Take a trip to Härkeberga – just one hour’s drive from Stockholm. Find out how the priest lived in one of Sweden’s oldest parsonages and enjoy coffee, ice cream and homemade bread in the summer café, with the gift shop right next door. If you are on your way to Dalarna, you can take a break in Härkeberga. Just follow the brown sign once you have turned off for Mora in Enköping. Perhaps you’ll arrive in time for the popular Midsummer celebrations, Christmas market or folk music concerts organised by the local guild, Härkeberga Gille.
Nordiska museet owns ‘kaplansgården’, or the chaplaincy, where the local priest lived, with the local guild in Härkeberga being responsible for its day-to-day running. Step into a typical central Swedish farm, with a total of 17 red timber buildings dating from the late 1600s to the early 1800s. Almost all retain their thatched roofs. Across the courtyard stands the shed building that separates the residential buildings from those where the animals lived, the farmhouse from the cattle byre. This setup is typical of central Swedish farms. In those days, it was natural for a chaplain to be a farmer as well. In the middle of the farm stands a huge maple tree, the so-called ‘guardian tree’, which is said to bring the family good luck and, in practical terms, protected the buildings from lightning.
In the main building you can see how the priest lived in the 1840s with the hall, bedroom, kitchen and office. The chaplain was the pastor’s assistant, and today is known in Swedish as ‘komminster’ (assistant vicar). Inside the office, you can read his assessments of the people in the district from his annual catechetical examinations. Härkeberga Gille opens the chaplaincy farm to visitors on weekends from mid-May to mid-September.
In the sheds to the left of the residential building, the priest kept his “tithe”, the tenth of the farm’s production that everyone in the village had to provide by law in return for his work in the parish. The stable can house five horses.