Fantoft stave church history is about. 800 years back in the small village Fortun in Sogn. The church was built in Fortun in about 1200 and worked as a church for the little place at the foot of Fortun Sognefjellet until the end of the 1800s. Originally, there were approximately 1000 stave churches in Norway, but eventually they had to give way to larger and more modern church building. This happened also with the stave church in Fortun, which eventually had become too small. It was built a new church in Fortun. The old church had been not afford to maintain anymore, and people started to remove parts of the building from the church that could be used on farms. Among other things, the baptismal font was used as troughs for livestock on a farm. Today this may sound strange, but we must remember that at that time there were hard times in Norway, and people struggled to get enough food to survive. Curator Lorange in Bergen was aware that the stave church in Fortun was threatened by demolition. He gained financial support of the Consul Gade who owned Fantoft farm, to plan and implement the relocation of the church in Fantoft. The church was moved to Fantoft in 1883.
Stave churches got its name from the distinctive architectural style in which the rods ie columns that characterize the nave and chancel is the central element. A church should be tall ie rise markedly towards the sky. This could be achieved by raising tall, straight pines in a rectangular system, and bind them together with horizontal bottom and sticks in the ground floor and staff hires at different levels in height.
Bueknær from roots
As art and bracing placed Mon bueknær between staff hires and poles. Bueknærne were cut out of the roots of pine trees, so we see that the wood follows the arc, but when you make bueknær of plain wood planks will partially go across the bow. Similarly, some used curved knees cut out from the roots, to the ribs and in the prow of the boats because it was so strong. We find meaning. similarities between the contemporary techniques used in shipbuilding and in the church.
Dragon Heads / Norse mythology
The ancient churches has elements in it that shows the conflict that existed between Norse mythology and the Christianization of the country. In 1100 it was felt it was best to bring something from the old superstitions into the church. People were accustomed to the belief that dragons could keep evil spirits away. The Viking ships had been dragon head in the bow and stern. The dragon heads on the church would continue to assist with this for some time. Similarly, we see that the carvings on the end caps on the benches illustrate events that are the old superstitions to. Carvings are motivated from the old heltesagnene from 800's, in this case from Sigurd Fafnir path. The stories are more gods in the swing and people disguise themselves from humans to animals and vice versa. This is part of the reason for the exotic influenced churches has been given.
On 15/1600-tallet and later went through many changes stave churches in which they lost some of the old feel. Originally, you had no pews in the church and it was during the service. Eventually, however, benches common in the stave churches. It was at this time is no longer natural to have dragon heads at a church.
The door in the wall to the left of the altar is called leprosy-door. The lepers did not come into the church, but had to receive the blessing through the door.
Fantoft church was damaged by fire in 1992, and it took 6 years to build it up again. The timber to Fantoft church comes from ca. 350-400 year old pine trees that grow in ca. 400 m altitude in Kaupanger in Sogn, not quite as far up the fjord to Fortun. Still we find some locations in Norway with the old production forest that normally run as part of forestry operations. It is so slow growing because of the climatic conditions as high as 400 m above sea level.
The crucifix on the altar survived the fire and was recovered in the ash in such condition that it be restored.
Wishing stone on the wall outside likdøren is also the original and is brought back from Jerusalem by pilgrims. By keeping the one could wish for something not mundane.