In medieval times the place functioned as an important crossroad, with connections to Oslo, Nidaros and Ringerike. Cistercian munks are believed to have used the area as farmland to supply the monastery at Hovedøya, an island in the Oslo fjord. This have led to a theory that the munks built the church at the same time as the Halvard cathedral was built in Oslo's Old Town.
Originally the church was built in a long rectangular form, but was rebuilt after one hundred years as a cross churc in order to increase capacity. In 1300 the church had 12 altars for various saints. Figures from those altars can be found in the University of Oslo's ancient collections.
The church was rebuilt again in 1853 by arcitect P.H. Holtermann, before arcitects Finn Bryn and Johan Ellefsen tried to return the church to its original form in 1924. Today, however the resemblance to its medieval form is limited.