The Churches of Gotland

VALLSTENA

The building history of the church is a bit intricate, as is evident both from the exterior and the interior. At the beginning of the 13th century most of the tower and the nave were built; the fundaments of a little apsidial choir have been found under the floor. Later the tower arch as well as the chancel arch were widened, and the latter, richly profiled, with a wooden torus laid in, was magnificently decorated in a ingeniously varied marmoraceous pattern. This ornament has never been covered with plaster and still has the same intensity of colour as when it was painted some time after the middle of the 13 th century. After some years there came up a project for rebuilding the whole church. A new great choir was built and a new nave was begun, but suddenly it all stopped: only the easternmost part of the nave was finished with a column erected close to the triumphal arch. Perhaps once again the civil war in 1288 brought the building of the church to a standstill. The altar piece is the Träkumla retable on a bigger scale, as it were, from about 1300 (newly painted in 1907). An interesting work of art is the alms-box carved by a member of the staff of the "Öja-master" at the end of the 13th century, showing the three women on their way to the Holy tomb.

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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