BagnReprinted with permission from the Budstikken, May 1983
By Valdres standards the Bagn church is a new church, having served the community only two and one-half centuries! It was built in 1736 and was first painted with tar, like so many of the old churches, but in 1879 it was painted white.
The church with its surroundings was a community center. In addition to the church, in the old days, there was "Tingstugo" or "Tinghuset" where court was held from 1680 and on. This building was also called "Prestestugu", for here the pastor met with the confirmation class. Here, too, parents came with their babies before the baptismal ceremony and church-goers from a distance might have a snack after a long walk.
Tinghuset was demolished in 1845 and a community hall and school built on the site (shown in photo). This was the
Oystre (East) Bagn school, which itself, was demolished in 1958 when a centralized school was constructed.
The site, "Bagnsmoen", was donated as a church site and meeting place by two farmers from East Bagn, Tosten Olsen Bagn and Iver Siversen Bagn. The site was also used for military drills by the Ytre Valderske Kompani.
The bells in the church tower were recast by M. K. Skioberg in 1821. They then became so heavy it was risky to have them in the steeple so in 1826 a "stupul" (bell tower) was built for the bells. This was constructed before the main entrance. It was constructed by Ola Braaten and Aslak Olsen Li, and stood for a hundred years.
In the old churches the altar areas were always decorated with paintings and carvings. In the Bagn church there is an elevated bar (korskranke) separating the chancel from the nave. This bears the monogram of King Karl Johan, with a lion carrying a halbard on either side. 'This dates from the first half of the 1800's and was fashioned by Aslak Olsen Li. The altar piece at Bagn is apparently as old as the church; included in this are carvings of Christ, Moses, Aaron and John the Baptist.
Church properties include a chalice which probably dates back to 1736. There is also a pair of old brass candlesticks, and a wooden dish, said to have been used as a baptismal basin, but there is also one of pewter, stamped with the mark of J. 0. Jordan, London. A beautiful painted tablet tells of the church's construction and lists the men who paid for the painting and how much they gave. A picture of the crucifixion was painted and contributed to the church by Simen Erlandson Skaran of Bagn. A major restoration of the church was done in 1937.
While not the first church to be built in South Aurdal, Bagn is one which was important to ancestors of many Valdres Samband members.
This photo, from the 1880's, shows people gathered at a meeting, at the Bagn church. The .Bagn church and it's bell-tower are at the left. The tall building in the background was the Řystre Bagn school. In the old days an old house called "Tinghuset" or "Tungstugu" stood here. In this house court was held from 1680 on. Photo courtesy of 'VALDRES'.
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Last updated: December 27, 2014
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