Erik Plovpenning, 1216-50, king
was Valdemar Sejrs and Berengarias firstborn son,
who soon after his birth in 1216 was appointed
hertug (duke) i Jylland. He replaced in 1226
his halfbrother Valdemar as a prisoner in
Schwerin and was released 1230. After his brother's
death he was crowned king in Lund by archbishop
Uffe on Whit Sunday (30. May) 1232. E. was said
to have studied in Paris and he was here aquainted
with the later pope Innocents IV. When pope Gregor
IX started a parti in Germany against emperor
Frederik II and tried ti have him ousted, E. was
offered the throne (1239) but he refused. it seems
was active by his father's side in the government
of the country. He married 9. October 1239 Judith
or Jutta, a daughter of hertug Albrect I af Saxony.
While E. was said in his younger years to be very
fond of the joys of life, he was later serious and
pious. One of the first letters, he issued after
his accession to the throne - at his father's death
28. March 1241 --, holds a declaration that he
want to die dressed in the dress of the Fransiscans
and to be buried in their Kloster in Roskilde.
Besides his winning attitude and his energy he
was also very belligerent and during his government
Denmark was in an eternal state of unrest.
His brother Abel was hertug in Sønderjylland, but
he considered this land more like inheritance than a
royal vasalry; in his marriage to the Holstein
princess Mechtild, and in the guardianship of his
underage brothers-in-law, which he took, his
position became dangerous, and E., who hoped to
regain his father's power over Holstein, was ready to
fight. When the war broke out 1242, lasting for 2 years,
a ceasefire happened, but 1246 the fight was renewed,
and Abel, who had attracted his brother Christoffer
to join his party, and who was assisted by Germany,
harrassed in Jutland and at Funen, burnt down
Odense and conquered Ribe. E. reconquered this
town and his German allies fell into Holstein and
conquered Oldeslo. E. occupied now all his brothers'
castles and estates and took Christoffer and his
halfbrother hertug Knud prisoner. Moved by this sad
feud E.s sister, margrafin Sophie of Brandenburg had
already in autumn 1247 went up to mediate between
the brothers; she died on her travel in childbirth
without seeing any peaceful solutions.
E.s was during these years also threatened,
because he had a feud with bishop
Niels Stigsen of Roskilde, i.e. about the ownership of
Copenhagen, which brought the bishop to leave the
country 1245. E.s relation to the clergy, which made
complaints about injustice of the Crown, was very
tense, and the feud with the bishop also showed a
beginning break with the mighty Hvide-family,
which he was a member of. Finally the king had to
see the Lübecks join his enemies and plunder the
Danish coasts; they captured and burnt Copenhagen.
In the year 1249 there was a pause of the war, and
the king tried to organize the Estland-expedition, he
had been preparing for long. Already in the re-start
of the bishopric in Reval in king Valdemar's last
years had E. been active, and a fight against the
heathens inside this country and at the borders
were always on his mind. On this occassion E. let
impose a tax of every plough, which caused a
rebellion from the peasants in Skåne. E. was
driven out of Lund and Helsingborg and had to
go to Sjælland, but returned a few days later, and
a peace and agreement were achieved (1249).
This tax caused that the king got the byname
Plovpenning. The expediton was carried out,
but the historian Arild Huitfeldt says that a battle was
never fought with the heathens.
In 1250 E suddenly attacked Sønderjylland and
conquered Schleswig; he was not lucky in a fight
against the Frisians, but Abel had to
surrender. 20 noblemen swor the agreed peace
on behalf of the duke and promised to leave him, if
he was not true to the king. In a dispute with E.
Abel showed that his grudge was stronger than ever,
and that he remembered how his daughter, caused by
E.'s attack "had barefooted to seek shelter
among poor women". He let E. take prisoner
by his kammermester Tyge Bost; maybe Abel did
not order to kill his brother, but his men knew
how to obey his wishes. E. was brought with shackles
on hand and foot down to a boat on the Slien, another
boat came near, where the king's worst enemy Lage
Gudmundsen was. E. saw that death was near, and
asked to be allowed to confess to a priest.They allowed
this and fetched a priest, to whom the king confessed
humbly, then they decapitated him with a sword.
It happened in the night of the10th August 1250. The
body was lowered into the fjord, but some fishermen found
it the next day and brought it to Schleswig, where the
Black Friars buried it in their church; later the body was
moved to St. Hans Nunnery in Schleswig and found at
last its place in Ringsted Kirke. E.s murderers were
soon after killed in various pitiful ways, and when rumours
were spread about miracles by the grave, people began
regarding the murdered king as a saint. E. was never
adopted among the saints of the church, but he was
honoured as a saint by the people, and various Gilder
(Unions) chose him as a patron.
Queen Jutta gave birth to 2 sons, who died young, and
4 daughters: Sophie, married to king Valdemar of Sweden,
Ingeborg, married to king Magnus Lagabøter of Norway,
Jutta and Agnes, who joined a nummery, but later left it.
The queen later married Burchard VIII, Borggreve of
Rosenburg by Harzen.
Suhm, Hist. af Danmark X.
Hist Tidsskr. 6. R. II, 359 ff.
Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Jutta, --1250--, queen, was a daughter of the Saxon hertug Albrecht(+1260) of the Askanian House in his 1. marriage to a daughter of an Austrian duke, Agnes, and she married in 1239 the Danish king Erik Plovpenning. She is mentioned as a witness in a letter where her husband a few months after his father king Valdemar's death told his wish about being buried in the dress of the Fransiscans and to be buried in their church in Roskilde. Or else there is only an information about Jutta, while she lived at Skanderborg, that she was harrassing the monks at Øm kloster, she took their harvested corn and brought it on boats to her castle. J. had several children with Erik. It is uncertain if there were sons, if so they must have died before their father; four daughters are known, two became queen: Sophie in Sweden and Ingeborg in Norway, while Jutta and Agnes went to a nunnery for a period. After Erik's murder in 1250 she probably went soon to her home in Germany.She married later Burchard of Rosenburg who was borggreve in Magdeburg. A daughter of this marriage was Sophie who was married to Erik of Langeland.
Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
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