The current Roma church was preceded by a considerably smaller, Romanesque church. Some fragments from this church have been re-used and incorporated in the façade of the later church. The still extant sacristy is also a remnant of this earlier church.
The earlier church was torn down and successively replaced with Gothic style building between 1215 and 1255. Dendrochronological examinations have shown that the latest additions were made in 1280. The nave and choir seem to have been erected during a single period of construction, possibly with the exception for the westernmost part of the nave, which is slightly different in style. A tower was evidently planned for the church but never executed. Influences for the somewhat unusual architecture may have come from nearby Roma Abbey and thus the traditions of Cistercian architecture. The church has remained largely unaltered since the Middle Ages. The large western rose window was however added in the 1880s.
The church seems to have had a special function. It was built close to the location of the thing of all of Gotland, and not far from a Cistercian monastery, Roma Abbey. Unlike a regular church, it had five entrances (instead of three) and its architecture differs from other churches on Gotland. The likeness of the church with that of the Dominicans in Visby (now ruined) is noticeable. There is therefore reason to believe that the church may have been used by the Dominicans, possibly to preach for crusades against non-Christians in what is today the Baltic states.
The interior is characterised by the renovation in Neo-Gothic style from 1902. The interior is relatively dark, and few medieval furnishings survive. The altarpiece and the pews date from 1902. An older altarpiece has been transferred to one of the nave walls; it dates from 1656. A few medieval tombstones are displayed in the church, and the baptismal font is also medieval. Dating from the 13th century, it has no equivalents on Gotland but has more in common with baptismal fonts from Småland and Östergötland from the time.
In the cemetery, there is a bell tower in which three bells hang. Before 1929, these bells belonged to the Swedish-speaking minority village of Gammalsvenskby in Ukraine.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.