Our history

The texts are written and freely compiled by Håkan K Pålsson in January 2024. The sources are mainly the book Stora Råby Socken by Anders Ohlsson 1954 and Otto Ryding's Conservation Program on Stora Råby and Värpinge from 2002. The pictures are also borrowed from Otto Ryding's Conservation Program on Stora Råby and Värping.

History of Råbylund Farm

Aerial view of Råby, "The village site from the south".
Photo taken by Ingvar Nilsson at
Stadsbyggnadskontoret i Lund, 1992.

The family that runs the farm came to Stora Råby as early as the 17th century, but moved to No. 3 in 1785. According to family lore, the children were packed in a "salt tub" when the moving van left. We know all this from the church books, but also from the farm archives that have followed the farm for several hundred years.

Most of the land around Lund was owned by various church institutions until the Reformation, when the crown took over large parts. Since the 17th century, the land in Stora Råby has been divided into twenty-six numbers, twenty-six farms and the gatehouse number 25. Råbylunds Gård was farm number 3 and today also holds the land to farm number 16.

A minor and a very major upheaval came to characterize the farmers during the 18th and early 19th centuries - the large-scale transfer in 1792 and the single transfer in 1805. The latter broke up the old villages when the farms, which had previously been close together near the church, were moved out into the fields to form larger coherent farming units. The initiative came from the then Baron Rutger Macklean of the Svaneholm estate and his revolutionary ideas that quickly spread and had a major impact on the use of the land but also on social life and cohesion in the villages.

No. 3 was the first crown homestead in Stora Råby, which was bought out from the crown in 1791 and thus became a tax homestead, which means that the farmer owned it himself. It was Kjersten Eskilsson who bought the farm for 41 riksdaler and 42 shillings. The so-called Kjerstenseneläkten has run the farm since then.

At the 1805 enclosure, No. 3 was one of the farms that was allowed to remain near the church. The farm was then a four-long half-timbered farm with a thatched roof and red-painted plaster on the farmhouse and white-painted joints to give the illusion of brick. It was described at the time as "reasonably well-built with some plantation". The owner was Kjersten's son, Assar Kjerstensson, who was a councilman, a member of parliament for Torna and Vara Harjager's districts and a member of Lund's hospital district. In connection with the change of ownership, an area south of the village street was cut off and sold to crofters.

In 1932, Nils and Anna Pålsson acquired No. 16's land south of Bygatan from Nils "Esarparen" Andersson and his wife Hanna at Alberta Mill. The same year Hanna was found dead in the mill pond and Esarparen was convicted of murder when the investigation revealed that there was a mistress involved. In the movie "Esarparen" from 1986 with Ernst Hugo Järegård in the main role, you can see the whole process.

In 1967, parts of the original land belonging to No. 3 were sold to Lund Municipality and it is on these lands that the Råbylund district is now emerging.

Difficult times, fires and plagues
Times were difficult in the 17th century when the Swedish-Danish war was going on and Stora Råby, like many other villages, was regularly ravaged and in between infectious diseases spread in the crowded settlement. According to the church book, red soot or dysentery caused several deaths due to poor water and poor housing hygiene.

Over the years, the farm was also ravaged by several fires. On May 11, 1928, the farm burned to the ground when a neighbor, despite a request to repair his inadequate chimney, did not take the necessary measures. As punishment, Henrik Nilsson received 30 pairs of rods and a fine of 2000 daler silver coins.

On May 2, 1767, 15 farms and 4 gatehouses burned down. There was a strong southeast wind and all the houses west of the church burned down. The fire had started at the householder Måns Bengtsson whose wife Olu Brorsdotter had been careless with the fire and for this she was sentenced to one month on bread and water as she had no assets.

In 1930 it was time again when the whole farm burned down after the neighbor who lived south of the church, Assar Andersson. started the fire. It turned out that Assarsson was fond of card games but less interested in agriculture, which was going badly, so he first set fire to his own farm, then one in Bjällerup and No. 3 in Stora Råby. In order not to be suspected of insurance fraud, he burned more farms, but he was discovered when he burned down the farm in Bjällerup. When he came out of prison after serving his sentence, he cycled out to the then owner Nils Pålsson and apologized, which was reportedly accepted.

The farm as it looks today was built in 1931 by master builder Berlin from Dalby. Since then, parts of the farm have burned twice more, in the stables in 1944 and the lodge in 1949, but the fires were successfully extinguished. Parts of the current floor are fire-ravaged and the remains are clearly visible.

Råbylunds Gård
around 1976

Råbylunds Gård today.

Paul Pålsson was the last farmer when the farm ceased as a farming unit in 1990 and the land was leased out. After "Pålles" death in 1993, Gunilla Pålsson stayed on until 2003 when the current owner Håkan K Pålsson, born on the farm, moved back in 2003 after study years in Lund, mobile adventures in Switzerland, spa experiences in Västerbotten and management years in Stockholm. Extensive renovation work has taken place since then - all the farm's buildings have been renovated, rebuilt and extended. The only things that remain in the lodge and stables are the beams, the roof trusses and the brick walls, otherwise everything has been replaced and extended.

The farmhouse was completely renovated in 2002-2003, followed by the old carriage house to the west of the farm, which was converted into three studio apartments in 2008. The lodge was converted into twelve smaller apartments and meeting rooms in 2009-2010, and then also the stables, which were converted into a business community for some 30 companies on two levels, as well as a restaurant and additional meeting rooms. After the pandemic in 2021, an outdoor terrace was built for the restaurant and in 2022 the parking facilities were expanded with an additional 50 spaces.

More land has been purchased to the north of the farm to provide parking space for residents, workers and conference participants. The villa west of the farm was bought "back" to the farm in 2008. The house was built in 1920 as an emergency residence for Pål Nilsson when he handed over the running of the farm to his son Nils Pålsson. When he died in 1930, the house was taken over by his daughter Gerda Pålsson and then the house was dismembered.

The work on sustainability has always been a common thread through all the renovations and changes on the farm. Heating is provided by surface geothermal heating....Solar cells are placed on all south-facing roofs. The choice of materials has been made with consideration for history and natural materials are used as much as possible.

The story of the farm continues every day and we are happy to write it together with all our guests.

Map of the large-scale transfer in Stora Råby 1787-89
prepared by L Sam Gutman.
Lantmäteriet in Malmö. Act 2, Stora Råby.

The staff of Karl Berglund's shoe factory
lined up in the courtyard. Photo 1901, repro Kulturen.

History of Stora Råby

Stora Råby was first mentioned in 1120 when the archbishop donated, among other things, 4 ½ bol in the villa Raby maiore to the community of canons at the cathedral for the establishment of a preboende. Stora Råby was much larger than Lilla Råby, which was located to the west, and Råby is believed to have originated from rågång in the sense of a border, perhaps between its own Torna härad and the Bara härad to the south. Another explanation could be raw as in deer. The word by (Old Swedish byr, by, from boa, bo) denotes a named place consisting of at least two nearby farms.

Stora Råby is located on the edge of the western spur of Romeleåsen in a long southern slope down to Höjeå. With its 723 hectares, Stora Råby was a relatively large village. The village site itself is located on a gravel ridge that to the west goes in an arc towards Räddningsinstitutet, and to the east extends down to Björns hög.

Already in prehistoric times, the purple area that later came to be called Stora Råby has been populated, we know this from several Stone Age finds and fire graves, including in the gravel field that runs through the village. The so-called Björns Hög or the mound as it is called by the villagers, is located in the southern part of the parish, and is a burial mound with space for several corpses that were buried on the site after burning.

At Stora Råby's border in the north in the area now called Linero, there were three sacrificial mounds long ago, Oden's, Thor's and Frey's mounds, where long before the city of Lund was formed, markets were held, the so-called Trehöjamarknaden.

At the end of the Middle Ages, most of the land was owned by various ecclesiastical institutions, but at the time of the Reformation the crown came to hold most of the church's land.

These were difficult times during the 17th century when the Swedish-Danish war was going on and Stora Råby, like many other villages, was regularly ravaged and in between infectious diseases spread in the crowded settlement. According to the church book, red fever or dysentery caused several deaths, which was caused by poor water and poor housing hygiene.
You can read about wars and other misfortunes such as drought and famine in the documents of the National Archives in Copenhagen. On July 18, 1653, Bishop Peder Winstrup describes that the farms can no longer pay the established maintenance to the priests due to the ravages of the Swedes. The fighting continued even after 1658, when Denmark ceded Skåne to Sweden at the Battle of Roskilde. The bloody battle of Lund in 1676 finally put an end to the Swedish-Danish war as several of the villagers of Stora Råby were also on the battlefield.

Over the years, the village was also ravaged by several fires. Some of these stories are well preserved and on May 11, 1728, thirteen of the village's farms burned down. The fire is believed to have started with Henrik Nilsson at no. 21, who had failed to repair the chimney of the baking oven despite being told to do so. For this, Henrik was fined 30 pairs of rods and 2000 daler silver coins.

On May 2, 1767, fifteen farms and four gatehouses burned down. There was a strong southeast wind and all the houses west of the church burned down. The fire had started at the householder Måns Bengtsson whose wife Olu Brorsdotter had been careless with the fire and for this she was sentenced to one month on bread and water as she had no assets. After these events, the Torna Härads court decided that there should be at least 14 cubits or 8 meters between the houses in the village to avoid fires.

Since at least the 17th century, the land in Stora Råby has been divided into 26 numbers, 26 farms and the gatehouse number 25. Later, Klockarebostället no. 27 was added, which was owned by Stora Råby church and was a salary for the bellringer. Råbylunds Gård was farm number 3 and today also holds the land for farm no. 16. The farms were designated in different ways, Häradshövdingebostället (no. 1, 2, 26 current Gastelyckans industrial area) was so called as the income went to the salary of the häradshövdingens. There were six hospital homes whose income went to the Helgeand Hospital in Lund. In return for a certain tax exemption, the armorers' homes were obliged to acquire and maintain a rider with a horse and equipment. Skatterusthållen were self-owned farms while Kronorusthållen were formally owned by the state. All land previously belonged to the church and later the crown, but during the 1700s the crown farmers were given the opportunity to buy out their farms and the first farm to be bought out in Stora Råby was Råbylunds Gård 1785, for 41 riksdaler and 42 shillings, Kjersten Eskilsson became the owner of his own farm.

In addition to the farms, Stora Råby had many other unnumbered street houses that stood on vacant land or on one of the farms' plots. The residents were called householders and, later in the 19th century, tillers of the soil, and they could be craftsmen, workers, the elderly or other unemployed people.

Storskiftet 1787-1789
It was probably on the initiative of the proprietor of the häradshövdingebostället that it was decided in 1782 that Stora Råby would be subject to a large-scale land transfer. The aim was to reduce the number of lots each farm had, but at the same time each farm would also have a share in each type of land. The land was divided into Norre, Östre and Södre Wång and within these there were grain fields, meadow fields, phile fields and flax fields. The fertility and soil content of the land was very good, but there were major differences in the land and how it could best be used. Dividing up the land in a fair way must have been challenging to say the least and of course many conflicts arose. There is a fine map of the large-scale transfer that well describes the result.

In the northwest corner of Stora Råby, the area between Stora Råby and Lilla Råby, now Gastelyckan, and parts of Råbylund, was Löfreds Ängen, which was very marshy. Here it is reported from the 18th century that "the largest space for skating still left the so-called Lefre meadows or Lefret as these were almost always under water in winter and old and young people tumbled over each other here. I often saw the priest Henrik Schartau skating here and competing with the boys in speed" (says Petter Löwegren). There was a legend about the place and the name Lefre kärr where a bloody battle was said to have taken place that was so bloody that the whole place was covered with clotted blood. Possibly the alleged event can be linked to Karl Knutsson's ravages in Skåne in 1452. On his way to Blekinge he plundered and ravaged Lund and then continued eastwards. Perhaps the name also has to do with slow-flowing and is then linked to the stream called Strömfåran or Hylebäck, which until the expansion of the Råbylund area (2020) still flowed in a west-east direction through the village and down towards Höjeå.

The gravel ridge through Stora Råby not only offered good settlements but also became an asset in many different ways. When the Lundagård plan was leveled in 1746, the gravel was taken from Stora Råby and in 1756 250 m3 of gravel was sold for the construction of a botanical garden on the current university site. In 1798, the city leased a "sand hill" from the estate at Stora Råby 14 where the city's residents could collect gravel. In 1805, an area at Björns hög was set aside as a common gravel pit. The site is now used as a pistol shooting range. The gravel deposits and the transportation of gravel from the village also led to the breaking up and transportation of old archaeological remains. The flint objects found in the levelling layer during the excavation in Lundagård in 1996 probably originated from settlements in Stora Råby.

Enskiftet 1805
Rutger Macklean of the Svaneholm estate had initiated this whole revolutionary and transformative reform, inspired by other countries in Europe and the prevailing physiocracy which taught that a country's prosperity lay in the fertility of its land and that agriculture was the most important industry in a country. Macklean transformed the land at Svaneholm, combining the smaller plots into larger units, moving the farms 'in the middle' of the land, making them easier to run and more efficient. Furthermore, newer and better building methods were developed where the walls of the farms were made of clay and trampled straw and the method later came to be called macklering. But it was not only the structure of the estate but also the work situation and social benefits of the subordinates that changed. Just as in the villages it affected the whole social life, working methods and cohesion of the peasants.
There were also political reasons for the introduction of the single shift. These were troubled times; the peasant uprising in Löddeköpinge in 1803 and the great peasant uprising in Skåne in 1811 shook the authorities, and the proximity to revolutionary France made the peasants a power factor, and by means of the unification, the authorities effectively broke up the old village community that had been required for the co-cultivation of the fields.

Less than 20 years after the great schism, Stora Råby was enclosed and the farms were given scattered plots gathered in an ownership plan that was given as much regularity as possible. There was a lot of work involved in moving the farms; the old ones had to be demolished, materials had to be moved and new houses built. A custom from ancient times was that the landowners (holders of land rights), often with the help of their servants, assisted each other on special occasions, such as the construction of the farms at the turn of the century. The farmhands did the timber work and the maids erected the clinic walls, and compensation came to consist of the so-called clinic guilds, which were often festive.

Seventeen of the village's twenty-five farms were moved out. An area next to the church was set aside for a school and poorhouse, and an area next to Björn's mound was set aside for a common sandpit. It took until 1812 to move the farms out and divide the land. New roads were added and old ones disappeared. To the west, Råbyvägen was extended to Räddningsinstitutet and a new road was built to the north up to Dalbyvägen. The road was completed in 1814 and was already called Prästavägen from the beginning as it was on this road that the priest came from town. As there were some farmers living in the old barns along the old village road, this road was kept with the result that the village's two 90 degree turns were made permanent.

Most of the farms kept their land intact, but there were also divisions of land in many different places, mainly as a result of inheritance. Professor Arvid Bruzelius and Baron CG Gyllenkrok each bought a plot from the farmer Isak Nilsson in the western part of Stora Råby, and the latter laid the foundations for the Stora Råby Rescue Institute, the history of which can be read about under a separate heading*. Three plots at Dalbyvägen were split off from no. 3 as a result of inheritance and were built on in 1870. One was bought by the grain merchant Hylle'n, who built the farm there, which was named Råbylund. Jöns Persson started a gardening business on two of the plots and later established a carpentry and later also a slaughterhouse that Lars Christersson ran successfully. He had a shop at Kattesund and in Saluhallen, and the slaughterhouse's horse-drawn cart was seen on the road between Stora Råby and Lund as late as the 1960s.

At the 1805 census, Stora Råby had 333 inhabitants consisting of 25 farmers, 1 crofter, 14 able-bodied householders, 8 soldiers, 1 blacksmith, 2 tailors, 1 church official, a burgher who had moved out of the town, 5 elderly farmers, 1 former craftsman, 1 former soldier and a former church official. In addition, a number of farmhands and womenfolk.

New times
After being its own parish and municipality, Stora Råby was incorporated into Lund municipality on January 1, 1952 when the new municipal division reform came into force. The reduction in the number of municipalities meant that several boards and committees in the many small municipalities ceased to exist, and with this came extensive changes in the local commitment to the village.

There were far-reaching plans for Stora Råby to belong to Staffanstorp municipality, but the residents of the village felt a greater affinity with Lund.

In 1967 the city bought the two homesteads 7 and 8 for the planned expansion of Linero. In the same year, Häradshövdingebostället was also purchased, and in the years that followed, the land that the tenants had put in the most perfect condition through unsaved effort, work and costs was filled with up to four meters high excavated material. The dwelling is now part of the Gastelyckan industrial area, which incidentally takes its name from Per Gast who traded on the land there in the 17th century.
The land north of the village site was purchased by Lund Municipality in the late 1960s and since 2010 the construction of a new urban district Råbylund has been underway and is expected to continue until well into the 2030s. There will be about 2000 homes, several preschools and schools, playgrounds and a large pond, Råbysjön, which has long been constructed. This serves an important function as a retention pond for handling water masses and, together with other smaller retention ponds, leads down to the river Höje.

When the southwestern road, with a route across Stora Råby's western lands formerly called Vestra Wång and Löfred's meadow, was inaugurated on December 9, 2009 in the presence of, among others, the then Minister of Infrastructure Åsa Torstensson and County Governor Göran Tunhammar, the undersigned could also provide some historical data. I could tell you about Per Gast and about the trading place that used to be here. I could tell you about the historical lands, about the meadows, about Henrik Schartau's adventures on the ice, about the bloody battle and healed blood and about my own childhood experiences on the sandy pastures that at that time were exciting playgrounds and pastures for the farm's horses.

Every time we build new residential areas, new roads and houses, the history, knowledge and memories of everything that happened on these lands are also affected. It is with the greatest humility that I read and remember everything that has happened on Stora Råby's land and I hope more people are interested in this and with this also a humility towards history and all those who lived, made a living and fought for their survival here.

Stora Råby church

Stora Råby Church

Stora Råby church, located in the middle of the village, dates back to the 13th century when the nave and chancel were built. During the 14th century, the original tower was added to the west, which was built in brick. In 1770, the south side of the tower was first dismantled and then rebuilt with gray stone. In the 15th century, the southern porch was built at the southern portal of the nave, and at the end of the Middle Ages, the church's vault was demolished.

The staircase gables and ribbed arches give the church its distinctive character. The exterior roofs are covered with lead sheet, while the old porch is made of single-colored red brick. Originally the church had only three small windows on the south side, but in 1844 more windows were added and the old ones were enlarged, making the interior of the church much brighter. The new windows were supplied by master blacksmith Dreyer in Lund for 240 riksdaler. A sundial, made from slate from Fågelsång, has been installed over the door to the porch since 1817.

The interior, with its whitewashed walls and arches and nowadays large windows, provides a bright church room. The vaults are distributed so that the nave has two star vaults, the chancel cross vault, the tower room cross vault, the new porch barrel vault and the medieval porch flat roof. The triumphal arch opening is large with a slight pointed arch. The floor has diagonally laid polished limestone tiles in gray and red.

The church's older furnishings have been largely dispersed, but some still remain. The sandstone baptismal font dates from the 13th century and has a smooth cup with a square base. The brass baptismal font was made in 1690. The communion chalice and paten are from 1631.

The organ loft is located above the old porch. The current organ is from 1969 and built by Mårtenssons Orgelfabrik, Lund. Even the coloring of the bench interior with lasered gables in red color with blue scope was added at this time.

A very well-known priest, Henrik Schartau, was the vicar of Stora Råby and Bjällerup parish and was responsible for its activities from 1793 to 1825. Henrik lived in a single-storey house in the main square in Lund, which in due course gave way to the current town hall. Schartau had a good view of the square and a tavern that the "men" from Stora Råby visited from time to time. It is said that on Sundays, Schartau gave a sermon on the punishment of those who had visited the tavern and their visits to the tavern could also come up during the interrogations.

Råby Institute

Råby Institute was founded in 1838 by Lord Chamberlain Friherre Axel Gustaf Gyllenkrok. Gyllenkrok was born on July 14 at Björnstorp's estate and had a very rich life in the military close to the king, as a member of parliament and as an academic among the learned. He was a member of the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund and the Royal Academy of Sciences. In 1805, when he took over the Björnstorp and Svenstorp estates after his father's death, he started a major reform project according to the rules of the single-shift system. He was very successful in his reform work and soon became a model for other landowners.

Gyllenkrok's name is linked to many donations in Lund, most notably the founding of the Råby Institute. The focus was on child welfare, with an emphasis on criminals, and the institute was the first of its kind in Sweden. At that time, there was no difference between crimes committed by adults or children, the punishments were the same.

Over the years, Gyllenkrok raised money from various sources for its operation and development. The organization grew and could accommodate more young people. He was personally very committed to the organization and its "boys" and visited it several times a week. He often gathered the pupils for discussions, get-togethers and musical entertainment.

The Institute continuously bought land from the western part of Stora Råby and the area grew and new buildings were erected.

To this day, the process of adapting young criminals to a normal life continues, but has long been managed by state authorities.