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The Bishop's Palace

This house has been the home of the farmers in Kirkjubøur for centuries and still is. The timbered rooms and, what is known in Faroese as the "roykstova" (royk=smoke, stova=room), the living room in which the fire was, stand on a wide stone basement, which is completely different in shape from the house. It is clear that this basement was not made for this house - it is part of the old bishop's palace, which no longer exists. Archaeological investigations in the 1950's revealed so many relics from the bishop's palace that it was possible to get a picture of what it was like. The main part of the palace was two parallel buildings with a beautiful 16 m broad paved courtyard between them. The courtyard was enclosed by stone walls on the north and south, and a brook ran close past the west building.

The east building, which nowadays is the basement of the farmer's house, has undoubtedly been the ground floor of the house in which the bishop lived. The building is about 11 metres wide, and 25 metres of the length are preserved. The walls, which are 1.65 m thich, are constructed in the same way as those of the church. They are so thick that the upper storey may well also have been built on stone. There are small window openings in the east and south walls. The portals, which open on to the courtyard, have been restored at a later date. At some time in the Middle Ages the east building has been severely damaged by an avalanche. It may have been after this that the bishop had two more rooms added to the east wall and between them a staircase. Here, there was an entrance facing the new cathedral.

The west building was 45 m long and 7 m wide on the outside. In the part that has been investigated 4 rooms are revealed, 3 of them with doors out to the courtyard. It is possible that a storey built of wood has stood on the meter-thick walls.

The timbered rooms and the "roykstova", which are part of the more modern farm house, are log buildings and not stave-built, as was the custom in the Faroes. It is difficult to say when this house was built on top of the basement of the bishop's palace, and how old it is, other than that it is medieval. It may have been brought here from some other place. In Kirkjubøur it is said that these log buildings came ready-made from Norway. They have been reconditioned later, but the "roykstova", which is in the farm house, is more or less in its original form. Because the "roykstova" does not exactly fit the basement walls there are supports set in under the joists. One of them is an octogonal pillar with a beautiful capital carved in Gothic style.

The existing timbered rooms are only part of a much larger timber building, which was at one time 15 m long and 8.5 m wide. The part which is missing - it was demolished at some time in the last century - was a big hall - 10.5x5 m and open up to the rafters. The foundation can still be seen to the north of the existing timbered rooms, which have formed the entrance hall, from which there was a passage into the main hall. This sort of construction was built in big farms in Norway about the year 1300.








 

   Contact: 
   Símun V. Arge
   Phone: +298 790 550
  
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