The wild count
Gammel Estrup’s position as the centre of one of Denmark’s largest estate complexes was brought to an end by Count Jørgen Scheel (1768-1825). He lived an extravagant life – ’la dolce vita’ – both in Denmark and on his travels through Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Together with his wife, Christiane Mette Bille-Brahe, he managed to consume the Scheels’ huge fortune, and one of the most remarkable financial scandals in Danish history then ensued. In 1815, Count Jørgen Scheel was declared bankrupt and only Gammel Estrup’s status as an entailed estate saved the manor for the family.
Following bankruptcy, the Scheel family lived out a quiet existence at Gammel Estrup until 1926. By this time, the manor had been in the same family’s ownership for 600 years. The family name changed from Brock to Scheel, it is true, but during this time the estate was never sold, only inherited. In 1926, however, the family’s time as the owners of Gammel Estrup came to an end.