The era of the first Kingmas

So what was Friesland like when the first Kingmas lived there?

In those times, Friesland was torn apart by quarrelling and strife, in the absence of any form of overarching authority to restore order. The chieftains, along with their armed servants, constantly waged wars among themselves, often calling to arms their entire entourage, i.e. all those who depended on the chieftains, such as tenants and servants. The stone houses (stinsen) inhabited by the nobles would often be set on fire, women were kidnapped and held hostage, and fights to the death were not uncommon. In the late 15th century, this ultimately escalated into an all-out war between two parties: the Schieringers and the Vetkopers. In that civil war, the Syaerda chieftains played an important role on the Schieringer side. After 1498, when the Schieringers enlisted the help of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman emperor through Duke Albert III of Saxony, these chaotic, virtually anarchic times came to and end. Although the arrival of Duke Albert III officially brought the legendary Frisian Freedom to and end, he would also establish an orderly administration, allowing peace to return.

Ancestor Jelle (born around 1450) and his son Pieter (born around 1480) will have experienced these events first hand. Perhaps the Kingmas were called upon to fight alongside the Syaerda family, and their farm may also have been among those that were burnt down.

Son Pieter was born on the sate and lived there until his death in 1555. Taking over from his father, Jelle Pieters also becomes a farmer.

One of these descendants of the very first Jelle Kingum acquired ownership of the sate.

By the time we reach the year 1600, the inhabitants of the sate have improved their social position to the extent that their sate transforms into a state. After that, the state passes to a Pieter Jelles, the great-grandson of ancestor Jelle.

By that time, the family name has changed from Kingum to Kingma, possibly becoming Kinguma in the process. In Old Frisian, the suffix ‘a’ meant ‘descendent of’.

Over the course of the centuries, the Kingmas continue to climb the social ladder of Frisian society. Among the descendants of ancestor Jelle we find various prominent family members, such as Saeckle Intes van Kingma († 1652), a representative of the Frisian Court of Auditors, his son Ignatius († 1700), who was a Brigadier and Colonel of the Cavalry of the United Republic of the Netherlands and the final member of the Kingma family to reside at Kingma State, and Saeckle’s brother Jan Intes († 1652), who was a delegate to the States of Friesland.

Many Kingmas from this period are buried in the Regina Church in Zweins. The family tree outlines the location of their graves in the church.

Inte (or Ynte) is a very common name in the family, and Ignatius is the Latinised form of this name.

In 1611, Saeckle van Kingma acquired the state from his uncle Hendrick. For a more extensive history of the Kingma State, please see the section on The State.

Historical research has told us more about Saeckle’s life and, in particular, that of his son Ignatius, with the archive - which survived the demolition of the state - playing a role of major importance. This archive, contained in boxes that span almost 20 metres, is located in the Tresoar, the archive of the province of Friesland in Leeuwarden. It is an indispensable source of historical documents from the period when Saeckle van Kingma resided at the state.

Saeckle van Kingma was a delegate in the Court of Auditors in Friesland, which was established on 28 July 1582 and was based in Leeuwarden, the capital. Each provincial ‘quarter’ (Oostergo, Westergo, Zevenwolden, and the Eleven Cities) had one seat in the Court. Apparently, Saeckle was a comptroller who represented the Westergo area, of which Franeker was the capital. Members of the Court of Auditors had a two-year term of office. We don't know how many terms Saeckle served. The Court of Auditors was set up, among other things, to gain administrative control over provincial tax revenues.