Sunday, March 03, 2013

Essenbæk old church site, Essenbæk present church, Randers amt.

portal, old church Essenbæk

memorial, ols church yard.

Essenbæk parish, Sønderhald herred, Randers amt.

The old church in Essenbæk, which was placed upon a bank at Essenbækgård, where the church yard with dike and gate still stand, was probably a Romanesque building in granite ashlars with nave with an added porch to the south and a tower with pyramid roof above the southwest corner of the nave.

view from old church yard
dike, old church yard.
If the church had a special choir building, then this was early broken down, and a new choir with a cross vault was established in the east end of the nave, where was built a triumph wall with a pointed arch. The rest of the church had a flat ceiling. The tower rested partly upon pillars built into the nave. -  The Gothic altarpiece with carved figures was bought at the church demolition by an antique dealer. Several figures from Catholic altarpieces are now in Randers Museum. The baptismal font was in wood. Its basin was carried by a kneeling figure.

Essenbæk church, Google map.
The present Essenbæk church ( in Assentoft) was built in 1868-69 south of the earlier church (above), which was broken down in 1865 because of dilapidation. The church is in red bricks upon a plinth of granite ashlars from the old church and is in Romanesque style. It has a choir and nave in one and an apse to the east -and a tower with an octagonal spire to the west. The choir and nave is inside separated by a triumph wall with a round arch. The bottom room of the tower functions as a porch with access to the west. The church has a decorated beamed ceiling.  - The altarpiece is a painting . The altar candelabres are from ab. 1600. A Romanesque granite font with cross lamb, a bird and two lions upon the basin; before 1869 the font stood in the garden of Gammel Estrup (manor), and its original home is unknown. In the north wall of the tower room is inserted a large gravestone with portrait reliefs for birkefoged ( bailiff) Rasmus Pedersen in Essenbæk Ladegård (+ 1602) and wife Anne Nielsdatter and her second husband birkefoged Bertel Henningsen.

landscape, Klostervej, Essenbæk, Google map.

Essenbæk kloster was founded by Knud Lavard's son-in-law Stig Hvide (+ 1151), but was probably originally placed in or at Randers and was moved in 1179-80 to Essenbæk. In 1431 is informed that the kloster, which was inaugurated to Sct. Laurentius, belonged to the Benedictine monks. The kloster was remembered in wills in 1268, 1292 and 1396 and bought gradually much estate. The estate included churches and estate in Essenbæk, Virring and Fløjstrup, and estate in Fausing, Årslev, Hørning, Lime, Gjesing (Gjesingholm), Glesborg, Tøstrup, Rimsø, Voldby, Homå, Egens, Mejlby, Mørke, Hornslet, Bregnet, Skødstrup, Egå, Ødum, Gimming, Albæk, Harridslev, Mariager, Dalbyover, Udbyneder and Kastbjerg parish and in Houlbjerg, Middelsom and Hjelmslev herred. Close to the kloster was the ladegård (farm building) and in the fjord was a fishing farm. A kloster yearbook up till 1323 origins probably from Essenbæk. In 1516 the last abbot Jens Thomsen bought the kloster free of borgeleje (some lease) from Christian II. When the abbot grew feeble, the monks chose the nobleman Hans Emmiksen for their manager.  This was cornfirmed by Frederik I in 1529. Hans Emmiksen died ab. 1536 and was followed as vasal by Axel Juul, who in 1546 had E. as a pawn. The kloster was redeemed in 1548 and was placed under Dronningborg vasalry. In 1661 the king deeded Essenbækgård, Essenbæk kloster and Essenbæk ladegård to colonel Hans Friis of Clausholm. He refrained Essenbæk ladegård and the entailed estate Hevringholm in 1695 to his brother's son Christian Friis. In 1726 E. was transferred to the entailed estate, but was sold 1784 together with Tustrup to Chr. Kallager, earlier of Mejlgård. Both farms were sold in 1787 to Peter Severin Fønss and John Fr. Carøe, who at once sold E. to Nis Christensen Kutsch, who in 1790 sold some parcels. Andr. and Henning Nielsen had in 1802 permission to do some outparcelling, and in 1805 and 1830 were made new outparcellings.

It is not known when the kloster buildings were broken down. Under the estate E. is in 1664 mentioned a "Cappelshus" (chapel), maybe the rest of the kloster. It was placed north of Klostergården, upon the meadow close to Gudenå river; a long stone built road lead from the high land and south out to it. A low, square land-rise with building foundations is now almost demolished. It was once a four-winged kompleks, of which the church possible was the south wing. In an examination from 1899 by the National Museum was uncovered some of the foundation of the southern wall of the church in  granite boulder and some red monk bricks. In the southern choir-walk were seen rests of a stone-lined well with a downturn staircase. Upon the church yard was found bricked graves. In an examination in 1925 the cirka dimensions of the kloster were noted: 57 meter north-south, 47 meter east -west. In Randers Museum are various things which origin from Essenbæk kloster: an unfinished granite font and some wooden figures.

In Essenbæk is said that the marsk Stig Andersen Hvide of Bjørnsholm was buried here in 1369.

Between Essenbæk and Langkastrup (Virring parish) is a valley Svendsdal, where according to legend a south Jutland king Svend Langfod was killed and buried. The large forests beween the valley and Romalth, have disappeared long ago. 

A sacred spring, Sct Laurentiikilde was downside Assentoft towards the meadow.

At Gunnerup mose was a village Gunnerup (1479 Gwndrwp), who like the settlements Kaldekod (1479 Kooildkod) and Munkegård (1479 Mwnkægaard) are mentioned as desolate in 1479. 

There are no listed prehistorics in the parish but there were 36 hills, of which 6 were placed in a group southwest of Assentoft, and west of this were another group of 4.

A few lesser kitchen middens are known from Volkmølle.

Names from the Middle Ages: Essenbæk kirke (1200s Eskingbec, 1330 Eskenbeck);  Assentoft (1579 Assentofftt); Drastrup (1465 Drastrup); Tammestrup (1338 Thomistrop); Essenbækgård (1579 Essenbeck Gardtt); Essenbæk Ladegård (1584 Essenbeck Ladegaard); Volkmølle (1579 Wolck mølle). 

Source: Trap Danmark, Randers amt, 1963.

photo Essenbæk 2008: grethe bachmann
photo Google map 2013

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