Æbelholt Abbey was first established on Eskilsø Island in Roskilde Fjord in 1104. While no remains of the wooden abbey have survived, the stone abbey church there still remains, though in ruins. It was 24 meters long and had a nave, choir, and apse in the Romanesque style. The monks became 'unruly' and Bishop Absalon of Roskilde, determined to obtain a new Augustinian superior, sent for his friend, William, abbot of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris.
In 1167 the abbey moved to Æbelholt in Tjæreby, supported by a donation of land from Absalon in Tjæreby Parish and endowed with several income-producing farms, tithes from many north Zealand churches, and several mills. The monastery on Eskilsø was closed. The first church and abbey at Æbelholt were made of timber. Construction began almost immediately on a new abbey church of limestone which was completed in 1210.
Abbot William experienced considerable initial difficulties. The three French canons returned to Paris, finding conditions in Denmark too bleak. A few of the Danish canons plotted to murder him when he ordered that they eat 'herbs and leaves' instead of their usual meals. The 'Life of St. William' notes some of the ways in which they considered killing him, either by setting fire to a pile of straw near his bed in the dormitory, putting him in a sack and drowning him, or taking an axe to him. Eventually William's piety, fairness, wisdom, and intelligence won them and the local populace over. He was considered a saint in his own lifetime. He was highly regarded by several kings of Denmark and served as an intermediary between the pope and the Danish monarchy.
Abbot William died on 5 April 1203 at the age of 75. Miracles at his grave and in connection with his relics brought pilgrims in great numbers, and the abbey developed into the greatest Augustinian house in the north. By 1210 the list of miracles and signs recorded was so great that the Archbishop of Lund, Anders Sunesen, petitioned Pope Honorius III for his canonization. In 1219 the pope authorized several bishops to investigate the claims with an eye to making William a saint. The result was a book The Life of Abbot Williamwhich was submitted for the pope's consideration.
William was canonised in 1224. On 16 June 1238 with great ceremony William's body was translated to lie inside the high altar in the new abbey church. A small separate chapel was constructed over the his previous grave, so pilgrims could visit without disturbing the monks. In time relics of Saint William were given to Roskilde Cathedral, Lund Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) and Greyfriars Church in Copenhagen, and Greyfriars Church in Roskilde.
By 1230, the monastery housed 25 canons regular, but fed about 100 persons daily. This wide hospitality was funded, as were the abbey's other expenditures, by the revenues of its estates, situated locally and also in Copenhagen and in Halland, and from the dues from the nearby market. Augustinians were interested in farming and improving crops. They hired lay brothers to do the farm work and oversee the temporal affairs of the abbey.
The abbey complex consisted of a quadrangular set of buildings with the church as the north range, round a central cloister and cloister garth. The buildings were constructed of brick, the most common building material at the time. One of the most unusual parts of the abbey was the lavatory which had running water from a ditch, on which it is possible a mill also stood.
The church was expanded before 1324 with a longer nave, a crossing, and choir with an apse. Several side chapels were added dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Baptist, Saint John the Evangelist and Saint George. The high altar was dedicated to Saint Thomas.
After the Reformation in 1535 all religious houses and their income properties reverted to the crown. The abbey church was converted to the large parish church for Tjæreby andAlsønderup Parishes, while the conventual and service buildings were granted as a fief to Christoffer Trundsen in 1544, with the provision that he should maintain the last remaining canons under Abbot Anders Ibsen. The abbey was formally dissolved in 1560; Abbot Ibsen was sent to the Carmelite priory in Helsingør where he died a year later.
In 1555 the parishioners complained that the abbey church was too big to maintain, and the royal order to demolish the entire abbey complex was given in 1561. The parish churches at Tjæreby and Alsønderup were spared. Much of the stone and brick was reused to construct the nearby Frederiksborg Castle and in local farms.
The site was excavated in the 1930s and 1950s, and the finds are now displayed in the near Æbelholt Abbey Museum. The outlines of the abbey church and complex have been exposed, as have the pillars from the refectory. Some of the many skeletons discovered during the excavations are on display and provide much information on historical illnesses and medical treatments.
A monastic garden was made here in 1957 as a reconstruction of the famous garden at the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland. The garden contains over a hundred medicinal plants known to have grown in such gardens in Denmark in the Middle Ages.
The Folk Museum in Hillerød has published a little volume entitled Æbelholt Klosterhave af Kirsten Baunegaard describing the herbs and medicinal plants in the garden. Almost from the time the abbey was established here a market has been held alongside, initially beginning on 16 June, the feast day of the abbey's founder, Saint William. Formerly the market lasted for 14 days. The market is now under the auspices of the Folk Museum in Hillerød, who have arranged it every year from 1998; it now lasts for a weekend.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.