Completed in the first half of the twelfth century, Hover Church is one of the oldest churches in Denmark. In 1771, the church's west gable was damaged by a storm. A heavy buttress now supports one wall. The porch was built in the 1500s in late Gothic style on the south side of the church, where the men's entrance once was. The women's entrance was on the north side of the church. The frescoes are dated to the 16th century. In 1907, a fresco was uncovered on the chancel arch wall depicting Isaac's sacrifice, possibly after a woodcut in Christian III's Bible. There were traces of earlier frescoes but they have now been covered with limewash. Restoration work was carried out in the 1960s.
Emulating the design of earlier wooden churches and standing on a sloping foundation, Hover Church is built of hewn granite in the Romanesque style. The nave is rectangular, thechancel is almost square, and the four simply-glazed windows are small and high. Unlike most other Danish churches, Hover does not have a bell tower, but instead has a small bell that hangs under an overhang on the east gable.
The church interior is very similar to other Danish churches. It has a pulpit, altar, baptismal font, organ and benches. It has a flat ceiling and a rounded chancel arch. The altar is of solid granite blocks while the altarpiece (late 17th century) displays a copy of the painting Vandringen til Emmaus by Anton Dorph (original in the Emmaus Church, Frederiksberg). The pulpit (1596) shows the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The font is as old as the church itself. It was previously painted and later acid-washed. The organ (1968) was built by Frobenius Orgelbyggeri and is equipped with 8 votes distributed between one manual and pedal. One of the chair backs in the church has a motif with a crossbow with the date 1575.References:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.