of Jelling Church consists of walls from an earlier stone church,
which was one of the very first stone churches in Denmark.
many years the experts have marvelled at the exceptionally large choir
in Jelling Church. Thomas Bertelsen, who was an archaeologist with the
National Museum, solved the riddle.
earlier stone church was built in the 11th century,
and was much smaller, but at that time a stone church indicated that
Jelling was still very important to the king, so neither Christianity
nor the Royal Throne in Jelling were languishing after the death of
Harold Bluetooth, but continued to be
important in the century to come.
year for the erection of the old stone church is so far unknown, and
therefore the king who commanded it is also unknown, but in the 11th
century it might be Sweyn Forkbeard, Harold II, Cnut the Great, or
nave in the oldest stone church (green) was used again as the choir in
the new and much larger church (blue).
The choir in the oldest stone church was torn down, and we are still
finding traces of it 1000 years later.
foundation of the church itself has been found in the shape of
fieldstones, but they have been partly ruined by the centuries-long
use of the cemetery. In the earth close to the foundation and in the
foundation itself remnants of travertine were found. This indicates
that a travertine wall has existed there.
and lime were cut loose from the present exterior choir gable, and
underneath were old traces of the choir wall and choir arch. The
brickwork had been repaired with travertine squares.
the middle of the gable end a big part of the top arch opening
appeared in the clean brickwork. The vertical sides and some of the
arch had been removed in order to create a bond with the existing
arch opening has been about 1,80 metres wide. The size of the old
choir building, if it was square, has been about 5,5 x 5,5 metres.
old murals in the present choir (the present ones are copies) were
painted across the bricked up arch opening and date to around the year
1100. At about this time the old choir must have been torn down and
the present church put up.
must it be forgotten that in the 10th century large wooden
buildings were found in
the church area, either in the shape of a church or as a king’s
royal estate, and after the arrival of Christianity a king’s estate
might want a private church.
Bluetooth, who christened Denmark, died in the year 985.
the year 1100 a much larger church was required to hold the church
community, and therefore the king’s church was enlarged.
happened by tearing down the old choir, and using the old nave as the
new choir, which accounts for the unusually large present-day choir,
and then building the present-day nave.