Strängnäs Cathedral is built mainly of bricks in the characteristic Scandinavian Brick Gothic style. The original church was built of wood, probably during the first decades of the 12th century, on a spot where pagan rituals used to take place and where the missionary Saint Eskil was killed during the mid 11th century. The wooden church was not rebuilt in stone and bricks until 1296, just after Strängnäs became a diocese. The cathedral was probably inaugurated by bishop Styrbjörn in 1334.
The oldest murals date from the 14th century. The Strängnäs Cathedral was enlarged in several phases during the 15th century and it was damaged by fire in 1473. Bishop Kort Rogge (1479-1501) donated two crucifixes which are still located in the cathedral. The larger one is made in Brussels around 1490. There are also many other significant medieval artefacts in the cathedral. The cathedral contains also the burials of Charles IX of Sweden and Maria of Palatinate-Simmern.References:
Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.
The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.
The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.