Inger Ottesdotter Rømer

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Lady Inger, as portrayed by the Norwegian actress Agnes Mowinckel in 1921.

Ingerd Ottesdotter (Rømer) (c. 1475–1555) was her era's wealthiest landowner in Norway, a daughter and ultimate heiress of the Younger Rømer family of Norway, a political intriguer (Lady Ingerd is famed for having orchestrated her powerful sons-in-law to support her goals), and her fame was the inspiration for Henrik Ibsen's play Lady Inger of Ostrat.

Lady Ingerd's parents had her marry Lord Nils Henriksson, whose family also had some claim to Austrått. Thus the important manor of Austrått manor, in the Trondheimsfjord, with its associated lands, were settled to be Inger's share of the family inheritance. Her husband became both Chancellor and Lord High Steward of Norway. She was widowed in 1523.

Her interests also targeted Swedish politics, in addition to Norway's. In 1526 she received the exiled chancellor Peder Sunnanväder. And, later she practically joined attempts to dethrone Gustav I of Sweden. In 1528 the knight who claimed to be Nils Sture, the elder son of Sten Sture the Younger, the 1512–20 Regent of Sweden (the boy's identity remains controversial to this day: he either was the authentic Nils or he was an impostor), fled to Norway after his defeat and enjoyed the hospitality of Lady Inger. She had plans to obtain the crown of Sweden for him, taking it from the Stures' kinsman king, Gustav Vasa. And, more importantly to her, she was planning to marry his third daughter, Lady Eline of Austrått to the young pretender and make her the Queen. Ultimately, nothing came of this and the young "Daljunkern" was executed later in Rostock at request of Gustav.

From earlier property disputes and such, Lady Inger was an enemy of the Catholic prelate Olav Engelbrektsson, Primate of Norway and Archbishop of Nidaros. Archbishop Engelbriktsonn was also a rival in Norway's government with Lady Inger's eldest son-in-law Lord Vincents Lunge. Lady Inger and her family joined the Lutheran Reformation and promoted it extensively. That served as an important impetus for Protestantism in Norway.

As a Protestant new to Norway, Jens Tillufssøn Bjelke met Lady Ingerd’s daughter, Lucie Nilsdatter. Lucie had been the center of a social scandal of some substance in those times. Niels Lykke had married Eline Nilsdatter, the third of five sisters of Nils Henriksson. After her sister Eline’s death in 1532, Lucie cared for Eline’s children and ultimately conceived a child by Niels Lykke. Neils was put to death for incest by Archbishop Engelbrektsson in 1535. Jens and Lucie married in 1540, and his correspondence thereafter came from Austrått manor. Lady Ingerd formally transferred the title of Austrått to Lucie and Jens; records show that the transfer was confirmed by the king in 1552. There has been speculation that Lucie’s scandal allowed Jens, who descended from lesser nobility, to be considered "good enough" for Lucie.[1][2]

Later fame[edit]

In 1857, playwright Henrik Ibsen, then in his early career, wrote the play "Lady Inger of Ostrat" which loosely utilizes her intrigues towards Swedish throne as basis of drama. The play is not fully accurate on historical and genealogical details.


  1. ^ Stagg, Frank Noel (1954). West Norway and its Fjords. George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. 
  2. ^ Johnsen, Oscar Albert. Jens Tillufssøn Bjelke. Norsk biografisk leksikon I:; 1. utg.; bd 1; (NORWEGIAN) (1923).