Figure 8. The image to the left shows the ridge beam in the Garda church, Gotland, from above and the image to the right show the steering plate in the Old Jat church, Smaland.

Figure 9. The connection between the rafter and the tie beam and between the tie beam and the wall plate at For-shem church, Vastergotland. The wall plate and the tie beam was originally embedded into the top of the wall but has been exposed since the church was vaulted and cross-arms were added.

Garda church, Gotland, having a slope of 59 and 53 degrees respectively, see Figures 5 and 7. The oldest dated roof structure has the flattest roof, see Figure 4. The timber churches generally have a steeper pitch between 55 and 60 degrees.

The tie beams of the early medieval Swedish roof structures usually lie more or less embedded into the masonry of the top of the walls, see Figure 3. There is usually one wall plate situated at the outside of the wall, to which the tie beam is connected by a notched joint, see Figure 9. The close relation between the wall and the tie beam leads to the assumption that the roof structure has a vertical support along the width of the wall which provides a shortening of the span since the walls usually have a thickness of about one metre. The connection with the wall plate as well as with the masonry gives good possibilities for transferring horizontal forces by friction between the roof trusses and the wall. This works as proved by examples where the tie beams have been cut off for various reasons. The situation is different for timber churches where the tie beam lies notched over the top timber of the wall, and it is probable that the tie beams also act to hold the timber walls together.

Figure 10. Timber joints of the straight lapped type and cleaved boarding in the nave roof structure of Old Drev church, Smaland.
Figure 11. Decorations in the nave roof structure of Gokhem church, Vastergotland.

Different types of outer roof were used. In most cases they have been changed or replaced several times. Common types today are shingle, wood, tiles, slate and tin. Below the outer roofing material there is boarding. If the original boarding is preserved it is usually of cleaved and cut timber, see Figure 10. Later types are sawn, and if they are replaced in modern time planed boarding is normally used.

Studies of roof structures from the 12th century show that the church interior originally was open to the roof (Sjomar 1992). An investigation of Hagebyhoga church, Ostergotland, raised in the 12th century with walls of stone, shows that the interior both in the nave and in the chancel originally had no ceiling; the roof structure was visible. The wooden roof construction probably gave the room a character like that in the Norwegian stave churches today. Several roof structures from the 12th century are given sculptural forms (see Figures 5 and 11). Some parts were probably painted. Other signs of open roofs are plaster that

Figure 8. The image to the left shows the ridge beam in the Garda church, Gotland, from above and the image to the right show the steering plate in the Old Jat church, Smaland.

remains on the walls above later vaults or ceilings, see Figure 3. This means that the wood craft was an important means to create character in the interior, also in the stone churches. Later a flat ceiling made of planed boards was put up in Hagebyhoga church before, finally, some hundred years later, stone vaults were built. Traces of such wooden ceilings are also found in other churches and some still exist today. In many Swedish parish churches vaults were built in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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