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:
Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.
In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.