History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2019-05-25

Introduction

What does nobility mean and how did it begin? Many genealogists have come across noble families in one way or another when researching their Swedish roots. It then might be of interest to know how it began and what it means to be of noble birth.

Nobility

The Swedish nobility arose when some propertied families in the 1200s came to be in a position of power; a position that made these families more powerful than others. These were positions worth striving for and desired by others. In former days, power was the same thing as strength and strength was the way to win. Owning property and land was a way to rule and pursue influence on others. The birth of the Swedish nobility took place in the 13th century. The great landowners began then to cooperate with the royal houses and supported the royal families both financially as well as with troops. This support gave these landowners favorable positions in the nation.

Supporting the King with Troops (Rusttjänst) and Exemption from Taxation

The keeping of mounted horsemen in armor for the disposal of the King wasn’t cheap, not even for the propertied landowners. It came with a price; these landowners wanted influence. As a service in return from the King the landowners were granted exemption from taxation. This was called “Frälse” in Swedish but a landowner that failed to keep horsemen in armor lost his “frälse”, i.e. he was submitted to taxation again. Frälse or frälsemän became a term denoting the families keeping troopers for the King and therefore were exempted from taxation. This was the first term for nobility in Sweden. Also farmers that kept mounted horsemen in armor could be raised to “fräsle”. They were then called “friborna frälsemän” (freeborn frälse men).

The Birth of the Nobility

A Royal Decree of 1280 (Alsnö Stadga) formally recognized the Frälse as a privileged group of powerful landowners. In the first modern parliament meeting in Sweden in 1435 the noble families were represented as their own interest group, The Estate of Nobility. The Parliament was then called ”The Parliament of the Estates” (Ståndsriksdagen). However, the two meetings in the city of Västerås in 1527 and 1544, under the rule of King Gustav Vasa, were the first parliamentary meetings with representation from four Estates. The term “Riksdag” was not used until the 1540’s as a term for parliamentary meetings. In the Riksdag of the Estates the Riksdag had four “Estates”, each with its own representation of the population. The four Estates were: The Nobility (Frälse or Adeln) The Clergy (Prästerna) The Burghers (Borgarna) The Peasants (Bönderna) In the Riksdag of the four Estates each estate held their deliberations in separate chambers, had their own speakers, kept minutes of their meetings but conferred with each other from time to time. A resolution required the assent of three estates in order to pass (the majority principle). The Nobles met in the Estate of the Nobility. The Nobility was represented by the heads of families and on certain occasions those present could number a thousand.

Privileges

Families of Frälse (Nobility) were granted the right to exercise the power of authority on their own private land (landed property). The Fräsle landowners were able to impose penalties like a court of law upon their employees, impose fines, collect taxes from people living on their property (farmers, tenant farmers etc.). The Frälse landowners were also granted the right to build chapels and to employ their own reverends on their estates. The latter right was called “patronatsrätt” in Swedish. As a gratitude for the support from the noble families (frälse), the monarch granted land (Swe: förläning) to them, so-called fief. This was royal or government property that was handed out to the noblemen who had served the king well and a way to encourage them to keep on doing so. All these favors of course made the noble families even more powerful. At the end of the 16th century the noble families’ duty to support the king with mounted horsemen in armor was abolished. However, the noble families’ privileges were kept. Instead the nobility were in 1565 to raise a cavalry regiment known as Adelsfanan (The Cavalry Corps of the Nobility). This unit was in service until 1809 when it was disbanded.

The Swedish Term Adel

In the middle of the 1500s the term “Adel” became a new term for the Frälse. The Swedish term adel can be derived to the word “ädel” meaning “noble”. The concept of nobility also included a heraldic coat of arms with the noble family’s escutcheon. The image to the right shows the coat of arms of the noble clan Leijonhufvud; three lion heads. Leijonhufvud is noble family no: 23. Free image Wikipedia.

Swedish Noble Titles

In 1561 the then present King of Sweden, Erik XIV, introduced two noble titles: 1. Greve (Count or Earl (UK)) 2. Friherre (Baron) The title Greve is the higher ranked of the two. Both are of the Nobility (Swe: Högadel) or Peerage (UK). Then there is a third class of untitled noble families known as the the lesser nobility (Swe: Lågadel) or the Gentry (UK). It was the Nobility (Högadel) that in 1561 received the two new titles. Then, in 1561 three people within the Nobility were raised to the status of Greve (Count/Earl). The titles were also accompanied with fief (land). Nine people within the Nobility were in 1561 raised to the status of Friherre. A Greve is addressed as Greve while a wife of a Greve are adressed as Grevinna (Countess). A Friherre is verbally addressed as Baron while a wife of a Friherre is addressed as Friherrinna (Baroness). A Greve and a Friherre are entitled to the title Högvälborne which corresponds to The Right Honourable in the UK. For example, Högvälborne Herr Greve Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt (The Right Honourable Earl Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt). Titles Hertig (Duke) and Hertiginna (Duchess) are in Sweden exclusively used by members of the Royal Family. According to a decree of The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset) in 1626 noble dignity is divided into three types of statuses or ranks: 1. Greve (the highest noble dignity; has the right to the title Högvälborne (The Right Honourable) - The Nobility (Högadel).) 2. Friherre (the second highest noble dignity after Greve; has the right to the title Högvälborne (The Right Honourable) - The Nobility (Högadel).) 3. Untitled noblemen (Obetitlad adel) (Squires (svenneklassen) or Gentry (Lågadel). Have the right to the title Välborne (The Honourable)). Families of Counts/Earls and Barons are commonly denominated Riddarskapet (The Knighthood) in Sweden and families of untitled noble people are denominated Adel. When a person was raised to nobility he usually adopted a new family name of a special kind, typical for the nobility. However, originally the patronymic names were also used by nobility. For more information, see Family names of the Nobility. Only the Monarch had the right to elevate a commoner into noble dignity.

About Land Ownership

It was necessary for the nobility not to marry beneath one’s station. An important reason for this was to avoid noble land reverting to taxed land. From a landowning point of view, there were three types of land: 1. Land owned by the Nobility (Frälsejord - Noble land) 2. Land owned by the Crown (Kronojord - Crown land) 3. Land owned by farmers (Skattejord - Taxed land) Skattejord was land owned and farmed by freeholders and tax was paid to the Crown. Kronojord was land owned by the Crown farmed by tenant farmers paying tenancies to the Crown. These tenant farmers had inheritable right of possession to the land they farmed. Fräslejord was land owned by the Nobility. Tenant farmers on Noble land paid their taxes to the noble landowner. Fräsejord was land that was either: 1. Owned and farmed by a noble family. These landed properties were called säteri in Swedish and were exempt from all kinds of taxation. 2. Owned by a noble family but farmed by tenant farmers paying tenancies to the noble landowner. The land was exempted from land tax (grundskatt).

Regulations of the Noble Privileges

In 1569 the rights and obligations of the Nobility were regulated. The noble members of the original class of Knighthood were the noble families who had achieved noble status prior to 1569. These original noble dynasties are numbered 1 - 37. In 1617 the Nobility were granted even more privileges with specific benefits such as the exclusive right to all high positions within the government administration. Also, further tax reductions were achieved. At the same time the nobility was to swear total loyalty to the ruler, the King, and vow to always offer their services to the monarch. In the Constitution Act of 1809, the nobility’s exclusive right to all higher positions within civil administration was removed, as was their exclusive right to own or purchase so-called noble land (land exempted from taxation). When the Parliament of the Estates was abolished in 1866 and replaced with a modern two-chamber parliament their special political power was significantly reduced. In the Constitution Act of 1975 the monarch’s right to elevate a commoner into noble dignity was removed. Thus, commoners can no longer be ennobled in Sweden.

Inheritance of Noble Titles

The noble dignities of Greve (Count/Earl) and Friherre (Baron) are inheritable to all marital agnatic progenies (Agnatic succession) to the person raised to one of these noble titles. Patrilineal or agnatic succession gives priority to or restricts inheritance of a noble dignity to heirs, male or female, descended from the original title holder through males only. Traditionally, agnatic succession is applied in determining the names and membership of European dynasties. Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side (Svärdssidan) or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through his or her father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, rights, names or titles by persons related through male kin. A patriline ("father line") is a person's father, and additional ancestors, as traced only through males. So, noble dignity is inherited only on the spear side. Daughters with noble dignity can’t transfer noble dignity to their children. After 1809: There is an exception to the above mentioned general rule of agnatic succession, the so-called Section 37 in the Swedish Constitution Act of 1809 (1809-års Regeringsform). Section 37 of 1809 states that only the head of a dynasty (Swe: Huvudman) raised to noble dignity has the right to carry the noble title. When the family head dies the noble dignity is then inherited by the next male heir in the succession order. This will be continued thereafter generation after generation, i.e. line after line. So, for families ennobled after 1809 only one member of the family could carry the noble title at a time. In other word, only the family’s head is authorized to carry the noble title for families raised to nobility after 1809. This was more in line with the British system.

The last person to be raised to noble dignity in Sweden

Explorer Sven Hedin was the last person to be ennobled in Sweden, who received his noble dignity in 1902. The right of the King of Sweden to raise people to noble dignity was removed in the Constitution Act of 1975. In Europe only Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK still raise people to noble dignity (2002).

Related Links

The House of Nobility Noble families in Sweden

Source References

Wikipedia The House of Nobility’s website Ätten Ribbing, 700 år i Sveriges historia" av Magdalena Ribbing, 1995 Top of page
xxxxx Swegen xxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Concept of Nobility - Sweden

Riddarhuset - The House of Nobility

The House of Nobility is the name of the palace but also the name of an organization for the nobles in Sweden and its objective is to preserve, maintain, and shield a historical heritage. The palace was erected during the period 1641-1672. Hanging on the walls of the Great Hall are the coats of arms, painted on copper plates, of noble families who have been introduced at the House of Nobility. Altogether 2,331 families are thus represented. The House of Nobility was established in 1625. King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden then granted the Nobility of Sweden the right to be one of four estates of the Parliament - “The Parliament of the Estates” (Ståndsriksdagen). The great hall of the House of Nobility was used by the aristocracy for meetings of Parliament during the Diet of the Four Estates. When the body of the aristocrats, The House of Nobility, was established it was decreed that the noble families must be “introduced” to the body (registered) in order to have a seat in the House and be able to vote, i.e. in order to make their voices heard. In the introduction process each noble family was ordered chronologically by numbers. For example, the noble family Leijonhufvud mentioned above in the section about “Coat of Arms” are noble family number 23. There was an increasing number of noble families after 1626. In 1632 there were 239 families with noble dignity and in 1654 there were 767. The image shows the House of the Nobility palace in Stockholm. Photo Carol Kemp, WA, USA, 2016. In 1626 the Swedish nobility was organized into three classes according to a scheme introduced in the Standing orders of the House of Nobility (Riddarhusordningen): 1. The Class of Lords (Swe: Herreklassen), comprising counts (greve) and barons (friherre, baron). 2. The Class of Knights (Swed: Riddarklassen), untitled descendants of Swedish Privy Councilors and since 1778 the 300 oldest families in the Class of Esquire as well as the "commander families", who are of the descendants of commanders of Swedish royal orders; 3. The Class of Esquires (Swe: Svenneklassen), other untitled nobles. The Image shows the Great Hall (Riddarhussalen) with fully 2,300 coats of arms hanging on the walls. Free image Wikipedia. In the meetings held at the House of Nobility only the head of each noble family was authorized to participate, i.e. only one person per family. Until 1719 the three classes voted separately, but from 1719 all classes were voting together with one vote for each family head. In 1778 King Gustav III restored the classes and class voting and at the same time he reformed the Class of Knights. In 1809 the class voting was abolished, and the nobility was from then voting as stated in 1719. In 1809 the nobility lost their exclusive right to higher positions in Government administration. The Parliament of the Estates was abolished in 1866 and replaced by a two-chamber parliament. The Nobility thereby lost their political power of being a special body of the parliament. A noble dynasty is regarded as died out when there are no more living members of the family. A noble family has died out on the spear-side when the last male member of the family dies. A noble family has died out on the distaff side when the last female member with a noble title of the family dies.

Introduced Nobility vs. Un-introduced Nobility

Following the elevation of a commoner into nobility by the Swedish monarch, the new nobleman had to seek introduction in order to be a fully recognized member of the House of Nobility. The Swedish nobility consists of both "introduced" and "un-introduced" nobility, where the latter has not been formally "introduced" at the House of Nobility. Being "introduced" at the House of Nobility meant that the body confirmed the status of a family as Swedish nobility. Even when a family was ennobled by the Swedish monarch, it still had to seek introduction at the House of Nobility to achieve such status. Introduction, however, was not necessary for being considered noble, based on other factors, whereas only the introduced families had a legally privileged position. Un-introduced families still could use their titles, if they had any, and noble elements and styles in their coats of arms. Noble families of foreign origin living in Sweden were able to be elevated into Swedish Nobility. There were special rules for this. The members of these families first had to be naturalized in Sweden. This was a necessity for all families who been ennobled by a foreign monarch. This also involved a confirmation of these families’ foreign noble dignity. There were costs involved in the introduction of a noble family; matriculation fees and cost for the making of the family’s coat of arms to be hung in the Great Hall in the House of Nobility. The coats of arms in the Great Hall are hung in numerical order according to the year of introduction. The Swedish Peerage Book (Swe: Adelskalendern) accounts the lineage of living families who have been introduced into the House of Nobility. The 108th edition of the Swedish Peerage Book will be printed in 2019. The reasons for ennoblement were many; such as, reward for meritorious military service or service within civil administration or important achievements within scientific research, techniques or finance.

Säteri - Seat Estate

In Sweden, a seat estate (Swe: sätesgård or säteri) was an estate where a nobleman had his permanent residence (landed estate). Seat estates had, especially, freedom from taxes and tithes. The conception of seat estates dates back to 1561 when every untitled nobleman was granted exemption from taxes for one estate, each baron (Friherre) exemption from taxes for two estates and counts (Greve) for three estates. The seat estates had to be farmed and have an erected manor in accordance with the owner’s station to receive freedom from taxes for the estate. Establishment of new seat estates have not been allowed after 1681. The freedom from taxation for seat estates was abolished in 1810. Until 1809 commoners were not allowed to buy noble land or seat estates.
History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2019-05-25

Introduction

What does nobility mean and how did it begin? Many genealogists have come across noble families in one way or another when researching their Swedish roots. It then might be of interest to know how it began and what it means to be of noble birth.

Nobility

The Swedish nobility arose when some propertied families in the 1200s came to be in a position of power; a position that made these families more powerful than others. These were positions worth striving for and desired by others. In former days, power was the same thing as strength and strength was the way to win. Owning property and land was a way to rule and pursue influence on others. The birth of the Swedish nobility took place in the 13th century. The great landowners began then to cooperate with the royal houses and supported the royal families both financially as well as with troops. This support gave these landowners favorable positions in the nation.

Supporting the King with Troops

(Rusttjänst) and Exemption from Taxation

The keeping of mounted horsemen in armor for the disposal of the King wasn’t cheap, not even for the propertied landowners. It came with a price; these landowners wanted influence. As a service in return from the King the landowners were granted exemption from taxation. This was called “Frälse” in Swedish but a landowner that failed to keep horsemen in armor lost his “frälse”, i.e. he was submitted to taxation again. Frälse or frälsemän became a term denoting the families keeping troopers for the King and therefore were exempted from taxation. This was the first term for nobility in Sweden. Also farmers that kept mounted horsemen in armor could be raised to “fräsle”. They were then called “friborna frälsemän” (freeborn frälse men).

The Birth of the Nobility

A Royal Decree of 1280 (Alsnö Stadga) formally recognized the Frälse as a privileged group of powerful landowners. In the first modern parliament meeting in Sweden in 1435 the noble families were represented as their own interest group, The Estate of Nobility. The Parliament was then called ”The Parliament of the Estates” (Ståndsriksdagen). However, the two meetings in the city of Västerås in 1527 and 1544, under the rule of King Gustav Vasa, were the first parliamentary meetings with representation from four Estates. The term “Riksdag” was not used until the 1540’s as a term for parliamentary meetings. In the Riksdag of the Estates the Riksdag had four “Estates”, each with its own representation of the population. The four Estates were: The Nobility (Frälse or Adeln) The Clergy (Prästerna) The Burghers (Borgarna) The Peasants (Bönderna) In the Riksdag of the four Estates each estate held their deliberations in separate chambers, had their own speakers, kept minutes of their meetings but conferred with each other from time to time. A resolution required the assent of three estates in order to pass (the majority principle). The Nobles met in the Estate of the Nobility. The Nobility was represented by the heads of families and on certain occasions those present could number a thousand.

Privileges

Families of Frälse (Nobility) were granted the right to exercise the power of authority on their own private land (landed property). The Fräsle landowners were able to impose penalties like a court of law upon their employees, impose fines, collect taxes from people living on their property (farmers, tenant farmers etc.). The Frälse landowners were also granted the right to build chapels and to employ their own reverends on their estates. The latter right was called “patronatsrätt” in Swedish. As a gratitude for the support from the noble families (frälse), the monarch granted land (Swe: förläning) to them, so-called fief. This was royal or government property that was handed out to the noblemen who had served the king well and a way to encourage them to keep on doing so. All these favors of course made the noble families even more powerful. At the end of the 16th century the noble families’ duty to support the king with mounted horsemen in armor was abolished. However, the noble families’ privileges were kept. Instead the nobility were in 1565 to raise a cavalry regiment known as Adelsfanan (The Cavalry Corps of the Nobility). This unit was in service until 1809 when it was disbanded.

The Swedish Term Adel

In the middle of the 1500s the term “Adel” became a new term for the Frälse. The Swedish term adel can be derived to the word “ädel” meaning “noble”. The concept of nobility also included a heraldic coat of arms with the noble family’s escutcheon. The image to the right shows the coat of arms of the noble clan Leijonhufvud; three lion heads. Leijonhufvud is noble family no: 23. Free image Wikipedia.

Swedish Noble Titles

In 1561 the then present King of Sweden, Erik XIV, introduced two noble titles: 1. Greve (Count or Earl (UK)) 2. Friherre (Baron) The title Greve is the higher ranked of the two. Both are of the Nobility (Swe: Högadel) or Peerage (UK). Then there is a third class of untitled noble families known as the the lesser nobility (Swe: Lågadel) or the Gentry (UK). It was the Nobility (Högadel) that in 1561 received the two new titles. Then, in 1561 three people within the Nobility were raised to the status of Greve (Count/Earl). The titles were also accompanied with fief (land). Nine people within the Nobility were in 1561 raised to the status of Friherre. A Greve is addressed as Greve while a wife of a Greve are adressed as Grevinna (Countess). A Friherre is verbally addressed as Baron while a wife of a Friherre is addressed as Friherrinna (Baroness). A Greve and a Friherre are entitled to the title Högvälborne which corresponds to The Right Honourable in the UK. For example, Högvälborne Herr Greve Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt (The Right Honourable Earl Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt). Titles Hertig (Duke) and Hertiginna (Duchess) are in Sweden exclusively used by members of the Royal Family. According to a decree of The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset) in 1626 noble dignity is divided into three types of statuses or ranks: 1. Greve (the highest noble dignity; has the right to the title Högvälborne (The Right Honourable) - The Nobility (Högadel).) 2. Friherre (the second highest noble dignity after Greve; has the right to the title Högvälborne (The Right Honourable) - The Nobility (Högadel).) 3. Untitled noblemen (Obetitlad adel) (Squires (svenneklassen) or Gentry (Lågadel). Have the right to the title Välborne (The Honourable)). Families of Counts/Earls and Barons are commonly denominated Riddarskapet (The Knighthood) in Sweden and families of untitled noble people are denominated Adel. When a person was raised to nobility he usually adopted a new family name of a special kind, typical for the nobility. However, originally the patronymic names were also used by nobility. For more information, see Family names of the Nobility. Only the Monarch had the right to elevate a commoner into noble dignity.

About Land Ownership

It was necessary for the nobility not to marry beneath one’s station. An important reason for this was to avoid noble land reverting to taxed land. From a landowning point of view, there were three types of land: 1. Land owned by the Nobility (Frälsejord - Noble land) 2. Land owned by the Crown (Kronojord - Crown land) 3. Land owned by farmers (Skattejord - Taxed land) Skattejord was land owned and farmed by freeholders and tax was paid to the Crown. Kronojord was land owned by the Crown farmed by tenant farmers paying tenancies to the Crown. These tenant farmers had inheritable right of possession to the land they farmed. Fräslejord was land owned by the Nobility. Tenant farmers on Noble land paid their taxes to the noble landowner. Fräsejord was land that was either: 1. Owned and farmed by a noble family. These landed properties were called säteri in Swedish and were exempt from all kinds of taxation. 2. Owned by a noble family but farmed by tenant farmers paying tenancies to the noble landowner. The land was exempted from land tax (grundskatt).

Regulations of the Noble

Privileges

In 1569 the rights and obligations of the Nobility were regulated. The noble members of the original class of Knighthood were the noble families who had achieved noble status prior to 1569. These original noble dynasties are numbered 1 - 37. In 1617 the Nobility were granted even more privileges with specific benefits such as the exclusive right to all high positions within the government administration. Also, further tax reductions were achieved. At the same time the nobility was to swear total loyalty to the ruler, the King, and vow to always offer their services to the monarch. In the Constitution Act of 1809, the nobility’s exclusive right to all higher positions within civil administration was removed, as was their exclusive right to own or purchase so-called noble land (land exempted from taxation). When the Parliament of the Estates was abolished in 1866 and replaced with a modern two-chamber parliament their special political power was significantly reduced. In the Constitution Act of 1975 the monarch’s right to elevate a commoner into noble dignity was removed. Thus, commoners can no longer be ennobled in Sweden.

Inheritance of Noble Titles

The noble dignities of Greve (Count/Earl) and Friherre (Baron) are inheritable to all marital agnatic progenies (Agnatic succession) to the person raised to one of these noble titles. Patrilineal or agnatic succession gives priority to or restricts inheritance of a noble dignity to heirs, male or female, descended from the original title holder through males only. Traditionally, agnatic succession is applied in determining the names and membership of European dynasties. Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side (Svärdssidan) or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through his or her father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, rights, names or titles by persons related through male kin. A patriline ("father line") is a person's father, and additional ancestors, as traced only through males. So, noble dignity is inherited only on the spear side. Daughters with noble dignity can’t transfer noble dignity to their children. After 1809: There is an exception to the above mentioned general rule of agnatic succession, the so-called Section 37 in the Swedish Constitution Act of 1809 (1809-års Regeringsform). Section 37 of 1809 states that only the head of a dynasty (Swe: Huvudman) raised to noble dignity has the right to carry the noble title. When the family head dies the noble dignity is then inherited by the next male heir in the succession order. This will be continued thereafter generation after generation, i.e. line after line. So, for families ennobled after 1809 only one member of the family could carry the noble title at a time. In other word, only the family’s head is authorized to carry the noble title for families raised to nobility after 1809. This was more in line with the British system.

The last person to be raised to noble dignity

in Sweden

Explorer Sven Hedin was the last person to be ennobled in Sweden, who received his noble dignity in 1902. The right of the King of Sweden to raise people to noble dignity was removed in the Constitution Act of 1975. In Europe only Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK still raise people to noble dignity (2002).

The Concept of

Nobility - Sweden

Related Links

The House of Nobility Noble families in Sweden

Source References

Wikipedia The House of Nobility’s website Ätten Ribbing, 700 år i Sveriges historia" av Magdalena Ribbing, 1995 Top of page

Riddarhuset - The House of

Nobility

The House of Nobility is the name of the palace but also the name of an organization for the nobles in Sweden and its objective is to preserve, maintain, and shield a historical heritage. The palace was erected during the period 1641-1672. Hanging on the walls of the Great Hall are the coats of arms, painted on copper plates, of noble families who have been introduced at the House of Nobility. Altogether 2,331 families are thus represented. The House of Nobility was established in 1625. King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden then granted the Nobility of Sweden the right to be one of four estates of the Parliament - “The Parliament of the Estates” (Ståndsriksdagen). The great hall of the House of Nobility was used by the aristocracy for meetings of Parliament during the Diet of the Four Estates. When the body of the aristocrats, The House of Nobility, was established it was decreed that the noble families must be “introduced” to the body (registered) in order to have a seat in the House and be able to vote, i.e. in order to make their voices heard. In the introduction process each noble family was ordered chronologically by numbers. For example, the noble family Leijonhufvud mentioned above in the section about “Coat of Arms” are noble family number 23. There was an increasing number of noble families after 1626. In 1632 there were 239 families with noble dignity and in 1654 there were 767. The image shows the House of the Nobility palace in Stockholm. Photo Carol Kemp, WA, USA, 2016. In 1626 the Swedish nobility was organized into three classes according to a scheme introduced in the Standing orders of the House of Nobility (Riddarhusordningen): 1. The Class of Lords (Swe: Herreklassen), comprising counts (greve) and barons (friherre, baron). 2. The Class of Knights (Swed: Riddarklassen), untitled descendants of Swedish Privy Councilors and since 1778 the 300 oldest families in the Class of Esquire as well as the "commander families", who are of the descendants of commanders of Swedish royal orders; 3. The Class of Esquires (Swe: Svenneklassen), other untitled nobles. The Image shows the Great Hall (Riddarhussalen) with fully 2,300 coats of arms hanging on the walls. Free image Wikipedia. In the meetings held at the House of Nobility only the head of each noble family was authorized to participate, i.e. only one person per family. Until 1719 the three classes voted separately, but from 1719 all classes were voting together with one vote for each family head. In 1778 King Gustav III restored the classes and class voting and at the same time he reformed the Class of Knights. In 1809 the class voting was abolished, and the nobility was from then voting as stated in 1719. In 1809 the nobility lost their exclusive right to higher positions in Government administration. The Parliament of the Estates was abolished in 1866 and replaced by a two-chamber parliament. The Nobility thereby lost their political power of being a special body of the parliament. A noble dynasty is regarded as died out when there are no more living members of the family. A noble family has died out on the spear-side when the last male member of the family dies. A noble family has died out on the distaff side when the last female member with a noble title of the family dies.

Introduced Nobility vs. Un-introduced

Nobility

Following the elevation of a commoner into nobility by the Swedish monarch, the new nobleman had to seek introduction in order to be a fully recognized member of the House of Nobility. The Swedish nobility consists of both "introduced" and "un-introduced" nobility, where the latter has not been formally "introduced" at the House of Nobility. Being "introduced" at the House of Nobility meant that the body confirmed the status of a family as Swedish nobility. Even when a family was ennobled by the Swedish monarch, it still had to seek introduction at the House of Nobility to achieve such status. Introduction, however, was not necessary for being considered noble, based on other factors, whereas only the introduced families had a legally privileged position. Un-introduced families still could use their titles, if they had any, and noble elements and styles in their coats of arms. Noble families of foreign origin living in Sweden were able to be elevated into Swedish Nobility. There were special rules for this. The members of these families first had to be naturalized in Sweden. This was a necessity for all families who been ennobled by a foreign monarch. This also involved a confirmation of these families’ foreign noble dignity. There were costs involved in the introduction of a noble family; matriculation fees and cost for the making of the family’s coat of arms to be hung in the Great Hall in the House of Nobility. The coats of arms in the Great Hall are hung in numerical order according to the year of introduction. The Swedish Peerage Book (Swe: Adelskalendern) accounts the lineage of living families who have been introduced into the House of Nobility. The 108th edition of the Swedish Peerage Book will be printed in 2019. The reasons for ennoblement were many; such as, reward for meritorious military service or service within civil administration or important achievements within scientific research, techniques or finance.

Säteri - Seat Estate

In Sweden, a seat estate (Swe: sätesgård or säteri) was an estate where a nobleman had his permanent residence (landed estate). Seat estates had, especially, freedom from taxes and tithes. The conception of seat estates dates back to 1561 when every untitled nobleman was granted exemption from taxes for one estate, each baron (Friherre) exemption from taxes for two estates and counts (Greve) for three estates. The seat estates had to be farmed and have an erected manor in accordance with the owner’s station to receive freedom from taxes for the estate. Establishment of new seat estates have not been allowed after 1681. The freedom from taxation for seat estates was abolished in 1810. Until 1809 commoners were not allowed to buy noble land or seat estates.