Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Jelling kirke, Gorms grav
Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Asser Rig's Brothers and Sisters


Toke, Sune and Ebbe Skjalmsen
Cæcilia and Margrethe/Magga Skjalmsdatter


Sorø Klosterkirke

Toke Skjalmsen, * ab. 1080, + 1145 or 1150. He was a son of Skjalm Hvide and Signe Asbjørnsdatter. He was often referred to as Toke Signessøn, which indicates that Signe was of higher rank than Skjalm Hvide. After Knud Lavard's murder he was, like his brothers, among the leaders of Sjællænderne in the civil war.

He felt inspired by the progress of the church in Denmark and made plans together with his brothers for a monastery in Sorø, but he suddenly grew seriously ill. Before he died, he gave half of his main portion and some other property for the future monastery. He also gave Asser Rig 10 Mark gold for the building of the abbey church . From Toke's and their own property Asser and Ebbe founded Sorø Benedictine monastery, which was inaugurated late in 1150. Asser joined the order and died a monk only eleven days later in 1151. Ebbe gave the gold to the first prior of the monastery, who was said to have dissipated it.

Toke Skjalmsen was buried in Fjenneslev church, but Absalon later brought his and Skjalm Hvide's bones to Sorø KLoster. Toke died 1145 or 1150, he was married to Gyda of Denmark.

Toke and Gyda's son was Stig Tokesen Hvide/Stig Hvidelæder Tokesen/ Stig Hvita), born ab. 1120, died 1152 in the battle by Gedebæk near Viborg. Stig Tokesen was married to Margrethe Knudsdatter, born ab. 1129 , a daughter of Knud Lavard and a sister of Valdemar the Great. Toke and Gyda had also a daughter, Ingefred Tokesdatter, married to Gert (last name?), their two sons were Tyge Pust Gertsen and Absalon Gertsen.

Stig Tokesen Hvide and Margrethe Knudsdatter had a son: Toke Stigsen Hvide, his son: Anders Tokesen Hvide, his son: Stig Andersen Hvide, marsk. His wives were ladies of the Hvide-family, but he was a Hvide himself.

Sune Skjalmsen Hvide * ab. 1086, + 1152 . Sune was together with his brothers after Knud Lavard's murder in 1131, but he must have died, before they founded Sorø Kloster. His body was not brought to the Skjalm family burials in Sorø, and his heirs did not give property to the monks, but his son's daughter's son Johannes Kaare later became Sorø's abbot. Sune Skjalmsen cannot, as once was assumed, be the same Sune, who was trying to tempt the people of Roskilde to desert Svend Grathe - this Sune was caught by Ebbe Skjalmsen and later blinded by Svend.

Sune Skjalmsen was married to 1) Cæcilie 2) Inge.




Haraldsted Kirke

Ebbe Skjalmsen Hvide * ab. 1085 + 1151. Ebbe was a son of Skjalm Hvide and Signe Asbjørnsdatter. He appears in history in 1131 for the first time, when he together with his brothers had Knud Lavard's body brought from Haraldsted to the more stately Ringsted - and he raised the Zealanders in order to revenge his fosterbrother's murder. During the subsequent civil war (1131-1157) Ebbe Skjalmsen stood together with Erik Emune, and he was also among Erik Lam's highly trusted men.

Ebbe Skjalmsen is signatory to a special licence issued by Erik Lam by the Archbishop of Lund in 1145. He is here mentioned as one of the king's men. Furthermore he was a faithful supporter of Svend Grathe, who appointed him army commander in the newly fortificated Roskilde. Svend's rival to the throne Knud Magnussen tried together with a man named Sune to tempt people in Roskilde to desertion, but Ebbe cunningly got Sune in his power, and Knud's plan failed. Later Knud succeeded in taking Roskilde by surprise. Ebbe escaped, but he couldn't prevent Knud from ravaging and burning down his Roskilde estate.

According to Saxo Ebbe had a strong influence upon Svend, who always complied with him in both war and peace, as well as in public and in private relations, and when Svend received the news that Ebbe had died (1151), he was so overcome with grief that he discontinued an expedition against Knud Magnussen. Ebbe's later successor as army commander was his brother-in-law Peder Torstensen, who was married to Cæcilia Skjalmsdatter.



Bjernede Church is the only round church on Sjælland. It is built like a massive, impregnable, early medieval fortification. Built 1125-1175 by two wellknown men from Denmark's history: Skjalm Hvide's son and grandson, Ebbe Skjalmsen and Sune Ebbesen. The round church represents the meeting between the early church buildings' granite and the bricks introduced in the 1160s. In Latin above the entrance in the porch is said ' Ebbe Skjalmsen and his wife Ragnhild built this church which his son Sune later raised in stone in the honor of God, St. Maria and St. Laurentius'. This was during the period 1125-1175. It was assumed that Ebbe built a wooden church, and that Sune started building in granite, lifting it one storey more in the new brick technique introduced in the 1160s.

Ebbe's first wife was Gyda, his second wife Ragnhild. She is also named Ragnhild of Denmark; she brought much property into the marriage and must have been from a rich family. Ebbe and Ragnhild lived upon a farm in Bjernede near Fjenneslevlille; but Ebbe had much property elsewhere upon Sjælland besides his house in Roskilde. He also owned Knardrup by Ganløse, and today there are two villages named Ebberup by Bjernede.

Ebbe is known to have four sons and two daughters. The sources about 'who's the mother to whom' are uncertain, but Ebbe's eldest son was Toke, who died after having given half of his estate to Sorø. Another son was Fin, who died at about the same time. A memorial stone is placed in the wall of Bjernede church for 'Fin, Ebbe's son'. A third son (name?) lived much longer, but the most famous son was Sune Ebbesen, who was the father of the seven 'Sune-sons'.

Ebbe's daughters were Margrethe Ebbesdatter and Gythe(Gyde) Ebbesdatter, * ab. 1140, + 1160, who was married to the very rich Oluf Glug of Bavelse.

Ebbe Skjalmsen is considered first ancestor of the Galen- family. He is buried in Sorø.

After 1151 all four Skjalm-sons had died, Toke before 1150, Asser and Ebbe in 1151 and Sune in 1152. Asser's wife, fru Inge still lived in 1157.

The Bastrup Tower

Bastruptårnet/The Bastrup Tower is a circular tower house with a diameter of 21 meters, the wall is 6 meters wide. Built in the first half of the 1100s. From the strong fortification building is only preserved the cellar storey. It is built by travertine and granite boulders. Heavy logs have supported the two or three storeys of the tower. The tower was part of a defense line across Sjælland. Erik Ejegod built a church in Slangerup had probably a 'kongsgård' there. Ebbe of Bastrup, who gave witness in a deed of gift from king Niels, was possibly the same as Ebbe Skjalmsen, who was responsible for this fortification tower. The church in Jørlunde was possibly also built by the Hvide-family.


Frescoe in Stege Church

Cæcilia Skjalmsdatter Hvide was married to Peder Torstensen of Pedersborg, which was situated ab. 8-9 km from Fjenneslevlille.

Peder Torstensen was the only member of the Hvide-family, who caused some problems inside the family, and from what is known about him , Cæcilia was probably not the happiest woman on earth. Peder Torstensen's big manor Pedersborg was situated just north of Sorø, and he could watch the only access by land to the monastery, which he did. He had for a long time been at odds with his family-in-law, and he forbid his wife to give the monks in Sorø more than two small farms for the rescue of her soul. The monks remembered him as a nuisance.

Peder Torstensen was a magnate of importance, both when it came to riches, esteem and personality, and his powerful family-in-law could not prevent him from being a constant pest for its monastery. Cæcilia and Peder were said to have built a round church north of Sorø where Pedersborg church is now situated.

Peder and Cæcilia's only child, Ingerd was married to a magnate Vagn (Vogn) from East-Jutland. It was her second marriage.
Ingerd and Vagn had 5 sons, Ulf, Jens, Niels, Peder, Skjalm and a daughter Margrethe. The sons, who settled in Jutland, were called Vagnsen, while the sons living in Sjælland were called Ingerdsen after their mother. One of Ingerd's sons was married to a niece of archbishop Eskil of Lund, who was of the mighty Thorgunna-family, (Thrugot/Trued) Eskils greatgrandparents were Thrugot Ulvsen and Thorgunna, who was a daughter of Vagn Ågesen. (This makes me wonder, if Ingerd's second husband Vagn was a 'Jute-branch' of the Thorgunna-family.) The Danish chronicle writer Svend Aggesen was also from the Thorgunna-family. His father Åge (Agge) Christiersen was Eskil's brother. Eskil's father Christiern Svendsen was one of the most influential men politically for a long period in Denmark's history.

Two of Ingerd's and Vagn's sons were given to the church. Peder Vagnsen was bishop of Århus and Skjalm succeeded him in 1204. Peder, especially, was generous in giving estate to Århus Cathedral , also some estate at Sjælland, which must have been a part of his mother's inheritance.

Vagn and Peder Torstensen's ancestors are not known, but this doesn't mean that they were of no importance. Skjalm's daughter Cæcilia and his granddaughter Ingerd did not marry men of no private means. But there is little known about other Danish magnate-families in the 1100s.


Margrethe/Magga Skjalmsdatter Hvide , was married - and as a widow she entered Roskilde nunnery.

photo: grethe bachmann


From Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Frederik Bricka,Project Runeberg

Skjalmsen, Ebbe, ab. 1090-1151, was Sjællandsk høvding (military chief), a son of Skjalm Hvide, who is seen for the first time in history, when he together with his brothers had Knud Lavard's body brought from Haraldsted to the more prestigious Ringsted and raised an army at Sjælland in order to revenge the killing of his fosterbrother. (1131). In the following civil war he was at Erik Emune's side, and he was also among Erik Emune's most trusted men and furthermore a loyal supporter of Svend Grade/Grathe, who made him høvedsmand in the newly fortificated Roskilde. Svend's rival Knud Magnussen tried by the help of a certain Sune to persuade the Roskilde citizens to desertion, but Ebbe Skjalmsen cunningly got control over Sune, and Knud Magnussen's plan was prevented. (1148). Knud succeeded later in taking Roskilde by surprise; Ebbe Skjalmsen escaped in time, but he couldn't prevent that Knud harrassed and burnt down his farm.

According to Saxo Ebbe Skjalmsen had such a strong influence on Svend, that he as well in war as in peace, in public or private matters always followed his advice, and the news about his death (1151) overwhelmed the young king so much that he interrupted a war-expedition against Knud Magnussen; Svend Grathe's fate might probably have been luckier, if he still had had the experienced advisor at his side.

Together with his brothers Toke and Asser Rig Ebbe Skjalmsen founded Sorø Kloster. Ebbe was first married to Gyda, next to Ragnhild, with whom he let build a wooden church at their farm in Bjernede. Their son Sune Ebbesen replaced it later with the beautiful roundchurch in stone, but remembered in an inscription his parents' pious deed. Ragnhild survived Ebbe with over 10 years and gave Sacerbro Mølle to Sorø Kloster. Ebbe and Ragnhild was buried side by side in Sorø Klosterkirke. Shortly after Ragnhild's death died Ebbe Skjalmsen's eldest son Toke Ebbesen after having given half his
hovedlod (inheritance) to Sorø kloster. Another son of Ebbe, Fin Ebbesen, died at about the same time. A third son, Peder Ebbesen , lived much longer. The most famous son of Ebbe Skjalmsen was Sune Ebbesen, the father of the 7 Sunesønner. (Seven Sune-sons.)
Saxo, Hist.Dan.
Løffler, Danmarks ældre Kirkebygninger.
Translated from Hans Olriks Danish text: grethe bachmann

Skjalmsen, Sune, -1131- a brother of Ebbe Skjalmsen, participated with his brothers in the revolt after the killing of Knud Lavard (1131), but he had died before his brothers founded Sorø Kloster. His body was not brought to the Skjalm-family's burial place at Sorø, and his heirs did not give estate to the kloster , but his son's daughter's son Johannes Kaare became later Abbot at Sorø kloster. Sune Skjalmsen can not, as was often supposed, be the Sune, who tried to persuade the Roskilde citizens to desert Svend Grathe, and who was taken prisoner by Ebbe Skjalmsen and later blinded by Svend.


Skjalmsen, Toke,
- ab. 1145, brother of Ebbe and Sune Skjalmsen, (and Asser Rig) was like his brothers also among the leaders of the Sjælland-army after the killing of Knud Lavard (1131). He was affected by the ecclesiastical upturn, and together with his brothers Ebbe and Asser Rig he made the plan about founding a kloster in their homestead, but he felt death coming, before the project had been done, and he gave half his hovedlod (half part of his share in the family fortune) and much other estate to the coming kloster. Besides he gave Asser Rig 16 Mark Guld for the building of the klosterkirken. (ab. 1145) (16 Mark Guld was a fortune; in 1183 the large St. Knuds Kloster in Odense had a value of 20 Mark Guld.) From Toke's and their own estate Ebbe and Asser then established Sorø kloster, and Asser died a monk there. Now Ebbe had got the gold, and he gave it to the first prior of the kloster, but he was later said to have dissipated it. Toke Skjalmsen was buried in Fjenneslevlille Kirke, but Absalon later transferred his and Skjalm Hvide's bones to Sorø Kloster, whose founder he must be called more than anyone.

Boesen, Skjalm Hvide og hans slægt (Sorø skoles Indbydelsesskr. 1900)

translated from Hans Olrik's Danish text: grethe bachmann.
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