Braathen Dendrokronologiska Undersökningar


Husaby parish church is situated about 16 km North of Skara. Dated timber may give help at the investigation of the building history of the church or at least will confirm what easily can be deducted from Art history.

In the Middle Ages the place was of some importance concerning the management and administration of the diocese. According to historic documents king Olof Skötkonung (Anlaf Eriksson) had himself baptist in the year 1000 in a well a few hundred meters East of the present church.

Dated wood. In 1902 an eroded end piece of an oak trunk was found at an excavation under the nave. The outermost measured annual ring is dated 1022. To this ring should be added 18 not measured outer rings in heartwood plus sapwwod. Estimation gives that the oak was felled earliest 1054 and more likely in the 7th decade of the century.

The belfry with its two external staircases has been discussed in some written sources. Without convincing argumentaion authors have tried to find similarities with early bell towers on the continent. Some of the authors suggest that the belfry was erected in the eleventh century.

Two short pieces of oak board are fixed to the wall of the northern staircase. Their outermost annual rings in heartwood are dated 1072 and 1089 respectively, which infers that the oak from which the boards were formed at the earliest was felled in the first decade of the 12th century.

Because a higher nave than before was erected the tower was raised one storey for a higher position of the two bells. One piece of pine beam tucked into the wall of the uppermost storey dates the building of the bell chamber. The outermost annual ring was formed 1275.

There is reason assume that the present nave partly is built by stones from an earlier and smaller nave.

The pine capping pieces of the nave, planks in two armed doors and the capping piece in parts on the vestry are contemporary with each other but are not dated.

According to documents fire destroyed "the church" in 1556. There are traces of burning in the southern capping piece of the nave and in a beam in the bell chamber. Among dated timber in the chancel

one piece has waney edge and is dated 1552. This shows that the roof of the chancel was not destroyed by fire. Part of the capping piece of the vestry has been replaced by a younger piece of timber, seemly without reason unless that piece was removed in order to get access to the nave when extinguishing the fire.

In the southern wall of the chancel is a tripple passage window of the same shape which is common in the East wall of gothic chancels. It may be assumed that the window originally was placed in the East wall and was moved to the South wall when a vestry was built as an apsislike extension in the East wall and the chancel was vaulted. When erecting the vestry main part of the East wall of the chancel was torn down. A beam in the vestry in East-West direction is embedded in the stone walls. The outermost annual ring of the beam is dated 1531. The beam is apparently contemorary with the timber of the chancel. When vaulting the nave som joists had to be removed. Timber from these joists was reused as capping piece of the vestry. (Nails which fixed the ceiling boards still remain in the timber).

Facts mentioned above can be compiled to the following picture. The building of the vestry is contemorary with the replacement of the roof structure of the chancel and the vaulting of the nave, the chancel and the vestry. The year 1552 marks the period for that extensive rebuilding.