Heritage Report

(Translated from Heritage Protection Department’s report, 1978)


Võhmuta manor is situated in Võhmuta village, which is part of Tamsalu Village Council in the district of Rakvere. In 1976 the population of Võhmuta village was 85. The manor house is located 14 km southwest of Tamsalu (along the Tamsalu–Järva-Jaani road). The village previously belonged to Järva-Jaani parish. The current proprietor of the manor complex is Tamsalu Sovkhoz (since 2005 it has been Wechmuth Manor OÜ). Some of the rooms in the main building are being used by the Sovkhoz as administrative offices, the rest have been converted into flats. The manor complex, including the manor park and the auxiliary buildings, is a valuable architectual monument, which belongs to the list of government protected objects.

History and Owners

The early history of Võhmuta is closely related to Väinjärve and Viisu manors. The three estates cover a large area – 170 or 180 ploughlands – and historically formed a unified fief. The manors did not yet exist, but the villages had already formed. Võhmuta was not established as an independent estate until relatively recently, for a long time it was part of Väinjärve manor. Late development of manors is something that characterises most of the historic Järva County. In West Estonia manors were establised as early as the 14th and the 15th century, however most manors in Järva County were establish after the Swedish invasion in the 16th century, or even in the beginning of the 17th century. This fact has also been noted by a Baltic German historian Paul von Ungern-Sternberg. Manors did not exist in Järva County during the Middle Ages – the land and the villages belonged to the Teutonic Order or bishops. For example, Järsi (Jersi) village, which later became part of Võhmuta manor, belonged to the diocese of Tallinn until 1253. The Order and the diocese also gave some of the land to their faithful servants, either in lieu of wages or to show gratitude for special services. In 1561, when Estonian territories (the city of Tallinn, Harju-Viru knighthood and Järvamaa) were conquered by Eric XIV of Sweden during the Livonian war (1558-1583), the Swedes did not find many manors in Järvamaa. The numbers decreased even more when most Järva vassals joined the Polish and their lands were also seized by the king (1567-1569). Sweden gave away some of the land in Järvamaa to cover loans received from its citizens and for military services. Even low-ranking soldiers and horsemen often received large estates.  The first reports of a more specific nature, which concern the village of Võhmuta, originate from this time period. According to the ledgers that were compiled after Estonian territories surrendered to Sweden, Võhmuta (Wemes) village with its 9 ploughlands and 1 einfüsslinge (farmers who worked for the manor 1 day a week) belonged to Karinu tax district. In 1613 the single einfüsslinge was abandoned.  On 1 March 1593 King Sigmund of Poland and Sweden, gave one of the captains of his cavalry, Hindrich Leyel (Heinrich Leiel or Leielen), several villages in the Paide fief, Järva-Jaani and Koeru parishes. Those villages later became Väinjärve and Viisu (Wieso) manors. Leyel also received the village of Võhmuta (then know as Wämes), which at the time was the size of 3 ploughlands. In 1608 King Karl IX gave the land to Elisabeth Hastfer, the widow of one of his loyal soldiers H. Ahnen, and her descendants. In the relevant documents Võhmuta is called “Wahma”. Võhmuta was then the size of 9 ploughlands. H. Ahnen’s son died at a young age and his widow remarried. Because of this, in 1626, the new King Gustav Adolf decided to give possession of the estate to lieutenant colonel Thomas Karr. In 1621 T. Karr was the leader of one of the regiments assembled for the new king. In the spring of 1627, the king granted him ownership of all the above mentioned territories, and all the privileges attached to it. Transfer of the ownership and the privileges caused H. Ahnen’s widow to protest fiercely, as she did not want to give up the land, or to leave Väinjärve manor. In October she was still at Jäinjärve, writing letters of protest to the king, which accused Karr of trying to unlawfully evict her. On 29 April 1629 the king issued a decree, which permitted H. Ahnen’s widow to stay at Väinjärve manor for the remainder of her life, and forced T. Karr to enter into a purchase agreement with her for the land. However, in July it appeared that a mistake had been made and the decree was cancelled. The right of ownership previously granted to T. Karr was acknowledged. In the meanwhile, Karr had acquired several villages around Paide. Karr became the colonel of the army’s foreign infantry regiment and befriended Bugislaus Rosen – an active official of the Swedish Royal Court. Gradually, Karr sold all of his land to Rosen. The sales contract for Väinjärve and Viisu manors was signed 1 June 1632 in Roosna-Alliku, which was Rosen’s favourite manor. At the time, Võhmuta village (Wechmuth or Wemmola) with its 9 ploughlands was part of Väinjärve manor. In the first draft of his will (later amended 3 times) B. Rosen left Väinjärve manor, which still included Võhmuta, to Andreas – his first born son, from his second marriage (born 1622/23, died 1681). Andreas was named as the owner of Väinjärve and Võhmuta in May 1657, although his father was still alive at the time. (In December 1658 B. Rosen died at a high age of 85. He was buried on 22 January 1659 in the family crypt at St Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn, where the family also owned a beautiful chapel.) In 1669 Andreas Rosen sold Võhmuta village to Brigitte Höppener (née Roode) for 3000 Swedish riksdaler. The sales contract between Rosen and Höppener was signed on 28 October 1669 in Tallinn. According to a secret clause (Discretion), Höppener also had to give 50 lots of silver jewellery etc. to Rosen’s wife.  This sales agreement was brought to Tallinn’s High Court because Rosen had failed to hand over Võhmuta village to Brigitta Höppener. Thanks to the documents that were published in relation to the case, we can conclude that it was Höppener who founded the first manor dairy farm (or Hoflage) in Võhmuta village (before the dispute, i.e. before 1682). Therefore the manor had to be formed sometime between 1669 and 1682. Despite the fact that this information is derived from authentic sources, such as High Court documents, several contradictory and somewhat confusing aspects have been noted. Some of them have been addressed by E. Schilling. For example, a sales contract concerning the nearby village of Jalgsam (later Seliküla), dated 1668 (a year before Höppener bought Võhmuta), refers to Võhmuta as a manor, and even suggests that Võhmuta manor is another name for Jalgsam manor (“Hof Wechmuth oder Jalgsam”). In 1668 Võhmuta is listed as a manor dairy farm (Hoflage) by the Reduction Committee (reduktsioonikomisjon), however, it is still considered to be part of Väinjärve manor, rather than an independent estate. In 1694 Võhmuta is referred to as a manor (Hof), but still as part of Väinjärve. The land belonging to Võhmuta manor does not appear in the reduction documents of 1686, only 9 ploughlands and 1 einfüsslinge of Võhmuta village are accounted for, which suggest the absence of an independent estate. Also, Võhmuta is still considered to be the property of B. Rosen’s heirs. The 3 villages that belonged to Võhmuta manor – Järsi (Jersi, Jerwesel), Türje (Türgel) and Jalgsam (later Seliküla), were reducted in 1696 and were not yet freed by 1712. The plague epidemic that broke out during the Great Northern War also killed a large number of people in Võhmuta – 92 died and only 40 survived. Consequently (in 1712), C. Höppener, the owner of Võhmuta, tried to re-instate serfdom over peasant Metsa Tõnu, who was freed during the Swedish rule for the price of 100 Swedish riksdaler. The latter, in addition to a letter of freedom, also had a letter of defence from the Governor, dated 1706. Therefore, Metsa Tõnu’s defence letter was endorsed (in 1714) and Höppener’s request was denied. By 1726 Võhmuta was owned by Tiesenhausen, whom Schilling believed to be Hans Heinrich von Tiesenhausen (died 1734) – the proprietor of Erglu castle (Latvia), Kose-Uuemõisa and Aruvalla. Genealogical records reveal that there were many, and several generations of, Tiesenhausens in the area during this time period. One of them owned Ergu castle until 1734, but died in Tallinn in February 1738. He also owned Uuemõisa and Aruvalla. During the Great Northen War (1700-1721), he was a prisoner in Russia (1709-1722) and was probably held in Tobolsk, where he married H. D. Burghausen from Koigi manor in 1719. Genealogical documents do not acknowledge Tisenhausen as the owner of Võhmuta, however, his son of the same name (buried in Tallinn,1747) is listed as the owner of Uuemõisa, and his other son Gustav Johann (1725-1782) as the owner of several North-Estonian manors, in addition to Võhmuta. Gustav Johann pledged the manor to Constans Höppener (died 1756) for an unknown amount. At least, Höppener was known as the pledge holder in 1732, 1733, 1739, 1744, and 1750. Consequently, subsequent proprietors of Võhmuta – Joachim Friedrich v. Rosen (Kiltsi, Paaslepa, and Kursi, died 1795) in 1765 and Jakob v Ortman in 1768 – should probably also be considered as pledge holders. By this time, Võhmuta had grown and was the size of 14.4 ploughlands (in 1757 even 15 ploughlands). In 1774 and 1782 Gustav Johann von Tiesenhausen was listed as the owner of Võhmuta. After his death (1782) the manor was inherited by his son Hans Friedrich (1751-1784). At the beginning of his rule, Võhmuta manor had 11 servants – 7 men and 4 women, 2.6% of the total population (the lowest percentage in this parish). In comparison, Roosna-Alliku had 24 servants (2.8%) and Kuie manor had the largest number of servants (18 men, 6 women).  By 1774, Võhmuta had grown even more and the size of taxable land was 18 ploughlands. In 1775 the manor offered cereals for sale – the price of barley was 40 roubles per säilitis (an old measure, roughly 2 tonnes) and the price of oats was 30 roubles per säilitis. Perhaps this indicates an economic upturn. Hans Friedrich von Tiesenhausen died only a couple of years after his father had passed away, in 1784, and the manor was apparently inherited by his mother Eva Wilh. von Nieroth, who died in 1800. She is mentioned as the owner in 1787 and in 1795. However, the manor would most likely have been pledeged or leased for at least a few years even during her ownership. Records from 1786 refer to someone called Gustaw Howen, who was probably a lease holder or a pledge holder. The same applies to Gustav Reinhold von Nieroth (of Kuie manor), mentioned to reside at Võhmuta manor in 1801, 1805, 1810, and 1815. The records concerning Nieroth are most likely the birth documents of his children. Genealogical records show that four of his children were born at Võhmuta (one was born at Kuie, in 1806). Therefore, some have conclude that Võhmuta was probably Nieroth’s permanent residence and he was in charge of running the manor. However, there is also some evidence to suggests that in 1802 the manor belonged to Baron Gustav Johannes von Tiesenhausen’s two sons – Karl (Carl) and Hans. Karl’s ownership is supported by official documents, which were supplied to the Credit Union (krediitkassa) in 1803. These documents reveal that Võhmuta and Aavere had a combined debt of 30,500 silver roubles. In 1804 Võhmuta’s previous debts were accounted for. It was revealed that considerable debts had already been accumulated when Gustav Johan and his wife Eva Nieroth were still at Võhmuta, because in June 1772 1,200 silver roubles were paid to Estonia’s Book Publishers Fund (Ehstn. Bücher-Verlags Cassa) and 800 silver roubles to the Fund of Pastors’ Widows (Landprediger Witten Cassa). Hans Ludwig von Tihenhausen legally inherited Võhmuta in August 1804, in accordance with the Distribution Act, dated 30 March 1804. The combined value of Võhmuta and Aavere was estimated to be 100,000 silver roubles. His brother Carl Gustav inherited Kose-Uuemõisa, Aruvalla and a couple of smaller estates, with a combined value of 160,300 silver roubles. Võhmuta’s new owner Hans Ludwig von Tiesenhausen was born in 1780 in Kose-Uuemõisa. In the summer of 1805 he married Marie Katharina von Benckendorf. The wedding took place at Liivi (Parmel) manor. Most likely, their primary residence was Võhmuta, which was not left untouched by the revolutionary events of 1805. The first revolt took place in Karinu, which at the time belonged to Rosens. Tõnu had heard rumours at Jalgsama tavern, about a book of law, which prohibits lords from forcing their subjects to work at night time. Fearing that they did not have enough men, Karinu’s workers sought help from neighbouring Võhmuta. One of the workers from Võhmuta had agreed to help, but when Tõnu and the messenger Kure Jüri Jaan reached the village, they were met with hesitation. Tõnu and Kure Jüri Jaan left in search of reinforcements when Võhmuta manor officials appeared. During the Karinu-Orina uprising in 1805-1807, labourers from Võhmuta did not participate to any great extent. The owner of Võhmuta briefly spent time with his brother in Kose-Uuemõisa, where revolts were also taking place. Once, when the owner of Võhmuta entered one of his brother’s outbuildings, he noticed that a worker, Toomas Kõll, had not taken his hat off, so he knocked it off his head with a walking stick. Hans Ludwig von Tiesenhausen is listed as the owner of Võhmuta in 1806, 1807, 1811, and 1818. In 1815 he separated Seliküla village from Karinu and joined it with Võhmuta. It remained as part of Võhmuta until 1849, when it was finally established as an independent knight manor. By 1816 Võhmuta had grown to 23.6 ploughlands and had 277 male serfs.  In June 1818 Hans Ludwig on Tiesenhausen pledged Võhmuta to Georg Hermann von Bumgarten for the period of 10 years, in return for 290,000 roubles (bank notes, 38,000 was the value of the inventory). The very next day Baumgarten pledged the underappreciated “Luisky” meadow, part of Võhmuta manor, to lieutenant colonel Karl Wilh. v. Rosen in return for 2,000 roubles. In 1821 the pledge agreement concerning Võhmuta manor (in accordance with the senate’s directive of 24 June 1820) was changed into a sales contract. The Baumgarten family were originally from the Elsass-Rhein area. Joachim Baumgarten was a soldier in Sweden who served Count Jakob De la Gardie and helped him rule Kolga manor. In addition to Võhmuta, the family owned Porkuni, Hõrde, Männiku, Roosna, Rooküla, Pähu, Kohatu, and Vohnja manors. Georg Hermann von Baumgarten was born in 1782, at Rooküla manor – which was probably inherited from his mother’s side of the family. However, the money paid to Tisenhausen was probably part of an inheritance from his father, who died in 1814. There are few records of the Baumgarten family’s life at Võhmuta, so it appears they did not live there permanently (if at all). Before buying Võhmuta, the family lived mostly at Vohnja manor. There is no evidence to suggest that they actively used Võhmuta after they purchased it in 1820. Documents from 1835, in which Baumgarten promises to fulfill his obligation to the state regarding the production of spirits at Roosna, Võhmuta, and Vohnja manors, suggest that his main residence at the time was Roosna manor. In 1840 Võhmuta was inherited by G. H. v. Baumgarten’s (died in 1839) heirs and this concluded the family’s short rule over Võhmuta. The same year (1840) Baumgarten’s widow Anette pledged Võhmuta and Seliküla to major general Alexander von Essen for the period of 3 year, in return for 100,000 silver roubles. The following year, the pledge agreement was replaced with a sales contract, in which the price remained the same. The new owner came from Kiikla manor and is named in 1844, 1847, 1850, 1852, 1853, 1857, and 1858. During his ownership Metsamõisa (Landstelle Karlsbrunn) was separated from Võhmuta (in 1847). In 1849 Seliküla was also separated and it became an independent knight manor. As a result Võhmuta shrunk to 12 ploughlands and 224 male serfs. The new owner was Essen, whose forefathers were originally from Westfaal. He was born at Kalvi manor in 1899 and owned Kiikla manor in (current day) Kohtla-Järve district. While in military service, he was the Russian kaiser’s wing adjutant and from 1830 onward captain of the Ismailov regiment. In 1836 he married a Russian woman (Sofia Kaptševitš), who died in 1842, in Tallinn. Genealogical records do not reveal where their 4 children were born, but it is believed that none of them lived in Võhmuta at the time. He remarried in 1844 to Julie von Dellingshausen from Hulja. In November that same year their daughter Julie was born at Võhmuta. All their children – 15 in total (born between 1844 and 1859) – were born at Võhmuta. It can be deduced that Võhmuta was the family’s permanent residence, which in turn means that habitable buildings in good repair were a necessity. Pledges involving Võhmuta manor had become a tradition. The original pledge agreement from 1861 reveals that in 1859 the manor was bought by Carl Otto von Schilling. Schilling was unable to pay in full and owed A. Essen’s heirs a large amount of money – for that reason Võhmuta was pledged again in 1861. The new pledge holder was Peter Zoege von Manteuffel, who paid 80,000 silver roubles. He was allowed to take possession on 24 February, but was ordered to keep some of Essen’s furniture, a few horses, and a few selected servants. The debt to the Credit Union, at least the aforementioned 32,000 silver roubles, remained. In historical literature there are many references to a sales agreement between Essen’s heirs and Peter Zoege von Manteuffel, which was allegedly signed in 1860. If the sales contract existed, then why was it necessary to draw up a pledge agreement for the estate in 1861? The original pledge agreement is kept at the Heritage Protection Department’s History Museum. The amount paid also varies according to different sources. It has been noted that the purchase price was 95,000 silver roubles.  Peter Zoege von Manteuffel was from Uue-Harmi manor (Kose parish) and went to Cathedral School in Tallinn. After that he studied law at Tartu University and in 1871 he became a magistrate in Ida-Järvamaa. In 1865 he married Vevey Ludmilla Zoege von Manteuffel. They lived at Võhmuta manor where their first son, Peter Arthur, was born a year after the wedding. All their other children were also born at Võhmuta. Peter Arthur Manteuffel studied zoology, geography and ethnography – in Tartu, Leipzig, and Munich. He earned his degree in geography and ethnography in 1892, travelled a lot, worked as an accountant (Eestima Aadlike Krediitkassa, Eestimaa Tuletornide Direktsioon), and finally became a writer (who allegedly wrote some of the first Estonian peasant novels). He worked as a freelance writer, first in Stuttgart (1923-1929) and then in Tallinna-Nõmme (1929-1939). He returned to Stuttgart after 1939, but also lived in Gotenhafen and Biberach (where he died in 1947). In 1865 Võhmuta manor had 238 male serfs. In 1897 Peter Zoege von Manteuffel gave Võhmuta to his second son Ernst Georg Zoege von Manteuffel, who was born there in 1867. He studied law and economics in Tartu, but lived at Võhmuta until 1918. Throughout the late 19th century and the early 20th century Võhmuta manor remained roughly the same size, comprising of 17.27 ploughlands in 1893 and 16.22 ploughlands in 1919. In 1919 the total area of the manor was 1,390 hectares, in addition to that Võhmuta had 800 hectares of farmland. Roosna-Alliku was the largest (58.62 ploughlands), then came Karinu (18.19) and Võhmuta.

Manor Complex

Võhmuta manor is located just east of the road that connects Järva-Jaani and Tamsalu. Võhmuta is not very large compared to some of the other manor complexes, consisting of only 8 different types of buildings, that are all situated in a relatively small area. A couple of small outbuildings located on the premises could also be considered as part of the complex. One of them was a round pavilion next to a pond, the other one a quadrangular pavilion that stood on a small island in one of the numerous other ponds on the estate. The existence of these pavilions is proven by documents from 1888 detailing the layout of the complex. However, this does not increase the nomenclature of the buildings by any considerable amount. Today, there are no noticeable traces of them. The farmers’ communal granary was built near the manor and a few hundred yards to the east, near the edge of the forest, was the owners’ final resting place – a cemetery with a chapel, surrounded by a stone wall. These also lie in ruins.

Võhmuta manor complex contains 4 significant buildings – the main building, the entrance gate (gatehouse), the stables-carriage house, and the granary. The stables and the granary surround the main lawn on two sides, creating a courtyard. The complex is “ruled” by the classical style gatehouse. When approaching the manor via the avenue, the rest of the complex remains hidden by the gatehouse and the trees. The main building can be spotted just before reaching the gatehouse. The carriage-house and the garnary (currently a shop) – one to the left, the other to the right of the main building – can be seen after passing the gates. The other buildings – the servants quarters (today in ruins), the stables, the barns, and the distillery – are either tucked away in the park, or located behind the park. The steward’s house, which stood in the park behind the main building, has not survived.

As previously mentioned, Võhmuta’s entrance gates were designed as a separate building – the gatehouse (photo 2). It is a small building. The front and rear facades of the gatehouse have an identical symmetrical design. The arched central part protrudes as an avant-corps and there is a small room with an arched ceiling at each end. Both rooms were heated either by the furnace or the fireplace, which shared the same chimney. In the centre of the 16.4-meter-wide façade of the building, there is a straight passageway decorated with simple double-pillars. In the past, the opening was closed by gates, which were probably forged from metal. The windows are surrounded with half destroyed plaster framework and crowned with triangular profiled masonry. The whole building was surrounded with a profiled spillway, which was brought to life by a decorated frieze, however most of it has been destroyed. The attica had a similar finish to the frieze and is now also severely damaged. Originally, it could have included an inscription, either a dedication or a blessing – as was often the case (for example Sagadi manor’s gatehouse). Evidence to support that assumption appear both in scientific literature and in fiction – Võhmuta’s entrance gate is often referred to as a “glory gate”, built to celebrate victory in the Patriotic War of 1812. The irrefutable fact is that the glorious victory raised people’s self-awareness and several monuments were built by the noblemen at the time, for example, a large column raised in a field near Mõdriku manor (among several others). However, it is somewhat doubtful that gatehouses were built for the same purpose.

The first gatehouses in the Baltics were built during the Baroque period. The well-preserved gatehouse and bell-tower at Sagadi manor was built in 1794, however, two engraved memorial stones, dated 1765, imply the original gatehouse might been been built somewhat earlier. One of the previous owners has also referred to a gatehouse that was definitely built before 1782 (in his book detailing the history of Sagadi manor). In 1794 the original gatehouse was renovated and a bell was added (constructed by Reuter, Malmberg, and Huldmann). All the inscriptions-blessings relate to the owners of the manor. Glory gates are usually temporary constructions, raised for the purpose of welcoming honourable guests. (For example, one was constructed in Tallinn’s town hall square in honour of the Tsar’s visit, documents available in City Archives).

It is impossible to establish whether Võhmuta gatehouse was built as a war memorial, until much more convincing evidence is found. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find such information in the course of this research. New evidence might be uncovered during field studies, which are scheduled to take place in the near future. Additionally, further geneaological research could clarify Baron Hans Ludwig von Tiesenhausen’s (or one of his family member’s) involvement in the Patriotic War of 1812 – he is believed to have been the owner of the manor at the time the gatehouse was built. The classical style of the building suggests that it was built in the first quarter of the 19th century. If it was indeed a “glory gate”, then it must have been constructed sometime after 1812, and probably before 1818 – in that year Võhmuta manor was once again pledged and it is unlikely that the pledge holders would have erected any new buildings.

The small gatehouse, constructed entirely in classical style, is in disrepair and badly maintained. The new roof (asbestos) fitted by the Kolkhoz does not fit the overall style of the building, and is probably somewhat lower than the original, causing a distortion in its architectural shape.

Võhmuta manor’s main building is a mostly one-storey, partly two-storey structure, with side wings extending from the rear corners. It is constructed in neoclassical style. The exterior of the building is rather plain and lacking in decoration, apart from a simple spillway, which stretches all the way to the side facade and the loft area. A portico supported by four round pillars and surrounded with a wooden border is positioned in the middle of the front facade. The wooden border is not present in a photograph dating from the beginning of the century (photo 1), therefore it must have been added fairly recently. Small round windows can be seen in the portico, the loft, the side gable, and the gables of the left wing. Some of the original frames have also been preserved and could be used to help restore the other windows.

The interior of the building is also mostly in classical style. However, the layout of the rooms is unusual for that time period, which could be a result of more recent renovations.

The parlour, one of the few rooms that has retained its original appearance, is located at one end of the building. Parquet flooring made from different coloured slats, and decorated with a central rosette, is complemented by decorative ceiling plasterwork with colourful embossed ornaments. White glazed-tile stoves are also original fixtures. All these elements suggest that the building was decorated in the middle of the last century, when Võhmuta belonged to the Essen family. They bought it in 1841 and lived there between 1842 and 1859.

The building also contains some elements that are indicative of an earlier era. Like a door, documented in the late 1950s, that originates from the baroque period of the 18th century. A couple of small rooms with arched ceilings, located behind the vestibule, are also characteristic of an earlier time period. Võhmuta manor’s main building is probably a result of many renovations and redesigns, including several extensions and upgrades. The style and layout of the original building can only be determined though extensive research and reconstruction of events.

It should be possible to link some of the early woodwork to two local joiners, who were listed in the parish records in 1811. 

Currently, no significant data is available on the interior decorations of the main building during the above-mentioned time periods. There is also a lack of photographic materials from the beginning of this century. The few existing examples originate from the manor’s picture gallery. During Peter Zoege von Manteuffel’s time at the manor (1861-1897), some of his relatives were portrayed in paintings. A portrait of Heinrich Otto Zoege von Manteuffel (1741-1812) has also been housed at Võhmuta. Heinrich Otto Zoege von Manteuffel was the tenant of Voore manor in 1803, but moved to Tallinn in 1810 when he became the pledge holder of a house on Pärnu road (1156, later 1305), where he lived until he died in 1812. There were also portraits of Otto Reinhold Zoege von Manteuffel and his son’s wife (married in Berlin, 1776). The young widow moved back to Kiel, where she was from, when her husband suddenly died in 1778. There is no information regarding the current location, size, or authors of these portraits (update 2018: the portrait of Heinrich Otto Zoege von Manteuffel, painted by Darbés in 1783, hangs in a ZvM decendent’s apartment in Stuttgart, Germany).

The carriage house-stables (photo 9) to the left of the main building (north) and the granary (photo 8) opposite of that, on the other side of the courtyard (south), are the most important auxiliary buildings of the complex. In the layout plans from 1888 the granary is marked as a spirit (vodka) cellar and pantry. Like the gatehouse, those two buildings have maintained their classical style. The two buildings look very similar – the long facade wall is articulated by large rounded archways and the avant-corpse in the centre is decorated with 6 rounded pilasters. One of the pilasters of the carriage-house has been destroyed. The area below the eaves is decorated with a wide saw tooth cut cornice. The avant-corps is crowned with a triangular portico, which contains a small circular window. The latter is the only source of light in the attic space. Both limestone building were most likely erected in the same time period, probably by Hans Ludwig von Tiesenhausen (1804-1818). Both buildings are an integral part of the classical style manor complex.

The aisled barns, characteristic of this area, are also part of Võhmuta manor complex. They were built using a mixture of limestone and field stones and have no special characteristics (photo 12). New asbestos roof tiles, and damage caused to the doors and windows during break-ins, have somewhat destroyed the traditional appearance of the barns. The same applies to the former bull stables (photo 11), which are located close to the distillery, as that’s where most of the bull feed (spoilage) originated from.

The distillery has been in ruins for many year (photo 10). It is located at the rear of the complex, on the edge of the park next to a pond. This relatively large building was two storeys high. The distillery must have existed as early as the 18th century – at that time it was probably much smaller and could have been built from wood. One of the distilleries here was built in 1877. It was considerably smaller, a one-story building, but built from stone. Its existence and appearance is known from the renovation projects, dated 1888 (see photo 13). The author of these projects was mechanic Kotovin. During the last part of the previous century he worked on several projects, updating the facilities of other distilleries, in order to meet the increased demand for spirits. The new Võhmuta distillery supposedly included the following facilities:

  1. malt preparation room
  2. spirit room
  3. water reservoir for malt
  4. machinery room (through two floors)
  5. potato washing room
  6. hall
  7. potato storage room
  8. workers’ living quarters
  9. tool store
  10. boilerhouse

Proof that the work had been carried out can still be seen in the ruins. The hall and the tool store were located at the front of the building, in a separate wing. Also in a separate wing, protruding slightly from the rest of the building, was the boilerhouse (see photos 13-15).

One of the pledge agreements (dated 1861) reveals that the spirits produced at Võhmuta were mostly sold in Tallinn and sometimes at Kunda harbour. Most of the vodka was sold to Mayer department store in Tallinn – 784 buckets in January 1871, 710 buckets in February, 989 buckets in March, 852 buckets in April and 831 buckets in June. 

After the land reforms Võhmuta distillery became the spirits factory of Võhmuta Municipality.

The estate included an intricate system of ponds, complete with several islands of different shape and size. The islands were connected via numerous bridges. There is no information available regarding the architecture of the bridges, or the park pavilions (also part of the estate).


Võhmuta is a relatively new manor, which was not fully established until the end of the 17th century. There is no evidence to suggest that the estate has ever seen any significant periods of finanacial flourish. It has often been pledged or leased. As a result of this the complex is not as impressive as some of the other manor houses in Estonia. This is a modest neoclassical syle estate, which has gone through several renovations and upgrades. The classical style is also evident in the architecture of the gatehouse, the carriage-house and the granary. The buildings grouped around the courtyard form a classical style manor complex with a traditional layout. In recent years, all the buildings belonging to the complex have been neglected and fallen into disrepair. The same applies to the manor park.