Friday, 16 August 2013

The story of the giant and the church bells in Hov

I thought I was going to write a little about Bjäre and more specifically about the old stories surrounding different places here on the peninsula before the Challenge of Travel reveal. Sort of mention a few things I don't have room to talk about in the reveal post and created a wider picture of some of my inspiration sources. The first legend I wanted to write about is the story of the stones and the church in Hov.

Hov is a village I've often passed by, stopped by or just taken photos of (if you see a photo with a church in the background on this blog, it'll most likely be the church in Hov). It's situated when the road between Torekov and Båstad meets the road from Västra Karup, which in the other direction continues south through Grevie and Förslöv. If you arrive at Hov from the west, from Torekov, the first thing you'll see is  the church on the hill and in front of it the two standing stones (bautastenar, menhirs, liths) just outside the church wall. The two stones are the most visible markers of the old bronze age/iron age gravefield, indicating the ritual importance of the place as a place of worship and counsels long before the arrival of christianity.  People have been buried here continuously for almost 4000 years.

The iconic silhouette dominating the landscape can be seen in the necklace above with the stone setting, standing stones and the burial mound Klockarehögen in the fourground and the church bell tower in the background.

Photo by Guillaume Baviere via License: Creative Commons CC BY 2.0
Anyway, of cause there's a story behind these ancient monuments. It's a classic tale, really, about a giant who couldn't stand the sound of the church bells. The giants and trolls inhabited the lands long before the humans came along, but they seemed to be more at peace before christianity arrived. In fact, it seems like the giants emigrated after the churches came as they simply couldn't stand these new intruders. Many were the trolls and giants that suffered in the new times, but the toll was harder on the giants that on the trolls (provided we make a clear difference between the two, which isn't easily done).

After the first church was built in Hov -- the one you see in the pendant is the current 19th century church -- and the church bells began to ring life got hard for the giant woman living on Kullaberg on the neighbouring Kullen peninsula. The bells caused her ears and head to ache, non-christians being especially susceptible to anything christian -- you might even say they were allergic to things like bell ringing, holy water and crosses. Soon she got so mad at this horrible new thing that she picked up a stone and, using her garter as a sling, hurled it at the church across the Skälderviken bay. But, alas, as in all these stories about giants and churches, the stone landed just before hitting the church. Infuriated, she tried again, but this time too, she missed her marks. The magic powers of the church were stronger than her muscle power. In the end, she did like so many of her peers and moved to a more secluded place, untouched by christianity, where she could live her life in peace, far from any ache-inducing church bells.

Hov and Hov's church seen from Svenstad


  1. Thanks, this was a good read.

  2. . It'll be great fun to see how these old legends and creatures inspire you when creating for The Challenge of Travel. Milka


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