Damsholte Church

Stege, Denmark

Damsholte Church is the only village church in the country built in the Rococo style. It is considered to be one of Denmark's finest Rococo buildings. The church is unusual parish church. At the beginning of the 18th century, the population of Damsholte and its surroundings had grown so much that there was a real need for a local church. That, at any rate, was the opinion of Provost Jæger in nearby Stege. It is said that at a sumptuous reception in honour of a royal visit by Christian VI, he convinced the king that Damsholte should become a parish in its own right. There is no historical record of the incident but, in any event, in 1740 there was a royal decree that the western part of Stege parish should be separated off.

The king contributed 3,000 rigsdaler to the cost of building the church. Each of the other churches on Møn contributed 1,000 rigsdaler while all the other churches in Denmark contributed 1 rigsdaler each.

Designed by Philip de Lange, one of the most prominent architects of the day, the church was completed in 1743. A finely proportioned Rococo church thus came into being in the midst of West Møn's pleasant rolling farmland, the only one of its kind in a Danish village.

The church consists of a rectangular nave with two pentagonal extensions to east and west. White pilasters decorate each of the corners. Christian VI's monogram can be seen in the triangular gables topping the outer walls of the nave. The west door and all the windows have rounded arches. The red-tiled roof is divided into three main sections covering the nave and the extensions. At the western end of the building, it is crowned with an octagonal lantern and onion spire. The bright, yellow-tinted exterior with its onion spire is impressive enough. But those entering the double doors and proceeding through the small inner porch are struck by the rather sombre, well-ordered interior with its pious restraint and dominant altarpiece. Monumental pillars supporting the gallery stretch down either side of the nave to the lofty altar with its integrated pulpit, set high above the triptych. All built of wood, they are painted in subdued tones of grey.

The austerity of Lutheran pietism is ubiquitous. A modern triptych of Jesus' crucifixion with the two robbers on either side decorates the altar. It was completed in 1993 by Sven Havsteen-Mikkelsen. On the northern wall, there is a picture of Christ by Eckersberg (1825) while a recently restored figure of Christ occupies a small niche. To one side, a memorial plaque honours those who fell in the war of 1864. On the south wall, there is a picture of the resurrection by Niels Skovgaard together with a portrait of Damsholte's first pastor, Rasmus Platou. Hanging in the nave, a faithful copy of the warship Prince Christian commemorates the part it played in theBattle of Zealand Point in March 1808. The two brass candlesticks on the altar were donated at the church's consecration. The wrought iron altar rails display the monograms of Christian VI and Sophia Magdalen. The font, surprisingly enough, is made of wood complete with wooden cover.

In the churchyard, there is a burial mound for the Tutein family which, for a time, lived in Marienborg Manor which stands behind it. To the north óf the church, a burial vault houses the remains of Antoine de la Calmette, who was governor of Møn and Nykøbing, and his wife Lisa Iselin, for whom he createdLiselund, a park adjacent to Møns Klint at the eastern end of the island.

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Address

Grønsundvej 294, Stege, Denmark
See all sites in Stege

Details

Founded: 1743
Category: Religious sites in Denmark
Historical period: Absolutism (Denmark)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hr. Ambjerg (3 years ago)
Flot lidt utradosoonel kirke
Villads Ernstrand (3 years ago)
Gg
Brian Thomsen (3 years ago)
Pæn kirke der er et besøg værd
Philippe Gault (5 years ago)
Très belle petite église
Adam Stoot (6 years ago)
Danmarks eneste landsbykirke i rokokostil med en kirkegård med familiegravhøje. En atypisk kirke i Danmark der er et besøg værd hvis man er i nærheden.
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From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.