The Significance of Oar Locks
History, Bomarks & Symbols
The Church was one of the principal spheres of activity in the rural community. People traveled long distances to attend in the early years of New Sweden Colony, as they had done in Sweden. The traditional church boat was used for centuries on the abundant rivers and lakes in Sweden. It's appearance resembles the rowing ships used by the Vikings. The church boat purchased in 1699 by the church in Christina (now Wilmington, Delaware) may have been patterned after one of these traditional church boats.
Each parish in Sweden had unique Oar Locks and each family had their oar inscribed with a unique symbol or "bomark" representing the head of family's name which was carved or burned on the handle of his oar and on the oarlock at his rowing position on the community church boat. . A boathouse was usually built to store the boat over the Winter.
These are actual bow marks from a 1768 church-boat