Christoffer Valkendorff (1 September 1525 – 17 January 1601) was a Danish statesman and landowner. His early years in the service of Frederick II brought him both to Norway, Ösel and Livland. He later served both as Treasurer and Stadtholder of Copenhagen and finally as Steward of the Realm from 1596 to 1601. He owned Glorup Manor on Funen from 1535 to 1601, whose current main building he constructed, although it has later been adapted in the Neoclassical style. He also constructed the local Svindinge Church, one of the best preserved Renaissance style churches in Denmark. He founded the dormitory Valkendorfs Kollegium in Copenhagen where the street Valkendorfsgade is named after him.
|Steward of the Realm|
|Preceded by||Peder Oxe|
|Succeeded by||Frands Rantzau|
1 September 1525|
Glorup, Funen, Denmark
17 January 1601 (aged 75)|
|Awards||Order of the Rlephant|
Early life and educationEdit
Valkendorff was born into the wealthy Valkendorff family on 1 September 1525 at Glorup Manor, the son of privy councillor Henning Valkendorff by his second wife Sidsel (Cecilie) Jørgens-datter Friis. His father died in 1535. He received a thorough education in his mother's house.
Service in NorwayEdit
Valkendorff is mentioned in 1553 as the king's secretary and was rewarded with the 1554 Fief of Bergen for life. In 1556 he was also granted the fief of Vardøhus. He warned the government of Copenhagen about the threat against Danish economic interests that resulted from the British opening of a trade route north of Norway to Russia, avoiding the payment of Sound Dues at Helsingør. He was also successful in opposing the last remains of Hanseatic influence, which earned him the benevolence of King Frederick II. He also worked as a squire and local official. He confiscated illegally collected taxes and made the German clergy respect the ordinance and Bergen's superintendent. Mogens Gyldenstierne supported his initiatives.
The Hanseatic League complained to the new king, Frederick II, about Valkendorff.[when?] The need for support from Lübeck in an awakening conflict with Sweden made the king appoint a new fier of Bergen, called Valkendorff home to Copenhagen and open an investigation of his governance. Valkendorff was outraged and a further conflict with the king over land interests on Funen sent him off to Saxony in exile.
Seven Year WarEdit
Augustus, Elector of Saxony mediated between Valkendorff and the king and in 1561 he was entrusted with the important task of escorting Dake Magnus to Ösel. On 1 October 1563, during the Seven Year War, Valkendorff was appointed to stadtholder of Livland alongside H. v. Lüdinghausen (Wulff).
Gotland, Roskildegaard andEdit
Valkendorff was called home to Copenhagen in 1567. He lost the fief of Iceland in 1570 and was instead granted the fief of Gotland in August 1571. The situation on Gotland was chaotic but Valnendorf managed to restore piece on the island in just two years. He then held the field of Roskildegaard in 1573-74 and was then granted Salling with freedom from taxes until 1580.
Service in CopenhagenEdit
Valkendorff's years as a journeyman ended when he was appointed to treasurer (rentemester) in 1564. He handled the office with great efficiency and managed to reduce national debts. He was also appointed to stadtholder of Copenhagen. When Peder Oxe, the king initially failed to appoint a new Steward of the Realm but Valkendorff was put in charge of Bremerholm and the Nacy. In 1576, a reluctant Frederick II appointed him to Councillor of the Realm.
After the death of Frederick II in 1588, Valkendorff assumed control of the guardianship of Christian IV but this position led to his downfall. In 1590 he had to vacate all his offices after accusations of abuse of power and the judicial murder of Magnus Heinason. Though not quite unjustified these accusations were probably mostly politically motivated.
For some years Valkendorff kept in the background but gradually he regained his influence and at the accession to power of the young Christian IV in 1596 he was at last appointed Steward of the Realm, a post he kept until his death. During these last years of power he still showed himself energetic but somewhat more cautious.
Valkendorf never married and left no children. He owned Glorup Manor from 1535,, although he initially seem to have shared the ownership of some of the land with his siblings. He expanded the estate significantly over the years through the acquisision of more land. I'm the 1570s. he constructed Svindinge Church, now considered to be one of the best preserved Renaissance style churches]] in Denmark. After completing the church, he also constructed Glorup's current main building.
He suppored the university in Copenhagen economically and founded the dormitory Valkendorfs Kollegium 26 February 1589.
He died in on 17 1601 and was buried in the graveyard of the Church of Our Lady. Glorup Manor was passed on to his younger brother, Erik Valkendorf, who died in 1605.