The Churches of Gotland

FOLE

A reliable document tells us that the church was consecrated in 1280. This applies to the present building, a beautiful piece of early Gothic architecture with power and elasticity in the curvatures of the portals and stylized foliage ornaments. But it was a result of several building periods. The oldest preserved detail is the framework of the door to the vestry, which, was originally the chancel portal of a little 12th century church with an apse. To this a tower was added about 1200, still standing. It opens to the nave with a double arch. Note the remarkable sculptures on its column capital: a saint enthroned, a buffoon standing on his hands and a buck and a lion, whose heads meet in a corner, and in the fourth corner an eagle biting over the curve of the capital. These are motifs characteristic of the stone master called "Calcarius" (about 1190-1230); his material was limestone, not sandstone as previously, hence his cognomen. The grotesque figures appear, too, on the base of the baptismal font, which is the only font by the master left in Gotland (others are known from Slesvig, Ostergötland and Norrland). Johannes Bartsch from Visby painted the altar piece in 1654. The pews are on the whole from the early 18th century and the pulpit is dated 1751.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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