The knights of Galde
At the end of the 15th Century, Åby manor was in the ownership of the Galde family. Sven Galde was the first member of the family to own the estate. He was a captain and a member of the Riksråd (Council of the Realm) at Akershus in Oslo, Norway. The farm was for a time owned by the Kane family before Sven’s son Gaute later took it over. At the start of the 1500s, Gaute, like his father before him, had been commander of Bohus fortress and later became a major landowner. As a member of the Council of the Realm, Gaute was involved in the king’s power struggles in the 1530s. On Gaute’s death in 1553, the farm passed to his son Christoffer, who was a navy admiral and served as a royal official at Lyckå castle. Christoffer had three daughters with his wife Birgitte Bilde. The daughters were called Lisbeth, Ellen and Birgitta. Ellen and Birgitta were said to have danced themselves to death at the party on the estate’s lands, and today, at Tossene church, you can see a rune stone in the porch with the images of two females, the Galde and Bilde coats of arms, and the inscription:
Chistopher Galde vor fader med aere
Fru Birgitte Bilde vor moder kaere
Af Oby gaar lod han sig skriffue
Her er begrafven lod de oss bliffue
Jomfru Birgitte oc Ellien Galde
Gud lod oss av verden kalde
Christoffer Galde died the same year as his daughters and he too lies buried in Tossene church. The third daughter, Lisbeth Galde, inherited the farm and upon her death in 1616, Åby passed to her cousin Christoffer Tönneson Galde, and upon his death it was bequeathed to the crown and the “bitter Galdes’” rule at Åby was over.
As a tribute to the Galde family’s period at Åby manor, the wallpaper in the bar at Nordens Ark Hotel depicts the Galde coat of arms. The wallpaper was financed with support from Region Västra Götaland.