Sunday, July 29, 2018

One Tower, Two Spires and an Ancient Standard Measure


Our next stop after Värnamo was the parish church at Rydaholm (see map at the bottom of the post).

The church was built in the 12th century. Originally, the tower was only half as high as now. In the 14th century it was completed with the two spires we still see. 

In 1793 the nave and choir of the church were reconstructed and enlarged; but they kept the tower with the two spires, which is the most unique feature.


According to old tradition, the church is built in west-east direction, with the altar to the east.



The altarpiece was made in 1865, but the picture of Christ in the middle is from 1960.


The pulpet was made around 1830.


Turning round and looking at the organ.


Along one wall, I noticed this ‘grandfather clock’ – in my experience, not a very common object in churches.

At a side entrace to the church, they have like a small museum; displaying among other things a replica of an old iron measure rod. Aln is an ancient linear unit that was used in Sweden in the past. The standard aln measure from Rydaholm (just under 60 cm in the metric system), is known to have been used in that area since the 12th century, and it became the norm used throughout Sweden when the unit needed to be standardized (in 1604). It remained the national standard until replaced by the metric system towards the end of the 19th century.


‘Aln’ is supposed to mean the length of a man’s forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. But in that case it seems to me that the measure must have been based on very tall man with very long arms, as my brother (waving hello to you from the picture) is far from short!


The golden angel and the cross with the crown of thorns were formerly placed at the altarpiece.


Old carved something… (not sure what!)

Skärmklipp Rydaholm

Rydaholm is located at “B” on the map


  1. ...Hi Monica, I love this church with its long history. Some of the features can be found here in the US. Your banner image with the windmill is a delight.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Tom. What was new to me with this church was the double spire on the tower.

  2. Interesting that the Eye of Providence is in the rays behind the pulpit and the Star of David is in the rays behind the painting of Christ. I do not know when the Star of David began to be the symbol of the Jewish nation, but it strikes me that it is there.

    Is the odd carving Moses parting the Red Sea?

    1. Sandi, I gather from a lengthy Wikipedia article that the hexagon star as decoration predates its Jewish symbolism (and has also been found as decoration in early Christian churches). Here, with the IHS in the middle, it is obviously meant as a symbol of Jesus.

      Interesting interpretation of the carved image, but I'm leaning more towards Librarian's suggestion (see her comment below), i.e. representing the second coming of Christ (Judgement Day).

  3. it is amazing and beautiful and I have never seen one with two spires.

    1. Sandra, I don't think I ever saw this before either.

  4. I love the two towers! I have not seen a building like this. And another green grandfather clock! I love this one, but not quite as pretty as the last one. The altar is very pretty, with the pastel fact, it matches the clock! Maybe back when they used the aln, men were a whole lot bigger!

    1. Ginny, I always had the impression that people in the past were generally shorter than we are today, rather than taller.

  5. Gorgeous!!!! I don't think I have ever seen a regular clock like that in a church before. The altar there is gorgeous! xo Diana

    1. Diana, I'm not sure I've seen a clock like that in a church before either. I did see a clock in a big old wooden church last year, but that was kind of built into the decorations on the wall.

  6. A unique church under several aspects. I have never seen one with two spires on a single tower, either, and wonder what made them build it that way.
    The inside looks light and airy, not dark and mysterious and many old churches do.
    As for the carving, could it be Christ descending on a trail of clouds to judge the living and the dead? That would explain the figure looking as if running away.

    1. Meike, I don't think I've ever seen two spires on a single tower like that before either - but we did come across it again on this trip! (You'll get to see it in a future post.)

      I think I agree with your interpretation of the carving; also considering the halo around the head of the figure at the top (resembling both radiance and thorns?).

  7. What a beautiful church taht is though the spire does look odd

    1. Bill, I agree. That double spire was the main reason why we decided to stop and have a closer look at this church!


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