Braathen Dendrokronologiska Undersökningar

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Hörsne church, Gotland

Hörsne (Vol. IV) church about 20 km ESE of Visby. Chancel and nave are built in gothic style, spacious and vaulted. Their south portals have ornamented capitals. The western capital of the nave has scenes of figures of artistic quality. Above the pediment (vimperge, the sloping features of the door-way gable) is a stone sculpture, half in relief representing S:t Michael with club and shield. The northern door-way of the belfry is round arched with an unornamented tympanum and may earlier have been door-way of an older nave.

The belfry has two vaults and round arched sound openings with middle columns. The crest of the stone wall of the belfry is lower than the ridge of the roof of the nave.

Remains of medieval timber can be found above the vaults in the three parts of the building. Samples were taken from some of these pieces of timber. One scaffolding pole (sample no 1) in the eastern wall of the chancel has only 35 annual rings and therefore cannot be dated. It has waney edge and would have been of value if it had been supported by a datable piece in the same wall, and waney edge were doubted. Sample no 1 has enhanced correlation with a reference chronology at the position 1286 on the time scale, but certainly that higher value of correlation must not be used. Sample no 9 from a truss underlying plank on the southern crest of the chancel has waney edge and is dated 1289. Samples no 14 and 15 from the eastern wall of the nave both have waney edge and are dated 1290. Samples no 11 and 12 from ex tie-beams or purlins along the middle of the nave have waney edge and are dated 1306. The beams have been part of the truss and rest on short vertical logs which are placed between the vaults. The construction thus is later than or contemporary with the erection or the vaults.

Sample no 20 from a wall board in the wooden store room on the third floor of the belfry has waney edge and is dated 1289. The wall boards investigated have remains of lime fixed to the surface and probably earlier have been used in connection with sand-lime mortar work, one may guess that they have been used as moulding boards. The boards have the same age as the truss underlying plank of the chancel.

In the beginning of this century when repairing the floors of the nave and the chancel the ground stones to an apse, a chancel and a nave were found. The nave had been connected to the present belfry. Observations (see vol IV) show that when erecting the present chancel and nave the builders started with the chancel and made it ready before tearing down the nave.

Dates show that the truss of the chancel might have been ready 1290 (sample no 9) and that the eastern wall of the nave might have been built in 1291 (samples no 14, 15, 17). The purlins along the middle of the nave might have been put into position soon after the vaults became ready. This might have taken place 1307 (samples no 11, 12)

The dating might be of importance for the dating of the south door-ways as they seem to have been mounted at the same time as the erection of the south walls. It should be stressed that we do not know when the chancel was erected, but there is reason to assume that the planning of the chancel and the nave, inclusive the door-ways, has taken place without interruption.

Pieces of wood, possibly medieval, in the belfry are not examined.