Around the turn of the 19th-20th century the Buksnes parish was struck by several tragedies. To begin with, the vicarage burned down in 1899. Three years later, after being struck by lightening, the church was reduced to a pile of ashes. Yet already by the 6th of February 1904, new church designs were approved, and on the 22nd of November 1905, a new place of worship was consecrated.

Much debate took place throughout the building process, not only concerning the site location but also the design of the church. This discussion was fuelled by the fact that the parish vicar had an interest in architecture. Using his authority, he sought after a church building that represented something innovative and modern, especially in terms of design. One could argue that the dragon style is a style of architecture that represents Norway's dissolution of its union with Sweden in 1905, a time when nationalism flourished. With its abundant use of carved masks and dragon heads, Buksnes stands out among other churches in Lofoten. Perhaps it shares more common traits with the old stave churches.

The architect Jakob Digre was largely responsible for the large revamping of the dragon style. In 1875 Digre started producing prefabricated villas in the dragon and Swiss style. In 1886 the architect Karl Martin Norum (1852-1911) was employed in the firm. Norum played an active role in creating a national style of wooden architecture. In addition, he was involved in the production of prefabricated homes. Norum has left his influential trace in a series of prominent buildings reflecting the Jugendstil and dragon style. Two of his dragon style churches are located in Northern Norway the Neiden Chapel and the Buksnes Church.

Today's church was consecrated in 1905. The size of the church and its location, on an exposed site, led to problems of instability. Eventually it was necessary to erect six stays on each side, in order to increase support. In spite of these efforts, the building still suffered from earlier defects. During the restoration work performed in the 1960s, the stays were removed and supports were cast into the walls on the side aisles. Yet even today the church is still crooked, the long walls toward the south slant outwards.

In 1996-7, the church underwent a large-scale renovation. Wind insulation was installed in the walls, and all of the panelling was replaced with panelling of equal quality. The design of the original panelling was upheld. All existing slate was dismantled and a new under-layer of rough-sawn lumber was installed. Thereafter the old slate was used to re-cover the roof. The ridge turret, which had suffered a series of damages during construction, was also restored.


Buksnes kirke