The first known reference to Bregentved is from 1319 when King Eric VI of Denmark passed the estate to Roskilde Abbey. From the end of the 14th century the property was owned by a succession of aristocratic families, including that of Krognos in the 16th century, until 1718 when it was acquired by King Frederick IV. In the 18th century Bregentved was in consecutive Birks, so had separate legal jurisdiction from Haslev Sogn (parish) and old Ringsted Herred (hundred). The north wing still extant in the early 21st century was built 1731-36 by architect Lauritz de Thurah and has a black-tiled, hipped roof. It contains a chapel on the first floor.
In 1746, King Frederick V granted the Bregentved estate to Adam Gottlob Moltke, one of his closest companions who was at the same time made lord chamberlain and a count. Over the next few years, Moltke adapted the two remaining wings with the assistance of the architects G.D. Anthon and Nicolai Eigtved. Moltke also commissioned Eigtved to built him a large mansion in Copenhagen, the south-western of the four Amalienborg Palaces, which was completed in 1754. At Bregentved, Moltke introduced several agricultural reforms to the management of the estate with inspiration from Holstein.
A. G. Moltke died at Bregentved on 25 September 1792, passing his estates to his oldest son, Joachim Godske Moltke, who ceded their mansion in Copenhagen to the royal family after the fire of Christiansborg Palace in 1794. As a replacement, Adam Wilhelm Moltke, who had just left office as the first Prime Minister under Denmark's new constitutional monarchy, acquired a new mansion which became known as Moltke's Mansion. After the harvests at Bregentved Manor and other family holdings, he would move his entire household to Copenhagen.
In the 1880s, Count Frederik Christian Moltke decided to modernize the house. He demolished the two Eigtved wings and replaced them with two new wings which were completed in 1891 to the design of the architect Axel Berg.
The east and south wings of the present three-winged building date from Axel Berg's 1891 rebuilding and stand on Eigtved's foundations. They are designed in the Neo-Rococo style and are topped by a Mansard roof in copper and tile. The east wing has a three-bay risalit with pilasters and a triangular pediment, and a two-bay corner risilit at each end with segmental pediments. The entrance tower also dates from Berg's expansion.
The north wing was built 1731-36 by Lauritz de Thurah and has a black-tiled, hipped roof. It contains a chapel on the first floor which has sculptor Johann Friedrich Hännel.
In the 1760s, A. G. Moltke commissioned Nicolas-Henri Jardin to create a garden in the French formal garden style but it was adapted into a landscape garden in 1835. Some features have been retained from Jardin's garden, including avenues, and traces of a parterre surrounded by canals and a system of fountains, which was restored in 1994. Some vases and Frederik V's Obelisk (1770) by Johannes Wiedewelt also date from this garden as does a copy of a statue by Giambologna. The garden also features a statue of A. W. Moltke by Herman Wilhelm Bissen in 1858-59.
Today Bregentved-Turebyholm covers 6,338 hectares and total of 163 houses also belongs to the estate. There is no public access to the house but the park is open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Admission is free of charge.References:
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.