Sunday, July 26, 2009

Voer church / Voer kirke and Voergård, Dronninglund herred, Hjørring amt.

Voer Church, ab. 12 km southwest of Sæby
Voer sogn, Dronninglund herred, Hjørring amt.

A view to the Ingeborg Skeel's Kapel


Voer Church was originally a Romanesque granite church from the middle of the 1100s, built in big ashlars, but the additions from the 1400s and the 1500s has changed its looks immensely. The porch from the 1400s is dangerously askew - and the tower is built in the beginning of the 1500s. The building owner was probably the residing bishop of Voergård, Stygge Krumpen.

A large building on the south side marks the connection to Voergård. It is the so-called Ingeborg Skeel's Kapel from the 1500s, which is really worth seeing. The family-coffins were put down on the church yard in the 1950s and at the same time was built the simple glass screening to the chapel which is dominated by Ingeborg Skeel and Otte Banner's great sandstone epitaph upon the south wall. The epitaph is a part of Ingeborg Skeel's building works - and at the same time she let her paternal home extend to one of Denmark's most beautiful Renaissance castles.

NB September 2009: Extract from news about Voer Church on Voer parish- web-side: Voer church has in the period from April 2005 and one year forward gone through a total renovation of the inside of the church. It is now bright and inviting with fresh new colours. All historical inventory have been refreshened. The floor of the choir has been raised and thus is avoided one step from porch to nave and one up to the choir; the church is now more handicap-friendly. The renovation was necessary, when the parocial church council noted that one of the vaults of the choir cracked seriously. It showed that the eastern gable had subsided and might fall out. Since the inside of the church had not been renovated since 1942, the church council decided to renovate this too. From the inventory was the altar piece and the frescoes renovated. The Augustinus Fond and A.P. Møller and hustrus Fond have covered the expenses for the renovation of altar piece and frescoes. .

In the choir are frescoes with the coat of arms of Rosenkrantz, Lindenow and Arenfelt. The last mentioned family came into the possesion of Voergård after Ingeborg Skeel. The pews from 1621 with the coat of arms of Jørgen Arenfelt and wife Rigborg Lindenow. The oldest artifact in the church is the Romanesque granite font, which is equipped with a drain in the foot of the basin. The crumbled relief on the font represents a primitive human figure with an accentuation of the private parts. It is supposed to be a bogey or maybe a reminder from the 1100s of fertility. The pulpit is in High-Renaissance originally placed asa lektorium(gallery placed between pulpit and choir. In the door to the porch is a Renaissance door-wing.

In the historic corner between the porch and the burial vault are several headstones and tablets for Voergård's various owners. In the wall of the chapel is a bronze tablet for Voergård's last owner grev Oberbech-Clausen who in 1955 sold his French wine chateaus and brought his art treasures to Voergård. He established a fond which is running the estate and which purpose it is to preserve this place and its treasures in future and with access to the public.

Names in the Middle Ages and 1600s:
Voer (1408 Worthssochn); Voergård (1* 1481 Worde gaardtt); Idskov (1355 Øster Egyskough, 1408 Egheskowgh); Flavenskjoled (1578 Flavinskød, 1662 Flavenschal); Bunkerne (1688 Boncherne); Dyssevad (1408 Dusiwad); Vester Gårdsholt ( 1578 Westergardsholt); Tranget (1578 Trangid); Endel ( 1578 Endeliden); Togårde ( 1610 Tougaarde); Overgård ( 1662 Offuergrd); Rykind ( 1578 Røckind); Strudsholm ( 1662 Struszholm); Bjeldbakke ( 1688 Bild Bachen); Åbolt ( 1578 Avbolid, 1662 Aabolt); Volbro ( 1578 Volbrof); Bøgeskovhale ( 1578 Bisschoufhale, 1662 Bøgschov Hael); Svinhave ( 1662 Svinhofen); Krogen (1355 Krogyn); Mølkær ( 1688 Molkier); Skovmølle (1688 Schouf Mølle).

Idskov is probably Egskov where the væbner Jens Thomsen Galskyt is mentioned in 1468-78. In 1501 Niels Eilersen Juel (Krabbe-J.) was the owner, in 1514 together with his wife Johanne Madsdatter.

A farm Øster Egeskov is possibly also identical to Idskov; it was conveyed by Knud Stigsen Hvide, who inherited it from his uncle (avunculus) Esge Knudsen and after his parents, to hr. Nicolaus Limbek (+ latest 1373).

Listed prehistorics: 21 hills, all in the higher part of the parish (Agersted); rather large are Lundehøj and the western hill of two Ellehøje.
Demolished or destroyed: 22 hills, mainly around Agersted.

At Agersted was found a depot with 45 flint daggers. At Volbro two bronze necklaces, at Bjerghuse an Iron Age urn-burial site and at Agersted a claypot-grave.

Voergård Castle

The bridge and the broad moat

In 1518 the main farm in the medieval village Voergård was bought by the bishop of Børglum Niels Stygge Rosenkrantz. The estate was since handed over to the last Børglum-bishop Stygge Krumpen, who probably built a part of the Gothic north wing, a relatively simple hunting house. In the upper floor are still rests of a watchman's gallery with gun slits. Voergård was like many other manors attacked and partly destroyed by Skipper Clement's peasant army in 1534. According to tradition Stygge Krumpen was at Børglum during the attack and he succeeded in fleeing together with his mistress, Elsebeth Gyldenstierne - first hiding in a baking oven. He was later imprisoned in 1536 when the reformation was carried through. Voergård came to the Crown after the reformation, but Frederik II sold it in 1578 to Karen Krabbe, widow of Niels Skeel. Shortly after she handed over the manor to her daughter Ingeborg Skeel who was married to Otte Banner of Asdal. After his death in 1585 Ingeborg Skeel began the building of her magnificent Renaissance palace.

Ingeborg Skeel is one of the most hard-working ghosts in the country, she haunts Voergård each night. There are lots of rumours and stories about her. According to legend she was money-grubbing, stingy and cruel. She cut the fingers off the peasant children who stole corn in the field. She also pushed her building master into the moat to avoid giving him any money for his work. Lots of terrible rumours were told, but it has been contradicted by the written material which tells about an energetic and upright Lady of the Manor who established a hospital for the poor, extended the churches in the area and gave economic assistance to the troubled peasants. She worked in general for improvements in the farm work.

But this might be the old story about "The Ugly Duckling" and Janteloven (The Law of Jante). She was an intelligent and strong woman and probably too advanced and too odd for the superstitious and narrow-minded peasants, who after her death were sure that "fru Ingeborg followed her husband to hell", but returned every night scaring the servants out of their mind, when she put out the candles with her icy breath from the grave. At last a vicar succeeded in luring her ghost into a moor where she was put down and held with poles. But Ingeborg's ghost was not easy to get the better of. She is still haunting Voergård where people have to keep every door open - or else the evil lady will make a noise through the whole house by night. It is said that she comes closer to the castle every New Year's Eve, one crowfoot more each year. When she reaches the castle it will fall into ruins.

Voergård is first of all marked by the fine west wing built in 1586-91 with Ingeborg Skeel as the building owner - one of the prettiest examples of the love of display from the Renaissance-period. The decoration of the front has no parallels in Denmark. The most striking work of art on the western front is the magnificent sandstone portal from 1588. Above are inscription tablets with the year 1588 and the coat of arms of Ingeborg Skeel and her late husband Otte Banner (+1585). Above this is the monogram of king Frederik II. In the old north wing are preserved to original halls from the bishop-period and in the barrel vaulted cellars is the terrible dungeon Rosedonten.

After long-lasting fights among Ingeborg Skeel's heirs Voergård came ab. 1686 to the family Reedtz, who sold it again in 1791 - and after this time Voergård had various owners. In 1955 it was sold to the Danish-French count Oberbech-Clausen, who was some adventurer. He had been living in France where he was married to a very rich widow on a wine chateau - and when she died he inherited the big estate and a richly furnished palais in Paris. He saw to a thorough modernization of Voergård and supplied it with valuable contents from the palais in Paris. In the old bishop's wing he established a chapel for the Danish province of the Maltesians. Oberbech-Clausen was romersk rigsgreve. (Roman Count of State?)

Voergård is placed upon a large square motte surrounded by the broadest water-filled moats in Denmark. On the western side of the motte is a walled bridge across the moat where renovations in 1955 showed rests of the original bridge. The motte is surrounded by a park with grottos and glasshouses, rose- and perrenial gardens and a big herbal garden. There is public access to the main building and the park.

Other legends about Voergård:
In a glasscase upon the castle is the skin from a wild boar which was killed in the 1700s. When the boar was hunted down on the border between Hundslund (now Dronninglund) and Voergård, a lesser feud started and the result was that the hunting lodge was split in two parts. Voergård got the skin. According to the legend the skin must never be removed or else the castle will fall into ruins.

From the castle dungeons ,which was still in use in 1840, are listening-channels so people in the castle rooms could hear what the prisoners were talking about. It is said that on occassions the voices of the regretful prisoners are still heard.

In the north eastern tower room is a smudge upon the floor coming from someone who was killed. The smear is impossible to remove which is a proof that an innocent was killed here. For many years the smudge was forgotten, but during a restoration of the room in 1997 it turned up again., when many layers of varnish were grinded off. In spite of several grindings the smudge showed again after a few days.

Source: Trap Danmark, Hjørring amt, 1960; Niels Peter Stilling, Danmarks kirker , 2000.Niels Peter Stilling, Danmarks slotte og herregårde, 1998; Jytte Ortmann: Slotte og herregårde i Danmark, 2000

photo Voer Church/Voergård 2003: grethe bachmann

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