Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rye church / Rye kirke, Tyrsting herred, Skanderborg amt.


Rye church, 12 km northwest of Skanderborg
Rye sogn, Tyrsting herred, Skanderborg amt.

Rye church has a late Gothic longhouse with a modern porch to the north and a free-standing tower from 1912 east of the choir gable. The present late Gothic building is only a fragment of an almost cathedral-like church, and its complicated history all through the Middle Ages has its background in the pilgrimage to Sct. Sørens Kilde (spring) in Rye Sønderskov. At the place of the present church stood a small Romanesque church in granite boulder, granite ashlars and hard pan. This modest building was in the 1400s extended in several stages with a three-sided choir section, cross arms with three-sided altar rooms, with the now present nave, which was built in two building periods and finally with a large tower, which against usual custom was placed at the eastern end of the choir instead of the three-sided altar section - and with a new main altar under the tower vault. Thus the building achieved a full lenght of about 52 m and a broadth across the cross arms of 33 m. After the stop of the pilgrimages at the reformation the large building declined, and in 1637 -39 the "cross churches" were broken down. The upper section of the tower was damaged by fire in 1660, and in 1699 it was removed together with the eastern section of the church up to the present choir gable, which at this point was re-walled with various material, among others with several ashlars from the Romanesque building.



The present longhouse building is, except the eastern gable, built in red monk bricks in two halfs. The earliest from the first half of the 1400s are the two eastern bays with plinth of re-used granite aslars -below the cornice is a four-leaf clover frieze in black-glazed stones. To the north and south are walled-in pointed doors and large profiled pointed windows, partly out-walled with cast iron frames in the 1800s. Two cross vaults are from the first building period. Two buttresses stand by the western gable, while the others have been removed, they are traceable in the wall work. The small porch at the north door was built in the end of the 1800s. Upon the foundations of the old choir-tower was in 1911-12 built a new free-standing tower in large hand-made stones and with a high pyramid roof, designed by architect Hack Kampmann. In connection to the tower building was digged up the foundation of the disappeared eastern section, which is now marked as banks in the terrain.

The altar piece is a fine carved work in late Renaissance from 1630, put up by Herman Hansen and Anna Nielsdatter, Rye mølle(mill), with a painting from 1882. It was repaired in 1930. Old paintings from the 1700s hang in the church. Altar chalice from 1686 with the coat of arms of Ahlefeldt and Urne and the initials H. AF.-H.W. Two small, but heavy late Gothic candelabres, resting upon lion figures ; a larger candelabre, also late Gothic, was later equipped with 6 light-arms. Rests of an altar cloth with silver-embroidered year 1787 is preserved. A Gothic thurible from the beginning of the 1400s. A late Gothic, fine, but very skinny choir arch-crucifix from ab. 1520. A Romanesque granite font with lions of the Låsby-Vinderslev type, placed upon a new foot. A Netherland basin ab. 1625. The pulpit is a simple and heavy Renaissance work from 1632. Church ship: the brig "Johanne" from 1897. In the tower is a clockwork, which originally came from Frederiksborg slotskirke.



There are several grave memorials in the church. From Øm kloster two late Gothic grave stones: 1) portrait stone from ab. 1490, placed by abbot Christiern for bishop Svend, + 1191, a year 1183 refers to the bishop's will in favour of the kloster. 2) the last abbot of Øm kloster, Petrus Severinus (Peder Sørensen), + 1554, with emblem shield. In the wall of the tower is inserted a figure stone over Jens Hansen, Rye mølle, + 1665. It was found during the tower building. In the bottom room of the tower is preserved a grave tree, shaped like a tree trunk. Earlier were several like this in the church yard. Another is in "Den Gamle By" (Old Town) in Århus.



Øm kloster's (* ab. 1170 Carainsula, Øm, 1219, Øm) earliest history was written down by some monks in 1207-67: Exordium Carae Insulae, and is one of the most captivating Danish papers from the Middle Ages (translated by Jørgen Olrik in 1932). Ab. 1160 bishop Eskil of Århus agreed with abbot Henrik of Vitskøl (Vitae Scholae) to establish a Cisterciensian kloster in Århus stift.(district). It was established 16/2 1165 in Sminge, but the conditions were not good, and in 1166 the monks moved to the decayed Benedictine kloster in Veng, but here they were harrassed by an aristocratic lady and moved in 1168 to Kalvø. At last they found a permanent place in 1172 upon the landtongue, which separates Gudensø (lake ) from Mossø (lake). Here was Øm kloster established, consegrated to Virgin Mary and named cara insula, "the dear island". The first three abbots came from England, Germany and France and were closely connected to Vistskøl kloster, the 7.th abbot was Gunnar (1216-22), who later became bishop in Viborg and is remembered for his work with Jyske Lov (Jutland law) from 1241 (Valdemar Sejr's Jyske Lov). The Århus bishops Svend (+ 1191) and Peder Elafsøn (+ 1246) supported the kloster, and the last mentioned was buried in the new church, which at this time replaced the earliest buildings.


view from Rye church

Shortly after a feud started with the bishopric about the bishop's right to visit the kloster. This culminated in that the bishop in Veng church excommunicated abbot Bo and everyone, who addressed him abbot, whereafter the abbot at once stood up and released all from the excommunication. The abbot was supported by the pope, but the bishop by the king and the queen dowager. The chronicle ends here unfortunately, before the feud was settled, but probably has the kloster been forced to acknowledge the bishop's right to visit, whereafter the king in return acts as the protector of the kloster in 1270.

After the end of the chronicle (Exordium Carae Insulae) were only informations about the abbots and the estate history of the kloster. It was one of the richest manor klosters in the country, and it had estates far and wide. After the reformation Øm kloster was still in the management of an abbot, but from 1538 the Sorø-abbot had the supervision. In 1560 Øm kloster came under Bygholm (castle), and the buildings were changed into the royal castle Emborg, where Frederik II stayed for long periods in 1559-61. Emborg had to become a main residence in Jutland, but however the king preferred Skanderborg (castle), and 6/10 1561 he commanded that Emborg church and other attached buildings had to be demolished, and the materials had to be used in the re-building of Skanderborg slot. In 1565 Holger Rosenkrantz of Boller was allowed to break down a stable in Emborg, where the king's own horses had been and an attached house. Upon the place of the farm buildings were soon built peasant farms, and in 1571 the king began to rent the land of Emborg to the peasants. There was now only a chapel left from Øm kloster, where Verner Hess lived. This and an attached kålgård (cabbage garden) was given to his widow Marine Lauridsdater in 1579 as a life's letter. (to have for life)

The kloster site is situated low between Mossø (lake) and Gudensø (lake) to the north, to the east and west flanked by two parallel channels, which are still traceable, and which brought water from Mossø to Gudensø, giving water power to the kloster. An outer channel is mostly preserved. The place was used as a quarry, and after this the walls above the earth had disappeared. When the National Museum in 1896 made a small test excavation were found a couple of medieval graves, but not until Historisk Samfund (society) of Århus stift in 1911 had bought a part of the site, some yearly excavations began. The first was paid by the society, later by the National Museum, and partly by special supports from the State. The foundations of the kloster-complex were found in good state and could be recovered, a complete ground plan arose showing to be the most complete plan known of a Danish Cisterciensian kloster.


view from Rye church

The ground plan shows a kloster site from the middle of the 1200s. There were not found rests of the earlier buildings from 1172. Only granite boulder foundations are preserved with few rests of monk brick wallwork. To the north was the church, a three-naved cross church. Both cross arms had two chapels to the east and one to the west. In the southwest corner was a heavy foundation from a tower - since the church in spite of the Cisterciensian building rules - had a tower. There were 18 medieval graves in the church, like the Århus bishop Svend's (+ 1191) with a gold ring, silver cross and thuribles, abbot Mikkel's (+ 1246) grave and the Århus bishop Peder Elafsøn's (+ 1246), and a grave ascribed to the abbot Jens, known from the chronicle. In an economy building were traces of kitchen and bakery. The southern wing had a refectorium. 4 wells were excavated. There were many various buildings on the site and outside the channels were also found rests of various buildings, i.e. like a tail oven and a larger house.

For keeping of the excavated building parts etc. has Historisk Samfund in 1922-23 built a house, open to the public. The collection has from Alken and Skanderborg received several valuable granite-fragments, which origin from Øm kloster. Besides are in the small museum an exhibition of skeletons and parts of skeletons found in the excavations. In 1939 was at Øm raised a memorial stone for bishop Gunnar, whose life story was told by a monk from Øm.

In 1890-1933 were found 37 scattered coins from Valdemar II Sejr - Christian III.

In Øm kloster was a school, and when it was abandoned in 1560 Frederik II moved a corn tax from 10 parishes to a school in Århus as a support for 24 poor pupils.

In Rye was a royal hunting cottage under Skanderborg vasalry; it is often mentioned up till 1600, and 1573 and 1576 were royal letters issued from here. In 1617 ordered Chr. IV to break it down. The Crown had several workmen in the area; the king's coach builder in Rye is mentioned 1553; in 1582 established Frederik II a glass hut, where glaziers from Hessen worked; several place names still remind of the glass fabrication.

Rye mølle is mentioned from 1578, and the famous eel-fishing is mentioned already at that time.

Rye was an important town in the Middle Ages, which was mainly due to Øm kloster, and its importance was increased by its holy springs, Skt Sørens kilde at the entrance of Sønderskov, Præstekilden in Rye Nørreskov, Helligkilde south of the road going west of Rye and Hans kilde at Rye school. As a pilgrimage place is Rye mentioned already in 1405. The town was known for two meetings in 1534, on 4/6 met the Jutland councillors and offered hertug Christian their support, and 4/7 were the Jutland council meeting the Jutland nobility and delegates from the Funen nobility, and in spite of resistance from the bishops Mogens Gøye had Chr. III elected king. The town was supposedly a town with municipal rights, it is mentioned in 1536 as such. In Rye were the two yearly markets - which had moved from Rye to Horsens in 1579 - again moved back to Rye 1579. In 1616 is a market mentioned on Valborgsdag (Valburgis), in 1683 the markets moved to Skanderborg. Rye suffered large fires, i.e. in 1613, 1628 and 1660.

Listed prehistorics: 21 hills. In Rye Nørreskov is a group of 3 hills and in Rye Sønderskov two groups, each with 5 hills.

Names from the Middle Ages and 1600s:
Rye (Gammel Rye, o. 1400 Rythe, 1486 Ryde); Emborg (* 1561 Emsborrig, 1571 Emborg); Rye Mølle (1610 Rymølle) .

Demolished or destroyed: a longdolmen and two stone graves, 4 of these graves were east of Rye town; a dolmen chamber with found two thin-necked axes was found in the forest Højrisbøge. Furthermore 86 hills.

Rye is in the classic area of the Gudenå culture, and a large number of settlements from the primitive hunting and fishing people are known; some of the most important settlements are i.e Svejbæklund, Emborg bro (bridge), Provstholm Hoved, Povlsbakke, Lindholm hoved. A settlement from early Roman Iron Age is known from Rye.

Source: Trap Danmark, Skanderborg amt, 1964.


photos 2006-2008: grethe bachmann

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