Thursday, January 21, 2010
Veng Kloster church / Veng klosterkirke, Hjelmslev herred, Skanderborg amt.
Veng Kloster Church ab. 15 km east of Silkeborg
Veng sogn, Hjelmslev herred, Skanderborg amt.
The tall church, inaugurated to Trinity and originally connected to a Benedictine kloster which was founded by the royal dynasty, is not only Denmark's oldest kloster church but also one of our strangest architectural memorials. The church shows remarkable deviances from the usual Romanesque plan of Danish village churches. It has a choir with a halfcircular apse, a nave, from which eastern part goes two transepts - each in two storeys - and a western tower, which later was broken down to the height of the nave's roof edge. The building is in travertine ashlars. A porch was added in the late Middle Ages outside the south door of the nave, and a tower built above the southern transept, both in monk bricks. The church has several original windows .
The whole church is richly decorated with corbels, pillars, bands, corniches, niches, friezes,capitals etc. The apse has an original half cupola vault. The south door is somewhat re-made, while the north door, which is bricked up, still has its original frame with a thympanum field. Arcades connect the nave to the transepts, which are higher than the nave and they might have been low towers. The square tower with corniches has in its reduced form rests of two storeys. From a low door in the tower room leads a barrel vaulted staircase, which runs out in a winding staircase in the gable. From here is access to the second storey, which was abandoned in the late Middle Ages when the tower room was vaulted.
Almost everything in the building has ideals in eastern English building architecture, and there is no doubt that an English building master was the chief of the building work. More than any other existing church in Denmark this building bears witnesss about the connection across the Northsea, which the Danish church had in the early Middle Ages. Some of the form and decorations are inspired by Anglo Saxon architecture from the time before the Norman Conquest 1066, and this tricked some researchers to date the church to the late 1000s. But most stylistic details are Anglo Normannic, the decoration of the choir is not known in England until ab. 1100, and the characteristic profiles of the altar niche in the second storey of the tower is younger. The building cannnot have started before ab. 1100. The changes of the church since the first building have not damaged the general impression. In the late Middle Ages were built cross vaults in choir, nave, southern transept and tower room. Probably at the same time was added the bell tower above the southern transept. The late Gothic porch was in 1792 equipped with a pretty classistic portal.
There were traces of fine decorations of Romanesque frescoes on the half cupola vault of the apse, in the arcade of the choir and in the chapels of the transepts. Upon the vault of the nave were found decorations. All frescoes have been white-washed. - A walled communion table. Simple altar piece in Renaissance from ab. 1600, in the large field a painting, probably from 1655. Upon the altar has been an embroidered altar cloth from the 1500s with biblical images, which was given to the church by two foreign noble ladies; it is now kept at the National Museum. Upon the altar is Chr. IV's bible from 1633 and heavy ore candelabres from ab. 1700. A stately Romanesque granite font with double lions. A baptismal bowl Nürnberg-work ab. 1550 with engraved coat of arms and year 1623. Pulpit in Renaissance from ab. 1600. Contemporary sounding board, changed 1792. Upon the National Museum is kept an old tower clock work from the church. - Several grave memorials in the church and chapels.
Niels Jonsen Munk willed in 1340 estate in Veng and Vissing parish to Øm kloster, which in 1343 gave him a life's letter on among others Stabel and Søballe. Jens Slet from Breum conveyed 1327 estate in Nr. Vissing to Øm kloster, which his son Niels Slet confirmed 1358. Niels Lille from Vissing is mentioned 1330 and 1339.
Veng kloster was situated at the church; it was a Benedictine kloster established by "Valdemar I's predecessors". In the 1160s was the kloster in decline, there were only three monks and the abbot lead an irregular life. Bishop Svend of Århus therefore made the king transfer Veng kloster in 1166 to the Cistercian monks in Sminge, who were not satisfied with their residence, but they did not grow happier in Veng, since they were harrassed by a fru Margrethe, who wanted to change Veng kloster into a nunnery. In 1168 they moved to Kalvø; in 1217 the pope confirmed Øm kloster as owners of Veng church.
Øm kloster bought in 1236 one third of Venggård in an exchange with Niels Mogensen's sons; it owned in 1554 all Veng. In 1484 and 1492 is mentioned Stig Nielsen of Veng, he was possibly the vasal of the kloster. After the reformation the farm came under Skanderborg Slot, later under the cavalry-district. Later owners Skandorff, Møller Bus, Rosenkrantz. 1942 Johannes Jensen.
At Veng was a sacred well, Skt. Anne kilde, and a sacred well at Søballe.
When digging a grave at the church yard was in 1868 found a skin purse with 43 coins, the earliest from Frederik II.
Names in the Middle Ages:
Veng (* ab. 1150 Weng, 1200s Wøngi); Hårby (* 1264 Horby); Nr. vissing (* 1327 Wising); Søballe (* 1307 Søballj).
Listed prehistorics: A dolmen chamber with cover stone, which originally belonged to a two-chamber longdolmen, southeast of Veng. And 10 hills, of which one at Nr. Vissing is rather large. North of Sophiendal is at a hill 3 Lådnehøje.
Demolished or destroyed: 33 hills and a stone grave east of Nr. Vissing. Early Roman period's graves were found at Veng Nygård and at Nr. Vissing, in last mentioned place was a bronze casserole and a shield handle.
Source: Trap Danmark, Skanderborg amt, 1964.
photo Veng kirke 2002/2006: grethe bachmann