Story of the bailiwick of Maasilinn (Soneburg)

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The bailiwick of Maasilinn, ruling over 1/3 of Saaremaa and half of Hiiumaa, was part of the former Ösel-Wiek bishopric. Right after king Magnus had received the bishopric, he turned his eyes towards Maasilinn. In reality, Magnus ruled the region from 1561 on, even though together with the bailiff Heinrich Lüdinghausen-Wulff, it had been officially put down so it would seem like a temporary protection. However, in 1562, after the Livonian Order had been disbanded and the existence of the bailiwick of Maasilinn became unsure. Denmark decided add the area to rest of Magnus's dominions. Negotiations were in process with the duke of Courland, Gotthard Kettler, to swap the Maasilinn bailiwick, which duke Kettler still ruled, with Piltene bishopric.

Eventually it was decided to take the matters to bailiff Lüdinghausen-Wulff, who held the actual rule in the area. He agreed to selling, but hoping to rise the price, accepted Sweden's competitive price offer. Wulff was also made an official of Denmark until the bailiwick had been sold; formally, he was also appointed to the position of lieutenant governor of all the Danish dominions in Livonia in June 1563, in reality, he ruled only in the bailiwick.

In 1563, the Nordic Seven Year's War broke out, and the trade never happened. In 1568, Wulff who had been ruined by the war, left Maasilinn, and it fell to the Swedes. Only after Magnus had left Saaremaa, in 1574, Danes conquered the former bailiwick.

Source: Andres Adamson. Hertsog Magnus 1540-1583: tema elu ja aeg. Tallinn: Argo, 2005.

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