Kirstin Eriksdotter 1722-1745, beheaded

In the mid-1700s, Kirstin Eriksdotter was beheaded for infanticide in Älvsborg Fortress. Kirstin worked as a chambermaid for Chief Forest Officer Jernsköld, who was the father of her child. He, on the other hand, went free by denying paternity.

Kristin was born in Göttas. Her parents were Erich Andersson and Gunnila Andersson. Gunnila was probably over the age of 50 when she gave birth to Kirstin, who had seven siblings.

Kirstin worked on the manor farm in Smedstorp; according to the rumors, she had given birth to an illegitimate child.

When she denied this, she was taken by the county sheriff to the nearest farm. There, he had three “judicious wives milk her breasts”. Since it turned out that she had milk, the county sheriff decided to arrest Kirstin and continue the inquiry.

Kirstin was 21 years old at the time. Her mother was still living in Äskhult, but her father was dead.

The court forced her to tell the truth: she had given birth to her little daughter up in the attic where she had her bed. Since the girl was very feeble, Kirstin had decided to smother her. After having burnt the afterbirth in the kitchen, Kirstin went down to the river that flowed past and threw the infant in.

At first Kirstin denied it, but after having invigorated herself with a few sips of aquavit, she told the whole story.


Who was the father?

Kirstin told the inquiry that her master, Chief Forest Officer Jernsköld, had “carnal relations with her”. Jernsköld denied it, and a maid at the manor was called in as a witness. She responses that she did not know whether Kirstin and the Chief Forest Officer had “had carnal relations, though it was always Kirstin’s work to carry in the laundry water and light the fire in the master’s daily rooms”.

While waiting for a second trial, Kristin was taken to Älvsborg Fortress.

After a soldier testified that the Chief Forest Officer could not be the father of the child, since he had been away on military service, Kirstin Eriksdotter was sentenced “to forfeit her life through beheading and to be burned at the stake for the gross misdeed she committed”.

Kirstin maintained until her death that Jernsköld was the father of her child; the lawsuit was carried further in order to get him to confess, but unfortunately he never did.

Kirstin was 23 years old.

Random facts

Jernsköld remarried, to the niece of Lars Gathenhielm, after having been a widower for four years. Helena Beata Gathienhielm was the daughter of Lars’ brother Christian in Onsala.