Halsted Church dates from the second half of the 12th century, the church has a Romanesque chancel and nave, a large burial chapel from 1636 and a tower from 1877. The church was closely associated with Halsted Priory, which has not survived.
The granite church is first mentioned in 1177. It is therefore older than Halsted Kloster, the Benedictine priory with which it was associated from the 13th century until 1536. The church was dedicated to St Samson of Constantinople. In 1177, the Crown's clerical appointment rights were transferred by King Valdemar to Ringsted Abbey, which continued to have responsibility over Halsted Priory. At the time of the Reformation, ownership returned to the Crown, which retained it until 1719 when it was transferred to the Juellinge barony, created in honor of Jens Juel, and it was subsequently owned by members of the Juel-Vind family. After the barony was dissolved in 1921, the church came under ownership of the adjoining main building, named Halsted Kloster. In 1987, Mogens-Krag-Juel-Vind-Frijs returned ownership to the church itself.
The church was originally a Romanesque building with a nave, chancel, apse and possibly a tower. Remains of the chancel and nave survive in the masonry of today's structure. When it became the priory church at the end of the 13th century, the chancel was extended to the east, its three-sided gable replacing the former apse. The church formed the northern wing of a four-winged priory of which nothing remains today. In 1510, the Lübeckers burnt down the abbey, probably also destroying the church's Romanesque tower. During the 16th century the church was extended towards the west. A low tower was built at the west end and was rebuilt in the 1870s. In 1636, Borkvard Rud obtained rights to build the north chapel as a burial chapel for the owners of nearly Sæbyholm. The church was fully restored from 1868 to 1877.
Vaults were introduced at the beginning of the 16th century, with three cross-vaults in the nave, two star-shaped vaults in the chancel and a five-sectioned vault at the end of the chancel. The late 15th-century altarpiece is a Gothic triptych with a scene of the crucifixion in the centre and saints and apostles on the two wings. The auricular chancel screen from 1671 with the 11 apostles and Christ's baptism was probably crafted by Henrik Werner. A Baroque altarpiece which crowned the altar from 1750 to 1877, when it was replaced by the 15th-century work, can now be seen on the north wall of the chancel. The auricular pulpit (1636), displaying representations of Faith, Hope and Charity as well as the arms of Prince Christian and Princess Magdalene Sibylle, is the work of Jørgen Ringnis. The font from c. 1750 is probably from the same workshop as the Baroque altarpiece.References:
The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.