SweGGate Theme Geography: Farm Types and people

Land, Land ownership and taxation

 a *** SweGGate StarGuide *** ® 

Part 2

Jordnatur = type of land The term Frälse The great land reshuffles
Farm types Farm people  Farm sizes Terms

Until the 1903 tax reform farms were classified according to the type of taxation like:

Farm types

Term English Comments
hemman   Farm estate where the buildings and the land have the same owner and is large enough to be taxed by mantal.
kronohemman   A hemman owned by the state on state land. Commonly used by an åbo.
skattehemman   A hemman on land defined as skattejord. Term not used after the 1903 tax reform.
frälsehemman   A hemman enjoying the frälse (tax exempt) status
torp (similar) cottage, croft Def. form: torpet. cf torpare
= Small house on land owned by someone else.
Middle ages: an isolated farm - as opposed to a farm in a village, often a newly created farm on public land.
16th century: taxation term: a farm too small to be tax registered by mantal but large enough to be taxed at all (often 1/4 of full farm tax). 
Old torp are very popular as summer houses.
Do not confuse with backstuga (no indication of ownership).
A good article by Nils William Olsson
kronotorp   A specific form of torp built on state owned land.
soldattorp   A specific form of torp used by a soldier (in the old system indelningsverket), usually owned by the rote but in many instances owned by the state in which case the torp was named a "kronotorp" from a taxation standpoint but still "soldattorp" since it was used to house a soldier. 
It was built using blue-prints issued by the army to insure that all soldiers got a reasonable housing standard. Many old soldattorp still exist in local museums restored to conditions of the time they were originally used or renovated and used as private summer houses.
backstuga   Small house, originally partly below ground in a slope, later all above ground and not necessarily on a slope - more associated with the social status of backstusittare than with location.
stom (stommen)   A farm belonging to or providing support for the parish priest. Definite form: stommen. Common name, usually only one in each parish. The name is still used but the original meaning is lost to most people.


Farm people

Term English Comments
hemmansägare Farm owner i.e owner of both land and buildings. cf åbo. Alt spelling hemmansegare. Abbrev: hemmansäg., hemmanseg., hem.äg., hem.eg or eg.
skattebonde   A farmer owning a skattehemman.
frälsebonde   A farmer using some kind of frälsejord. He could be either åbo or landbo (= frälselandbo) depending on legal status. The rent (ränta) was paid to the land owner, not to the state.
åbo   Legal farm user. (bo=live in/on referring to one's home, å from på = on). This is a legal term, from the end of the 17th century, stating the right to use a farm owned by someone else (cf land owners). This right (called åborätt) is inherited as other inheritance (goods etc) and has no time-limit. This right usually also included the right to buy the farm (skatteköp). The law was revised in 1926 preserving the basic right to use of the land.
The word has unfortunately been very widely used to denote any farmer who uses the land where he lives, even when he owns the land. Cautious interpretation is recommended, depending on the source. åborätt is always the legal term.
Derived titles: åboson = son of a åbo, åbodotter = daughter of a åbo, åbohustru = wifo of a åbo, åboenka /åboänka = widow after a åbo,
cf hemmansägare,
landbo, landbonde   Farm user. (bo=live in/on referring to one's home, land =land). This is a legal term, stating certain rights, mainly the use of land owned by another. In general this corresponds to a modern times lease. In contrast to the åbo and the åborätt the status of landbo is personal and not passed on to the next generation.
Also further specified as biskops-, domkyrko-, frälse-, präst- landbo. 
torpare   A farmer who farmed land owned by someone else and paid his rent in dagsverke = by working a specified number of days for the land owner. Usually lived in a torp but this is not part of the definition. Often translated into English as crofter but this does not cover the Swedish definition since the English term does not include the dagsverke part.
Those people were the absolute majority of farm workers from 17th century until industrialism, emigration, increasing use of rent payment in cash and friköp (buying the land on which the torp building was located = converting it to a hemman) in the late 19th century. The number of torp were abt 100 000 in the 1850's, reduced to abt 50 000 in 1910, abt 20 000 in the 1930's. The dagsverke method was outlawed in 1943 and therefore also the term torpare.
statare   a farm labourer employed by the land owner. He does not farm any land that he owns (usually doesn't own land) - ( cf stattorpare). Part of his salary is paid as stat [p:staat], i.e. in kind, usually free lodging, food stuff etc (in early times also clothing) (cf how rotesoldater were paid). The custom to pay compensation for work in kind is very old in Sweden but a systematic use can be traced to middle 18th century. By the end of the 19th century there were some 100 000 statare, providing for abt 0,5 million people. The system often caused social misery and was outlawed in 1945. A rich treasure of Swedish literature deals with the conditions under this system (Ivar Lo-Johansson)
stattorpare   A statare who also farmed a torp (so he is both statare and torpare)
backstu(gu)sittare   A person living in a cottage (not necessarily a backstuga ! ), located on someone else's land (like the torp) but without farming the land (different from torp). They were not employed by the land owner (like the statare) but earned their way through temporary jobs. Often - but not always - used in a derogatory sense since those were often poor people without a steady income. cf torpare, hemmansägare.
tjänstehjon servant servant. Used both in rural and urban areas. Often derog. cf hjon.
inhyses   Abbrev: "inh".
A person living in someone else's house or on someone else's farm without reference to paying rent or not. The term does not imply that the person was poor !
When the running of a farm is left to a son the parents often receive the title inhyses in the church records. The economic relations are then sometimes agreed on through a födoråd but in those cases many priests used the title födorådstagare.


Farm sizes and measurements

Term English Comments
ar are (abbrev: a) = 100 square metres = 1 134 sq feet
ha = hektar hectare = 100 ar = 10 000 square metres = 2,026 tunnland = 113 400 sq feet
"ha" is the official abbreviation but "har" is often used
tunnland similar: acre The cultivated land area to which one tunna (barrel) of seed is enough. = 4 936,4 sq. metres = 56 000 sq feet.
Subdivided into: 2 spannland = 32 kappland = 56 kannland. (see below)
Cf the measurements: tunna, spann, kappe, kanna
    In province Dalarna one tunnland was 5 077,2 sq meters divided into 40 snesland, each divided into 10 bandland. One bandland was the area that gave one band = kärve = sheaf
skälsland   The area of farm land which needs one skäl of seed. Used only in upper Norrland region. Since definition of one skäl varies so does exact size of one skälsland but is always 1 / 8 tunnland = ca 600 sq. metres.  cf tunna
Also used as measure for value of fishing water = ca 1 /64 mantal.
spannland   = 1/2 tunnland
kappland   = 1/32 tunnland
kannland   = 1/56 tunnland
snesland   = 1/40 tunnland in Dalarna province
bandland   = 1/10 snesland = 1/400 tunnland in Dalarna province
seland, säland, seeland, sädesland   1 Old measure of farmland. As with tunnland related to the volume of seed needed but size varies according to geographical location (climate) and type of seed.
2 sometimes a fixed area = 9 800 kvadratalnar (square "aln")
3 in Ångermanland province a measure of farm size used for taxation purposes = 1/24 mantal
mantal, mtl   A measure of farm land. 1 (often written 1/1) denotes the area that could support one family. In HFL and farm registers you will often find the mantal written by the name of the farm owner. You will mostly find numbers less than 1/1, e.g. 1/6, meaning one sixth of the total (original) farm. All parts known by the same farm name should sum up to 1/1 but since this measure was used for taxation purposes rather than to describe organization this may not always be true. A farm split off from another one and given its own name is often written, e.g. "1/16 Risberga und. Tveten" (or "Risberga under Tveten") meaning that the smaller unit Risberga (maybe a torp) was one 16th of the larger farm called Tveten, assuming that Tveten is taxed as 1/1 mantal.


Terms connected to land and land ownership

Term English Explanation
fasta   The legal document of ownership of land. Used until 1875. Issued after decision of the local court and registration of ownership in the jordebok. Later named lagfart.
Could also refer to the estate itself.
söka fasta på <named estate> = apply for registration of ownership
få fasta på.. = erhålla fasta på.. = receive registered ownership
lagfart   The legal document of ownership of land. Used after 1875. Earlier named fasta.
köpebrev   Purchase documentation. The document about a sale, signed by seller and buyer.
jordebok   Land owner registry. The official register of who owns what land. The first national one was created around 1540 by order of king Gustaf Vasa for the purpose of taxation of land ownership. These documents are preserved and available in archives and partly on the Internet.
Later named  fastighetsregister.

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Last updated by F Hae 2005-07-28 13:09 © Fredrik Haeffner, 2001-5