Medieval churches in Denmark

Lejrskov Church

Lejrskov Church was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. The porch and tower were added around 1525-1550. The church got its current appearance in 1764 restoration. The font, altarpiece and pulpit date from the 1500s. 
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kolding, Denmark

Bjernede Church

Bjernede Church is one of only eight round churches in Denmark and the only one of its kind on the island of Zealand. The present church was built in circa 1170 by Sune Ebbesen from the influential Hvide family who belonged to the circle around King Valdemar II. His father, Ebbe Skjalmsen, the uncle of Bishop Absalon, had previously built a wooden church at the site. The tower of Sune Ebbesen"s round church contains ...
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Sorø, Denmark

Rise Church

Rise Church was built in the late 12th century in Romanesque style. It has been enlarged twice, latter in 1697. The triptych was made between 1300-1450 and Renaissance pulpit in 1624.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ærøskøbing, Denmark

Kettinge Church

Kettinge Church was built between 1200 and 1250 and enlarged strongly in the early 1300s. Vaults were also added then and decorated by so-called Elmelunde Master or his students. The font is the oldest item in the church. Also one bell (1401) and crucifix date from the Catholic Age. The altar and pulpit were carved in 1612.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Kettinge, Denmark

Radsted Church

The oldest part of Radsted Church was built around 1200 in Late Romanesque style. the chancel was demolished in the early 1300s and rebuilt in Gothic style. The tower was originally erected in c. 1400 and restored in 1621. Radsted Church was enlarged in the 1600s and restored 1868-1870. The Renaissance altar and pulpit date from 1610. The font is made in Gotland and dates from the 1300s.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sakskobing, Denmark

Utterslev Church

Utterslev Church was built in the 13th century. It has a half-circled apse, tower and vestry decorated with beautiful blinds. The pulpit and altarpiece date from the seventeenth century. The centre of the altarpiece houses a painting by the renowned Danish church artist Dorph in the 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Avnede Church

Avnede Church was originally a wooden structure, probably one of the first to be built on Lolland in the early 11th century. It was located near a spring known in pre-Christian times and later Christianized as St Lawrence"s spring. It was well known for the powerful effects of its waters. The church itself was also originally dedicated to St Lawrence. Today"s stone building dates from the end of the 14th century ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Hunseby Church

Hunseby Church was built in the mid-1100s with a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic tower. The church was originally dedicated to St. Andrew as can be seen from the inscription on the oldest bell from 1465. From Romanesque inscriptions in the stonework supporting an old portal, it appears the church must have existed in the middle of the 12th century. Little is known of its early ownership apart from the fact that t ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Adsbøl Church

Adsbøl Church dates from the 13th century and consists of Romanesque choir and nave with Gothic features. It was damaged during the war or 1658-1659 with Sweden, but was restored. In the late 18th century it was remodelled again. In the cemetery is a memorial of World War I victims.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Toreby Church

Toreby Church was built around 1200 and it is an unusually large red-brick Romanesque building, the nave and chancel having been extended in the Gothic period with a sacristy and lateral aisle. The tower was constructed in late Gothic times, shortly after the church was built. The sacristy to the north of the chancel was built at the beginning of the 14th century. The aisles were added in the Gothic period, first the one ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Toreby, Denmark

Halk Church

Halk church is a whitewashed church with a lead covered roof, which consists of a Romanesque choir and nave. Later, an expansion towards the west was added, as well as a sacristy, weaponhouse, chapel and an east facing tower, which is rarely seen. The alter tablet is a beautiful combination of parts from a late-gothic alter tablet, which has been inserted into a late-renaissance frame from around 1640. The church has ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Haderslev, Denmark

Skibet Church

The Romanesque style Skibet church was built between 1125 and 1150 and belonged to Haraldskær Manor until 1936. The Romanesque nave and chancel are survived. There is a granite Romanesque font and some very beautiful frescos from the eleventh century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vejle, Denmark

Ullerup Church

Ullerup church was built around 1200 in Romanesque style and has mainly survived. The tower was added in 1902. The Baroque style altarpiece was made 1707 by Anthon Günther Fres from Elsass (Alsace). The Renaissance style pulpit is made of oak in 1578. The baptismal font, made of Gotland limestone, dates from c. 1400.  
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Sønderborg, Denmark

Vinding Church

The nave and choir of Vinding church were built around 1150 and the tower was erected later. The altarpiece and pulpit dates from the late 18th century.
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Vejle, Denmark

St. Paul's Church

The Church of St. Paul (Sankt Povls Kirke) was built around 1200. Anyway the first mention of the church date from 1335. It was enlarged in 1871 and the porch was restored in 1881. The medieval stone font was made in Gotland. There are also some fine frescoes.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Neksø, Denmark

Branderslev Church

Branderslev Church was built in Romanesque style of red (now white washed) bricks around the year 1200. The present wooden bell tower was built in 1744. Altarpiece is of early baroque style from around 1650. On the western side of the nave, there is a special corner from the old days, where pregnant un-married young girls were put on parade.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Herredskirke Church

The Herredskirke church was built between 1200-1250. Above the rood arch hangs a rare and characteristic woodcut representing God the Father on the throne holding the crucified Saviour between his knees.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Tvilum Abbey Church

Tvilum Priory, the latest of the Augustinian monasteries in Denmark, was founded between 1246 and 1249 by Bishop Gunner of Ribe, who had hoped to establish the Augustinians in the cathedral chapter at Ribe, but in vain. After he resigned his bishopric in 1246, he donated all his worldly goods to the monastery at Tvilum, while he himself became aFranciscan friar. The Bishop of Aarhus at about the same time gifted the incom ...
Founded: 1246-1249 | Location: Fårvang, Denmark

Horslunde Church

Horslunde Church was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St. Hans. Through the years it has undergone several large alterations. The altarpiece and the pulpit date from 1594. Former Danish prime minister, Christian Ditlev Frederik Reventlow is buried at the site.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Horslunde, Denmark

Krønge Church

The small Krønge Church was made of red bricks around the year 1100. It was formerly the property of Søholt Castle. The church consists of choir, nave and porch, but the church has no tower. The altar was made in 1643 and Renaissance pulpit in early 1600s. The church contains an epitaph dated 1706, which is written in German.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Maribo, 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.