Medieval churches in Sweden

Kalmar Church

Kalmar Church was built of granite in the late 12th century. Around 1300 it was enlarged and modified to the aisleless Gothic church. In 1485 famous Albertus Pictor decorated walls and vaults with murals. Frescoes were restored in 1958 and still visible. Th current tower was added in 1830. There is font with a cuppa, made of red sandstone, from the late 1100s and medieval wooden sculptures (like a triptych from the mid-14 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bålsta, Sweden

Hovsta Church

Hovsta church is a brick church and its oldest parts date from the 12th century. The western portal and tower were added in the 1200s and the sacristy in 1500s. The font pedestal, made of sandstone, dates from the 1100s. The font itself was made in the end of the 18th century, as well as the altarpiece. The pulpit was constructed in 1830s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Voxtorp Church

Voxtorp is one of the two interesting round churches in the Kalmar region. It was built at the beginning of the 13th century as the church of a large medieval farm. According to a legend, Voxtorp Church was built by a rich woman named Lona, who built it so she would not need to go to the church a gentry in Halltorp built on his manor. Like the other churches in the area, Voxtorp became a fortified church. During the 13th ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Ljungbyholm, Sweden

Gråmanstorp Church

Gråmanstorp Church was built by the monks of Herrevad Cistercian Abbey and it was completed around 1160. The porch was added in the 15th century. The font is original and cruficix dates also from the Middle Ages. The altar and pulpit date from the early 18th century.
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Klippan, Sweden

Dörby Church

The current Dörby church made of sandstone replaced the wooden one in the first half of 13th century. During the Kalmar War 1611-1612 the church was sacked and burnt down. It was restored in 1624-1625 and again in 1778. The crucifix is the only survived item from the medieval church.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kalmar, Sweden

Hanhals Old Church

Hanhals Church has some elements dating back to the 13th century. Porches were added in the late Middle Ages and the church was enlarged in 1764. The original font, made around 1225, is today in Stockholm Historical Museum. The pulpit dates from the 17th century. In the churchyard, you can see the grave of “The Wise Old Woman From Kyrkabacka”, who was well-known throughout Sweden in the late 19th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kungsbacka, Sweden

Mortorp Church

Mortorp Church was built in the mid-1200s, but after several enlargements and restorations there are only few medieval traces left. The belfry was built in 1737. The interior is mainly from the 18th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vassmolösa, Sweden

Fridlevstad Church

Fridlevstad Church, built in the late 1100s or early 1200s, is one of the oldest in Blekinge region. The stone church could also had defensive purposes. It was burned and looted during the Northern Seven Years" War (1563-1570) by Swedish troops and only walls survived. After the war the church was completely rebuilt and again in the 18th century. The altarpiece dates from the 17th century and contains a painting dep ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Rödeby, Sweden

Bergshammar Church

The church in Bergshammar was built in the 15th century and replaced an older wooden church. The sacristy dates from 1680. Old murals were discovered in 1967. The medieval baptismal font has a brass plate from 1950. The wooden altar was donated to the church in 1950 and has a crucifix from the 19th century. The pulpit was made in 1671 by Lars Olsson, a master craftsman from Stockholm.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Gösslunda Church

Gösslunda sandstone church has been built around the year 1100. It represents Romanesque architecture and is obviously influenced by English church building style (as well as the near Skalunda Church). Massive walls refer also that church has been constructed for defensive purposes. There is a unique relief in the tower portal depicting the centaur with Viking helmet and sword. This pagan relief could be made to exp ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Lidköping, Sweden

Söne Church

Söne church was built c. 1190 in Scanian architectural style and first time mentioned in 1291. The interior is decorated with frescoes from the 1200s and late 1400s. The font has been survived from the 1100s and the pulpit dates from 1692.
Founded: c. 1190 | Location: Söne, Sweden

Skärkind Old Church

The old church of Skärkind from the 1100s has survived as a separate chapel near the new church (inaugurated in 1836). The font and wooden St. Mary's sculpture date from the 1400s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Norsholm, Sweden

Husby-Sjuhundra Church

Husby-Sjuhundra Church is one of the oldest in Uppland. It was built in the late 1100s. The construction material is grey stone and it is dedicated to St. Lawrence. The church was probably built by the order of Knut Eriksson, the son of famous Eric IX of Sweden. The current choir dates from the mid-1200s and Gothic roof arches from the 1400s. The medieval tower was demolished in 1728 and the church was enlarged. The curre ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rimbo, Sweden

Edestad Church

Edestad church was probably built in the 1200s and it was a popular pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages due the adjacent 'holy' spring. The cruficix dates from the 1300s and the pulpit from 1600s. The Rococo style altarpiece was painted in 1763.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ronneby, Sweden

Tuna Church

Tuna Church is a brick-built medieval church dating from the 1200s. The porch was added in the 1400s and arches in 1500s. The present tower was erected in 1877. The interior is decorated with frescoes (oldest date from the 1300s, choir murals were added in 1620). The remarkable wooden Madonna sculpture is probably a North German work from the 1400s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nyköping, Sweden

Söderby-Karl Church

Söderby-Karl Church was built around 1300 or soon later. The porch was added later in the 1300s and brick arches in the mid-1400s. The external bell tower was erected probably in 1664. The main restoration was done in 1790. The interior is decorated with beautiful murals from the late Middle Ages which have never been overpainted. The sandstone font dates from 1200s.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Norrtälje, Sweden

Skepptuna Church

Skepptuna was built of bricks and stone in the early 1200s, but it was destroyed by fire around 1300. During the restoration the church was enlarged. The altar screen with medieval paintings is the most valuable artefact in Skepptuna Church. It was done in Brussels and bought to Sweden after 1500. The font dates also from the early 1500s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Kimstad Church

Kimstad church nave was built in the 1100s and new choirs and chapel were constructed in the 1650s. The tower cap dates from 1770. The altarpiece, 1730, is probably made by the same artist who worked in Stockholm Royal Palace. The late Renaissance pulpit was made between 1660–1669.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Norrköping, 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

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.