The history of the Sandbjerg Estate goes back to the beginning of the 16th century. In 1564 the estate became the property of Duke Hans the Younger (1545-1622), when his brother Frederik II transferred ownership of a third of the royal duchies to him - an area which included Ærø, Als, and Sundeved in the Duchy of Schleswig.
The Duke left his mark on the landscape, commissioning the building of a dam -which exists to this very day - in a cove of Alssund. The subsequent dammed area became known as Møllesøen (the Mill Pond). The water mill, the ruins of which can still be seen, was operational until it was destroyed by fire in 1916.
On Duke Hans' death in 1622 Sandbjerg became the property of the Sønderborg line of his family. After a bankruptcy in 1667, the estate once more became the property of the Crown. A few years later, in 1673, ownership of the estate changed hands yet again - this time being sold to Prefect (later Chancellor) Conrad Reventlow of Haderslev (1644-1708). The king gave him permission to create an entailed estate incorporating Sandbjerg and his other possessions in Sundeved under the name of the Reventlow-Sandbjerg Estate.
The Sandbjerg owned by Hans the Younger was situated on the site of the present Sandbjerg Farm, on the other side of the Mill Pond. In 1788 Conrad Georg Reventlow built a manor house on the point facing out across the sound. The master builder on the project was Christian August Bohlsmann of Sønderborg. The tenant farmer's house, built in 1783, the manor house, the various other buildings, and the park, all of which are to be found between the Mill Pond and the sound, comprise the present Sandbjerg Estate.
Sandbjerg remained in the hands of the Reventlow family until 1930. For a period during the 1850s The manor house was used as a residence by General Frederik Bülow, victor of the BattIe of Fredericia in 1849. He died at Sandbjerg and is buried in the churchyard at Dybbøl.
After the war of 1864 the duchies of Schleswig and HoIstein were annexed by Germany. North Schleswig was not returned to Denmark until 1920.
In 1924 Sandbjerg was converted from an entailed estate into fee simple, and folIowing the death of the last Reventlow in 1929, the estate was sold to Knud Dahl, a barrister from Copenhagen, and his wife, Ellen Dahl (née Dinesen), both of whom were well known in Southern Jutland for their involvement in matters relating to the borderlands of Denmark and Germany. Like her famous sister, Karen Blixen, Ellen Dahl was artistically gifted. After the death of her husband, she opened the doors of Sandbjerg to scholars and academics, and in 1954 bestowed the entire estate on the University of Aarhus. On her death in 1959, the University acquired full disposal over the Sandbjerg Estate.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.