Mårup Church was built around 1250 in the late Romanesque style. It was a simple brick structure typical of Jutland village churches, consisting of nave and choir. A tower existing in the 18th century was demolished and a free-standing bell tower was erected of wood. The church had arched pilasters, some of which can still be seen.
On December 6, 1808, HMS Crescent, a British frigate on its way to Gothenburg, Sweden, sank while bringing supplies to the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. More than 200 sailors were buried in a common grave; seven officers and 55 seamen survived. Two additional British ships sank off Denmark"s west coast and the British installed a tablet to honor the dead in 1895.
The church was used until 1926, when a new church was built in nearby Lønstrup. The old building was maintained by the National Museum of Denmark, which took possession of the church in 1952. In 1998, extensive archaeological work was undertaken on the site. The church had preservation status until 2005, when it was terminated so that the building could be dismantled. The final church service was held Easter 2008.
Lønstrup Klint is geologically unique and has lost on average 1.5 meters to erosion per year for the past 300 years. While erosion continued to threaten the church, shifting sands have been burying the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse a short distance to the south. The lighthouse operated for just a few decades, while adjacent buildings were turned into a museum about the shifting sands. A few years later, it was abandoned.
Heavy storms in the late 20th century and early 21st so harmed the coast that one corner of the church was damaged and by the mid-2000s, the sea was just 9 meters from the church. There were heated debates over what to do, whether to let nature take its course, or to take action and try to save church. Danish firms tried to protect the coast and prevent sand erosion. In August 2007, after four years of discussion, the Danish National Museum, in view of the considerable cost and local public resistance, decided to relocate the church to an open-air museum. At the end of November 2007, the authorities responsible for culture and land protection decided to dismantle the church. In autumn 2008, the roof and interior of the church were removed and put in storage; the walls were left behind. In autumn 2011, the western wall was dismantled, leaving remnants of only three walls with an open view to the sea. In summer and autumn 2012, severe erosion north and south of the site caused large chunks of land to fall into the sea. As of November 2012, the church rests a mere nine meters from the steep cliff. Authorities are monitoring the situation in order to determine if and when to dismantle more of the church.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).