Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aalum church / Aalum kirke and Fussingø Slot, Sønderlyng herred, Viborg amt.

Aalum Church, 12 km west of Randers
Aalum sogn, Sønderlyng herred, Viborg amt.

Aalum church is marked by its connection to the Skeel-family's estate Fussingø a few km to the north. The church has a beautiful situation in the hilly landscape with the forests of Fussingø in the background. From the church yard is a magnificent view across the Nørreådalen (river valley) to the steep hills near Ulstrup and Langå. It is characteristic with its brilliant Romanesque south portal. Furthermore has it four rune stones from the 1100s.

The church was built ab. 1150-1200. The red-washed porch and the tower were added in the 1500s and 1600s. Upon the tower are carved two primitive human heads; they can be interpreted as being the building master and the building owner. The original Romanesque windows are walled-in like the northern women's entrance. The south entrance inside the porch is according to the historian Mackeprang one of the highlights of Romanesque granite sculpture, a portal with 2x3 pillars. The significant Mæander-frieze upon the tower is an indication to one of the 1500s architects , the Italian building master Domenicus Badiaz. Albret Skeel's son, Christen Skeel had obviously, as a connection to his father's funeral, sent for the leading architect of the period in 1568 to build the tower under which the family's descendants were buried.

The Gothic vault has been decorated during late Renaissance with frescoes of leaves and flowers in fine artistic quality. They are dated 1641 upon the choir arch. One of the fine Romanesque stone mason works is the baptismal font, a so-called lion font, decorated with four lion bodies, but with only two lion heads. The walled communion table has a vaulted room. The altar piece is a painting from 1854, a copy from Giovanni Bellini in an oak frame designed by G. Bindesbøll . A pulpit with carved year 1601, similar to the pulpit in Vorde with Ionic pillars and star patterns in round arched fields. In the upper section of the nave six carved pews from ab. 1600 with coat of arms. Epitaphs and large portrait grave stones in the church and church wall.

Building master and building owner?

The Romanesque south portal
Aalum has an original connection to the Mid Jutland saint Sct. Kjeld, who was born in the parish. He belonged to a Mid Jutland magnate family with large estates in the beautiful area between Randers and Viborg. He chose a clerical career in the beginning of the 1100s and was attached to Viborg Cathedral. In the civil wars he tried to mediate between the two kings Sven and Knud, but was later chasen out of Viborg. He then went down to the pope in order to have his permission to be a missionary at the Wends. The pope sent him back to Viborg and installed him in his old office as dean of the chapter. Kjeld died in Viborg in 1150, and soon wonders happened by his grave. Archbishop Absalon was told by pope Clemens 3 to investigate the case, which was the cause for Kjeld's salvation. Kjeld was canonized 11. July 1189. Viborg became Sct. Kjeld's pilgrim's town and on his day 11. July was every year a big market in Viborg.

(click to enlarge)
Aalum is famous for its four runestones - and especially the two stones outside by the church wall are unique. Aalum 1 and 2 inside the porch are difficult to decipher, but Aalum 3 and 4 outside have fine inscriptions. Aalum 3 is special ; upon its backside is a warrior on horseback with a shield and a lance (or a banner). The finely shaped inscription is : "Vigot rejste denne sten efter sin søn Esge. Gud hjælpe hans sjæl godt," ("Vigot put up this stone after his son Esge, God help his soul well"), a text bearing witness that Christianity had arrived in Denmark, therefore dated to the 1000s. Aalum 4 belongs to Vigot's stone. The inscription is: " Thyra, Vigots hustru, lod denne sten rejse efter Thorbjørn, Sibbes søn, hendes søstling (søsters søn), som hun holdt mere af end en kær søn." ( Thyra, Vigot's wife put up this stone after Thorbjørn, Sibbe's son, her sisters son, whom she loved more than a son of her own.")

Fussingø Slot (Gjerndrupgård)

The main manor Gjerndrupgård was probably placed at Gjandrup sø. In 1438 and 1455 it was owned by Jens Andersen Kanne; his son-in-law Oluf Sommer relinquished G. in 1460 together with Otte Bøistrup, but in 1462 Oluf Sommer had got estate in G. as a pawn by Mads Pedersen and Bugge Jonsdatter, and in 1466 he got a royal gift letter as the owner of a farm in G. He is written to the farm until 1489, in 1492 he was dead, and G. came to his sons Erik Sommer (1496-99) and Christen Sommer (1503-38) (+ ab. 1540) ,maybe married to Anna Hermansdatter Flemming, who is written to G. The farm burnt down in the civil war (grevefejden); their half sister Anne Sommer probably inherited G.; she was married to Christiern Sandberg, and their daughter Kirsten Sandberg married 1540 Albert/Albret Skeel, who got part in the estate and a few years later became the sole owner after an exchange with Niels Juel of Astrup, who was married to Kirsten Sandberg's sister Anne. As a compensation for the damages Dronningborg Mølle had done, Albret Skeel was in 1559 allowed to move his main farm G. to Fussingø birk (judicial district), and after this the farm Gjerndrupgaard did not exist. Albret Skeel's estate was now in Fussingø birk, and when he built the farm in the middle of the 1550s it was named Fussingø.

After Albret Skeels'd death in 1568 Fussingø belonged to his son rigsråd Christen Skeel(+ 1583), whose widow Margrethe Brahe owned it undtil her death 1614. In the exchange after her in 1617 F. went to the son rigsadmiral Albret Skeel (+ 1639), in 1638 his son Christen Skeel (+ 1659) and his son, stiftsbefalingsmand Mogens Skeel (+ 1694) owned F, in 1688 it was changed into a stamhus ( entailed estate); it came to Mogens Skeel's daughter Charlotte Amalie Skeel (+ 1729), who 1702 married gehejmeråd Christian Ludvig v. Plessen of Glorup (+ 1752). He placed Volstrup By (village) under the main farm and put F. together with Selsø into a stamhus for the family Scheel-Plessen. In 1921 the stamhus F. became a fri ejendom (free property); some outparcelling; in 1939 F. went to grev Carl Scheel-Plessen. As German property F. was in 1946 confiscated by the Danish state, which after having done some outparcelling gave the main part and the forest to Statssskovdirektoratet. Fussingø is now Kunst og Kulturcenter.
The building master of the present main building was the architect Anders Kruse from Horsens who built the stylish and fine house with a use of some of the materials from the old castle. The simple manor was actually built as a summer residence, a Maison-de plaisance where the lord of the manor only stayed for short periods, especially during summertime in order to control his many estates which stretched from Northern Germany to Zealand. The inside of the building is marked by simplicity.

The park surrounds the building on all sides with a large open garden with acacia-, plane- and chestnut-trees. It continues into the Statskoven, which connect the manor with the Romanesque parish church in Ålum. Northwest of the main bulding is the old water mill from the 1600s. The landscape with lakes and forests and with old beeches and oaks and beautiful glades runs into the Gammelhave. (the old garden). Here is the site of Albret Skeels Renaissance castle at the end of a lime avenue, which is a rest of the Baroque garden from the 1700s. The castle ruins are upon a tongue of land in the lake Fussing Sø.

The lime avenue

the ruins at the land tongue

Today Fussingø is an art and culture center with alternate art exhibitions, activities and guided tours all year, arranged by Fussingøgruppen. Christmas is held at Fussingø, activities at Skovens Dag ( The Forest's Day) and Midsummernight's celebrations - furthermore Slotskoncerter and Friluftsgudstjenester (Open Air Services). The Fussingø-group publishes and sells books about Fussingø's history. Fussingø Slot and Estate are owned by Den Danske Stat and attached to Miljøministeriet (environment). The castle is without furniture. It is open in connection to the arrangements of the Fussingø-group and is administered by Skov og Naturstyrelsen. The park and the forest is open to the public and is a popular recreational area.

Fussing Sø

Names in the Middle Ages:
Ålum (* 1231 Alum); Svinding (* 1350 Suinding, 1455 Swinningæ); Venning(* 1187 Wininge, 1485 Wenning); Gjandrup (* 1438 Generup, 1455 Gendrvp, Gændrvp); Volstrupgårde (* 1350 Volstrup); Fussingø (* 1496 Fusingøe).

Fru Mette Friis (of Haraldskær) is mentioned in Venninggård in 1513. She was married to Oluf Nielsen (coat of arms 2 chevrons with 3 lilies) of Fovsing Hovgård (Hjerm herred).

The disappeared Gjandrupgård (* 1460 Gienderupgaard, 1471 Gendrop gord), other disappeared farms in the parish Venninggård (1513 Venninggaard) and Vestergård (1683 Vestergaard) in Ålum. Kjeldsgård was earlier said to have its name from the Saint Kjeld, who was born in Venning ab. 1100.

A sacred well was earlier in Venning bakker. (hills)

When digging a field at Volstrup were in 1876 found 32 German and Netherland speciedalere, the earliest from Geldern 1617.

Listed prehistorics: 47 hills, of which 45 are in the forests of Fussingø, two upon the field east of Ålum. 6 of the hills are rather large, especially Trehøjene at Espelund.
Demolished or destroyed: 17 hills.

Source: Trap Danmark, Viborg amt, 1962.

photo Ålum kirke/Fussingø 2003/2007: grethe bachmann

No comments: