Lunds Domkyrka

A unique glimpse of history

Peder Winstrup, (1605–1679) a former Bishop of Lund, gives us a unique glimpse into history. Peder Winstrup was an enterprising man with high worldly and spiritual ambitions, who was torn between loyalties in the battle between Sweden and Denmark.

 

His background was impressive; Ph.D., professor of physics and philosophy, Chaplain to the Danish King, a pioneer in the printing industry, architect and paper manufacturer.

 

Peder Winstrup’s mummy - a unique time capsule from the 17th Century

 

It is thanks to bishop Peder Winstrup that we have a university in Lund. In 1658 when the Swedes conquered Skåne, King Karl X Gustav paid a visit to the Danish bishop Peder Winstrup. The bishop took the opportunity to convince the king to found a university in the city. The proposal was well received and Winstrup was knighted shortly afterwards. Lund University was founded eight years later.

 

Peder Winstrup was bishop in Lund for 41 years. He died in December 1679 and was buried in the Cathedral in January 1680.

 

It is thanks to bishop Peder Winstrup that we have a university in Lund. In 1658 when the Swedes conquered Skåne, King Karl X Gustav paid a visit to the Danish bishop Peder Winstrup. The bishop took the opportunity to convince the king to found a university in the city. The proposal was well received and Winstrup was knighted shortly afterwards. Lund University was founded eight years later. Peder Winstrup was bishop in Lund for 41 years. He died in December 1679 and was buried in the Cathedral in January 1680.

When the Cathedral received permission to move the bishop's remains, an interdisciplinary project was initiated at the Historical Museum. The coffin in the crypt was opened in November 2013. Winstrup’s body was extremely well preserved. A CT scan was performed in December 2014 at the University Hospital in Lund. It found that his internal organs were conserved and the body was air-dried - a natural mummifying process. He was not alone in the coffin either. There was a five to six month old foetus hidden in the rice bed by the bishop's feet.

Winstrup’s mummified body is one of the best-preserved of 17th Century Europe. His remains are a unique medical history archive for people's living conditions and health at the time. The possibility of remaining parasites and bacteria makes analysis very exciting.

The project aims to use Peder Winstrup’s remains to reflect life in Lund during the 1600s. It combines university disciplines in a broad partnership that will be presented during the University's centennial year in 2017 in the form of articles, books, exhibitions and city tours. On 11 December 2015, the body will be returned to the cathedral. The investigation into the coffin and the body has attracted considerable international interest in the media. 400 million people now know who the bishop was.