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:
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.