Øyevegen 135, 2977 Øye
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Øye Stave Church (Øye stavkyrkje) is located in the village of Øye close to road E16 and the lake Vangsmjøse. It is one of the churches for the Øye parish. The brown, wooden stave church was built in a long church design in 1965. It was drawn by the architect Ole Øvergaard. Building material used, were pieces salvaged from the old 12th century church that had originally been torn down in 1747. The church seats about 30 people.
The earliest existing historical records of the church date back to the year 1347. The first church in Øye was a wooden stave church that was built in the late 12th century, likely around the years 1180–1200. This church was located on the flat land along the shore of the lake Vangsmjøse, about 400 metres (1,300 ft) northwest of the present Øye Church. This location was problematic over the years. The land was somewhat boggy and the nearby river Rødøla would flood almost every spring. This led to grave sites being disturbed (legend says the coffins would sometimes float to the surface during the flooding). By the 1660s, the church was said to be in poor condition. Hence, the old church was torn down In 1747 and a new Øye Church was built about 400 metres (1,300 ft) to the southeast of the old site.
In 1935, the new Øye Church was being renovated and part of the foundation wall was removed. Under the floor, workers surprisingly found 156 pieces of the old stave church that had been salvaged after the demolition of the old stave church in 1747. The pieces included some of the staves, foundation pillars, framing, and decorative pieces. No one knew they were there and no one knew why they were saved. After this exciting discovery, the materials were saved and plans were made to reconstruct the old stave church. The architect Ole Øvergaard designed a reconstruction proposal for the church in 1950. The plans called for using many of the parts discovered in 1935 as well as some parts from the Heddal Stave Church as well as some new materials.
The parish decided to build the reconstruction about 100 metres (330 ft) north of the present Øye Church. This was of course done since the old church site was still not suited for building. The following construction was completed and the church was consecrated on 1 August 1965 by the Bishop Alexander Lange Johnson. Historic artifacts include a medieval doorbell, a crucifix from the 13th century with a figure of Christ and a wooden baptismal font from the 1300s.
In the area
There are other interesting locations and roads in the area if you are passing by; the stave churches Hegge, Lomen and Høre, and the great riding road 53 – Tyinvegen. Also, not far from Øye you can choose to ride the partial gravel road 2510 and have an outdoor lunch break by the mill houses of Leine.