Medieval churches in Denmark

Glenstrup Abbey Church

Glenstrup Abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded about 1125 as a Benedictine monastery. The nobleman Svend Bo and his wife Inger Thott gave property and several farms to support it in the mid-12th century. It was built on the site of a holy spring called Maria"s Spring in medieval times. The location was a religious one in Viking times and the abbey was most likely constructed on the site of a stave chapel ...
Founded: 1125 | Location: Fårup, Denmark

Gurreby Church

Gurreby Church was built in c. 1200 in Romanesque style. It has no tower, only ridge turret added later in the Middle Ages. The original altarpiece from 1518 is today in National Museum, Copenhagen. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Herritslev Church

Herritslev church was built around 1220 under the rule of Valdemar II of Denmark. The tower and vaults were added 150-200 years later in Gothic style. The pulpit, made in Dutch Renaissance style, dates from 1610. There are some frescoes in the vaults from the 13th century. In the cemetery on churchyard is a notable medieval stone wall.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Hillested Church

Hillested Church dates from the c. 1200. It is a Romanesque village church, built of large stones with clearly extensions. The altar dates from 1588 with a later reredos. Pulpit dates from the Renaissance period.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Købelev Church

Købelev Church was built around 1300 and restored in 1883 and 1970. The chancel gable wall is a beautiful architectural work. The churchs organ is one of the few Gudme company Organs, which are still existing. The altarpiece is a work by the famous church painter Eckersburg from 1841. The interior of the church contains a pew with the name of a smallholder Otto Kulds, engraved upon it. This is dated 1646.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Landet Church

Landet Church was built in the 12th century. It is the one of few Lolland churches made of Granite. The tower, porch and sacristy were aded later. The impressive tower was also used as a lighthouse. The altar dates from 1582 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Lille Løjtofte Church

The small Lille Løjtofte Church was built around 1250 and restored in 1799. The church has a valuable and characteristic font, probably made in Gotland. The altarpiece dates from the time of the Danish king Christian IV (1588-1648).The church has no tower; the bell hangs in the gable.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Majbølle Church

Majbølle Church was constructed around 1270. The tower and large chapel which were added around 1470. There has been a holy well in Majbølle churchyard (no longer existing), which considerably attracted more pilgrimages. The holy well was dedicated to Saint Anne (the Virgin Mary"s mother). The church was originally called St. Anne"s church. An object of interest is the stock of the church tower fro ...
Founded: c. 1270 | Location: Guldborg, Denmark

Musse Church

There may has been a church on the site of current Musse church since 11th century and it is one of the oldest Christian sites on the Lolland island. The current church was built around 1200 and since Reformation it has been a chapel of Døllefjelde church. The altar dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1625.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Nebbelunde Church

Nebbelunde Church was built around 1200 and it consists of a Romanesque main body, with a Gothic vestry and small tower. The building material were large medieval bricks known as 'monk stones'. The altar was painted in c. 1625. There are pictoresque medieval mural paintings in vaults, made probably by so-called Brarup workshop.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rodby, Denmark

Nordlunde Church

Nordlunde Church was built in c. 1300 of red bricks. The chancel gable is embellished with brick ornaments. The church bell was set up on the west gable due church has no tower. The altarpiece dates from 1864 and was painted by N.A. Lutzen.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Hover Church

Completed in the first half of the twelfth century, Hover Church is one of the oldest churches in Denmark. In 1771, the church"s west gable was damaged by a storm. A heavy buttress now supports one wall. The porch was built in the 1500s in late Gothic style on the south side of the church, where the men"s entrance once was. The women"s entrance was on the north side of the church. The frescoes are dated to ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spjald, Denmark

Ringsebølle Church

Ringsebølle Church is a small church built in c. 1220. According a legend it was built by Irish monks. The Gothic choir and porch were added later. The church was originally placed on an island, whereby the church´s yard is octagonal shaped. Over the door there is a stone with a motif of a rider who was hunting a pagan and a bear on the run. The altar and pulpit date from 1870.
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Rødby, Denmark

Skørringe Church

The whitewashed Skørringe Church was built of so-called monk stones around 1200. The tower was not added until in 1700s. The church has a beautifully kept churchyard. Inside there is a plaster relief of a famous work by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvalsen.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Slemminge Church

Slemminge Church was built in the 12th century. The unusually big tower was built in the late Middle Ages in Gothic style. The spire was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1901. The frescoes in choir vaults were made between 1475-1500. The altarpiece dates from c. 1585 and pulpit from 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Søllested Church

Søllested Church was built of granite originally in c. 1100. It has no tower. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s and the altar was painted by Peter Raadsig in 1855. In the churchyard is a rare small bell campanile from the late Middle Ages.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Våbensted Church

Våbensted Church was built in the 13th century and the tower was erected in 1674. The southern chapel is from the Baroque period. The altarpiece dates from about 1620 and is painted by August Jerndorff.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Aastrup Church

Aastrup Church dates from c. 1200. Built in the Late Romanesque style, it has frescos from the 13th and 15th centuries. The church was dedicated to St Anne although this was probably not its original patron as Anne was not generally known in Denmark until the late Middle Ages. The Crown, which enjoyed clerical appointment rights since before the Reformation, sold the church in 1767 to the parish priest, C. H. Biering. In ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Stubbekobing, Denmark

Vindeby Church

The nave and choir of Vindeby Church were built in c. 1300 and it was dedicated to St. Andreas. The tower was erected around 1505. Gothic vaults were decorated with mural paintings around 1400 and they were restored in the 20th century. the altar was made in Netherlands around 1550 and pulpit dates from 1602.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Falkerslev Church

Falkerslev Church was built around the year 1300. The altar dates from 1766 and the altarpiece was painted by Aug. Thomsen in 1845.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Horbelev, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kirkjubøargarður

Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.

The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.

Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.

The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.

Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.