Austrått is one of the oldest manors in Norway, dating from as early as the Viking Period. The fief holder (later the Earl), Finn Arnesson, lived there for several years during the 11th century. Finn was the father-in-law of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scots. The Manor was the the centre of a large estate that was owned by the crown for a number of years and later, until 1699, belonged to a succession of noble families. The Grand Ecuyer of Norway, Nils Henrikssøn and his wife, Lady Ingerd Ottesdatter, was such a family and owned the estate from around 1512 until 1552. Lady Ingerd was one of the foremost personalities in Norway during the Reformation.
Their great grandson Ove Bjelke, the Norwegian Chancellor, built the manor house that we see today. The house was completed in 1656. After 1699 it was bourgeois families that owned the place. The Holtermann family were the owners for over a century, (1760-1873). From 1919 the house became a national Property.
The portal opening onto the main court contains richly decorated masonry work from 1656 showing beautiful coat-of-arms and statues of angels. The court is a a colourful sight, flanked on either side by galleries decorated by caryatid sculptures. The main wing is entered by a double staircase and loggia; here you find wrought-iron work and coats-of-arms from the 17th century. The halls have a baroque interior containing one of Bjelke´s chests as well as displaying many paintings and a variety of furniture. The fireplace in the great hall is original.
The core of the building is the chapel dating from the 12th century. It is exquisite. Seven wooden sculptures from medieval times are displayed here. The pulpit, the altar piece and the stalls all date from the 1650´s and there are also paintings from the 17th century. Ove Bjelke´s sarcophagus can be seen in the burial chapel.
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