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HÝre (Hurum)

HÝre Church

Reprinted with permission from the Budstikken, December 1980.

 

After Careful Restoration

 

It was a festive occasion in the highest degree for all of Valdres and especially or the congregation of Hore church, when that was dedicated June 14-15.

The occasion marked not only the completion of the renovation project of the church, but also the 800th anniversary of its construction.

Actually, the anniversary of the construction was in 1979 but the work progressed slowly in part because care uas taken not to injure the building physically and because the earth in the area under the church was sifted carefully to recover artifacts which might add to knowledge about building's history.

The early history of Hore church (also alled Hurum) has been covered in Budstikken for May, 1976, and preliminary work on the renovation in Budstikken for December 1979. Further excavation uncovered more artifacts until they numbered more than 1500, including 357 coins. The oldest of the coins dates back to a period 1042-1047 when Magnus the Good was king, but the church is believed to date only from 1179. And seldom has it been possible to date a church of that era as exactly as this one.

During the excavation, remains of another older and smaller church were discovered. This is not unusual, for such discoveries have been made under six other churches in Norway. But in one of the pole holes was found a coin indicating that Christian burials took place at Hore before the earlier church was raised, over 900 years ago.

The present church was changed somewhat in 1829 when it had become too small for the congregation. Much of the character of the church was retained, however, including the fine wood carvings. After a church fire in Norway in which several people lost their lives it was decreed that all church doors should wing outward. When that change was made at Hore a bit of the church portal carving was destroyed.

Dedication activities began Saturday evening with a concert featuring organist Ragnar Rogeberg and vocalist Noralf Garborg with Pastor Mikael Gladhaug officiating. On Sunday morning soknerads formannen Hans Thingelstad led a procession from the neighboring Kvien farms. He was followed by Bishop Georg Hille, prost Kristofer J. Orjavik and pastors Kjell T. Lund, Arthur Aas, Mikael Gladhaug and Ole Johan Bondahl. Thingelstad officiated at the beginning of the services, Helle preached and Lund officiated at the altar. The Hore men's choir sang.

After lunch a program was held at which a number of those engaged in the renovation spoke. Riksantikvar Stephan Tschudi Madsen stressed the success of the renovation in retaining the character of the old church. Ordforer Erling Oraker and prost Orjavik also spoke. A display of artifacts recovered during the excavation was shown. Many of the items have yet to be identified.

The festivities continued in the evening when a table was set for 200. A complete menu including rommegraut was served to those seated at the table and also to the overflow crowd. Program numbers included music by the Hore men's choir and by the Vang Ten-Sing. Prost Orjavik read several of his poems.

At one time or another a number of those intimately involved with the excavation or the renovation spoke. They included forste antikvar Sigrid Christie, who spoke for her husband architect Haakon Christie who was unable to be present; Karin Berg of the Myntkabinet spoke of the coins found and konservator Inger Helene Vibe Muller mentioned the more than one thousand other artifacts found during the excavation.

The Hore church was originally protected by a coating of tar, such as that produced by farmers in the area. At a later date the church was painted white but now at the restoration it again received a dark finish.

The Hore church has been the Christian home of thousands of noblemen, knights and farmers through nearly a thousand years, eight hundred in the present church and perhaps 150 years for the previous church. It is stil a Mecca to which native Valdres go to worship and to which Valdres-Americans trek to worship and to visit their ancestors' church home.

 

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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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