Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Mern church, Langebæk Kommune, Southeast Zealand.

Mern church , 9 km south of the town Præstø

Mern church built 1200-1250, extended to the west ab. 1300. Sidenaves, porch and tower 1500-1550.

The village of  Mern is divided in two sections separated by Mern Aa (river). On the northside of the river lies the vicarage, while the large highplaced medieval church is situated on the southside of the water. The church is a  Romanesque brickwork building from the first part of the 1300s.

In the 1300s the church was extended to the west, to the east the choir gable was reinforced by a supporting pillar and later decorated with a stepped glare gable at the time of the longhouse choir-building ab 1500. The church was immensely extended, probably inspired by the "mother church" in Præstø. Sidechapels were built to the north and south. The double-naved church room is divided by columned arcades. The west tower was built in the 1500s, probably after the reformation.


Most of the medieval inventory was sent to a museum (except the Romanesque baptismal font). The  pulpit is a Renaissance work made by a local master from Vordingborg Bertel Snedker in 1596 (also called "Baarse herred's snedker."


The prettiest artifact is the redpainted iron-plated door, dated anno 1637,  but the round arched door is lavishly decorated  with  crooked and winding wrought iron which brings to mind the Viking period and the snake ornaments from the early Middle Ages. tTe door handle is an image of the copper snake in the desert.

In the porch is a memory tablet for the war hero Anders Lassen (1920-1945).He was born at Høvdingsgård east of Mern and was killed in North Italy as a major in the British army. The Danish adventurer and the son of a landlord is the only foreigner who was decorated with the Victoria cross in WW2, (which is the highest British honorary award for heroism). (Three Danes received the V.C. in WWI.)
 Anders Lassen

 Anders Lassen's mother Suzanne Lassen has made some of the decorations in Mern church during the 1920s.

The church has two bells, a large bell from ab. 1350 with Latin inscription Ave Maria gracia plena. The large bell was probably from the beginning placed in a bell-frame in the church yard. The small bell is from 1617 with inscription Hartwich Qwellichmeyer Gos mich anno 1617.

The church ship is named Anna. It was given to the church by a local captain Niels Hansen and made by a local blacksmith Fritz Bredskov. His wife was named Anna.

The National Museum informs that the earliest part of the main nave and a small choir which probably was with barrel vaulted wooden ceiling, origins from the Valdemar-period.

Mern church was restored 1999-2000.

Source Danmarks Kirker Niels Peter Stilling.

photo grethe bachmann

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