Äskults By – the story of a farming village beyond Schwedenrot

South of Gothenburg and near Kungsbacka we discover some exciting and rather unknown sights. A little out of the way is the almost forgotten farming village of Äskhults By. Here we come across the story of a now uninhabited village, which reveals the other side of our transfigured “typically Swedish”.

Äskhults By – turn. Arrive. Stay.

Äskhults By is a small remote village on a small mountain hill between Kungsbacka and Åsa in Halland, Sweden. It has not been inhabited for a long time. And grass almost grew over his story. If it hadn’t been for someone who wanted to keep it. He was the only person who lived in Äskhults By to the end and to the end. And we made every effort to ensure that Äskhults By is preserved for posterity

Äskhults By – A village. Four yards. Four stories.

There were four farms in Äskhults By, the owners of which were recorded in a judicial document in Kungsbacka in the 17th century.

In the middle of the small village, a loamy square was created and the farms of Bengts, Derras, Jönsas and Göttas were built around it. A total of 11 buildings were built. Their gardens are still surrounded by typical Småland fences and stone walls.
Today, as then, narrow paths lead through Äskhults By in the shape of a cross and intersect at the village square. In each quarter of this intersection there is a courtyard with corresponding land.
Each farm included five to six acres of land. Mainly fiber flax, black oats, grain and spring rye were grown. The leaves of the ash forests were often used as animal feed.

The cultivation of the flax brought the greatest profit in Äskhults By, because the farmers spin it themselves and their wives wove it with their own looms for textiles and small carpets. These products came to the markets in the area.

Bengt Pehrsson and his Bengts farm in Älskhults By

But who was Bengt Pehrsson, who settled here in Älskhults By? Who were the people who lived here in Älskhults By anyway? And how did they live?

Bengt Pehrsson’s farm dates back to 1610, but Bengt Pehrsson didn’t buy it until 1785. He was an expert in his field and was a freelance farmer with his own land in North Halland. p>

Around 1800 Bengt Pehrsson was a member of the Swedish parliament, which at that time only met every three years. Bengt Pehrsson has served on a commission and on appeal and finance committees. Also in the supply committee and a committee for civil legislation.

Like the Jönssons, he was a lay appraiser and took over their duties after the end of their unpopular and feared era in the village. Perhaps Bengt Pehrsson brought some modern achievements from his Stockholm travels to the remote Älskhults By that were not known before, perhaps such special things as coffee or potatoes?

Bengt had seven children with his wife Gunla, two of them died without growing up. The foundations of the house, a one-room house that Bengt lived in, can still be seen today.

In 1812 Bengt became a widower and stayed on Älskhults By until his own death.

< strong> The farm

The Bengt farm is located in the south-western part of Älskhults By. The owner’s house dates back to 1850 and is the youngest house in Älskhults By. It replaced its predecessor – the old house was a little closer to the village square. It was built by Bengt Pehrsson’s six grandchildren.

The farm is overgrown with grass and has had a small orchard since 1940. On the southeast side of the barn there used to be a chicken coop.

The barn on the farm is the oldest building in Älskhults By and dates back to the 17th century. While it lies directly on the ground on the north side, it had to be supported on the sloping south side with a limestone-walled foundation that is between 42 centimeters and 120 centimeters high.

In 1902, Petter sold the farm to his Son Anders Pettersson. He in turn left the house to his daughter Albertina and her husband Johan August Andersson.

Gottfrid Pettersson and his Derras farm in Älskhults By

Gottfrid Pettersson was the last tenant at Derras farm in Älskhults By. He was the youngest resident in Älskults By in the 1930s. His parents were Petter Olsson and his second wife, 33 years his junior, Johanna Ljungren.

Gottfrid’s younger brother, Carl, emigrated to the USA. There he died of the Spanish flu at the age of 24.

Carl and Gottfrid also had an older stepsister, her name was Mathilda. Mathilda was born out of wedlock to Johanna Ljungren when she was 22 years old. But Mathilda also died at the age of 23.

At some point Gottfrid’s father also died, so Gottfrid ran the Derras farm with his mother. But soon his mother died too, Gottfrid was left alone.

It is said of Gottfrid that he was always a very friendly and helpful neighbor, but that he also liked to withdraw into nature. But he was also known for his storytelling skills about fighting and poaching and for his pronounced dialect.

One of the stories was about his moose hunt. With a fellow hunter he built his own ammunition and went on stalking with it. Then Gottfried shot a moose, but it didn’t fall, but ran on. So Gottfrid had to follow him and shoot again. But the moose was still not dead. So he killed the animal with a hunting knife and cut it up. Then he had to carry it home bit by bit, after all, it was on foreign land.

Finally, the remaining inhabitants in Älskhults By died, Gottfried was the only resident of this small farming village until 1964. Then he also died of tuberculosis at the age of 66.

There are still people who still know Gottfrid. The best place to meet her is in a café.

Jöns Jönsson and his farm Jönsas in Älskhults By

Jöns Jönsson bought his farm in 1734. And he was a bad person. He tyrannized the entire Älskult By. Apparently, this evil could be passed on from generation to generation for about 100 years. Some of the residents of the other farms were scared to death of the Jönsson and the parties repeatedly went to court.

In 1744 a cow boy accidentally entered the Jönssons’ land. The 13-year-old son of the Jönssons then put his dog on the cow, which then stressed her until she died.

The injured party did not dare to go to court. But he reported about it in the village. After all, he had two witnesses. This made the Jönssons so angry that they took the injured party to court. At least the two witnesses did not testify out of fear. The injured party had to bear the legal costs himself.

At that time the small villages had their own church pews and so it happened in 1748 that the 18-year-old daughter Anna Andersdotter from Göttas Hof was in the church Part of the bench where the Jönssons normally sat. The Jönssons’ daughter, who felt superior, came and asked the girl to give way. But she answered who she should give way for and pushed the Jönsson daughter onto the lap of the person sitting next to her.

Fighting was not allowed in the church, so the Jönssons sued the girl from Götta’s court because of disturbance of the church peace. The service had not even started yet.

The girl was sentenced to a heavy fine, but had grown weak and penniless. Because of that she had to go to jail for 16 days with bread and water.

The Göttas Hof

In the southeast area of ​​Älskhults By is Göttas Hof. The house is in the middle of the courtyard. Stable, barn and cellar can be reached all around. The Göttas Hof is the best preserved farm in Älskhults By and is typical of its time.

A joinery and a woodshed belong to its facility. The rear building once had a peat roof, but was converted into a front building in the 19th century.

The kitchen was only used during the summer months for washing, cooking, brewing and slaughtering.

The tiled roof dates from the late 19th century, the canopies were added at the beginning of the 20th century.

Anders Persson bought the farm in 1755 and the first known owner is in 1630 Amund Andersson called. The brothers Aron and Albin lived on the farm until 1945.

Kirstin Eriksdotter

Kirstin Eriksdotter lived in the first half of the 18th century. In the middle of the 18th century she was beheaded at Älvsborg fortress for child murder. Before that, she worked as a maid for forestry chief Jernsköld, who was also the father of her child. But he denied that and was therefore not responsible.

Kirstin was born at Göttas Hof, when her mother was already 50 years old. Kirstin was the eighth and youngest child. Her parents were Gunnila and Erich Andersson. Kirsten found work on a farm in Smedstorp and probably gave birth to an illegitimate child. But no one saw it. She denied it too, and that’s how the police came in. The policeman responsible took Kirstin to a neighboring farm and had her breasts “milked” by three “sensible” women.

In fact, she was able to give milk. As a result, Kirstin was arrested, she was 21 years old at the time. Her mother still lived in Älskhult, but her father had died in the meantime.

At first she denied, but was confessed with the help of some aquavit. She gave birth to her baby in the attic, but since the child was very weak, she suffocated it. She burned the afterbirth in the oven in the kitchen and put the dead baby in the nearby river.

During the interrogation, Kirstin also provided the name of the nanny’s father Jernsköld, for whom she worked as a maid, upon request. But a maid interviewed as a witness should not have noticed an intimate relationship.

For the second hearing, Kirstin came to the Älsborg. One soldier testified that Jernsköld could not be the child’s father. She was then sentenced to death by beheading and then burning at the stake. According to the understanding of the time, this prevented her from entering heaven. Kirstin died at the age of 23.

Although attempts were still made to prove paternity to Jernsköld, he repeatedly denied, so the proceedings against him were dropped

Nils Brogren

Nils Brogren from Släp is responsible for the preservation of the small farming village of Älskhults By. For him, Älkshults By was his real home, which he loved. Nils Brogren lived from 1913 to 2012, so he witnessed the last lively phase on Älkshults By and the transformation into today’s museum village.

Actually, Nils Brogren was born and raised in neighboring Släp. A certain Anna-Lina worked for his parents around 1900 and later for his grandmother. And apparently she could infect Nils Brogren with her enthusiasm for Älskhults By. She was considered a very sensitive and thoughtful woman.

Nils was the second youngest of nine children and Anna Lina looked after him. With the death of Nil’s grandmother in 1929, Anna-Lina also lost her job and moved to live with her brother-in-law and niece on the Bengts’ farm. When Nils packed his bike at the age of seventeen in the summer of 1930 to visit Anna Lina in Älskhult, he fell in love with this village. Anna Lina showed him Älskhults By and introduced her to all of its residents.

Nils kept coming back and it wasn’t long before the residents of Älskhults By called him Anna Lina’s boy. Nils was so curious to learn about the life of the families in this place and the people were so open to him because they felt his enthusiasm for their homeland.

Then came the end for Älkshults By and Nils could do not accept that this village should simply die to itself. We owe him to him that, thanks to his vehement commitment, Älkshults By is now a living museum village and that we can participate in the stories of the people who lived here.

This is how we took photos

All pictures were taken with the Leica SL 601 and the Leica SL 75mm f / 2. To capture the gravity of life back then, we spontaneously took photos in the pouring rain. All recordings are unprocessed directly from the camera.

More about Äskhults By

We describe Äskhults By with numerous other photos here.

To the official website of Äskhults By click here .

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