The church is generally regarded as the best preserved medieval church on Öland. The western part of the nave as well as the slightly younger western tower was built during the 12th century and around 1240 the transept was added. Hanging in Gärdslösa church is a model of the Swedish ship Riksnyckeln, which was blasted in a battle between the Danish and Swedish navies in the Kalmar Strait in 1679. On the model is written the year 1691 and it was most likely given to the church the year after that. The model is fully rigged, but restored several times.