Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bjernede church / Bjernede kirke, Alsted herred, Sorø amt.

Bjernede church, 8 km northeast of Sorø
The church in Bjernede is the only fairly kept round church at Sjælland and the richest designed among the Danish round churches, but it has also a contemporary inscription upon two limestone tablets above the entrance door, saying that "Ebbe Skjalmsen and his wife Ragnhild built a church here, which his son Sune later raised in stone in honor of God, Sancta Maria and Sanct Laurentius." The death year of Ebbe, who was a son of Skjalm Hvide, is not known, and therefore neither the time of the building of the oldest church, which according to the inscription must have been a wooden church. The son Sune died in 1186, and before this must the present church have been built (maybe ab. 1170). As it stands now is it essentiaslly  a real re-creation of the Romanesque building, completed by H. Storck in 1890-92.

The church has an apse (rebuilt), a straight-edged choir and a circular nave in two storeyes, above which is a mid-tower, and to the south a Gothic porch. The Romanesque section has a double plinth  in carved granite; apse and choir are built in small granite ashlars of unequal size, the same goes for the bottom section of the nave, where the stones are curve-carved; details in travertine; in a height of 7,2 m above the plinth the material changes into small, often groove-carved monk bricks in irregular monk-bond; the change of material is without doubt due to the knowledge of the new building of the large brick-churches in the Sorø-Ringsted. The base and plinth of the apse were kept, the rest is a reconstruction like the barrel-vault of the choir, from which were traces on the wall of the nave; the north window of the nave is changed in the glade , the south window is new; an unusually high triumph arch  (5,6 m) with profiled bands and  flanked by two high side-altar niches. 

Contrary to custom has the nave only a south door; it is slim and round arched and was, like the four windows at the bottom of the nave before the restoration, made in travertine. (now re-newed). The nave has a diameter of 10-11 m, and  the wall is 1,5-1,7 m thick. In the middle stands - as a support of the tower - four heavy round pillars, at the bottom  in curve-carved ashlars like the outer wall, above in bricks and with trapeze capitals in travertine; between these and the wall are eight grat-vaults and between them a rib-vault.  Up to the upper church, which possibly was used in troubled times, is access by a staircase in the wall west of the door; in the middle of this room (only 3,6 m high) - which has six double windows (the west window was kept) and an open tagstol (earlier was probably a beamed ceiling) -  are four square monk brick pillars, upon which the tower rests; the crossing from the square room between these to the octagonal tower (upper storey re-newed) is done by tromper (shell-like curves across the corners) .

Font in Kalundborg church the same type as Bjernede
The nave was re-created, probably in the 1400s , its truncated cone-roof was changed into a pitched roof, a change which , caused by the circular shape, made the building look like a mitre; large sections of the wall of the upper church to the south and north were demolished, and to the east and west were pointed gables bricked in. About 1700 were the apse and the vault of the choir broken down and the choir extended to the east. 1861-1862 carried Chr. Hansen a necessary repair through, but it was in the later restoration - which was provoked by the contemporary interest in the Romanesque style - that the look of the building was robbed of its strong picturesque effect, created by the "mitre", and following this the stylish reconstruction seems a little trite; from later additions were only kept the porch and the big west window of the nave from the 1600s. Surrounding the church is a large medieval wall-hedge to the west, north and south. Bell-frame and burial chamber from 1892 at the church yard.

At Storck's restoration were found and repaired rests of simple frescoes in zigzag- and disc patterns and a large lily from the first building time. Communion table and decoration: a crucifix-group, from 1892. The earlier altarpiece in Renaissance, ab. 1600, with paintings, hangs in the nave. A bishop's figure origins from a late Catholic altarpiece. A strong, iron bound late Gothic monstrans house. Gothic altar candelabres. Romanesque fourleaf-clover shaped granite font in Kalundborgtype. A Gothic choir arch crucifix, 1450-1500, upon a contemporary cross. The pulpit ( one bay and the sounding board are in the National Museum) is in Renaissance, ab. 1600, with corner pillars and niches. A chandelier given by Didrik Severin Jelling. The earliest bell is from the 1300s, without inscription. Various epitaphs and grave stones.

Bjernedegård: Since Bjernede church is built by Ebbe Skjalmsen (Hvide) (+ ab. 1150), have members of the Hvide-family in the 1100s probably built and lived at Bjernedegård, which is known in written sources from the 1200s. From the oldest farm were north of the church found insignificant rests. B. went probably directly from the Hvide- family to the Roskilde bishop, who made it a vasalry. In 1287 the bishop calls Oluf Lunge "our bailiff in Bjernede and Fodby". The vasalry was possibly hereditary. In the 1300s it came to the family Moltke, possibly by marriage. 1370-83 is mentioned fru Helene (née Lunge?) of B., widow after Evert Moltke, and with her also the son Conrad (Cort) Moltke of B. 1377-88. From the Roskilde-bishop came B. in 1414 as a part of an exchange to Sorø kloster, whereafter it possibly was demolished and the land distributed among the other village-farms.   

From the 1650s is the origin of the present Bjernedegård traceable southwest of the church. In 1654 is mentioned birkefoged ( a judicial bailiff) in Sorø birk, Peder Selgensen in B. His son of the same name took over his father's job and the farm  in 1669, the farm was now called Birkefoged- or Birkedommergården.
In 1770 had the manager of Sorø Akademi's estate Caspar Peter Müller (grandfather of the poet Fr. Paludan-Müller) the farm in  livsfæste (= he had it for life). He had it moved to another place in 1771-72 and it was now called Stokholtegård.  As a part of a re-organization of the Academy-estate it was moved back in 1783 to the old place with its old name.  At the same time was the village Bjernede abandoned,
and B. was now a main farm with adjoining land of 75 hectare . In exchange for the village-abandonment were built 6 houses with land.

In 1809 was the farm transferred as a copyhold to manager Niels Peter Neergaard (+ 1821). Later was it sold to Joachim Kähler (+ 1884), who in 1876 sold it to sculptor Gundo Seiersfred Vogt (+ 1939),  later of Selchausdal. He sold in 1886 B. to Christian Madsen, who in 1904 sold it to lawyer Niels Søren Svendsen, Ringsted. He sold it in 1924 to the county Lerchenborg, who used the land for outparcelling. The main building was in 1944 sold to proprietary B.W.Andersen. Owner in 1954 was Axel Madelung.

Names in the Middle Ages:
Bjernede (ab. 1370 Byernwithæ); Fulby (1414 Fulby) ; St. Ebberup ( 1414 Ebbethorp); Bjernedegård (1287 Byærnøftæ).

Listed prehistorics: In St. Ebberup the round dolmen Blankedys, 3 long dolmens and the dolmen chamber Bregnebjerg, with a cover stone. North of Fulby 2 round dolmens, one with a cover stone.
Demolished or destroyed: one round dolmen, 2 long dolmens, 13 undefinable dolmens and other stone graves, 3 hills, mostly at St. Ebberup and Fulby fields.

 - In a moor by B. was found a prettily decorated antler-axe from early Stone Age.

 Source: Trap Danmark, Sorø amt, 1954.

photo 2004: grethe bachmann

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