Orisberg Mansion

Storkyro, Finland

The history of Orisberg mansion dates back to 1676, when the mayor of Vaasa, James Rossi, with his partners were licensed to establish and ironworks to Orisberg. There were 11 owners, until in 1783 a Stockholm merchant and shipowner, Bengt Björkman, acquired Orisberg and several other ironworks in Finland. Due the nobility family name later was changed to Björkenheim.

Captain Lars Magnus and Lovisa Wilhelmiina Björkman host of the manor as a pair and they begged permission to hire a priest and build their own church. These permits were granted and the mansion was an independent parish for 40 years from 1828 to 1868. Orisberg church, bell tower and the parsonage was designed by architect Carl Ludvig Engel.

In addition to managing a small church pastor's duties included work as a teacher. Because there were not yet elementary schools the wealthiest people sent their children to school in Orisberg even over long distances.

Today Orisberg is one of the recreation centers run by Logos Ministries in Finland, an organization within the Lutheran Church of Finland. It offers services for visitors in the summer time. There are cabins for rent, well equipped camping area for tents and caravans, cooking facilities, sauna by a small lake. A café in an old vicarage serves delicious meals. The place still belongs to the manor Orisberg (Björkenheim), which is still a working farm.

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Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

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