seems to have been an able administrator. After 6 years, she married Palle Rosenkrantz, County-Sheriff of Vordingborg, where they lived and she was in charge of the fief during his absences abroad, but she died after a few years. She lived (1592-1627).

1639-53 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Barbara Wittrup of Kragerupgård
She was the widow of Christian Friis who got the right of lower jurisdiction  (birkeret) in 1627.

1643-49 Lisbeth Lunge of Krenkerup
Third wife of Palle Rosenkrantz, she did not settle the inheritance after the two oldest daughters had been married, and her only surviving son, Jørgen Rosenkrantz, took over the tenantcy.

1670-87 Birgitte Trolle til Krumstrup of Rantzausholm og Brændegård
She was granted the estate by the king. She widow of Manderup Brahe til Torbenfeld (d.1666), member of the circle of female friends of Griffenfeldt ("agerhønerne") and in 1672 she was granted the position of the estate of free lords (Barons (optaget i friherrelig) and Rantzausholm was created as the barony of Brahetrolleborg with rights of succession for her possible heirs and her brother Corfitz Trolle til Sandholt og Steensgård and his decendants. After her brother's death she was given the right to chose which of her nephews were to succeed.

1676-1720 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Berte Christensdatter Skeel of Selsø and of Holbækgård
She was daughter of Christen Skeel (d. 1659) and married to Niels Rosenkrantz til Stovgaard (d. 1676). All her four children died, she bought Selsø in 1683 and inherited Holbækgaard, which she created as a fideicommis for her brother's daughter, Charlotte Amalie Skel, in 1700.  1698 she bought Sortebrødregaard in Roskilde together with Margrethe Ulfeldt, widow of Niels Juel, and in 1699 they founded the Noble Chapter for Unmarried Ladies in (Roskilde adelige Jomfrukloster) and gave it rich grants. She lived (1644-1720).

1683-92 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Regitze Sophie Vind of Vilhelmsborg of Havreballegård Birk and Vilhelmsborg Birk
Her husband, Vilhelm Gyldenkrone, Baron Vilhelmsborg, was son of the Dutch trader, Gabriel Marselis, who became a danish noble. When he died at the age of 38, she managed the affairs of the barony for her 7 year old son, Christian, the oldest of 6 sons. She was 23 at the time. 1849 only 48 birks still existed.

1687-1705 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Mette Marie Juul of Kragerupgård
Daughter of Christian Juul, she married Mr. Lerskov and was succeeded by Jacob Lerche.

1695-1739 Benedikte Margrethe von Brockdorff of the fideicommis of Krenkerup
Daughter of Cai Brockdorff zu Bothkamp in Holsten, she took over the administration of the estates after the death of her first husband and continued after her second marriage to Count Christian Ditlev Rventlow, brother of the later Queen Anna Sophie. He was officer and diplomat and spend much of his time abroad. 1736 she laid the foundation of the fidelcomis of Stamhuset Krænkerup, wich included the Estate of Krænkerup, and the estates of Rosenlund and Nørregaard and peasents farms mainly situated in the parishes of Radsted, Slemminge, Fjelde and Thoreby. Her son, Grev Conrad Ditlev Reventlou, also inherited the County of Sandbjerg in Sønderjylland, the Barony of Brahetrolleborg in Funen og the fidelcomis of Frisenvold in Northern Jutland. He was married to Princess Wilhelmine Augusta zu Nordborg-Pløen,
Until 1699
Holder of the Local Jurisdiction Birgitte Christensdatter Skeel of Gammel Køgegaard
She inherited Gammel Køgegaard from her father and married to Christian Barnekow til Vidskøfle and after his death in 1666 she married Christoffer Greve Parsberg til Jungshoved
and finally to Privy Councillor Knud Thott til Knudstrup i Skaane og Gavnø (1638-1702). She was a close friend of Count Griffenfeld, and an able administrator, who reformed the estates and its businesses. She lived (1638-99).

1759-1819 Juliane Frederikke Christiane Reventlow of the fideicommis of Frisenvold and Krenkerup
After the death of her father Chr. Ditlev greve Reventlow who later married the Preussian Chancellor of State Carl August fyrst Hardenberg (d. 1822). Her father's Barony of Brahetrolleborg and the County of Reventlow was inherited by another relative. Her mother, Ida Lucie Scheel von Plessen.

1794-97 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction  Christine Andreasdatter Fogh of Kragerupgård
Followed her brother, Clemens Andreasen Fogh and followed by Peder Bech

1840-49 Holder of the Local Jurisdiction  Sophie Jacobine de Neergaard of Kragerupgård
The widow of Anders Didrich Dinesen. After her death, Jens Kraft Jacob Sophus Dinesen took over the estate. The system of local jurisdiction  (birkeret) was abolished with the democratic constitution of 1849. (d. 1857).


Last update 08.08.08