The Churches of Gotland


The church was consecrated some time between 1291 and 1304 by Bishop Laurence of Linköping. This consecration must apply to the nave. The oldest part is the tower from the mid-thirteenth century and the latest is the choir from the middle of the following century; its portal, though, originally belonged to the nave, where its contours can be seen in the wall. We have good reason to believe that a stone-built church stood on this site already in the 11th century: in the south wall has been preserved an ornamental frieze in the style of the late Viking-period; a recorded date, 1058, could possibly be applicable to that church. It was rebuilt at the beginning of the 13th century and was provided with vaults and short columns with capitals sculptured by "Calcarius". Lengthened, these were used again in the new nave. The interior is richly decorated with mural paintings, of which those in the nave were executed at the time of dedication. Beside the pulpit we see St Michael weighing the soul of Henry II, a clumsy copy of the big painting by the "Michael master" in Vamlingbo. On the northern wall is an uncommon and startingly early representation of St Nicholas saving a ship from peril at sea, brought on by the beautiful sea-witch, swimming in the waves. The vault painting in the choir is not of the Gotlandic type but has its counterparts in the region of the Lake Mälaren. The "Passion master", too, has been at work in the nave. The Holy Rood is a very fine work of art from the middle of the 13th century.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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