A Danish wedding in 1502

The information below is translated from information compiled by Sylve Åkesson on his Web pages about castles in Skåne. If you read Swedish, they're well worth a visit. Additional information was found in Ingvar Andersson, ‘Skånes historia’, P A Norstedt & Söners förlag, Stockholm 1974.

In 1502, Oluf Stigsen Krognos of Bollerup held a wedding for his daughter Magdalene, who married Tyge Axelsen Brahe, owner of the neighbouring Tosterup estate and a lord of the realm. Krognos’ accounts tell us:

The bride was dressed in golden velvet, pearl embroideries and ermine and wore gold jewelry. She brought to the marriage a splendid wardrobe: a ‘pearly kirtle’ of broadcloth, embroidered with pearls and gold, seven other robes, of which one was of yellow damask and black velvet, one of best English cloth, one of red English with lining, under dress and cloak, one of yellow damask over a blue kirtle, two green kirtles, one red with ermine and green under dress. The groom was given a groom’s shirt with the chest embroidered in gold and pearls by his father in law, plus 15 other shirts with silk embroideries.

From Tosterup there are accounts of what the bride brought to her new household. Three fully equipped ‘master beds’ with bolsters, pillows, Dutch linen sheets as well as Flemish and English bed covers. In addition sheets of silk, a gold-embroidered red pillow and a pair of gold embroidered, red damask cushions.

For the solar she brought two red and blue linen wall coverings with leather embroideries, twelve new Flemish cushions and bench covers.

There were also three great tapestries for the dining hall, a silk embroidered table cloth, three long white table cloths with three napkins, of which two were silk embroidered and one embroidered in blue.

For the hall there was an embroidered hanging, bench cushions and coverlets to hang on the wall behind the benches. In addition 28 ‘men’s sheets’. For the household there were 10 cooking pots, one big mortar, 2 large candlesticks and a large hand basin.

From her father the bride also received a ‘karm’, a wagon covered with red cloth from Leiden and leather, and two grey horses. The groom and servant girl who came with the wagon wore red clothes.

After the wedding dinner there was a torch-dance and music by drummers, and thereafter the important ‘bedding’, when the couple were led by the guests to the bridal bed in the prepared bridal chamber. There were so many relatives and guests at the event that they used 180 barrels of oats to feed the horses. There is no mention of how long the feast lasted, but there was plenty to eat. They ate 4 smoked cows, 10 oxen, 40 smoked lambs and as many sheep, plus many pigs. Salmon, cod and herring were delivered by the barrel as well as butter and honey. To this they drank 17,268 litres of beer, 1,510 litres of mead and 1,390 litres of wine, Rhenish and French. The cost for the feast came to 498 Rhenish marks or 1,598 Scanian marks, a sum that at the time would have bought a castle.