Land ownership by farmers in Stadsbygd is relatively recent. King Harald Hárfagre (Fairhair or Finehair) Halvdansson (ca. 835-933) took ownership of the land in Stadsbygd away from the farmers in 870, and farmer ownership was not restored at Håssåker and Myr until 1769. In the intervening nine centuries, all farmers were tenants.
The Angell Foundations (Angellske Stiftelser) provided a loan in 1769 which enabled my great-great-great grandfather, Jens Christensen Haarsager, to be the first bruker of Håssåker in 900 years to own the ground he farmed. The loan had a very long term – the last payment was not made until 1920!
following story about the Angell family by
Olaf Kringhaug was posted to the Trøndelag genealogy e-mail list on
several centuries before 1650,
The family increased their fortune through good business skills, fiscal responsibility and judicious marriages. Two of the sons married daughters of the immigrant English merchant, Thomas Hammond, who had large holdings in Selbu and Tydal, among other things.
passed to Albert Lorentzen (1660-1705) who married Sara Thomasdatter Hammond
(1672-1717) [editor’s note: Sara’s younger brother Johan was the ancestor of
many in Stadsbygd and Rissa through his daughter, also named Sara, who married
Henrik Horneman and with him became a prominent family in Rissa]. They had several children but only two sons
survived, Lorentz (1690-1751) and Thomas (1692-1767) Albert died in 1705 and
Sara married Søren Bygbal, another
Lorentz married but Thomas did not. Thomas led an almost solitary life, devoted to business and shunning titles and public show. Lorentz died in 1751 and Thomas continued the business, but still as a partnership. But events now led to a split in the family enterprise.
only child Karen was now of marriageable age. She was no beauty but would
inherit a fortune of 300,000 riksdaler - in the parlance of the time,
about three barrels of gold. There were
many who cast their eyes on this fortune, among them Peter Fredrik Suhm from
as 1753, Thomas Angell had obtained royal permission to dispose of his fortune
as he saw fit. And in 1762 he had made
up his will leaving everything to
The twists and turns of the evolution of the Foundation are a little difficult to follow. A man of his times, Thomas Angell forbade, in his will, the selling of the lands, tithes and Røros shares the Foundation owned. This was certainly wise and far seeing when one thinks of the collapse of the Bank of Norway in 1814 and how that would have devastated any capital. However with the shift from property-based to capital wealth, it seems government stepped in and made changes in the mid 19th century. The tithes were sold for 250,000 spesiedaler or a million kroner. And most of the farms in Nordland, Selbu and Tydal were sold to their tenants at reasonable prices.
The history of the Thomas Angell's Foundations is long and complicated with interventions by the courts and government but despite inflation and bank crises, it has survived as a sign of Thomas Angell's Christian charity.
-- Olaf Kringhaug