Ragnhild of Tälje

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Ragnhild of Tälje
Saint Ragnhild Church, Södertälje

Ragnhild of Tälje (11th century – c. 1117) is a local saint whose veneration is attested in late Medieval Sweden and whose name was particularly associated with the church in Södertälje in the province of Södermanland and the diocese of Strängnäs. According to tradition, she was also Queen, married to King Inge II of Sweden. A year given for her death is 1117.

Life[edit]

Ragnhild is said to have founded the church of Södertälje and have her burial place there. If she is a historical person, she probably lived during the late 11th or early 12th century, but no sources that mention her can be dated earlier than the 15th century. An epitaph in the church, probably dating from that period, was later copied by the late 17th century antiquarian Elias Palmskiöld. In various 15th century literary sources, she is claimed to have been a queen, the daughter of a certain Halsten (it is uncertain whether the king Hallsten Stenkilsson is intended) and queen of either Inge the Elder or Inge the Younger (either of which would for genealogical and chronological reasons contradict her being the daughter of king Halsten). 15th century wall-paintings depicting Ragnhild can be found in the churches of Börje and Viksta in Uppland, and Enånger in Hälsingland (all three in the archdiocese of Uppsala).

The interest in Ragnhild (as in some other medieval local saints) was revived after the Protestant Reformation through the general interest in Swedish antiquities that flourished in 17th century Sweden. In her case, the publication of Vitis aquilonia by Johannes Vastovius in 1623 caused a re-interpretation of the human figure in the seal of the City of Södertälje as a depiction of Ragenilda.

References[edit]

  • Fröjmark, Anders, "Ragnhild", Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (English: Swedish biographical dictionary), vol. 29 (1995–1997), pp. 613–615.
  • Anteqningar om Svenska quinnor at Projekt Runeberg (English: Notes of Swedish women)
  • Herman Lindquist, "Sveriges Drottningar", (English: Queens of Sweden)
Ragnhild of Tälje
Born: 11th century Died: 1117
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Ingegerd Haraldsdotter
Queen consort of Sweden
1105–1117
Succeeded by
Ulvhild