The oldest part of the Ardre Church is the tower, dating from about 1200. The tower originally belonged to an earlier church building from the 12th century, the nave and choir of which was replaced with the current building circa 1250. The sculptured choir portal originally also belonged to the earlier church.
The interior of the church was heavily remodelled after plans by artist Axel Herman Hägg in 1900-1902, in a neo-Gothic style. The dominating wall paintings are consequently designed by Hägg. A few stained glass windows remain but were complemented by modern replicas during the renovation.
The furnishings of the church are still largely medieval: an altarpiece from the early 14th century, a triumphal cross and baptismal font, both from the middle of the 13th century, and a carved wooden Madonna from circa 1500 are all in their original milieu. The organ is an elaborate Gothic Revival piece, made for the renovation in 1902 and inspired by medieval French organs.References:
Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.
In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.