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Yearly Inspection of Copyhold Farms and Houses

Lene Dræby Kottal
Yearly Inspection of Copyhold Farms and Houses

Count Jens Christian Carl Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs sent out a circular letter on 13 November 1834 demanding that all copyhold farms and houses under the manors Frijsenborg and Hagsholm were inspected once a year. Thereby the copyholders were regularly made aware of their obligation to maintain the buildings.

In an earlier post I showed an example of a lease letter for a copyhold farm. For the example in this post I have found a lease letter to Anders Jensen for a farm in Borritsø (Gerning Parish, Houlbjerg Hundred, Viborg County). The previous copyholder was Jens Pedersen. Anders Jensen took over the farm in June 1846.1

The synsprotokol (inspection record book) covers years 1835 to 1851 and it has been digitized. The book starts with the initial inspection carried out in 1835. Thereafter one page was assigned to each farm or house and the remarks for the subsequent annual inspections were added to the page. Each farm or house is identified by the name of the town and the name of the copyholder. If the copyhold was passed on to someone else during these years, the name of the copyholder was updated.

In the synsprotokol the farm in Borritsø held by Jens Pedersen and later Anders Jensen is listed at page 155 with a reference to the initial inspection in 1835 on page 2; both pages are shown below.2

Initial Copyhold Inspection Record 1835


Copyhold Inspection Record

At the first inspection, the following was recorded:

Borritzøe. Farmer Jens Pedersen.
a) The main building to the south, 13 sections, lacks roof over 6 side sections and repair of the windows.
b) Cowshed and living room, 15 sections, to the west, lacks roof over 7 sections and the doors must be repaired.
c) Grain barn, 11 sections, to the north, lacks roof over 2 side sections. The doors as well as the eastern wooden gable must be repaired.
d) The stables, to the east, 8 sections, in pretty good condition.
Animals and farm tools in good condition.
The copyholder committed to repair the house under letter A before the next inspection.

The following remarks were made at the subsequent inspections:

Boritzøe. Farmer Jens Pedersen, now Anders Jensen.
Letter A repaired, letter C to be repaired before next inspection.
1839. The grain barn letter C must be repaired before the next inspection.
1840. The grain barn is still in the same condition.
1841. The copyholder was imposed to repair the barn before the next inspection.
1842. The grain barn somewhat repaired, and letter B to be repaired before the next inspection.
1843. Letter B is now in a pretty good condition.
1844. The copyholder was told to repair the southern side of the main building before the next inspection.
1845. Still no shortcomings fixed and the copyholder was therefore imposed to repair the main building before the next inspection.
1846. The repair of the main building is continued.
1847. The main building is now in a pretty good condition.
1848. The farm is now in a pretty good condition.
1849. Likewise.
1850. Likewise.
1851. Likewise.

The identified records do not reveal whether Jens Pedersen gave up the copyhold voluntarily or not, but it seems likely that he could not live up to the demand for repairs. Per his lease letter, Anders Jensen had to let Jens Pedersen use a small part of the lot until he and his wife died. This correlates with details from the 1850 census, which shows dwelling 13, a house, with Jens Pedersen, his wife, six children age 1 to 12 and an old widow; and dwelling 14, a farm, with Anders Jensen, his wife, two small children, two tjenestefolk (servants, resident workers) and an old widow.Locating the farm in historical maps can provide even more material for a family history book. I gave an introduction on how to find digitized historical cadastral maps earlier this month.

Happy hunting!


Source references:

  1. Hagsholm Gods, Viborg Amt, Fæsteprotokol, 1809-1857, folio 359 recto to 360 recto; digital images, Rigsarkivet  (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?epid=21026908#330263,66426617 : accessed 27 April 2019).
  2. Hagsholm Gods, Viborg Amt, Synsprotokol, 1835-1851, page 2, entry 3; page 155; digital images, Rigsarkivet  (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=330265#330265,66426753 and https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=330266#330266,66426833 : accessed 27 April 2019).
  3. Gerning Sogn, Houlbjerg Herred, Viborg Amt, Folketællinger, 1850, page 245, dwelling 13; dwelling 14; digital images, Danish Family Search (https://www.danishfamilysearch.com/sogn1968/census/census1850/opslag7196385 : accessed 27 April 2019).
  4. The image at the top of the post: Free to use from Pexels.

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