Mariefred Charterhouse, sometimes referred to as Gripsholm Charterhouse, was a Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse. It was the only Carthusian monastery in Scandinavia, and one of the last monasteries established in Sweden before the Reformation.
The establishment of a Carthusian monastery in Sweden was brought about by the efforts of Jakob Ulvsson, Archbishop of Uppsala, and Kort Rogge, Bishop of Strängnäs, who in 1493 persuaded Sten Sture the elder, Regent of Sweden, to have the monks Fikke Dyssin and Johannes Sanderi together with two lay brothers sent from the Marienehe Charterhouse near Rostock to Sweden for a meeting with the riksrådet (Privy Council of Sweden). Later that year Sten Sture enfeoffed the Carthusians with the Gripsholm estate in Selebo härad in Södermanland and in 1502 gave them other lands round about.
The monastery was built on the high ground where Mariefred church now stands, built on the charterhouse ruins in the 1620s, close to Gripsholm Castle. The monastery church was dedicated on 15 February 1504.
Mariefred Charterhouse was short-lived: in 1526 it was one of the first monasteries secularised by Gustav Vasa. In December 1525 he claimed its assets from the heirs of Sten Sture the Elder, who had given the estate to the monastery on the condition that it should pass to the right heirs of the monastery if it were ever wound up. This claim was legitimated by the Privy Council in January 1526.
Virtually no trace of the monastic buildings now remains above ground: Gustav Vasa had them dismantled for the construction of Gripsholm Castle. A cellar and a few traces of walls have been discovered to the south of the church. A small collection of stones discovered during excavations in the monastery grounds, is in the current Mariefred church tower.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.