Lohtaja vicarage

Alaviirteentie 105 Lohtaja


The Lohtaja (or Saukko) vicarage was built by farmers and skilled carpenters in an old vicarage area, at former Pappilanlahti bay. The name Saukko probably comes from the times of the first vicarage at the turn of the 1500s and the 1600s, when otters (saukko in Finnish) were common around Pappilanlahti bay. During the time of the present vicarage, the ancient bay has been a small lake. Already in the mid-1700s, people applied for permission to drain this bay for use as meadows and pastureland for cows. The draining of the lake was opposed, however, because it was regarded as more harmful than beneficial. Still in the 1940s the lake, which had shrunk to a shallow pond, was a popular fishing and adventure venue for children. In winter, horse races were organised on frozen Pappilanlahti.


Anders Chydenius, in his role as rural dean, is said to have drafted a preliminary building plan for the vicarage on his inspection visit, and the drawing by the bookkeeper Johan Blomström was approved in the parish meeting in December 1797. The building project was then led by Erkki Jukkola, master builder and churchwarden. The vicarage was habitable in 1803, and Vicar Anders Törnudd, the former chaplain of Kauhajoki, moved there with his family. The construction of the main building was still partly unfinished in spring 1804, but four years later, at the latest, the vicarage was apparently presentable enough for the armistice agreement, even though the outer walls still lacked board cladding.


During the Finnish War, the vicarage served as the headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the Finnish army, Wilhelm Klingspor. In late September 1808, an armistice agreement was signed between Sweden and Russia. In addition to Klingspor, the agreement was signed by the commander-in-chief of the Russian army Nikolai Kamenski and his advisor Jan Peter van Suchtelen. However, the war continued, and a year later Finland was incorporated into the Russian empire and became an autonomous Grand Duchy.


The main building of the vicarage has naturally been repaired, embellished and altered over the last two centuries, but overall it has remained as it was. The building was covered with boards in 1820 and a double porch was built in 1875. The latest renovation was made between 2013 and 2015.


Nearly ten vicars lived in the vicarage throughout their entire terms of office. The last one was Mikko Himanka (1940–2016), who lived in the vicarage until his retirement in 2003. Even after him, the vicarage hosted Vicar Tuomo Jukkola for a couple of years.


Entrance to the well-maintained vicarage yard, which used to be a closed yard, is through a two-storey granary (luhti) from the mid-1700s. The vicarage cellar is much older than the main building itself, apparently from the 1600s.