With her background in the upper echelons of society, the ambitious Cecilie Christina Schøller had only one main aim in life: to climb higher up the social ladder. The characterisations of her lust for power have not always been well-intended, but today we are still able to enjoy one of the fruits of her work in Trondheim: Stiftsgården, the largest wooden manor in the Nordic countries and the town's Royal Residence.
Cecilie Christina's maiden name was Frölich and she grew up in Nøtterø outside Tønsberg. Her father, Johan Frederik Frölich, was appointed the commanding general for Nordenfjelds [the northern half of Norway] in 1740, and set up his residence in Trondheim with his family. Cecilia here married into the old Patrician family Schøller through her marriage to Sti Tønsberg Schøller (1700-69), stiftsamtmann [county governor], chamberlain and conferensråd [civil service counsellor] in Trondheim.
The Schøller family was one of the dominant Trondheim families in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it owned a vast amount of land properties. The county governor also managed a substantial fortune from his first wife, Elisabeth Angell, sister of Thomas Angell, and he was probably the richest man in Trondheim when he died in 1769. As his widow, Cecilie had the funds that enabled her to build Stiftsgården in 1774-76. Comprehensive building activities were common among the town’s wealthy folk during this period, and malicious wits claimed that Stiftamtmandinne [Mrs county governor] Schøller here competed to be the best – and won.
In her older days she preferred the life among the Copenhagen socialites, and was titled geheimerådinne – the highest rank any woman from Trondheim is said to have had. She died in Copenhagen on 19 April 1786. The Royal Residence then was left to her sole heir, her daughter's son Sti Tønsberg Schøller von Krogh, who in turn let the state take over the building in 1800.
Recommended reading: Jørgen A. Holst: Omkring hendes naade geheimeraadinden [On her Grace, the female counsellor]. In: Trondhjemske samlinger, 1947.