The toponym ‘Aucis’ or ‘Auce’ was already known in the pre-Livonian period. When in the Livonian Order State, Jaunauce was called Mazauce for approximately 150 years. In 1518 the Livonian Order master Plettenberg lent the region to Johan Koskull. From 1575 till 1671 Jaunauce belonged to the dukes of the Kettler family. Duke Wilhelm established a congregation in 1612 and built a stone church. Duke Jacob renewed the Jaunauce (German: Neu-Autz) name; his substantial economic activity was useful to Jaunauce as well, providing a glass furnace and potassium brewery.
In 1804 Jaunauce Manor was acquired by count Karl von Medem, (1762-1827, one of the members of the Medem family of the Courland duchy noblemen, the son of Reichsgraf Johann Friedrich von Medem. Karl Medem owned Remte, Viesāti, Kapeļi and many other smaller manors; he was the Courland Knighthood deputy – cavalier of all the highest orders of the Russian Empire. Karl’s sister Dorothea von Medem was the wife of Peter, the last duke of Courland.
With Jaunauce Manor being acquired by the Medem family, a period of upsurge began in the manor. Extensive construction work of household buildings took place. On 12 June, 1815 count Karl von Medem, with his wife, gave 1333 roubles to build a new manor house to their daughter Karoline, who was married to the owner of Biksti Manor, Ferdinand von der Ropp.
In the years 1801-1805 Baron Ferdinand von der Ropp travelled around Western Europe together with his brother Theodor, participated in an expedition to the peak of Mont Blanc, attended artist workshops and ordered eight marble busts in Rome from the then young sculptor Thorvaldsen, that were positioned in the luxurious dome hall at the newly-built Jaunauce Manor.
After the death of duke Medem, according to the will the manor was inherited by the daughter Karoline and her husband Ferdinand. After the death of Ferdinand in 1844, the widow of Ferdinand, Karoline, took care of the manor and later left it to the son Theodor von der Ropp (1823-1915). In 1864 he required the church tavern to be torn down, where later the school building was constructed with the finances of the baron and the parish. The building was opened on 14 November, 1865.
In 1903 architect Max Alex von der Ropp carried out the restoration of the manor’s interior. The last owner of the manor was Theodor’s son Karl von der Ropp (born in 1864), from whom the manor was expropriated in 1920. At that moment the manor had 2761 ha of land. Karl von Ropp was given the old farm “Āži”.
Karl’s son Joachim von der Ropp was an officer of the tsar’s army who participated in the Latvian War of Independence and thus acquired 59.34 thirds of a hectare of land he lent to Fricis Slūtiņš. He himself lived in Jelgava. When leaving for Germany, he did not give up his citizenship and his properties. In 1930 he established and was in charge of the Baron Ropp Family Association in Germany till 1978.
Jaunauce Manor owners
|Friedrich and Wilhelm Kettler (dukes)||1587-1642|
|Bernhard Heinrich von Hauff||1671-1681|
|Christoph Ernst von Nolde||1681-1713|
|Friedrich Kasimir von Korff||1713-1736|
|Johan Ernst von Baer (barons)||1736-1765|
|Carl Ferdinand von Orgies – Rutenberg||1765-1804|
|Karl Johannduke Medem||1804-1827|
|Ferdinand von der Ropp||1827-1844 (inherits the manor)|
|Karoline von der Ropp||1844-1852 (F. von der Ropp’swidow)|
|Theodor von der Ropp||1852-1915|
|Karlvon der Ropp||1915-1920|
1922–1926:Ministry of Agriculture lends the Jaunauce manor centre with the palace to the Latvian Youth Union. The goal is to create a sanatorium for 20 poor youths. In 1926 the lending contract agreement is annulled due to bad housekeeping. The buildings were assigned to Jaunauce Parish, the land was divided into new farms.
1926–1930:The palace houses a pharmacy, a doctor and an obstetrician.
1930–2009:Since the existing Jaunauce School building has become too small, it is moved to the palace. There is no construction work carried out to make the building fit the requirements of a school. When the number of students increases after World War II, walls of two rooms are broken down to create more space. Characteristics of the Soviet times gradually appear in the cosmetic renovation of the interior. Since no reconstruction work was carried out in the palace, the interior of the manor period has been well-preserved till the modern day. In the 90s of the last century, the team of the school became aware of the building and the park as an object of cultural heritage, its uniqueness. The students, parents and local community learn to respect the history of the palace and the interior. The concept of the restoration work and room furnishing changes and the old interior is emphasised more. Jaunauce School joins the Association of Latvian Castles, Palaces and Manors and becomes a tourism object during the summer. Research and restoration works begin: the tile roof is renewed, restoration of the dome hall begins. Also, there construction project of the park is developed and commenced. Since 2002 the palace houses the Jaunauce Lutheran congregation.
In 2009 Saldus district municipality closes the school. The joined Jaunauce and Ruba parish government covers the maintenance tasks of the palace. Owing to the “We for Jaunauce” society activities, cultural and life-long education events take place in the palace and restoration work of the palace still continues. The society raises funds via projects. The palace is an object of culture tourism.
Jaunauce Manor structure is an architectural monument of19th century state importance. 12 buildings and a park have been preserved till modern times.
The most beautiful building of the Manor structure is the manor house or the palace. Architecture style: Empire style, the late period of classicism. The architect is unknown.
An article of the Journal of the Institute of Latvian History, “Classicism Architecture of Latvian Manors”, (1995, No. 1) the corresponding member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Dr.arch. Jānis Zilgalvis, characterises the architecture of Jaunauce Manor Palace:
“…The ancient shapes have also been rendered quite atypically when building Jaunauce Manor. The expressiveness of Jaunauce Manor has been acquired by means other than the usual. The composition of other classical palaces and manors is rather simple, the longer façade is a background to the portico and a place for positioning decorative elements; however, Jaunauce is a game of the construction volume. One following the rules of classicism, of course. The longer façades are loosened with three avant-corps, whereas the final façades are loosened with mezzanines. This rather complex composition of a classic palace is permeated by a kind of tension. The architect has thought less about the eternal beauty revelation of the ancient forms, but has focussed more on flowing and painterly characteristics of the construction. It must be pointed out that the work has been carried out with a brave, even daring hand. It can be recognised not only in the order of the building complex, but also in the details of the façade with the arcuate semi-circled windows and the central avant-corps niche on the side of the forecourt.”
Rundāle palace museum director Imants Lancmanis comments on Jaunauce Manor:
* The only late classicism interior complex so well preserved in Latvia.
*The only authentic classic dome painting in Latvia.
* The largest furnace collection of the 1st part of the 19th century in Latvia(7 furnaces).
* The original parquetry has been preserved under the floor colouration of most rooms.