Gjorslev is a cruciform medieval castle, originally owned by the Bishop of Roskilde. It is considered one of the most well-preserved examples of Gothic secular architecture in Denmark. Gjorslev was built in about 1400 by Peder Jensen Lodehat, Bishop of Roskilde. It remained in the possession of the Roskilde bishops until the Reformation which led to its confiscation in 1637. It was sold in 1540 and was then in the possession of changing owners until 1678 when it came under the Crown once again. It was then owned by the Lindencrone family from 1763 to 1791, from 1793 to 1923 by the Scavenius family, and from 1925 and until the present day it has been in the possession of the Tesdorpf family.
Gjorslev is surrounded by moats and built to a cruciform design in the Gothic style. The building materials are a combination of local limestone from the Cliffs of Stevns and large bricks (Danish 'monk stones'). The central tower is just under 30 m tall and has seven storeys. The south arm of the cross is slightly longer than the other three. A lower north wing was added in 1638. Access to the main building was originally through the celler from an entrance below the bishop's chapel which was located on the east side of the southern cross arm. From the vaulted celler below the tower, a flight of stairs led to the domed hall in its ground floor. This arrangement was altered by Ewert Janssen between 1665 and 1676. The chapel was demolished and the entrance moved to the eastern cross arm which was also given a new facade and an internal staircase in the Baroque style.
The design of the roof was adapted in 1748 when the original crow-stepped gable with blank arches were replaced by hipped roofs and a pyramidical roof on the tower. The last time the building was altered was in 1843 when a long south wing was added. The castle stands at the end of a street known as 'Broad Street' which is lined by red timbered farm buildings from 1713.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.