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Herregården Fossesholm

Written by Bent Ek

In the middle of the 18th century, the estate economy at Eiker was in full disintegration. The large Sems estate had been dismantled after Lieutenant Colonel Richelieu went bankrupt in 1719, and in 1743 the main farm itself was bought by the farmer's widow Olaug Pedersdatter on the neighboring farm Berg and divided into two farms. Skjelbred on Fiskum was split up after rock councilor Niels Mechlenbourg died in 1713, and the subdivision of Ullelandgodset by Skotselv began when diocesan official Vilhelm de Tonsberg died in 1731. 


The exception to this development was the manor house Fossesholm by Vestfossen. This estate was also divided, in the sense that it was divided between a number of owners who belonged to the same family. However, one of these owners - Gabriel von Cappelen - made a purposeful acquisition of farms, and in 1762/63 his son - Jørgen von Cappelen - was able to buy out the last co-owners, so that he became the sole owner._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_

While the other estates on Eiker had disintegrated, Fossesholm still had a significant land and forest property, with underlying farms between Vestfossen and Fiskumvannet and forest stretches on both sides of Eikeren. One half of the settlement Vestfossen, with five large sawmills, also belonged to the farm.  

The Cappelen family had for several generations run a timber trade with Bragernes as a starting point, but Jørgen had become a wealthy man as a supplier to Kongsberg Sølvverk. In 1763 he had turned 58 years old, and then he retired to the old manor house on Eiker with his wife, Magdalena Darjes. There they started a large-scale construction project, which resulted in the manor buildings that we largely find on Fossesholm today. Here the commercial patrician's refined lifestyle continued for another couple of generations - until it ended with a forced auction in 1822.

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