A lavish high-status church from the Middle Ages

An inscription that has now been lost states that the chancel of Sakshaug old church was consecrated by Archbishop Øystein in 1184. It was the county church for one of the four counties of the inner Trøndelag region and was a high-status church, which is also evident from the marble headstones of 13th-century priests. The church went from high status in the Middle Ages to becoming a ruin in the late 19th century, before being reconsecrated in 1958.
63,875139 11,268583
Sakshaugvegen 29, Inderøy, 7670

Inderøy, Trøndelag

Owned by the National Trust of Norway since 1873.

From ruin to consecrated church. The medieval county church of Eynafylket fell into disrepair after a new stone church seating 1,200 people was built just over a kilometre away. The furnishings and wooden parts were removed in 1873, and the church was left as a ruin with only its stone walls left. That year, the municipality gifted the ruin to the National Trust of Norway. Renewed interest in the ruin resulted in a roof being put over the chancel in 1910 and the nave in 1926. After the walls and interior had been restored, the church was reconsecrated in 1958.

Built from limestone, marble and soapstone. The oldest part of the church is the nave, which measures 16.4 x 9.5 metres and has 1.5-metre thick walls. It was built in the Romanesque style with semi-circular arches in windows and portals. The sacristy was added around 1430 and is built over a well. The church was mostly built from local limestone, but the window frames, arches and decoration are made from marble and soapstone. The chancel is in the Gothic style, and the mason’s marks show that stonemasons from Nidaros Cathedral worked here. The church contains traces of elaborate decoration with carved masks, faces and ornaments. The current furnishings are typical of the post-Reformation period, but the baptismal font and the stone altar date from the Middle Ages. The western wall shows traces of a tower that used to stand there. Stone from the tower was probably used to build stabilising support pillars on the southern side of the church.

Things to do in the area. The church is located in a beautiful cultural landscape rich in history and things to do. The Golden Detour is the name used to denote the Inderøy area’s many attractions including farm tourism, culinary experiences, accommodation and art experiences. The National Trust of Norway also owns Hustad church in Inderøy. 

Source: En reise gjennom norsk byggekunst, ed. Terje Forseth. National Trust of Norway, 1994. Sakshaug gamle kirke og Hustad kirke. To gudshus fra 1100-tallet, National Trust of Norway, 2018.