Jöns Jönsson x3

Three generations of lay assessors named Jöns Jönsson had power and held the hamlet in their reign of terror.

For over 100 years, three generations of Jöns Jönsson lived in Jönsas. The Jöns were known for being malevolent. Worst was clearly the first Jöns Jönsson, who purchased the farm in 1734. The people in the hamlet were scared to death of the Jöns. They brought every little thing to sessions of the district court and always won their cases on controversial issues.

In the minutes from a session in 1744, you can read about a crofter’s boy from Lilla Äskhult who was out grazing his cow when he happened to go onto Jönsas land. The 13-year-old son of Jönsas set his dog on the crofter’s cow, which became stressed and died.

The crofter did not dare demand compensation, but talked about the whole thing with the people in the hamlet. This made the lay assessor furious, and he summoned the crofter to court. And despite there being two people from the hamlet as witnesses, they did not dare testify in the district court; instead, the crofter had to pay the entire cost of the trial.

Fourteen years later, 18-year-old farm girl Anna Andersdotter from Göttas came to church, and sat on the pew where the Jöns usually sat. It actually belonged to the entire hamlet; at that time, each hamlet had its own pew. The lay assessor’s daughter from Jönsas, who thought herself superior to the lass from Göttas, came up to the pew and told Anna to move. Anna from Göttas then replied:

“Who should I budge for?!”

She pushed the lay assessor’s daughter from Jönsas, who fell onto the lap of the person sitting next to them.

As fighting in the church was not permitted, the lay assessor sued the girl from Göttas for disturbing the peace of the church, despite the fact that the priest had not even begun the service.

She was sentenced to pay a large fine. But since she could not afford it, and was “of feeble growth and otherwise weak and destitute”, the fines were converted to 16 days’ imprisonment on rations of bread and water. Even this was a terribly harsh punishment.