Copyright © Hans Högman 2022-01-02
Swedish Road History (4)
Inns and Stage Services - 2
Stage Drive with Murder, Fines and
Sometimes there would be disputes, even fights at the
inns, if horses were not available or if a stage-keeping
farmer thought that the horse had been driven too
fast to the inn. He might refuse to lend his horse to
A tragic event at Mehede Inn in Tierp parish in
northern Uppland received a lot of attention in its
time. At the inn, there was a quarrel between two
travelers and their stage driving boy on one side and
the stage-keeping farmer and the innkeeper on the
other side, a quarrel that resulted in beatings,
bloodshed, and the death of the innkeeper. The two
travelers were fined and the stage boy was jailed.
The Quarrel at Mehede Inn, February 1767
This is how the innkeeper's register and court records tell
On the morning of 18 February 1767, a horseman
arrived at the inn and ordered horses for two
noblemen to travel south later in the day. As all the
horses at the inn had run out, a message was sent to
Lars Persson, a farmer in Grimsarbo, to come with
reserve horses as soon as possible.
Around noon, some farmers from Hälsingland drove
up to the inn. They had visited the Disting market in
Uppsala but were now on their way back north. As in
the past, they intended to spend the night at the
They had just pulled their sleds out of the courtyard at
the request of the 38-year-old innkeeper Anders
Andersson, when the first of the expected noblemen,
the pockmarked Cavalry Captain Wilhelm Pauli,
drove up to the inn.
There was no need even to ask the accompanying
stage boy if the captain had driven fast from
Älvkarleby. It was all too evident from the lathered
horses. In a commanding tone, Pauli shouted at the
innkeeper to immediately harness new horses. The
farmer with the spare horses suddenly found himself
in a precarious situation. He had watched with dismay
the harsh treatment of the horses. "This must not
happen to my horses," he thought to himself.
Before any change of horses had taken place,
Lieutenant Mauritz Klingspor and his sled entered
the courtyard of the inn. He too demanded an
immediate change of horses.
Everything would have gone well if the farmer closest
to the problem, Lars Persson, had fulfilled his
obligations, but he made excuses to avoid taking
the drive. The young, hot-tempered noblemen
became increasingly impatient. They had to reach
Uppsala before nightfall and did not want to be
delayed in this small village.
When, moreover, the innkeeper, in accordance with
the innkeeper's ordinance, told them, "You have been
driving irresponsibly. It is against law and order to push
the horses so hard", they completely lost their temper.
During their commission as officers in the French
army, they had not encountered such insubordination
on the part of the peasantry. This was not to be
Captain Pauli drew his sword and shouted
menacingly at the innkeeper: "Harness the horses at
once or I will cut off your arms and legs". To further
emphasize that he meant business, he gave the
innkeeper four blows across the back with the back of
his sword. Klingspor also intervened in the fight.
A fierce battle ensued, in which the Innkeeper
seemed to get the short end of the stick. The hard
blows fell more and more heavily on him. But
suddenly he turned and seized the completely
surprised Klingspor by the collar, lifted him into the
air, and threw him with violent force to the ground.
The pause in the fight resulting from this maneuver
was used by the wounded innkeeper to escape to the
neighboring farm to obtain witnesses.
After the two noblemen had recovered from the first
clash, they forced Lars Persson and stage boy Eric
Tinglöf, who accompanied Pauli on the journey, to
harness the innkeeper's own horses to the sleds in
order to be able to leave before the innkeeper's
return. This plan did not succeed. Before everything
was ready for departure, the innkeeper appeared in
the company of some farmers from the village. Pauli
and Klingspor tried to prevent him from entering the
courtyard, but he broke free and ran to his horses,
which he began to unharness, shouting: 'You'll be
damned if you're going to harness my own horses when
I've got the reserve horses at the inn! In hell, I will allow
The two noblemen then rushed forward and forced
him to withdraw from the sleds with blows and stabs.
In front of the stable, he suddenly stopped, turned
around, and managed to get a firm grip on his
opponents, whom he bent down to the ground with
great force. In this critical situation, the stage boy
Tinglöf ran forward and for a moment managed to
separate the combatants.
The fight had now assumed an increasingly violent
character. In front of the stable, there was an iron
basket with lit firewood, from which the innkeeper
grabbed a piece of log. Now he became the attacking
party. Shouting, "Don't fuck with me" he attacked.
There was no longer any thought of reconciliation.
Behind the closed windows of the inn, guests and
servants watched the terrible spectacle. One of the
terrified maids begged the farmers from Hälsingland
to separate the combatants "lest they kill the
innkeeper.” They also went out onto the doorsteps but
stopped there because the fight had suddenly taken a
turn for the better for the innkeeper. For the latter
had again bowed his antagonists to the ground.
While the innkeeper was holding them in this iron
grip, he discovered a shaft in the courtyard, i.e. part of
a sled’s hitching to a horse. With it as a weapon, he
made another attack. He struck Lieutenant Klingspor
on the chest with such force that Klingspor fell
backward into a sled. The situation seemed
extremely precarious for the young count.
But once again the stage boy Tinglöf came to the
rescue. He, too, had provided himself with a strong
pole, 4 Swedish cubits long and 3 inches thick. The
next second he lifted the pole and struck it with
tremendous force on the head of the innkeeper so
that he fell half-unconscious into a pool of water.
There he was lying exposed to the kicks and blows of
the boy. Only at the boy's cry, "Get up, you bastard!" did
he manage to crawl up. Bleeding from countless
wounds, he scrambled into the inn, where he
collapsed on a bench, exhausted.
In the meantime, the elderly innkeeper had entered
the courtyard and learned what had happened. He
too was subjected to the fury of the two noblemen.
The fight between them did not end until the
villagers, who had attended the church meeting down
in the village, poured into the courtyard. In the face of
this superior power, the nobles found it convenient
to seek shelter in a room in the inn, together with
the stage boy Tinglöf. They managed to close the
door, but the enraged villagers broke into the room,
where a violent fight broke out, with Captain Pauli, in
particular, was badly injured.
There was no continuation of the noblemen's journey
that day or the next, but only two days later, according
to the innkeeper's register, they arrived at Yvre inn on
their way to Stockholm. The condition of the seriously
injured innkeeper Anders Andersson deteriorated
alarmingly. One day after the fight he died.
The murder drama had its epilogue in the Svea
Court of Appeal, where the stage boy Tinglöf was
sentenced to a month's imprisonment on water and
bread and one Sunday duty. Captain Pauli was
sentenced to a fine of 100 Daler silver currency and
Lieutenant Klingspor 10 Daler silver currency. Tinglöf
served his sentence in Jönköping Castle prison; in the
castle chapel in the same town, he was subjected to
church duty (Swe: kyrkoplikt).
The above story is an excerpt from an article written by
Sven Sjöberg in 1959.
Captain Vilhelm Mauritz Pauli
Vilhelm Mauritz Pauli, born on 1730-12-05, died on
1800-08-11 in Stockholm.
In French military service 1760 - 1763. Cavalry Captain,
Jämtland Dragoon Regiment, as off 1766-06-30.
Lieutenant Mauritz Klingspor
Wilhelm Mauritz Klingspor, born on 1744-12-07 at
Fluxerum in Karlstorp parish, Småland, died on 1814-
05-15 in Stockholm. Count (1767 baron).
Discharged from French military service in 1763.
Cavalry Lieutenant, Jämtland Dragoon Regiment, 1767.
Both officers had served in the French army at the same
time, and in 1767 both were officers in the Jämtland
Farmer Lars Persson in Grimsarbo, Tierp parish, born
Both inns mentioned in the text, Meheby and Yvre
are located in Tierps parish, Uppland province.
The Disting market visited by the farmers from
Hälsingland is an annual market originally held at the
end of February but today on the first Monday and
Tuesday of February at Vaksala Square in the city of
Uppsala, Uppland. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the
market had its heyday thanks to the money economy.
Kyrkoplikt (Church duty) was a historical form of
punishment, practiced in Sweden. It was a form of
public humiliation in which the condemned was made
to confess and repent of their crime before being
rehabilitated and spared further punishments. It could
be sentenced by the church or by a secular court, and
performed by the church.
Water and bread (Swe: Vatten och bröd) is a juridical
term for a prison sentence that was combined for a
certain period with the starvation of the prisoner (the
prisoner was fed with water and unsalted bread only),
which in the case of longer sentences was associated
with a tangible and fully conscious danger to the
prisoner's life and health. In Sweden, this penal
system was abolished in 1884. The longest period of
this sentence was 28 days, the shortest four.
Inns and Stage Services
Road History, page-1
Road History, page-2
The Conception of Socken (parish)
Domestic Travel Certificates
History of the Swedish Police
History of Railways in Sweden
History of Göta Canal
Old Swedish Units of Measurement
Agricultural Land Reforms, Sweden
Postal Services Formerly
Vägen i kulturlandskapet, vägar och trafik före
bilismen, Vägverket, 2004
Det gamla Ytterlännäs, Sten Berglund, 1974.
Utgiven av Ytterlännäs hembygdsförening.
Kapitel 39, sid 368 och framåt.
Hur klövjestigen blev landsväg, Gösta Berg, 1935.
(Svenska kulturbilder / Första utgåvan. Andra
bandet (del III & IV), sid 269 och framåt.)
Gästgiveri och skjutshåll, Ur det forna reselivets
krönika, av Sven Sjöberg. Ur årsboken Uppland,
Stigen av Lars Levander, 1953
Skjutssystemet i Sverige: Hjultrafik. Artikel av
Carolina Söderholm, publicerad i Populär Historia
Svenska Akademins Ordbok, SAOB (The Swedish
Lantmäteriet (The National Land Survey of
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