Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gran. Tingelstad Old Church; Tingelstad Gamle Kirke; St, Peter's Church

Tingelstad, at Gran, is on the way to the area museum where we hoped to find Halfdan the Black, or part of him. 

Stop, walk around.  The old church is strongly angled.  The non-steeple, appearing like a later addition (plunked there, stylistically odd) is more of a hexagonal cupola. Or is it octagonal? Is it also a belfry? I do not see sound-openings...  The structure dates from about 1219-20, from timber-dating.  The west end was rebuilt in the later 17th Century, and the interior also dates from about that time.  An addition to the right is clearly visible, with separate rooflines. It appears denuded.  Where are the old symbols, the dragons under the eaves as at Vik?  Reformers and compelled conversions to an austere Christianity ruled the day.  The result is cold.

Daniel Widing at Tingelstad Old Church, Gran, NO

The tapering of the stone walls from broad at the base to narrower as the wall ascends, is more pronounced than at other churches. It is strongly Romanesque.

How could that be a belfry, without sound openings?

Topping the cupola-belfry is a copy of the original weathervane, 12th Century, now in Oslo, said to be at the Museum of Cultural History.  We missed it.  The design is familiar, however, as appearing on other old churches. One site identifies the design as from a fitting on the bow of a warship, see http://www.triposo.com/poi/T__edbcc559643c

The design of the old weathervane is difficult to identify.  How would that be affixed to a warship prow?

The few windows suggest a defense component in the early days.  Christianity was compelled, not a voluntary benign decision of individuals to slide to a new belief system.  Convert or die. See this site that lays out this view, at http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/the_viking_age_and_christianity_in_norway.shtml

The Norwegian is not that difficult to skim for gist, mostly. On this plaque, the 1866 law, designed to firm up Christianity even then, when interest was flagging, required churches to be big enough to hold a given percentage of the community, whether they came or not.  Some churches abandoned the old, small structures; others added on.  I cannot tell which happened here.

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