Section of Scholeus’ engraving (H. Scholeus, approx. 1580, photo: Svein Skare, owner: Universitetsmuseet i Bergen (B 1332)).
It was the medieval tower from the 1200s that the castle commander Erik Rosenkrantz reconstructed in the 1560s, partly with stone from the demolished monastery at Lyse. The king, Fredrik II, had ordered Erik Rosenkrantz to pull down the old ramshackle tower and build a new one. Rich, gothic building details show that Mr. Erik must have viewed the medieval tower as a good model on which to continue building. The research made by Gerard Fischer following the war destruction in 1944 have confirmed that this must be “the little castle by the sea” which Magnus Håkonsson (Lagabøte) had constructed.
What Rosenkrantz did was to combine the little castle with castle officer Jørgen Hanssøn’s circular wall and ante-castle from the beginning of 1500, make it higher, and construct a new an contemporary façade facing south – facing Bryggen (the harbour) and the town. While the little castle and the hall had as their models English constructions, now they were Scottish. It has been documented that Rosenkrantz used Scottish bricklayers.
The apostolic crurch and the king's chapel
On the 1st floor of the Rosenkrantz tower; a Gothic chapel with an altar has been discovered in the window recess. For this we have an accurate, written date. Icelandic annals tell us that Magnus sat in Bergen in the winter of 1273-74, “and at the time the king’s chapel was completed in the small tower by the sea”. The king’s private rooms were on the floor above.
In 1275 king Magnus started building the third Apostolic church, south of the surrounding wall. It was built like a shrine surrounding a precious relic the king had received from the king of France Filip III – a bit of Christ’s crown of thorns. The Apostolic church was inaugurated in 1302.
The old Apostolic church and the rest of the wooden buildings were pulled down and replaced by still another stone building. Thus the king’s estate was completed in accordance with the intentions of Håkon Håkonsson, marked out as the political and administrative centre of the nation - completed as the political centre was about to be moved southeast – all of it dominated by the powerful Romanesque cathedral Kristkirken furthest out on the brink.
- Nielsen, R. R. (1972) Bergenhus og dets festningsverker: en oversikt fra de eldste tider.