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Munkeby monastery

 

The ruins are the remains of the monastery church. Munkeby monastery belonged most probably to the Cistercian order, and was founded before 1180.
The monastery functioned only for a short period of time, before it became a part of the estate of a new Cistercian monastery at Tautra, founded in 1207.
The church at Munkeby was used until 1589, but was later damaged by fire and fell into decay.

 

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The church, in Cistercian style, has a long rectangular nave and choir with the same width, and chapels towards the north and south. 1t measures ca. 31 x 7,4 meters inside.
The ruins were excavated and the walls were restored in 1906 - 1910. Traces of buildings have been registered on the southern side of the church. This shows that the monastery was built around a Square yard.

 

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Three miles from the centre of Levanger, on the banks of the River Levanger, are to be found the ruins of a church. Local tradition maintained that these ruins were the remnants of a monastery which had given its name to the surrounding area - Munkby (Monks Farm). This tradition had been regarded whit scepticism by both historians and archaeologists alike. However in 1906, while studying in the Vat,can Archives, A. Bugge found conclusive proof of the existence of a cistercian monastery located at Munkby in Frol. Munkby monastery was probably the world's most northern roman catholic monastery.

 

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The monastery was founded in the middle of the twelfth century by monks from the English branch of the order. However the monastery at Munkby soon fell into disuse and was placed under the administration of the monastery at Tautra, which had been established in 1207. In 1470 the monk Stephanus de Trygge attempted to re-establish the monastery at Munkby but was unsuccessful. For the next hundred years the monastery-church served as the local parish church. It would appear that the building was damaged by fire on at least one occasion, evidence of which can be found in the layer of ashes that had earlier covered the floor of the monastery. After the building ceased to function as the local parish church in 1589, local farmers utilized the stone in the ruined church's walls as a ready made source of building materials.
The monastery was probably dedicated to St. Brettiva, a little known local saint It has been suggested that the monastery was located at a place of pilgrimage connected with this mysterious saint. However this theory has been dismissed by historians.
The plan of the monastery-church at Munkby is almost identical with the cistercian church at Lyse near Bergen, and indeed apart from its smaller scale the ruins are in complete harmony with cistercian ideals.
Although there has been no systematic archaeological at the site, the ruins have been the object of comprehensive cleaning and restoration during the last 100 years. However traces of a number of earlier wooden buildings and a well were recorded in 1815. From the same source there are to be found descriptions of a stone built road along the river bank together with a stone wall in the form of a half circle to the north of the ruins.

 


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Copyright 2007, Hanspeter Hochuli, Ennetburgen, Switzerland
last updated:  20.07.2007

 


Send your e-mail with questions or suggestions about dreamlike to: webmaster@dreamlike.info
Copyright 2007, Hanspeter Hochuli, Ennetburgen, Switzerland
last updated:  18.06.2016