Medieval churches in Sweden

Garde Church

Garde Church was built originally in the mid-1100s. The apsis was added in the 14th century. The Gothic-style church is a good sample of medieval church building tradition in Sweden. The font and crucifix date from the first church, both were made in the 1100s. Pre-Christian picture stones, made between 400-1100 AD, have been found from Garde church during the restoration.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Garde, Sweden

Hablingbo Church

Hablingbo Church was made of sandstone. The tower was erected around the year 1200 and the Gothic-style main nave and choir were built in the 14th century. The sacristy was added in the 1730s. The most interesting detail is a Lion Portal, originally the main entrance to the former 12th century Romanesque church. When the church was rebuilt in the 14th century, it was re-used in the north face of the nave. The story of Ca ...
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Havdhem, Sweden

Ånimskog Church

The oldest parts of the Ånimskog church (a square floor area) were built in the early 13th century by an unknown master. In the beginning of the 17th century the eastern gable was removed and the church was enlarged to the east. The roof paintings were completed in 1739 by Hans Georg Schäffner. The font, made of sandstone, date from the 13th century. The red wooden bell tower was built in 1731.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ånimskog, Sweden

Tåstarp Church

The oldest parts of Tåstarp Church were built around the year 1200, probably by monks from the Herrevad Abbey. Arches were added in the 15th century. In the 18th century the church was enlarged to the west and the new tower was erected in 1829. There is an medieval triumphal crucifix in the church. Pulpit date from 1619. A prehistoric sacrifical site is located next to the church.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Munka-Ljungby, Sweden

Almby Church

Almby Church is the oldest one in Örebro. According the Dendrochronological investigation the oldest part, a choir, was built around the year 1120. The church was enlarged during the 13th century and modified again in the 15th century. The sacristy was added in the 16th century. In 1656 let baron Gustav Eriksson Leijonhufvud to build a chapel to the church. The church’s font dates from the Middle Ages. The sma ...
Founded: ca. 1120 | Location: Örebro, Sweden

Dalhem Church

The nave and chancel of Dalhem Church were contructed in the early 1200s. It was enlarged some decades later by the workshop of master Egypticus. Murals were restored in the early 20th century. There is a beautiful tombstone in the northern wall from the 1100s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dalhem, Sweden

Eksta Church

The oldest part of Eksta Church is the tower, dating from the 13th century and still unchanged. The rest of the church is also from the Middle Ages, but was heavily rebuilt in 1838. The church still has four medieval portals, in both Romanesque and Gothic style. The interior of the church is largely Neoclassical, dating from the 1838 renovation. A few traces of medieval frescos have survived on the walls, as have a single ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eksta, Sweden

Angarn Church

Although Angarn Church probably dates from the 1280s, it lies in a cultural landscape with a much older history. Petroglyphs from the Bronze Age, as well as several significantly later runestones testify to the old traditions of the place. The church was built on a hill next to an inlet of the Baltic Sea (which has subsequently disappeared as a consequence of post-glacial rebound) and thus was strategically located, easy ...
Founded: 1280s | Location: Vallentuna, Sweden

Täby Church

Täby Church was built during the latter half of the 13th century. It was first constructed as a square hall. In mid 14th century a vestry was added and about 100 years later the church porch was built. During the second half of the 15th century, the flat wooden ceiling was replaced by a vaulted ceiling. The altarpiece dates from the 1470s. The church is best known as one of the churches with mural paintings by Albertus ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Täby, Sweden

Norrsunda Church

The eastern tower of Norrsunda stone church was completed in the late 1100s. The nave was extended to the west and the porch and sacristy were built in the late 1400s. The chapel of Sparreska was added in 1633. The red brick chapel was built by Ebba Oxenstierna after her husband Johan Sparre. The tower got its present appearance in the first half of 1800s. The church was restored in 1902 and 1954. The wall paintings have ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Bunge Church

The tower of Bunge Church was originally built for defensive purposes as part of the older church. The present nave and choir were built around 1300. The interior is richly decorated with murals, dating from from the end of 14th century. These magnificent paintings were made probably by Baltic master, who arrived to Gotland with Teutonic Order. The baptismal font and limestone almsbox (with rune inscription: ”Lafra ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fårösund, Sweden

Hölö Church

Remains of the 13th century church has been survived in the western wall of Hölö church. The tower dates from the 15th century, but the current appearance originates from the restoration made between 1792-1796. The Gustavian style interior has a Renaissance style epitaph of Karl Sture (died 1598) and his wife.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hölö, Sweden

Össeby Church Ruins

Össeby church was built in the 1200s and was a medieval parish church. In 1856 it was hit by lightning, which destroyed the roof.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vallentuna, Sweden

Husby-Ärlinghundra Church

The stone church of Husby-Ärlinghundra was built in the mid-12th century. The porch and sacristy were added later. The bell tower was erected in 1717 and restored in 1819 to the present appearance. The sculpture of St. Michael, crucifix and mural paintings date from the Middle Ages. The Baroque-style pulpit was made in 1721.
Founded: ca. 1150 | Location: Märsta, Sweden

Hilleshög Church

The Hilleshög Church is a mostly Romanesque edifice, built in granite and brick, with some parts from the 17th and 18th centuries and later additions. It was probably built in the late 1100s and the sacristy and the porch were added in the 15th century. Many of the paintings in the interior, dating back to the end of 13th century and they early 15th century, were painted over in the 18th century but were restored in ...
Founded: ca. 1170 | Location: Ekerö, Sweden

Myresjö Old Church

Myresjö Old Church is a delightful medieval church without a tower, little altered since medieval times. It contains wall frescoes from the 12th century, which depict Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Wall paintings of this age are extremely unusual and well worth seeing. The font dates back to the foundation of the church. The church has a 17th century pulpit. The church was extensively renovated in the 1920s a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Myresjö, Sweden

Götene Church

The oak beams for the roof of Götene church were cut down around year 1125. Perhaps they were used for an older wood church. The choir of the church was consecrated in August 1, 1140. The baptismal font is from the first half of the 12th century. In the middle of the 15th century the flat ceiling was replaced by vaults and some years later the Götene workshop (Götene Master) painted the choir with scenes f ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Götene, Sweden

Björlanda Church

The Björlanda Church is a medieval church built in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was inaugurated, according to the Icelandic skald Eysteinn Ásgrímsson, on a 15 July; the year of the inauguration is not known. The building has been renovated and extended numerous times. Additional windows were installed in the 17th century. In 1734, the medieval choir was torn down. The renovation works of 1936 resulte ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Torslanda, Sweden

Bollerup Church

Bollerup Church was built originally in the 1100s and arches were added in the 15th century. The church was restored and enlarged in the 1860s. Bollerup is one of the four churches in Scania with round tower. The baptismal font date from the 12th century, altarpiece and pulpit from the 17th century. Frescoes in the nave walls have been dated to the year 1476.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tomelilla, Sweden

Stora Köpinge Church

The construction of Stora Köpinge Church was started in the 1100s and the nave choir and apsis were added in the early 1200s. The sacristy was completed in 1729 and tower was erected in 1860s. The interior of the church contains medieval frescoes painted by the Snårestad Master. There is also a Romanesque font. The pulpit dates from 1597. The church is known for its impressive altar canopy.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Köpingebro, 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.