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Norra Manor

History of Norra Manor

Norra Manor (Kaltenborn in German, directly translated as Cold Spring) is located in Järva County, Järva Municipality. From 2023, the manor belongs to the .Contriber group.

The first mention of the manor dates back to 1569, when Swedish King Johan III gifted it as a present to Gerdt Bravel. Although a blind knight operated within the manor with the rights of a landowner, it still technically belonged to the Order.


In the 17th century, Heinrich von Knorring became the manor's owner through marriage, and his descendants held the manor until 1908. The Knorring family, from whom the manor's Estonian name is derived, commissioned the construction of an impressive complex, including the manor's main building. The main building, whose construction master was Johan Gabriel Kranhals (who later was also the construction manager of the main building of the University of Tartu), was completed in 1792.

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We have plenty of interesting articles about Norra Manor, the construction process, its mysterious history, as well as archeological research that our team has done. In addition we are researching different historycal sites and trying to look far far back in time with tools and people. All this is published on our Patreon (now in Estonian). 

How did the manor get its name?

Johann Knorre (1525-1586) came from Courland and was the first representative of this family in the Estonian territories, being the forefather of all Estonian, Livonian, and Saaremaa knighthoods, as well as of many Knorrings living in present-day Sweden and Finland.

Johann, in recognition of his services, received from the Danish King Friedrich II the estate of Pädaste, along with the privilege to use the name Knorring instead of the shorter form Knorre, essentially signifying ennoblement.

In 1931, the magazine "Eesti Keel" stated, "During the Danish government, King Friedrich II gifted Pedaste Manor in 1566 to someone from the Knorring family, also known as Knorr. The manor remained with this family for more than 200 years. During the time of the Knorrs' ownership, the surrounding inhabitants began calling the manor Knorr, then Norr, eventually referring to it as Norra Manor, gradually distancing it from the Pedaste name."

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Legend of Polish Prisoners at Norra Manor

Gotthard Johann von Knorring (1744–1825), the 10th owner of Norra Manor, is credited with the construction of the main building and the canal and pond system in the late 18th century.


However, local folklore accompanies him, describing him as a brute who, in the development of the manor, allegedly exploited the lives of Polish prisoners, subjecting them to torture and starvation.

In conducting a thorough research on the history of Norra Manor, no information was found anywhere to suggest that Polish prisoners were ever involved in activities at Norra Manor. They are not buried in Koeru cemetery, and the Catholic church in Tallinn has no records about them. In the Koeru church register, there are only two men with slightly Polish-sounding names - Dragunov, who fathered children to two local girls in 1794, and the other was a tailor named Chudnakovsky, who got married.

The Polish-language internet only casually mentions Mr. Knorring. If he had been as brutal towards the Poles as the folklore describes, there would undoubtedly be much more information available about him.

The Future of Norra Manor

In the coming years, renovations are planned for the main building and outbuildings of Norra Manor. The goal is to complete the renovation of the main building by 2025. Subsequently, the house will host a self-development-focused school, providing therapy and organizing training sessions.

.Contriber is creating a center where people can delve into their personal development and find balance both mentally and physically. The picturesque nature and historical heritage of Norra Manor provide an excellent opportunity for this.

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Norra Springs

Next to the manor house is a spring pond from which originates a powerful system of trenches. The Knorring family expanded the spring pond beside the manor house and created channels and islets in the manor park. Measurements conducted in the 1930s revealed that the spring is highly productive, allowing a flow of 360 liters per second.

Previously, there was also a hiking trail leading through the springs and trenches, but currently, it is closed as it has not been maintained.


Contriber Research Center OÜ

Business address: Raekoja plats 16, 51007 Tartu

Location Address: Norra mõis, Norra, 73016 Järva 

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