( House Of Nobility / Le Palais De La Noblesse )
FROM HAAKON V `s CASTLE
1020 AD - 2020 AD
Nobles of Norway celebrate our
Join us for a brief retrospect of our first 1000 years in 2020 AD
As part of our 1000th aniversary celebration of the nobility of Norway this year - we are sharing our history of the Norwegian nobility in English. Likewise, we find this an appropriate occasion to celebrate that the nobility of Norway has once again formally re-organized itself - in the shape of a national House of Nobility -
Ridderhuset - Norges Adelskorporasjon.
( The House of Nobility of Norway / Le Palais de la Noblesse de Norwege)
As a minor courtesy to our English-speaking audience, our homepage RIDDERHUSET.NO will, to commemorate this anniversery, for the time being and for your conveniance, forward you to this current webpage in English. It is our pleasure to hereby invite you to join us in this modest celebration of our 1000th anniversary - of the history of the Norwegian nobility in this Year of Our Lord 2020 AD.
So welcome to this brief journey through our history: 1020 AD - 2020 AD
In good will, - And sincere friendship. - Here is our story :
The Norwegian nobility consists of those who has been ennobled by the
Sovereigns of Norway, either personally or on their behalf though their Chancery.
These may be divided into 5 kinds:
I: The original 220 noble knights who around the year 1020 AD, along with king Olav Haraldson (St. Olav the Sacred 995 -1030 AD) and 7 priests, conquered the Norwegian pagans called "The Vikings" and simultaneously converted Norway to Christianity, and then proceeded to formally and trough law made Christianity State-religion. These are to be especially honoured for the following reason:
When the monasteries of Lindisfarne, Jarrow and Wearmouth on the east coast of England were plundered by Norwegian Vikings, a cry of distress went up over the whole of Europe. The English scholar Alcuin wrote a letter to the English king Ethelred about the attack:
«We and our forefathers have lived in this sacred land for almost three hundred years now, and never has such distress been seen in Britain as that which now has come upon us from pagan people, and no one ever thought that such an attack could come across the sea. Picture St Cuthbert' s church soiled with the blood of God's priests and plundered of its ornaments. A place more holy than any other in Britain has become the booty of pagans.»
In the eleventh century - contemporary with Olav Haraldsson - an author gives the following appalling account of Nordic Vikings' bloody attacks in England:
«In the same year, pagans from the northern countries came like stinging wasps over the sea with military power, and spread to all parts like wild wolves, robbing and killing not only beasts of burden, sheep and oxen, but even priests and deacons and flocks of monks and nuns. And they came to the church in Lindisfarne and devastated everything with their cruel plunders, trampling on the holy places with their impure feet. They uprooted the altars and stole all the treasures in the sacred church. They killed some of the brethren and took others in chains with them. Some of them they chased away with mockery and contempt, and some they drowned in the sea.»
An Irish chronicler made a completely correct judgement of the conduct of Norwegian Vikings:
«Before the sands of the sea or the grasses of the meadow or the stars of heaven have been counted, it will not be easy to describe... what the Irish have suffered because of them men and women, boys and girls, laypeople or priests, free men and slaves, old and young - disgrace, violence, injustice and attacks.»
It was not without good reasons that Christian Europe added a new prayer to the Litany of the Saints: «A furore normanorum libera nos, Domine»: «Free us, o Lord, from the fury of the Norsemen.»King Olav the Sacred, 7 priests and his 220 noble knights, did exactly that. And in the year 1024 AD Christianity he formally and by Law made Christianity the National State Religion of Norway. King Olav became a Catholic Saint and set the standard for Norwegian Kingship forever, and with kings like that, a new order of nobles arose:
II: The Superior Order of Kingsmen: The Hird: Or in Norwegian "De Håndgangne Menn" is The Christian Knightly Order devoted to the protection of the King`s life and interests, as described in "The Hirdskraa" from ca 1270 AD (The Hird Law) and "The King`s Mirror", (in old Norse Konungs skuggsjá, in latin Speculum Regale) chapter XXIX, The Order has continued on from ca 1100 AD- and still does in our present day.
Although a bit out of shape during the later reign of Queen Margaret, it was ressurected in the year 1458 AD by Great-mightiest highborn Emperor and lord, lord Eric, with The Grace of God Norway`s, Denmark`s, Sweden`s, Wends and Goth`s King and Duke of Pomerania through Patent Ruggenwalde (1458 AD). A Patent which effectively ensured the revival of The Order and the reqruitment forever. An example of the King`s remarkable foresightedness and amazingly effective strategy which has ensured The Order`s continuation to this very day. Although no-longer nearly as public as it once was.
III: The "Ur-Adel" or Original Nobility, meaning either those
who were ennobled prior to the practise of issuing written Patents of Nobility.
The term is also sometimes used to describe those enobled prior to 1536 AD but in Scandinavia actually only applies to those ennobled prior to 1396 AD, as we shall se later.
IV: Patented Nobility, meaning those who were formally and judicially
ennobled through Patents of Nobility, issued either by the sovereigns directly
or on their behalf by persons formally granted authority to act on behalf of
and in the name of a sovereign. This category often includes individuals belonging to the previous categories as many were additionally ennobled through Patents as well.
Patents of Nobility was first issued in Norway by Great-mightiest highborn Emperor and lord, lord Eric, with The Grace of God Norway`s, Denmark`s, Sweden`s, Wends and Goth`s King and Duke of Pomerania. More on that below.
V: Descendants of the ancient Kings of Norway. These are of course technically Royalty rather than Nobility and per definition Princes and Princesses of Norway, but as these are not related to the curren de-facto regent and Princes and Princesses also indeed are titles of Nobility, these naturally belong to the Nobility of Norway as well as to The Royal Houses from whence they came. According to cand. philol. Thore H. Vigerust there are a significant number of indiviuals in this category still in existance. Some of these also fit in more than one of the aforementioned categories as some were additionally ennobled through Patents.
The Union of Calmar
With the establishment of The Union of Calmar, the 3 Kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark were united under one Monarch and thus a new Empire was born: The Empire of Scandinavia. The Empire of Scandinavia`s 1st Monarch was Margrete of Denmark. In accordance with The Treaty of Calmar, Queen Margrete would rule as "Rightful Husband and Lawful Lady of The 3 Kingdoms" - a somewhat more eloquent title than merely "Emperess", but an Emperess all the same. The Treaty stated she was to rule The Empire for all the days of her life and were to be succeeded by heir, her older sister Ingeborg`s daughter Maria of Meclenburg`s son: Eric of Pomerania. Eric of Pomerania were coronated seperatly in each of the nations, prior to his joint-corontion 1397 as King of all 3 countries and thus formally Emperor of Calmar.
The year of our Lord: 1396 - The Patents of Nobility are born from Necessity:
Shortly befor 1396 AD an agrement was made in Nykøping, Sweeden:
All the the Manors which had been granted Tax-excemption during the reign of the Swedish King Alfred, were yet again to be Taxed.
This was formulated in writing in the following way (translated):
"None of them who has been granted Tax-exemption during this described era, shall be Tax-exempt henceforth, except those to whom its given through a special Act of Grace by our lord the King, or those to whom it was granted prior to this described era."
This marked the end of an era where anyone could obtain privileges on ones own initiative by simply showing up at the gatherings (in Sweden and Denmark)
(Løfquist: anf. arb, p 224 ff)
From 1396 AD a Written Royal Decree was required for anyone claiming Nobilty.
(Bartholdy: Adels-og våpenbreve udstedt af danske (unions-)konger indtil 1536, p 31)
As for Norway, prior to 1396 AD the Nobility of Norway had been exclusively synonymous with membership in "De Håndgangne Menn" or "The Royal Hird" :the Knightly Order devoted to protecting the King`s life and interests and assist him in his various tasks. The particulars meticiously regulated in The Hirdskraa and further discussed indepth in The Kings Mirror, Part II.
The full name of "De Håndgangne Menn", was somewhat more eloquently translated to English by Laurence Marcellus
Larson in his 1917 translation of The Kings Mirror, chapter XXIX as:
The word "Hird" simply means the same as "Herd", as in "Shepherd" as their task is "to shepherd the King and his interests".
Through a Patent from 1458 AD (number 79) the Order was replenished with 2 new reqruits , as well all their future descendants "throughout the coming of ages".
Thus, as a result of the Patent`s prescriptive effect, as of 1458 AD, these descendant have ever since been, and still are, now simply born into the Order, rather than reqruited individually.
As part of our 1000th anniversary celebration, we have provided our audience with the complete version of The Kings Mirror in English, Part I and Part II which you may find under the menu.
For reference see Part II here.
Beneath: Page from The Kings Mirror / Speculum Regale / Kongsspeilet ca 1250 AD
The History of The Scandinavian Letters Patent:
The very first Letters patent, - henceforth Patents of Nobility - ever issued in Scandinavia, was issued on the 27th of December 1396 at Nykjøping by King Eric with the consent of Queen Margrete. The Letters of Nobility issued by the King henceforth is clearly marked by a standard -praxis.
it is for those letters written a right constant pattern since the days of King Eric of Pomerania`s
Still, they only sporadically resemble the formulas in use in other countries.
The criteria for Nobility, is whether the receivers (and all descendants born in wedlock) through a Patent of Nobility, by virtue of the Patent, has been given: Freedom & Salvation (sometimes including) Shield &Helmet & Arms, or all of the above.
(Bartholdy: Adels-og våpenbreve udstedt af danske (unions-)konger indtil 1536, p 29)
THE DEFINITION OF NOBILITY AS OF 1396 AD
( STILL IN USE IN NORWAY / AD )
" NOBILITY ALONE ARE THOSE GIVEN FREEDOM & SALVATION / SHIELD & HELMET & ARMS "
NOBILIARY SUCCESSION AND TRANSMISSION
Nobility is almost always given to descendants as well, but in a few cases the scope of which has been limited.
AS of 1416
AD it is standard praxis to given
Nobility to the 1st receiver and all the descendants born in
wedlock until the end of time.
(Bartholdy: Adels-og våpenbreve udstedt af danske (unions-)konger indtil 1536, p 35)
There has however been some notable exceptions, sometimes only 1 receiver has been given Nobility, or in other case, the Nobility was given "for as long The Monarchs Mercy lasts"
In a Patent
from 1416 AD (nr 37) the receivers and descendants are given "Freedom and
Salvation as other Knights and Squires". After which time the phrase "as other
Knights and Squires here in our Kingdom have" becomes reasonably standard.
(Bartholdy: Adels-og våpenbreve udstedt af danske (unions-)konger indtil 1536, p 35 / 36)
Although it has occasionally happened that the receivers were given a somewhat more elevated standing.
PLEASE NOTE - NATIONAL DIFFERENCES:
specified standards are still adhered to in full - and unchanged in the Kingdom of Norway to this day. Thus - in Norway, we adhere to the particulars of each Patent of Nobility excactly as decreed in the Patent and to the letter, whitout additions, subtractions or "interpretations" of any kind.
These are also adhered to in Sweden.
The Danish nobility Association (DAF) / Dansk adels Forening (DAF) however defines "Danish nobility" as "practically everyone who is listed in Danish Nobility`s Yearbook".
In Norway and in Sweden, these written Formal Acts of Nobility are paramount.
While in Denmark, not at all.
So please note that there are distinct national differences in attitude towards the importance of these written Formal Acts of Nobility.
How Nobles are made:
After 1396 AD, in accordance with the Nykøping-Convention, Nobility is given through the creation of Formal Acts of Nobility,
called Letters Patent, or Patents of Nobility. These Letters
Patent or Patents of Nobility are issued in the form of Royal Charters with Prescriptive
effect. "Prescriptive" means that the written Act becomes Law, through
the very act of writing it.
In 1396 AD King Eric of Pomerania invented written Formal Acts of Nobility in Scandinavia, and through writing these, all person included in these Patents, become de-jure and formal Nobility through the prescriptive effect of these Act of State.
Thus, people become Nobility, through the very act of the Monarch or the
Monarchs` Chancery, writing a Patent of Nobility.
Furthermore, as these Formal Acts of Nobility as mentioned are prescriptive, all who fills the definition of whom through the Patent has been given Nobility, formally and legally become Noble through these Acts.
This has in turn the following effect, which may seem a little peculiar in this modern day and age, but all the same is the actual legal effect :
If for instance the Patent states that "His Majesty has given Shield, Helmet, Salvation, Freedom and Arms to X and all his descendants born in Wedlock":
Then through the Patents prescriptive effect, all descendants born in wedlock become Nobles in the very same instant the Patent which prescribes this, is created.
That in itself may not sound very peculiar, but when we consider the fact that "all his descendants born in wedlock" of course not yet are even born at the time of the creation of the Patent, and most of these will not even be conceived for hundreds or thousands of years into the future, one realizes that through the prescriptive effect, the Monarch personally or through the Chancery, in the same instant the Patent is created, have given Shield, Helmet, Salvation, Freedom and Arms to people who aren`t even conceived at the time of the creation of the Patent, and may not be for thousands of years into the future.
Yet, since at the time of the creation of the Patent, "Shield, Helmet, Salvation, Freedom and Arms", indeed was at the Monarchs disposal to legally give away, and the Monarch through the Patent indeed also did give them away - to each and every one of those descendants of X who are yet to be conceived in wedlock in the future, there is no legal way to recant this act, not even by the Monarchs successors to The Throne, or the various Nations Parliaments for that matter.
Simply because the legal ownership of these items have already been transferred, from previous Monarchs, to the recipients, who at the time of the creation of the Patent, become the legal owners- Thus: through the prescriptive effect and the fact that such Patents legally transfers ownership of Shield, Helmet, Salvation, Freedom and Arms from the giver to the receiver, these future descendants of X have already in the very instant the Patent decreed it, instantly received legal ownership of these items.
Thus, in such cases, some people become Nobility even aeons before they are even conceived and as such should best be described as "Pre-Conceived Nobility" because they were ennobled prior even to their conception.
In the year 1814 the de-facto government began a campaign to strip the Norwegian Nobility of their rights, which continued with a law from 1824. That law is now presumed to be "Out-dated" so that it no longer has any legal effect, as if it ever it did, and has therefore long since been removed from the book called "The Laws of Norway".
for taking the time to join us on this brief voyage through the past 1000 years of our history. We invite you to join us for both a year of celebration, reflection and introspection.
And finally we wish to take this opertunity
to congratulate CILANE on their 70th Anniversary
thank them wholeheartedly for their dedication to promoting traditional Noble
Values across the European Continent - and most of all, - for their dedication
to maintaining an understanding of the identity of the nobility -based on
historical and legal fact.
Happy Anniversary, everyone.
GABRIEL af ROSENSVERD
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Last True, Lawful & Righful King of Norway and the Calmar-Union
As part of our 1000th anniversary celebration we have provided our English speaking audience with English subtitles in the above film. Please enable subtitles if applicable.