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Sami Raninen
City of Raisio Cultural Affairs Office

Although there the area of Ihala was settled already in Iron Age, the first written evidence of the village dates from the 15th century, when Finland was a part of the Swedish kingdom. At that stage, there were at least three farms in the hamlet; of these, the names of Mulli and Knuuti are mentioned. Probably the farms were already then situated in the same place as in the earliest map (from 1725), in other words in immediate vicinity of the Iron Age settlement site of the Mulli abode. According to a tradition recorded in the 15th century, a medieval chapel was also situated on Kansakoulunmäki, a hill nearby, where nowadays lies an elementary school. Near, by the Huhkonkoski rapids, a big water-mill existed already in the Middle Ages. Ihala was one of the oldest hamlets in Raisio; several other hamlets nearby were probably "secondary settlements" founded in the outlying lands of Ihala during the 12th and 13th centuries.

In South-western Finland, most of the cultivated land in every village and hamlet was combined into wide, open fields. Fields were measured and divided into narrow strips, so that every farm had a certain number of strips scattered here and there. Similar field systems existed in many other European countries. The system, which made the taxation of the agrarian yield easier was imposed in Finland during the 14th century, at latest. Under this system, every farm of the village had to, in practice, do their sowing, ploughing and harvesting at the same time and in the same way. The prevailing cropping system was two-course rotation, in which half of the fields were cultivated and the other half lied as fallow in turns. The most important grain was probably rye. Winter-fodder for cattle was taken from the meadows, which were divided between the farms like the fields. The woodlands that gave the fuel and building timber and were used as summer pastures of cattle, were in common ownership of different kind of co-operative institutions. The hamlet of Ihala had its own area of common woodland. With certain expections, the fishing waters were in common ownership too.

In 1540 there were five farms in Ihala: Mulli, Knuuti or Nuutila, Siiri and two farms called Konsa. The cadastral evidence from the mid of the 16th century proves that Ihala was one the poorest hamlets in Raisio, a relatively wealthy parish. Lack of goods meadows and pastures kept the amount of stock limited, which naturally meant that the fields were poorly manured. Towards the end of the 16th century, as Sweden started its aggressive foreign conquers, a hard era of continuing wars, heavy taxation and famine began. An efficient, but rather oppressive administration evolved at the same time as climate was getting worse. Other of the two Konsa farms fared badly and was in 1581 - 1600 under ownership of noblemen of the local manor, Perno. Other farms remained in the hands of free farmers, as the case usually was in Finland. After the noble ownership, the both Konsas were combined into a single farm.

Hard times lasted more than hundred years and Ihala did not avoid further difficulties. For example, the Konsa farm was registered in 1632 as a "deserted farm" which meant that it had not been able to pay its taxes. The Knuuti farm was unable to pay its taxes in few years later. In 1667 the hamlet suffered from a fire that apparently destroyed the buildings of Mulli, Knuuti and Siiri farms almost completely.

In certain separate occasions, every farm of Ihala was ordered to pay its taxes to certain military officers, who were thus getting their salaries. In the late 17th century so called military croft establishment was founded in the Kingdom of Sweden. All farms of the country were combined into "rote" units, each of whose had to give a small croft as a dwelling and partial means of livelihood to a tenant, who was also a part-time professional soldier. In Raisio, there were two or three farms in each rote. In Ihala, two military crofts are known.

Sweden´s era as a great power ended in defeat and resulted into Finland´s occupation by the Russians in 1713 - 1721. Like many others, Ihala suffered from the occupation era. Apparently the Konsa farm fared worst. After the peace was made and occupation ended, Konsa had to be exempted from taxes for several years until the farm was well again. During the 18th century conditions in Finland were slowly getting better. But the development of agriculture was hindered by the medieval strip-field system that was still in use. Because of that, the so called General Parcelling of land was started. Instead of scattered and narrow strips, each farm was now given a few larger sections of cultivated land. Even the woodlands, that had been in common ownership, were now getting divided between the farms. The General Parcelling was a complicated operation, caused much quarrels and progressed slowly. In Ihala it was started 1764 and was completed in the end of the century. After the General Parcelling, there was more room for individual enterprising in agriculture. As it can be seen from a map made in 1764, the Konsa farm had been moved from the common hamlet plot to a near hill (known today as Kansakoulunmäki Hill), where the windmills of the hamlet were situated too. (On the same hill, a silver hoard from the 11th century had been found 12 years earlier.) The results of the General Parcelling are shown in a map from 1803.

In 1809 Finland was moved under Russian rule. The military tenure establishment was dissolved and the soldier crofts disappeared from the countryside. But there were going to be other, much more profound changes during the 19th century. Three-course rotation, in which only a third of the fields were fallowed at the same time, became common in Raisio. Later the amount of fallows was further decreased as hay-growing was added in the field rotation. Because of field-hay, the stock-raising was no longer dependant of natural meadows, of which there had traditionally been shortage. In the end of the 19th century machines started to replace the manual work in agriculture. Instead of self-supporting grain-cultivation the main importance was now given to stock-raising and dairy products, which were widely exported. Also the practice of non-agricultural professions was now allowed in countryside and not just in towns. Shoe-makers and tailors appeared in Ihala.

Land-owning farmers had been getting wealthier during the 19th century. At the same there had been evolved a growing class of often poor rural population with no land of their own. Among these were crofters, who lived on rented land that had often been cleared in woodlands or on old meadows. Every farm in Ihala had crofts. In 1880 there were 9 crofts in the village. The crofters often paid their rent by working on the land-owning farmer´s fields. There were also a great number of cottages in Ihala. These were smaller than crofts and their tenants were rather workers than cultivators. The conflicts between the land-owning and landless caused bloody results in the Civil War of 1918. After 1919 the crofters and cottagers could buy themselves the owners rights of their rented land against moderate price. This right was avidly used even in Ihala.

During the 19th century, the General Parcelling had been augmented with the so called New Parcelling. During the New Parcelling the old villages and hamlets often dissolved, as the farms were moved nearer to their own fields. That happened in Ihala too. The Siiri farm was moved in the end of the 19th century near a place, where a cremation cemetery was later found. Knuuti was moved to the slopes of Linnasmäki Hill in 1947. Konsa had been situated on nearby hill for a long time. The farm was deserted in the late 19th century, but its name had been preserved by the Konsa elementary school that was built on the hill in 1902 (During its building, an inhumation cemetery from the 12th century was found). Only Mulli is still situated on the traditional village plot.

During the 20th century Ihala gradually changed from a farmers village to a middle-class dwelling area. A growing segment of its population was now working in the nearby city of Turku. After the World War II the number of inhabitants has grown very rapidly. Nowadays there is no farming left in Ihala. Some blockhouses have been built on the old fields of the village.


  • Grönros 1990: 212, 213.
  • Heino 1990: 43, 44.
  • Laaksonen 1997: 102-115.
  • Mäntylä 1960: 307, 316, 317, 325, 326, 355, 319-321, 380.
  • Mäntylä 1965: 70, 137-144, 169, 247-255.
  • Oja 1960: 60, 61, 63, 81-116, 118, 119, 128, 129, 136-141, 219, 220.
  • Yliaho 1990a: 265-272.
  • Yliaho 1990b: 97-101.


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