Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Billum church / Billum kirke, Vester Horne herred, Ribe amt.

Billum church, ab.10 km west of Varde
Billum sogn, Vester Horne herred, Ribe amt.
The white-chalked Billum church with leaden roof has a richly furnished apse, choir and nave and a later added sacristy, porch and tower. It was in its original look a fine example of the Ribe-district's tufa-stone churches.  The Romanesque core, which is the apse, the choir and the nave, is built upon a granite-plinth, while the tufa-walls are parted in reliefs and round-arch friezes, but they were somewhat renewed with bricks in a restore in 1880. A walled-in window is above the door of the sacristy, all other windows in Romanesque shape seem to be placed in their original place, but they have all been re-newed. Both doors of the nave are kept, the north door is walled-in, the south door is still in use. The added buildings are all from the late Middle Ages and built in monk bricks. The sacristy has a cross-vault, the tower has smooth gables, while the bottom tower room has a cross-vault and opens to the nave in a high, narrow arcade. The inside of the church is unusually high, it has beamed ceilings in choir and nave, while the apse has a half-cupola vault - the choir was earlier cross-vaulted. The Romanesque choir arch is preserved with profiled kragbånd.


The communion table is built in tufa-stone, upon this lies a granite-plate with a reliquary. The altar piece is a Renaissance-carved work, undoubtedly from the beginning of the 1600s, built into one large piece, divided into three parts with Tuscany pillars, sidewings and a top-piece, divided into two parts. In the fields are placed the original paintings (in 1965) . A Romanesque granite font and a south German baptismal bowl from ab. 1575. The pulpit, carved year 1634, is decorated with Ionian pillars as a frame around arcade-fields with relief-carved images of the four Evangelists. At one of the gables of the pews is carved "Elin Gødis 1581". The church owns a medieval wooden sculpture. Furthermore rests of a Mary-altar. In the Mary-figure was in 1918 found 19 coins from Chr. II's and king Hans' rule - they are now in the National Museum. Finally a late medival altar cupboard. In the sacristy a priest- or confessional-stool, similar to the stool in Janderup church and a small series pastorum 1750. The bell with minuskel-inscription is from 1432, cast by master Peter Jensøn on request of the parish priest hr. Jacob. In a restore in 1956 all the inventory was cleansed and painted, and the tower was face-walled. In 1954 was brought to light a medieval painted frieze with coat of arms.

Billumgård was in 1580 a noble-farm, which belonged to Knud Henriksen. In 1635 Otte Kruse's widow fru Sophie Staverskov exchanged it to Ribe chapter. In 1722 the king conveyed it to Peder Endorph at Hennegård.

In Kelst plantation is seen a cross of turf in the heather, the cross-arms are 4,7 m long and 1,6 m broad, here was once a church, Højbjerg church; a lime-tree is plant in the middle of the cross.
In Klokkepyt north of Billum was Billum church bell said to be cast.

In Billum church were in 1954-55 found 88 coins spread, of which 39 Danish coins from Valdemar II till Frederik VIII.

In a digging at a farm in Tarp were in 1818 found 22, mostly German speciedalers, and many little coins (last year 1642).

Listed prehistorics: 6 hills, of which 4 in a group at Billum heath north of the village.
Destroyed or demolished: 16 hills.

A small tuft burial-site from Celtic Iron Age is known from the parish.

Names from the Middle Ages and 1600s:
Billum (1324 Bælium) ; Tarp (1342 Belium thorp, 1486 Tarp, 1494 Torp); Hannevang (1291 Hanærwangh); Billumgård (1638 Billomgaard); Kærgård (1661 Wed Kier, 1688 Kiern boell).
Source: Trap Danmark, Ribe amt, 1965. 
photo Billum church 2003: grethe bachmann

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