Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gunderup church/ Gunderup kirke, Fleskum herred, Aalborg amt.

Gunderup church, ( the name in 1355 Gundorp), lies 13 km south of Aalborg. It is a large building with Romanesque choir and nave and late Gothic additions, among others a chapel with frescoes from the beginning of the 1500s. The church lies desolate in Gunderup village. It was by people called Himmerland's cathedral, both because of its size, but also because of its central situation as a crossroad-church in a large parish. The Romanesque choir and nave are built in granite ashlars above a bevelled plinth. Both doors are kept, the south door is bricked, the north door still in use. The north door has profiled corbels, it is curved outside and straight edged finish inside, in the treshold stone is carved a cross. In the southwall of the choir is a bricked door with a heavy rundstav (round stick) which in the bottom rests profiled bell-like bases. In the south wall of the church is an ashlar with a hand holding a key, probably a symbol of Sanct Peter. At the south side of the nave is a cross arms-chapel,  a sacristy to the north, tower and porch are built in the late Gothic period.


In the porch are two runestones with inscriptions:

a) Toke rejste disse stene og gjorde disse kumler efter sin måg Api en velbyrdig thegn og sin moder Tove. De ligger begge i denne høj. Api undte Toke sit gods efter sig. (" Toke raised these stones and made these memorials after his stepfather Api, a noble-born man (thegn) and his mother Tove.They both lie in this hill. Api gave his goods to Toke.") The hill was demolished in the 1700s, but the stone was saved by Gunderup's parish priest.

 b) "Østen satte denne sten efter sin fader Asulv". ("Østen raised this stone after his father Asulv."
This other stone is  probably from Sweden according to several Swedish runes in the short inscription. It is dated to the 800s.

The building was restored in 1914.

The high choir arch is kept with profiled corbel bands and a corniche plint. In the late Gothic period the choir and nave got a cross vault. Between nave and south chapel are two point-arched arcades. The stairs to the pulpit are built through the arcade pillar. The altarpiece is a Lutheranian triptychon from 1537-38 and the earliest Lutheranian altarpiece in Denmark. The pulpit is also a great rarity . It is from the 1790s and one of few classical pulpits in Denmark.

Unique lion font.
The Romanesque granite font has double lions with intertwined tails upon the basin. It is of the Himmerland-Mariager type. Together with the font in Stenild church at Hobro the font in Gunderup is the most magnificent of its kind. 

In 1930 frescoes were uncovered from the late Gothic period in the south chapel. Upon the arcade pillar is Mary seen in solgissel, (sunbeams) in the curve is Christoffer. In the vaults are other biblical motifs. The frescoes were conserved by E. Lind. Some coat of arms for Rod and Vårst were not preserved. The frescoes are dated ab. 1500, the style is mannered and the composition is messy.

photo: Google earth and wikipedia.