Medieval churches in Denmark

Bregninge Church

Bregninge Church was originally a Romanesque church from the 1200s with monumental Gothic arches built in the late 1400s. The impressive steeple of the tower (characteristic of eastern Slesvig) is covered with oak shingles. The frescoes from c. 1510 were uncovered 1915-22 and most recently restored in 1956. Outstanding triptych dates from the early 1500s. It was created by the famous master Claus Berg. The roof dates from ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ærøskøbing, Denmark

Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady with its five distinctive towers is the most imposing landmark of Kalundborg. The church is built of red brick, indicating that it was constructed no earlier than 1170 when brick was first used in Denmark. Coincidentally, this is also the date of nearby Esbern Snare's castle, the site's first fortification. The architectural design, however, would indicate a rather later date, possibly in the first ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalundborg, Denmark

Store Heddinge Church

Store Heddinge Church was built circa 1200 at the same time when the town was established. It is dedicated to St. Catherine (Sankt Katharina).
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Store Heddinge, Denmark

Fanefjord Church

Fanefjord Church is one of the Danish island of Møn"s most famous attractions. The site itself is of considerable historic interest. A few hundred meters to the south of the church there is a particularly long barrow, Grønsalen, the supposed burial ground of Queen Fane and her husband Grøn Jæger who, according to a local folklore, lived some 4,000 years ago. The church"s original 7 m ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Askeby, Denmark

Børglum Abbey

Børglum Abbey was originally a royal farm which dated back as far as 1000, if not earlier. In 1086 King Canute IV fled from his residence at Børglum when the peasants revolted against him. The royal residence was burned to the ground but rebuilt sometime later. At some point between 1134 and 1139, the royal estate at Børglum was granted to the church to become the new seat of the bishopric of northern Jutland, also kn ...
Founded: c. 1134 | Location: Vrå, Denmark

Kirkerup Church

Kirkerup Church is one of the oldest churches in the diocese of Roskilde. It dates back to the 12th century and is well worth a visit due many beautiful Romanesque and Gothic frescos.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Eskilsø Abbey Ruins

The Augustinian monastery was built in the around the year 1100 and moved to Æbelholt in north Zealand around 1175. The small abbey was 28m long building with a nave, apse, chancel and porch.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Skibby, Denmark

Roskilde Abbey

Roskilde Abbey or Our Lady"s Abbey was a monastery of nuns dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. It was founded in the early 12th century for Benedictine nuns, but in 1177 became part of the Cistercian reform movement. It was chiefly known for the tomb of Saint Margrethe or Margaret of Ølsemagle or of Højelse (both names of places near Køge), who, although murdered by her husband, had been wrongly ...
Founded: 1176 | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Sakskøbing Church

Sakskøbing Church was built in the late 1200s and during following centuries the original church was extended with a nave and tower. The present 48m high tower was built in 1852. The altarpiece from the 1500s is a late Gothic wood carving from Lübeck. The pulpit dates from about 1620.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sakskøbing, Denmark

Nysted Church

The present building of Nysted Church dates back to c. 1300. Originally it consisted of a central nave with a three sided apse to the east. The impressive tower was built a century later. In 1643 a spire was added, and in 1935 this was covered by copper. The Raben-Levtzau family of Aalholm Castle had their own chapel built in 1782. According a rumour there is a secret underground passage from the castle to the church. It ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Keldby Church

The imposing red brick church in Keldby is one of the three Møn island churches decorated with frescos by the Elmelunde Master, probably towards the end of the 15th century. In the so-called Biblia pauperum style, they present many of the most popular stories from the Old and New Testaments. There are also a number of earlier frescoes in the church dating back to about 1275. The original nave and choir were constructed ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stege, Denmark

Vallensbæk Church

Vallensbæk church was built between 1150 and 1200. The tower was added in the 16th century. The altar was destroyed by fire in 2007. The Romanesque style baptismal font dates from the beginning of the 13th century and is the oldest item in the church.  The church in Vallensbæk Village dates back to the 1100s, built in the years 1150-1200. It is a typical village church, which originally consisted of cows and ships i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vallensbæk, Denmark

Linnerup Church

The original Romanesque Linnerup Church is changed much in recent times. Only the choir has been preserved, its outer walls were in 1880 walled with small bricks. A Romanesque window is still seen as a niche in the eastern wall. The dilapidated nave was broken down and rebuilt in 1866. The tower was built at the same time. In the choir is built a late Gothic cross vault, the nave has a boarded tagstol (roof stool) (chan ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hedensted, Denmark

Balling Church

Balling church was built of stone in Romanesque style around 1200. The tower was added in the late Middle Ages, but today only the lower part of it exists. The chapel and porch were added in 1500s. The current tower was erected in 1945. The altar table dates from 1580s and the painting from c. 1600. The pulpit was built around 1800.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Spøttrup, Denmark

Pjedsted Church

Pjedsted church"s chancel and nave where built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. During the late Gothic period the nave was extended westward, where a combined porch and tower were also built. Note the large medieval oak door to the porch with iron reinforcements.  The finely carved and painted altar dates from about 1600 is adorned with a very attractive late Gothic altarpiece from about 1500.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Fredericia, Denmark

Tørring Church

Tørring church was built in the 13th century. The characteristic octagonal dome of the church tower (beginning of 17th century) is seen above the houses of the 'older part' part of the town north of the river. Richly ornamented pulpit dates from 1625.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tørring, Denmark

Ørum Church

Ørum Church was built in the 12-13th centuries in Romanesque style. The choir and nave date from that age, the vaults are Gothic. There is no tower, the belfry in the churchyard is modern. The altarpiece was painted by Gustav Theodor Wegener in 1857. The pulpit dates also from the 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hedensted, Denmark

Dronninglund Castle

Dronninglund Castle is a former royal residence located in the northern part of the Jutland Peninsula. Its history goes back to the 12th century, when it was the Benedictine monastery of Hundslund Priory. After the last nuns left it in 1581, it was first owned by the Lindenow family. In 1690, Queen Charlotte Amalie acquired it. It is from her that the palace takes the name Dronninglund, meaning 'queens forest'. ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Dronninglund, Denmark

Hover Church

Hover Church dates from the 12th century and it has been enlarged and restored several times. The bell tower dates from1866. The church was owned over 200 years by Lerbæk manor.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vejle, Denmark

Sønder Stenderup Church

Sønder Stenderup Church was probably built between 1150-1200 in Romanesque style and tower around 1500. The altarpiece is Late Gothic and font dates from Romanesque times.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kolding, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.