Medieval churches in Sweden

Norra Fågelås Church

Norra Fågelås Church is first mentioned in 1225, but it has probably been built already in the 1100s. It was largely restored in 1650s. The Stackelbergska family grave chapel was added 1749 and the next restoration was completed in 1754. The cruficix from the 1400s is today in Stockholm Historical Museum. the font is made of sandstone and donated to the church in 1651 by M.E. Sparre of Almnäs Castle. The pulpit dates f ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hjo, Sweden

Mofalla Church

The oldest wooden parts of Mofalla Church date from the 15th century, but it has been restored several times. There are some original mural paintings survived in ceilings (made in 1480s). The church has wooden sculptures from the 12th and 15th century. The belfry dates from the 16th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hjo, Sweden

Njurunda Church Ruins

The medieval church in Njurunda originates from the Middle Ages, but it was rebuilt even four times. It was anyway left to decay in the 19th century and the adjacent new church replaced it in 1865. The lightning burned the old church down in 1869 and today only stone wall ruins remain.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Njurunda, Sweden

Vansö Church

The oldest parts of Vansö Church were built in the end of 12th century. It was enlarged to east in the 14th century and again around 1450. The tower cap was demolished in 1765 and rebuilt 1901-1902. The interior consists of a medieval altarpiece (1400s), crucifix (1270-1300), font (c. 1300) and two reliquaries (1400s). Vaults were decorated with murals in the 1460s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Fogdö Church

Fogdö Church was built in the 1100s and has wooden sculptures from that time. There was a Benedictine nunnery from 1233. The church was used both as a parish church and as a monastic one, as is testified by an inset opening in the south wall - a so-called 'nun"s window' ('nunneporten'). The quire was also widened so as better to accommodate the nuns" choral liturgy. Judging from the surv ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Aspö Church

The tower and northern wall are the oldest parts of Aspö Church (dating from the 12th century). The chancel was completed in 1300s and the church was enlarged in 1400s. It has an interesting inventory; the fine iron-made door between nave and porch dates from the original church, font is from 1200s and the large altar triptych from 1472. There is also a runestone from the 1000s in the church porch.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strängnäs, Sweden

Maglarp Church

Maglarp Church was built around 1200 and is one of the oldest brick churches in Sweden. Arhaeological evidences reveal that there has been probably a stave church on the church site before. Maglarp Church medieval exterior is very well-preserved. The oldest inventory is a font dating from the 1200s. The crucifix is also medieval from the 1400s. The beautiful Renaissance pulpit from 1568 is the oldest in Scania region.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Skee Church

Skee church was made of granite in the 1100s and it was enlarged in 1794-1795. The belfry was added in 1673. The fine detail is Madonna sculpture made of black soapstone, dating from the 1200s. The altarpiece dates from 1490s and pulpit from 1671. It was a gift from Sven Ranck, the owned of Blomsholm manor.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Strömstad, Sweden

Dalköpinge Church

Dalköpinge Church originates from the 1200s. It was built of bricks in Romanesque style. Probably it was built shortly after Trelleborg’s city church in the year 1275. The small tower was added later in the Middle Ages. There are some medieval mural paintings survived in vaults. the altar wall and pulpit were made in the late 1500s. The sandstone font is as old as the church itself.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Krokstad Church

Krokstad Church building time is unknown but it is first time mentioned in 1391. It was enlarged in 1702 and again in 1863. The tower was erected in 1810. The octagonal wooden font dates from the 1600s. The small bell is casted in 1614 and the big one in 1844.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hedekas, Sweden

Gärdslöv Church

Gärdslöv Church was built in the 12th century. The tower dates from 1836 and current sacristy from 1836. The font was made of sandstone in the 1100s. The pulpit, altar and crucifix originate from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skurup, Sweden

Hammarlöv Church

Hammarlöv Church is the only church in Scania with a round west side tower. The Romanesque style church originates from the 12th century and the tower and vaults were probably added in the 1400s. It was also enlarged in the 19th century. The beautiful mural paintings from the 13th and 15h centuries in vaults have survived. The font is as old as the church and made by so-called Oxiemästaren. The pulpit originate ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Hemmesdynge Church

Hemmesdynge Church originates from the 1100s, but it was rebuilt in 1400s and again in 1800s. The medieval murals were overpainted in the 1800s. The font dates back to the 1400s. The other inventory like altar, organs and pulpit were made after the restoration in the 1800s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Kyrkoköpinge Church

Kyrkoköpinge Church was probably built in a Romanesque style in the late 1100s. Originally it consisted of a nave, a chancel and a vestibule. It had a flat wooden roof but this was replaced with a cross vault in the Middle Ages. At the same time one more tower in the west and a porch in the south was built. Because of the closeness to Gylle church, Kyrkoköpinge and Gylle had the same reverend during a long time. ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Tierp Church

The unusual large church was made of stone and bricks around the year 1300. The sacristy originates maybe from the earlier church. The vaults were added in the 1400s and painted with frescoes around 1470 by so-called Tierp Master. The crucifix originates from the late 1200s and limestone font from the late 1400s. The Gustavian pulpit was inaugurated in 1781.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Tierp, Sweden

Boge Church

Boge Church chancel was built in the 13th century and the tower was erected later during the same century. It collapsed in a strom in 1858 and was rebuilt between 1867-1892. The limestone font was made around 1250, pulpit in 1727 and altar screen in 1750.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slite, Sweden

Stora Slågarp Church

Stora Slågarp Church was built in Romanesque style in the late 1100s. In the late Middle Ages it was extended and had roof with cross vaults. On the ceiling of the chancel there are medieval frescoes. The tower was added in 1883. The church has a baptismal font in sandstone from the 1100s , and the pulpit from year 1776 was earlier in Lilla Slågarp church.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Västra Alstad Church

Västra Alstad church was originally built in the 1100s, but only the lower part of the tower is from that time. The nave was erected in 1840-1841 and expanded with a new chancel in 1898. The reredos and the pulpit date from 1598, but the reredos was repainted in 1695. The baptismal font from 1944 is made of limestone and made by the artist Anders Jönsson from Stockholm.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Västra Tommarp Church

Västra Tommarp Church was built around year 1200 of flintstone. In the 17th century the gables of the chancel and nave was renovated and got a style similar to baroque. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and has a font basin in tin. Both of them and the calix originate from the 1600s. In year 1649 the pulpit was created.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Västra Vemmerlöv Church

Västra Vemmerlöv church was built in 1100s in a Romanesque style. In the 1850s the church experienced a remodeling by Carl Georg Brunius. The upper parts of the tower were changed and the vaults in the nave were demolished. Late medieval frescoes are preserved in the interior. The baptismal font is made of sandstone and has sculptured lions. It originates from the early Middle Ages.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trelleborg, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château built between 1658-1661 for Nicolas Fouquet. It was made for Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the 'Louis XIV style' combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden's pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.

To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed eighteen thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres. The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel, and an impressive firework show.

After Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees from Vaux-le-Vicomte. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace and gardens of Versailles.

The Marshal Villars became the new owner without first seeing the chateau. In 1764, the Marshal's son sold the estate to the Duke of Praslin, whose descendants would maintain the property for over a century. It is sometimes mistakenly reported that the château was the scene of a murder in 1847, when duke Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, killed his wife in her bedroom, but this did not happen at Vaux-le-Vicomte but at the Paris residence of the Duke.

In 1875, after thirty years of neglect, the estate was sold to Alfred Sommier in a public auction. The château was empty, some of the outbuildings had fallen into ruin, and the famous gardens were totally overgrown. The huge task of restoration and refurbishment began under the direction of the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, assisted by the landscape architect Elie Lainé. When Sommier died in 1908, the château and the gardens had recovered their original appearance. His son, Edme Sommier, and his daughter-in-law completed the task. Today, his descendants continue to preserve the château, which remains privately owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé. It is now administered by their three sons Alexandre, Jean-Charles and Ascanio de Vogüé. Recognized by the state as a monument historique, it is open to the public regularly.

Architecture

The chateau is situated near the northern end of a 1.5-km long north-south axis with the entrance front facing north. Its elevations are perfectly symmetrical to either side of this axis. Somewhat surprisingly the interior plan is also nearly completely symmetrical with few differences between the eastern and western halves. The two rooms in the center, the entrance vestibule to the north and the oval salon to the south, were originally an open-air loggia, dividing the chateau into two distinct sections. The interior decoration of these two rooms was therefore more typical of an outdoor setting. Three sets of three arches, those on the entrance front, three more between the vestibule and the salon, and the three leading from the salon to the garden are all aligned and permitted the arriving visitor to see through to the central axis of the garden even before entering the chateau. The exterior arches could be closed with iron gates, and only later were they filled in with glass doors and the interior arches with mirrored doors. Since the loggia divided the building into two halves, there are two symmetrical staircases on either side of it, rather than a single staircase. The rooms in the eastern half of the house were intended for the use of the king, those in the western were for Fouquet. The provision of a suite of rooms for the king was normal practice in aristocratic houses of the time, since the king travelled frequently.

Another surprising feature of the plan is the thickness of the main body of the building (corps de logis), which consists of two rows of rooms running east and west. Traditionally the middle of the corps de logis of French chateaux consisted of a single row of rooms. Double-thick corps de logis had already been used in hôtels particuliers in Paris, including Le Vau's Hôtel Tambonneau, but Vaux was the first chateau to incorporate this change. Even more unusual, the main rooms are all on the ground floor rather than the first floor (the traditional piano nobile). This accounts for the lack of a grand staircase or a gallery, standard elements of most contemporary chateaux. Also noteworthy are corridors in the basement and on the first floor which run the length of house providing privacy to the rooms they access. Up to the middle of the 17th century, corridors were essentially unknown. Another feature of the plan, the four pavilions, one at each corner of the building, is more conventional.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally planned to be constructed in brick and stone, but after the mid-century, as the middle classes began to imitate this style, aristocratic circles began using stone exclusively. Rather late in the design process, Fouquet and Le Vau switched to stone, a decision that may have been influenced by the use of stone at François Mansart's Château de Maisons. The service buildings flanking the large avant-cour to the north of the house remained in brick and stone, and other structures preceding them were in rubble-stone and plaster, a social ranking of building materials that would be common in France for a considerable length of time thereafter.

The main chateau is constructed entirely on a moated platform, reached via two bridges, both aligned with the central axis and placed on the north and south sides. The moat is a picturesque holdover from medieval fortified residences, and is again a feature that Le Vau may have borrowed from Maisons. The moat at Vaux may also have been inspired by the previous chateau on the site, which Le Vau's work replaced.

Gardens

The château rises on an elevated platform in the middle of the woods and marks the border between unequal spaces, each treated in a different way. This effect is more distinctive today, as the woodlands are mature, than it was in the seventeenth century when the site had been farmland, and the plantations were new.

Le Nôtre's garden was the dominant structure of the great complex, stretching nearly a mile and a half (3 km), with a balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks, and patterned parterres that remains more coherent than the vast display Le Nôtre was to create at Versailles.

Le Nôtre created a magnificent scene to be viewed from the house, using the laws of perspective. Le Notre used the natural terrain to his advantage. He placed the canal at the lowest part of the complex, thus hiding it from the main perspectival point of view. Past the canal, the garden ascends a large open lawn and ends with the Hercules column added in the 19th century. Shrubberies provided a picture frame to the garden that also served as a stage for royal fêtes.

From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature – these elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centerpiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks.