Photo: Håvard Christiansen, Riksantikvaren

Haltdalen Stave Church is a small, single nave church. It has a narrow, rectangular nave and a narrower rectangular choir. This church is the only historical stave church remain standing in Trøndelag county. Today the church can be visited at Sverresborg Trøndelag folk museum in Trondheim.

The bearing structure consists of four heavy sill beams at the bottom and four at the top interconnected to corner posts (stavene in Norwegian). The bottom sills have a trapezoidal cross-section, while the top sills are rectangular. The walls between the corner posts and the top and bottom sill beams are filled in with vertical wall planks. Every part is interlocked into position by other pieces creating a very rigid construction.

Both nave and choir have sharp gabled roofs. Inside, the roof construction is visible, showing the quadrant brackets. Previously the church had outer ambulatories around all the external walls. Various traces in the external corner posts show evidence of this construction. The nave used to have two portals, one to the west and one to the south. The choir used to have a portal to the south.

Dendrochronology of the existing growth rings in some parts of the church show that the trees were cut between 1163 and 1170. However, since a full sample to the edge of the tree is not preserved, a more precise dating of the church cannot be determined.

Within the building there are several, original symbols carved into the walls of the church, consisting of an equilateral cross inside a circle. Probably there were 12 of these consecration crosses placed inside the church. Not all of these symbols are preserved. In 1604 the interior walls were painted with arabesques and an inscription. The inscription in the choir has previously been interpreted as: “… of the VI capitel Lucæ and about King Herod, by which he let b(ehad Jo)hannes baptista for his daughter’s dance in st. Matthew XIIII Capitel Anno 1604-on …”.

Haltdalen Stave Church has been disassembled, assembled, altered, repaired and relocated several times. Historical records describe the disassembly and relocation of the church in 1704. While being rebuild again the church was enlarged and a new and bigger nave was added. Hence the former nave became choir and the choir became sacristy. In 1883, the church was disassembled again and relocated to Trondheim. Since the western wall didn’t survive the previous extension, building parts and the portal from the demolished, old Ålen stave church were used.

In 1937, the stave church once again was disassembled and now relocated to Sverresborg Trøndelag folk museum. After the outbreak of World War II in 1940, the stave church was taken down in order to protect and keep it safely stored away.

In 1949, the church was assembled for the last time at the location where it is still standing today. In 2015, Haltdalen Stave Church was restored by the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage’s as a part of the stave church programme.

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