Lars Skalm, Lord of Rövarnäs


Story by Sami Kalmi



Me, Lars Skalm


I’m a rich nobleman with good trade relationships. I’m also the mayor of Turku. I have four sons: Anders, Hans, Dan and Eric. My estate is in Rövarnäs, Parainen about 20 miles south from Turku, but I own some farmhouses too. Largest is located on the opposite side of Turku Castle, on the top of Korppoolaismäki.



My (hi)story


My youngster years went when I was learning the basics of trade and the skills that a seaman needs. After my parents died, I moved to my uncle’s house. He treated me as if I would be his child. He gave one of his ships to my command, and I made voyages around the Baltic Sea. I carried tar, furs and wood to southern Hansa cities, and on the way back I brought salt and spices. When King Christian I fought against Swedish rebels, I helped him by carrying his troops and supplies across the sea. In the year 1461, he gave me the heritable nobility in reward of my services. The appointment letter is my most valuable treasure.


Kung Kristian utställer frälse- och sköldebrev åt Laurens Skalm.

Wij Christiern, medh Gudz nåde etc. Danmarckz, Sweriges, Noriges, Wändes och Giöthes konungh, hertigh i Slesswich, grefwe i Hållsten, Stårmaren, Olldenborgh och Delmenhorst etc., giörom allom witterligit, att före troskap och willigh tieneste, som thenne breffwijsare Lorentz Skallme, wor ellskelige man oc tienare, oss och wårt rijke Swärige her till giordt hafuer och han och hans rätte echte barn och afkomme oss wåre arfwinger och effterkommende konungar i Swerige och rijget troligen her effter giöra och bewijsa må och skolle så lenge the lefwe, tå hafue wij vndt och gifuit och medh thetta wårt öpne breff vnnom och gifuom honom och för:ne hans rätte echte barn och effterkomma frijheet och frällsse oppå tree hans rökier i Pargas sochen, liggandes i Attubole, som åhrlige räntte tolff marck, att niuta och behålla som andre frällssemän hafue och niuthe there godz i wårt rijke Swerige till ewigh tijdh medh skiöllh och hiellm, som ähr ett vpståndande swart anckar vthij ett hwitt fielldh, och ett tweskifft anckar på hiellmen, then högre deelen hwijt och then wenstre swart, effter som thett her vthij målat står. Ty förbiude wij alle, ehoo the hellst ähre eller wara kunne, och enkannerligen wåre fougdter och embetzmän honom och hans rätte echte barn och afkomma her emott at hindra eller hindra låta, (måtte) qwällia eller i någre måtto oförrätta, vnder wår konungl. hämdh och wredhe. Datum in castro nostro Stockholmensi die beati Petri ad vincula, nos[tro] sub secreto præsentibus appenso, anno Domini mcdlxi.
























As you can see from the letter, King Christian gave me also three farms behind Parainen, in the island of Attu.

My uncle died 1465 and I inherited his fortune. I have built an estate to Rövarnäs and the people called me as the lord of Rövarnäs. Some years later I donated a big sum of money to Sauvo church, which was built in 1465-72. They put my coat of arms to the front of the church. They also painted my portrait to the wall behind the altar, but unfortunately it is quite small and doesn’t seem like me much.


I also bought two farms near the Turku Castle on the opposite strand of the river Aura. The farms were on the Korppoolaismäki and behind it, in Uittamo.


If I would have lived in 1557, I would have seen, how prince John bought the farms, and started to build a fortress on the top of Korppoolaismäki. Before it was ready, King Eric XIV attacked and conquered it and destroyed the fortress completely. Then he started heavy cannon fire against the Turku Castle, until John surrendered in 1563. Unfortunately, King Eric executed John’s most trusted men, including my grandson Nils, who was the brave captain of John’s warship Åbojakten.  


My present life (1501)


I was just elected a mayor of Turku. I usually live in a farm on Korppoolaismäki, but sometimes I go to my estate in Rövarnäs. I’m very busy at the moment, and my life is full of duties as a mayor. Fortunately my sons have taken care of business, so I have time to concentrate on my other activities.


Turku hasn’t chance much in my fifty years that I have lived in Turku. The church has improved, some small buildings have been burnt down and new ones have been built instead.



Walk through Turku


The way from my farm to the Town Hall isn’t long. I just walk by the River Aura, until I reach the marketplace (Town Hall is near it).


It’s early in the morning when I leave the farm, and when I go a little bit forward I can see the Turku Castle. It’s very busy looking around it. Even from the other side of the river I can hear all the people from dirty peasants to glorious knights talking and shouting to each other. The sides of River Aura are not out of people either. Many are heading to and coming from the castle. Fortunately there are no thieves as early as it is, and I can get trough without bigger problems. Now I’m soon at the heart of the town, you can smell it when you’re heading towards it. Unfortunately it’s not a good smell, I think I must do something to the dirt in the streets. There are a few men wandering around city, but most are still on their beds. On the marketplace, the city is ready to begin the day. Craftsmen and traders are selling their goods, burghers are walking and looking important, and all kinds of other people laughing and talking. Then I’m already at Town Hall, the walk ended here. I could’ve stayed to buy something, but it surely is nice to get inside from the noisy city.



Family Tree


Mom and dad:

I don’t know much about my parents; they died when I was young. They lived in Stockholm. There they owned a big house, made of stone. My father was a rich trader.



After the death of my parents, I travelled to Turku, and went to live with my uncle.

He was a prosperous trader, and he owned two ships. He never married and he had no children.


My children:

I have four sons: Anders, Hans, Dan and Eric. They are well educated and I think that they will be good heirs to continue the Skalm Family.


My grandchildren:

Hans has three sons and two girls: Lars, Peter, Jacob, Maria and Karin.

Dan has one son: Per

Anders has one son: Henric.

Eric has two sons: Nils and Simon.


My typical week


My week is full of work, but I enjoy it. Normal weekdays go while I’m doing things as a mayor, I have only a little free time. Meeting important people is sometimes nice sometimes not, depending on my mood and the person. I’m glad that sometimes I can be with my children too; it’s nice to go and visit them after a tiring day. First in the morning I eat breakfast; bread, eggs and porridge. My work in the Town Hall starts early, so after eating I must head to my office. It’s pretty hard to be a mayor, but I’m doing my best. Meetings and deciding important things fill my day, but I’ve still got enough time to eat a good lunch in the Tree Lions Inn near the marketplace. My favourite food: roast elk with a good French wine. While I’m going back to work I sometime go to my old friend’s place, talk and enjoy the little time I’m free. I’m not ready to leave from work until time is nearly 6 pm, and then I can go to check are there my ships ashore. I normally spent my evening visiting my grown-up children, and then I go back to my farm to rest. At Sunday morning I go to church (I’m a catholic), and the afternoons I rest at home. In Sunday evening I usually ask friends and relatives to my farm to eat and drink well, and to play cards and different games.


My thoughts about it all


I’m happy thinking all the things I have done in this life, but soon my time will pass by and others will take my duties as their responsibilities. My life has been interesting and joyful, and I have no regrets about it. I don’t fear death, but I hope that my journey in this world will continue a little longer. I think I’ll take it easier after my career as a mayor, but until that I’m tied to my job.


List of sources


  1. Kalmin sukuseura: sukutiedote 6 (1995), 8 (1996), 13 (1999) and 16 (2000)
  2. Jully Ramsay: Frälsesläkter i Finland intill stora ofreden. Helsinki 1909-16
  3. Gustav Elgenstierna, Den introducerade svenska adelns ättartavlor. Stockholm 1925-34
  4. Markus Hiekkanen, Marja Klemelä, Camilla Ahlström-Taavitsainen, Fredrik Rosenlew: Sauvon kirkko, Sauvo 1996
  5. Reinhold Hausen: Finlands medeltidsurkunder I-VIII. Helsinki 1910-1935
  6. Home pages of Kalmi Family Association (in Finnish):