Gröf in Höfðaströnd

Church number 2001

-19.37102E, 65.86952N

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XVII, Iceland

In the 17th century the farm Gröf in Höfðaströnd was a home of Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir, widow of two bishops. She initiated the upgrade of a chapel to a bigger church, which was confirmed by a royal decree in 1687. However, after her death in 1715 the religious prominence of Gröf came to an end and it became a storage place for many years. The church is under a single roof structure; the exterior longitudinal walls are built of turf, using strengur technique (with long and thin strips of turf). The east and the west walls are made of wood, clad in vertical weatherboarding. The proportions of the church are 1:2, that is the length is twice the width. The width is equal to the height to the roof ridge, while the height of the walls is half that height. The division between chancel and nave also appear to be derived from this proportion. Besides, it is the only church in Iceland that stands in the round shaped cemetery. The detailed history of the building is undocumented, nevertheless some experts attribute the building to Guðmundur Guðmundson of Bjarnastaðahlíð, who lived in the 17th century and studied carpentry in Copenhagen. In 1948 the church was added to the Icelandic Register of Heritage Sites, and the renovation work started. Unfortunately, the original timbers were severely dilapidated, and therefore the church had to be reconstructed, with the detailed replicas of the timbers. The renovation was completed in 1953.