Lilleborg Castle


GPS : 55.1186925,14.897036

Lilleborg Castle

Lilleborg (Bornholm) was probably built in the mid 1100s as a royal fortress. As the majority of Bornholm in 1149 had been handed over to the Archbishop of Lund, the King Svend III Grathe  wanted to assert his position of power on the island. Three of the island’s four districts were transferred to the archbishop of Lund and the King’s influence and possessions were limited then to the west part of the island with Ronne district. The Small castle on Bornholm could in no way compare with the Archbishop’s fortress in Hammershuus, but none the less, it was still a strong fortress.

It was probably built as a replacement to Gamleborg as it was smaller, only 1/10 the size making it much easier to defend.

The castle was built on a 16 m high rock massif, at the time completely surrounded by the Borresø lake with marshes on all sides.  A wooden bridge was built over the lake that led onto the rock’s southeast side.

The Castle had a great corner tower of 9,5 x9, 5 m guarding  the narrow entrance to castle courtyard. It’s walls are 2.4 meters thick, and from the top of the tower you could fire at any invading enemies from multiple sides. The castle courtyard of Lilleborg is protected by a 76 m long surrounding wall that follows the cliff along the oval plateau.

Lilleborg was only in use for about 100 years. Evidence suggests that it is burnt down in 1259, when Prince Jaromar of Rugen stormed and destroyed the “king’s attachment” on the island along with the rebellious archbishop Jacob Erlandsens brother, Anders Erlandsen , bailiff at Hammershus castle.

Five years after the destruction occurred the archbishop was accused by Pope Urban IV of having sent an army to Bornholm, killing 200 of the king’s men and destroying his castle.

The castle was not rebuilt but coins found on the site,  minted in the time of King Erik Klipping’s reign ( 1259-86 ) showed that it was still occupied after this time. Much of the stone from the castle was reused in the Almindingen area.

Archaeological excavations took place in 1820-22 and from 1887 to 1928 and most recently in 1954-57. In the lake they discovered stone axes and amber beads from the Neolithic period approx. 5,000 years ago they also found a bronze ax and small engraved depressions , known as cup marks on the rock. The castle  courtyard shows evidence of activity from the Bronze Age between 1800-500 BC.  Borresø has also provided  great treasure hoards from the Iron Age dating from the year 400, including 16 Roman silver coins and a spiral ring of gold .




690x_Photo : Thomas Roland (2009)

LilleborgMyhre1-web1200Photo : Valdemar Myhre (circa 1880)