The State

End of Kingma State

The last people to live at the state before it was sold and demolished were jonkheer Julius Matthijn van Beijma thoe Kingma, grietman (mayor) of Franekeradeel, with his wife, Agatha Wilhelmina van Voss, and their children.

A sketch has been found of the gardens of Kingma State, possibly dating from the period that Van Beijma lived there. Whether the sketch shows the gardens as they were at the time or a plan for redevelopment is unclear, nor do we know who drew the sketch. Lucas Pieters Roodbaard (1782-1851) was the architect of many country houses and gardens in the Northern Netherlands in that period, but it is not known whether he produced this sketch.

Julius Matthijs was the son of Coert Lambertus van Beijma, the famous patriot who fiercely criticised the stadholder's despotism, as in the conflicts with the stadholder over the appointment of grietmannen (mayors). In 1787, Coert Lambertus led a coup in Franeker and became head of a counter-government. When the Prussian army invaded the Republic to help, many patriots fled, most of whom ended up in Saint Omer in Northwest France. This is why Julius Matthijs, born on 25 September 1781 in Ternaard, spent part of his youth in Saint Omer. In 1795, the patriots returned to the Republic in the wake of the French.

Julius Matthijs initially held various positions related to government finances. From 1819 to 1820, he was Justice of the Peace in the canton of Hindelopen.

While in this position, he requested King Willem I to add the ‘byname or title thoe Kingma’ to his name and family coat of arms. Apparently, this required permission. In a document dated 2 February 1821 signed by the king, he was granted permission to add his thoe Kingma to his name and to the family coat of arms, after which he became a recognised member of the nobility.

On 29 June 1806, Julius Matthijs married Agatha Wilhelmina Sybrandsdochter van Voss, with whom he had seven children.

His unmarried uncle Eduard Marius van Beijma was grietman (mayor/judge) of Franekeradeel and lived at Kingma State in Zweins. After he died in 1825, he was succeeded by Julius Matthijs, who became the next grietman of Franekeradeel and resident of Kingma State. He also held numerous other positions, such as member of the Provincial Council of Friesland and co-founder and member of the board of the Friesch Genootschap.

Julius Matthijs was not only the owner of Kingma State, along with the 6 ha. of surrounding land - such as the garden, driveway and canal -, but he also owned many of the pastures and much of the arable land around the state. He also owned the brickworks on the canal and sixteen (of the eighteen) houses in Kingmatille. The two tollhouses were owned by the city of Franeker. The canal, or at least approximately 1.5 hectares of the area, was also in the name of Julius Matthijs, although he was probably only a usufructuary (for tax purposes). The towpath along the canal was also owned by the city of Franeker.

Julius Matthijs owned another nine houses in Franeker, and a lot of land around Zweins. He was, in short, a very wealthy man.

Julius Matthijs died on 14 September 1847 at the age of 65, by which time three of his seven children had already passed. His youngest son, Ulbo Jetze Heerma van Beijma thoe Kingma, succeeded him as grietman of Franekeradeel and lived with his mother at Kingma State.

The will of Julius Matthijs stipulated that his wife receive the full usufruct of all his possessions. On 20 April 1848 she renounced all her rights in favour of her four sons, namely Coert Lambertus living in Joure, Sijbrand Willem Hendrik Adriaan living in Leeuwarden, Frederik Hessel living in Heerenveen and Ulbo Jetze Heerma living at Kingma State near Zweins. In return, Agatha Wilhelmina van Voss would have permission to use all the furniture she deemed necessary and would receive a thousand guilders from each of her sons each year in two instalments.

On 12 May 1856, Agatha Wilhelmina rented a house in Leeuwarden, located on the north side of the Eewal, where she lived until her death on 12 September 1861 at the age of 77. Apparently, she felt her end was approaching on 6 August, when she sent a courier on horseback to her son at Kingma State, as is shown by a bill for ƒ 6. After her death, she was taken to Zweins by boat in a coffin, where she was buried on August 14.