Damsgård Manor is a landmark manor and estate in Bergen, Norway. It is noted for its distinct rococo style and is possibly the best preserved wooden building from 18th-century Europe.
The area surrounding the manor was most likely populated during the Viking era or earlier, but literary evidence shows it was a population center in 1427, listed as church property. Following the Reformation in 1536, the estate was taken over by the crown and then sold to foreign interests.
The name is most likely derived from Dam Tønneson, who in 1654 inherited the farm from his father Tønnes Klausson, who in turn received it from Frederick II of Denmark due to his service during the Northern Seven Years' War. The oldest sections of the structure, however, are probably from around 1720, when Severin Seehusen (1664-1726) owned the estate. At the time, the buildings were painted bright red and green. An estimate for the main house from 1731 exists and indicates the general layout of the structure. By all accounts, the estate was a year-round farm and a recreational property.
Joachim Christian Geelmuyden Gyldenkrantz (1730-1795), later knighted Gyldenkrantz, took over the farm in 1769 and quickly began the Rococo construction that exists to this day. He also rebuilt the main house to face the maritime approach to Bergen. Shortly after Gyldenkrantz died, the property was sold to Herman Didrich Janson, one of the wealthiest men of his time. He only completed minor external changes but thoroughly renovated the interior of the houses. The Janson family maintained ownership of the estate until 1983, when it was taken over by Vestlandske kunstindustrimuseum, which embarked on a 10-year restoration effort. It was put on the protected list, and Bergen Museum took over the estate.
Damsgård is one of the few buildings of the rococo architectural style in Norway, and is unusual as a rococo wooden structure in Europe. The facade of the main building exaggerates the dimensions of the house itself, and two windows are painted on to create symmetry. The building's interior layout has been restored to its original, early 18th century plan, and the interior to the different eras of Damsgård's history.
The estate has two gardens inside its walls and one outside. The eastern garden, located inside the walls, is known as the 'Master's garden', the western garden, also located inside the walls, is known as the 'Mistress's garden', while the garden outside the walls is known as the 'English garden'. After decades of detoriation, the gardens were restored to their 18th century state in 1998. Botanists from the University of Bergen helped decide which vegetables and flowers would be grown to make them as much like the original gardens as possible.
The eastern garden, also known as the Lord's garden, is strictly symmetric, with six squares of plants and pathways of white shingle. The western garden, known as the Lady's garden, is far less symmetric, with two ponds and a small statue of Neptune spouting water into one of the ponds. Both these gardens are surrounded by walls. This is not the case with the English garden. Laid out in the 18th century, it only became an English garden around 1830. This garden contains a small stream and a path, and is open all year.
The museum of Damsgård is open to the public by tour only.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.