The manuscript was written by Bernhard Jensen (1892-1966), an editor and folk high-school principal, and subsequently reworked by Dreyer to the satisfaction of both writers. The final script was ready in April 1946.
The subject of "the village church" had first been proposed to Dansk Kulturfilm in 1942 by Hans Reichstein-Larsen, who had done a short film the year before. Thomas P. Hejle, head of Statens Filmcentral, had encouraged him to pursue the idea, and on 25 July 1944 Reichstein-Larsen had a manuscript ready entitled Landsbykirken (The Village Church). It is unclear why Reichstein-Larsen’s script did not go any further or why he is not credited for anything in the film. Jensen and Dreyer’s script was entitled Kirken, den er et gammelt Hus (The Church, It Is an Old House), but the finished film was, of course, called Landsbykirken (The Danish Village Church).