Bosjökloster Castle

Bosjökloster Castle


Location: Lake Ringsjön, Höör Municipality Map

Found: originally constructed in 1080 as a monastery by the monks from the Benedictine order

Official site


History of Bosjökloster Castle

Bosjökloster or Bosjo Abbey is a actually a former monastery that stands on the shores of Lake Ringsjön in the Höör Municipality of Sweden. Bosjökloster Castle was originally constructed in 1080 as a monastery by the monks from the Benedictine order. During Danish Reformation that swept through the region Bosjökloster was disbanded as a religious complex and instead it was turned into a castle for the Danish Royal army. Later in 1560 Danish king Frederick II of Denmark gave Bosjökloster Castle as a present to a noble woman and a widow Thale Ulfstand. Her initials and a date "1569" carving are still visible on the old oak that grows by the entrance of the complex. In 1908 Count Philip Bonde bought the castle and his descendants still own Bosjökloster castle. It is open to the public and houses a restaurant inside. Additionally Bosjökloster Castle serves as a stage for various bands that visit it. You can check the official site for open hours and performances.



Bosjökloster is located on a peninsula between Västra Ringsjön and Östra Ringsjön, about 6 km south of Höör in the middle of Skåne. Today, Bosjökloster is connected to the mainland in the north, but in the south they are separated by a narrow canal. During the Middle Ages, the southern connection between the two lakes was 700 m wide, and in the north there was a strait for most of the year. The property was thus completely surrounded by water. The southern strait was already called Pramdragh in 1385, which means that there was a ferry here. The first bridge over Pråmdragarsundet was built in 1866–1870, during the time of Count Corfitz Beck-Friis.

The Middle Ages
Bosjökloster was one of three medieval nuns in Skåne. The others were Börringe monastery and S: ta Maria & S: t Peders monastery in Lund. All nuns belonged to the Benedictine order. The monastery was built on a large island in Ringsjön, whose water level before the 19th century was significantly higher than now.

Through a preserved papal letter, issued by Pope Lucius III around 1182, the pope takes the monastery under his protection. The letter states that it could have been founded through a donation by the great man over Skåne and Halland named Tord Thott "the bearded" Gaggae, a former Viking chief who was later baptized. Tord Thott Gaggae was still alive at the time of writing the letter. Tord donated 31 farms to the monastery, along with half of all fishing in Ringsjön. The other half would go to the monastery at his death, so that his soul might rest in peace. It also appears that the convent was governed by a prioress named Julian, not an abbess. This shows that the monastery was subordinate to one of the archdiocese's main monasteries, which had to appoint a prior to monitor its financial transactions. The first prior was also a monk, Petrus, from the All Saints Monastery in Lund.

Bosjökloster was a very rich monastery foundation. During the Middle Ages, the monastery's farm stock was continuously expanded through donations. In 1525, the entire farm stock amounted to 216 farms in Skåne. To this possession of goods must be added the one-time fee that each newly entered nun had to pay. In 1402, for example, the fee amounted to 20 marks of silver and 1502 to 100 marks of money per novice. In addition, the monastery was exempt from a number of taxes. Most of the nuns thus came from the rich Scanian families. There were several noblewomen in the monastery, from among the families Galen, Rosensparre and Thott. This was often the solution of the rich families for daughters whom they did not succeed in marrying off.


The monastery buildings

Through major renovations in the 19th century, much of the medieval settlement has disappeared or undergone major changes. The architect and art historian CG Brunius worked with the church itself in the 1850s, while Helgo Zettervall in the 1870s changed the eastern and southern lengths of the castle. The monastery length that once formed the western side of the monastery had disappeared before but is depicted as a ruin on a copper engraving from the 1680s.

The monastery church consists of an apse, a relatively small choir, a very high nave and a west tower. The apse is special, built of sandstone with vertical licenses and an exterior, low-lying murnish. It has great similarities with the apse in the nearby Fulltofta church and can be dated to the middle of the 12th century. The west tower was added during Brunius' restoration. Previously, the church bells hung in a free-standing belfry in the cemetery north of the church. During the rebuilding in the 1850s, the four small windows that sat at the top on the south side of the nave also disappeared. Instead, Brunius installed tall windows in both the southern and northern nave walls.

The nuns have had access to the monastery church from the second floor in the western length of the monastery. In 1983, the church's south longhouse wall was examined and a walled entrance was found high up in the western part of the wall. From the now-disappeared monastery length, the nuns have thus entered the church on a wooden balcony to hold their masses. In the western gable wall, a number of walled-in so-called sound pots were found, which had the function of amplifying the sound of the nuns' singing. Such sound pots are usually found in the choir where the chorus was performed. The placement of the sound pots in the upper part of the western gable wall supports the theory that this is where the nuns stayed during the mass. The church cows are also far too small to accommodate the nuns of an entire convent convention.

In the choir, on the north side of the arch, there is a well-preserved fresco of Saint Apollonia. The painting was made in the 15th century after the vault was beaten in the chancel. Apollonia was a virgin who, according to legend, suffered martyrdom in the 250s, after having all her teeth extracted. She is therefore still the patron saint of dentists. In the picture in Bosjökloster's church, she is holding a large pair of pliers in her hand, in which there is a protruding tooth. Why this saint was given such a prominent place in the monastery church is not clear. Perhaps the nuns owned a relic of the saint that was part of the pilgrimages to the church that the pope gave several times for.


After the Middle Ages
After the Reformation, the monastery was drawn into the crown in 1536 and given as a grant to Torben Bille, the recently deposed Catholic archbishop of Lund. However, the nuns had the opportunity to stay for the rest of their lives. After Torben Bille's death in 1551, the grant passed to Hans Barnekow. In 1560 the estate was divided between Mrs. Thale Ulfstand and Sten Rosensparre. In the same year, the last nuns moved from Bosjökloster to the former St. Peder's monastery in Lund.

With Thale Ulfstand, the ancient monastery came into the hands of a powerful woman. In 1552 she had married Povel Laxmand, who died five years later. The couple had three children, Povel, Birte and Holger. Thale Ulfstand came to live as a widow at Bosjökloster for the rest of her life. On Midsummer's Eve 1562, his son Holger Laxmand drowned in Ringsjön. He is depicted on a tombstone that today stands in the church tower tower.

In the choir of the church hangs on the north wall a large painted epitaph over the noble families Ulfstand and Laxmand. Below the epitaph is a text indicating the names and years of death of the depicted. Mrs. Thale Ulfstand kneels in the middle and her year of death has only been marked with a one. She was the last to die of all depicted and her year of death 1604 was never painted there. The epitaph must therefore have been made at the end of the 16th century.

On a magnificent tombstone in the western longhouse wall is Mrs. Thale depicted with her husband Povel Laxmand, died 1557, and their son Poul Laxmand, died 1579. On another tombstone is her daughter Birte Laxmand with her first husband Peter Bille, died 1581, and Birte Laxmand's second husband Corfitz Grubbe, died 1592. Mrs. Thale and her husband are also depicted on paintings on the doors of the altar cabinet. This altar cabinet was probably made in the 1510s and was donated to the church in 1588 by Birte Laxmand.

After Mrs. Thales' death in 1604, Bosjökloster soon came into the possession of the Beck family. In 1628 the castle was taken over by Jochum Beck. He was one of Denmark's richest men and father of Jacob Beck, ancestor of the Beck-Friis family. After unsuccessful deals with, among other things, Andrarum's alum farm, he was forced to sell the estate to the powerful Corfitz Ulfeldt, married to the Danish king Kristian IV's daughter Leonora Christina. Corfitz Ulfeldt became a Danish traitor during the war between Sweden and Denmark 1657–1658, when he joined the Swedish king Karl X Gustav. After Corfitz Ulfeldt also betrayed the Swedish king, Bosjökloster was taken over by the Swedish crown, and it was not until 1735 that Ulfeldt's grandson Corfitz Ludvig Beck-Friis succeeded in regaining the estate. The origin of the Beck-Friis family is the Danish ancestral family Beck, who owned Bosjökloster's castle and Gladsax hus, with several Scanian castles. Baron Lave Gustaf Beck-Friis (1834–1904), was the last Beck-Friis to own Bosjökloster. When Baron Lave Beck-Friis died, the castle was sold in 1908, after about 280 years in the possession of the Beck and Beck-Friis family, to Count Philip Bonde, in the Bonde family. Count Philip Bonde created a model farm on the farm.

In 1908, the property was thus acquired by Count Philip Bonde and his wife, Countess Anna Bonde. Their son Carl-Philip Bonde eventually took over the property. In 1962, he and his wife Ellen Bosjökloster's castle opened to the public. Their youngest son Thord Bonde (born 1941) now runs Bosjökloster, together with his family. During the 1980s, extensive restorations were carried out on all stable buildings. The castle complex has tens of thousands of visitors annually from Sweden and other countries.