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Jöns Bengtsson (Oxenstierna) (1417 – December 15, 1467) was a Swedish archbishop of Uppsala (1448–1467) and regent of Sweden, under the Kalmar Union, in 1457, shared with Erik Axelsson (Tott), and alone 1465–1466.



He was a member of the illustrious Oxenstierna family, various representatives of which had already become prominent in the public life of Sweden. At the time of his appointment to the archbishopric (1448) Bengtsson was archpriest of the chapter of Uppsala. He asked the Council of Basel for a confirmation of his election, and he had himself consecrated (30 June, 1448) by his suffragans, the day after they had crowned Charles VIII as King. On 1 July, Bengtsson crowned the queen. The confirmation of his appointment by Pope Nicholas V did not reach him until the ensuing year.

In 1457, as Archbishop of Uppsala, he received from the pope the title of Primate of Sweden; the Archbishops of Lund, however, were permitted to retain their title of Primate of the Church of Sweden.

As Charles, to escape from money troubles, increased taxes and confiscated church property, dissatisfaction spread among clergy and people, and Bengtsson placed himself at the head of the opposition (1457). Entering his cathedral, he laid aside his pontifical insignia, took up helmet, breastplate, and sword, and announced his intention not to resume his pontifical robes until Charles should be banished from the country. The King was forced to yield and fled to Germany. Thereupon Christian I of Denmark was formally recognized King of Sweden, and crowned at Stockholm by Bengtsson.

General discontent soon followed, especially when Christian, on becoming heir to his uncle, Duke Adolph of Holstein, found himself in great financial straits. To meet his obligations, he levied enormous taxes, even in Sweden, without exempting ecclesiastics, religious foundations, or the moneys collected by papal mandate to defray the expenses of a crusade against the Turks. During a temporary absence of Christian I in Finland, the archbishop held the regency of Sweden; seeing the people in revolt against him and the heavy imposts, he took up their cause and suspended the collection of taxes. The king showed his displeasure by arresting the archbishop and sending him to Denmark. A revolution broke out afresh in Sweden: Charles VIII was recalled to the throne, and Christian I, to recover the country, became reconciled with his prisoner. Bengtsson went at once to Sweden, where he roused the people against Charles, whom he excommunicated. The archbishop succeeded finally in bringing about Charles' abdication, and the recognition of Christian I once more as King of Sweden. In reality, however, the archbishop held the effective reins of power and administered affairs as though he were the actual sovereign. He was unable to sustain this rôle. Discontented factions combined against him and, in 1466, elected Erik Axelsson Tott as regent, whereupon Bengtsson was compelled to retire. Dissensions continued, and the king of the Swedish party, Charles VIII, once more took the place of the king who represented the union of the three countries. The archbishop found an asylum with his friend Magnus Gren, on the island of Öland. Here he died at Borgholm on 15 December, 1467, "poor and exiled, regretted by no one, hated by many, and feared by all".


The key to the political activity of Bengtsson is to be found in the ambition that was a part of his character — ambition for his family and his country. There was a strong antagonism between the great Oxenstjerna family, to which the archbishop belonged, and the Bonde family, of which the king, supported by the national party, was member. Moreover, the archbishop was aware that the nobility and the leading men of Sweden, before the Union of Kalmar, had in general failed to respect the clergy and the property of the Church. In a union of Sweden with Denmark and Norway, he foresaw a limitation of the power of the Swedish nobles; in his character of archbishop, it was clear to him that such curtailment would be a safeguard to the temporalities of the Church.


This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

External links

Jöns Bengtsson Oxenstierna
Born: 1414 Died: December 15 1467
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Karl Knutsson
as King of Sweden
Co-regent of Sweden
with Erik Axelsson Tott
Succeeded by
Christian I
as King of Sweden
Preceded by
Kettil Karlsson (Vasa)
Regent of Sweden
Succeeded by
Erik Axelsson Tott
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Nils Ragvaldsson
Archbishop of Uppsala
Succeeded by
Tord Pedersson (Bonde)


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