First name

Text source

Some sources list Anthony Knipe as English, others erroneously as Scottish. He was certainly English and had a turbulent career first in Sweden and then in Norway.

KNIPE IN SWEDEN: The earliest mention of the man dates from 1621 when he was one of 15 members of the Gothenburg trade council. He had presumably emigrated from the British Isles and subsequently became an established member of the thriving foreign merchant community in Gothenburg. He was involved in the timber trade as many of his letters to Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna concern shipments of masts and customs fees. Although the Gothenburg burgess lists for the early period are incomplete, he was most likely a burgess of the town from circa 1630 onwards, if not earlier. On 31 July 1631 he married Maria Langen at Christina church. From 1635-43 Knipe was the Rådsförvant in Gothenburg. He also represented Gothenburg at the Swedish Riksdag in 1640. A bundle of his correspondence from this period notes Knipe as "stadspresident", a fairly significant civic position in Gothenburg. One of his letters from 1636 refers to his employment by some English merchants as their representative in Gothenburg for the English Company on two official visits to Stockholm, and for neither of which he received expenses. He was presumably engaged on a toll dispute on behalf of the Company. Indeed the Directors of the English Company appear to have been royally commanded by Queen Kristina to pay the required toll to Jacob Hojers and John Maclean [SSNE 1631]on 21 December 1637. Knipe frequently clashed with his fellow burgesses in Gothenburg. In 1639 Knipe wanted John Maclean to hand over part of his delivery of Scottish herring but Maclean refused. Eventually things became so heated that Oxenstierna had to travel to Gothenburg to intervene. A further letter dated 18 April 1640 discussed the arrival of 2 ships from England with cloth and other goods, and another issue with John Maclean. Although Knipe last appeared as president of commerce in May 1643, and he made two further visits to Stockholm in July 1644 and March 1645, he remained in Gothenburg until 1647. He finally left after repeated disagreements with Hans Spalding, another Scottish member of the council. Knipe appears to have sent his wife and daughter to the Netherlands at that point, and may have joined them soon afterwards.

KNIPE IN NORWAY: However, Knipe did not give up his trading interests and he later re-appeared as a favourite of Frederik III of Denmark-Norway. In June 1647 he wrote to the viceroy of Norway, Hannibal Sehested, pointing out his troubles and asking to bring his wife and children to Norway. Sehested agreed on the simple condition that the family obeyed the law. He then wrote, July 1648, asking if two of his stepsons (Peter and Francis Bloch) might come to Norway and be allowed to settle in Christiania without being charged for a period of time. They were given six years grace by the viceroy. In September 1648 he asked that he might be employed by the viceroy, who replied that he would have to consider it, but that his free residence could continue. In the end he did employ him. No longer merely a burgess, Knipe was appointed Norway's first customs officer general on 28 July 1649 with an official residence in Bergen. His annual salary was fixed at 5% of the royal tolls collected in Norway. He left Copenhagen in August, apparently only arriving in Bergen in December. However, in the meantime, on 26 October he had appointed Daniel Knoff as Customs Officer in Drammen as a replacement for Nils Jensson. This was confirmed by the king on 28 February 1650. Knipe had a new tollbooth erected at Strandsoden in Bergen in 1651. He was described as strict, implementing several changes in the tolls, including levying new tolls on items that had previously been free. Already by January 1650 the king forbad him from introducing further tolls. On 3 February 1650, Knipe wrote to Otto Krag complaining that a ship containing a cargo of wood captained by Christoffer Orning had not paid the appropriate tolls. Berendt Orning got involved and claimed it was his right as a free born nobleman not to pay them. When this ploy did not work he claimed the ship was Dutch. Knipe impounded both the ship and the cargo and asked permission of Frederik III to sell them. On 8 March 1650 Knipe obtained permission from the king to sell Orning's ship, De Potter, with all its cargo to two unnamed English merchants, although Knipe was encouraged to get as good a price for both ship and goods as he could manage. Orning had been given first option on the ship, but apparently refused to pay for it. The Englishmen, one of whom is named as Richard Jeffersen of "Jermund" in England, received confirmation of their purchase from the king on 7 June 1650, and he was to be unmolested at all free ports and rivers. On 29 March 1650 the King informed Knipe that he had commanded that all the customs money from Norway was being sent to Copenhagen. Knipe appears to have travelled to Copenhagen himself in May 1650, but the king did not have the time for an audience with him and so appointed Christian Thomesson Sehested, Ove Gedde, Nils Trolle and Jochum Gersdorff to see him. Hannibal Sehested was also invited to raise any issues he had concerning Knipe's service at this point. As General Customs Officer for Norway Knipe had several dealings with the Scottish communities there, and visiting Scottish and English merchants. In June he sold a ship by royal command to Englishman Richard Jefferson. On 15 July 1650 Knipe was informed by the king that the citizens of Bergen have requested that the regional governor there may borrow 5000 Rigsdaler from the customs money to pay the merchants there. Again on 3 May 1652 the citizens of Bergen were given royal permission to borrow 10,000 Rigsdaler interest free from the customs money. On 16 August 1650 two Scottish merchants who had had their cargo of cloth confiscated at Christiania (Oslo) were to be restored half of their goods, while Knipe should keep the other half. Bergen was to prove a particular thorn in Knipe's side.On 2 January 1652 the king commanded that Knipe and the Bergen Kontor should resolve their differences and enter into a treaty. However disputes still arose. On 3 February 1653 the king intervened by ordering Ove Bjelke to release Knipe's deputy who had been arrested by some Councillors in Bergen, who claimed that the deputy had confiscated their goods. On 11 September 1650 King Frederik III clarified Knipe's lifetime position as Customs Officer General, not only as an Inspector of all customs but also as Director of customs. For this service he would get 5 Rigsdaler of every 100 Rigsdaler that the Customs in Norway collected annually. Knipe had the full protection of the king. On 25 September the regional governors of Norway received individual letters to this effect. The following year, on 4 March 1651, Knipe relocated the customs office in Bergen to a new site. On 4 January 1653 Knipe received a house in Bergen, which had been handed to the king in lieu of payment by Laurits Lauritsson who was in debt. Knipe remained disliked by his colleagues, and even Hannibal Sehested, the Norwegian vice-roy, suggested that it was foolish for all of the country's tolls to be collected by one man who could so easily abscond across the sea to Scotland. 

However, Knipe's downfall came a short while later. He was disliked by the viceroy, Hannibal Sehested, and most of the Bergen burgesses and even the community at large were unhappy with Knipe. On 25 June 1654 he was suspended from his duty as Customs Officer General as the king felt that Knipe was not able to clear himself convincingly of a range of charges, and by February 1655 his share of the customs intake for the previous year was to be paid to Johan Gaarman. Thereafter the position of customs officer general was divided into two, one for the north and another for the south. The posts lay unoccupied from 1667 and was eventually scrapped.It is uncertain what caused Knipe's fall from favour but he certainly kept up his grudge against certain Norwegian merchants for the duration of his life. Knipe moved from Bergen to Copenhagen and on 2 January 1655 the king provided him with a travel pass which Knipe intended to use to go to Holland, England and Germany. He obviously returned to London as he sent Oxenstierna a letter dated London 18 January 1655. After settling back in London, Knipe began a campaign against some Bergen burgesses including Peder Bloch, who Knipe claimed owed his wife money, and Soren Sorensen whose ships he twice had siezed in London. Frederik III asked Knipe's daughter, Maria [SSNE 5369], to provide the proof of this debt, but also instructed the president and Council of Bergen part of the debt in the meantime. Maria in turn said she had asked her father for the papers, but that he did not have them. By August 1668, the Norwegians had grown so weary with the situation that they persuaded Frederik III to act against her. On 31 August 1668, Maria, now a widow after the death of her husband Schirenbeck of Bergen, was ordered to remove herself from Norway and flit to Copenhagen, and to take all her fortune with her. Anthoni Knipe was married to a woman called Maria Langer, but on 11 November 1654 King Frederik III asked Jørgen Bjelke to investigate claims that Knipe had an illegitimate child with a woman in the Agdesiden region. His other child, already mentioned above, was his daughter Maria who remained in Bergen 1655-1668



Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria

Swedish Riksarkiv, Oxenstiernska Samlingen, E636, August 1638-October 1644 and March 1645 (46). Same archive, brev till Johan Axelsson Oxenstierna 28:1 1655-1656; Swedish Riksarkiv, Axel Oxenstiernas Brefvexling, E959; Svenska Män och Kvinnor (8 vols., 1942-1955), IV, p.295; Norwegian Rigsarkiv, Danske Kanselli: Norske Kansellinnleg 1121/50, p.245, 3 February 1650; Norwegian Rigsarkiv, Danske Kanselli: Norske Kansellinnleg 1121/01, skap 14, pakke 18B, 4A08331 and pakke 344, 4A08333; Danish Rigsarkiv, TKUA England A II 16, 1649-1659. John Edwards, 21 October 1652.


E. Långström, Göteborgs Stads Borgarelängd 1621-1864, (Gothenburg, 1926), p.13; W. Berg, Samlingar till Göteborgs historia, vol. 1 (Gothenburg, 1890), p.3; H. Almquist, Göteborgs Historia (Gothenburg, 1929), pp.350-2, 371, 597. C. Rise Hansen (ed.), Aktstykker og Oplysninger til Rigsraadets og Stændermødernes Historie i Frederik III’s Tid, (2 vols., Copenhagen, 1959 & 1974), II, p.337, Risgsraad minute, May 1652; O.I. Melbye, Tollere Gjennom 300 Ar 1563-1886, (Oslo, 1977-82), p.108; Norske Rigsregistranter, (ed.), Y. Nielsen and E.A. Thomle, vol. 10 (Christiania, 1887), pp. 22, 23-26, 28, 40, 66f, 69f, 76f, 86, 93ff, 102f, 107ff, 110f, 115, 128, 130, 132, 156, 160f, 210ff, 208, 213, 223f, 229, 231, 235f, 257, 263ff, 295, 311, 316f, 319, 321, 328, 332, 336, 342, 352, 392f, 401f, 408, 431f, 435, 438, 441, 445, 453, 463, 466, 469, 483ff, 486, 495, 501, 504, 515f, 552, 566, 580f, 599, 610, 619; Norske Rigsregistranter, (ed.), E. A. Thomle, vol. 11 (Christiania, 1890), pp. 46, 48, 57, 116, 170, 216, 222, 262, 278ff, 308, 321, 381, 396, 400f; Norsk Biografisk Leksikon, vol. vii (1936), p.431; R. Fladby and G. Foslie (eds.), Norske Kongebrev (6 vols., Oslo, 1962), I, pp. 200, 284, 259, 286; Borgarståndets Riksdagsprotokoll före frihetstiden, (Uppsala, 1933), p.364; Statholderskabets Extraktprotokol af Supplicationer og Resolutioner 1642-1652 (2.vols, Cristiania, 1896-1901), II, pp.5, 75, 145 - June 1647, July and September 1648; Norske Samlinger, vol. I (Christiania, 1852), p.620. 

Service record

Departed 1647-12-31
Capacity BURGESS, purpose CIVIC
Departed 1654-06-01