Monday, August 17, 2009

Lihme church / Lihme kirke and Kaas, Rødding herred, Viborg amt.

Lihme Church, 22 km northwest of Skive
Lihme sogn, Rødding herred, Viborg amt.

Detail from the Romanesque tower.

Fabulous monster

A magnificent lion

Lihme Church is one of Denmark's oldest stone churches. The impressive church has some fine architectural details inspired by Anglo-Norman church building, but the building brings at the same time witness about the meeting between the Viking Period's ornaments and the early Romanesque building period. The church was built in the period between 1050-1100 and was in 1176 inaugurated to St. Vincentius - a popular saint in England - which is also an indication of the Anglo Norman influence. Maybe the Danish magnate, who let build the church, had been on a trip to England and brought back with him a master builder to build his magnificent church.

The nave and choir are Romanesque, the tower is built ab.1150. The upper section of the tower and the porch are late Gothic from ab. 1450-1500. The nave is in raw granite formed like field stone. The corners are strengthened with granite ashlars like the Romnanesque windows are framed with granite ashlars. On the east corners of the choir are below the roof edge placed some projecting ashlars in the shape of animal figures. Choir and apse are in granite ashlars of a various size from small cleaved field stones up to the classic Jutland rectangular ashlars. The two primitive half pillars tells about the antiquity of the church.

The Romanesque doors are special. Their relief patterns are inspired by the Nordic wooden church decorations and represents the transition between the Viking Period's slyngornamentik and the Romanesque brick patterns of the church. Both doors are preserved in the nave. They are round arched, and especially the walled north portal is interesting because of a rare rundstavsmønster, inspired by early Anglo Norman form (Roll-Billet). The preserved bottom part of the tower has a projecting picture frieze with consols formed like human heads.

Inside the church the Romanesque choir arch is preserved. The apse has a halvkuppelhvælv (half dome vault) and the nave has a beamed ceiling, while the choir in the late Middle Ages was equipped with an octagonal vault and the tower room with a cross vault. In 1983 fragments of a frescoe in the tower room was uncovered, a picture of St. Peder with Himmeriges nøgler (Heaven's keys). In the choir vault are unique frescoes dated 1513. They show strange crosses, bells , vrængemasker (caricatures) and other symbols surrounded by decorative inscriptions, and they remind about Irish motives from the early Middle Ages.

In the choir are two coat of arms of Niels Friis and the Catholic bishop in Viborg, Erik Kaas, who was a descendant from the manor Kaas by Lihme. The communion table is walled and plastered. The altar piece is Renaissance from about 1600. Upon the altar chalice is engraved the coat of arms of Jens Hvas of Kaas and Ingeborg Kruse. The pulpit is Renaissance with allegoric paintings from the 1700s. The upper pew gables are painted with the year 1642 and the paternal and maternal coat of arms of fru Jytte Høeg. The finest inventory is the Romanesque granite font. It is a large font from the 1100s with high reliefs showing man's fight with more or less wild looking animals.

At Venø Bugt

Kaas Manor is placed only a few km west of the church in the pretty hilled Limfjordslandscape at Venø Bugt. The building owner of Lihme church probably lived at the stormandsgård (magnate's farm) which later became Kaas Manor.

Source: Trap Danmark Viborg amt, 1962 , Niels Peter Stilling, Danmarks kirker, 2000.
photo 2005: grethe bachmann.

Kaas Manor

Kaas Manor
Lihme sogn, Rødding herred, Viborg amt.

The old manor Kaas is placed upon a small peninsula stretching from Salling out to the west towards Jegindø, Thyholm and Venø. Here is a broad view over the bays and straits of Limfjorden - here is a small wind-swept forest by a shining lake - here is field and meadow, heath and strand. The manor is situated in a lonely area far from the beaten track, but it's a pretty place with a varied nature. Although the manor is one of the oldest in the country - and although it has belonged to several important noble families, it never grew into a grand and impressive manor house.

During Erik Menved's period the manor belonged to hr. Jens Nielsen Kaas, a respected man - the family Kaas with a Sparre (chevron) in their coat of arms descended from him. His father was hr. Niels Lendi. (Niels Lendi had a daughter Margrethe Nielsdatter Lendi who was married to hr. Anders Stigsen Hvide of Møllerup; they had two famous sons, Offe Andersen of Torup and Randrup and hr. Stig Andersen of Tygestrup, Bjørnholm, Bistrup and Stenalt). The descendants of Jens Nielsen Kaas took their name after the manor. His son Jens Kaas, and his son of the same name and his son Nisse Kaas probably owned the manor, since Nisse Kaas' son Jens Kaas was known to be the owner in the years 1408-29.

The last mentioned Jens Kaas had among several children also a son hr. Niels Kaas, landsdommer (High Court Judge) and rigsråd, (councillor of State); who was also the owner of Kaas; one of his descendants was Chr. IV's famous rigskansler (chancellor) Niels Kaas.
Niels Kaas' sister was married to Thomes Jensen Kaas of Gravlev (who lived until ab. 1510); she was or became the real owner of the manor and was together with her husband the first ancestors of the Mur-Kaas family.

During grevens fejde (civil war) the manor burnt down. The owner, landsdommer Jens Hvas was executed 1536 for his collaboration with Skipper Clement, and his estate went to the Crown. The heirs kept Kaas though - and after a complicated process the old manor came to rigsråd Niels Krag of Trudsholm (+1650), who let build the Renaissance main building in 1635. In the following centuries one owner succeeded the other, but in 1914 the manor was sold to a descendant of the Kaas-family, arkivar (keeper of the archives) Henrik E. Kaas (Mur-Kaas) who let the main building have a thorough repair. In 1923 it was sold again and became later a holding company.

The main building is listed in class A . It is placed upon a low bank close to Limfjorden surrounded by almost dry moats. The large building is according to an inscription built in 1635 by Niels Krag. On the northeastern corner was once a tower which probably disappeared in a rebuild in the end of the 1800s. A low half-timbered wing origins from the same period . The building which burnt down during grevens fejde was probably placed to the east. In the garden were foundations from a Renaissance building with re-used Romanesque church ashlars.

Kaashoved at the beach

Names in the Middle Ages and 1600s:
Lihme (* 1176 Limum, 1410 Lyme); Ålbæk (* 1440 Aalbeck, 1487 Albek); Smedemark (1524 Smydi marck); Vadum (* beg. of 1200s Wathum); Sønderhede (1505 Sønderheede); Øster Hærup (1563 Øster Herup); Vester Hærup (1524 Hærop, 1563 Vester Herop); Sindinggårde (1524 Synding); Svingårdsted (1524 Swyndgardzstedt, 1563 Suingardsti); Kås (*1302 Kaas, 1408 Koos gardh); Trærup (1563 Trerup); Nørhede (1531 Nørrehede); Bavnsgård (1570 Bouens Mark, 1664 Bauens Gaardt).

The pretty, listed Kaas skov (forest) is situated to the west, very exposed to wind and weather. It is mostly oak thicket, which is only 6-7 meter tall on the lee side. The largest part of Kaas estate is listed, also Kaas hede (heath).

Listed prehistorics: A narrow dolmen chamber at Kås mark, 2 longhills, 55 and 70 m long, at Nørhede and Ålbæk, and 41 hills. Upon the listed Kaas hede are 18 hills, most medium large. Large are Vendalhøj at Sønderhede, one of Mejldalhøje at Lihme and 3 hills at Kaas mark.
Demolished or destroyed: a stone chamber and 107 hills, of which the large Jehøj at Vadum. In a hill at Hærup was found a grave from early Bronze Age with sword and a bronze axe. - Along the coast are several smal kitchen middens.

Trap Danmark, Viborg amt, 1962; Danske slotte og herregårde, bd. 12, Nordvestjylland.

photo Lihme kirke/Kaas 270702: grethe bachmann

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