Monday, May 13, 2019

Sæby church , Vendsyssel, Northeast Jutland

Sæby old watermill
The small  town Sæby lies in an idyllic landscape by the mouth of Sæby river  at Kattegat Maybe the Vikings were the first who lived here in a small village. In 1450 was  a small church was built near the sea. Both the town and the nearby manor Sæbygård belonged to the rich Børglum bishopric -  and in the 1460s the bishop Jep Friis established a Carmelite kloster by the church. The kloster was inagurated to Sct. Maria and the town was called Mariested, a name which was changed into Sæby after the reformation. The bishop Stygge Krumpen provided the municipal rights for the town in 1524.

Sæby church is the prettiest small town church in North Jutland. The church was built in ab. 1400. The Gothic church was originally a parish church, but in 1460 a Carmelite-kloster was established in Sæby on the initiative of the Børglum bishop Jep Friis. The kloster buildings were built on the northside of the paris church, and the church was at the same time in the years after 1460 extended to the east with an access to the kloster. To the westwas built a tower. The long church (54 m) but narrow church was extended with a stately south chapel which opens towards the nave with arcades and with a great light from the windows. The main entrance is to the west in the tower which vaulted underroom is a front hall.

The frescoes are among the most important in the district. The earliest at the north wall  are from the first part of the 1400s. The eastern vault of the nave and the choir vault are completely covered by frescoes from ab. 1500. They are attributed to the socalled Sæby workshop which artworks also  are found in Vrå church and in Budolfi church in Aalborg. The southern chapel is completely covered by winding ornaments, only the south west vault has original paintings  from ab. 1525, while the other vaults are repainted in 1888. Two coat of arms are also seen for the last bishops of Vendsyssel, Niels Stygge Rosenkrantz and his follower Stygge Krumpen who lost his office in the reformation in 1536.

The church has a rich inventory. The late Gothic altarpiece is magnificent - a Netherland work from the beginning of the 1500s. In the southern chapel hangs a contemporary Maria figure, a late Gothic carving with a fine decoration. The figure is attributed to the Odense-carver Claus Bergs workshop ca. 1520. The communion table has a painted antepedium with a tablet from 1697 and the coat of arms of Holger Pachs and Lisbeth Bille of Sæbygård.

The pupils from Latin school made sketches of ships.
In the choir are kept 20 original late medieval monk-chairs in oak with pretty late Gothic carvings. A special detail are the sketches of ships which the pupils from the Latin school  have made while they had to listen to the hour-long sermon of the parson.. ( 52 sketches of ships from the period 1550-1739)

The granite font is from 1906. An older baptismal font,a  wooden carving from 1645 is now in the chapel. The pulpit is a Renaissance work  from 1577 with a Baroque decoration from 1695. The ore candelabres were given by Niels Iwersen and Ingeborg Banner in 1586.  In the front hall is a late Gothic crucifix from ab 1500, in the church are two other crucifix

There are several grave memorials in the church ( like epitaphs from the 1700s).

The present church yard replaced the old one in 1872. In an excavation in 1977 were found rests of  the kloster buildings. The rests of the kloster were broken down in 1536 and the monk stones were used to secure the harbour. On the other side of the square lies Sæby hospital established in 1565 by the nobleman Mogens Juel of Knivholt. 

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