In Estonian


Count Manteuffels are descended from the Zoege von Manteuffel family branch in Livonia. Councilor Gotthard Johann was a councilor of Estonia and signed documents on behalf of the governor in his absence. A very wealthy man, he founded the Kursi estate and traveled to Vienna, where he was granted the title of Count in 1759. This Gotthard Johann’s grandson was Peter.

Ravila Manor belonged to the Uexküll family from the late 16th century until the Great Northern War. In 1768, Count Karl Manteuffel, a lieutenant colonel who served in the Dutch military, acquired Ravila Manor along with Palvere Manor from the Detloff family. He married Helene von Uexküll, the heiress of Ravila, in 1762.

Peter Manteuffel was born in 1768 in Tallinn and lived in Ravila Manor in the Kose Parish. His childhood was spent in Ravila, and the main manor house was built in the 1770s. His mother died in 1772, and his father died in 1779.

After the death of his parents, Peter was cared for by his grandfather, and private tutors provided his education. Traveling was part of the Enlightenment-era noble upbringing, and Count Otto Wilhelm Masing accompanied him on his travels. Enlightened Baltic Germans promoted education and popular enlightenment regardless of their religious views or positions on serfdom.

O.W. Masing graduated from the Faculty of Theology at the University of Halle. Alongside theology, he studied music and drawing, and he had a talent for languages. He earned money through translation while studying. He was fluent in German, Estonian, Greek, Italian, French, Russian, and Latin.

O.W. Masing was born in Lohusuu, Northern Tartumaa, in the household of the sexton Kristian Masick. His father was an Estonian married to a noble German woman named Anna Ludovica von Hildebrandt.

Peter also attended lectures at the University of Leipzig and was enrolled there in 1787.


Energetic dances and games, playful.

Contradictory personality, not concerned with aristocratic customs and prejudices. The spirit of Enlightenment drew him closer to nature and the common people.

Kind-hearted, wise, generous, helpful.

Harsh, temperamental.

The count’s “morning reflections” in the white gazebo, with a pipe and a cup of coffee.

He had a folksy way of speaking.

Landowner and magistrate

Served as the magistrate of Juuru until the end of the 18th century.

Large landowner with multiple manors and subsidiary estates.

Likely organized the establishment of the park at Ravila Manor.

Peter as a Family Man

In a common-law marriage with Johanna Dressler from Thuringia (Dressler), also known as Zweig, born in 1776 and died before 1816. They had three daughters: Karoline, Henriette, and Amalie.

In the evenings, he dedicated his time to his children, took them for walks, had horses harnessed, and went on outings with his daughters.

Watched over his daughters closely.

In 1816, he married Baroness Helene Louise Elisabeth Uexküll-Gyldenband (1788-1849), who was 20 years younger than Peter. They had two children: a son named Karl and a daughter named Elise.

Karl (1820-1849) died young, while Elise Wilhelmine (1818-1902) married Paul von Kotzebue, and the manor passed into the Kotzebue family’s possession.

The Count’s Attitude towards Peasants

In 1791, he demanded through court the return of children of a runaway peasant.

Manorial work lasted from sunrise to sunset, and threshing was done at night.

In 1805, Ravila serfs also fought against nighttime threshing. During the “battle” on October 2nd, two men from Ravila died, and one was injured. As punishment, six Ravila serfs received 15-20 strokes with a whip in Tallinn, and two of them were sent to Siberia.

However, at Saksimõisa, he restored the rights of free peasants.

In Ravila, peasants were beaten on Saturdays, and there were punishments for those who arrived late. There were reports that the count himself participated in beatings.

The lease agreements were not overly burdensome.

Engaged in conversations with field workers on the estate.

In autumn, they held collective work parties, where a bull was slaughtered and beer was made.

He was familiar with the Estonian vocabulary, including profanity.

The count had a violinist play in the field during harvest.

The Count’s Attitude towards the Church

Patron of Kose Church.

Commissioned an organ for the church.

Supporter of the Herrnhut Movement.

The Herrnhut Movement is a Protestant revivalist movement. Its contribution to the Lutheran Church has been the introduction of joyful yet deeply emotional piety. The peak of Herrnhut activity in Estonia was during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Herrnhuters arrived here in the 1730s. “The Brotherhoods offered opportunities for self-realization to the peasantry. The Herrnhut term for awakening is synonymous with the Estonian and Latvian national movements. The practice of keeping diaries and correspondence associated with the Brotherhoods provided the motivation for Estonians to acquire writing skills.

The count was buried in Kose Cemetery.

The Count as an Inventor

Builder of flying machines.

Attempted flight from the manor’s roof.

Construction of a sail carriage (sail sledge), and more.

Count as a laborer

Planed, polished, mowed, worked in the fields.

Gardening beds.

Dug and watered.

The so-called “in-between-the-posts” area that the count cultivated.


Count as a writer

Estonian verses in his twenties.

A song from 1798.

The manuscript of “Hans, the servant of Orina Manor, and Lepa Triinu: A Tale from the Tavern” has survived (published in 1959). It is likely that his poetry includes “Boasting about Vodka”, “An Ancient Story about a Sinner.”

The observations he made throughout his long life about the lives and needs of peasants led him to the idea of providing them with entertaining and educational narrative literature. The collection of stories “Aiavite peergo valgussel” (1838, 1839, 1939) is one of the era’s most notable and artistically valuable prose works, depicting the village community in a realistic and detailed manner (manor theft, drinking, love, etc.).

The poems in the work (wedding song, spinning song, collective work song) spread throughout Estonia and have been transcribed as folk songs.

His other significant work is the temperance-themed narrative “Villem Navi’s Life Days” (1839, 1922), which is based on the popular book “Branntweinpest” (1837) by Swiss writer J. H. D. Zschokke. “Villem Navi’s Life Days” has been published in Finnish (1856, 1887) and Russian (1964) as well. A. Annist republished all known works of P. Mannteuffel in “Teosed” (1967).

“Aiawite peergo walgussel” 1838.

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Materials have been used: Ly Renter