The Manor House

Travel across Northern Europe through this interactive exhibit that features the beautiful manor houses in Estonia & Sweden. Uncover their history, fate, and how they became associated with the Polmans.

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This exhibition is made possible by the generous contributions of Lansstyrelsen Kronoberg, the National Archives of Estonia, and Wikimedia Commons.

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Manors & Landed Estates

There were around 3,700 manors in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries, most of which were owned by the titled and non-titled nobility. In Estonia, the Baltic Germans at the height of their power in the 19th century had split the entire land-holding of Estonia into two thousand estates.

Manors in Estonia & Sweden

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the typical manor house in Sweden (herrgård) and Estonia (mõis) was a large country estate that was owned by the lord of the manor. Most manors were owned privately by the titled and untitled nobility in Sweden, who often received them as gifts for serving the Swedish Crown. This continued until the Great Reduction of 1680 when the Crown restored lands previously granted to the nobility. The term manor is often used to refer to the main building itself, the corps de logi or the manor house, but the manor was also a complex that included the land.

Some of the oldest Baltic manor houses were converted castles of knights. Their architecture was initially characterised by simplicity, and, in the Middle Ages, they were usually built of wood. They were grouped in closed, easily defended buildings. In the 16th century, manor houses began to be built of stone. They were modest in scale but were intended to emulate the stone castles of Europe. By the 17th century, the architecture took inspiration from France and the corps de logi was complemented with a Baroque garden.

Collage of manor houses in frames

Estonia & Sweden are renowned for their beautiful manor houses, many of which are well-preserved. The Polmans owned several throughout the centuries, including Ugglansryd, which was in the possession of the family for nearly 200 years.

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Ugglansryd was originally a farm that was owned by the church during the Middle Ages. It later passed to the Crown, and was owned by King Gustav Vasa himself in the 1550s.

History of Ugglansryd Manor

Three manors have existed within the parish of Ryssby – Stensnäs, Borsna, and Ugglansryd. The latter was said to be among the most beautiful, situated in Sunnerbo district by the eastern shore of Lake Stensjön, and surrounded by islands.

Originally a farm that was owned by the church during the Middle Ages, Ugglansryd passed to the Crown, and in the 1550s was in the possession of King Gustav Vasa. As early as 1559, the king leased the farm, first to Gunnar Galle the Elder and then to Galle’s brother Jöran Jonsson Galle, who converted it into a manor. Ugglansryd then passed to the Lilliesparre family, where it remained until 1623, coming into the ownership of Major Jöran Polman.

Ugglansryd remained in the Påhlman family for at least 175 years, a place where generations lived and thrived. In 1783, Anders Otto Påhlman constructed a sizeable corps de logis in the typical manor style, broken roof, without frontispieces. A couple of decades later, he sold the manor to Baron AJ Raab, whose family held onto Ugglansryd for a century.  It was demolished in 1961, at which point Ryssby had lost one of its beautiful manor houses.

Map of Ugglansyrd
Map of Ugglansyrd by Owen Delaney
© Polmanarkivet

The Legend of Ugglansryd & Stensnäs

Ugglansryd in the collections


Ågården is a well-preserved two-story Carolingian manor. Ågården was built after an older stone house from 1492 was burned down by the Danes during the Kalmar War at the beginning of the 17th century.

History of Ågården Manor

Ågården has a long history, built in 1492 by Riksrädet Sigge Larson Sparre af Rossvik. It gradually came to members of the Krumme, Baät, Manesköld af Seglinge, Kafle and Kagg families. Baron Johan Kagg sold Agär-den at the beginning of the 18th century to the Wingeflycht family, and in 1746 the estate came to Major General and Governor Lorentz Christoffer Stobée, who died in 1756. His widow, Catharina Margareta Loos, remarried in 1762 to Court Marshal Axel Magnus Stiernsparre. 

Stiernsparre turned Ågården into a fideikommiss to be inherited by the family. He made the proviso that if the Stiernsparre family died out, which was to be expected, the new owners would be obliged to add the name Stiernsparre to their own name. The trust passed through the Silfversparre and Påhlman families. The last owner was Axel Erik Gabriel Påhlman-Stiernsparre, who died in 1979. Thus, a branch of the family is known as Påhlman-Stiernsparre.

It is remarkable that for over 500 years of Ågården’s history, all of its nineteen owners belonged to the Swedish nobility, representing thirteen families, of which only three — Sparre, Silfversparre and Påhlman — still survive. 

Lorentz Christoffer Stobée
Lorentz Christoffer Stobée
© Crafoord Auktioner

Lorentz Christoffer Stobée

Ågården in the collections


Kodila estate was first mentioned in 1436, when it belonged to the Livonian Order. Throughout the 19th century, Kodila changed hands multiple times, being owned by the Pohlmanns, von Tiesenhausens, von Drögemüllers, Zimmermanns, the state, and the knighthood.

History of Kodila Manor

Kodila (German: Koddil) manor was first mentioned in 1436. It originally belonged to the Livonian Order and served as the country residence for the Tallinn Castle Commander. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the manor was owned by the von Nieroths. After the Northern War, it came under the ownership of the von Wrangells. In 1772, Reinhold Wilhelm von Pohlmann acquired Kodila and lived there until his death. The current main building of the manor is believed to have been constructed in the 1770s during von Pohlmann’s time. Throughout the 19th century, Kodila changed hands multiple times, being owned by the Pohlmanns, von Tiesenhausens, von Drögemüllers, Zimmermanns, the state, and the knighthood. In 1876, the manor lost its knight’s manor status and became a semi-manor.

The baroque main building, situated on a high plinth, is a one-story stone structure with a half-pitched roof. The walls are adorned with mouldings, and there is a three-window-wide superstructure on the face of the second floor. Several outbuildings were also added to the main building. Behind the corps de logi, there is a beautiful park with a pond. Since 1999, the manor has been privately owned. Although historically located in Rapla parish in Harju County, it is currently administratively part of Rapla Parish in Rapla County.

Pikk street, Tallinn
View of Pikk street, Tallinn, where Reinhold Wilhelm owned a house
© Ralf Roletschek / Roletschek.at

The estates of Reinhold Wilhelm von Pohlmann

Kodila in the collections


Tuttomäggi manor was established by Jacob von Lunden as a court estate in a village under Leal Castle, through a pledge to him by King John III of Sweden in 1582. It was associated with the von Gersdorffs and Edler von Rennenkampffs families for a long period.

History of Tuttomäggi Manor

Tuttomäggi manor, originally established by Jacob von Lunden, serves as a court estate nestled in a village beneath the grandeur of Leal Castle. Its inception came to be through a pledge made to von Lunden by King John III of Sweden in 1582. While the main building was officially completed during the late 18th century, historical records indicate the existence of a stone main building as early as the end of the 17th century.

The main manor house, a striking two-storey structure in the Baroque architectural style, showcases elements of Early Classicism blended with Baroque features. The manor building, made from plastered limestone, boasts a high-tiled roof and two mantled chimneys. The interior layout of the rooms adheres to the symmetrical plan popular during that time. On the ground floor, one will find a vestibule and vaulted utility rooms, while the upper floor features an enfiladed living room and hall.

In 1998, Tuttomäggi was listed on the Estonian Register of Cultural Monuments as an example of a late 18th-century manor house that has preserved its original appearance and architectural form. Historically, the manor was located in Karuse Parish in Läänemaa County. The present-day administrative distribution is Lihula Municipality in Läänemaa County. 

Map of the private estate Tuttomäggi
Map of the private estate Tuttomäggi
PDM National Archives of Estonia

A Coveted Manor

Tuttomäggi in the collections


Öötla has a long history with the Polman family. Oethel estate, founded in the 17th century, changed hands many times; it belonged to the von Stackelbergs for a long period. The two-storey Baroque main building was constructed in the 1760s and made a little longer in the second half of the 19th century.

History of Öötla Manor

Öötla, also known as Oethel estate, has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. The estate changed hands numerous times throughout the years, starting with Jürgen Polman and remaining within the family for several generations. Notable owners include Hans von Drenteln, Hermann Adrian von Römer, and Johann Friedrich Pastelberger who bought the manor in 1750. After a short period, ownership returned to the Pohlmanns before being purchased by Nicolas Friedrich von Hagemann in 1774. His son eventually sold the manor in 1804 to Georg Friedrich von Stackelberg. The Stackelberg family went on to own Öötla for many years until it was finally transferred, with the last owner being Alexander von Stackelberg.

The corps de logis of Öötla is a two-storey Baroque main building, which was constructed in the 1760s. The front façade of the stone house showcases a small wooden veranda, adding to its character. Inside the building, there are several rococo-cut interior doors, highlighting the elegance and style of the time. In the 19th century, a slightly lower-wing building was added to the estate. Some outbuildings have been converted or remain in ruins, offering a glimpse into the estate’s past. Today, Öötla remains privately owned. Historically, the manor was located in Peetri Parish in Järvamaa County. The present-day administrative distribution is Kareda Municipality in Järvamaa County.

Fragment of the Väike-Öötla manor lease agreement
Fragment of the Öötla manor lease agreement between Captain Pohlmann and Lieutenant Tremolaeder, c. 1624.
PDM National Archives of Estonia

A gift from Gustavus Adolphus

Öötla in the collections

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