The Churches of Gotland

TINGSTÄDE

The oldest part of the church is the nave, from about 1200, which was built or at any rate got its stone sculptures made by the master "Calcarius": the fine eagle capitals in the south portal and the figures of the mid column, a jester standing on his head, a buck and the Thorn-extractor, a medieval descendant of the well-known antique statue, which came to be interpreted in different ways, for instance as a warning against unchastity. To this nave originally belonged an apsidial choir, the portal of which, with an Agnus Dei in the tympanum, has been preserved as entrance to the vestry. The lower parts of the huge tower with the stately Romanesque portal and the galleries was erected at the middle of the 13th century; the upper storeys were added in the following century. The saints on the tower walls were painted at the beginning of the 14th century; they were partly covered about 1700 by the painting showing Christ expelling the money-changers from the Temple; from the same time is the vault decoration. The weathered font is a work by master "Majestatis"; its cover is a reconstruction of a medieval one and the hoistbeam is a copy of the medieval original in Gotlands fornsal. At the pillar of the tower arch stands the former Holy Rood, resting on a carved pedestal in the form of a dragon- a prominent work of art from the beginning of the 14th century. The altar piece was decorated in 1780 by Johan Weller, who also painted the parapets of the old organ gallery, now hanging on the nave walls.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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