Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abel, 1219-1252, ~ Mechtild of Holstein --1288.

Abel, 1219-52, King, a son of king Valdemar
Sejr and his second wife Berengaria. At his
older brother Erik's election to king he
became in 1232 his successor as hertug of
Sønderjylland, which vasalry he took over
in 1237. At the same time he married, according
to an earlier agreement a daughter of grev Adolf
of Holstein, Mechtild. When grev Adolf shortly
after joined a kloster, he was for some years
a guardian for his underage brothers-in-law.
At his father's death in 1241 he became the
owner of a large part of the royal family's
inheritance, among this everything in the duchy,
and the cities Svendborg, Fåborg, Skelskør and
Rudkøbing. The mixed ownerships caused a
feud between him and the king; but it was not
an open fight, until Erik in 1246 had a break
with the mighty Hvide-family and shortly
after withdrew Svendborg to the royal estate.
In the years 1247-48 there were battles with
varying luck in Nørrejylland, at Funen and
Sønderjylland, until the sister Sophie of
Brandenburg succeeded in mediating peace
between the brothers. When the king's man
Henrik Æmeltorp in Rensborg was attacked by
the Holstein grafs, king Erik visited on his
way to his rescue his brother in Schleswig,
but was treacherously taken prisoner; A.'s men
Tyge Bost and Lage Gudmundsen let him kill and
lowered his body into the Slien (10 August).
After A. had disclaimed the responsibility
for E.'s murder, he was elected king and was
crowned in Roskilde (1 Nov. 1250). King
A. showed he was clever and moderate, and it
seems he was the most intelligent among king
Valdemar's left sons. He tried to help the
cities and promoted the relations abroad,
and by wise concessions he brought down the
unrest.But before the new conditions were
able to consolidate, he died, 33 years old,
a violent death in the fight against the
rebellious Frisians, 29 June 1252. His death
and his successor's interest in weakening the
sons' demand for the throne branded him as
a fratricide.
- His wife Mechtild survived him for many years;
she joined a kloster, but left it again and
married the Swedish jarl Birger, who died shortly
after. She died in 1288.

A. D. Jørgensen.

Mechtilde (Mathilde), Dronning, --1288, was a
daughter of Grev Adolf IV of Holstein; she was
probably named after her paternal grandmother.
In 1237 she married Hertug Abel of Jutland,
according to an earlier agreement between Valdemar
Sejr and grev Adolf, and she gave birth to several
sons.This marriage became fatal for Denmark by
drawing Abel towards Holstein; after his father-in-law
had joined a kloster, he was for a period guardian
for his young sons and defended later these
against his brother Erik Plovpenning. After Erik's
death M. was crowned  together with Abel in
Roskilde (1. Nov. 1250); but two years later she
had to leave the kingdom, and only with difficulties
she managed to have her firstborn son, Valdemar,
released from prison at the archbishop of Cologne,
but after he had got his paternal duchy transferred
he died in 1257. M. had to fight for her children's
right of inheritance again, she joined archbishop Jacob
Erlandsen ; and she broke the ww pf chastity she had
given after Abels death, and she married in 1261
Birger Jarl in sweden in order to find some
support there too. He died already in
1266, and M.resided since that in Kiel. She
made the base of the Holstein influence in Sønderjylland;
in 1260 she pawned to her brothers the land between
the Eider and Slien, and just before her death (1288) ,
she actually gave away this land, which she claimed to have
inherited from her eldest son. She was therefore very
hated in Denmark, and the Danes claimed that this
"German woman, a daughter of the Devil" had destroyed
the valuable adkomstbreve ( documents of title), which
Valdemar Sejr had got from emperor and pope on the
land north of the Elb.

Kr. Erslev. 

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Project Runeberg

translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright

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