Horne Church is the only round church on Funen. Originally constructed from granite stonework, it was modified in the 15th century with the addition of Gothic extensions on the east and west. The history of Horne Church is inextricably tied to Hvedholm Manor, located about 2 kilometres to the south and to the noble family Brahe associated with that estate. Several of the church's content items date from the 17th century and earlier; one of the original possessions is a medieval document known as the Hornebook, a national treasure of Denmark that is currently held by the National Museum, Copenhagen.
The original central round church is a ponderous looking medieval structure, attached to which are the rectilinear east and west wings. The alignment of these later extensions was not quite set at 180 degrees, so that the resulting central interior aisle does not split the congregation pews evenly, and the traditional women's side is more spacious than the men's. The circular roof of the massive central tower is constructed of lead panels, which forms an interesting colour and texture contrast to the orange-red roof tiling of the remainder. The exterior stonework has been covered over by many layers of white paint, giving a look of an almost harled coating.
There are three interesting and delicately designed weather vanes atop the church, one at the apex of each of the vaulted circular towers, but each at a different height. On one of the vanes are the initials P.B.B. (Preben Bille Brahe) to denote the association of the Brahe family of Hvedholm. The church tower bells are dated to 1568 and 1613.
The curved lines of the gables of the taller western square tower reveal the Renaissance character of that element. These gables attain a height of 32.4m, and are the highest element other than the west circular tower. The entry porch displays the Vicars' Plaque, bearing the date 1472.
The interior features a granite baptismal font, one of the oldest interior remains from the Middle Ages construction, matching the exterior stonework. The pulpit, of French Empire influence, is situated within the central round original church because of the elongated congregation seating. Perhaps the most interesting interior feature is situated at the upper level near the pulpit: a special box for the noble Brahe family, called the 'Count's Box'. This box was constructed at the behest of the earlier mentioned Preben Bille Brahe and is designed almost identically to those boxes of the Royal Danish Theatre. The nephew of Bille Brahe was astronomer Tycho Brahe, who was reared by his uncle and would have sat in this box on Sundays as a child. Not only did the Brahe nobility have its privileged seating, but the Brahe servants had their own private upper level box, called the 'Tjenerloftet' or 'Servants' Loft'. The interior has a painted wood coffered ceiling under the organ gallery.
Beside the original granite baptismal font now situated within the entrance porch is an intentionally uncomfortable bench called the 'kællingbænken', or 'hags' bench'. The present baptismal font is believed to be the work of Bertel Thorvaldsen; however, the font was loaned out in the early 20th century, and no one is able to tell whether the Thorvaldsen font was returned or a similar one from Svanninge. Other yet older treasures of the church are the ciborium from 1639 and the chalice from 1676. The bronze candlesticks dating to 1640 are another special holding.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).