Braathen Dendrokronologiska Undersökningar

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Lau church, Gotland

Lau (Sv.K 165) parish church is situated about 45 km S.E. of Visby. It is more spacious than was required for the medieval congregation. The nave, built in the first half of the 13th century has nine vaults, six columns and three door-ways. The chancel is slightly wider than the nave, has two columns and six vaults and is rebuilt with remains of an older chancel in its walls. The southern and northern door-ways have been mounted after the erection of the walls. Their design belongs to a school in activity at about 1300. (See Lagerlöf, Redelius, Roosval, articles on door-ways).

The church is richly decorated with stone-works, and the architecture is impressive.

The truss of the chancel is constructed from a model of profiles which can be found in basilicas.

A trestle in central position is a support to the head rafters of the upper part of the roof, while the head rafters of the lower part in one end rest on the sides of the trestle. The lower part of the roofing inclines less than the upper part.

The dating shows that the truss is originally from the time when the chancel was built.

A scaffolding pole in the east wall has waney edge and is dated 1255. Bore-cores from different parts of the truss show that at least the main part of it is medieval and is dated 1258 (waney edge).

One single sample from the truss of the nave was dated (waney edge missing) to the first half of the 18th century. Documents tell that the truss was rebuilt in 1756. Remains of medieval wood from the nave has not been found but cannot be excluded until a thorough investigation has been made.

The nave of Lau is slightly smaller than the nave of S:t Clemens ruin at Visby, but these naves are very similar to each other in design. The nave of S:t Clemens might be contemporary with the tower which was built soon after 1258.