Ranka Manor nowadays:
In the territory of Ranka Manor, there is a 10-hectare wide park with 3 ponds (Romantic, Landscape and Panoramic pond) that are decorated by our beautiful water lilies in the summer season.
A particular attention is paid to the reconstruction of buildings.
For now, several buildings within the complex of Ranka Manor have been renovated and three for them have been opened for tourism.
The barn has become a library of 4300 books and 2 pianos that can be used as a guest hall for 30 - 40 people, an exhibition hall (art gallery) where painting of Dace Saulīte, Aija Bāliņa, Sarmīte Caune, Edgars Mucenieks and Raitis Vulfs can be viewed or even purchased, and an exhibition of antique Mercedes Benz cars and other items.
In the New Castle, the Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church has been consecrated. It is rich in paintings and a Holy Mass is celebrated once a month.
Ranka Manor, located near Jaunpiebalga, is now a part of the Gulbene district, although it earlier belonged to the county of Cēsis.
There are stories that the manor got its name from the name of Talav’s chieftain Talivalz’s son Rameika, who ruled the district. Over time, the name of the manor has changed. In the oldest written sources, as well as in the first decades of the 20th century, the name “Ramka” was used, which later became the “Ranka” that is used now. It is likely that the change in the name of the place was made due to the easier pronunciation of the second form.
In the Latin text of a document written in 1582, Ranka is referred to as “Rampkenski situ”, but in even earlier documents written in 1528 and 1545 as “die Wacke Ramke”.
Over time, the spelling of the oldest form of the place name has also changed. The name “Ramkesse” is found on the Livonian map, but the designations “Ranckow”, “Rancko Hoff”, “Ramkau Hoff” are used in maps of the Swedish administration times. Around 1638, the name “Ramkau” was already used in all German documents.
The linguist J. Endzelīns later studied the names of Vidzeme, and in the 1920s the following forms were registered: “Rankas pagasts”, “Ranka”, “rancēnieši”. This means that already at the beginning of the 20th century, the second form of the name was used, where the letter “m” was replaced with “n”.
Initially, Ranka was in the territory of the Archdiocese of Riga.
Already in the 16th century, two highways could be identified in Vidzeme. One of them passed through Ranka and had at least two names: “Weg nach der Rusche Bäche, Nytau und Pebal” and “Landstraße nach Allasch durch Neuermühlsche”.
The first written information of Ranka dates back to 1528, when the Bishop of Riga, Thomas Shening, granted a family manor to his Councillor Kerstian von Rozen near the river of Gauja in the parish of Ranka.
In 1540, the Bishop of Riga, Wilhelm von Bradenburg, further granted Ranka, which was previously held and used by his master, to his Marshal Michael von Rozen and assigned him four fishing grounds in the lakes owned by Rauna and Piebalga.
The book of the granted property was published in Rauna on September 19, 1540. The text is translated as follows:
“We give to our marshal and his wife, together with the children and children of children, the whole manor of Ranka, together with old and new rights to use the court of his honor and the tenth of the groomed and ungroomed lands, the villages, the meadows and groves, and tills, cornfields, forests, swamps, lakes, rivers, ponds, fishing grounds and hunting grounds - without dividing out anything located within the borders mentioned above, with the great and small powers of the court following our new vassal rights, known as the grace book of the diocese, it is free and forever for children's children to inherit and retain the whole manor of Ranka with its accessories.”
Indrik von Tiszenhauzen has also owned certain territories within Ranka. On May 1, 1582, the King of Poland, Stefan Batory, reinstated his rights to the so-called Gauja parishes in the courts of Gulbene and Ranka for his merits in the Livonian War, as well as granted him the Virdiena manor in Piebalga.
In that time, it was stated in a document that originally an independent parish of Ranka with its own church existed. At that time, the church was on the edge of Ranka - Palsmane highway, near the river of Gauja, in front of the later built Biernu houses, where, at the beginning of the 20th century, foundations of the church were still clearly visible. During the Swedish time the Lutheran pastor was brought to the parish, but practically at that time both the pastor's house and the church were empty. This situation was due to the consequences of the Swedish-Polish war because ruins and loss of people in Vidzeme were considerably large. For this reason, the Queen of Sweden, Hedwig Eleonora, united the parish of Ranka with the parish of Piebalga, as it remained in the next hundreds of years.
The first specific information about the existence of Ranka Manor relates to the first half of the 17th century when the documents and materials of Vidzeme manors in 1638 not only confirm the economic existence of the manor but also provide some more detailed information.
In the autumn of 1638, when visiting Ranka, it was noted that it has been an independent manor from long ago. It has been owned by Dubinsky, Krusen, Delvig, and again by Dubinsky during the time of an audit. In 1638, there was a ruined and unpopulated mill, a pub and 23 farmhouses near the manor, the names and existence of which were later no more recorded.
The persons mentioned in the 1638 audit were several tenants, since Ranka Manor, that was taken away from the Rozens for joining the Poles, was granted by the Swedish King Gustav Adolf to his Admiral Karl Carlson Gildenheim.
In 1649, it was in his possession, but after the death of the admiral in 1650, for some time Ranka was descended to his heirs.
On June 20, 1670, Queen Hedwig Eleonora granted Ranka Manor to the Artillery Colonel, later the Councillor and Marshal, Jekab Stahl von Holstein. The queen pledged the manor to him for about 8,000 thalers. In 1671, he received the manor as a gift and in 1674 King Charles XI approved the grant.
In 1682 the manor was transferred to the widow of the Artillery Columnist and War Councillor Stahl von Holstein.
Subsequently, due to the reduction of manors, in 1684 Ranka Manor was converted into a domain manor and remained such until 1723.
During this time, the manor was leased to the heirs of Captain von Frank and his son-in-law Herman Georg von Trautfetter. Since the state treasury of Sweden was always in a difficulty, the pledging and leasing of such domain manors was practised.
On December 9, 1723, the Senate returned Ranka Manor back to private ownership of the son of a former owner, Major General Otto Wilhelm Stahl von Holstein, and his heirs.
In 1732 his sons sold the manor to the latest Major General Burhard Ernst von Trautfetter. However, some archive documents suggest that Trautfetter had already purchased Ranka from the Stahl von Holstein brothers in 1724 and in 1731 was already considered the owner of the manor for a long time. During this time, Ranka Manor belonged to him together with 1989 subordinate farmers.
Further on, Ranka came to his daughter Dorothea von Trautfetter and his sons-in-law by inheritance. After the death of the first husband Landlord Johan von Kridener, the widow von Kridener is mentioned as the owner in the documents of 1750. In 1742, von Kridener's mother, Major General von Trautfetter, leased Ranka Manor to Johan Radebranth for six years (until Easter of 1748).
The widow von Kridener later married Marshal Baron Leonhard Johan von Budberg.
After 1786, the property was inherited by the descendants of both marriages. The daughter from the second marriage, Margaret Dorothea von Budberg, who married the Economics Councillor and Secretary of the Chivalry, later Secret Agent Christoph Adam von Richter, received the manor of Ranka together with her stepbrothers and stepsisters (von Krideners) by inheritance.
In 1793, a dispute arose between the father of Margaret von Richter, Baron von Budberg, and Reihart, the Manager of Piebalga’s owner Count N. P. Sheremetev. Although the owner had not submitted her father a power of attorney, he accused Sheremetev’s farmers of violating the borders and cultivating the land that belonged to Ranka Manor. The court of the district of Cēsis settled the case in favour of Budberg based only on verbal evidence of voluntary witnesses. The manager of Sheremetev appealed the judgment in higher court instances, indicating that the farmers of Ranka Manor are the ones always harvesting on Sheremetev’s land, as well as that the Deglupe pub of Ranka Manor, that is built directly on the border, is causing a material damage for the pubs of Piebalga. The case got to the Senate, but it is not known how the dispute ended.
In the next generation, Ranka Manor was retained by the son of former owners, Major General George Leonhard von Richter, by inheritance, but after his death, the property was left for his widow Sofia von Richter (born von Hann).
At the beginning of the 19th century, Ranka Manor was leased. A contract signed by Christoph Adam von Richter in 1809 is still available, with which Ranka Manor was leased to Inspector A. Laiming for 3 years.
In addition, the documents of credit unions in Vidzeme show that in the second half of the 18th century Ranka Manor was burdened with debts.
In 1836, Ranka Manor was transmitted to Baron Alexander von Meyendorff, the husband of Emily Dorothea who was the daughter of George Leonhard von Richter and Sophia von Richter.
In 1858, the property was jointly inherited by their children: Maria, Sofia, Emilia, Alexandrine, Helena, Friedrich, Leonhard and Konrad von Meyendorff.
After the death of Konrad von Meyendorff in 1866, his sisters and brothers handed the property over to their brother Baron Leonhard von Meyendorff for 341,773 silver rubles.
Baron Leonhard, along with his brothers, sisters, wife Anna von Meyendorff (born von Messenkampf) and his daughters, lived in Ranka Manor until September 1882, when he was shot by a man hiding near the border of Ranka. The injury was treated, but it did not heal, and Baron Leonhard, together with his wife Anna and his children, went to Berlin to consult with specialists. At the beginning of 1883, Baron Leonhard von Meyendorff gripped an infection and died at the age of 43.
It is further known that in 1906, Leonhard's wife, Anna von Meyendorff (born von Messenkampf), officially handed Ranka Manor to Anna von Meyendorff (born von Gothouse), the wife of Leonhard’s dead brother, Konrad von Meyendorff.
Later, Ranka Manor was acquired by Edite Reheis (born Baroness Meyendorff), the only daughter of Anna von Meyendorff (born von Gothouse) and Konrad for Meyendorff. In 1920s Ranka Manor was derived from her.
In 1920, the inseparable part of the land at Ranka Manor was handed to the former owner, but not within the borders that she had wished for. Other buildings and the land of Ranka Manor were handed to local associations and the National Ranka homeschooling school. In 1921, she requested, through her authorized agent, to grant her the new manor, old manor, park and greenhouses, but the request was denied and none of it was granted to her.
The manor and the surrounding buildings were assigned to the National Ranka homeschooling school. It was founded in 1923 with the aim to promote and expand rural culture. In the school year 1924/25, the school started a fellowship to promote work of farms and houses in the rural area.
During the Second World War, a German infirmary was set up in the school.
Schooling resumed in autumn of 1944 and lasted until 1986. During this time the names of the school changed several times.
In 1986, the school experienced the first fire, which is believed to have arisen due to electricity.
The building was restored, but in 1990 the second fire broke out, this time destroying the entire building completely. There are no reports of how this happened, but there are assumptions that the building was burned down abusively.