Jægerspris Castle has belonged to the Danish monarchs for most of its history which dates back to the 13th century. In the 1850s it became a retreat for King Frederik VII and his morganatic wife Countess Danner, who sought refuge there to escape the controversy their marriage had caused among the establishment in Copenhagen. After the king's death, Countess Danner turned it into an asylum for women. Today the castle serves as a historic house museum and is also noted for its park.
Until 1677 the estate was known as Abrahamstrup. It is not clear who Abraham was but the name is believed to be a reference to King Valdemar II's son Abel since most of Hornsherred in the 12th century was owned by the king. A source from 1318 refers to the estate as land belonging to the Crown.
In 1673 the castle passed into private ownership when it was acquired by jægermester Vincents von Hahn. In 1677 he renamed it Jægerspris, which literally translates to Hunter's Praise. In 1679, the castle passed back into royal ownership and shortly after Frederick IV's ascent to the throne in 1699, he used it as a summer residence for a few years but then gave it to his younger brother Prince Charles of Denmark in 1703. Prince Charles carried out a comprehensive expansion and rebuilding of the castle. The south wing was extended with an extra storey and the single, square guard tower of the southern facade of the castle was given a twin tower to the east to add symmetry to the building. Several buildings associated with the forestry and agricultural operations of the estate were also built on the grounds. They included a pheasantry and a stud farm. The adaptions of the castle were completed in 1722. In 1726, three years before Prince Charles' death, the stud farm relocated to Vemmetofte, one of his other estates.
After Prince Charles' death in 1729, Crown Prince Christian (VI) took over the estate. Thereafter the castle continued to serve as a hunting lodge for the Danish monarchs until it was ceded to the Danish state in 1849 in connection with the adoption of the Danish Constitution.
King Frederik VII acquired Jægerspris Castle on 21 April 1854, the birthday of his morganatic wife Countess Danner, as a place to spend their private life, away from the controversy their liaison had caused back in Copenhagen. They carried out a major renovation of the castle assisted by the architect Johan Henrik Nebelong.
After Frederick's death in 1863, Louise lived a discreet life there. In 1866 she opened part of the castle to the public as a historic house museum where everything was left exactly the way it was, thus commemorating the popular king and their lives together. In 1873, she founded the Frederick VII's Foundation for Poor Women from the Working Class, and the house was called 'The Danner House'. On her death, she left Jægerspris Castle 'to the benefit of poor and destitute servant girls'.
In the years around 1770 the sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt erected a large number of monuments in the park commemorating famous Danish and Norwegian men and women. There are 54 monuments in the park and the adjacent forest, Slotshegnet. The park also contains Countess Danner’s burial mound and Herman Wilhelm Bissen's bust of Frederik VII. The large oak trees in the southern section of the park were planted by Frederik V to ensure the availability of timber for naval construction. To the north there are avenues of lime trees.References:
Castle Rushen is located in the Isle of Man"s historic capital, Castletown. The castle is amongst the best examples of medieval castles in the British Isles, and is still in use as a court house, museum and educational centre.
The exact date of castle is unknown, although construction is thought to have taken place during the reigns of the late 12th century and early 13th century rulers of the Isle of Man – the Kings of Mann and the Isles. The original Castle Rushen consisted of a central square stone tower, or keep. The site was also fortified to guard the entrance to the Silver Burn. From its early beginnings, the castle was continually developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th century. The limestone walls dominated much of the surrounding landscape, serving as a point of dominance for the various rulers of the Isle of Man. By 1313, the original keep had been reinforced with towers to the west and south. In the 14th century, an east tower, gatehouses, and curtain wall were added.
After several more changes of hands the English and their supporters eventually prevailed. The English king Edward I Longshanks claimed that the island had belonged to the Kings of England for generations and he was merely reasserting their rightful claim to the Isle of Man.
The 18th century saw the castle in steady decay. By the end of the century it was converted into a prison. Even though the castle was in continuous use as a prison, the decline continued until the turn of the 20th century, when it was restored under the oversight of the Lieutenant Governor, George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan. Following the restoration work, and the completion of the purpose-built Victoria Road Prison in 1891, the castle was transferred from the British Crown to the Isle of Man Government in 1929.
Today it is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage, depicting the history of the Kings and Lords of Mann. Most rooms are open to the public during the opening season (March to October), and all open rooms have signs telling their stories. The exhibitions include a working medieval kitchen where authentic period food is prepared on special occasions and re-enactments of various aspects of medieval life are held on a regular basis, with particular emphasis on educating the local children about their history. Archaeological finds made during excavations in the 1980s are displayed and used as learning tools for visitors.