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Prata med oss

Medelplana Church

The oldest sections of the church are from the 1100s, with the tower added in the 1300s and the choir and armory coming later. I The medieval church consisted of a rectangular long house and a triumphal arch that separated it from the choir. This was later square and had a straight transverse wall going eastward. The church had an armory on its southwest side, and the entrance for the worshiping public was there. A sacristy was located on the northeast side of the church. The church had medieval stone vaults which were whitewashed. At one time the church may have been dedicated to St. Helena (Elin) of Skövde and Götene. What is believed to be St. Helena's altar is currently the baptismal altar. In the village as it was in the middle ages, there was also a St. Helena's spring, which was later excavated and restored. It is situated by the road just north of the church. Another spring, St. Apollonia's spring, now is a pretty rest stop along the Kinnekulle Path. Inside the south door stand two well-preserved lily stones from the 1100s. A gap where stairs used to be is on the church's north side, and an old box for contributions to the poor also is found there.

The early history of the church

The hidden silver treasure

In 1611 the Danes were devastating the area, and among other deeds they burned the town of Skara. In Medelplana there was a pastor by the name of Jonas Andersson Grodt, and when he heard stories about how the Danes were causing havoc, he collected his own silver items and presumably the church's silver collection. According to a registry drawn up prior to the disappearance, the collection consisted of two silver goblets and a box made of silver for consecration wafers. He went off to the east from the parsonage in Medelplana, away to a little brook that flowed past the pastor's cottage at Kollängen. There he dug down and buried all the silver, so as to hide it from the Danes if they should come. Grodt died almost immediately thereafter, without revealing where he had hidden the silver treasure. According to a legend that is still circulating in the area, on a specific day the shadow of the church tower points toward the buried treasure. Legend also has it that two shepherd boys during the 1800s saw the treasure in the cleft of a rock while they were out tending their animals, but when they ran home to tell about it and then returned to the site, they could not find it. Many people thereafter searched the environs, but until now, as far as is known, no one has found it. It is also thought that it may have been found and perhaps melted down, or that the entire story is a fabrication. The legend-encrusted silver treasure still sits brooding on its secret, but who knows? It may be that some time in the future it will be discovered.

Restaurations and additions
The church was too small to accommodate all the worshipers. Therefore, in the 1820s, church authorities undertook a comprehensive project of rebuilding and addition. The church, which was then oriented east-west as was customary, now came to be north-south due to the old long walls being removed and substantial sections being added on both sides. The planned top of the tower was never finished and became the source of debate at meetings over a period of years; money was set aside for a free-standing tower building. I

 The reconstructed church was ready for worship in 1824. It was placed in operation immediately, though some work remained to be done. But the dedication was delayed. Paintings were done by the district painter, Johan Petter Hökenstedt of Medelplana. Bishop Sven Lundblad dedicated the Medelplana church on September 26, 1830.

In 1902 the church undertook a thorough restoration. A sacristy was built in connection with the north wall and the tower was added onto and provided with a spire. A new main entrance was made in the south wall. Brand new furnishings were put in, and heating equipment was installed.

What remains of the original church building is the tower structure and the medieval west wall, i.e. a small part of todays’s west wall next to the tower. It can further be noted that the gap for the medieval steps or churchyard gates at the northern entrance remain. There, an old box for contributions to the poor is to be found.

In 1926-7 the church underwent another restoration, and many of the older items were renovated and placed in the church. A fundamental restoration took place again in 1964-5.