Ovanhed’s struggle for independence and the creation of the parish of Boda


This is a summary of an article by professor Georg Landberg in the publication ”Rättvik”, volume 1:2,

issued in 1967 by the parish of Rättvik. Georg Landberg was a historian and head-master of the Fjellstedtska

School at Uppsala.


At an early stage, the Ovanhed region, or quarter, fell out with the clergy of the Rättvik parish over the

right to have divine service in the region. The distance from the most northerly village, Gulleråsen, to the

church of Rättvik is 30 kilometres, a long distance to walk every Sunday. The clergy, on the other hand,

defended their own and the church’s income from the holy ceremonies.


It seems that a chapel existed as early as in 1586. In 1618 a permission to build a new chapel was granted

on condition that a representative of every household confirmed by their owner’s mark that they would not

”try to obtain any diminishing or reduction of their obligations towards their parish church” (the Ovanhed

letter of obligation).


In 1640 that did not stop one of the signers, Lars Matsson of Gulleråsen, born in 1578 (see Gulleråsen A5)

and other leading men to apply in secrete to the parish of Ore for a permission to join them. At subsequent

negotiations the vicar of Rättvik, Olaus Andreae Dalecarlus, promised the he or his chaplain would hold

service in the chapel every third Sunday.


On August 6, 1651, a new agreement was made between the new vicar, Petrus Schottenius, on one hand,

and Anders Nilsson, Kärvsåsen (A8), parish clerk, and Hans Hansson, Västanå (B9) on the other hand, on

service twice a month against an increase of the fee.


Olaus Andreae’s nephew, Andreas Danielis, who was chaplain 1663 – 1672, owned a farm in Kärvsåsen

and lived there periodically. Peace then reigned. Probably he contributed extra services.


Jacob Pigot, sheriff of Eastern Dalarna 1691 – 1711, who was seated in Kärvsåsen, arranged services nearly

every second Sunday and at all major feasts. As he catered for the priests in his own home, they could not ask

for more than 24 öre copper coin for each service occasion.


When Petrus Tillaeus was appointed vicar in 1717 he agreed with Pellhans Anders Olsson, Lenåsen (D10),

and Callur Hans Olsson, Boda (A3), born on July 26, 1707, churchwarden, to hold service every second

Sunday against payment of 1 daler and 16 öre copper coin per occasion.


After the death of King Charles XII, Erikanders Erik Andersson, Kärvsåsen, born on April 8, 1677, launched

an intensive and lengthy campaign for a separation. He was supported by three jurymen: Jöns Anders Andersson,

Ovanmyra (A3), born on June 18, 1671, Hans Olsson, Boda (see above, brother-in-law of Erik Andersson),

and Callur Hans Carlsson, Ovanmyra (A1c), born on May 27, 1672, uncle of the said Callur Hans Olsson

 Hans Carlsson’s sister was married to the parish clerk of Rättvik, Gudmund Andersson, Söderås.


Erik Andersson was described as holder of a minor farm. In 1745 he was mentioned as inn-keeper, and he

may possibly have been a parish constable for some time. He and Lars Olsson, Änderåsen (A5), born in 1657,

submitted in 1719 a letter to Queen Ulrika Eleonora applying for a priest and a graveyard of their own at the

chapel. As parsonage Lars Olsson offered to  give a farm which he had bought from the state and which had

previously been confiscated from Johan Gudmundsson, Gruvriset, a former sheriff. The matter was passed via

the cathedral chapter and the county governor to the district court of Rättvik, who took a strong stand against

the proposal.


In 1727, Erik Andersson made a new attempt. While parliament was in session, he went to Stockholm and

applied for service each Sunday, or a priest on the spot, and a separate graveyard. He was now supported

by Gudmund Andersson, parish clerk of Rättvik, who wished to see his daughter married to a priest who could

get a position in the parish, preferably at the chapel (she never became a priest’s wife, but eventually the mother

of a priest).


The vicar, Olof Kumblaeus, wrote a long memorial to the county governor. After many rounds a meeting in the

county office was summoned, but it led nowhere. On January 14, 1732, the King granted service two Sundays

in succession plus all festival days, and right to bury their dead, on condition that the parishioners of Boda paid

full fee to the mother church. Some other amendments should also be made. However, the county governor died,

and as the cathedral chapter was sceptical, most of it came to nothing.


No real pause in the struggle followed. After permission from the chapter the chapel was rebuilt in great haste

and a grave yard was prepared, which was inaugurated in 1734. (The book of deaths which then must have been

started has been lost.) During the autumn sessions of the district court in 1734 Erik Andersson was fined for faking

the schedule of population and the resulting tax fraud.


After the chapel was finished the next attempt was made. On June 4, 1735, Erik Andersson and Haga or Kus Hans

Olsson of Kärvsåsen presented a letter to the county governor asking for a separate priest and service every Sunday.

The vicar, Kumblaeus, replied heatedly that the region was by no means united. The atmosphere did not improve when

the two ”delegates”, together with Hans Carlsson, Ovanmyra, mentioned above, suggested to the county governor that

Gudmund Andersson’s son Anders Collenius, born in 1799, should be appointed school master of the region and preach

every third Sunday. Kumblaeus rejected him emphatically.


Olof Kumblaeus died in December 1737 and was replaced by Gabriel Sewallius. After Gudmund Andersson had given

up part of his salary as parish clerk and half of his residence, Christopher Forsberg, curate, now became school master

in charge.


The fighting spirit now seems to have been damped for some time because of a severe epidemic of dysentery in the

summer of 1740, the war with Russia 1741 – 1743 and the Dala rebellion in 1743. It seems that the people of the

Ovanhed quarter had been particularly aggressive when the rebels of the parish tried to seize the parish funds to finance

the march to Stockholm.


After Forsberg had been promoted to Chaplain Gudmund Andersson, now aged, was induced to give up the rest of

his salary and his residence to the curate Olof Forsström, who became parish clerk and school priest, thus assuming

the main responsibility for the public worship of the chapelry. Gudmund Andersson died in 1744.


Erik Andersson now made still another attempt. On May 27, 1745, Sewallius had presided over a parish meeting at the

Ovanhed chapel, at which he asked whether the parishioners were satisfied with the existing arrangements. A number of

leading men, including the chapelry clerk, Olof Hansson, declared that they were satisfied. Even Hans Carlsson mentioned

above agreed. (Olof Hansson has not been identified. He is not included in the list of chapelry clerks of ”The history of the

parish of Boda”.) A week later, Erik Andersson sent a letter to the county governor, in which he pretended that the chapelry

unanimously wished to have service every Sunday and was willing to support a priest on their own.


Now a real upheaval arose in the whole parish. Anders Matsson of Gulleråsen, corporal with the name of Knapp, said:

-”If you, Erkanders Erk, draw down a priest upon us, poor chapelry people, you will have to support him yourself!” Many

lengthy letters were exchanged, but at a parish meeting on March 9, 1746, the county governor obtained an unanimous

decision that the existing arrangements should remain unchanged. Soon thereafter Olof Forsström was appointed school

master and parish clerk. Thereby Rättvik had finally got a school priest.


Nevertheless, at the end of 1751 the chapelry parishioners, represented by Jonas Olsson, Leksand, Member of Parliament,

made a last petition to the King for a local priest and regular service. This was bluntly rejected by the government, with a rebuke.

Erik Andersson died the following year.


In the autumn of 1753 the chapelry parishioners made an application to the county governor for an exception at least from the

duty to take part in the maintenance of the vicar’s residence and the parish public room in Rättvik. Georg Landberg describes

the letter as ”a combination of spontaneous rural expression and a refined diplomacy”. It had been composed by a young farmer,

Anders Hansson of Ovanmyra, who had learnt to write. (This may be either Jöns Anders Hansson, Ovanmyra (A3), born on

September 7, 1727, or Bränd Anders Hansson, Ovanmyra (C24), born on May 23, 1725, who both seem to have had important

farms. The grandfather of Jöns Anders was a juryman.)


In addition to Anders Hansson, the letter was signed by

- Skägg Erik Andersson, corporal Knapp, Västanå (A2), born on June 8, 1684,

- Jöns Lars Olof Olsson of Kärvsåsen (A2), born on January 13, 1714,

- Pell Anders Matsson of Solberga (B4), born on December 26, 1683, juryman and leader of a group of farmers responsible for the support of a soldier,

- Haga or Kus Hans Olsson of Kärvsåsen (A8), mentioned above, and

- Laggar Anders Olsson of Solberga (A1), born on July 19, 1712.


The proposal met with a point-blank refusal.


In 1759 Olof Kumblaeus junior was appointed vicar of Rättvik. He conducted a more generous policy towards the chapelry.

For instance, the mother church paid for a new bell tower at the chapelry. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the

government tended to view the separation of chapelries more positively. The discussions in the chapelry then turned to the

question whether they should build a church of wood or stone, and where it should be erected. In 1847 they started to build

a church of stone on top of the Boda hill, which was inaugurated in 1851. On June 27, 1856, the government decided

that Boda should be separated from Rättvik at the next change of vicar, which happened in 1875.



© Olof Hansson & Karin Jegelius November 10th 2003