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Laurentius Christophri Hornaeus (1645-1719) aka Lars Christophri Hornæus, was a minister and witch hunter in Torsåker and Ytterlännäs, Sweden. (b. 1645, Härnösand, Sweden - d. May 17, 1719, Ytterlännäs, Sweden)
He was born as Lars Christoffersson in Härnösand in 1645. During the 17th century in Sweden, the latinized form of peoples names were common and their birthplace was sometimes added as a family name. Hornaeus most likely is the latinized version of Härnösand.
Lars started his theological studies in the 1660s and in 1667 he and his brother Petrus were both studying together at the University of Uppsala. Lars was ordained in 1672 and was then employed as an assistant or curate, to the "assistant minister" Olaus Erici Rufinius (1637-1672) in Ytterlännäs. Ytterlännäs is the "pastorat" for the city of Torsåker. He was also responsible for the annex parish in the city of Dal. Olaus Rufinius died in 1672, and Lars was appointed as the new "assistant minister" of Ytterlännäs.
Torsåker witch trialsEdit
In 1675 Laurentius Christophri Hornaeus engaged in the Torsåker witch trials which became the largest witch hunt in Sweden's history.
It was a traditional that when a minister died, the clergyman who replaced him would marry his widow, or his daughter, depending on their age. This was termed "preserve the minister’s widow" (konservera prästänkan). Olaus Rufinius was already a widower when he died, and he had an unmarried daughter named Brita Olofsdotter Rufinia (1651-1730). Lars married Brita, and the wedding took place in the parsonage in Sunnanåker, in Ytterlännäs parish. Lars and Brita had a child:
- Lars Larsson Hornaeus (1682-1751) a minister, who would marry Elisabeth Wattrangia (1682-1743). Lars and Elizabeth would have a son: Jöns Hornaeus (1715-1778), a minister who documented the witch trials of his grandfather. Jöns would later marry Catharina Pihlwall (1727-1771).
Death and burialEdit
Laurentius died on May 17, 1719 in Nordanåker, Ytterlännäs parish. He was buried under the old church in Ytterlännäs where a hatch in the floor between the altar and the door to the sacristy leads to his still preserved grave.
Lars Larsson HornaeusEdit
Lars took over his father's pastorate in 1719 and led the congregation until his death in 1751.