From Norway through Denmark the family Hierta, to which Fredrik Philip Hierta belonged, came to our land. Originally it was said the family had lived in the Trondheim area, leaving there to move to Denmark. The first known member of the family which owned and lived inside the current borders of Sweden was Ragvald Mattson Hierta. He was recorded as a master rider for a horse company in the Danish military in 1530. He said he belonged to Sagered in Källered’s parish but also owned (?) ölmanäs in Halland which down to 1679 still was in the family’s possession.
His son Lars Hierta of ölmanäs (also Tuna and Lunnagården) was in the Danish service during the northern 7 year’s war and suddenly quit, as the Swedes took Varberg’s fortress in 1565. His two sons, Bengt and Torsten, were taken prisoner to Sweden, and thus the family became Swedish. Both joined the Swedish service. Nothing is known of Torsten’s fate, but Bengt was a Leiutenant in the Västgöta cavalry regiment from 1579. This began a two-hundred year honorable military tradition. At least 16 members of the Hierta family have served with the old Västgöta riders, wherein a pair were the regiment’s chiefs and had special distinction.
Bengt Hierta’s family settled in Västergötland, where family members still live. Halla, on the Västgöta plain, is the first of many Västgöta farms which have belonged to the family. There probably have been more than 30 farms. Bengt’s son Lars, from Halla, belonged to the Kålsholmen in the Essunga parish. He, like his father, joined the Västgöta riders and advanced to master rider. He died (?) in 1642 in Kålsholmen and is buried in the Essunga church.
In Lars Hierta’s son Per (Måns) we meet one of the family’s most important men. He was born in Kålsholmen March 16, 1613. His war experience began in the Småland cavalry as a master rider in 1645. After 20 years he was chosen as the regiment’s chief and won his fame in the Battle of Lund (http://hem.passagen.se/uscygnus/BattleofLund.html). Per Hierta was the point (decision maker ?) for the Västgöta riders and was responsible for the victory. He even would have saved the King’s life, but the King (Karl XI), in his youthful eagerness, rode too far forward among the enemy. He himself had been seriously wounded. The King had beaten the right flank and chased the retreating enemy a half mile away from the Swede’s line while the left Swedish flank was caught in an uneven fight with superior Danish forces. It was in the last second that he turned his troops and the bending line broke. After the end of the fight the old Västgöta Colonel voiced his displeasure with the King’s handling of the situation with these straightforward and bold words, ‘You who ride from the skvadronen(?) don’t understand the Crown’s service!’ And when King Karl asked him how he was wounded he received the amazing answer, ‘You who chose to hear from old folk and then decide to run from us, it can be the same as it is with me.’
After the Battle of Lund Per Hierta was promoted to Major General of the cavalry. He still was part of the regiment and recruited for it after the great losses in the war. Through his efforts the enlistment campaign succeeded in him bringing so many new recruits that the regiment’s numbers totaled 980 men. The new chief, Johan Uggla, assigned himself to the Vä district.
Per Hierta was, in his time, one of the largest landholders (lord ?) in Västergötland. He was named owner of the following farms: Häggatorp, Främmestad, Tumleberg, and Halla. Häggatorp was received as an inheritance with his wife, Märta Lindelöf, who was the daughter of Hans Joensson Lindelöf of Kedum. After taking possession in 1652 they moved from Tumleberg and had their home there thereafter.
Per Hierta received Främmestad by trading his inheritances in Halland, ölmanäs and many others which were named earlier. Per lived at Häggatorp till his death in 1692. According to family histories Kar XI visited several times his old war companion and savior/rescuer from the Battle of Lund.
The old soldier has after all judgements been found to be an upright, God fearing man with a spirit of great power. His religious interest was shown by valuable gifts to the churches where he owned land. From Vedum’s church to Häggatorp all knew of how the General förärat nattvardkärl and some textiles. He sent many gifts to Främmestad’s church, among which was an alter in 1691. Even Skarstad’s parish, to which his holding at Halla belonged, was remembered. Hällum’s church received a precious book, ‘which book’s worth provided the church’s means of income and expense.’ At the Bishop’s visit in Skarstad in 1668 the church was found to be in a very decayed condition. Hierta, who was nearby when this happened, sent money and other items worth 13 Rd (?) ‘To the Glory of God, the Church’s honor, repair, and redress.’
Like so many of the noblemen of the time, Per Hierta had his own preacher during his old age. In the 1680s Staffan Hellstadius served as such at Häggatorp. This was not an ordained position and usually resulted in being merely a house watch. Meanwhile the General wanted an ordained clergy since because of his bad health he’d need easily accessible priestly service. He wrote concerning this in 1691 to Bishop Hagrin Spegel that here was a need, which church law addressed, that ‘immediately, the current sickness which attacks me so badly, that I worry about lasting this time to enable an ordinary priest here in the congregation to rush to me.’ He wanted to be ready for the last journey. Hellstadius was ordained that year, but he left that same year to take over an assistant vicar position in Borås. It is possibly related that the General passed away in the fall of that year. He is buried along with many other members of the Hierta family in Vedum’s church. On one gable of the copper coffin was engraved words from John 2:10, ‘He who is faithful to the end will receive eternal life.’ The words are an adequate phrase for the old faithful man’s piety and foresight.