Middelfart Sankt Nikolaj Church

This page offers a brief translation of the main facts about the church.

1550

The staircase in the tower between the  cavity  over the arch of the tower compartment and the middle floor is from approx. 1510  and the oldest wooden staircase still in use in Denmark.

History

1667

The town Middelfart is placed centrally in Denmark by the bridge between Funen and Jutland. The church is dedicated to the patron of sailors Sct. Nicholas, but is colloquially referred to as Middelfart church, since there has never been more than one church in Middelfart.

Due to its central position in the kingdom many travellers  including princes and kings have visited the church and influenced both the interior and exterior adornments of the church. 

1250

In approx. 1200 the current  brick building probably replaced an older church made by  unhewn stone.

The year 1667 above the door of the porch does not mark the age of the church, but the end date  of the construction of the church.

The remodeling of the church in the 15th century was probably for a military purpose. Towering over Lillebaelt the church emits, not least seen from the water, power and authority. The purpose was to make the church a fortress to intimidate the ships on Lillebælt and make them pay the water toll demanded by the Crown. The water toll was collected in Middelfart until  1655. Towards Lillebælt there are embrasures and in the tower  recoil beams for swivel guns. 

Interior

The Altar from 1650'ies is in Baroque style. The principal character towards north is Christ with the Cross and towards south Moses with the Tablets of the law. In the center below a depiction of The Last Supper.

The paintings are by C.W.Eckersberg and was donated to the church in 1843 by Christian VIII at the request of his son, Crown Prince Frederic, who  on a prior visit to the church had found the then painting a "great disfigurement" of the church.

The large altar piece depicts the Tale of the greatest and the smallest and is considered the most important of Eckersberg's altar paintings from the 1840’ies.

Above, there is another painting of three little angels by Eckersberg from a relief by Bertel Thorvaldsen.

The original painting from approx. 1650 depicts Christ's  Resurrection and hangs in the sacristy. The original large center piece was scrapped in 1843 and was most likely a depiction of the Crucifixion.

The Pulpit is from 1596 and in Renaissance style. The reliefs depicts scenes from the childhood history of Christ. The Annunciation, Mary and Elisabeth, the Birth of Jesus, the Circumcision, the Wise Men and the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

The staircase is from 1675. Three disciples adorn the door and nine disciples the actual staircase.

 

The Tombstones, 2 epitaphs and 24 tombstones dating back to 1560-1690.

Primarily reminders of town bailiffs , aldermen, mayors and parish priests all of whom are buried under the church floor. The tombstones were formerly part of the church floor, but were taken up and placed along the walls in the 1890’ies.

The Font is made of marble and depicts a little angel.  The font was made by H.W. Bissen and donated to Middelfart church in 1845 by major general C.U. von Sundt. The angel carries a shell which corresponds with the shell in the hand of the child in the main painting on the altar.

The Pews are in the oldest parts from the 16th century. At the front of the church the kings and queens pews are dated 1632 with the monogram of Christian IV.  These chairs were used in everyday life by the royal feudatory at Hindsgavl. In the book of pews from 1719 it is noted that the 3 pews behind the kings pew were reserved for the mayor and council of the city. 2 pews behind the queens pew were reserved for the clergymen's wives. The benches were often reserved, e.g. 5 chairs in the back were reserved for the islanders from Fænø. The benches have been renewed, remodeled and moved many times, most recent in 1896-98. There are numerous old scratchings in the benches, most evident dated 1649-1696 in the first closed pew in the southern aisle.  The pews were later models for the pews in Haderslev Cathedral.



The Organ from 1962 is a Frobenius organ of  29 voices.

The Whalebones over the door in the tower are from 1603. The bones were formerly lying on a balk in the westend of the northen aisle, but were placed over the door in approx. 1900. The bones are from a giant whale and consists of two under jaws, two fragments of the upper jaw bones and an unspecified bone.