Image illustrating Reftele Tingshus

Peasant uprising in Reftele

The corrupt bailiff Lars Andersson

On 27 May, 1616, an agitated group of peasants marched from the old courthouse in Brödrahalla to the residence of the unpopular bailiff Lars Andersson. The background to the incident was the increase in taxes and the perception that Lars Andersson was not honest when he collected the taxes. The angry peasants wanted justice, but when it turned out that the bailiff was not at home, the farmers' anger was redirected at his scribe who ended up being lynched.

The authorities did not let the incident go unnoticed and on 3 June, the County Governor Nils Stiernsköld held an investigation in Villstad vicarage and a few months later King Gustav II Adolf himself intervened in the matter. It ended with all the guilty parties being executed by rack and wheel in Jönköping.

However, the corrupt bailiff did not get off. After the rioters were executed, the King instructed the Governor to also investigate the bailiff, which resulted in the peasants’ complaints being upheld. The bailiff Lars Andersson was also sentenced to death for his crimes, but all indications suggest that he was pardoned and continued to commit crimes within the framework of office of bailiff.