GPS/POI: 59.4024,9.9612
GPS/UTM: 214069E, 6595690N
Departure point:

Svarstad kirke

  • COUNTY: Vestfold
  • DIOCESE: Tunsberg
  • JOINT PARISH COUNCIL: Lardal kirkelige fellesråd

Svarstad kirke located in Svarstad parish in Larvik rural deanery. The building material is wood and was built in 1657. The church is of long plan and 220 number of seats. The church has conservation status automatically listed (1650-1850).
Architect: Ragnar Nilsen (1955-57).


The Reformation of 1537 marks the end of the Middle Ages in Norway and the establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. In 1349 and 1350, the Black Death reduced the population by about two thirds. There was therefore almost no need for new churches until the population began to grow again in the 17th century.

Since the towns still had more churches than they needed, and many of these were solidly built of stone, it was primarily in rural areas that new churches were built. Out of about 300 churches built during the 150 years following the Reformation, only 64 remain today.

During this period, most churches were built of wood. The cogging joint replaced the stave church design. The form of church services changed, and preaching became more important. This created a need for larger spaces, to allow the congregation to be closer to the chancel and pulpit. New floor plan designs were therefore experimented with, including cruciform, Y-shaped and octagonal. Many of the old stave churches were also extended into a cruciform design.

The Reformed Church's greater emphasis on preaching and the word of God also required a new type of interior. The side altar of the Middle Ages disappeared. Pulpits became more prominent and the nave was filled with pews. Many churches were given galleries. Altarpieces, fonts and pulpits were decorated with biblical motifs and ornamentation in deep relief. The king's monogram often had a prominent position, since he was the head of the church.