Askeby Abbey Church is now a Lutheran parish church. Its oldest part was built during the first half of the 12th century by King Sverker the Elder. Some decades later a convent was added to the church. The first known donations addressed to Askeby Convent are from 1162. The buildings were erected close to a manor, strategically located near the ancient road leading from the Baltic coast to the central parts of the province of Östergötland.
In the 1240s Askeby, like many other convents, was incorporated into the Cistercian order and became important to leading noble families. The buildings were damaged on several occasions, most severely in 1377 by fire. The abbey church, including a parish church, was re-inaugurated in 1418. It had then been enlarged with a new brick chancel in late Gothic style. Bricks were also used for the reconstruction of the convent, inaugurated in 1444 accommodating about twenty nuns. All the buildings were annihilated after the Reformation except for the church, whose tower, however, was destroyed in 1609.
Medieval treasures can still be found in the church, e.g. a triumph crucifix and a pietà. An altar embroidery, now in a museum, can be seen on our website. Years of research have resulted in visualized programs which re-create the abbey itself as well as its environment. These programs are shown in the church in connection with guided tours.References:
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.