Meny

Saint Peter's Priory Church

Information in English

Holy ground

In this church, people have gathered for prayer and worship since the middle of the 10th century. For several centuries, life in and around this church consisted of the Benedictine nuns and their lives in the priory. Due to the Reformation, the priory soon disappeared, but the church building remains until this day. Out of the 27 medieval churches in Lund, only this church and Lund’s cathedral survived the Reformation.

THE PRIORY

Monasterium sanctae Mariae et sancti Petri Lundis was the original name of the priory that was built in the middle of the 10th century. As the years passed, the name ”Maria” disappeared from the official name of the priory, and only Peter’s name remained. He also stands as a statue in an ambry alongside the northern wall within the church, and you can find him on the seal of the church.

This priory was the only medieval convent for nuns in Lund, however it was not the only one belonging to the Benedictine monasterial tradition. There was a similar priory for Benedictine monks around the area of Allhelgonakyrkan (All Saint’s church) here in Lund. S:t Peters Priory was probably subordinated to that one.

Twelve nuns resided in this priory. They held their prayers from a balcony at the back of the church. North of the church, where we today find a cemetery, is where the main buildings were located. Through gifts and wills the priory became quite affluent.

During the Danish reformation in the middle of the 16th century, the abbeys in Lund were closed down and most of the medieval churches were torn down, except for Lund’s cathedral and Saint Peter’s church. However, the priory remained until around the year 1600, and the monasterial buildings were destroyed a couple of decades later.

THE CHURCH

Not much of the original church from the 10th century remains to this day. It was built in a roman style and was slightly smaller than what exists today. Remains of the original church building can be found in the sandstone foundation of the church. As you entered through the main entrance you may have noticed a small stone on the left hand side that differs from the rest. This may be a remnant from the original church. Similar stones are to be found in the big cathedral.

The original church had no bell, or a bell tower. At the very end of the 13th century a separate steeple was built next to the church, but when the church tower was built the old bell was moved from the steeple into the tower where it still tolls today.

The original church was torn down in the middle of the 14th century because it was too small. It was replaced by a church made out of brick stones, influenced by gothic architecture. The pointed arches and the windows are significant for this period of time.

S:t Peter’s Priory church has also been a parish church ever since medieval times. The nuns and the congregation were separated during the services. In the northern wall, you can find traces of two blocked up arches. The balcony for the nuns were probably located on top of these old arches. On the north side, more to the front of the church, you can also find an opening covered with a barrier. What type of purpose this place had is unknown. It might have been the place where the prioress sat during the prayers, or for the cantrix, the nun who lead the hymns during the prayers.

In the aisle you find two chandeliers made out of brass. They were received as gifts for the church in the 1670's. One of them comes from an unknown giver, and the other one probably is a gift from the trader and Councilman Haagen Christensson Bager and his wife Kirstine Tomisdotter.

The organ of today was installed in 1959 and is made by Danish organ builders from the company Marcussen & Søn. The organ is popular and frequently used for services and concerts.

THE ALTAR

Since the renovation in the 1920's, you find the altar situated on its original place in the church, but only the top of the altar is from medieval times. At the front of the altar you can find paintings made by Olle Hjortzberg in the 1920's. The altar piece was braught to the church in 1931.

The altar piece, made at the end of the 15th century, is from Köln, Germany. In the middle you find Virgin Mary carrying Jesus in her arms. On each side of her stands a bishop. One of them is Saint Nicolas, the other one is unknown. Beside them you also find two saints. Saint Catherine with the sword and Saint Barbara with the chalice. Underneath the main piece you find two angels holding Veronica's veil.

THE PULPIT

Hardly anything of the church's old interior is left. The oldest piece still remaining is the pulpit from the 17th century. The four evangelists are found at the exterior of it. They are probably made by the woodcarver Jacob Kremberg. The interior of the pulpit is made out of material from its earlier version, dated to the 1540's. The baldachin is of later date, probably from the second half of the 18th century.

BAPTISMAL CHAPEL

You find this chapel at the very back of the church, at the west end. It was established during the big renovation in the 1920’s.The paintings are made by Olle Hjortzberg, the same painter who decorated the front of the altar. On the southern wall, you find the bible story of Jesus blessing the children. On the opposite wall, you find the scene from the Bible where Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. In the middle of the chapel, a dove is painted, surrounded by golden rays. It symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in the baptism.

When the chapel first was established, the baptismal font was situated there. Nowadays you will find it in the choir. The baptismal font is made out of brass and is dated back to the middle of the 19th century.

THE RENOVATION 1925-1928

During the 1920’s, a large restoration of the church took place. The aim was to take care of damage made out of damp, and to restore the church to its original appearance. A great deal of the room’s character of today can be traced back to this restoration. The church was also enlarged to the north with a new sacristy.

The high altar was moved to the place where you find it today, the church got new benches, the baptismal chapel was made and old plaster was removed from the walls. Since the 1920’s, once again the old red brick stones are visible and they are significant for this church.

Several skeletons and tombs of unknown people have been found under the church. It is most likely that those who got buried here had a connection to the priory. In remembrance of all the anonymous people who got their final rest in the church, a stone of remembrance was put in the choir at the end of the 1920’s. There you can read as follows [translated]: “In 1927, a place of rest was given to the people buried in this church.”