Village Búðir – Snæfellsnes Peninsula

This tiny site is located on the south part of Snæfellsnes peninsula. In ancient times it was a landing place for merchant ships. A few years ago revealed that the estuaries in the sand outside Búðir is a big wreck that thought to be from the 17th or 18th century. In Iceland some of the beaches contain shell sand, and of all such beaches the largest one in Iceland is the one along Búðir. When the sun shines during the summer, the beach is suitable for sunbathing or swimming in the sea.

However the main reason for people to visit Búðir is the little church there, Búðakirkja. It is a black wooden church and its look is very unique. The church is visited by couples from all over the world who want to get married there. It was built in 1703 by the Swedish-born merchant named Bendt Lauridsen after the bishop Jón Þorkelsson Vídalín gave permission to build it two years earlier. Later on, Bendt’s church was pulled down by Jakob Eiríksson and a new one was built. In 1816 the church at Búðir was deconsecrated by royal decree.

One High-Powered Woman

In 1832 the church building was used as a warehouse and shortly after that it was pulled down. But the church that you can now see at Búðir was built by a brave woman, Steinunn Sveinsdóttir in 1847. She was a merchant’s widow. The church authorities in the country had refused her request to rebuild the church. Steinunn was not pleased with this decision and appealed to the king, who authorized its construction. A year later the present church was raised.

So did this persevering and resourceful woman come out triumphant over the Church Council, and she sealed her victory over them with a rather vexing inscription on the very door: “The church is raised with no subsidy from the spiritual fathers, by Steinunn Sveinsdóttir”. There’s a memorial stone in recognition of this high-powered woman on church grounds.

The reconstruction was based on measurements and detailed descriptions found in clerical documents from 1850, and on photographs from the turn of the century. Some parts of the original church were also intact and original colours were found beneath later layers of paint. Hörður Ágústsson an artist and house-archeologist, supervised the work. The new church was formally dedicated in 1987.

Among the precious items in the church are:

  • 2 bells, one of them dating from 1672
  • an altar piece from 1750
  • an old silver chalice
  • two brass candelabras from 1767
  • a door ring dating from 1703. On one side of the ring there is an inscription: “1703 Bendt Lauridsen and Marín Jensdóttir”. On the other side: “The church was rebuilt in the year 1848 without support from the spiritual fathers”.
  • the crucifix on the altar, made by the goldsmith Jens Guðjónsson and contributed to the church in 1991.

For people interested in churches or their ceremonies, we could mention that Búðakirkja belongs to the the Stadastadar Parish, in Icelandic that’s “Staðastaðarprestakalli”. The parish consists of eight churches including Búðakirkja and seven others with their names as follows: Fáskrúðarbakkakirkja, Hellnakirkja, Kolbeinsstaðakirkja, Miklaholtskirkja, Rauðamelskirkja, Staðarhraunskirkja and StaðaStaðarkirkja. The current pastor of the parish is Páll Ágúst Ólafsson, you should be able to find the correct email for contact.