Spånga Church

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Spånga Church
Spånga kyrka
Spånga kyrka.jpg
Spånga Church
DenominationChurch of Sweden
Previous denominationRoman Catholic
Consecrated12th century

Spånga Church (Swedish: Spånga kyrka) is a church in the Spånga-Tensta borough in Stockholm, Sweden. The oldest part of the church origins from the time period 1175 – 1200. Large reconstructions and enhancements took place during the 14th century and the 15th century.

Baron Gustaf Bonde (1620–1667), owner of the nearby Hässelby castle, made considerable donations to the church. After his death a grave choir, drawn by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, was attached as a continuation of the church, in which he and his descendants are buried. The church also contains other historical monuments, such as several fresco paintings from the Middle Ages.[1] The church was latest renovated 1953–1955.


The first church paintings are probably from the 14th century, when the long nave was built. These were mostly abstract decorations, geometrical patterns and ornaments. Paintings from the early 15th century are interpreted as biblical motives from the Old Testament, the prophets Elijah and Elisha, but with landscape, houses, clothing and tools common at the time of painting.[1] The name of the painter(s) from this period are not known. In the late 15th century the triumph arch was set up, as well as a new choir, and paintings from this period are of a different style, with motives from both the Old and New Testament, as well as later Saints.

At a church restoration in 1789 all paintings were overpainted with white. The interior walls remained white until a new restoration around 1900. This restoration was quite rough, and the walls were repainted. In the 1950s the walls went through a new restoration, which aimed to bring forward some of the original middle age paintings that had been covered 160 years earlier.[1]


A granite rune stone, designated as U 61 in Rundata, dated from the Viking era stands outside the church. On one side the stone has a runic inscription within bands with an interior Christian cross design, and on the other side it has a second cross. It is classified as being carved in runestone style RAK, which is the oldest style. This classification is used for those inscriptions where the runic text band ends are straight and do not have any attached serpent or animal heads. The runic inscription for stylistic reasons has been attributed to a runemaster named Gunnar.[2] Other runestones are also attributed to this runemaster and he signed the runic inscription U 226 at Arkils tingstad.

Of the personal names mentioned in the inscription, Þorbiorn or Þorbjôrn means "Thor's Bear,"[3] Gunnbiorn or Gunnbjôrn means "Battle Bear,"[4] Halfdan means "Half Dane,"[3] Ulf or Ulfr means "Wolf,"[5] and Biorn or Bjôrn means "Bear."[3]


A transliteration of the runic inscription to roman letters is:

hialmuiþ(r) : auk : þurbiarn : kunbiarn : auk : halftan : þais : raistu : stin : þina : eftiʀ : bruþur : sin : ulf : auk : faþur : sen biarn : auk : bruþur : sen : blakari[2]

A transcription into Old Norse is:

hialmuiþ auk þurbiarn kunbiarn auk halftan þais raistu stin þina eftir bruþur sin ulf auk faþur sen biarn auk bruþur sen blakari[6]

A translation into English is:

Hialmviðr and Þorbiorn, Gunnbiorn and Halfdan raised this stone after (in memory of) their brother Ulf and their father Biorn and their brother Blakare.[6]

Notable events[edit]

In 1901, Spånga kyrka was one of two churches designated control points for the first public orienteering competition ever held in Sweden.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Spånga kyrka – ur kalkmålingarnas historia" (in Swedish). www.svenskakyrkan.se. Archived from the original on 2005-04-26. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  2. ^ a b Project Samnordisk Runtextdatabas Svensk - Rundata entry for U 61.
  3. ^ a b c Yonge, Charlotte Mary (1884). History of Christian Names. London: MacMillan & Company. pp. xxxv, lxxii, cxxx.
  4. ^ Green, Dennis Howard (1998). Language and History in the Early Germanic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-521-47134-6.
  5. ^ Ferguson, Robert (1864). The Teutonic Name-System Applied to the Family Names of France, England, & Germany. London: Williams & Norgate. pp. 36, 42.
  6. ^ a b Arild Hauge. "Runeinnskrifter fra Uppland". Arild Hauge. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  7. ^ "Milstolpar i utvecklingen" (in Swedish). Svenska Orienteringsförbundet. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-29.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°23′29.5″N 17°54′43″E / 59.391528°N 17.91194°E / 59.391528; 17.91194