Assens (Asnæs) is mentioned in King Valdemar's Land
Register 1231, where it with its adjoining is employed for 20 marks
of gold. It is not known when it became a market town, but it still
has houses built in 1260. In 1514, Christian II decided that the
citizens of Assens should now pay tithes of their and the town's
lands, which they had hitherto paid to Gangtofte ( Gamtofte) and
Kerndorp (Kærum) churches, to Vor Frue Sognekirke in Assens, and a
few days later he gave the town a protectorate in the usual form and
confirmation of the privileges given to the mayor, council and
congregation in Assens by King Hans and kings before him, as well as
the right to enjoy the freedoms that the citizens of Odense had been
given by the former kings, of which they already had the king's
approval. In 1524 the privileges were confirmed by Frederik I, but
the exact content is not known, as the city's archive was abducted
by the Swedish troops during the occupation in 1657-60. Like several
of the Funen cities, Assens belonged to the "King's Fadebur", ie the
king was the city's direct lord and had the right to direct or
through his bailiff tax and litigation of the city (in King Hans'
time it amounted to 450 marks annually). Its name appears several
times in the Middle Ages, thus in 1305, when Erik Menved issued the
privileges for Svendborg from here, and 1396, when Queen Margrethe I
and Erik of Pomerania met in Assens to negotiate with the Holstein
counts. A large part of the city's significance lay in the fact that
it was the common crossing point from Funen to Jutland, a
circumstance which, however, also had its disadvantages, as it
entailed the transfer of troops, hospitality (duty to house
travelers) and the like. It had only one parish church, Our Lady (in
addition to the high altar, it had altars for St. Birgitte, Holy
Cross, St. Catharine and St. Gertrud), several guilds, including a
St. George's Guild, a Holy Spirit House and a monastery.
The provost of Tofte had been appointed superintendent of the House of the Holy Spirit, a foundation for the poor and sick, in which the care has presumably been carried out by a kind of clerical brotherhood. The period in which the foundation functioned and its location are unknown; it is first mentioned in 1472, when Eiler Hardenberg and Otto Skinkel gave it two farms in Balslev and Viby. At the beginning of the 16th century, the provost apparently handed it over to the Carmelite Order, possibly so that the buildings could instead be used for the Our Lady or Carmelite Monastery, which was then founded in Assens; in return, the monastery then had to build a new hospital. Thanks to the first prior, the preacher Morten Petersen, the monastery was quickly recognized, but after Petersen's resignation in 1514 it quickly declined, and in 1515 the Carmelites were obliged to hand over the provost in Tofte all the treasures, letters and privileges of the Holy Spirit in return for retain its buildings and chapel and erect the new Holy Spirit Hospital. The hospital was apparently built in "Sankt Gertruds Kloster", which Resen says has been located on the square between Strandgade, Strandgyde, Ramsherredgyde and Ramsherred. Our Lady's Monastery was closed down relatively quickly, especially as a result of the efforts of the reformer Peder Laurentsen; he had been a monk here. In 1530 the buildings were handed over to the mayor and the council for demolition; where they have been lying is not known.
Just outside the city there has been a chapel (a field is still called Kappelmarken) and a health spring.
After the Reformation, which quickly gained ground in Assens, carried forward by the above-mentioned Laurentsen and Chr. Hull, the Count's Feud brought a hard time for the city. It immediately declared its support for Christian 2. In March 1535, Johan Rantzau began to besiege the city, and the day after the battle of Øksnebjerg, on June 12, 1535, it was stormed and plundered after a large part of the citizens had left it. The city was heavily taxed and, moreover, reportedly punished with the demolition of its old fortifications with ring walls and gate towers, but this is shown only to some extent true. In 1628, by royal order, the city again received a fortification consisting of a rampart, which apparently had five bastions and a tomb in front; in the ramparts there were four brick gates, which probably originated from the old fortification, and of the ring walls, both south of Adelgade and out to the beach, which has previously gone much higher up, foundations have been found in the 19th century. In addition to the four stone gates, which were named after the streets they closed: Strandport, Ladegaardsport, Ramsherredsport and Østerport (demolished in 1859, 1841, 1851 and 1845, respectively), there were, probably in the 18th century, two fence gates, Kongens Port and Mølleport (in Ny Adelgade and Damgade).
The city rose quite quickly after the Count's Feud and later in
the 16th century made Nyborg rank controversial as Funen's second
most important city. But prosperity was severely damaged by the
Swedish War of 1657-60. Assens was perhaps the city on Funen that
suffered the most. It was plundered on January 30, 1658 and later
often set on fire and tortured with accommodation. The damage was
estimated by the men of the town in 1660 at over 59,900 rigsdaler.
Under the dictatorship
By 1672 it had 1,084 inhabitants, and by 1769 the number had risen only to 1,139. In the 19th century, on the other hand, it grew significantly.
Assens has had a Latin school, which was closed in 1740.
Assens anno 1778
"Assens" Købstad in Assens County, Fyens Stift, is located 5 miles from Odense, 4 from Faaborg and 4 from Middelfart. The city's coat of arms is a lamb with a flag 1591.
The church is considerable with an octagonal tower and an octagonal spire, on the east side a smaller octagonal spire, all with lead coated, called Our Lady's Church and got a number of additions 1500 by Peder Berrildsen. The pulpit is a beautiful sculptural work, heavily gilded, the baptismal font is also very beautiful. In the city are two Danish schools, five poor stalls. The town hall consists of two storeys of half-timbering. Now there is only one mayor, who is also town bailiff, and one town and town hall clerk. The exchange is held on Tuesday.
Of private buildings there are 260, among which a
number of large farms, however all of half-timbering, which in some
years are much improved and insured for 70,300 rigsdaler in the fire
box. There are 13 streets, a square and four foundation-walled posts
(water pumps). The inhabitants consist of 5 clergy, 11 royal
officers, 10 merchants, 103 artisans, a total of 170 citizens and
830 people, in addition to a squadron of dragoons.
The town has five ships, a yacht and some boats. The harbor is pretty good, as a reef from the headland shoots far out into the sea and allows the vessels to be safe. The ferries are two open tastings, a mail hunt and two large boats. The city lands are 176 barrels 6 bushes hartkorn. Everyone has their share for themselves. There are two grain and groats mills and a tamping mill for a field preparation by a stream just outside the city. The consumption is 2,830 rigsdaler. Markets are held on June 27, October 7 and October 28.
At Assens there are three springs, one by the shore called a sacred spring. The second is located a bit from there by the beach and the third up in the field, it has excellent water.
The early industrialization
The construction of the Funen main line, which reduced the town's catchment area, as well as the cessation of the regular steamship connection with Southern Jutland after the war in 1864, damaged the town a lot, and the population decreased quite significantly in the following decades. From the beginning of the 1880s, however, it began to grow again as a result of the construction of the Assens-Tommerup line in 1884.
Assens' population as a whole was increasing in the late 1800s, but stagnated in the early 1900s: 2,963 in 1850, 3,262 in 1855, 3,589 in 1860, 3,461 in 1870, 3,196 in 1880, 4,026 in 1890, 4,665 in 1901 , 4,645 in 1906 and 4,629 in 1911.
Factories and industrial plants at the turn of the century included:
Assens Sukkerfabrik (a large building complex to the southwest outside the city, built 1883-84 according to drawings by Professor Ove Petersen, belonging to De Danske Sukkerfabrikker; it produced 12 to 15 million pounds of sugar annually; during the campaign it employed about 250, outside the 70 workers )
A pig slaughterhouse (near the sugar factory, built 1883-84 according to drawings by architect Levy, belonging to the joint stock company "De danske Svineslagterier" established in 1897) in Copenhagen)
Bavarian and white beer brewery "Vestfyn" (a limited company established in 1885, share capital DKK 117,000; the annual production was approximately 3,000 td. Bavarian and 2,000 td. White beer)
An iron foundry and machine factory (22 workers)
A garment factory (14-15 workers)
A water and steam mill (Kaals Mølle)
A chocolate factory
A meat factory
Two lime works
A hat factory