Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Sigrid Botolfsdotter

?1538

Abbess

Sigrid Botolfsdotter was the last Abbess of Vreta Convent.

She is mentioned as the Abbess of Vreta Convent in October 1513 in a letter that showed that she had previously also been the Prioress of the Convent. She was consecrated as Abbess by Bishop Hans Brask from Linköping one year later. Hans Brask’s registry contains several letters from the first fifteen years of Sigrid Botolfsdotter’s time as Abbess. They record various transactions and agreements made by her and the Bishop concerning the Convent’s estate and properties. There is no biographical information in the sources on either Sigrid Botolfsdotter herself or her family.

During the Reformation, Vreta like other Swedish monasteries was subjected to increased infiltration by the Swedish royal powers. For Vreta this meant the confiscation of silver in the form of monstrances, chalices and other objects requisitioned after the royal election in 1523. It also involved the accommodation of royal cavalry and their horses, so-called castle camps, which were decided in 1525. In April 1526, Sigrid Botolfsdotter was exhorted by Gustav Vasa to receive his cavalry and horses kindly and to provide them with whatever they needed.

The royal infiltration policy was sanctioned and increased in several ways by the Västerås Parliament in 1527. A decision was taken there for noblemen to take over the responsibility for the economic management of the monastery that lived off interest from its tenant farmers. In practice, however, the monastery was in fact to retain that responsibility. Sigrid Botolfsdotter seems to have retained the responsibility for the economic administration of Vreta Convent until 1533. Two months after the Västerås Parliament, an agreement was signed in which it was made statutory for the Abbess to pay a yearly toll to the king out of the interest from Vreta and Askeby Convents. In that way the Convents would escape castle camps as well as keeping their tenant farmers and the interest from them. Judging from this agreement, Sigrid Botolfsdotter was also made responsible for Askeby Convent’s economic management. Askeby Convent was probably dissolved around that time.

The annual toll to be paid by Sigrid Botolfsdotter to the king was successively raised as the years passed. In September 1528, it was raised from 100 to 300 silver marks, and the year after to 400 silver marks. For several years after that, there were no dramatic increases, but Sigrid Botolfsdotter still had trouble paying. In 1530, the Bishop of Linköping had to remind her on behalf of the king to pay the overdue toll. In June 1531, she had to borrow from Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa), to be able to pay it. The same month, the Abbess was informed that a royal bailiff was going to reside at the Convent. His assignment was probably to superintend Sigrid Botolfsdotter’s payment of the toll. In February 1533, the aristocrat Axel Eriksson (Bielke af Åkerö) was awarded the fiefdom of the Convent, which meant that he took over the responsibility for its economic management. This responsibility was passed on to Axel Eriksson and Ebba Eriksdotter, the mother-in-law of the king, in October 1536.

After Sigrid Botolfsdotter’s death in 1538, no new Abbess was consecrated, which is remarkable since nuns were still living at Vreta Convent until the beginning of the 1580s.


Martin Berntson
(Translated by Margaret Myers)


Published 2021-11-14



You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Sigrid Botolfsdotter, www.skbl.se/sv/artikel/SigridBotolfsdotter, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Martin Berntson), retrieved 2022-09-30.




Family Relationships

Civil Status: Unmarried
  • Mother: [Uppgifter saknas]
  • Father: Botolf (även Botulf)


Activities

  • Profession: Ordenssyster, Vreta kloster
  • Profession: Abbedissa, Vreta kloster


Contacts

  • Colleague: Hans Brask
  • Colleague: Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)


Residences

  • Linköping
  • Place of death: Linköping


Sources

Literature
  • Andræ, Gustaf-Adolf, Sigrid Botolfsdotter: den sista abbedissan och de sista klosteråren i Vreta. Andra upplagan. [Borensberg] 1999.

  • Berntson, Martin, Klostren och reformationen: upplösningen av kloster och konvent i Sverige 1523-1596 = The dissolution of the monasteries in 16th century Sweden, Norma, Diss. Göteborg : Univ., Skellefteå, 2003