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Sebber Priory

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Sebber Priory is a remarkably preserved religious house in Sebbersund, near Nibe in northcentral Jutland, Denmark.


Sebber Priory was established as early as 1250 and certainly before 1268 as a house for Benedictine nuns. The priory was dedicated to St Lawrence. Its founding details are uncertain; it may have begun as an Augustinian house.

One question about Sebber Priory has always been why it was located on the coast in such an isolated location. It appears that Sebber was already a village in Viking times, a trading place for ships plying the Limfjord between the North Sea and the Baltic. Recent research by the Aalborg History Museum has discovered no fewer than three churches on or around St Jørgens Bjerg: two stave churches and a stone one. Over 300 Viking age graves were found in one of the largest Viking cemeteries found to date on the same ground as the priory was built. It seems that Sebber has been historically a religious place, perhaps even in pre-Christian times. If locals were looking for a sacred spot, what better choice on Sebbersund than where the ancestors both pagan and Christian had worshipped.

The priory was built in Gothic style of red brick, the most common building material of the time. Sebber was built to house approximately 12 Benedictine nuns in a relatively isolated place where they could practice a contemplative life without interference from the outside world.

Reformation in Denmark

The Reformation brought an end to Sebber Priory when Christian III and the State Council adopted the Lutheran Ordinances, establishing Lutheranism as the state church in October 1536. The abbey and its estate reverted to the crown and was then given over to Christian Friis, a noble from Aalborg. The abbey buildings became an estate farm owned by nobleman Oluf Brockenhus. Eventually the priory buildings were torn down, but the priory church became the local parish church.

What makes Sebber church so interesting is that it is the main building of the medieval priory much as it was in the Middle Ages. It is perhaps the best preserved in all of Jutland. The baptismal font and crucifix date from the days when it was still a priory church.


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