Medieval castles in Denmark

Jungshoved Castle Ruins

The royal castle of Jungshoved was mentioned in 1231. The annexed church dates from the same period. The castle is thought to have been built as early as in the 1100s as part of King Valdemar I"s coastal defences against the Wends (Baltic Slavs). The castle is strategically located at the mouth of Skibbinge Cove. Jungshoved may also have been implicated in the monarch"s control of the herring market at Falsterbo ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Praesto, Denmark

Tårnborg Castle Ruins

Tårnborg Castle was a royal medieval castle. It consisted of a central tower of 8m x 8m, surrounded by a square outer wall. An excavation in the castle courtyard in 1894 also revealed the remains of three small houses. The castle stood from about 1231 up to the last part of the 14th century when a new castle in Korsør took over Tårnborg"s role. From written sources we know that the castle was captu ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Korsør, Denmark

Aalholm Castle

Aalholm Castle is the oldest castle on the Lolland island, first mentioned in the 1329. The castle was initially the seat of the king's vassal or lensmand, and thus the centre of local government. It is not known when the castle was founded, but for historical reasons, it was probably around 1200. During this period, a number of royal castles were built across the country to strengthen the king's power in the regions and ...
Founded: 1300-1585 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Asserbo Castle Ruins

Asserbo Castle was founded by Bishop Absalon in the 1100s as a monastery for monks of the Carthusian Order. The castle was taken over first by the King around 1560 and in subsequent centuries by drifting sand. The castle was liberated from the sand in two phases: initially by King Frederik VII in 1849 and then by National Museum excavations in 1972.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Frederiksværk, Denmark

Vaeggerløse Church

In the Middle Ages the Vaeggerløse church was dedicated to St Olaf. The chancel and nave from the late Romanesque period were built in brick on a profiled plinth with pilaster strips on the corners. The chancel's pilaster strips now only remain on its southwest corner. Originally there was also an apse which was torn down but later replaced during the restoration work in 1861 by the Hamburg architect Ernst Heinrich Glüe ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Væggerløse, Denmark

Søborg Castle Ruins

Søborg Castle, in its heyday, was the strongest castle in Denmark, and was also used as a prison. It was inhabited until the Count"s Feud in 1535, when it is speculated that it was destroyed. In 1577, the feudal tenant was granted permission to use the ruins as a quarry. Søborg Castle is first known from the 12th century, when ownership of the castle passed from the king to the bishop of Roskilde. Trad ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gilleleje, Denmark

Brarup Church

Brarup Church is an annex to Kippinge Church as it has been since before the Reformation. There is little information about ownership in the Middle Ages apart from the fact that the Crown had calling rights for the appointment of clergy. In 1585, the church owned factories and land strips on three farms. After the Reformation, the church was owned by the Crown until it was auctioned into private ownership in 1767 but by 1 ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nørre Alslev, Denmark

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Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.