Herrisvad, Abbey of

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Also called Herivadum, oldest Cistercian abbey in Denmark, in the Archdiocese of Lund in Scania, now a part of Sweden. It was founded in 1144 by eskil of lund, the archbishop; the first monks came directly from cÎteaux. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1158, but it is not known exactly when the church was finished. It was rebuilt wholly or in part early in the 13th century and again, after a great fire, in 1291. The abbey has been demolished but its plan is well known from recent excavations of the site. The importance of Herrisvad was soon recognized, and daughterhouses were founded in Tvis (Tuta Vallis ) 1163, in Holme (Insula Dei ) 1172, and in Løgum (Locus Dei ) c. 1173. The church (built c. 12001350) and part of the monastery in Løgum still exist. After Herrisvad the next Cistercian abbey in Denmark was Esrom (no Latin name), founded c. 1153 by Eskil and inhabited by monks from clairvaux. Esrom was perhaps the wealthiest abbey in Denmark, and from it were founded a number of daughterhouses, including Vitskøl (Vitae Schola ) 1158, and Sorø (sora), founded by absalon of lund (later Archbishop of Denmark) in 1162. Esrom and Sorø had formerly been Benedictine abbeys. The church in Sorø, built soon after the foundation and several times rebuilt (after a fire in 1247 and later), is extant and is regarded as one of the finest specimens of ecclesiastical architecture from medieval Denmark. Øm (Cara Insula ), founded in 1165 as a daughterhouse of Vitskøl, is remembered from the vivid record of its earliest history in Exordium Carae Insulae. Glücksburg Castle in the old Diocese of Schleswig, now a part of Germany, is built on the site of Ryd abbey (Rus Regis ) founded in 1209. The Cistercian abbeys in Denmark flourished until the 14th century when a serious decline set in. After the Reformation (1536) all abbeys and other religious houses were dissolved.

Bibliography: Exordium Monasterii Carae Insulae, ed. m. c. gertz in Scriptores minores historiae Danicae Medii Aevi, 2 v. (Copenhagen 191722) 2:153264. e. ortved, Cistercieordenen og dens klostre i Norden, 2 v. in 1 (Copenhagen 192733). v. b. lorenzen, De danske Cistercienserklostres Bygningshistorie (Copenhagen 1941). l. gjerlØw and j. gallÉn, Kulturhistorisk Leksikon for nordisk middelalder, v.2 (Copenhagen 1957) 565573, with bibliog.

[h. bekker-nielsen]