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My Hometown History – Mårslet, Denmark

May 25, 2011

This is my contribution to Scott Thomas’ latest assignment, Hometown History.

Thank you, Scott, for this challenge, that kicked me start photographing in my home environment again!

I live in Mårslet, south of Aarhus in Denmark.
My home area’s history goes back thousands of years – to the early Stone Age. Here peasants settled more than 5000 years ago!

And they submitted their marks in the landscape, which are still visible in several places: In Hørret Forest just east of town you can see this 18 meter long grave. It is a long dolmen, a collective grave, which consists of a stone-built burial chamber surrounded by a mound and a ring of large stones. Here, society’s most affluent members were buried with their weapons, valuables – and plenty of food for the journey to kingdom of the dead!

The town name “Mårslet” is perhaps nearly as old as this burial chamber? The name Mårslet is composed of two words: “Morth” (which later became “Mår”) and means “forest”. And  “slet” which means “clearance”. Thus does “Mårslet” mean “Clearing in the forest”….

One of the first places you can find the name in writing is from 1360, when it was spelled “Mordslet”.

In Mårslet you can see this house – close to my own house. It is the oldest house in Mårslet, built in 1778.

In the archives of Mårslet Egnsarkiv (Mårslet Region Archives)I found this photo of the house from 1900-1930 – with the many residents of the small house out in front of their house…….

An much older building in Mårslet is Mårslet Church. It was originally built between 1100 – 1200. About 300 years later it was rebuilt to its present appearance. The church-building looks like most other ancient traditional village churches in Denmark with a red tile roof and whitewashed walls. The main building, the nave, in the middle (called the “ship”here in Denmark). Choir and apse to the east of this, and at the opposite end (west) is the tower. On the south side entrance through the porch, this was originally only the entrance for men (and men carried weapons!), women had then a separate entrance on the opposite side (north). The first part of the church that was built was the nave – and when there was money for it ( (often several generations later!)  ) – more parts were added …

A view of Mårslet Kirke – seen from south-east.

- and here seen from north-west. Left side: Roof detail.                    Right side: The entrance – through a solid door and the porch…

Around 1800 the Church had a lead roof, but it was in 1828 sold by the church owner,The  Baron of Vilhelmsborg, who lacked money, and instead replaced it with a the church’s current “roasted beaver tail stones”. – Mårslet church is now the only church in the country where the entire roof covering consists of these simple but beautiful tiles.

I will not mention the interior of the Mårslet Church here. More about this on another occasion.

Before leaving the church I will show you this photo of the church from around 1900. It is obvious that the city was then a very small town, as there is only one house near the church….  Thanks again to Mårslet Egnsarkiv (Mårslet Region Archives) and our local historical association, which has made ​​a tremendous amount of work to collect old photos and other information about the town’s history.

This is a view of the center of Mårslet.

Taking the picture I am standing in front of the church facing the entrance to our small shopping center. This consists today of two supermarkets, a flower shop, medical center, a dentist and a gas station, the latter is  is visible in the picture, the shops are situated further behind the gas station.
The shopping center is located at the site where a farmhouse, Bomgården, was previously located.

In the arcives of Mårslet Egnsarkiv I found this photo of the farmhouse from 1900 – 1910. The farmhouse here and and the associated farm buildings were situated right where the gas station and the big chestnut tree is today (this tree is in the right side of the photo above)

The second photo (below) of Bomgården is an aerial photo – captured in the middle of the last century – not many years before the farm was demolished to make way for the shopping center… One can see the chestnut tree by the road. The main building, the farmhouse, is in the middle of the picture.

East of Mårslet are several major forest areas. Not far from Hørret Forest, where Stone Age people buried their dead, lies Vilhelmsborg Forest, less than 2 km’s from my home. Readers of this blog will find several photos from there here in the archives of this blog.

My next photo is of  the Manor Vilhelmsborg’s main building. It is built in 1843. The Manor Vilhelmsborg’s history goes many centuries back. It was founded in 1486, and  in the first 200 years the name of the manor was “Skumstrup “.

This is a part of the ruins of Skumstrup as they look today. Skumstrup’s main building has been excavated. It has been over two floors with a stair tower in the center courtyard. At first floor was a great hall. There were two side buildings with kitchen and chambers and associated farm buildings.
But when Baron Villiam Gyldenkrone in 1673 inherited Skumstrup and moved there with his 13-year-old young wife, he named the manor Vilhelmsborg – after himself … And in these years the manor house was relocated and a new manor built on the current location.

The owners of the property after 1673 can be seen on the memorial board at the front of the picture.

Today Vilhelmsborg is owned by the local government in Århus, and it operates today as Danish National Equestrian Centre.

One of the guests who often visited the baron at Vilhelmsborg was Hans Christian Andersen. When he stayed there he often went on horse-drawn carriage rides in the area. On one of these trips, he tells of a dramatic accident, in which the horse trailer crashes on a bridge in the forest and almost runs into the stream, Giberåen. Luckily none of the passengers in the car were seriously injured…. And Hans Christian Andersen lived for many more years – and told us many more fairy tales after that day!
The bridge where this happened is still there – in a slightly modernized version:

But it seems like some people still have accidents here!:

I hope you have enjoyed some moments of the history of my Danish hometown, Mårslet :-)

My last photo is an aerial photo of my hometown, which is borrowed from our local website in Mårslet:

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53 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 2:35 am

    Beautiful!! The woods look so inviting. What a wonderful place to call home!

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:17 pm

      I feel lucky to live here – although I must admit, that right now when the weather here is cool and rainy, it’s not quite as attractive as in sunshine and summer weather;-)

      Like

  2. May 26, 2011 5:45 am

    truels, the oldest house looks like something from the children’s book. Is someone living there now? Your hometown has interesting history and love the colors of your photos.

    Like

    • May 26, 2011 8:23 am

      Yes, someone is still living in this old house. It looks very well maintained from the outside, and probably also inside? My own house is from 1904, we have carefully renovated the exterior – and completely renovated and converted the interior.

      Like

      • Thomas permalink
        June 11, 2011 3:55 pm

        It’s actually my grandparents house. They’ve been living there since 1950, thus celebrating their 61st anniversary May 20 this year. My grandfather turned 89 four days later, and besides being somewhat troubled when it comes to walking he’s fit physically as well as mentally. The same goes for my grandmother, who’s 81 years old. What your picture doesn’t show is the 1500 square meters of garden behind the house, which they still manage to keep almost by themselves.

        Oh, and by the way – the original (!) door will be replaced during this summer. You can just make some of the cracks in the wall out beside it, in your picture.

        Fun reading :)

        Like

  3. May 27, 2011 12:52 am

    You have so MUCH history over there! That’s what I kept realizing the two times I was in Europe. I guess we really are just a youngster over here! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog! – Dawn King, Michigan, USA.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:22 pm

      Thanks for your visit here. I have been only once in USA, I loved those two weeks (in California, Arizona, Utah and Neavada) .

      Like

  4. May 27, 2011 1:31 am

    When I settled down to follow the hometown history links it never crossed my mind that I would see a dolmen and roasted beaver tail stones and a lane where Hans Christian Andersen rode–all in one post! What a wonderful visit. Thank you.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:28 pm

      I’m glad you liked my post. It was really exciting to make this, I discovered even new aspects of the history here. Eg. I found and visited the Dolmen in Hørret Forest, I had not been there on the spot before!

      Like

    • June 15, 2011 6:35 am

      I echo Gerry’s words, Truels. You told such a beautiful story of your hometown; I had no idea you had such a long history. I particularly like the church with that remarkable and pretty roof of roaster beaver tail stones, and that photograph of the lane through the forest – magic!

      Like

  5. May 27, 2011 5:14 am

    How I would love to live in an old town like this. I am envious you live in a house built in 1904 – most homes where I reside are new and boring.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:33 pm

      If you come over here you could start with visiting the area ;-) – you will be very welcome!

      Like

  6. May 27, 2011 5:29 am

    This was a wonderful journey through your hometown, truels ! I am impressed by the greenery all around, like a box for a jewel of a little town. You did a lot of interesting research, thank you. This wall surrounding the church, is it a dry stone wall ? Beautiful ! Love the roof detail too. Many thanks for this great post about your hometown.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:41 pm

      Reading your comment I am glad that I spent a great deal of energy to create this post! Thank you so much, Isa :-) The churchyard wall is made of natural stone, it is old and made ​​like it has been a tradition for centuries.

      Like

  7. May 27, 2011 7:45 am

    Thank you for showing us this! I like your presentation!
    I have visited your parts of Denmark several times…

    Ja, bildene av ibisen er tatt i Marokko, Agadir!
    Ha en flott dag, Truels!

    Like

  8. May 27, 2011 6:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Truels! I love where you live! :) I love the way you’ve captured this church. Great job!

    Like

  9. May 28, 2011 8:35 am

    This was a whole thesis, and worth every word and photo in it. My personal favourite among the photos was the roof detail, but the info won! A very good job.

    PS Jeg følte meg tilbake til mange opphold i egnen.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:49 pm

      I appreciate your comment very much! And I’m glad you have visited the area here before, hope to see you again;-)

      Like

  10. May 28, 2011 7:03 pm

    What a beautiful place to call home! Thank you for the tour :-)

    Like

  11. May 29, 2011 12:18 pm

    I, too, enjoyed the historical tour of your hometown in Denmark. Beautiful photos. Can you believe the Baron married a 13 year old girl? And I think we’re all happy to hear that Hans Christian Anderson survived the accident! It probably provided more material for his fairy tales.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 12:56 pm

      Thanks, Kathy. Much has changed since then -, I think it was more common to marry at that age back then….

      Like

  12. May 29, 2011 3:26 pm

    Well done Truels. I love Your post. It illuminated to me Your town, so beautiful, environment and history. I am always been interested in history and You gave to a very good lesson in it.

    The house You showed” lindegårdsvej6” reminded me from my pen pal from Denmark when I was young school boy. I like its style very much.

    I am happy when I had possibility to read all this. Thank You.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 3:49 pm

      Hello Matti. Great that you enjoyed my post about the history of my hometown!

      Like

  13. May 29, 2011 4:15 pm

    Very beautiful light in the alley
    Magnificently

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 10:59 pm

      Thank you, Andrey. I must admit, that I am often inspired by your photography, and I’m visiting your blog with a lot of interest – and will recommend it to everyone reading this ;-)

      Like

  14. Martina permalink
    May 29, 2011 4:18 pm

    Truels, I love reading about your local history. Buildings are not constructed so strong around here. Love the roof details, makes a great abstract. You put a lot of research into this one. I enjoyed reading it and learning about my fairy tale favorite Hans Christian Andersen. Knowing the history behind the hometown can help one feel connected to it. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • May 29, 2011 11:10 pm

      I was very pleased reading your comment, Martina. A famous and wise Danish philosopher (also outside Denmark!), Søren Kirkegård, said about history:
      “Life must be understood backwards – but lived forwards”!

      Like

  15. May 29, 2011 7:21 pm

    I found it very interesting to read all about your town. It is very beautiful and you have presented it well.

    Like

  16. May 30, 2011 12:19 am

    What a wonderful tour this is. Educational and lots of very nice photographs to share your beautiful part of the planet. Thank you!

    Like

    • May 31, 2011 4:08 pm

      I’m glad you stopped by my blog – and that you liked what you have seen :-)

      Like

  17. csrster permalink
    June 1, 2011 11:08 am

    Reading this entry made me wish I lived in Mårslet. Then I remembered – I do! By the way, you forgot to mention the baker and the physiotherapist :-)

    Like

    • June 1, 2011 9:10 pm

      Have you been living in Mårslet?!
      And yes – I’m sorry! – I forgot the baker and the physiotherapist!

      Like

      • csrster permalink
        June 14, 2011 8:54 am

        Yes, I’ve lived in Mårslet for a few years now. Thank you for producing such a fine presentation of our community.

        Like

  18. June 8, 2011 1:32 am

    An interesting assignment and I believe you deserve an A+. What a beautiful and fascinating place that you call home.

    Like

    • June 8, 2011 6:28 pm

      Thanks for your nice evaluation – and yes, I’m really happy to stay here in Mårslet!

      Like

  19. November 27, 2011 3:07 pm

    Beautiful place. And I love a place with SO much history. Wonderful share! :)

    Like

    • November 27, 2011 10:15 pm

      I find it interesting, that even a small town like mine has so much history to find – when you look. I’m glad you liked it!

      Like

  20. March 12, 2012 11:08 pm

    Now I’ve read it – great post – about a region I know well, but always want to read about… ;-)

    Like

    • March 17, 2012 11:37 pm

      I’m glad you liked it!

      Like

      • March 18, 2012 9:54 am

        As a boy in the 1970s I often visited my grandparents who lived in the area – and my father was born in the small village Ingerslev between Solbjerg and Hasselager and his brother has lived his entire 80 year life in Mårslet and environs after he left home at age 14 – he lives in Hørret now – it was and is a wonderful region for cycling around – my grandparents were friends with the old innkeeper Alrø at the old inn Norsminde – so there was always a soft drink to a thirsty boy – lovely memories… ;-)

        At the churches in Mårslet, Saxild, Kolt, Tiset and Fruering – there’s burial as the last address of family members through at least the last 100 years…

        Like

        • March 18, 2012 10:38 pm

          Interesting story about your family! I know several people in Hørret. What is the name of your uncle here?

          Like

          • March 19, 2012 11:11 am

            #.truels – 18032012.2038
            The name is Asger K, he is 80 years old on Thursday and has been retired for many years – my sweet aunt Margit died unfortunately for about 9 years ago – my uncle makes time go by his garden, his car and 1 or 2 beers with neighbors too – he’s a former bus driver (Aarhus Sporveje) for many many years before he retired in 1992… ;-)

            Like

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