A BRIEF HISTORY OF PADISE MANOR

Padise is one of the most historic regions in all of Estonia.  Today you can stay and eat in the 18th century manor house and explore the ruins of a 14th century monastery located just meters away from the front door.  the history of Padise is long and colorful and was already a prominent area of settlement and agriculture in the iron age.

In 1220 the Dünamünde Cistercian Monastery, near present day Riga, was granted 30 ploughs of land in the area of Padise to help efforts in Christianizing the local population.  Monks from the Dünamünde Monastery relocated to Padise and built a modest stone chapel around the year 1254 located just north of the today’s manor house building.  In the year 1305 the Dünamünde Cistercian Monastery was forced to sell the main monastery in Riga to the German Teutonic Order.

After the sale of the Dünamünde monastery, the relocation of the brethren to Padise ensued and a larger fortified monastery complex was decided to be built.  The permission to build in Padise had been given in 1305 by the Danish king, Erik Menved.  Construction of the new Padise monastery begun in the year 1317.  The Golden Age of Padise Monastery was around 1400 when the monastery not only owned extensive lands in Estonia but also bought land in Southern Finland for fish trade and agriculture.  The lands in southern Finland were in the area of today’s Vantaa, Porvoo, Sipo and Pernaja.

Towards the end of 1550 and at the start of the Livonian war, Russia began to invade the lands of Livonia (today’s southern half of Estonia and northern regions of Latvia).  Fearing the Swedes would invade and conquer the monastery, Gotthard Kettler, the last master of the Livonian Order took possession of Padise monastery and disbanded the monks.  He then fortified the monastery in readiment for the war. Many heated battles were fought during the Livonian war and the Padise monastery suffered severe damage, particularly to the southern side.

During the 30 Years’ War, Sweden took control of Riga in 1621 with the help of Thomas von Ramm who was the Burgrave and Master of the Mint of Riga.  Thomas used his considerable influence with the citizens of Riga to open the gates to the beleaguering Swedish Army and Navy and this helped to break the hold of the Poles over the city of Riga.  At this time Estonia was already under Swedish rule and in 1622, the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf granted Thomas von Ramm Padise Monastery and its surrounding lands.  Thomas was then elevated to Swedish nobility and made him Burgermeister of Riga.  In part this gift of land compensated Thomas for the damages incurred to his estates outside of Riga as a result of the 30 Years’ War.  Padise monastery was then rebuilt to accommodate the von Ramm family as a residence.

The family continued to live in the monastery until 1766 when it was said to have caught fire and burned the inhabitable parts of the house down within minutes. Wood and other building materials were salvaged from the monastery ruins and used to build a new one-storey manor house adjacent to the monastery (the current manor house that stands today).  The new building was constructed in the Baroque Style and in 1848 a second story was added to accommodate the very large von Ramm family.

During the 19th century several of the others buildings were constructed near the manor house.  Of particular note is the neo-gothic granary constructed by Clas Gustav Reinhold von Ramm in 1832.

The history of the von Ramm family in Padise continues into the 20th century.  The upheavals and consequences of the world wars left the von Ramm family no choice but to leave Estonia.  The manor and the lands of Padise were nationalized in 1919.  The manor was converted into a school, known as the Padise School, and continued as such until 1982 when the school moved to another building. Koidula Kolhoosi company then used the building for manufacturing electrical equipment.  After Estonia achieved independence in 1991 the manor belonged to the Padise municipality.  In 1997 Olaf Thomas von Ramm and his cousin Clas Marten von Ramm were able to purchase Padise Manor back.  To make the building functional again, the Ramms added a new wing on the south side of the house.  This was constructed over the site of the old kitchens, bakery and staff rooms which had been demolished in 1956.

The renovations of the manor house has been financed by the Ramm family.  It has been renovated into a boutique hotel and restaurant which operates every day of the year since 2009.   The current owners of Padise Manor are Olaf Thomas von Ramm (professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA) and his son Karl Andreas von Ramm (currently living in Estonia and operating the hotel and restaurant business in the manor house).

The crest seen on the left and in many places around the manor house is the crest of the von Ramm family gifted by the King of Sweden, Gustav Adolf II, in 1622.

The crest pictures an ibex with an arrow through it upon a small grassy hill.  The crest contains three crowns each having three point, denominating the family as Barons.  The helmet in the above-center is adorned with the largest crown upon which are two bison horns with a sword placed in the middle.

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