during the Middle Ages
The first time Vadstena is mentioned in a text is in 1268. It is the state
demesne of Vadstena they write about. It was given away 1346 to the new
convent, that Saint Birgitta wanted to create.
Vadstena abbey got many visitors, lots of pilgrims and noblemen. This
made the town grow fast on grounds that belonged to the convent.
In 1400 Vadstena got town privilegies from Queen Margareta. Now you could
more seriously start with commerce, crafts and pilgrim service. It was
the abbess, the leader of the abbey, that had asked Queen Margareta for
the town privileges.
The abbey owned the ground and the bourgeoisies could rent their building
sites from the abbey. The abbey kept the ground along Storgatan and let
market halls there. The bourgeois made good money. Shortly after Vadstena
became a town the bourgeois built the town hall. Even the town hall had
market halls on the bottom floor.
In 1545 they started to build Vadstena castle. Dayworkers, soldiers and
constructing people meant market and shopping for the city. There were
plenty of craftsmen among the bourgeois, seven goldsmiths, gunsmiths and
logsmiths who made butts for guns, tile makers etc.
During the Nordic seven years wars the Danish burnt and robbed Vadstena
The middle aged street plan is still much the same as it was then. At
least from the Red Tower down to the castle. Quite a few stonehouses from
the Middle Ages still remain, mostly along Storgatan.