Jöran Polman (1597 – 1636)

The Dashing Major

Jöran Polman served with diligence, and was one of twenty soldiers whose portrait adorns the walls of Sweden’s Skokloster Castle.

Like his father, Jöran Polman the Younger was sometimes known by the names Jürgen and Göran, and he also joined the military. One of four sons of Jürgen Polman (The Elder), he was born into the old Baltic-German family in 1597.

Jöran started out as a noble bursch in the bodyguard in 1619, then became a hovjunkare –duties for this rank typically involved overseeing the king’s guest room, serving food to royals, and commanding the horsemen1“Hovjunkare”, Förvaltningshistorisk ordbok, https://fho.sls.fi/uppslagsord/2226/hovjunkare/ – and worked his way up to become captain of the Kronoberg regiment in 1623.2“Påhlman, släkt”, Riksarkivet, https://sok.riksarkivet.se/sbl/Presentation.aspx?id=7430, accessed: 21 March 2022 He was also chamberlain to King Gustavus Adolphus, and served in the Thirty Years’ War as captain of the Smålanders under Herman Wrangel.3Karl Löfström, “Bröllop och Förlofning.” Saisonen: magasin för Konst, nyheter och moder [Saisonen: magazine for art, news and fashion], Volume 4, 1919, 434-36 In 1621, Jöran was among the officers under Wrangel who captured the fortress of Riga during the Thirty Years’ War, ensuring Swedish control over the coasts of the Baltic.4“The Patriarch Herman Wrangel”, Skoklosters Slott, https://skoklostersslott.se/en/the-history-of-skokloster-castle/the-people-at-skokloster/herman-wrangel/, accessed: 14 October 2023

Around 1623, Jöran married Christina Lilliesparre of Sweden – daughter of Olof Jöransson Lilliesparre (af Fylleskog, no. 44) and Christina Gunnarsdotter Galle (in Sweden, no. 162) – with whom he fathered three children named Johan, Gustaf and Anna Christina. Notably, through his marriage, he was fortunate enough to become the owner of the Swedish manor Ugglansryd, located in Ryssby in Kronoberg, Småland, which was owned by the Lilliesparre family.

Portrait of Jörgen Pålman
Georg Günther Kraill von Bemeberg, Portrait of Jörgen Pålman, 1623, tempera on canvas, Skoklosters slott, 2254

At least one portrait of Jöran exists – an oil on canvas from 1623. It depicts a confident man, resplendently attired in a doublet and knee-length bloomers according to the fashion of the time, holding a sword and a hat likely adorned with ostrich feathers, marking his promotion as the captain of Kronoberg.

“It is noteworthy that the costume of Captain Jorgen Polman is complemented by a Cossack with an eight-piece peplum. (His dangling right sleeve is shown in the background.) Therefore, on the peplum, we do not see the aiguiette bows with which it was fashionable to decorate the costume. At the same time, the artist depicted aiguiette bows that tie Jorgen Polman’s pants with red silk stockings.5Fedosya Olegova, “Костюмы 1600 – 1640 гг. в музей­ных кол­лек­циях. Коро­лев­ская ору­жей­ная палата Сток­гольма: костюмы Густава II Адольфа” [Costumes 1600 – 1640 in museum collections. Royal Armory of Stockholm: costumes of Gustav II Adolf], Хозяйка http://premudrosti.in/index.php/kings-in-stockings/costumes-from-1600-to-1640/?_x, accessed: 14 November 2022

The portrait was painted by Georg Günther Kräill von Bemeberg (1584-1641), who was a renowned soldier with a gift for sketching battle plans and tactics as well as conjuring remarkable portraits. During a particularly uneventful posting at Kalmar, Kräill began sketching portraits of his fellow officers – five of whom, including Jöran, posed willingly.6Daniel Rey, “Model officers; Portraits by Georg Günther Kräill”, FMR: The Magazine of Franco Maria Ricci, issue 113, 2002, 111 These portraits are on display in a collection at Skokloster Castle, which is located on a peninsula of Lake Mälaren between Stockholm and Uppsala.

Tuttomäggi manor
Estonian knight manor, Tuttomäggi in the parish of Karusen.
Source: Photo by A.Palu, Creative Commons.

[…] Ugglansryd remained in the family for at least 175 years, until 1798, a place where future generations lived and thrived.

In October 1624,7“Påhlman nr 501”, Adelsvapen-Wiki, https://www.adelsvapen.com/genealogi/Påhlman_nr_501, accessed: 17 March 2022 Jöran received some farms and the manor Prästeboda in the hamlet of Sunnerbo district from King Gustavus Adolphus, and incorporated it as a barn estate under his own manor Kvänjarp Södregård. The family would eventually lose this to the Crown in 1683, presumably as a result of the Great Reduction of 1680, during which manors and lands that were earlier granted to the nobility were taken back. Jöran also made an unsuccessful request for Tuttomäggi (Tuudi), Estonia – the manor coveted by his father – in 1628. However, Ugglansryd remained in the family for at least 175 years, until 1798, a place where future generations lived and thrived.

According to one source, Jöran was granted noble privileges in 1626, which extended to his children and grandchildren in the male line.8“Sunnerbo dombok 1635”, Sunnerbo.nu, https://www.sunnerbo.nu/Sunnerbo-dombok-1635.s2?highlight=Polman, accessed: 28 March 2023 In 1629, Jöran was promoted to the rank of chief quartermaster, and eventually became a major. He died abroad before 1636,9Johan Axel Almquist, Frälsegodsen I Sverige Under Storhetstiden: Med Särskild Hänsyn Till Proveniens Och Säteribildning [Salvage estates in Sweden during the Age of Greatness: With Special Consideration to Provenance and Settlement Formation], Issue 1, Volume 3 (Stockholm: Norstedt, 1976), 1611 likely in battle, but was buried in the Ryssby church sacristy.