he oldest record of church property and land is from the census instigated in 1398 by the then bishop of Oslo, Bishop Øystein. The church owned many pockets of land and livestock in the Holla area, including some `inherited' land from the disused church at nearby Fen.

fter the Reformation all gifts to the church stopped but it was nevertheless considered rich enough to pay for repairs and other outgoings.

 n 1732 services were held in the church on the first two days of the three main church festivals, namely, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, along with lesser Saints days and two consecutive Sundays in every month from Pentecost to Christmas.

y then the church was simple inside with hardly any furnishings. In 1732 the church was without an altarpiece and other furnishings. The inventory at that time describes a very old chalice which was broken at the base and a gilded silver plate, the gilding of which was patchy. Together the chalice and plate weighed 31 ½ lodd. When the chancel fell down in 1718 two brass candlesticks were damaged and two smaller ones were destroyed totally. Two small candlesticks made of tin, that were in use in 1832 belonged to the priest. There was still an old red velvet chasuble with gold embroidery and the remains of a black velvet chasuble in addition to an old linen shirt for washing. There was an altar dressing made of Dutch linen and a small cloth to put over the bible or perhaps the chalice

n 1734 the church was bought by `Conferansråd' Løvenskiold. He built a new chancel and a porch under the tower. The two bells were moved into the tower at that time. He also gave the church a new altarpiece, a red altar cloth with silver cord, a red velvet chasuble with a gold cross on it, a new book for the altar, two large candlesticks and a new silver spoon for distribution of the bread. The silver chalice was re-gilded.

verything was therefore in the best possible condition again. This comes out in a survey of the church in 1778, when the property was valued at 50 rd. 1 ort and 2 skill.

n the old Holla church were tombs underneath the floor. In the walled room under the tower lay the remains of Kapellan Tormoe, bailiff Borg and others.

urveys of the state of the building and property were carried out at various times and can give a good impression of how the building deteriorated over time. In 1840 for example the main entrance to the church had lost its door and the door to the porch was often open during services. The chairs needed repainting, as did the walls on the side where the men sat. Several of the windows had holes in them. The external door to the sacristy needed replacing, the communion rail needed repainting and re-cushioning. Externally there were also problems with the sacristy roof and church walls. Some tiles were missing from the main roof and the wooden tower cladding was rotten. The general picture, then, is of a building in need of some structural repairs and redecoration.

hen the new church was completed and services transferred there the old church gradually fell down. The old pulpit was taken down and moved to the Cappelen's property in Ulefoss, where it stood for many years before being given to the County Museum in Skien. When the church ruins were restored in 1923 the old blocked up south door was opened up again and new low walls were put up to mark where the old wooden tower had been.
Taken from Holla II: “Teaching, church and school management”
by Simon Ytterbøe
( Translation from Norwegian by Christopher John Denton, - musical director of Holla parrish. )