Plougstrup Møllegård and the Toll House
The mill at Plougstrup Mølle was built by Laust Hagen at Møllegården. To get a larger surrounding area, he also built Plougstrup Bridge, which went over the river Kongeå, and a small toll house where people had to pay to pass.
Plougstrup Mill and the bridge
Lauritz Hagen Jensen - called Laust Hagen - owned the farm Møllegården in Plougstrup. He was an enterprising man, so in 1870 he also built a windmill and could now call himself both farmer and miller. Farmers always needed to grind their grain, and it would be good if they did not have to drive too far with it.
Towards the south the surrounding area was bordered by the river Kongeå, so Laust, who was a man with initiative and drive, had the idea that the farmers on this side of the river should also be able to use the mill. For this to be possible, a bridge would have to be built over the river, and therefore at his own cost, he built a bridge and built a road that went from the south side of the river Kongeå to the mill. Later, the bridge was called Kongebro.
The road and toll house
This road construction was a big job for a private man to take on. The filling alone of the road above the low stretch of meadow, especially on the north side, required several thousands of wagon loads of sand.
Of course Laust Hagen’s wanted it to be a profitable construction, so when the road was passable, he allowed everyone to use it against payment of a charge. Where the new road to the north met Plougstrupvejen, he built a toll house when the charge was collected. It cost 4 øre for pedestrians and 16 øre for a vehicle. He rented out the toll house with the collection rights and a small plot for a pretty good sum. There was a discount system for most of those who used the bridge frequently.
The miller's guarantee
In the early 1900s, the miller was called Karl Olesen Kristensen. To seek adequate work for the mill, he let a wagon drive after grain in the local farms so that the farmers would save themselves the trouble of making the trip themselves. Two days every week the cart went to Tobøl, two days to Jernved-Jernvedlund and two days to Hjortlund-Stens.
But the bridge gradually became so fragile that the heavy mill wagons could not pass over it when they were fully laden. One day in 1907, when the wagon was going to Stens, the mill driver said that now it looked like it was no longer possible to get over the bridge. The miller wanted to carry out future searches for work, so he ignored it and informed the driver what he should say when people asked if it was safe to continue driving:
”We give you our guarantee,” he was supposed to say. When people then asked what the guarantee would be, he was to reply:”We will reimburse the toll charge, if you fall in.”
The bridge gets new owners
When Møllegården’s owner no longer wished to restore the bridge because it exceeded his financial capacity, a new solution had to be found. After many troubles and disagreements between the authorities, a new system was created in 1908 whereby the people of Plougstrup voluntarily collected a large sum, while the parish council gave DKK 500. Now the bridge had become a common and public responsibility and thus the payment of toll charges ceased.
During the First World War from 1914 to 1918, like Gredstedbro, Plougstrup bridge was considered a major thoroughfare to the south by the military. Therefore, the bridge was kept under guard day and night by Danish dragoons, which were headquartered with the farmer Peder Clausen.
The Hagen family's fate
However, Laust Hagen, who built the mill, bridge and toll house, did not live to enjoy the pleasures of his enterprises for more than nine years. He died already in 1879, and at his death it became clear to everyone - not least his family - that he had not left behind any assets of significance. This came as a shock to his wife, who took her own life just a month after Laust’s death.
The two sons, Jens and Hans, carried the farm on, but Jens died of typhus just one year after his parents. His brother Hans sold the farm quite soon afterwards and began studying to become a lawyer. He did not come to live long either. He died in 1890 of tuberculosis. With his small fortune, he founded a scholarship that bears his name (Hans Sørensen), and he ensured a memorial stone was erected to honour the family name. The tomb memorial stone is designed by none other than Thorvald Bindesbøll and still exists at Jernved cemetery.
Author: Knud Elbæk Sørensen, Jernved Parish archives
Sources and literature:
Jernved Parish archives, see http://gredstedbroegnen.dk/foreninger/sognarkivet/
15. Plougstrup Møllegård og Bomhuset
a. Filnavn: Top-003, Plougstrup Mølle
Tekst: Plougstrup Mill.
Foto: Jernved Sognearkiv
b. Filnavn: Top-004, Bomhuset
Tekst: The toll house
Foto: Jernved Sognearkiv
c. Filnavn: Top-005, Plougstrup Bro
Plougstrup Bridge and the border is guarded by gendarmes
Foto: Jernved Sognearkiv