The oldest parts of the Medelplana church date from the 1100s, with the tower added in the 1300s and the choir and armory coming later. At one time the church may have been dedicated to St. Helena (Elin) of Skövde and Götene. What is believed to be St. Helena's altar is currently the baptismal altar. In the village as it was in the middle ages, there was also a St. Helena's spring, which was later excavated and restored. It is situated by the road just north of the church.
Inside the south door stand two well-preserved lily stones from the 1100s. A gap where stairs used to be is on the church's north side, and an old box for contributions to the poor also is found there.
In 1611 the Danes were devastating the area, and among other deeds they burned the town of Skara. In Medelplana there was a pastor by the name of Jonas Andersson Grodt, and when he heard stories about how the Danes were causing havoc, he collected his own silver items and presumably the church's silver collection. According to a registry drawn up prior to the disappearance, the collection consisted of two silver goblets and a box made of silver for consecration wafers. He went off to the east from the parsonage in Medelplana, away to a little brook that flowed past the pastor's cottage at Kollängen. There he dug down and buried all the silver, so as to hide it from the Danes if they should come. Grodt died almost immediately thereafter, without revealing where he had hidden the silver treasure.
Many people have searched the treasury, but until now no one has found it. It is also thought that it may have been found and perhaps melted down, or that the entire story is a fabrication. The legend-encrusted silver treasure still sits brooding on its secret. It may be that some time in the future it will be discovered.References:
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.