St. Solomon’s source (Holy Well)

Salomons_Kapel

GPS : 55.293543,14.763663

Solomon’s Chapel

The ruins of Solomon’s Chapel is located near the coast of Hammerknuden on Bornholm. The small chapel dating from the Middle Ages, was probably built in the early 1300s. Maybe it was the chapel destined for merchants from the German Hanseatic cities who often visited the island. The chapel is mentioned by the archbishop of Lund’s will from 1379, and it has probably well know during  the time of Hammershuus castle. Excavations in 1923 revealed that the chapel consisted of a main building approximately 13.5 x 7.3 meters with a later terraced porch facing south. Remains of the altar and the brick wall benches are still preserved.
Established circa : 1300 Disbanded: 1600

Solomons_Chapel_Bornholm_en_GB_800x925Drawing taken from Danmarks Kirke,  Bornholm

St. Solomon’s source

St. Solomon’s Chapel was also known as St. Solomon’s source. The remains of the holy spring can be seen next to the chapel’s northwest corner. People flocked to the source to partake of the water miracle and healing power. Many believed in the sacred sources of the Middle Ages, and many people used even after the Reformation. Right up to the 1700s, the water here is known for its fresh, sweet taste. The source was cleaned in 1923, and one could see that the bottom of the well shaft was shaped square boulders. It’s not know who Solomon’s source and the chapel are named after, but there are many indications that it could be the Holy Salomonius (d. 1314), who was Dominican monk.

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The Holy Well as it looks today

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View looking to the South East. In the foreground is the Holy Well

The Decline of the Herring Fishing Industry

The area attracted merchants from the Hanseatic League, and on the island’s northern tip was a larger herring market on the gently sloping surface on the northwest side of the hammer.

The chapel was built, so that from consecrated ground they could call for a blessing of God upon the great catch and the people in general. However, the herring disappeared suddenly, and the people were shocked. On top of that there were in the years after 1775 a massive sand drift that transformed the area between the chapel and Sandvig covering it in white sand dunes.

In Rawert and Garliebs Bornholm Description 1815 this is described as follows:

“Immediately Norden of Sandvig begins Flyvesandet over which one has a cumbersome and heavy way to reach and climb it Bierg forming the Bornholm northernmost tip, hammer. The northern part of which is almost just a big ocean of sand, and only a few places on the so-called Northern Hammer is become free from flying another’s devastating effects.  Approximately 40 years ago were known nothing of this evil. The entire hammer was then a fertile pasture, the wide valley between Hammersø and sea was a beautiful meadow. A strong storm for a one stern Frost tore a small opening in the vegetable cover, rooted sand out of the deep, and spread it over the surrounding pasture.The time had easily been able to stop this evil, if you had planted place and coated it with turf. But indifference or perhaps ignorance let the WHERE Storms have their free games; soon the whole northern hammer robbed his fertile cover, and in a short time had destruction erholdt its present appearance and threatens completely to comply add and destroy Sandvig and Allinge call Catchment. Formerly, the hammer was covered with forest; Now you see only the trees roots and bare rocks here and there protrude above the sand. “

Today, the vegetation has returned on top of the sand, and only the ruins, the well of the holy spring and place names on the map reveals that this once has been the basis for a major fishing community.

 

Solomons_Kapel_map_800x539Map taken from Danmark Gyldendals Egnsbeskrive (GoldenValley Regional Description), Bornholm Book 1 (1969)

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Solomons_Kapel_Peter_Bromley

Photographer : Peter Bromley (2008)

References

http://www.kulturarv.dk/1001fortaellinger/da_DK/salomons-kapel

http://www.dbabornholm.dk/Kultur_4_Helligkilder.pdf

http://danmarkskirker.natmus.dk/uploads/tx_tcchurchsearch/Bornholm_329-334.pdf

http://367ture.dk/site/Salomons_Kapel/