Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ørsted church / Ørsted kirke and Stenalt, Rougsø herred, Randers amt.

Ørsted Church, 17 km east of Randers
Ørsted sogn, Rougsø herred, Randers amt

A Romanesque frieze with Christ and the apostles on the walled-in priest door.

The Romanesque church-which was built in 1150-1200 - with choir and nave in granite ashlars, is the most important in Rougsø herred (district). It is placed in the southern part of the village upon a church yard, which to the west is bounded by a beautiful half-timbered old school wing, where the southern section is a medieval church barn, listed in class B. The tower and the tall porch was built in 1450-1500. Upon the south side of the choir is a little walled-in spedalskheds-vindue (window for the leprous) .The picture work upon the portals are among the richest in Jutland, made by the Djursland stone mason master Horder. The two richly decorated portals are from the first building period.

Upon the triumfvæggen is a simple Gothic frescoe of Saint Olav, painted ab. 1400. Or else the interior shows a rich selection of aristocratic inventory from the Renaissance period as a memorial for the owners of Stenalt. A front panel upon the communion table has the year 1613 with the coat of arms of Anne Krabbe and her husband upon the frame. The pulpit is early Renaissance from 1570-80 with the coat of arms of Bjørn Andersen Bjørn. The two manor stools in the upper section of the church have richly carved gables from 1604 with the coat of arms of Jakob Bjørn and Anne Krabbe and covers with portrait figures of the two founders. The other well-preserved stool gables are from the same period. Below the choir arch is an inscription tablet saying that Anne Krabbe in 1631 gave a silver chalice and silver counter.

The south portal made by Master Horder. In the bottom right corner is probably a founders' picture : a landlord and an elegantly dressed woman. The other picture stones show the Fall. In the thympanum field two wild beasts are fighting.

In the choir wall is a magnificent ligsten (grave stone) with portrait figures of Bjørn Andersen (+ 1583) and his two wives Sidsel Ulfstand and Karen Friis. In the tower is a crumbled stone for the son Jakob Bjørn (+1596) and wife Anne Krabbe (+1618). Other grave stones are for Laurids Mus and his wife Mette Nielsdatter Rosenkrantz (+1436) with a portrait of Mette only, and one for Anders Jacobsen Bjørn (+1490) and his wife Anne Lauridsdatter Mus, both in the tower room - besides several big gravestones upon the church yard at the north side of the church. In the nave is an epitaph of parish priest Thøger Ferslev (+1670) and his second wife Gertrud Jensdatter. The church was restored several times in the present - and a very thorough restoration in 1956.

Under the choir arch is an inscription table, announcing that Anne Krabbe 1631 "gave a chalice and a bowl in silver and let make a new chalice from the old chalice" . This chalice is one of the most magnificent in Denmark from the 1400s and is possibly of Swedish origin. In 1961 a new cup was fit on. In the nave is a big ore chandelier from 1588. The church ship is from 1723.

The double twisted rope is characteristic for the portals and baptismal fonts which especially are known from Djursland. They are ascribed to a stone mason named Horder. The inscription HORDERUS is found on a medieval rune stone (gravestone) in the nearby manor Løvenholm (now on the National Museum). It is not known if Horderus is a personal name or the name of a cloister office. But the double twisted rope gives an indication of time, the last half of the 1100s.

Stenalt Manor

Stenalt, villa-style (Palladian)

Randers fjord

see also the special article about Stenalt which holds more information about the owners and about Stenalt today.

The manor Stenalt is situated in a landscape named Rougsø Herred (district) - which is almost an island bounded by Randers fjord and Kattegat. The manor is mentioned in the early Middle Ages where it was owned during a big part of this period by the family Bjørn. Its present main building in adapted villa-style makes a strange impression in the flat green landscape and tells nothing about the age of the manor.

The medieval Stenalt (Stenholt) was placed ab. 1400 m east of the now existing manor in a low swampy terrain filled with bogs and meadows north of the so-called Tangkær and not far from the village Ørsted. In Danske Atlas the place is mentioned as "some etstate outside the farm on Ørsted Mark"(field). The first known owner was Bo Leigel who in 1375 sold the farm to Jens Mus (he still lived 1406) whose sons Laurits and Strange Mus inherited the farm, Strange Mus later gave his brother the whole inheritance. In 1433 Laurits Mus had from Erik of Pommern confirmed his right of ownership of Stenalt.

In Ørsted Church was earlier a ligsten/oblong portrait stone from 1436 of Laurits Mus and his wife Mette Rosenkrantz. Since Laurits Mus did leave no sons Stenalt came with the daughter Anne (+1581) to Anders Jacobsen Bjørn (+1490) of the famous Hvide-family. Anders Bjørn had a feud with the owner of the neighbouring estate Gammel Estrup about some meadows and fishing in Gudom(Randers) Fjord. His and his wife's demolished portrait stone is in Ørsted Church. The son Bjørn Andersen who was married to Anna Friis and known from the killing of Poul Laxmand, continued the feud about the rights to the meadows and fishing in Randers fjord. In 1494 king Hans awarded him both rights, but in spite of this decision the feud continued in the future.

After the death of Bjørn Andersen his sons Henrik and Anders Bjørnsen became the owners of Stenalt. Anders Bjørnsen , whose wife was Anna Gjordsdatter Drefeld, died ab. 1550, their son Bjørn Andersen den Yngre (Young) (* 1532), became the most important man of the family, the holder of many important offices and the owner af several large estates, among others Vitskøl Kloster, which he rebuilt and gave the name Bjørnsholm. He was married twice 1) Sidsel Ulfstand (+1556), 2) Karen Friis. Bjørn Andersen died in 1583 an was buried in Værum Church. The grave stone in Ørsted Church with a relief of him and his two wives must be considered a memorial stone.

Portrait stone for Bjørn Andersen Bjørn

It was very likely Bjørn Andersen who built the old, now disappeared main building. It was a two-storey three-winged building, it had a chapel and was surrounded by broad moats. Above the castle gate was a stone with the names and coat of arms of Bjørn Andersen, Karen Friis and Sidsel Ulfstand. Karen Friss continued probably the building work, since the king in 1587 ordered a delivery of 200 Gotland balks to her. The son of first marriage, Jakob Bjørn, inherited Stenalt after his father's death. He was a widely travelled and learned man, but hardly as learned as his wife Anna Krabbe (+ 1618), a daughter of Erik Krabbe of Bustrup and fru Margrethe Reventlow of Søbo. Jakob Bjørn died childless 1596.

The present main building in Italian villa style (Palladian)is listed in class B - it is placed upon Bjørn Andersen's motte, and it was built in 1799 by Preben Brahe Schack. The house is yellow washed with white architectonic details.

In 1623 was a runic stone in Stenalt's garden. Fru Anne Krabbe had brought it there from a nearby hill, it was later cleaved and used as building material. In 1913 a piece of the stone was discovered in the farm yard at Christianslund - and it is now upon the lawn in the garden at Stenalt. The original inscription was: "Asser Stufs søn rejste denne sten efter sin søn Broder." (Asser Stuf's son raised this stone after his son Broder.")

Source: Danske slotte og herregårde, Djursland, bd. 14; Trap Danmark, Randers amt, 1963.
photo 2003: grethe bachmann

Names in the Middle Ages:
Ørsted (* 1349 Ørstedtt, 1408 Ørsthet); Hevring (1466 Heffringhby); Bode (1408 Bodhæ); Hollandsbjerg (* 1423 Hollandzbierg, 1456 Hollensbergh); Lille Sjørup ( * 1492 Wester Siørup, 1509 Lili Sørop); Stenalt ( *1375 Stienholtt, 1437 Stenholt).

A sacred well is near Hevring mølle.

In the parish was a village Årup (* 1468 Arup Mark). Its name is still in Årup dam and Årup Elle west of Hevring. In the end of the 1600s is mentioned Høkergård (1683 Høckergaarden).

Listed prehistorics: there are no listed prehistorics in the parish, but there have been 4 hills. There was a kitchen midden east of Ørsted and north of the town were found several graves from early Roman Iron Age. A rich grave is also known from Ørsted from early Germanic Iron Age with bøjlenåle (a kind of brooch), clay pots, glass- and amber pearls.

Source: Niels Peter Stilling: Politikens bog om Danmarks kirker; Trap Danmark Randers amt, 1963.

photo Ørsted kirke & Stenalt: 2003 / 2007: grethe bachmann

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