Medieval churches in Sweden

Revinge Church

Revinge Church was built around the year 1200 and enlarged in the 1400s with a tower and porch. There are some mural paintings survived from the Middle Ages. The pulpit was made around 1600. It was painted as brown in 1870, but restored to the original appearance in 1950.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Södra Sandby, Sweden

Barsebäck Church

The nave of Barsebäck Church was built in the 1100s and the tower in 1300s. The church was enlarged in the 15th century. The baptismal font and iron parts of the door date from the original church. The pulpit was probably made in 1637.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Barsebäck, Sweden

Gumlösa Church

According the first written record Gumlösa Church was inaugurated by archbishop Absalon of Lund in 1191. It is the oldest church in the Nordic countries built of brick. The vaulting and the tower were built already to the original church, which has been very unusual. The top of the tower was added in the 14th century. Due the documents there were even 96 relics in Gumlösa church in the Middle Ages. The font, ma ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Vinslöv, Sweden

Stångby Church

Stångby Church dates from the 12th century and consists of a half-round apsis, nave, choirs and tower. It was rebuilt in the 19th century by C. G. Brunius and the porch was demolished. The tower was erected in 1869-1870 and the middle nave was then enlarged.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stångby, Sweden

Stora Råby Church

The first stave church in Stora Råby lied probably on the same site as the current one, stone church from the 13th century. The porch and was added in the 1400s and the tower was reconstructed in 1770s. Windows were extended in 1773 and in 1843 C. G. Brunius restored the church. The baptismal font, made of sandstone, dates from the 13th century. The pulpit was made in 1909.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lund, Sweden

Degeberga Church

Degeberga Church was built in the end of 12th century and it consisted of nave, choir and apse. The tower and vaults were added in the early 1400s. The tower is survived, but the other exterior dates mainly from the restoration made in the 1860s. The unique detail in the church is a pulpit, which was donated to Degeberga already in 1592.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Degeberga, Sweden

Röstånga Church

Röstånga stone church was built around 1200. The small tower was added in 1813 and the church was enlarged in 1832. The medieval porch was replaced with a new one in 1715. Inside the church the sandstone font dates from the Middle ages.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Röstånga, Sweden

Yttergran Church

Yttergran granite church dates from the late 1100s and it is the smallest one in the diocese. The church had originally no tower, although one was added relatively early in the 13th century. The interior decoration dates mainly from about 1480, when famous medieval master Albertus Pictor painted murals. The paintings are in a good condition and are well worth seeing.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bålsta, Sweden

Kläckeberga Church

Kläckeberga Church was built in the early 13th century, but was subsequently burned by the Danes in 1611. Today, the interior of the church consists mostly of furnishings and objects from the 18th century and later. The church originally had three floors: a cellar, main floor (the present church hall) and a larger hall above that. In addition, there was once a shooting attic above that hall. So Kläckeberga Chur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Tidersrum Church

Tidersrum old church is one of the Sweden"s oldest and oddest wooden churches. It was built originally around the year 1260 of timber with very sharp dimensions and seamlessly. The red colored timberbuilding is covered with patterns of global wood chips. The vestry is built of stone and white limestone. Tidersrum church has a sculpture of St. Olav, once a great figure of popular devotion throughout Scandinavia, whic ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Tidersrum, Sweden

Älgarås Church

Älgarås Church is a rare medieval wooden church. It was built in the 15th century, the porch was added in 1647 and choir in 1684. The church has lot of survived medieval items, like a unique altar screen, a triump crucifix (c. 1250) and a wooden bell with runic writing.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Älgarås, Sweden

Rinkaby Church

Rinkaby Church, made of brick, dates probably from the mid-1200s. The most interesting detail are rich mural paintings in vaults. Frescoes were done by so-called Vittskövle master or his students in the 15th century. The paintings describe year seasons in peasant"s life. The pulpit dates from the 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rinkaby, Sweden

Ramdala Church

The Romanesque Ramdala Church, built in the mid-1200s, is the only survived medieval church in East Blekinge. It had originally also a defensive purpose; the church had probably two towers with loopholes. The another tower was demolished in th 16th century. The most significant detail Ramdala church is a decorated and gilded pulpit, which is a gift from Kristian IV of Denmark (1637). The altarpiece dates from 1624.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Ramdala, Sweden

Bärbo Church

Bärbo Church was built around 1200. Although it has been enlarged in the 15th and 18th centuries, it is still one of the smallest in the Södermanland region. The belfry dates from 17th century and was restored around 1740. The font is original from the early 1200s. Also the chandelier and triptych dates from the late Middle Ages. The pulpit was carved ion 1640. The unique detail is also a gallery for nobles, add ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Skalunda Church

Skalunda Church might be built in the late 100s or around 1140. It is anyway one of the oldest in the region. The sandstone church has Anglo-Saxon features, and it is possible that it was built by unkown English or Norwegian missionaries. The porch and sacristy were added in the 15th century as well as vaults. The belfry dates from 1772. There are also two runestones in the churchyard.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skalunda, Sweden

Strö Church

The nave of Strö Church was built in the 12th century and arches were added probably in the same time with tower in the 15th century. The pulpit dates probably from the late 1500s. There is a runestone attached in tower wall.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strö, Sweden

Sunnersberg Church

Sunnersberg medieval church dates back to the 1200s, but it has been enlarged and reconstructed several times. Fire damaged it badly in 1583. The most remarkable detail is an altarpiece, which is painted by famouse Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck in 1620. It was donated to Sunnesberg church by Clas Julius Ekeblad in 1779. The pulpit was donated by Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie in 1670.
Founded: 1200-1250 | Location: Sunnersberg, Sweden

Gillstad Church

Gillstad Church dates from the 12th century, but the current exterior is mainly from the 1700s; in 1702 part of the wall collapsed and the church was rebuilt.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gillstad, Sweden

Rimbo Church

Rimbo Church was built in the late 1400s. It is well-known for its finely mural paintings made around the year 1500. There is also a font (13th century) and crucifix (c. 1275) dating from the earlier church.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rimbo, Sweden

Rö Church

The oldest parts of Rö church dates from the late 1200s. Somethimes around 1475 brick arches were added to the roof. The church was badly damaged by fire in late 1500s or early 1600s. The most interesting detail is a Madonna sculpture made probably in England around the year 1200. The font originates also from the same ages and other sculptures and cruficix from 1400s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rimbo, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Reims Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths. A major tourism destination, the cathedral receives about one million visitors annually.

History

Excavations have shown that the present building occupies roughly the same site as the original cathedral, founded c. 400 under the episcopacy of St Nicaise. That church was rebuilt during the Carolingian period and further extended in the 12th century. On 19 May 1051, King Henry I of France and Anne of Kiev were married in the cathedral.

On May 6, 1210 the cathedral was damaged by fire and reconstruction started shortly after, beginning at the eastern end. Documentary records show the acquisition of land to the west of the site in 1218, suggesting the new cathedral was substantially larger than its predecessors, the lengthening of the nave presumably being an adaptation to afford room for the crowds that attended the coronations. In 1233 a long-running dispute between the cathedral chapter and the townsfolk (regarding issues of taxation and legal jurisdiction) boiled over into open revolt. Several clerics were killed or injured during the resulting violence and the entire cathedral chapter fled the city, leaving it under an interdict (effectively banning all public worship and sacraments). Work on the new cathedral was suspended for three years, only resuming in 1236 after the clergy returned to the city and the interdict was lifted following mediation by the King and the Pope. Construction then continued more slowly. The area from the crossing eastwards was in use by 1241 but the nave was not roofed until 1299 (when the French King lifted the tax on lead used for that purpose). Work on the west facade took place in several phases, which is reflected in the very different styles of some of the sculptures. The upper parts of the facade were completed in the 14th century, but apparently following 13th century designs, giving Reims an unusual unity of style.

Unusually the names of the cathedral's original architects are known. A labyrinth built into floor of the nave at the time of construction or shortly after (similar to examples at Chartres and Amiens) included the names of four master masons (Jean d'Orbais, Jean-Le-Loup, Gaucher de Reims and Bernard de Soissons) and the number of years they worked there, though art historians still disagree over who was responsible for which parts of the building. The labyrinth itself was destroyed in 1779 but its details and inscriptions are known from 18th century drawings. The clear association here between a labyrinth and master masons adds weight to the argument that such patterns were an allusion to the emerging status of the architect (through their association with the mythical artificer Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth of King Minos). The cathedral also contains further evidence of the rising status of the architect in the tomb of Hugues Libergier (d. 1268, architect of the now-destroyed Reims church of St-Nicaise). Not only is he given the honor of an engraved slab; he is shown holding a miniature model of his church (an honor formerly reserved for noble donors) and wearing the academic garb befitting an intellectual.

The towers, 81 m tall, were originally designed to rise 120m. The south tower holds just two great bells; one of them, named “Charlotte” by Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine in 1570, weighs more than 10,000 kg.

During the Hundred Years' War the cathedral was under siege by the English from 1359 to 1360. After it fell the English held Reims and the Cathedral until 1429 when it was liberated by Joan of Arc which allowed the Dauphin Charles to be crowned king on 17 July 1429.

In 1875 the French National Assembly voted £80,000 for repairs of the façade and balustrades. The façade is the finest portion of the building, and one of the great masterpieces of the Middle Ages.

German shellfire during the opening engagements of the First World War on 20 September 1914 burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the cathedral. Scaffolding around the north tower caught fire, spreading the blaze to all parts of the carpentry superstructure. The lead of the roofs melted and poured through the stone gargoyles, destroying in turn the bishop's palace. Images of the cathedral in ruins were used during the war as propaganda images by the French against the Germans and their deliberate destruction of buildings rich in national and cultural heritage. Restoration work began in 1919, under the direction of Henri Deneux, a native of Reims and chief architect of the Monuments Historiques; the cathedral was fully reopened in 1938, thanks in part to financial support from the Rockefellers, but work has been steadily going on since.

Exterior

The three portals are laden with statues and statuettes; among European cathedrals, only Chartres has more sculpted figures. The central portal, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is surmounted by a rose window framed in an arch itself decorated with statuary, in place of the usual sculptured tympanum. The 'gallery of the kings' above shows the baptism of Clovis in the centre flanked by statues of his successors.

The facades of the transepts are also decorated with sculptures. That on the North has statues of bishops of Reims, a representation of the Last Judgment and a figure of Jesus (le Beau Dieu), while that on the south side has a modern rose window with the prophets and apostles. Fire destroyed the roof and the spires in 1481: of the four towers that flanked the transepts, nothing remains above the height of the roof. Above the choir rises an elegant lead-covered timber bell tower that is 18 m tall, reconstructed in the 15th century and in the 1920s.

Interior

The interior comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. It has interesting stained glass ranging from the 13th to the 20th century. The rose window over the main portal and the gallery beneath are of rare magnificence.

The cathedral possesses fine tapestries. Of these the most important series is that presented by Robert de Lenoncourt, archbishop under François I (1515-1547), representing the life of the Virgin. They are now to be seen in the former bishop's palace, the Palace of Tau. The north transept contains a fine organ in a flamboyant Gothic case. The choir clock is ornamented with curious mechanical figures. Marc Chagall designed the stained glass installed in 1974 in the axis of the apse.

The treasury, kept in the Palace of Tau, includes many precious objects, among which is the Sainte Ampoule, or holy flask, the successor of the ancient one that contained the oil with which French kings were anointed, which was broken during the French Revolution, a fragment of which the present Ampoule contains.

Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral, the former Abbey of Saint-Remi, and the Palace of Tau were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.