Short History of Glimmingehus
Glimmingehus is Scandinavia’s best-preserved medieval manor house. Jens Holgersen Ulfstand, a knight, councillor, nobleman and admiral constructed it. The substantial construction project began in 1499, according to a inscription above the gateway. Jens Holgersen Ulfstand resided in Glimmingehus for nearly fifty years.
Prosperous families in Scandinavia, noblemen and bishops, built their abodes in stone. They could afford to substitute wood and half-timber for steadier stone constructions. Fortresses were built primarily as protection against peasant uprisings, but in reality, comfort was more important than security.
Glimmingehus is an exception in that regard, as it featured devious death traps to surprise the trespasser. But the sizeable house’s architecture was hardly modern or progressive to Jens Holgersen’s contemporaries. In fact, Glimmingehus was seen as an expression of medieval nostalgia.
Archaeologists’ favourite fortress
Glimmingehus has been in the centre of interest for medieval studies since the mid-19th century. The earliest researchers encountered a storage facility adjoining a large farm. An extensive programme for building preservation was initiated in 1935, as well as archaeological excavations in and around the fortress.
Discoveries indicate that an affluent household lived at Glimmingehus. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe at the early 16th century were uncovered, such as Venetian glasses, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics. This extravagance probably ended with Jens Holgersen’s death in 1523, as later findings consist of ordinary items from the region.
Remains a riddle
Glimmingehus is nowadays a thriving monument of ancient culture, a popular place to visit and a centre for medieval enthusiasts from all over Scandinavia. Recent archaeological and historical research has helped explain how the fortress was erected and used. Older interpretations are repudiated as modern scientists uncover new clues to our understanding. But Glimminghus is still a mystifying riddle, well worthy of our further investigations.