Eskilstrup Church built in the Romanesque style dates from the 12th century. It is best known for its frescos, said to be Denmark's oldest. At the beginning of the 16th century, the church was owned by the bishopric under the administration of its seat at Sørup on Lolland. In 1694, it was annexed to Ønslev Church, 3 km to the west. After the Reformation it came under the Crown until 1767 when it was sold into private ownership. It was, however, soon reacquired by the State until 1852 when its was sold to the farmers of the parish. It gained full independence in 1933.
The church consists of a Late Romanesque apse, chancel and nave and a Gothic tower and porch, all built of brick. Pilaster strips decorate the corners of the nave and chancel. The apse and chancel have a rounded foundation base. There is a three-sided wall at the east end of the apse while there are round-arched windows in the side walls. The toothed cornice is decorated a saw-toothed trimming which runs along pilasters to the chancel gabel. The nave walls are similarly decorated with cornices and pilasters. The chancel windows resemble those of the apse but they have been extended downwards.
The apse's original vaulting develops from a polygonal base to a quarter dome terminating in the rounded apse arch. During the Gothic period, the chancel ceiling was cross-vaulted while the chancel arch was widened and given a pointed top. The nave has retained a flat ceiling. The red brick tower on a fieldstone base has flat arched windows to the south and west. It opens into the nave through a large irregular arch. The Renaissance altarpiece (1617) is rather a rough piece of rural craftmanship. The large cornice is borne by two Ionic columns. The central painting by Stefan Viggo Pedersen (1926) depicts the announcement of Jesus' birth to the shepherds. Designed by Jørgen Ringnis, the intricately carved pulpit (1639) is in the Auricular style. With the four Evangelists in shell-framed panels, it closely resembles the pulpit in Lolland's Ryde Church. The pilasters have however been renewed during rebuilding work in 1805 although the cherub heads and ornamental decorations have been retained. The hexagonal canopy bears a dove at the top and angels' heads on the corners. The pulpit, staircase and canope are varnished but not coloured.
In 1893, frescos were discovered in the apse and chancel, dating to the second half of the 13th century. The chancel fresco, restored by E. Lind in 1942, includes scenes from Christ's childhood including the Flight to Egypt depicting Joseph, Mary and the ass. They are said to be among the oldest in the region.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.