Jedsted and the valley Kongeådal
Vilslev parish goes over both sides of the river Kongeå. South of the river lies Jedsted, north of the river lies Vilslev. The area of the parish boundary to the east and to the valley of Kongeådal offers many experiences, which tells about the region's development.
The Gredstedbro ship
When you follow the river’s south bank from the east, you come to the parish boundary between Hjortlund and Jedsted just before the railway bridge at Gredstedbro, where a small ditch runs into the river. A little further west by the motorway is the parish boundary between Vilslev and Jernved. It is in this area that planks have been discovered from the Gredstedbro ship that sailed on the river Kongeå in the 600s. Even though only three planks have been found - parts of the rib, keel and the bow – you can still see that the ship was flat-bottomed so the ship could easily have sailed up the river and pulled ashore.
When you go under the motorway bridge, you come to the area by the mill, Jedsted Mølle. It is a historical site, which is mentioned in Valdemar the Victorious’ land register from 1231. Among other things, the land register had a record of the king’s estates in Denmark, and it was here that Jedsted Mill was mentioned.
The watermill was used by both Jedsted and Vilslev, and sometimes the miller was in dispute with both the pastor of Vilslev and lord of Riber Kjærgård when the copyholders would rather get their grain ground in Jedsted than Kjærgård’s mill, which they were obliged to.
The good priest Knud Lang, who developed the agriculture and along with Ms Margrethe Rosenørn planned the copyholders purchase of their properties at the end of 1786, was subjected to an attack from an extremely unpleasant miller, who stated that he would just as soon be served by the knackers in Ribe as by the priest. The miller even wrote in the collection book: ”God bless the church, but the devil take the priests.” Bishop Brorson in Ribe had to write to his superiors in the capital and ask them to ”present the case to His Royal Highness.”
Electricity works and fish farming at Jedsted Mølle
Hans Joachim Fogh was one of Jedsted Mølle’s most enterprising owners. He owned the mill from 1839-1877 and acquired and improved considerable amounts of land in the parish. The miller organised people to drive wheelbarrows with sand from the hilly Jedsted Bjerge and into the marshes around the river, so the area was cultivable and later used for fish farming.
From 1910 to 1965 there was an electricity works at Jedsted Mølle. It used water power, and many citizens of the parish had power installed. The hydropower has since been supplemented with diesel engines. Today there is still a fish farm at Jedsted Mølle.
Jedsted and the famous ointment maker
After the mill, the river continues north of Jedsted town with open thwarts down to the river. It has been through here for many centuries. Geographical name researchers estimate that Jedsted and Gredsted (with the suffix ’- sted’, meaning ’place) were both created before the 500s.
A known ointment maker, Therkel Eskildsen lived in Jedsted around the year 1600. He was so famous that Christian IV asked his vassal at Riberhus Castle to buy recipes from him for 300 rix-dollars. It was expensive, but Therkel Eskildsen could make ointments that healed broken limbs. The ingredients included horse manure and hock and scrapings of the antlers of a deer that was defeated and shot on Bartholomæus evening.
Just north of the river lies the valley area called Kongeådal, which connects Jedsted and Vilslev. In 1870, the bridge and the road between the two villages was built, and since then Kongeådal has almost served as the parish’s business centre. Here lay the dairy cooperative and feedstuff association, and the supermarket LokalBrugsen still serves the inhabitants today. It was also where Kongeådal school was built in 1953. The school closed down in 2008.
Leisure clubs still thrive as the sports arena and scout hut are both still in use.
Kongeådal has united the parish's two largest villages, for cooperation is most successful when the community buildings are placed equally on each side of the river.
Author: Roll Præstegaard, Vilslev Jedsted Parish archives
Sources and literature:
Vilslev Jedsted Parish archives, see www.bricksite.com/vilslevjedsted