Kaarlela vicarage

Kirkonmäki Kokkola


The main building of Kaarlela was built in 1737, during the term of Vicar Karl Gustav Werander. The frame of the hip-roofed building was built from red-hearted pine. At the eastern end of the yard, there is a residential building with a vaulted cellar from 1667.


Werander participated in the Diet in the early 1740s and thereafter no longer returned to his position in the parish. Jacob Chydenius, a vicar’s son from Kuusamo, took over the position. After him, his son Anders Chydenius administered the office at the vicarage from 1770 until his death in 1803. Before Kaarlela, Anders Chydenius served as the chaplain of Alaveteli chapel parish.


In addition to dogmatics, Anders Chydenius was influential in the field of Enlightenment philosophy, economics and Diet politics. He advocated, for example, democracy and the freedom of trade, press and religion.  He also defended workers’ rights. His diverse literary output has been published in a five-volume critical edition in Swedish and Finnish, and his selected works in English in the collection Anticipating the Wealth of Nations. All the texts have also been published online. Chydenius is surprisingly also brought to life in the graphic novel Last Words – the Return of Anders Chydenius.


One demonstration of Chydenius’ versatility were the concerts he organised in the vicarage every week. The musicians were young people from Kokkola bourgeoisie families. Chydenius himself may have played the flute, violin or clavier. His extensive collection of sheet music included works composed by Giovanni Pergolesi, Gaetano Pugnani and Antonio Rosetti, for example. Chydenius later sold the collection to Turun Soitannollinen Seura (Musical Association of Turku), in whose orchestra his nephew Jakob Tengström played the flute. Negotiations on the price were heated, but it was finally set at 16 Swedish riksdaler, which corresponded to the price of 25 barrels of rye!


Vicarages used to prepare and test different medicines, the ingredients of which they procured from their own herb gardens. Chydenius had also familiarised himself with medicine, so he experimented with the medicinal use of opium poppy, which used to be given to children as tranquillising sleeping tablets and for adults who had dysentery or dental problems. One well-known mixture contained opium tincture, alcohol and cinnamon water. The opium poppy was also a beautiful garden plant.


Kaarlela is the oldest vicarage building in Finland to have retained its original style. The vicarage is located close to the late medieval Kaarlela stone church, dedicated to Saint Catherine, which was extended into a cruciform church on the initiative of Chydenius.




“I guess none of us can expect servants to speak up for themselves in front of the public. I dare say that hardly any one of them knows that the issue of their freedom has been very strongly highlighted; and which one of them is able to write anything to defend himself and his brothers? Therefore, the rights of so defenceless people must be promoted twice as carefully; otherwise it will be unavoidable that people rather go where the fence is lowest.” (Anders Chydenius, 1778)


“They certainly are people and thus similar to us by nature; in birth they have received a reasonable soul and a free will to live in the world – that is why they also must be treated as people.” (Anders Chydenius, 1778)


“If they (workers) had had the luck to be born as children of the gentry, merchants and farm owners, the law would protect them. But as this is not the case, their faith is unavoidable, and neither the Constitution nor the assurances of the Swedish king can secure their freedom.” (Anders Chydenius, 1778)


As an advocate of the rights of the common people, Anders Chydenius was also in charge of serving as a witness in legal proceedings. In spring 1786 at a beheading in Kruunupyy, where three murderers had been executed and their remains were to be put on display as a warning, Chydenius said the following: “The king’s governor has obligated me to speak some words of warning to you who today have seen this horrible spectacle. (…)Their hands and heads are stuck on poles, their bodies are tied to breaking wheels and remain prey for birds, and ravens will peck their eyes. A horrific scene for those who pass by this beheading venue!” (Anders Chydenius, 1786)





Kaarlela vicarage


Anders Chydenius’ vicarage 1770–1803


Kaarlela church


Kaarlela church


The courtyard area of Kaarlela vicarage in 1899 (photo: Edvard Johansson / in: Suomalaiset pappilat)