The oldest part of the Stemkumla church is the tower. It was erected at the beginning of the 13th century. Originally it was attached to a Romanesque church dating from the 12th century, but this was replaced with the current church in stages. The choir thus dates from the middle of the 13th century, while the nave of the church was built at the beginning of the 14th century. The church has remained largely unaltered since the Middle Ages.
The almost square nave is supported by a single central pillar. The walls are decorated with church frescos from the 15th century, made by the so-called Master of the Passion of Christ. The frescos depict the Passion of Christ in one set, and another depicts four female saints, probably Saint Bridget, Saint Elizabeth, Saint Barbara, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret The windows of the nave contain fragments of the original stained glass window panes, as do the windows of the choir. There is another set of frescos in the choir, dating from the 13th century. They depict Saint Lawrence, Saint Peter, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Paul. The choir also contains a wooden tabernacle, dated to the 14th century. Under the chancel arch between the choir and nave, a triumphal cross from the late 12th century is placed; it has been described as the finest piece of art in the church. It was made for the earlier, Romanesque church. It depicts Christ nailed to the cross only through his hands; the feet hang free and in fact are covered with shoes. Other church fittings are from the post-Reformation era, such as the sandstone altarpiece, made in 1681. The pulpit is from the middle of the 17th century and the baptismal font from the 18th century. The church also contains two runestones, dating from the 11th century.
The church cemetery contains the grave of Konrad Petterson Lundqvist Tector, a robber and murderer who was beheaded outside the church on 18 May 1876.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.