Over 800 years of history
The earliest written source that refers to Vihula – Vyoll as it was then known – is dated 1501 and places ownership in the hands of a Danish baron named Hans von Lode. The Danish von Lodes were the oldest noble family in Estonia.
In the Estonian Knighthood Archive survives a 16th century document signed by the Bishop of Reval, as Tallinn was then known, confirming that the family’s ancestor, the Danish knight Odvard von Lode, accompanied King Canute VI of Denmark on his crusade against the pagan Estonians in 1197 and in return for his services to the Danish crown was granted large areas of land in northern Estonia. Most probably Odvard von Lode has received the area around Vihula and established a manor already at the end of the 12th century and the history of Vihula Manor goes back more than 300 years prior to the first written source from 1501.
In 1531 the Weckebrod family became the owners of Vihula. In 1605 Ewert Weckebrod left Vihula to his daughter Brita who had married to Melchior von Helffreich. The Helffreich family, which descended from Württemberg in Germany, owned the manor for more than two centuries.
During the Great Nordic War (1700-1721) in September 1703 the manor and its surroundings were devastated and burnt. There is no information when it was rebuilt after the war. The oldest preserved building in the manor is the so-called Tagamõis (Back Manor). It was built in the second half of the 18th century. At that time this was the only stone building. All the other buildings were made of wood.
There is a list of buildings compiled by the surveyor S. Dobermann in 1800. According to this list there were the manor house, granary, sauna, smithy and three wooden threshing-barns. In addition there were two pavilions, horse stable, distillery, ox-stable and a watermill made of stone.
At the beginning of the 19th century the economic situation of the owners was very difficult. They fell into debts and as a result the manor was sold on an auction in 1809. On the 23rd of February 1810 Alexander von Schubert became the owner of Vihula. The Schubert family descended from Elbing in West-Prussia. The father of Alexander von Schubert was a pastor and later a chancellor in the court of Russian Tsar Paul I.
Vihula was built up as it appears nowadays during the time of the von Schuberts. The historicist main building was completed in the 1880s, but mostly the buildings were built 1820-1840.
Vihula Manor had an original plan for its grounds and the surrounding nature has played an important part in the development of the charming manor complex.
The main sources of income during the time of the von Schuberts were distilling spirits and selling timber.
During the revolutionary times, in November 1917, the Red Guards devastated the manor. The furniture in the mansion was broken, the mill was burnt and greenhouses ruined.
After WWI Vihula Manor was nationalized and was a state-owned estate between the two world wars. The von Schubert family remained at the estate until 1939, when the family left Estonia. From 1941-1944 an Intelligence School for the German Abwehr counterintelligence was located at the manor. After WWII it became a part of the Ubja State Farm. From 1951 to 1982 there was a senior citizen asylum in the manor building. In 1982 there was a devastating fire. After that the buildings were given to Viru Collective Farm.
Since 01.07.1991 the manor is owned and managed by a joint-stock company Vihula Mõis (Vihula Manor).
Today the total size of all the buildings is over 8.000 sq.m. The park surrounding the central buildings has a large area that resembles the natural conditions beyond it. At the entrance there are beautiful stone columns with the coats of arms of the von Schubert family. The size of the surrounding land is 47,97 ha.
The manor complex is 2008-2012 undergoing a complete and total restoration. The aim of the restoration is to preserve the historical heritage and protect the nature as much as possible and at the same time to give a modern functionality to the buildings and the area.