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' LIBRARY ~ Saga Book Viking Society for northern IResearcb Founded in 1892 as the Orkney Shetland and Northern Society VOL. VIII. PART II. LONDON Pri...

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LIBRARY

~

Saga Book Viking Society northern IResearcb

for Founded

in

1892 as the Orkney Shetland and

Northern Society

VOL.

VIII.

PART

II.

LONDON Printed for the

Viking Society for Northern Research University of London

1014

FOR NORTHERN RESEARCH (founded

Orkney, Shetland and Northern

in 1892 as the

Society, or Viking Club).

1913 Patron

The

:

Hon. LURD STRATHCONA

Rt.

President

AND MOUNT ROYAL, G.C.M.G.

W. JOHNSTON, F.S.A.Scot.

A.

:

H. L. BR/EKSTAD Professor W. P. KER, LL.D., Past President; GOLLANCZ, Litt.D., Past President ; Professor ALLEN MAWEK, M. A. JAMES GRAY, M.A. The Most Hon. THE MAKQUIS OK ZETLAND; The Honorary Vice-Presidents Prof. SIR W. Right Hon. LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL, G.C.M.G. WATSON CHEYNE, BT., C.B.. LL.D, F.R.S., Past President J. W. CURSITER, Past Hon. President; Miss F.S.A.Scot.; GILBERT GOUDIE, F.S.A.Scot., CORNELIA HORSFORD Captain M. A. LAING, Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Professor SOPHUS MULI.EK Zetland; Prof. J. LAWRENCE, D.Lit.Lond. ROLAND ST. CLAIR Kev. A. SANDISON. Past President; Mrs. JESSIE M. E. SAXBY; Pastor A. V. STORM; E. M. WARBURG; The Right Hon. T.

Vice-Presidents Professor

:

;

I.

;

:

;

;

;

;

;

;

McKiNNON WOOD,

M.P., LL.D., D.L., Past President.

Hon. Treasurer

SHAW MELLOR,

A.

:

M.A., M.B.Cantab.

Saga-Book and Year-Book Professor ALLEN MAWER, M.A. Old-Lore Series A. W. JOHNSTON. F.S.A.Scot., and A. JOHNSTON.

Hon. Editors:

Hon. Secretary

MRS. A. WINTLE JOHNSTON, 29, Ashburnham Mansions, Chelsea, S.W.

:

ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY, D.Sc. }. STORER CLOUSTON, B.A. F.G.S. E. F. ETCHELLS, M.J.I.; J. W. SUTHERLAND LEASK M. C.M. R. L. W. F. P. MARCHANT; LOWE, M.A LAUGHTON, M.B., J. W. R. PRIOR; The MARQUIS OF RUVIGNY DOUGLAS C. STEDMAN, B.A.; W. BARNES STEVENI, M.J.I. A. W. TAYLOR, B.A.

Councillors:

;

(Lond.).,

;

;

;

;

;

;

Trustees

:

Sir W. WATSON CHEYNE, Bt., C.B., LL.D., F.R.S. Right Hon. T. McKiNNON WOOD, M.P., LL.D., D.L. Hon. Auditors: T. DAVIES JONES; W. VYVYAN M. POPHAM. Prof.

The

Hon. Solicitor T. DAVIES JONES. CAPITAL AND COUNTIES BANK, WESTMINSTER BRANCH. :

Bankers

:

PUBLICATIONS. Saga-Book (Proceedings), and Year Book issued annually. Old-Lore Series of Miscellany and Records relating to the Old Norse Earldom of Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and Sutherland issued quarterly. Translation Series

Extra Series

:

Vol. Vol.

I.,

Cormac Saga,

II.,

Elder Edda,

6s. 6d. 103. 6d.

(pub. 75. 6d.). (pub. 155.).

Vol. L, Birds of Omen in Shetland (out of print). Vol. II., Ruins of Saga-time in Iceland, 125. 6d. bound. Vol. III., Essays on Beowulf, IDS. 6d. (pub. 125. 6d.). .

;

Miscellaneous Review Origines Islandicae, Library Catalogue of the Society, 6d. by Eirikr Magmisson. MA., 2s. Bibliography of Caithness and Sutherland, is. 6d. Rev. Alex. Pope, Reay (biography), 6d. Grdtta-Songr, text, translation and notes, by Eiri'kr Magmisson, is. 6d. DarraSaljofi, text, translation and notes, by Eirikr Magnusson, is 6d. Sinclairs of Brabsterdorran (genealogy), is.; Sword- Dance, Papa Stour, and Four Shetland Airs, ?d. :

;

;

;

;

;

;

Prospectus

may be obtained on

The Council of

the

application to the Hon. Secretary.

Viking Society do not hold themselves responsible for statements or opinions appearing in Reports, Papers, Reviews, or Notes in the SAGA-BOOK and YEAR- BOOK, the Authors alone being answerable for the same.

VOL.

VIII.

PART

II.

REPORTS OF PROCEEDINGS AT THE MEETINGS OF THE VIKING SOCIETY. TWENTY FIRST SESSION,

MEETING, JANUARY Mr. A.

W. JOHNSTON,

1913.

2OTH,

1913.

F. S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

" The Cultus of Norwegian paper was read on " Saints in England and Scotland by Dr. Edvard Bull.

A

The

following

members took

part in the discussion

:

W.

R. L. Lowe, Mr. F. Marsh, Mr. John Marshall, Mr. W. Barnes Steveni, Mr. F. P. Marchant and Mr. A. W. Taylor. The Chairman moved a hearty vote of thanks to the author for his paper, and to Mr. A. W. Taylor, for reading it, which was carried unanimously. Printed on pp. 135-148Mr.

MEETING, FEBRUARY Mr. A.

The

W. JOHNSTON,

2isx,

1913.

F.S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

President gave a short account of the pre-Norse

inhabitants of Orkney, Shetland and Iceland, the Norse colonisation and the conversion of the Vikings to It is now asserted that there are a number Christianity. of large cave dwellings with inscriptions in the South of Iceland, pointing to a large pre-Norse population and

not merely to the few Irish priests or Papas whom the Norse found there in the gth century. From the old forms of Norse place-names, odal tenure, etc., found in

Saga-Book of the Viking

132

Society.

the Orkneys, it is surmised that the settlement of these islands took place as early as 700. The Picts having been christianized as early as 565, this would give 150 years, which is ample time, to account for the numerous Pictish ecclesiastical remains in the islands. Mr.

Johnston said it was his opinion that the Vikings down peaceably and intermarried with the Picts. This is borne out by the survival of Pictish placenames and church dedications, and the latter indicate that Christianity never entirely died out in the islands. This latter theory is also supported by the ease with settled

which Christianity was established there

in

995,

in

strong contrast to the great opposition offered in pagan Norway. Moreover, the cathedral of Orkney was built only some 50 years after the sword-baptism of Earl

Sigurd. The Venerable Archdeacon Craven

is

of the opinion

two Celtic waves of Christianity affected Orkney and Shetland, the first being a mission of St. Kentigern from the East, and the second St. Cormac's historic mission from St. Columba in the West, represented respectively by the dedications to St. Ninian and St. Columba. The origin of Norse literature was also referred to. Up to the 1 2th century the laws, sagas, and Edda lays were oral traditions. Christianity with its written that

Scriptures and missals gave the impetus to the writing of the laws and sagas in the I2th century. find Earl Ronald, a poet, and Bishop Biarni, the Skald,

We

down busy

at

with

Icelandic

work

in

that century

in

conjunction possibly some of the Western Edda lays were rescued and recorded. Many of Snorri's poetic words are still used as tabu names in literary

Skalds,

when

Shetland and nowhere else. This is highly suggestive, seeing that the islanders changed their Norse speech for English from two to three centuries ago. Mrs. Bannon and Mr. F. P. Marchant took part in the discussion which followed.

Proceedings at Meetings.

MARCH 14,

MEETING, Mr. A.

W. JOHNSTON.

133 1913.

F.S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

Professor W. P. Ker, LL.D. (Vice-President), read " a paper on Bishop Jon Arason." The Chairman moved a vote of thanks to Professor

Ker for his paper, which was carried Printed on pp. 149-171.

unanimously.

TWENTY-FIRST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. ST. Mr. A.

MAGNUS DAY, APRIL

W. JOHNSTON,

i6TH,

1913.

F.S.A.Scot. (President and Founder), in the Chair.

The

Twenty-first Annual General Meeting was held College, Strand, on St. Magnus Day, Wednesday, April i6th, at 8 p.m.

at

King's

The Annual Report was

presented to the meeting and

adopted unanimously.

The

nominated by the Council were ensuing year, unanimously elected, Mr. F. P. Marchant and Mr. Douglas C. Stedman acting officers of the Society,

for the

as scrutineers to the ballot.

"

Professor Allen Mawer, M.A., read a paper on Scandinavian Influence in English Place-names." The meeting terminated with a hearty vote of thanks

to Professor

Mawer

for his paper.

Printed on pp. 172-210.

MEETING,

MAY

2 3 RD,

1913.

Mr. A. W. JOHNSTON, F.S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

The

President,

Inaugural Address, Notes."

Mr. A. "

W.

Johnston,

Orkney and Shetland

gave

his

Historical

Saga-Book of

134

the Viking Society.

A discussion followed in which Mr. J. S. Clouston and Mr. John Marshall took part. Printed on pp. 211-263.

MEETING, NOVEMBER Mr. A.

A

W. JOHNSTON,

paper was read on

"

1913.

Temple-Administration and

Pre-Christian Chieftainship by Miss Bertha S. Phillpotts, in

2iST,

F. S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

Norway and M.A.

Iceland,"

The Chairman, Dr. Jon Stefansson, Mr. John Marshall, Mr. F. P. Marchant, and Mr. Etchells took The meeting part in the discussion which followed. terminated with a hearty vote of thanks to Miss Phillpotts for her paper. Printed on pp. 264-284.

MEETING, DECEMBER 12, Mr. A.

W. JOHNSTON,

1913.

F. S.A.Scot. (President), in the Chair.

" paper was read on Thyra, Wife of Gorm the " was or Danish? she Old, by Captain Ernest English Rason. A discussion followed, in which the Chairman and Dr. Jon Stefansson and Mr. John Marshall took part. The Chairman moved a hearty vote of thanks to It was accorded by Captain Rason for his paper. acclamation, and the reader responded. Printed on pp.

A

285-301.

THE CULTUS OF NORWEGIAN SAINTS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. EDVARD BULL.

BY DR.

how

is the distance from the Orkneys and frequent as have always been, from the very beginning of historical times, com-

short

to Scotland, SEEING

munications

across the Pentland Firth, it is not that ecclesiastical customs would be transimprobable mitted from Scotland to the Orkneys and from the to Scotland from the earliest times. As the mediaeval sources relating to the Orkneys are rather

Orkneys scanty,

we know very

little

of the

1

first

movement ws movement from ;

however, better informed as to the the North southwards, especially in connection with

are,

the

veneration

of

the

saint,

Earl

Magnus

of

the

Orkneys. Near the chapel of Ladykirk, in South Ronaldsay, the southernmost of the Orkneys, whence there is the shortest passage to Scotland, a stone

is

found, four feet

long and pointed at both ends. It is called the boat of St. Magnus, 2 and local traditions concerning it still exist. Magnus is said to have used the stone as a boat in the same way that so many other saints have done before him when passing the Pentland Firth, and afterwards to have carried it to Ladykirk. According It is in to others the stone is really a petrified whale. fact the very whale which carried the earl on its back from Caithness to the Orkneys, thus enabling him to fulfil his promise to build a church and dedicate it to

A

few disconnected remarks in the Statuta Generalia of the Church (pp. cxiii. 111-112, 136) are almost all. 2 Mackinlay, Folklore of Scottish lochs and springs, Glasgow, 1893, pp. yzff. The same, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland, Edin1

Scottish

burgh, 1910,

p. 122.

Saga-Book

136

of the

Viking Society.

Our Lady.

In later times penitent sinners used to stand barefooted on the stone. In the northern part of Caithness, on the boundary

between the parishes of Halkirk and Watten, there was a hospital consecrated to St. Magnus, and in the igth century an annual Magnus Fair was still held at Halkirk on the

Tuesday before December

26th.

1

Even

in Celtic literature the worship of St. Magnus be traced in the beautiful hymn, A Mhannis mo may ruin,* in which Magnus is invoked as a deity of fecundity, who is besought to be kind to the cattle and In this support the growth of plants and animals.

as in nearly all other prayers in the popular language his direct help is solicited, and not only his intercession with God.

We

also find

such local traditions relating to St.

Olave in the northern parts of Scotland. The church of Cruden in Aberdeenshire was dedicated to this saint, and was certainly very old, even if the tradition that it was built in commemoration of the defeat of the Danes (" crow-dan ") at Cruden, in the year 1006, by King Malcolm, who died in 1033 or 1034, three or four years after the battle at Stiklestad, sounds highly improbable. In the parish a holy well, called St. Olave's, found, of which the people sing

is

to

be

:

St.

Olave's well low by the sea, pest nor plague shall never be.

Where vSt.

Olave's fair

of March.

This

is still

held at Cruden in the

month

3

last fact leads

us to the

official

Scottish ecclesi-

astical practice in the last period of Catholicism, when the day of St.- Olave was kept, strangely enough, in 1

Mackinlay, The pre-reformation church and Scottish place-names,

The day of St. Magnus was really Dec. I3th but prob1904, pp. 380 ff. ably the fair is of earlier origin than the worship of the Saint. ;

2

Henderson, The Norse influence on Celtic Scotland,

3

p. 35.

Proceedings o.f the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, III., pp. 144-49. Mackinlay, Folklore of Scottish lochs, etc., p. 105. The same, The pre-reformation church,

etc.,

p.

21.

The Cult us of Norwegian Saints.

137

the last days of March. Here there are two chief sources of information to be taken into account. The first is

the Breviarium Aberdonense, belonging to about

same time as the breviary and missal of Nidaros. It was printed in 1509, by direction of Bishop Elphinstone, with a view to delivering the Scottish Church from the overwhelming influence of the liturgy of Sarum, the use of which had been admitted for national reasons, to counter-balance the claims of York on the primacy in Scotland. There is full reason, then, to suppose that this breviary contains fairly good evidence the

1

of Scottish church practice.

The other source is a missal from the church of St. Nicolas in Aberdeen, originally printed in Rouen, in 1506, according to the missal of Salisbury, but with manuscript notes. These notes, according" to Scottish investigators, bear traces of Norse influence but other;

wise the calendar in this missal is very corrupt and 2 quite overloaded with festivals. According to both these calendars the day of St. Olave is to be kept on March 3Oth, instead of on July 3

4

breviary, however, lays down that if March 3Oth falls in Easter week or on the first Sunday after Easter, the celebration is to be put off till after that 29th.

1

The

Reprinted London, 1854, in two vols. (Pars hyemalis and Pars The notes concerning Olave are printed also by Metcalfe, Miracula beati Olavi, pp. nyff. (see also pp. 33ff.)

estiva). Passio et -

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland,

vol.

33

(1898-99), pp. 440-60. 3

3ist, according to Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis, Edinburgh, 1845, II., p. 7. * The print by Metcalfe, Passio, etc., p. 33, of these regulations is very inaccurate Si hoc the text of Brev. Aberd. (March 3oth) festum sancti olaui vel festum sancti reguli infra passionem domini vel in ebdoma pasche aut in dominica oct. eiusdem contigerit nichil fiet de ipsis usque post octa. pasche et ibi tune vbi conueniencius possunt celebrari de ipsis fiat seruicium cum tribus lectionibus istius temSed cum R. iis et v. paschalis temporis. Et ita faciendum est poris. de omnibus aliis festis simplicibus ix. lectionum infra dictum tempus Ad matuti. ix. lee. fiant. See also Brev. Aberd. contingenti. ;

:

July agth.

:

Saga-Book

138

of the

Sunday, and the day

Viking Society.

then to be observed with two

is

lessons only. The nine lessons which otherwise belong to the day of St. Olave, in these years, are to be read

on July 29th, upon which day only a memorial of St. Olave is, as a rule, read. I am not able to explain this curious feature in the Aberdeen calendar. It is perhaps to be supposed that the March fair at Cruden is old, and that later it took its name from the saint of the parish church, and that then the festival from Cruden spread either over the whole diocese of Aberdeen, or perhaps only to the town of Aberdeen, not many miles away. That the day of

St.

feast than that of St.

So is it December

natural. lation,

Magnus Olave

is

celebrated as a higher

is quite that not only the festival of his trans2 i3th, but partly also the day of his

festum duplex),

(as

death, April i6th, is observed as inferius duplex, and that the breviary of Aberdeen contains rather long hymns in his honour, while in the case of Olave only a very short legend is appointed. The worship of these

two saints

in

the northern parts of Scotland has,

of

course, come from the Orkneys, where Magnus must have been much more popular than Olave. The cult of the two Norse saints, which we find in Here we England, is of quite a different character. find Olave more prominent, and Magnus seems a more 3

His or less casual attendant on his great compatriot. worship is, however, not altogether without interest. In southern Scotland St. Magnus is not worshipped, and of the three churches dedicated to him in England, two belong to the southern parts of the country, LonTo this worship of St. Olave in Northern Scotland belongs also 1

the altar

dedicated to

him

in

S.

Salvator's

College,

St.

Andrews

(Metcalfe). z

i4th, in Liber Ecclesias Beati A. P. Forbes, Edinburgh, 1872). '* Daaej Norges helgener, p. 206, says that the nephew of Magnus, the Saint Earl Ragnvald, too, was worshipped in Scotland, but without giving any evidence. i2th, in the

missal of St. Nicolas

Terrenani de Arbuthnott

(ed.

;

The Cult us of Norwegian Saints.

139

don and Dorsetshire, and only one is situated in the North at Bessingby, in Yorkshire (East Riding). Seacommunication of any importance between the Orkneys and England in the I2th century is not to be thought of, and a direct connexion with the North does not seem very probable, as the worship of Magnus is not to be traced in southern Scotland or northern England. There can therefore scarcely be any doubt but that this worship reached England from Norway, and that owing to the lively traffic between the two countries not only has Norway been influenced from England, but That this last was the also England from Norway. case in the Viking Period has always been acknow1

Magnus was not regarded as a saint in before the year 1135, his worship cannot Orkneys

ledged the

;

but as

have been brought from Norway to England earlier 2 than in the second half of the twelfth century. This influence surely issued from the western parts

Norway. Magnus, of course, like the other saints Norwegian church had his altar in the cathedral df Trondhjem but all other traces of his worship in Norway, that can be localized, belong to the West. Generally speaking, the Norwegian Church only observe the day of his death (April 6th) but some few letters from Voss prove that here, not far from Bergen, the day of his translation (December I3th, generally called St. Lucia's Day), was also kept. In the church of Urnes in Sogn is a runic inscription which contains the name of St. Magnus and in addition to this Proof

of the

;

;

3

;

fessor tion, 1

Olsen, who has deciphered the inscripmentions evidence of active communication

Magnus

Frances Arnold-Forster, Studies in church dedications, London,

Miss Forster has no doubt that these churches 1899, II., pp. 455-60. really concern the Saint-Earl from the Orkneys, and not some of the Other saints with the name of Magnus but she gives no evidence, and I have not been able to verify it. 2 But on the other hand, not much later; the Magnus church existed ;

already in 1203 (Metcalfe, *

I.e.,

p. 119).

Historisk Tidsskrift, III., Series

II., p.

103.

Saga-Book

140

of the

Viking Society. 1

between the Orkneys and Sogn in the Middle Ages. It was from these parts probably that the worship of reached in the I2th Magnus England century.

How

long the earl of the Orkneys was venerated in England cannot accurately be told; but possibly his cult continued until the Reformation. Henry Machyn, citizen of London, who has left an elaborate and very diary

interesting in

1559,

the

on

corner

cross,

reason

for

the

September

of

Pye-street

Mary, John and

why

this

1550-63, relates that there were burnt at

years i6th,

St.

pictures

of

Christ

Magnus; and

on

there

is

ihe

no

should have been any other than the had his church in London, near Lon-

Norse earl, who don Bridge. A much more prominent part, however, is played in England by St. Olave. He was popular as well in Anglo-Saxon times as after the Norman conquest. At least fifteen churches dedicated to him are known in

England.

The

oldest evidence on this subject seems to be the that the well-known Earl Siward of Northumbria story the time of Edward the Confessor, built an (1055)

m

Olave's church at York, where he was himself buried but already in the year 1098, King William Rufus 3 gave this church to St. Mary's abbey, and only a little parish church in the neighbourhood (Marygate) has kept the name of the Norwegian saint. Probably also the son of Siward, Earl Wealhtheow, had inherited his father's love of St. Olave. During the turbulent times after the Norman Conquest he frequently resided in Lincolnshire, where he presented Crowland 4 Perhaps it is from this Abbey with large donations. ;

1

Aarsberetning fra foreningen

til

fortidsmindesmerkers bevaring,

1907, pp. i35ff, 160. 2 Diary of Henry Machyn, London, 1848, p. 209. 3 4

5

citizen

of

London,

Arnold-Forster, Church Dedications,

II.,

ed.

J.

G.

Nichols,

pp. 45iff.

Monasticon Anglicanum (ed. 1846), III., p. .546. Worsaae, Minder om danske og norske i England,

p. 169-74.

The Cultus of Norwegian Saints.

141

period that the stone statue on Crowland Bridge dates. It represents a man with a huge loaf or cake, and local tradition has supposed it to be St. Olave, whose name has been transformed to Holofius, and by way of 1 popular imagination connected with the word loaf. From Anglo-Saxon times also dates the votive mass

honour

Olave, which is prescribed in The Derby, a manuscript from the diocese of Winchester, which was written about the year 1061. In this manuscript not only is Olave the latest saint 2 recognised, but the only one who is not English. St. church Olave's at Exeter is earlier than Finally,

in

Red Book

io66.

of St.

of

3

It is possible that the Xorman Conquest brought about a reaction against the worship of the Norwegian saint, but in no case can this have been of long duraThe communications with Norway, recorded in tion. 4 the time of Henry I., grew more and more frequent, and must have kept green the memory of St. Olave.

Characteristic of the prominent part played by St. in the ideas Englishmen had of Scandinavia, and

Olave

how

they considered him the real centre of

all

the

Scandinavian North, is the tale of the death of Swein Forkbeard in Maistre Geffrei Gaimar's poem L'estorie des Engles (written between 1135 and 1147). At York was he buried

:

But then after ten years or more The Danes took up his bones They were carried to Norway, To Saint Olaf, there were they laid. ;

In

St. Peter's

When 1

J.

1869.

minster he lay

the Danes took

him away.

Gunn, Illustrations of the Rod-screen at Barton-Turf, Norwich, Kunst og Kultur, II. (1911), pp. 5<>ff-

The Leofric Missal, ed. F. E. Warren, Oxford, 1883, p. 244. Historisk Tidsskrift, 3rd Series, IV., p. 357-69. 8 Dansk Historisk Tidsskrift, 5th Series, I., p. 563, notes.

4

Diplomatarium Norvegicum, XIX.,

5

Rerum Brittanicarum Medii Aevi

nr. 32.

Scriptores (vv. 4162-69).

Saga-Book

142

of the

Viking Society.

After the conquest of Ireland, under Henry II., an Olave's abbey was founded in Dublin from Bristol, and it continued (till it was abolished by Henry VIII.) to keep up its connection with the convent of 1

Augustinian monks at Bristol. As late as in the beginning of the I3th century we are told that a monastery was founded in the honour of St. Olave at Herringfleet, on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk. 2 Although it is expressly said to have been founded by Roger Fitz Osbert shortly after 1216, English writers have considered this impossible. They have been of the opinion that all English churches and monasteries in honour of St. Olave of which by far the greater part cannot be dated must go back to Anglo-Saxon times, when the Norsemen still formed a separate class within the English people. And they have supported their theory by referring to the fact that

Olave's churches in England with but one excepwere situated near the sea, where consequently the Vikings and their descendants might have had ready access. Accordingly it has been maintained that the monastery of Herringfleet cannot have been founded for the first time in 1216, but was only rebuilt all

tion

and enlarged at that time. Of this older foundation, however, nothing is known at all, and no remains have" been found in spite of careundertaken by the present proprietor it seems quite superfluous in If an this way to contest the express words of the text. abbey in honour of St. Olave can have been founded in Dublin at the end of the I2th century, and if the worship of St. Magnus can have been introduced into ful excavations,

of the ruins.

3

Moreover,

P. Rushe, A Second Thebaid, Dublin and London, 1905, p. 59. T. Gilbert, A History of the City of Dublin, 1854, I., pp. 48ff. Bits of the garments of Olave were preserved, already from the nth 1

J.

J.

century, P-

in

the

Trinity-abbey of

Dublin (Daae, Norges

helgener,

57)2

1

The Victoria History of Suffolk, London, Kunst og Kultur, II. (1911), pp. 498.

1907, II., p. 100.

The Cnltus of Norwegian Saints.

143

England about the same time, it is not at all impossible monastery in honour of >St. Olave may have been

that a

founded

in the

beginning of the i3th century. also two manuscripts giving evidence of Norse influence on the English Church. The first belonged to Fountains Abbey near York, and is a copy of the work composed by Arch-

From

same period date

this

bishop Eystein of Trondhjem, Passio et Olavi. The other is a psalter, originally use of King Henry III., but with some tions, evidently from the i3th century, 1

miracula beati written for the

calendar addi-

including the following: i6th of April, Magni duds m. i5th of Halluardi Sancti 8th of Sanctomartyris May, July, rum in selio 2Qth of July, Olaui regis et martins. 2 These facts seem to be of no slight importance, as showing that Xorse influence in England was not restricted to Anglo-Saxon times, but continued in the 1 2th and i3th century, at a time when the Norwegians ;

;

;

who

England were no longer Vikings, .but only merchants, tradesmen and clerics. the greater number of the churches dedicated

visited

more or

less peaceful

far

By

Olave were situated in laree towns at least London, two at Norwich, one at Chester, one at Exeter, one at Chichester; and most of the Ruckland village churches were situated near the sea to

St.

four

;

3

in

Greeting in Suffolk, Gatcombe in the and Poughill near Bude in North Wight, 4 Cormvall. The age of these churches cannot be established but the theory of Miss Arnold-Forster that most of them go back to the time when the Danes ruled in England, have no evidence seems to me highly improbable. in Lincolnshire, Isle

of

;

We

1

Edited by Metcalfe, Oxford, 1881.

2

Dansk Historisk Tidsskrift, 8th Series, III., p. 232, note. Blomefield, Hist, of Norfolk (ed. 1806). IV., 2, pp. 65 and 475. Olave's-guild is mentioned at one of these churches in 1501. 3

An

* All these dedications are to be found in the book of Miss ArnoldForster (II., pp. 75iff), which, however, is to be used with some circumspection.

Saga-Book

144

at all that the

of the

Viking Society.

Danes spread the worship of St. Olave country, and we do not even know

own

outside their

that Olave was regarded as a saint in Denmark itself, before the death of Harthacnut (1042). The oldest evidence of the worship of St. Olave in England

belongs, as

and

sixties

we have already mentioned, to the the nth century, and some of

of

fifties

these '

churches may have been founded in these years, but scarcely all, or even the majority. The twentyfour years' reign of Edward the Confessor seems too short to include the foundation of four churches in London, dedicated to St. Olave. And as to the sea communications between Norway and England, we do not know much about them in the nth century, but everything goes to show that the reign of Magnus the Good (1035-47) an d of Harald Hardrada (1047-66) was not the time when they flourished most. Finally it may be mentioned that no one of these churches as it now stands is older than the Norman conquest, while at

one of them, Fritwell

least

in

Oxfordshire,

is

built in

period when the early style. worship of St. Olave spread most rapidly in England seems to have been the first 150 years or so after the Conquest. And in all this time it seems to have spread by direct influence from Norway, and not from one or

Norman

In

more centres originating

short,

in

A

the

England

itself.

few such centres, however, existed, and transmitted the worship of St. Olave not so much to other places as to later times. First of all, London must be mentioned, where, as late as the last century, there were founded two suburban churches bearing the name of 2 In the Ghetto of London, Old Jewry, near St. Olave. 1

If

H. H., a

is to be relied upon, there was an Olave's church in the reign of Harald Hardrada (1047-66). (The saga of

Snorri

London

in

ch. 57).

At Stoke Newington and

one got its name because ?ld church in Hart Street.

it

at

Mile End, East London. The last built from funds belonging to the

was

The Cultus of Norwegian

Saints.

145

Cheapside, was situated one Olave's church, mentioned for the first time in the reign of Edward the First, and in the City itself also were to be found churches dedi1

cated to this saint in Hart Street Just outside the City, London Bridge, is the

in

and

in Silver Street.

Southwark,

the end

at

of

existing Olave's church in 2 other end of London Bridge Street. At the Tooley there stands a church dedicated to St. Magnus, and thus the very centre of the traffic in old London was flanked by churches dedicated to Norwegian saints.

To

still

the church in Silver Street

the last period of Catholicism,

is

attached a tale from

which

is

often quoted in

England.

When Queen Mary

resuscitated Catholicism in

Eng-

land, she also desired to revive the old Catholic festivals, cu&toms, miracle plays, etc., and of this also St. Olave

had his share. For on the 2Qth of July, 1557, the above-mentioned Henry Machyn says in his diary " On the same 2Qth July, being S. Olave's Day, was the :

Church Holy Day in Silver Street, the Parish Church whereof was dedicated to that Saint. And at Eight of Clock

the

at

Night began a Stage-Play of goodly

Matter [relating,

'tis like,

to that Saint]."

3

To

these London churches finally is to be added one Queenhithe, on the west side of Bread Street Hill, which is mentioned in the Liber Custumarum in the reign of Edward I., but which was very early united with a Nicholas Church in the neighbourhood, and a chantry in St. Paul's Cathedral, whose age we do not know, but which was in the year 1391 incorporated

at

1

Liber custumarum, ed. Riley,

p. 230.

" Tooley is the common English corruption of Tullock (Toolog) is the Irish one. 3

St.

Olave,

:>

as

Strype, Historical Memorials, Ecclesiastical and Civil. London, The diary of H.M. as we know it has Fol., Vol. III., p. 379. several lacunas just for these days but at the time of Strype it was 3

1721.

;

complete, and has been utilised by him. probably added by Strype. still

The words

in

[ ]

were

Saga-Book

146

of the

Viking Society.

into the general property of the church because of smallness.

its

1

The

other centre for the worship of St. Olave in England is the district on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk. have already mentioned the two churches

We

Norwich, the church at Greeting and the most important the Augustinian priory at Herringfleet. The coast-line has here, in the flat land, with its numerous streams of water, changed much in the course of time. The ruins of the old priory are now situated about five English miles from the sea, but close by a river whose In former valley gives an easy passage to Norwich. times, when the water-courses were larger and the ships smaller, the navigation over the Norfolk Broads to Norwich presented no difficulty the fleet of Swein Forkbeard is said to have passed Herringfleet on its at

;

and by the old ferry as well as later Olave's Bridge, there must have been important traffic. Still in our own time St. Olave's

way

to this

on over

town

;

St.

railway-junction marks this natural topographic turning-point. It therefore surely was a lucrative piece of business when the prior in 1226 got a royal license to hold an

annual fair on the day of St. Olave. 2 The priory seems some parts to have been prosperous for a long time ;

of the ruins are built in the

Tudor

consequently, the priory still towards the end of mediaeval times had enough funds to construct rather important new style

;

buildings. (only 16 English miles), on the highest neighbourhood, is situated the church of On a sideBarton Turf, dedicated to St. Michael. screen in this church there is to be found a painting from the i5th century, representing four saint-kings

Not

far

away

point in the

1

Munimenta

Passio, p. 34.

Gildhallae Londoniensis, pp. 230, 233, 235.

Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Richard

II.,

p. 421. '

Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum, London, 1844,

II., p.

165.

Metcalfe, Vol. IV..

The

Edmund,

St.

Cultits of

St.

Edward

Norwegian Saints.

147

the Confessor, St. Holofius

and King Henry VI. This last died in 1471, and Henry VII. later on tried to have him canonized by the Pope. Alexander VI. was not altogether unwillbut The picture of finally it came to nothing. ing, VI. as a saint therefore must Henry certainly date from I5th century. The other kings about 50 years older. 1 It is curious evidence of the prominent part held by Olave in England, that as late as the I5th century he is the foreigner people would naturally represent together with the royal saints

the last years of the

seem

to be

of the country

itself.

King's Lynn, on the Wash,

is the English port which, in the i3th and I4th century, had the greatest traffic with Norwegian ships. do not know if there was an Olave's church here but at least we hear of " 2 a place in the town called The St. Olave's fleet." Icelandic Saint, Thorlak, accomplished a wonderful miracle here about the year 1200.*

We

;

probable that St. Olave was worshipped Grimsby, although nothing is known about it from written sources. Only last summer there was found* on the west coast of Norway a seal, from the first half " of the i4th century, bearing the legend Sigillum Monasterii S. Augustini de Grimesbi," and representing a saint king with an axe, who cannot very well be 4 any other than Olave. The only church in England dedicated to St. Olave and not situated near the sea, is Fritwell in Oxford5 shire. It was built in the i2th century; but here, of

Also

it

is

at

1

Gunn, Illustrations of the Rood-screen Kunst og Kultur, 1911, p. 50. Diplomatarium Norvegicum, XIX., 462. " Biskupa Sogur, I., p. 357. (" Kynn F.

at

Barton-Turf, Norwich,

1869. 1 1

is

certainly

a

mis-script

for Lynn). *

Now

kept in the Public Record Office (Riksarkivet), Kristiania. North Oxfordshire Archaeological Society, Publications 1882 and The only trace of Norse influence in the neighbourhood is a 1903. manor at Barford St. Michael, some miles farther west, also bearing 6

the

name

of St. Olave.

of the

Saga-Book

148

Viking Society.

course, the worship may be older and date from before the Conquest. It is not easy to understand how Norse influence

could

reach

Fritwell

so

late

as

the

I2th

century. In St.

this little out-of-the-way village the worship of Olave has continued with incredible tenacity. In

the old parochial register for November 2Oth, 1720, is found, among collections for the poor of the parish

"

upon St. Olave 's church near a of 2s. 6d. which result And still in our York," gave own time the day of St. Olave is observed in the parish a

itself,

collection

as a great festival.

The

priest,

dressed in a surplice with

an embroidered modern image of St. Olave, and the parishioners walk in procession round the church; and the sermon of the day treats of the Norwegian saint. This custom is not as is the case, for instance, at Herringfleet newly introduced by people with literary This is proved, if education, but is genuinely old. there be any doubt, by the fact that the festival is held

on the

after August 8th, not on the proper when the Gregorian Olave, July 2Qth calendar was introduced in England (1752), the conservative peasants of Fritwell would not submit to this alteration of the almanac, and kept the old day for the festival, even if it got a new name, August 8th first

day of

Sunday

St.

;

instead of July 29th. This sketch of the worship of

Norwegian

saints in

England can probably be supplemented. What we have set forth already will, however, suffice to show that in the matter of the relations between Norway and England it was not Norway alone which was the and I3th centuries, any more had been during the Qth and loth centuries.

receiver during the i2th

than

it

ARASON.

JON Bv PROFESSOR W.

THE glory

of Iceland

the historian.

great

P.

KER,

is lost

V tee-President.

at the death of Sturla

This was not the very end of the

Icelandic

work

mother tongue, but the old

of

prose

spirit

is

history

gone;

the

in

the

true

imaginative rendering of Icelandic and Norwegian life, the art of Snorri and Sturla, disappears at the union of Iceland and Norway. The decadence of Iceland is manifest in the failure of the great historic school the decadence of Norway also, when there were no more ;

lives of kings written by Icelanders in the common language. But the dull times of Iceland, after the i3th century, ought not to be made out worse than they really were. Iceland ran through its good seasons and its fortune; but it never lost its distinctive character. It lost much; but it kept that pride and self-respect which is proved in the history of the language, and which saved Iceland from the fate of Norway, the degradation and Historians sometimes disuse of the native tongue.

speak as

if

Norway and Iceland through much the same. No doubt there

the condition of

the bad centuries were

Both countries are altered for is a great resemblance. the worse through their relations with Denmark; both turn into dependencies. But even though Iceland often received harder treatment than Norway, as happened under the tyranny of the Danish trade, Iceland never

gave way

in

spirit as

Norway

did.

The

Icelanders

language and their art of poetry. They were saved by their good grammar from the Norwegian kept their

They maintained their self-consciousness over against the rest of the world a small community, not as large as Athens or Hampstead. Through the lethargy.

;

Saga-Book

150

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Viking Society.

vicissitudes of a thousand

years the Icelanders have not changed their minds with regard to the use of their minds; at any rate they have continued to believe that Also, they were meant to live as intelligent beings. from the conditions of their land and society, as well as from their own native disposition, they pay more attention to individual men than is common in other countries. This habit of thought, which is the source of the great historical art of Iceland, is not lost when the historical school is closed. The history of the

and the life of Jon Arason, show how little the essentials H61ar, may Bishop have changed in three hundred years from the time

Reformation

in

Iceland,

of

of the Sturlungs. It is true that the life of Bishop J6n is not written out full and fair like the life of Bishop

three hundred years before. But the scatand memoirs from which the story can be put together were made by Icelanders who had the same tastes, though not the same ability, as the earlier

Gudmund,

tered notes

historians.

Snorri and Sturla must have worked with

similar notes, in preparation for their finished work. The records of the time of Jon Arason show that there

was the same tures as there

and advenwas when the Sturlung memoirs were

sort of interest in character

composed.

The history of the Reformation in Iceland is a drama of persons more than in other countries. The persons, cannot be compared for dignity, and hardly humour, with the principal authors and adversaries of the Reformation, with Luther or Knox, it

is

true,

for richness of

Henry VIII., or the Emperor Charles. But in Iceland, unlike the rest of Christendom, there is very little to be told that is not obviously dramatic; the dramatic, the personal values, are not obscured by general impersonal forces and movements the stage i-s compact and comWith earlier affairs in Iceland, with the prehensible. matter of the Sagas, it is often amusing and surprising ;

to find

how

readily historical events

seem

to fall into

Jon Arason.

151

their place like things in a novel. One gets the same in the of impression Jon Arason, even although history

was never

the action

landic narrative way.

and

fully represented in the old IceThe chief situations are intelli-

they might be in a novel or a one could imagine a chronicle of Barset, with the Reformation for its substance, instead of, e.g., the problem of Hiram's Hospital, one might get something like the Icelandic scale and mode as observed in gible

comedy.

the

life

clear, just as

If

of Bishop Jon of Holar. to consider how the

It is

tempting, though Barchester characters might have displayed themselves if they had been transported to the Icelandic scene to think of Dean Arabin drawn into a raiding expedition by Archdeacon Grantly, against his better judgment, yet not unwillirrelevant,

;

ing; of Mrs. Proudie talking manfully and evangelically to the invaders, while Mark Robarts and Bertie Stanhope were packing up the Bishop to carry him How the Slopes and Thumbles would have away. behaved there is no need to imagine, for the Icelandic record has preserved their ancestors undecayed and unmistakable. One of them did his best to edify Jon

Arason on the way to the headsman's block. " When Bishop Jon was led out, there was a certain priest, Sir Svein, appointed to speak to him persuaThe Bishop, as he came forth from the choir, sively. to do obeisance before an image of Mary but sought the priest bade him lay aside that superstition, and said There is a life after (among other comforting words) But Bishop Jon turned sharply this life, my lord and said, I know that, Sveinki (Biskupa Sbgur, ;

'

:

'

!

'

'

!

P- 353-) Political novels

ii-,

and plays are apt

to fail

through over-

or else, at the opposite things too obviously super-

weight of political argument, extreme, because they make ficial, too simple and easy.

In Bjornson's political plays the questions often seem too trivial, the politicians In Icelandic history the casual not really dangerous.

Saga-Book

152

of the

Viking Society.

may often think that the interests are trifling, the values unduly heightened by chroniclers who do The documents often confirm not know the world. reader

There are extant from Jon Arason's time this view. claims for damages suffered in certain raids which take up a considerable space in Icelandic history; a householder feels the loss, among other things, of a peppermill and a mustard-mill, and that is recorded. The great men, prelates and chiefs of Iceland, may seem on examination very much like the common people of the " There are a thousand such elseEnglish border.

where " in Liddesdale, Redesdale, and the Debatable Land. Kinmont Willie and the Laird's Wat might The great men of have been princes in Iceland.

Iceland, are they not great through the emptiness of the region round them, the simplicity and inexperience of their countrymen ? So one is tempted to ask, and this

and depreciation leads of course is shown in the histories

sort of scepticism

such ignoring of Iceland as

to

of

1

Europe generally. This low opinion may be contradicted and

proved

unreasonable. Do not casual readers speak of the history of Attica in much the same way and with not much more consideration ?-' But it cannot be denied that the material weight of Iceland is small, that the greatest men are not rich men, that the interests are to all appearance domestic or parochial when compared with the fortunes of larger states. There are at least two modes of defence in answer to this. interests Material may be unimportant where a principle or idea is at work. Thus, to we observe that the Barchester, returning historian in The Warden, has made Trollope, the case of Hiram's Hospital into a parable or 1

694

" Iceland, constitution Cambridge Modern History, vol. x. index, " text p. 694, " Iceland received a Constitution."

for,

:

2 It is a pleasure here to remember Sir George Trevelyan's translation of Thucydides into the terms of Stirlingshire and Clackmannan,

Jon Arason.

153

allegory containing the whole of politics and the quintessence of public opinion. The argument of The Warden does not require a larger scale or a higher stake, any more than Euclid would be helped if you offered him triangles of gold and silver. There is in Icelandic history. this kind of moral Indeed, this seems to be the peculiar office of Iceland among othef nations. Iceland, again and again, is found to resemble an experimental table arranged by

sometimes

Destiny to work out certain political problems neatly, with not too many pieces in the game. So Iceland has been made to declare the true nature of early German civilisation so the life of Bishop Gudmund is a dramatic conflict of High Church zeal with steady respectable worldly tradition, and represents in a ;

personal story the contemporary life of Christendom. So in the life of Jon Arason the Reformation is exhibited as a dramatic opposition of characters. But, taking the second mode of answer to those who depreciate and ignore, we may observe that the history of Iceland is not purely ideal or exemplary it is itself part of the history of Europe and contributes its own share of reality to the actual world. The life of Jon Arason may illustrate the course of the Reformation in Denmark and Norway, but it is also different from anything in those countries, and has much in it that was ;

lacking there particularly some fortitude in opposition new doctrines and their advocates. The value of Jon Arason is not merely that his story brings out some common humanities and some common fashions of the time he is part of the life of Christendom as far as Allhallowtide of the year 1550, and what he does is done by no one else in Iceland, Norway, or Denmark. The Church in Iceland was not very well taken care

to the

;

The Bishops were mostly i5th century. of of them, foreigners many including at least one little is known. One Bishop of Englishman, very of

in

the

;

Skalholt,

described

as

Confessor

of

the

King

of

Saga-Book

154

Denmark, discovered

of the

Viking Society.

that there

was nothing

to drink in

except milk and water; therefore he made provision and obtained from Henry VI. of England a licence for two ship-captains to sail to Iceland with Before him in the same diocese there was a supplies. Iceland

tyrannical Swedish bishop who had thirty unruly Irishmen in his retinue he was at last (in accordance with ;

up in a sack and drowned in Which, however, was not the last of him, for in the very familiar manner of ghosts in Iceland, he " came again " (of course as a solid body), and gave some trouble before he would lie quiet (1433). It would have been a great misfortune for Iceland if the Reformation had come when there were no better Churchmen in the cathedrals than this Swedish bishop or the Danish royal chaplain who was so careful about his beer. But, as it fell out, the great debate was not left to be determined in Iceland by wholly external Luther the or powers, by King of Denmark. Some Icelanders very early began to think for themselves in a Lutheran way; and on the other side was J6n Arason. It is one of the fortunate things and one of the strange

the popular will) tied

Bruara.

Icelandic

things in

history

Reformation the bishop greatest

in

that

at

the north

the

time of the

was one

of the

of the time, and a man who recalled the of the old days. Jon Arason, Bishop of

men

greatness Holar, was not like his predecessor, Bishop Gudmund, a great churchman with a consistent theory of the But he was a relations between church and laity. of another old Icelandic sort, a great a married man with a family, fond of power chieftain, and wealth and glory, very closely resembling the great men of the Sturlung age. It was as if Kolbein

churchman

had come back to life And this great man was not simply in Holy Orders. a worldly potentate with the dignity of a bishop he was the chief poet of his time, and his poems were religious.

Tumason

or Sturla Sighvatsson

;

He

does

not

represent

any theory

of

the

relations

Jon Arason.

155

between Church and State he is not the successor of a Becket, or of St. Thorlac. But he represents better than anyone else the church of Iceland as it was for centuries from the time of the first conversion the rather easy-going but wholesome religion which in so many ways resembles the Church of England. Jon Arason 's poetry cannot be explained except to those who understand it already. Like all Icelandic poetry, its beauty is largely a beauty of form, and of the form it may be said that Jon Arason is a master of rhyming stanzas, apparently without much or any suggestion from foreign literature. He worked on the principles of Icelandic rhyming poetry, derived from the Latin rhyming poetry of the Middle Ages, and used :

Thomas

those principles so as to make very beautiful stanzas in artifice is not so great as to hinder the freedom of expression. One of his poems has had a strange It was very early taken up by the Faroese, fortune.

which the

and was used by them at sea for the good of their "whale-verse" being a popular name for it. fishery

1

The Faroese version was edited in Aarb. Oldk., 1869, pp. 311-338, by R. Jensen. The first stanza is the proper 'hvalvers.'and the note on it is as follows " This is what Lyngby quotes in the appendix to his Faroese ballads, the so-called 'whale-verse,' the only fragment of the poem which can be said to be generally known. The name comes from the belief that 1

:

the singing of it had power to drive away the large whales, if there was danger from them to fishing-boats at sea (hvis man kom i hvaln0d ude paa havet ").

Miss Elizabeth Taylor, who has a close acquaintance with life in the Faroes, points out that the virtue of the "whale-verse" comes from a popular rendering of kvolum (= pains of hell) as hvolttm (= whales; pronounced in the same way as the other word). The "whale-verse" is thus given, loc. cit. Ljomur Bis/tups Jons Arasonar. Hsegstur heilagur andi

himna kongurinn

sterki

tu a

meg, signauSr a sjogv og landi sannur i vilja og verki hoyr tu, eg heiti a teg ForSa tu macr fjandans pi'nu og diki, feikna kvolum ollum fra maer vi'ki, ma?r veit tu taS, Mariu sonurin rfki, lovliga

lit

!

maela eg kundi naka<\ sva

trer liki

!

Saga-Book

156

of the

The Reformation was King Christian III., in

Viking Society.

established

Denmark by

in

his ordinance of

1538,

which

prescribed everything to the kingdom and the church, The name of the King being himself the head.

"bishop" was disused, though the office was kept. Under the ordinance the king appointed " superin"

for the various dioceses. These "superintendents " tendents are the Protestant Lutheran bishops, and it the Protestant may be observed that Bishop Gizur, " " of himself calls Skalholt, superintendens, bishop " " bishop though in Iceland the authority and name of were too respectable to be supplanted by this new

government description. The ordinance was imposed without difficulty in Denmark the King was thinking of Denmark, and not :

when the ordinance of Denmark held Norway also. There was some or Iceland,

particularly of

Norway

was granted.

But Christian

himself to be

King

of

resistance to him, both to his

Norway, however, had no that the difference in spirit

III.

title

and

his policy there

;

and it is here between Norway and Iceland real strength,

To the Catholic Archbishop, clearly. Olaf Engelbrektsson, in Norway, the Reformation was loathsome, and there seems to have been little regard for it among the people. But there was just as little effective liking for the old church, and the Archbishop of Nidaros could make no party of his own out of the Catholics of Norway. He had to leave the country, unheroically though not dishonourably (April, 1537),

comes out most

and the kingdom keeping

taking no

of

Norway accepted

the ordinance,

for the old faith, interest in the teaching of Luther.

all

its

sympathies

The Lutheran ordinance imposed on Iceland

still

of

King

and

Christian III. was

cannot be said that the of Iceland showed themselves much more awake people than the people of Norway to the meaning of the change, but there is a great difference between the two countries. Iceland being a small country as compared also.

It

Jon Arason. with of

Norway

much more

easily affected by the talent members. New ideas run more easily and it happened that in Iceland both sides

is

any one of

157

its

over the land, were much better represented than in Norway. The Protestant Reformation in Iceland was not merely a Lutheran ordinance imposed by a king. Although there was much dissatisfaction with the change, it cannot be said that the Reformation in Iceland was carried through without the general consent of the people. Icelandic history brings out very clearly the same unpleasant interests, particularly the appetite for church lands, as may be found in the history of the Reformation in other countries. But there was also very early a movement for the translation of the Scriptures, and afterwards the honour of the Reformation was maintained in Iceland by the great translator, Bishop

Gudbrand. Jon Arason was born in 1484; little is told of his early life. His father died, and Jon acted as steward for his mother at Laugaland (near Akreyrl) till he was 24. Then he took Holy Orders, and shortly afterwards was a married in some form or other to his wife Helga contract recognised by Icelandic tradition, and not apparently at any time challenged on any ground either by Catholics or Protestants. He made two voyages to Norway for Bishop Gottskalk of Holar, and after the death of Gottskalk (1520) was elected bishop himself (1522) by all the priests with one dissentient. At that time Bishop Ogmund, of Skalholt, had just been consecrated, a man in some things resembling Jon Arason, and very well fitted to be his rival or his friend. At first he was a decided enemy. It is curious how just the "change of fashion" before the Reformation :

(siSaskipti),

as

it

is

called

in

Icelandic

there should

foreign bishops, a return to the old natural conditions, with two men in the two cathedrals so thoroughly like their ancestors. Ogmund

have been,

was a

tall

after so

many

stout gentleman, with a remarkable talent for

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158

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the

Viking Society.

strong language and little regard for his personal appearance, though much for his episcopal dignity and power. He was indeed a chieftain of the old school like J6n Arason, but without his wit and poetry. He tried at first to keep J6n Arason out of the bishopric of Holar; he and Jon met once in the old fashion at the Althing, each with his tail of fighting men, and there was likelihood of a battle. But peace was made by the intervention of the Abbots and other clergy, and there 1 was no more trouble of that kind. The contention between the Bishops is told with some detail, and evidently with much enjoyment of the old fashioned tricks and stratagems. In that respect there

was

little

after five centuries.

change

Generally the two Bishops behaved like heroes of the older Sagas, and made their fortunes in the old way by authority, maintenance, ingenious use of the law. There is material for the history of a law case in which 2 the facts resemble those of the Jon was concerned time. of his sons in the same way He thinks Sturlung as Sighvat Sturluson might the true meaning of Ari is made Lawman. is when his son proved heredity At the same time (in this also like the Sturlung house) he attends to the liberal arts; to his own poetry ;

;

especially.

He had

was a common Reformation,

growth of was raised document

it

no reputation for scholarship it The that he knew no Latin. should be remembered, encouraged the ;

belief

classical learning in Iceland after Bishop Jon's time.

;

the standard

An

interesting

account of him written by a Protestant about 1600, pitying J6n for the want of proper Latin education in his youth. Adeo miserum est infelici temp ore natum esse. This author recognises the of native J6n Arason and his very fully genius is

Latin

the

accomplishment

in

Icelandic verse.

Jon Egilson has a curious story of a wager of battle in the old place the island in Oxara between champions of the Bishops. See Diet,

1

s.v. holmganga. 2

Biskupa Sogur,

ii.,

p.

430 sqq.

Jon Arason.

159

not quite easy to make out the extent of his He was undoubtedly fond of books, and the learning. first printer in Iceland, Sfra Jon Matthiasson the It

is

Swede, worked under his patronage. 1 The Reformers did much for the encouragement of study, but they had not to begin at the very beginning. J6n Arason does not appear very definitely in the earlier stages of the Reformation in Iceland. The Reformation touched the southern diocese first;

was more exposed to innovation, as the and government house was at Bessastad Bishop Ogmund of Skalholt had to meet the impinging forces alone. His tragedy is represented with some

the

south

Danish

;

liveliness in the extant narratives.

The

time

the chief personages are Protestant successor Gizur Bishop Ogmund; Einarsson Didrik van Minden, a man from Hamburg, deputy of the Governor Claus van Marwitz Christopher Hvitfeldt, a Danish commissioner with a ship of war. is

1539-1541

;

his

;

;

The

chief witnesses, besides original letters

and other

documents, are Sira Einar, a priest who was faithful to the Bishop, and his son Egil, then about 17 years old. Egil was alive, aged 70, in 1593, when one of the narratives was written (Bs. ii. 237-259). Another is the work of his son Jon, parson at Hreppholar in Arnes~ sysla about 1600.

Bishop

Ogmund was manners"

old

and

blind

when

the

He was

riding with his "change attendants one sunny day when his sight went from him. He asked and was told that the sun was shining of

befel.

bright; then he said: "Farewell, world! long enough " hast thou served me!

He had chose his

to find sister's

an assistant and successor; son Sigmund, but

Sigmund

first

he

died in

Biskupa Sogur, ii., p. 440 sqq. in Safn -Biskupa Annular Jons Egilsscnar, edited by Jon Sigurdsson Islands, i., 29117. Sogu i

til

160

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

Norway not twenty days after Then Bishop Ogmund, with

l

his consecration (1537). the assent of the clergy,

chose Gizur Einarsson to succeed him. This was the first Protestant Bishop in Iceland, and if he was not an absolute sneak, the witnesses (including himself) have

done him great wrong. Bishop Ogmund was his from patron very early days, and Gizur made good use He was a very able man, and of his opportunities. It is hard to the Bishop was right in thinking so. discover how much the Bishop knew about Gizur's Protestant sympathies. There is no reason to doubt Like other men of that Gizur was an earnest reformer. the time, he had unpleasant ways of mixing his own profit with evangelical religion, but he seems to have obtained his religious principles through study, and not in a casual or superficial manner. He was associated with Odd Gottskalksson, the translator, and with other young Icelandic students who came under the influence of Luther. In 1539 Gizur sailed for Denmark as Bishop-elect of Skalholt and that same year the Reformation disin a Danish attack on the island of Videy itself played at Reykjavik, and in spoliation of the monastery there. ;

The agent men in an

in this was Didrik van Minden fourteen eight-oared boat were enough for the business. It seems a paltry thing, but, as usual, one must remember the Icelandic scale; the ruin of Videy was no less for Iceland than the ruin of the Charterhouse was for London. In Iceland the retribution was not slow. At the Althing, a few weeks later, all the Danes who had attacked the cloister were outlawed and their ;

J Bs. ii. p. 269. Sigmund's daughter Katiin was wife of Egil abovementioned, and mother of Sira Jon who wrote the Bishops' Annals. She was a child of nine, staying with her grandmother at Hjalli when her grand-uncle, Bishop Ogmund, was arrested by the Danes in 1541.

She was keeping the Bishop's feet warm that morning, and saw what komu til Hjalla fyrir happened. Cf. Jon Egilsson, p. 73. Hinir moSir min la a fotum dagmal, og toku J>ar biskupinn i bafistofunni hans og var niu vetra }>eir leiddu hann ut, &c. .

.

;

;

.

Jon Arason.

161

The Danes made very little of the and its sentence, but here they were wrong. Althing In August Didrik and his men went to Skalholt to bully the old Bishop, meaning to go further east and break up the great cloisters of Thykkvaba3 and Kirkjubae. Didrik blustered in his bad language, bawling at the " divelz blindi biskup," but that was the end of him. lives

forfeited.

The countryside

rose as he sat in the Bishop's parlour looked out of the window and asked, " What is the meaning of all those halbards?" The meaning was that the avengers had come for him he had to fight ;

lie

;

for his life; the all

about

it

man who

(op.

cit.,

p.

killed 70).

him

told

Jon Egilsson This happened on St.

Lawrence Day, August loth, 1539. It was followed by strong political action on the part of the Althing. Iceland was roused not only were Didrik and his men convicted after execution and declared outlaws (obotamenn), but a strong and clear description of Claus van Marwitz, the governor, his robberies and forgeries was sent from the Althing, 1540, to the King, with a petition for his removal and for the appointment of no one " who does not know or keep the law of the The previous land, and is not of Danish tongue." summer, after the death of Didrik, arrangements had been made for carrying on the government business ;

through the

sheriffs,

without the governor.

The

Ice-

was upheld in Denmark Claus van Marwitz was sentenced by King and Council in 1542 to imprisonment for life. He was released the year after. So far the people of Iceland were victorious Iceland had never spoken more clearly or with better right as a single community. But Bishop Ogmund had to meet a greater danger than the violence of Didrik and the other ruffians. His coadjutor, Gizur, then in Denmark, landic case

;

;

King that Ogmund stood mean Danish it is the old name for the old Norse language. The ambiguity may have been calculated, so as The Icelanders address the king as King of not to offend the King. Norway and acknowledge the laws of Norway, not of Denmark. is

1

said to have persuaded the

" " Danish does not tongue

;

M

162 in the

Saga-Book

of

the

Viking Society.

of the Gospel.

In the spring of 1541 he man-of-war, with Christopher Hvitfeldt, the commissioner, and set himself busily to collect as

way

came out

in a

much

as possible of Bishop Ogmund's goods. The story is pretty fully told from the report of eye-witnesses, and there is a letter of Gizur himself which

shows how

any witness was from exaggerating. Bishop Ogmund was staying with his sister at Hjalli when the Danes came upon him. They roused him from his bed, and took him out to the courtyard in his long nightgown, but allowed him after that to put his far

then they collected as much as they could His sister, Asdis, tried to keep hold of him, but they pulled her away, put the old Bishop on a horse and brought him off to the ship. How the Bishop's silver was taken is told particularly on very clothes on

;

of his silver.

good authority. silver, and sent

The Bishop promised

to give

up

his

Einar for the priest Einar to fetch it. went the son tells the to see Bishop (whose Egil story) on board the ship, got his letter and seal as warrant, for Hjalli along with six Danes and Asdis gave them the keys of the money chest, and they swept everything into a sack, dollars, nobles, Rhenish guldens, cups and pots and all, so " " left. that there was not a single liibeck They took even the rims of the drinking horns. Asdis claimed a brooch as her own, and it was given up to her. But the Bishop was not released. They repented about the brooch, and said they must have it too and the Bishop sent a letter to his sister, and the Danes took the letter, and brought the brooch away. But the Bishop was not allowed to land again he was taken to Denmark,

and then started Egil, his son.

;

;

and died there. King Christian was not well pleased at the work of his servants. J6n Egilsson, whose father and mother, Egil and Katrin, both saw something of this affair, was told by his grandfather, Einar, of a letter, written by " not to let the old fox some one to the Commissioner,

Jon Arason.

163

go"; at which Christopher Hvitfeldt shook his head, apparently not liking the style of his correspondent. The

letter is extant, and the writer was the new Bishop Gizur. It is worth quoting in full, as a document of the Reformation. It appears that to do things thor1

oughly Gizur had gone with Claus van Marwitz (who had not yet been recalled) to another house of Ogmund's in Haukadal to make a search there. The letter is written in Low German, which may thus be translated

"

:

IHS.

I Salutem per Christum. do your worI that have been with know, good Christopher, Claus van Marwitz in Haukadal, but there was nothing there of silver plate or any such stuff, nothing worth a mite, except one small silver cup about an ounce weight everything had been carried off before, as the old one can tell you if he will. And there was nothing here

ship to

;

any worth, but all cleared away together, as Claus can inform you. Further, good Christopher, see to it that you do not let the fox loose on land again, now that he is safe in your keeping, for if he were to land the people might raise an uproar. It is not advisable that he should come to the Althing, since many If possible, I will come of his adherents will be there. to speak with you, three or four days before the at all of

Althing. "

The

blessing of Almighty God be with you eterin haste in Haukadal, the Eve of Whit-

Written

nally.

sunday, A.D. 1541.

"

GIZURUS EINARI,

"

"

To

Superintendens Schalholt. and discreet honourable the Christopher Hvit-

G." this letter with all speed. of Sira evidence on the to believe, pleasant

feldt, &c., It

is

Einar, that Christopher was disgusted when he read those evangelical sentences. The author of them,, it Printed

in Safn,

i.,

128.

Saga-Book

164

the

of

Viking Society.

should be remembered, was the scholar who translated the Protestant ordinance of 1538 from Latin into the vernacular tongue his version has lately appeared, together with the Latin original, in the Diplomatarium Islandicum. Jon Arason, who had taken his full share in the condemnation of Claus van Marwitz, and who might have been expected to go further, was suddenly checked by the appearance of the Danish force and the removal He seems to have felt that the of Bishop Ogmund. proper course for him was to temporise, and if possible He was on his to fend off the detestable ordinance. way to the Althing when he heard of Ogmund's he stopped at Kalmanstunga and went no captivity further. On the ayth June he wrote forbidding all :

;

action against the diocese of Holar, and appealing to the Council of Norway. He also wrote in bolder terms

sorry that he had been prevented by his coming to an interview he was ready to if it were approved by the Catholic the ordinance accept Church and the Chapter of Nidaros. The King to Christopher

;

friends from

summoned

;

the two Icelandic Bishops to Copenhagen. of course Jon of Holar asked to be

Gizur went,

;

excused, and sent three proctors, his son Sigurd, Canon of Nidaros, being one (1542). They did homage to the and swore to the ordinance, and returned in 1543. King, refused to be bound Jon by their oath. But he did not active resistance, except in so far as he attempt any

went on his way neglecting the new religion nusquam non more Papisiico infantum confirmationes missas ;

lustrationes et dedicationes celebravit aliaque ejus farinae postliminio introducere allaboravit, to quote the learned historian of the Church in Iceland. Jon did

inferias

not quarrel openly with Gizur. The malignant may be " " the superintendent of teach sorry that he did not or at him consider it possible ask to Skalholt, any rate that he might be mistaken.

But Jon Arason must not be misunderstood through

his heroic death or

Jon Arason.

165

through his spiritual songs.

He

was not a blameless heroic martyr; he was a hero like the men of the heroic age, working with craft and policy, and sometimes with violence, and often for very worldly ends. His fall came about through his likeness to his ancestors; he

the methods

known

and he came

made

the fortune of his family

hundred or

three

five

by

hundred years

through a mistake about the The other " big worldly adversary. strength " buck (to repeat the familiar Icelandic term), Dadi Gudmundsson, won the match, and did not spare his enemy when he had got him down. earlier,

of

to ruin

a

The story is as complicated as an}' of the feuds in Sturlunga. It is part of the great law case of Teit of Glaumbas, which begins in 1523, and goes on for a century. It may be enough to say here that the Bishop and his sons took the old methods of getting their own 7

;

particulars are extant of the effect of their raids, including the loss of the pepper-mill and the mustard-mill

already mentioned. The monotonous history comes to a head in the rivalry between Bishop Jon and Dadi

Gudmundsson. Dadi was one of the powerful men of the West, and has left his name in tradition. It may be taken perhaps another proof of the Icelandic impartiality that tradition accepts with favour both the rivals, and has not made Dadi into a monster or a murderer on account

as

of the

1

beheading of Jon. Gizur Einarsson died in the Lent of 1548. At that time Bishop Jon's spirits were high, and he was enjoying the old sport of raiding. He had let Gizur alone, But the vacancy of the see was for sufficient reasons. an opportunity not to be missed and when Martin, ;

brother-in-law of Dadi, appeared as the Superintendent, the temptation was irresistible.

the

new

Martin seems to have been an amiable man, without He had been distinction, except as a painter.

much 1

See Jon Arnason, f>j63sogur,

ii.,

121,

1

66

Saga-Book

winter

the

Viking Society.

he took Orders. He was conPalladius at Easter, 1549; having spent the by in Copenhagen studying evangelical divinity

engaged secrated

of

in trade before

Dr. Hans Machabeus, i.e., John MacAlpine, some time Prior of the Black Friars in Perth, now a famous Professor of Theology in Denmark. Martin with

seems to have been treated in rather a condescending and patronising way by the great Protestant Theobut he got his certificate in good time. Protestant clergy in the diocese of Skalholt were fairly strong, and the Bishop of Holar had not made much way there when Martin arrived. In a raid to the West, along with his two sons Sira Bjorn and Ari the logians

;

The

Lawman, he picked up the new Bishop of Skalholt and Parson Arne Arnorsson, who as officialis of Skalholt in had not been pliable. He hoped also to hold of Dadi, and there was a chance of success. get But warning was given in time the story as told in one the vacancy

;

the

of

memoirs

is

not

far

below the

level

of

the

older Sagas. It describes the evening at Stadarstad, Martin's house on the south of the Snaefell promontory. As the Bishop's sons were sitting there, talking too freely about their plans, a man came in and sat near the

no one paying him much attention, till as the dark drew on he stole away. Then he was missed; then it was asked who was the man sitting at the door saying nothing; and where had he gone? They looked for him and called but all they saw was a man riding a good black horse hard over the moor. He was one of Dadi's men, riding the famous horse of which other stories were told long after. Naturally, when the Bishop and his sons came to Dadi's house at Snoksdal,' their adversary was ready for them, and they had to be content with their clerical prisoners. Bishop Martin door,

;

received

winter; 1

ii.,

A

a

doubtful

sort

of

hospitality during that 1 someat table;

sometimes he was a guest

story told in the Annals of Bjorn of SkarSsa

P- 387-

is

translated C.P.B.

Jon Arason.

167

times he was set to beat stockfish. Parson Arne was for a time penned in a place of little ease; Bishop Jon

made scoffing rhymes about him. Arne comes into a curious passage

memoirs

of the

of

Jon Egilsson. Bishop Jon Arason had excommunicated Dadi it happened that Parson Arne came to Snoksdal the very day that the curse was recited at H61ar. He and Dadi Gudmundsson were together. ;

Then there came so violent hiccup on Dadi that he was amazed it was like as if the breath were going out of him. Dadi said then '

:

:

'

Of me now there is word Where I do not sit at board.'

Arne answered I will tell you how. There is word of you at Holar because Bishop J6n is now Dadi Gudmundsson said: putting you to the ban.' You shall have five hundred from me if you manage so that it shall not touch me.' Arne says That will I not do for any money, however much, to put myself so in pawn.' But Dadi Gudmundsson kept on beseeching him, and Arne then says that he will make the venture '

:

4

'

:

'

for our old acquaintance sake, but there will be a load to carry yet, I misdoubt me.' Then both of them went to the church, and Arne stayed without, and Dadi

Gudmundsson went in. Arne bolted the door on Then he stayed long outside, and at last he opened the door, and called Dadi Gudmundsson to come out and there he saw that a shaggy year-old pony was running up and down by the side of a water as if him.

;

he was mad. And at last the colt plunged head-first into a hole or pool, and ended there. Arne said Now, friend Dadi Gudmundsson, there you can see what was intended for you.' '

:

'

Christian

In

his turn. King the Bishop cursing

Scholastica, 1549;

of

"he

and not regarded our

in

Holar.

Copenhagen was (Monday after

has treated us with disrespect, no wise. Therefore we

letters in

i68

Saga-Book

of

the

Viking Society.

outlaw the said Bishop John.") And on Tuesday after the Conversion of St. Paul, 1550, the King writes to the clergy of Holar to choose another Bishop. About the same time, the Protestant Doctor Palladius writes to Jon Arason a letter which deserves to be read for instruction in manners, hardly less than the letter of Gizur Einarsson already quoted. Palladius says that he is ready to explain the difference between the doctrines of Christ and the Pope, if only Jon will w rite or signify his wishes to the Governor of Iceland. As a specimen, he offers the statement that Christ has not commanded such things as Papal consecrations, confirmations, masses and fasts. He sends the prayer of Manasses, in Danish, which Jon " Send (if it please him) may use with weeping tears. r

a Suffraganeus who may stay and winter here, and then go out to reform churches and monasteries; e.g., your

son Sigurd, or Sir Olaf Hjaltason." "Put not your trust in the Pope; he died on St. Martin's Eve (f Paul III., 10 Nov., 1549). Perhaps you have already had news of that in Iceland for Hecla Fell often gives intimations of that nature." Bishop Jon seems to have passed the winter comfortHis ruin came through overweening; his son Ari ably. ;

(generally called the

Lawman) had done

keep him from more raiding

;

his wife

his best to

Helga thought

poorly of her son Ari for this, and stirred him in the old-fashioned way with the present of a woman's skirt: so that Ari went along with his father and his brother Sira Bjorn in the last expedition. The scene of failure is one that has come into older history Saudafell, where Jon Arason and his sons were taken by Dadi Gudmundsson, had been once the house of Sturla Sighvatsson, and the raid on Saudafell by the sons of Thorvald, in January, 1229, when the master was away, is one of the memorable episodes in Sturlunga. It stands rather high at the mouth of a valley ;

looking North- West over the water, towards

Hvamm

Jon Arason.

169

and other famous

places, past the country of Laxdale. Snoksdal, the house of Dadi Gudmundsson, is close to it, below, and nearer to the sea. Saudafell had been one chief cause of contention between the Bishop and Dadi both had some sort of a claim to it. The Bishop went there in September, 1550, not as a raider, but to keep an engagement and attend a court. The Lawman Orm Sturluson had been asked, and had agreed, to hold a court at Saudafell to decide the differences between the parties. Jon and his sons came to Saudafell and stayed there some days. They did not understand their enemy; he was preparing a surprise, ;

which was thoroughly successful. The Bishop and his two sons were taken their followers scattered, every man his own way, except two who stood fast. But then came perplexity for the victorious side. It ;

was October; nothing could be settled till the following summer. The prisoners were to be kept till the Althing. Judgment was pronounced in a court held at Snoksdal, October 23, 1550. The Bishop and his sons had been outlawed by the King; the King had commanded Dadi to take them Christian, the deputy, was to keep them in custody at Skalholt, with the But assistance of Martin, till the Althing in summer. North it was not the to them safe the men of easy keep might be expected to come and rescue their Bishop. They were removed to Skalholt, as the court had decided. Christian, the Governor's deputy, who had come to Snoksdal at once after the capture, was always in consultation with Dadi. Then at last some one said the inevitable word: "Let the earth keep them." Bishop Jon Arason and Bjorn and Ari, his sons, were beheaded at Skalholt on the Friday after Hallowmas, November yth, 1550. How they bore themselves was clearly remembered. It has already been told how Jon Arason answered the poor well-meaning minister who warned him against It was long before idolatry, and spoke of a future life. ;

;

Saga-Book

170

of the

Viking Society.

the Reformers gave up their unnecessary consolations; Mary Queen of Scots had to endure the same sort of

importunity. " Ari was the most regretted of the three. into this game against my will, and willingly

I

I

went leave

it."

The Bishop remembered the poor of his diocese; he always gave away supplies in spring, and now sent a message to Holar to take care this should not be forHe also made an epigram gotten. What is the world ? a bitter cheat, :

If

Danes must

When And

The

I

lay

sit

step forth

my

head

on the judgment-seat, my death to meet,

at the King's feet.

bodies of the three were at Skalholt

all winter; spring of 1551 they were brought home to the North like the relics of martyrs. Vengeance had already been taken for them, and it was Jon's daughter Thorun who set it going.

in the

Among

the

men

of the

North who went South

for the

fishing that winter were some who meant to have the life of Christian, the Danish deputy. They got him at

Kirkjubol, out at the end of Rosmhvalanes, and surrounded the house, wearing hoods and masks a modern precaution. Before breaking into the house " Yes, break they asked and got leave from the owner :

you pay for it after." Christian and some other Danes were killed. It was reported that they came back from their graves, which made it necessary to dig them up and cut their heads off, with further preventive

away,

if

measures.

Ships of war came out, too the

commander who was

late

;

and

sent from

it is

notable that

Denmark

to bring Bishop Jon Arason before King Christian III. was the same Kristoffer Trondsson (a great sea-captain in his day) who had enabled Archbishop Olaf Engelbrektsson of Nidaros to escape from Norway to the Netherlands, in April, 1537, out of the same King's danger.

Jon Arason.

171

The case against Jon Arason is found in the form of a speech supposed to have been delivered by Christian, the Danish deputy, in Skalholt, the day before the beheading of the Bishop and his sons. This is scarcely less remarkable than the letter of Gizur Einarsson as an historical document of the Reformation. The following "

is

a

good sample

Likewise

it

Bishop John and

is

:

known

to

many gentlemen how

his sons have set themselves to

oppose

the native people of this land, who have been at cost to venture over sea and salt water, sailing to transact their

due business before our gracious lord the King, and many of them for their long voyage and their trouble have received letters from his Majesty, some upon monasteries, some upon royal benefices, which same letters of his Majesty might no longer avail or be made effective by no means', but as soon as they came here to Iceland Bishop John and his sons have made the King's letters null and void, and many a poor man has had his long journey for nothing and all in vain." On the other hand, it must be observed that with the exception of some contemporary rhymes upon his death none of the records which bring out the heroic character of Jon Arason were written by Catholics. The curious impartiality of the old Icelandic historians is still found working with regard to the Protestant Reformation, and it is Lutheran opinion in Iceland that thinks of J6n Arason as a martyr. W. P. KER. Additional Note. In Nordtsk Tidskrijt for Bok och Biblioteksvdsen I. (1914) Isak Collijn of Stockholm reports the discovery and gives plates of 2 leaves of the lost Breviarium Nidrosiense, printed at Holar. I 534. for Bishop Jon Arason by Jon Mathiasson the Swede. i

SCANDINAVIAN INFLUENCE IN THE PLACE-NAMES OF NORTHUMBERLAND

AND DURHAM. BY

PROFESSOR ALLEN MAWER,

1

M.A.,

Vice-Presitlent.

most striking features of present-day philological study in England and on the Continent is the attention which is being paid to the history and development of our English placenames. These studies are of interest not only for the light they throw on certain philological questions, but also and for many this is their chief interest

ONE

of the

because of the help they give in the solution of certain questions of historical or social interest. Recent study of the place-names of Northumberland and Durham has suggested the possibility that the history of the place-names of these two counties may serve to throw

some

however dim, on the very difficult problem and character of the Scandinavian settleNorth-east England. Attacks by Vikings on

light,

of the extent

ments in Northern England began before the close of the eighth century, but it was not until after the middle of the ninth century that Northumbria fell definitely under their power. At first the invaders contented themselves with Northumbria south of the Tyne, but in 875 Healfdene sailed up the Tyne and devastated the whole of Northern Northumbria. In the same year Northumbria was divided among his followers, and they began to plough and cultivate it. His kingdom came to a violent end in 877, and then, after a six years' interregnum, the rule passed into the hands of Guthred1

Note.

The

part of this paper, so far as it deals with an expansion of a paper contributed to Essays and

earlier

Northumberland,

is

Studies presented to William Ridgeway,

Cambridge, 1913, pp. 306-14.

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

173

Cnut, a prince of undoubted Scandinavian origin. Guthred-Cnut's kingdom extended over the whole of Northumbria, and he was followed by other princes Siefred and Sitric who were connected with the Scandinavian kingdom of Dublin. The authority of these kings centred at York, and it is probable that from 885 onwards the portion of Northumbria covered

by the present county of Northumberland was once more under the rule of English earls, acknowledging Alfred's authority and holding Hamburgh as their ,

In the reign of Edward the elder (c. 915) a fresh Norse invasion from Ireland took place under

capital.

Ragnall.

He

invaded Northumberland, and was vic-

torious in a battle at Corbridge-on-Tyne against of Bamburgh, and Constantine of Scotland. his victory Ragnall into his possession,

Eadred After

advanced on York, which he took and at the same time he divided

lands of St. Cuthbert, (the territory covering roughly the east and south portions of the county of Durham), between his two chief followers, Scula and Onlafbald. From this time (c. 921) down to the middle of the tenth century a succession of kings of Norse origin held sway in Northumbria, the last being Eric Blood-axe, finally expelled in 952 or 954. One of the many problems connected with the study of this Scandinavian kingdom of Northumbria is the real extent and character of the Norse and Danish have seen that in 875 Healfdene is settlements. said to have divided Northumbria among his followers in the same way that East Anglia and Northern Mercia were portioned out among the Viking settlers there, but the fact that Ragnall, after his victories in 928,

the

We

made an assignment would

suggest

of large portions of co. Durham, that Northern Northumbria

either

(Northumberland and Durham) had never been settled in the same way as Northumbria south of the Tees, or else that there had been some resurgence of the old Anglian element leading to the ousting of the

Saga-Book

174

of the

Viking Society.

invaders from their hastily acquired land, at least in Northumbria. An examination of the place-names of Northumbria supports this idea. It reveals wide differences in the

proportionate distribution of place-names of Scandinavian origin over Northumbria as a whole, and the general result of this study, it may be stated at the outset, is to confirm the scanty evidence of history and compel us to draw a definite line of demarcation between the counties of Northumberland and Durham, on the one hand, and the remaining counties of the old king-

dom on

the other.

these other counties

Of

the Scandinavian element in

not

my

purpose to speak, comparison but the intensely Scandinavian character of the place-nomenclature of almost the whole of Yorkshire, of great portions of it

is

except for purposes of

;

Lancashire, of Cumberland and Westmoreland, is evident even from the most cursory examination of the

modern map, and is made yet more clear if we study works dealing with the actual history of these names, such as Prof. Wyld's book on the Place-names of Lancashire, and Prof. Moorman's on those of the West Riding, or even better, for our purpose, the recently published work of Dr. Lindkvist on M.E. Place-names of Scandinavian origin, of which the first part is all that has at present appeared. Let us now examine in detail the place-names of Northumberland and Durham, with a view to deterIn estimating mining the Scandinavian element. Scandinavian influence in place nomenclature two methods may be adopted (i) the rough and ready one of studying the modern ordnance map, and attempting to form an immediate and (in more senses than one) :

number of names containing Scandinavian elements; (2) the more accurate and satisfactory one of collecting the M.E. forms of all the placesuperficial estimate of the

names history

of any particular district, establishing their and development, and finally determining those

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

which may

definitely be stated to be of

175

Scandinavian

In the case of the two counties at least which

origin.

we have under

present consideration both these methods have their value, for the counties of Northumberland and Durham stand somewhat apart from the rest of

England

in the character

and extent

of the

documen-

tary evidence which we have for the early forms of Both alike have practically no their place-names. charters belonging to pre-conquest times, a misfortune which they share, with but few- exceptions, with the

whole of England north of the Humber, and neither county is mentioned in Domesday. Northumberland has several valuable cartularies belonging to post-conquest times, and there are abundant references in the national records, but, unfortunately, there were large regalities within her borders where the king's writ seldom ran, and for these districts the evidence is at times scanty or insufficient. Norhamshire, Island-

and Bedlingtonshire belonged to the Palatinate Bishopric of Durham, and though there are some valu-

shire

Still able early charters there are lamentable gaps. more unfortunate is the case of the large district of Hexhamshire, once a regality under the rule of the Archbishop of York. There the early records are very

and

more

to be regretted as, to judge Scandinavian nomenclature, influence may at one time have been a good deal stronger here than in the rest of the county. County Durham itself is in even worse case. She has, of course, her Domesday Book, in the form of Boldon Book, but invaluable as that work is for the understanding of her social and economic history, it is of comparatively little use for our purpose; for though

scarce,

from

the

it

is

the

present-day

Boldon Book was compiled

in the twelfth

century there

are no copies extant of earlier date than the fourteenth century, with the result that place-names are recorded in very late forms, for the transcribers have for the most part given

them the forms current

in their

own

time.

176

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

There are some valuable eleventh and twelfth century charters belonging to the bishopric, and the records of Durham Priory are full and valuable, but a vast mass early material concerned with the history of the Palatinate has disappeared through the vandalism of

of

bishops and others, and we are, unfortunately, very scantily supplied with documentary evidence for those parts of county Durham in the extreme west, where, to judge from the present-day map, the influence was It is peculiarly advisable, therefore, in the strongest. case of these counties, and more so in Durham than in Northumberland, to endeavour to eke out the

deficiencies of ancient material

by a

careful use of the

modern ordnance map. In the case of each county we will deal first with the comparatively certain material to be found in documents of the M.E. period. It should be added here that one or two names which have often been regarded as evidence of Scandinavian influence can no longer be used as such after examination of their M.E. forms. This applies especially to the two examples of beck which may be found in the county. The Wansbeck is early documents written as Wanespic, Waneor some kindred form, showing clearly that the spike, modern spelling is due to folk, or antiquarian, influin

all

ence, while Bulbeck Common, above Blanchland, is so called from the great barony of Bulbeck, of which it

once formed part. The first baron of Bulbeck took his title from Bolbec, a Norman village near the mouth of the Seine, and though the name is ultimately of Scandinavian origin, it is, of course, no mark of Viking settlement in England. One other example of -beck may be found in the form Fullbek, in the Newminster Cartulary,

but

the

name has disappeared from

the

modern map and is of little importance. The placenames will be grouped as far as possible according to their geographical distribution. of the chief abbreviations used

The following :

is

a

list

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

177

Placitorum abbreviatio. Assize Rolls for Northumberland (Surtees Soc.). Attestatio Test arum (v. F.P.D.). Att. Test.

Abbr. Ass.

Boldon Book (Surtees Soc.). Bjorkman. Z.A.N. (Zur Altenglischen Namenkunde), N.P. (Nordische Personennamen). B.B. H. Black Book of Hexham (Surtees Soc.). B.B.

B

Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum.

C.S.

Brinkburn Cartulary (Surtees Soc.). B.M. ('barters and Rolls in British Museum. Ch. Calendar of Charter Rolls. Cl. - Calendar of Close Rolls. D.B. Domesday Book. Durh. Acct. Rolls. (Surtees Soc.). D.S.T. Historiae Dunelmensis Scriptores Tres (Surtees Soc.). E.D.D. -English Dialect Dictionary. F.A. Feudal Aids. F.P.D. Feodarium Prioratns Dunelmensis (Surtees Soc.). Brkb.

Finch.

Finchale Cartulary (Surtees Soc.).

Archbishop Gray's Register (Surtees Soc.). H. Hodgson's Northumberland. Hatf. Bishop Hatfield's Survey (Surtees Soc.). H.P. Hexham Priory (Surtees Soc.). H.S.C. History of St. Cuthbert (v. S.D.). Inquisitiones ad quod damnum. Inq. a.q.d. Ipm. Calendar of Inquisitions post mottem. Iter. Her de Wark (Hartshorne's Feudal Antiquities). Gray.

N orsk-islandska Dopnamn. '

Lind.

M.E. place-names of Scandinavian origin. Moorman. Place-names of the West Riding (Thoresby N.E.D. New English Dictionary. Lindkvist.

Newm.

Newminster Cartulary (Surtees

Soc.).

Soc.).

Rotulorum originalium abbreviatio. Orig. Pat. Calendar of Patent Rolls. Perc. Pipe.

Q.W.

Percy Cartulary (Surtees Soc.). Pipe Rolls (Pipe Roll Society, Hodgson's Northumberland). Phcita quo Warranto.

Red Book of the Exchequer. R.C.Rotuli Cartarum. R.H. Rotuli Hundredorum. R.B.E.

Reg. Bp. K. Register of Bishop Kellaw (v. R.P.D.). R.P.D. Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense, Rolls Series. Rygh. Indl. (Indledning til Norske Gaardnavne), G.P. (Gamle Personnavne i Norske Gaardnavne), N.G. (Norske Gaardnavne). S.D. Simeon of Durham (Rolls Series). S.R. Subsidy Rolls (MS.). Swinb. Swinburn Charters (Hodgson's Northumberland). Tax. Taxatio Ecclesiastica. Testa.

Testa de Neville.

Tynemouth Cartulary (Gibson's Tynemouth). Wickwane. Abp. Wickwane's Register (Surtees Soc.). Ty.

Wyld.

Place-names of Lancashire.

N

Saga-Book

178

of the

Viking Society.

The basin of the Till and its tributaries AKELD (Kirknewton). 1169 Pipe Achelda;

:

1176 Pipe Hak'elda; 1229 Pat. Akeld; 1255 Ass. Akil, Akyl, Akyld; 1216-1307 Testa Akild', Akyld' ; 1346, 1428

F.A. Akyld.

and kelda, well, spring. The second used in the Northumberland dialect of a marshy place, and also of the still part of a lake or river which has an oily smoothness (E.D.D.). Akeld lies on the edge of the well-marked valley of the Glen, and Akeld Steads lies low, by the river itself cf. Wyld, p. 363, and Keld in Swaledale (Yo.). The first " element is found also in Aby (Lines.), the -by on the Great Eau (or river)." The O.N. a is found as M.E. a,

O.N.

"stream (v.

river,

a,

element

is

or

watercourse,"

in

mediaeval

documents

N.E.D.).

COUPLAND (Kirknewton).

1216-1307 Testa Coupland; Couplaund; 1323 Ipm. Coupelande; 1346, 1450, F.A. Coupland. This name is explained by Lindkvist (pp. 145-6). It is the O.W.Sc. kaupa-land, land gained by purchase = kaupa-jor$) opposed in a way to oftals-jorfi, an allo( dial estate. Only one example of its use is to be found in O.W.Scand., viz., in Biskopa Sogur. Lindkvist notes its occurrence here and in Copeland (Cumb.). It is also to be found in Copeland House (co. Durham) (v. infra), and probably in the Copeland Islands, off Belfast Lough. CROOKHAM (Ford). 1244 Ch. Crucum; 1254 Ipm. Crukum; 1273 R.H. Cruchu' ; 1304 Ch. Crukum; 1340 Ch. Crocum; 1346, 1428 F.A. Crokome. " At the windings." The dat. pi. of O.N. krokr, a 1255

Ass.

crook or winding.

According to Rygh (Indl. p. 62) often refers to the bends of a river, a sense which would suit Crookham well, for it stands on the banks it

of the Till, here.

which takes an unusually tortuous course

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

179

CROOKHOUSE (Kirknewton). 1323 Ipm. Le Croukes. The nom. pi. corresponding to the dat. pi. found in Crookham (v. supra). The name may have borne reference to the winding course of the Bowmont Water at Crookes (Moorman, p. 53). 1189 Abbr. Hilderton; 1228 Att.

this point

cf.

ILDERTON.

lldertone;

1255

Ass.

Hild&rton,

Ilderton;

Test. 1291

Hilderton; 1311 Reg. Bp. K. Ildirtone ; 1216-1307 Testa Hildirton; 1336 Ch. Ildretona, Hildreton; 1346 F.A. Hillerton, Ildreton, Hildreton-f 1428 F.A. Ilderton. The history of this name is given by Lindkvist (pp. 10-11), viz., that it is the tun of a woman bearing the Scandinavian name Hild. Hilder- is the gen. form Hildar of this name. It is also found as the first element in Hinderwell (Yo.), earlier HUder-welle* and Hilderclay (Suff.). For the loss of initial h we may compare the history of Oakington (Cambs.). Skeat (Place-names of Cambridgeshire, p. 16) remarks that

Tax.

all

the early spellings point to

element

INGRAM.

if

in this

Hoeing- as the

first

name.

1255 Ass.

Angram; 1283 Ipm. Hangrham, Angeharm; 1291 Tax. Angerham; 1216-1307 Testa Angerham; 1306 R.P.D. Angirham; 1324 Ipm. Angerham; 1346 F.A. Angram; 1428 F.A. Ayngramme ; 1507 D.S.T. ccccvi. Yngram. For this name v. Angerton infra. It is very doubtful this name shows Scandinavian influence.

Bamburgh and

district

:

LUCKER.

1167-9 Pipe Lucre; 1255 Ass. Lucre; 1288 Locre ; 1216-1307 Testa Lukre ; 1290 Abbr. Ipm. Loker; 1307 Ch. Lucre; 1314 Ipm. Louker ; 1346 F.A. Loker; 1379 Ipm. Loker<&. " The second element is M.F. ker, " a marshy place " < O.N. kiarr, ground of a swampy nature overgrown with brushwood." The first element may be O.N. 16,

a sandpiper.

The sandpiper

specially

frequents

flat

180

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

places, such as are often found near the seaThis description would suit the actual site of

marshy shore.

Lucker.

RENNINGTON. 1104-8 S.D. Reiningtun; 1175 Pipe Renninton; 1255 Ass. Renington; 1256 Ch. Renigton; 1216-1307 Testa Renigton; 1307 Ch. Renington; 1314 Ipm. Renington. ultimate history of this name would seem to be settled by the passage in Simeon of Durham (Vol. I.,

The

pp. 65, 80), which says that Franco, one of the bearers " body of St. Cuthbert (c. 880) pater erat Reina ilia condiderat villa gualdi, quo quam Reiningtun est The name is doubtless the appellata." Reingualdus Latinised form of the O.N. name Rqgnvaldr, borne by more than one Viking chieftain in England and Ireland. The name Franco is certainly not of Scandinavian origin, so that probably Reingualdus was Scandinavian only on his mother's side. The history of the form is difficult unless we assume that the name Regenw eald or Rasgenald, the Anglicised form of O.N. Rqgnvaldr was in use also in the short form Regin or Rein, whence the patronymic Reining was formed. of the

r

HOWICK.

1230

Haivyk;

1281

Pat.

Haivic ;

1278

Ass. Hawick. 1288 Ipm.

Wickwane Hoivyk' ;

Ho-wick; 1291 Tax. Hoisoyk; 1311 Reg. Bp. K. Houivyk; 1318 Inq. aqd. Howyke, Oivike ; 1340 Pat. Hoivyke ; 1359 Cl. Houivyk; 1374; Durh. Acct. Rolls Hawyk; 1375 ib. Hoivik. This name is explained by Lindkvist (pp. 182-3) as

from O.N. hdr, hor, "high," and vik, "creek, inlet, bay," and he compares it with the Norw. Haavik, which is found in several localities and has different origins, but refers sometimes to a shore skirted with high mountains or some (steep) acclivity on the shore. The early prevalence of forms w ith o may have been helped by memories of O.E. hdh, M.E. ho(ive) "a r

promontory."

Scandinavian Influence

in

Place-Names.

181

DKNWICK.

1278 Ass. Dencivick; 1288 Ipm. Dene-wick, 1216-1307 Testa Demayk; 1334 Pat. Denevvyk. The " wick " or dwelling-place in the valley (O.K.

denu)

or,

possibly, of the

BROTHERWICK.

Danes (O.K. Dend).

Ipm. Brothirwike; 1275 Ipm. Brothirivyk; 1216-1307 Testa Brother-wick; 1273 R.H. Broyer-wyk. The " wick " or dwelling-place of a Scandinavian settler named Broftir. This is a well-established Norse 1251

and Danish personal name. The corresponding English name, Broftir, is only found in the nth century, and may well be due to Scandinavian influence. Bjorkman (Z.A.X., p. 27) finds the same element in Brotherton (Yo.) and Brothertoft (Lines.). The name is common in Danish place-names. Nielsen (Old -danske

Personnavne, p. 13), gives Brarup (earlier Brothcerthorp), Brotherstedt, Brodersby, Brorstrup.

The

basin of the Coquet and

BRINKBURN.

1216-27

Brinckeburn

its

tributaries

Newm. Brinkeburn;

1259 Ch.

:

1252

Ch. Ass.

Brinkeburn; 1255 ; Brinkeburn; 1313 R.P.D. Brenkeburn; 1507 D.S.T. cccciv. Brenkeburn. " The place on the steep sloping banks of the burn," It is doubtful if the element here the R. Coquet. Brink- is necessarily evidence for Scandinavian influence v. Brenkley infra. 1099-1128 H.P. Routhebiria; 1176 Pipe Robirei, Roberi; 1200 R.C. Robery ; 1203 R.C. Robery ; 1204 R.C. Rodbery ; 1210-2 R.B.E. Roburiam; 1212 R.C. Roubir ; 1219 Pat. Roobiry ;

ROTHBURY.

1228 Cl. Robir; 1228 Pat. Rothebiry ; 1248 Ipm. 1255 Ass. Roubir, Rowebyr ; 1258-9

Roubiri;

Newm. Routhbiry ;

1271 Ch. Rodebir, Robery; Tax. Routhebyr; 1331 Perc. Routhcbiry ; 1346 F.A. Rotnebury, Routhbery. 1291

The explanation of this name is given by Lindkvist The first element is O.W.Sc. rowo>, "red,"

(pp. 158-9).

182

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

the diphthong aw being regularly represented in M.E. by ou the second element is the common suffix -bury. " fortrepresenting the dative singular of O.K. burg, ress, castle," etc., and the name of the place was originally "at the red fort." It is of hybrid formation. ;

THROPTON (Rothbury).

1176 Pipe Tropton; 1248 Ipm. Tropton; 1216-1307 Testa Thropton; 1309 Ipm. Thropton; 1334 Perc. Thorp ton; 1346 F.A. Thropton. " The farm by the thorp." O.E. and O.N. Porptun. Throp is a fairly common metathesised form of thorp,

Heythrop Danish, thorp in

Hill

Throp

cf.

((Oxf.). cf.

(in

Hos-trup,

is found For the use

metathesis

Vam-drup.

Northumberland

Dunthrop and

Mitford),

The same

in

of

v. infra, p.

SKITTER (Rothbury). 1176 Pipe Snittera; 1175 Pipe S niter e ; 1248 Ipm. Snither ; 1278 Ass. Snytre, Snyter; 1309 Ipm. Snytir ; 1334 Perc. Snytir ; 1346 F.A. Snytie ; 1439 Ipm. Snyter. For the Scandinavian origin of this element, which is found also in Snetterton (Norf.), Snitterby (Lines.), Snitterfield

(Warw.),

Snitterton

(Norf.), v. Essays and Studies by lish Association, Vol IV., p. 66.

(Derbys.),

members

Snitterley of the Eng-

1245 Brkb. Bykerton; c. 1247 Newm. Bikerton ; 1266 Ass. Bikerton, Bykertone ; 12161307 Testa Bikerton; 1346 F.A. Bikerton; 1428

BICKERTON.

F.A. Beke'rton. For the history of this name and its Scandinavian origin v. Essays and Studies, u.s., p. 59. PLAINFIELD.

The

first

1272

Newm.

element

is

Flaynefeld.

fairly certainly of

Scandinavian

origin, ay representing the common O.N. diphthong ei. " It would seem to be the O.N. flcinn, a pike, an arrow, " or the fluke of an anchor O.E. flan), and Flayne(=

may have meant

originally a field whose shape the fluke of an anchor. Less probably the suggested

feld

Scandinavian Influence first

element

may

in

Place-Names

be an O.N. personal name.

183

.

Fleinn

was the name the

name

is

of a gth century skald (Lind. s.v.), and also found as a nickname in Aeirikr flczin.

(G.P., p. 272) finds this name also in the Norse place-name Flensiad. The modern name would seem to

Rygh

be due to the substitution of a form more easily capable of explanation.

ROTHLEY.

1233-4 Pipe Rotheleg ; 1255 Ass. Rotheley, Rotheleg; 1271 Ch. Rotheley, Rothelay ; 12161307 Testa Rotheley; 1346 F.A. Rotheley. The first element in this name may be the same as that in Rothbury, but the absence of any M.E. spelling with ou makes such an etymology difficult of acceptance. Otherwise it may be for O.K. Hroftan-leah, the of a man Hrofta, that being a shortened or pet form of one of the numerous Old English names of which HroS- is the first element. A very doubtful example of Scandinavian influence.

meadow

Basin of the Wansbeck and

its

tributaries

:

THROP HILL (Mitford). 1166 R.B.E. Trophil; R.H. Troppil' ; 1216-1307 Testa Throphill; "

1273 1201

Tax. Throphill.

The

hill

by the thorp."

cf.

Thropton supra.

1267 Ipm. Trennewell; 1280 Ipm. Trane1310 Ch. Trail-well; 1316 Ipm. Tranwell ; 1323 Ipm. Trenivell, Traneivell; 1356 Cl. Tranewell; 1386 Ipm. Trenivell ; 1428 F.A. T rents) ell.

TRANWELL. well;

For the Scandinavian origin and vStudies, u.s., p. 68.

of this

name

v.

Essays

ANGERTON (Hartburn). Ipm. Angerton;

1186 Pipe Angerton; 1261 1278 Ass. Angerton; 1216-1307

Testa Ang'ton; 1312 Ipm. Angirton, Angerton; 1314 Ipm. Angerton; 1346 F.A. Angerton. For the history of this name v. Essays and Studies, It is very doubtful if it can be considered n.s., p. 58. an example of Scandinavian influence.

of the

Saga-Book

184

r

]

iking Society.

FISELBY (Hartington). 1319 Pat. Fiselby ; 1378 Ipm. Fisildene ; ; 1390 Ipm. 1396 Ipm. Fesilby ; Fisilby Fisilby. 1418 Ipm. This is a place which has, unfortunately, disappeared It seems to be a entirely from the modern map. clear example of the well-known Scandinavian suffix -by, but if so it is unique in Northumberland, and it is impossible to explain the first element from anv known Scandinavian name.

HAWICK

1284 Ipm. Haivik; 1216-1307 (Kirkharle). Testa Hawic ; 1346 F.A. Hauivyk. The M.E. forms of Hawick are identical with the a-forms of Howick (v. supra). The second element here is probably M.E. wick, O.K. ivic, a dwelling-place, though it may possibly be the O.N. vik, which, according to Rygh (Indl., p. 55) is sometimes applied to a bend of a river, and was perhaps used generally in the sense of "curve,"

"angle"

CROOKDEAN (Kirkwhelpington). 1331 Ipm. Crokden. " Probably the valley

Krokr," though crook, or twist cf.

Wyld, pp.

it

"

(cf.

of

be

Lindkv., p. 145).

(cf.

1324 Ipm. Crokeden; a

Norseman

named

"

the valley with or by a Crookham, supra). For the former

may

104-5 (Crookells, Croston

Bjorkman, N.P., p. 89, and Z.A.N., ton (Norf.), Croxby (Lines.), Croxton

and Croxteth),

p. 58.

Cf. Crox-

(Lines.),

Croxton

(Leic.).

Basin of the Blyth and

its

tributaries

:

BRENKLEY

Brinchelaiva, 1177 Pipe (Ponteland). Brinkelaiva; 1271 Ch. Brinkelawe ; 1216-1307 Testa

Brinkelawe ; 1248 B.B.H. 115 Brinkdagh; F.A. Brenklaive ; 1354 P ef c. Brenkelawe ;

1346 1479

B.B.H. Brenklaive.

The element Brenk-

or Brink- is of doubtful Scandinavian origin, v. Essays and Studies, u.s., p. 62.

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Barnes,

185

COWPEN (Horton). 1153-95 Brkb. Cupum a. 1197 Newm. Cupum; 1250 Newm. Copoun; 1271 Ch. Copun; 1292 Q.W. Copun; 1295 Ty. xci. Cupun; 1216-1307 Testa Cupum; 1315 Ch. Coupon; 1346 ;

F.A.

Copon; 1380 Ipm. Coivpon; 1428 F.A. Coupoivne. For the Scandinavian origin of this name i). Essays and Studies,

u.s., p. 63.

OUSTON (Stamfordham). leston; 1346

1255 Ass. Hulkeston,

Ulkil-

F.A. Ulkeston.

O.N. Ulfkell < Ulfketill (cf. Bjorkman, N.P., p. 168, and Rygh, G.P., p. 269). Cf. Ouston (co. Durham) infra.

The

tun of Ulkill,

The Tyne Valley

i.e.,

:

BYKER.

1249-50 Pipe Byker; 1259 Ipm. Bicre 1255 Bykere ; 1298 Ch. Biker; 1216-1307 Testa Byker, Biker; 1313 Ch. Byker; 1322 Inq. aqd. Biker; 1428 F.A. Byker. v. Essays and Studies, u.s., p. 59. ;

Ass.

WALKER.

Walkyr; 1216-1307 Testa Walker; 1346 F.A. Walker, Walcar; 1428 F.A. Walker. The low-lying marshy place by the wall." O.N. " kjarr, copse wood, brushwood, especially on swampy ground." Walker is on the low-lying ground which Wautr-e';

1267 Ipm. 1316 Ipm.

'

slopes

down

Roman

to the Tyne just south of the line of the wall, a little west of its terminus at Wallsend.

WHORLTON.

1

1323 Pat. Wherleton; 1324 Cl. Wherlton,

Wherwelton. For the history of ment is O.N. hvirfill,

name, in which the first eleEssays and Studies, ti.s., p. 70.

this v.

1 Falkmann (Ortnamnen i Shane) pp. 65 and 95, derives the place-name Vallkdrra from O.N. vollr (plain) and kiarr. This may possibly be the source of Walker.

1

86

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

NAFFERTON (Ovingham). 1182 Pipe Nafferton ; 1212 R.C. Naffertone ; 1221 Pat. Nafretun; 1225 Pat. Naffreton; 1253 Ch. Naffrcton; 1261 Ipm. Nafferton; 1263 Ipm. Natferton; 1289 Ipm. Natferton; 1216-1307 Testa Natferton; 1280 Ipm. Nafferton. The explanation of this place-name, together with that of Nafferton (Yo.) is given by Lindkvist (pp. 187-8) and accepted by Bjorkman (Z.A.N., p. 63), that the first element is the O.W. Scand. name

viz.,

Ndttfari, night-traveller, found in the place-name Natt -faravik (Lind., s.v.), and also in the place-name Naffentorp in Skane, of which the earlier form is Natfarce-

The D.B.

thorp.

Nadfartone except

that

is t

spelling of Nafferton in Yorkshire nearest to the original form Ndttfaratun,

has become

d,

accordance with a

in

One objection fairly common practice of A.N. scribes. to this etymology however must be raised. There is a Worcestershire, of which the D.B. Nadford, and whose second element must be -ford. Nafferton might well be for Nafford-ton, in the same way that Brafferton (Durh.) goes back to Bradfordtuna ( = tun by the broad ford), Bretforton (Duignan, Worcestershire Place-names, s.n.) to D.B. Bratfortune, Swinnerton (Duignan, Staffordshire Place-names, s.n.) place Nafford in

form

is

to Sivinforton

(= the

tun'

by the

swine-ford), Herving-

(Duignan, Worcestershire Place-names, s.n.) to Herforton (= the tun by the army-ford). Nadford is difficult of explanation. It may be from O.K. Natan-

ton

ford, the ford of a

man named Ndta

Natangrafas and Wyld,

(cf.

B.C.S.

.165,

p. 193, for length of vowel), in first element of compound

with shortening of vowel of t to d as above.

and voicing

North Tyne and its tributaries HAINING (Redesdale). 1304 Pat. Haynyng; 1358 Ipm. :

Haynyng. This place-name In

M.E. hain

is

is probably of Scandinavian origin. used in the sense of an enclosure or

Scandinavian Influence

in

Place-Names.

187

and Bjorkman, Scand. Loan-words (p. 242) conwith O.W.Sc. hegna, to hedge or fence, O.Sw. hceghn, Swed. hagn, enclosure, fence or protection, Dan. hcgn, though he points out that as the word-stem from which it is formed was current in O.K. the word may possibly be of native formation. In the modern dialect of Northumberland and Durham the word hain" the preserving of ing (v. E.D.D.) is used to denote grass for cattle, protected grass, any fenced field or enclosure, a separate place for cattle," and the first part of the word is undoubtedly the same as the M.E. hain. The suffix -ing may be the M.E. ing, meadow, grassland, a word which is itself of Scandinavian origin, or the word meaning it may be the verbal suffix -ing, of in the action or enclosing, and hedging originally park, nects

it

then being used of the enclosure

itself,

cf.

the develop-

ment of Riding, originally "a ridding or clearing," and then used of the actual space cleared. The word haining is found more than once in the place-names of both Northumberland and Durham. 1

TOFT HOUSE (Rochester). 1397 P at Toft. One of the three examples of toft found -

in

North-

umberland place-names, and the only one for which a M.E. form has been found. It is from O.W. Scand. "

a piece of ground, messuage, homestead, " a place marked out for a house or building (cf. Bjorktoft,

topt,

man, Scand. Loan-words,

p. 113).

1180 Pipe Bingefeld ; 1290 Abbr. Bingefeud; 1295 S.R. Bingefeld; 1298 B.B.H. 69 Byngefeld; 1479 B.B.H. Byngfeld. For the history of this name, in which the first ele-

BINGFIELD.

ment

is

pretty certainly Scandinavian, v. Essays

and

Studies, u.s., p. 60. i

Steenstrup, Indledende Studier over de trldstt Danske Stednavnes Bygning, mentions place-names of the forms Hegtieden, Hegningtn, Heined,

p. 276,

Heiningen and connects them with the O.Dan, word Hagnath used " land as opposed to "common" frequently in the laws of "enclosed land.

i88

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

GUNNERTON.

1169-70 Pipe Gunivarton ; 1255. Ass. Cune-warton; 1269 Ipm. Goneiverton; 1270 Ipm. Gonewarton; 1216-1307 Testa Gunivarton; 1318 Ipm. Gunwertoun; 1346 F.A. Gunwarton; 1479 B.B.H. Gunwardton, Gonivarton.

The element Gunner- in English place-names may go back to any one of the following Norse personal names (i) Gunnarr (m.), (2) Gunnvarfir (m.), or (3) Gunnvor (f.) The last two names appear in D.B. in the forms Gunivardus and Gunneuuare respectively (Bjorkman, N.P., pp. 54-9). The old forms of Gunnerton suggest derivation from either of these last two names if any stress may be laid on the isolated spelling, Gunivardton, the first of these two is the more likely, but it should be noted that the Norse name Gunnvarftr is very rare (Lind. s.v.) and Bjorkman (N.P., p. 59) suggests that possibly the English Gunwardus is a hybrid formation, with the common English surfix -weard. The name Gunnvqr is found in Norse :

place-names (Rygh, G.P., pp. 106-7). Valley of the South

Tyne

:

STONECROFT HOUSE (Newbrough). 1175-6 Pipe Stancroft; 1 2th cent. B.B.H. 85 Stancroft; 1262 Ch. Staincroft; 1298 B.B.H. 109 Stayncroft; 1325 Ipm. Stayncroft; Stanncroft.

"The

Ipm.

1326

Staincroft;

1327

Orig.

by some well-known stone," or "the (p. 90) notes two forms only and 1298 and suggests that the first ele-

croft

stony croft." those of 1262

Lindkvist "

a stone or rock." The forms given above would tend to show that the name was originally genuinely O.E., with stan as the first element, which should have given Northern English

ment

is

O.N.

Stancroft.

steinn,

During the M.E. period

substitution of the

form Stain or Stayn, derived from the O.N., took place, under the influence of the numerous place-names with

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

189

forms like Stainton. In modern English the Northern form Stan- has been replaced by standard English Stone-.

HENSHAW

i2th

(Haltwhistle).

cent.

B.B.H.

85

Hedeneshalch ; 1262 Ch. Hethingisalt ; 1279 Iter. Heinzhalu; 1299 Cal. Sc. Hethenhalc ; 1298 B.B.H. 113 Hetheneshalgh; 1316 Ipm. Hethyneshalch; 1326 Ipm. Henneshalgh ; 1328 Ipm. Hethynsalgh; 1479 B.B.H. Hennishalgh.

The

history of this

name

is

the

same as that of the The second ele-

Yorkshire Hensall (Moorman, p. 96).

ment

is

element

the is

O.E.

healh, a corner of land.

The

first

Moorman

as O.E. hceSenes, " as the heathen's corner," that is

explained by

and the whole name some settlement made by a Dane singled out by

his

neighbours because of his heathen faith. Bjorkman (Z.A.N., p. 45) suggests, with more probability, that the first element is the common Old Norse name Heftinn (cf. Bjorkman, N.P., p. 66). This is very frequently found in Old Norse place-names (Rygh, G.P., pp. 120-1) with the same contracted form Christian

as in the English name.

1258 H. 2, 3, 59 n. i. Vlueston; (Whitfield). 1279 Iter. Ulvestona. The tun of a man named Ulf < O.N. Ulfr (= O.E. Wulf). Oulston (Yo.) has the same origin. Ouston in Leicestershire is from earlier Osulveston, i.e., the

OUSTON

tun of Oswulf, a genuine English name. FEATHERSTONE. c. 1215 B.B.H. 89 Fetherstanhalcht ; 1222 Cal. Sc. Ferstonehalc ; 1255 Ass. Fetherstonelaive; 1278 Ass. Fcrstanhallu ; 1346 F. A. Fether-

stanehalgh;

1428

F.A.

Fetherstanehaugh ;

1479

B.B.H. F ether stanhalgh.

The place-name Featherstone is found in Staffordshire and also in Yorkshire. The forms of the Staffs, place name are 994 Featherstan, D.B. Ferdestan, 1271 Fethereston, and Duignan (p. 60) suggests that the

of the

Saga-Book

igo

Viking Society.

first element is the personal name Feader, the name of a huscarl of Harthacnut, slain at Worcester in 1014. If so, the name is probably of Scandinavian origin,

corresponding to O.Sw. Fadhir, O.Dan. Fathir.

name p.

38). It occurs

Danish

in

The

(Bjo., N.P.,

D.B. as

O.N. Fader, and

e.g.,

Fatherstorp,

Faderstrup

Fafiir is of fictitious origin in

place-names,

is

found

in

Moorman p. 24). this for the Yorkshire explanation (p. 71) accepts place(Nielsen,

Olddanske Person-navne,

name, whose early forms are D.B. Fredestan, Ferestane, 1

122 Fedrestana, 1166 Fetherstan, and Wyld (pp. 124-5) same solution for the first element in

inclines to the

Featherstall (Lanes.).

KELLAH (Featherstone). 1279 Iter. Kellaiv ; 1479 B.B.H. Kellaw, Kellone. The first element is possibly a shortened form of the Old Norse name Ketill. This form is found in Kelsdaile (Lines.) (Lindkv., p. 33), in

Chelebi),

Kelsey (Lines.,

Kelby

Lines.

(Lines., D.B.,

Survey,

Chelesei),

Kelsale (Suff., F.A., Keleshale), possibly in Kelling alternative D.B., (Norf., Kellinga). possible is that Moorman explanation given by (p. in) in that the first element is O.N. Kelbrook, viz., explaining kelda, a spring or well, which survives in modern northern dialects as keld or hell. Rygh (G.P., p. 158) notes the same possible alternatives in the explanation

A

1

some Norwegian place-names. KNARESDALE. 1236-45 Swinb. Cnaresdale ; 1255 Ass.

of

Gnaresdale

;

1266

Pipe

Cnaresdale;

Knar es dale ; 1306 R.P.D. Knar es dale ;

1291

Tax.

1325 Ipm.

Knaresdale. "

has Hodgson (II., 3, 78) says that the place the name from the Knar, a rough mountain torrent, .

which

intersects the western

portion of

it

.

.

from west

torrent, however, is not the Knar but 1 Since writing the above I find that Kelloe (co. Durham), whose early forms are for the most part identical with those of Kellah has a i2th cent, form Celflawe = calf-hill. Possibly that is the origin of Kellah also. to east."

The

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Barnes.

191

Knar Burn, and that would seem to take its name from Knar farm on its banks. The name is probably Knardal and Knarredalen of Scandinavian origin the

being of frequent occurrence in Norway (Rygh., G.P., pp. 162-3, but Rygh is unable to explain their origin. It is difficult to explain the first element as a personal name, as that would not explain the neighbouring Knar, and it is clearly not the same as in Knaresborough (Moorman, p. 118), for there is no form in d such as Cnardesburc which would allow of its connexion with O.K. Cenward. Rygh (X.G. I., 199) in commenting on the Norwegian place-names Knarberg, Knarlag, Knarvik, etc., suggests that the first element may be O.N. fengrr, a large kind of ship, also used apparently of a piece of land or hill of that shape.

WHITWHAM

(Knaresdale).

1344 Cl.

Wytquam; Ipm. Wytwam. 11

White

valley."

1316 Ipm. Le Whitivhom: 1364 Ipm. Whitwham ; 1392

O.N. hvammr, used according

to

Rygh (Indl., p. 57) of a short valley or depression, surrounded by high ground, but in such a way that there

is

an opening on one of the sides.

Derwent Valley ESPER SHIELDS. 1268. :

The

first

Ipm. Esperscheles.

element in this name

may

be the same as

Norwegian Espervik, which Rygh old genitive of O.N. qsp, an " If means shiels of (or by) the it the so, aspen-tree. It might also be O.N. aspir, pi. of <$sp, aspen-tree." with late substitution of the ordinary Northumbrian esp (< O.K. cespe) for Scandinavian asp. In that case " the shiels by the aspen-trees." There is a it means place in co. Durham called Esperley, of which an early that found in the

explains as being an

form (1230) is Esperdcslegh. The first element here is apparently a personal name Esperd, otherwise unknown, probably standing for earlier *Aesp~heard (cf.

of the

Saga-Book

192

may be

Esperscheles

Aesc-heard).

Viking Society. for earlier Esperdesand of d from

scheles, with loss of unstressed syllable

the consonant group dsch. Scandinavian influence.

If so,

it

is

not an example

of

WASKERLEY

Q.W.

1262

(Shotley).

Waskerleye; 1312

See Essays and Studies,

Hexhamshire

DOTLAND.

Ipm.

Q.W.

Waskerley; Waskreley.

1292

u.s., p. 69.

:

1154-67,

Richard of Hexham, Dotoland;

1226 B.B.H. 93 Doteland; 1287 B.B.H. 104 Dottcland; 1355 B.B.H. 140 Dodland; 1479 B.B.H. Dot(e)land.

The first element may be the Scandinavian woman's name Dotta, which is found independently (Lind., s.v.) and also in several place-names (c/. Rygh, G.P., 58-9). The usual spelling with single t may, however, point rather to the name Dot or Dotus, found in D.B., which Bjorkman (Z.A.N.,

p.

29)

attempts to explain.

He

compares the O.Sw. place-name Dotabotha, possibly going back to a name *Dote. There is also an Old Swedish and Old Danish woman's name Dota. Bjorkman suggests, as an alternative explanation, that it be originally a nickname, perhaps given with the meaning of the Norwegian dialectal dote, viz., a dull-

may

witted person.

ESHELLS.

c.

1160 Gray 275 n,Eskeinggeseles ; c. 1225 Eskilescales, Eskingseles ; 1226 B.B.H.

B.B.H. 90

94 Eskinschell.

The second element Northumbrian

in

this

" shiels,

The form

shelters,

name

is

sheds for

the

common

summer

pas-

shows the influence of the corresponding Scandinavian word scales (O.N. skdli, a hut). The correct form of the first element it is difficult to determine. The only theory which could possibly explain all the forms alike would be that which said that turage."

-scales

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names. the

first

This

is

Eskill.

193

element is the O.X. personal name Asketill. found in English in the form Askill, Askell or Side by side with this there

is

a well-established

form, Asketinus, in M.E. documents (v. Bjorkman, N.P., p. 17). This may. well have been shortened to Askin or Eskin. The name would then have been the " " " " or scales shiels belonging to Asketill or Asketin. Esking- might then be a mistake for Eskin-. the unfamiliar suffix -in being replaced by the patronymic -ing. Another possibility is to take Esking- as a " compound of O.X. eski, ash-tree, and eng, an ing," " grass-land grassland. Esking- would then mean the with ash-trees on it." Esking would in M.E. placenames often be written Eskin. The form Eskil- must then be explained as due to the common mistake of 1

anticipating the

/

which

is

to

come

later in the

word.

In various parts of the country.

NEWBIGGIN BY THE SEA.

1268 Ipm. Neubigging.

XEWBIGGIN BY BLANCHLAND.

1262 Ipm. Neubiggyng. XEWBIGGIN BY NORHAM. i4th cent. B.B. Neivbiginga B. Newburga, C. Newbinga). XEWBIGGIN IN HEXHAMSHIRE. 1344 Pat.Neubyggyng. XEWBIGGIN HALL (Kenton). 1216-1307 Testa. Neubiging.

The " new building." O.xY.Sc. bygging, a buildM.E. bigginge, and X.E. dialectal English ing, biggin(g] (Bjorkman, Scand. Loan-Words, pp. 32-3). Considering the comparative rarity of place-names in Xorthumberland which are of Scandinavian origin, it is remarkable to find so many examples of the name

Xewbiggin, which in

names 1

of

is

counties with a

somwhat infrequent occurrence

much

larger proportion of Scandinavian origin.

The O.Dan, name

be that same name.

of place-

Eskin, (Nielsen, Olddamhe Personnavne)

,

p. 22

may

1

of the

Saga-Book

94

Viking Society.

In summarising the evidence for Scandinavian settlements in Northumberland to be drawn from the placenames found in M.E. documents we may note the

following points (i)

:

That there are very

of those

place-name

few; examples in this county suffixes most commonly associated

with Scandinavian settlements.

There is no -thivaite, -holm or -'with, -beck, -garth, only one -toft, from the and a single example of i4th century, dating not to be found on the -by, present-day map. There -lund,

however, a considerable number of place-names in and the name Neivbiggin is of remarkably frequent occurrence. Indeed, there are more Newbiggins in Northumberland than in any other English county. The absence of place-names in -garth, -thivaite, -toft, -by would seem to indicate that there can never at any time have been any regular settlement of the whole district, any division of the whole territory among an

are,

-ker,

organised band of

settlers.

The prevalence

of -bigging

might at first sight seem to contradict this idea, but the word biggin is in common dialectal use in Northumberland for a building, and it is perhaps significant " new." The majority that all the biggins 'are labelled of the place-names of Scandinavian origin either contain some personal name of Norse origin or they contain some Norse element commonly found in the local dialect. This latter statement is true of those containing held, crook, carr, flat, bing, haining, biggin. Indeed, one noticeable feature of the Northumbrian dialect is that it contains a far larger proportion of Scandinavian words than the evidence of either history or archaeology would lead us to expect, and it is to be suspected that a good many of them are of comparatively recent importation into that district, districts to the west and south where

influence

stronger.

That the settlements are rather markedly confined the river-valleys and to the immediate neighbourhood

(2)

to

is

coming from Scandinavian

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

195

of the coast, a distribution very different from that in the Danelagh generally, and pointing again to isolated

settlements rather than to any regular partition of the

whole area.

The modern map yields some few additional points Along the coast we have a series of skerrs or rocky islets which must owe their name to O.N. skicer, "an isolated rock"; near to Long Houghton there is a stretch of rock bearing the curious name Bondi Carr. The second element is Celtic, but the first

of interest.

" a might possibly be the familiar bondi, peasant or farmer." Down by the coast at Wark worth there is a level stretch known as the Skaith (O.X. skei<5, with various meanings, cf. Wickham Skaith, Suff.), and near to Monkseaton there is a small island, now called St. Mary's Island, or Bait Island, of which the earlier name (i6th cent.) was St. Helen's Baits. This must certainly be connected with O.N. belt if it looks as

if

it

:

" " fish-bait the plural is sense of " pasturage," strange, if, on the other hand, it means the name can only have been given in irony, for St. Mary's Island is nothing but a stretch of barren rocks. These names do not point so much to settlements as to is

used

in

the

the influence of Scandinavian seafarers, and it is worth noting in this connexion that there is a tradition of a

considerable Scandinavian settlement at Tynemouth, a tradition which is to some extent borne out by the evidence of personal names occurring in mediaeval

documents relating Inland

we

to that

find a few

town.

more Xeivbiggins, and one or

two Holmes, but it should be pointed out that it is not always certain that holm may not be a dialectal form of hollin or holly. The element Kip, found more than once in such names as Kip hill, Kiplaiv, would seem tobe the dialectal kip, "a large overgrown calf," which must itself be connected with O.Dan, kip (Kalkar, s.v.) and Sw. kibb (Rietz., s.v.}, used with the same meaning.

Silliwray, near Langley, probably contains

O.N.

Saga-Book

196

of the

Viking Society.

"a corner," and means "the corner where the willows grow." Carlcroft in Ahvinton is noteworthy because there are no Carltons in the county (cf. Charlton in Tynedale and Charlton near Hamburgh) while Gair Shiel in Hexhamshire contains the common dialectal word gair, meaning a triangular piece of land, from O.N. geir. In the high lands to the west and

vrd,

south of the county fell, grain and sike are in regular use, and except for the absence of becks, place-nomenclature

is

much

slopes. In turning

the

to

same on

either side of the

Durham

county

before, to deal first with those

documents.

The names

it

will

names found

Pennine

be well, as in medieval

are arranged in alphabetical

order.

AISLABY-ON-TEES.

1225-9

Att.

Test.

Askelby ; 1311

R.P.D. Aselackeby ; 1313 R.P.D. Aslakeby ; 1314 Reg. Bp. K. Aslagby ; 1344 R.P.D. Aslagby, Aslakby.

The

common Scandinavian

terminanot a metathetical spelling due to the scribe, the original name was the by of Askell or Asketill (cf. Rygh, G.P., p. 17, Bjorkman, N.P., pp. 16-20). The second form points to the name Aslakr (cf. O.K. Oslac] as the, first element, with a tion.

suffix -by is the

If

the

first

form

is

tendency to voice the k before following b (cf. Rygh, G.P., p. 17, Bjorkman, N.P., p. 20), cf. Aslacton, Norf. (D.B. Aslaketuna), Aslackby, Lines. (D.B. Aslachebi).

AMERSTON HALL

(nr.

Embleton).

1320 Cl.

Aymunde-

ston.

The tun or farmstead of a man bearing the Norse name Eymundr, later Emundr (Rygh, G.P., p. 65), cf. Amotherby (Yo.), of which an earlier form is Aymunderby. The rs in the modern form may be due to a confusion of the genuine Norse gen. Eymundar found in Amotherby with the anglicised gen. Aymundes.

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

197

BLAKESTON HILL (Norton). 1099-1128 D.S.T. xxx. Bleikestuna; 1100-35 F.P.D. n. Bleichestona; 1203 R.C. Blake stone ; 1300 Ch. Blaicheston; 1335 Ch. Blakeston; 1345 R.P.D. Blaykeston. The above spellings leave no doubt that the first element is the O.N. bleikr, pale. This is not recorded as an independent name, but

is

common

as a nickname,

and has maintained itself in the English personal name Blake. The name means the farmstead of a man named or nicknamed Bleikr. Lindkvist (p. 25) notes the name of a person called Alanus Bleik in the Coucher Book of Selby Abbey (i3th cent.?). BRANCEPETH. 1085 D.S.T. xx. Brentespethe; 1131 F.P.D. n. Brauncepath; 1155 F.P.D. n. Brandespethe; 1254 D.S.T. Ixxxiii. Branspath; 1311 R.P.D. Braundespath ; 1316 R.P.D. Brauncepath.

The " peth " or path of a man named Brand. The name is probably of Scandinavian origin, for beyond one occurrence in a Saxon genealogy the name is not found in Old English documents before the nth century, whereas the name Brandr was very common in Iceland and other Scandinavian lands. The distribution

of

English place-names containing this element

Branceholm origin. (Yo.), Branston (Lines.), Brandiston and Brauncewell (Lines). See also

also favours their Scandinavian

and Brauncedale

Bransby Bjorkman, Z.A.N.,

(Norf.),

p. 27.

BRUNTOFT (nr. Wynyard). 1304 Cl. Bruntoft. The second element is the common Scandinavian the first is probably the suffix meaning a clearing word burn, a stream. This often undergoes metathesis in compounds, cf. Brunton (in Embleton) and :

(nr. Newcastle) in Northumberland, of which Lindkvist (p. 214) earlier form is Burneton.

Brunton the

favours the derivation from O.W.Scand. brunnr, a spring or fountain, but the example of Brunton makes this unnecessary.

Saga-Book

198

of the

Viking Society.

CARLBURY (Coniscliffe) 1271 Ch. Carlesburi; 1313 R.P.D. Carlebury ; 1340 R.P.D. Carlbury. The form is from the dative of O.K. Ceorles burh or Ceorla burh, the burh of the ceorl or ceorls, with subScandinavian Carl (O.N. karlr, a man) for

stitution of

English

ceorl.

CARLTON.

Charlbury (Oxf.). 1025 H.S.C. Carltun; cf.

c.

1307

R.P.D.

Carleton.

The tun of

the

of the

Scandinavian carls

the equivalent The Charlton. English English and forms are both widely distributed in

native

Scandinavian

:

England. The Scandinavian forms are specially frequent in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. F.P.D. CLAXTON GRANGE (nr. Greatham). 1091 Ivxxxii. Clackestona; 1312 Reg. iun of a man named Klakkr.

The

Bp. K. Claxton.

The name

is

of

common

occurrence in place-names in the Danelagh. Claxton cf. (Norf., D.B., Clakestona), Long Clawson (Leic., D.B., Clachestane).

CONISCLIFFE.

c.

Cunesclivc*

;

1035 H.S.C. Cingceslife ; 1263 R.C. 1271 Ch. Cunesclive ; 1306 Cl. Cones-

dive; 1313 Reg. Bp. K. Conysclive 1336 Ipm. Consclyf ; 1345 R.P.D. Conesclyf ; 1507 D.S.T. ccccv. Cunyngsclyf. " King's cliff." This name would seem to have been originally purely English, to judge from the form found in the History of St. Cuthbert O.E. c(yn)inges clif, but the later spellings point to the influence of O.N.

konungr ;

cf.

the history of

Conisborough (Moorman,

Coniston (ib. pp. 49 and 50), Conishead and Coniston (Wyld, pp. 98-9), Conisholme (Lines., D.B., Coningesholm). p. 49),

COPELAND HOUSE (West Auckland). 1104-8 S.D. Copland; 1313 R.P.D. Coupland; 1340 R.P.D. Coupeland.

For the history of supra.

this

name

v.

Coupland (Nthb.)

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

COWPEN BEWLEY. 1203 R.C. Cupum ; Cupum 1446 D.S.T. ccxcvi. Coupon. v. Cowpen (Xthb.) supra.

199

1335

Ch.

;

CRAWCROOK.

i4th cent.

B.B. Craucrok; 1311

Bp. K. Cran-wecrok (sic). " Crow's crook." O.K. crawa, a crow,

-f

Reg.

O.N.

krokr , a crook or winding. The place may have been so named because haunted by crows, or from a man " whose name or

nickname was

Crow."

(or

woman)

cf.

Crawe, a woman's name (Searle) and the modern

surname Crow.

CROOK. 1312

1267

F.P.D.

n.

R.P.D. Crok;

Cruketona; 1304 Cl. Crok; iqth cent. B.B. Cruktona,

Croketon.

O.N. krokr, a crook, a winding, a nook. In Boldon Book the place is known as " the town by the crook," " later it is called simply the crook." The town may be so called because it is on one of the bends or nooks in the winding course of the Beechburn.

CROXDALE (Spennymoor).

1214 D.S.T. 36 Croxtayl;

1335 Ch. Crokestail. The first element is the

O.N. personal name Krokr Wyld, p. 105, Croxteth). The second element, as shown by the spelling in M.E.,is not the ordinary English dale but the O.W.Scand. deill, "a share, allotment or portion of land." The existence of this word in English field-names has been clearly proved by Lindkvist (pp. 30-55), where an exhaustive and interesting account of its history is given, and numerous examples of its use are quoted from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. None of the examples given have survived on the modern map, and Lindkvist has no mention of (cf.

Croxdale.

DURHAM. 1227

Ch.

1191,

Feet of

Ch. Dunholm;

Durham, Dunolm.

Fines,

Durem,

Dunolm, Donelme;

Ch. Durham;

1231

Duresme;

1343-6

1313-8

Ch.

2oo

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

name of Durham was Dun-holmr, a comO.E. dun, a hill (of Celtic origin), and pound O.N. holmr, an island, hence " the hill island," a name aptly descriptive of the site of ancient Durham, on high ground within a loop of the River Wear, whose two ends very nearly meet. The modern form is probably due to Anglo-Norman influence.

The

old of

DYANCE

1207 F.P.D. n. Diendes. Killerby). difficult name the first element may possibly be

A

(nr.

;

O.N.

dy,

"a

FELLING.

bog,"

1325

cf.

Rygh,

F.P.D.

n.

Indl., p. 30.

Felling;

1434

F.P.D.

Fellyng.

"The meadow

O.N. The word ing Mod. English dialect. The name

or grassland below the fell,"

mountain, and eng, grassland.

fjall,

common

use in the position of Felling, which stands described aptly on the ground sloping down from Gateshead Fell to the Tyne Valley. is in

FOLLINGSBY.

Type

1153-95 F.P.D.

I.

1133-40 F.P.D. n.

n. Foleteby,

Foletesbi; 1203 Cart.

Folesceby Johan. Regis. Foletteby ; 1217-26 F.P.D. n. Folasceby ; 1352 Ch. Folethebi. Type II. 1416 F.P.D. n. Folaunceby ; 1430 F.P.D. Folanceby ; 1446 D.S.T. ccxci. Folaunceby. The explanation of Type I. would seem to go with that of Fulletby (Lines.) of which the D.B. forms are Folesbi, Fullobi, while those in the Lincolnshire Survey (c. iioo), which usually gives Scandinavian names more correctly, are Fuletebi, Fuledebi. Here the first element would seem to be a personal name of the same type as O.N. HafliSi, Sumarlifti, Vetrlifti. The second of these names is common as the name of Scandinavian settlers in England, in the form Sumerled, and forms the first element in Somersby, and in three Somerbys in

;

Lincolnshire, and in Somerleyton in Suffolk. Fullifti is recorded in Old Norse, but there

name

No is

an

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

201

"

well provided with meaning troops," "fully able" (v. Vigfusson and Fritzner, s.v.), and this name, used first as a nickname, may

adjective

full-li&a,

rise to a personal name Fullifti (cf. Selaby infra.). The forms Foletes- and Folesce- are due to Anglicising of the name and its being given a

well have given

gen. sg. in -5. Type II. is difficult of explanation, but as it belongs to the i5th century it stands quite apart from any question of further Scandinavian influence.

FULTHORPE (Wynyard). 1311 Cart. Bp. K. Fulthorp ; 1313 Reg. Bp. K. Foulthorp. "

Foul

or

dirty

village."

For the use of thorp

v. infra.

HAINING

(Houghton-le-Spring).

D.S.T.

1401

cxc.

Haynyng. See Haining (Nthb.) supra.

HOLME HILL

(Muggleswick).

1446 D.S.T. ccciv.

le

Holme.

The common M.E. holme (O.N.

holmr), an island

or peninsula.

HUTTON HENRY,

c. 1025 H.S.C. Hotun; 1307 R.P.D. Hoton; 1 4th cent. B.B. Hotona, Hotton; 1430 F.P.D. Huton; 1446 D.S.T. ccxcv. Hoton. The first element in this name may be O.W.Scand.

hor, a phonetic variant of hdr,

meaning

"

high," which

discussed by Lindkvist (p. 224). This element is to be found in Huby (Lines.) possibly also in Hoby (Lines.), and in Huttoft (Lines.), (v. Lindkvist loc. cit. and p. 218). Lindkvist's warning that places with is

Hotun in M.E. may go back to O.E. ho(h), heel, projecting ridge of land, is probably not necessary in this case. There is no trace of a medial h in the M.E. spellings such as we regularly find in Houghton-leSpring in the same county, which undoubtedly goes

back

to

O.E. Hoh-tun.

2O2

of the

Saga-Book

Viking Society.

1091 F.P.D. Ixxxii. Culuerdebi; 1197 Pipe Culuerdebi; 1207 F.P.D. Kilucrdebi; 1312 Reg. Bp. K. Kylleivardby ; i4th cent. B.B. Killirby, Kyliverby ; 1435 D.S.T. ccvli. Killerby. The explanation of this place-name must go with that of Kilverstone (Norf. D.B. Culvertestuna), Kihvardby (Lines. Surv. noo Cuherteb') and Killerby (Yo.) For the forms of the last v. Bjorkman, Z.A.N., p. 54. The first element is a personal name, probably of hybrid origin. The first element in the name is O.N. Ketill, which often gives an O.E. form Cytel, and the second

KILLERBY.

the

common English

full

O.N. form

suffix -iveard (cf.

Ketilvaftr

is

not found

Ed-ward). (v.

The

Bjorkman,

p. 81).

LUMLEY. c. 1025 H.S.C. Lummalea; 1196 Finch. Lumleia; 1304 Cl. Lomelay. For the history of this name v. Essays and Studies, u.s., p. 64.

OUSTERLEY FIELD.

The field

(Yo.),

O.N.

1382 Hatf. Oustre, Oustrefeld. name is similar to that of Auster-

history of this

which Moorman

austr, east,

OUSTON

+ "

(p.

14) explains as

from

field."

(nr. Birtley).

Surtees (Vol. 2, pp. 126 and 192) gives early forms, Ulkilstan and villa Ulkilli, showing that the history of this

name

ham

in

is the same as that of Ouston in StamfordNorthumberland (v. supra). RABY. c. 1025 H.C.S. Raby ; 1200 R.C. Rabye ; 1313 Reg. Bp. K. Raby.

The second element

Scandinavian is the common denoting a town, while the history of the first element is given by Lindkvist, pp. 188-9. He says that it is O.W.Scand. ni, a landmark. It is found in more than one Raby, and in Raydale and Raskelf in Yorkshire. As Lindkvist remarks, all of these names are capable of explanation from O.W.Scand. rd = a The old explanaroe, but that alternative is unlikely. suffix -by,

Scandinavian Influence

in

Place-Names

which connected these words

tion (v)rd,

nook, corner,

is

stated

\vith

.

203

O.W.Scand.

by Lindkvist to be no

longer tenable, as Scandinavian words commencing in vr show uniformly conservative tendencies in English, keeping the initial v long after it was dropped in

W. Scandinavian itself. RACEBV. 1344 (45th Report of

Deputy

Keeper

of

Public Records) Raceby. In the absence of any form earlier than 1344 it is difficult to say with certainty what may be the origin of this name. Raithby (Lines.) has early forms, Reythesby, Raitheby, which Lindkvist (p. 76) takes to contain an unrecorded O.W.Scand. Hreifti, a shortened

form of Hreiftulfr or Hreiftarr. with the gen. of the personal to

Raceby

RAINTON.

A

form Reythesby

name might

well develop

in later times.

1125 F.P.D. xli. Reinuntun, Reningtun, Reington; 1135-54 Cart. Hy. ii. Raintonam ; 1153c.

1185 F.P.D. n. Cart. Reinintun, Renintun; 1203 Joh. Reg. Reynton; 1228 Att. Test. Reiningtone; 1253 Ch.

95 Cart. Ep.

Hug. Reiningtone ;

Reignton.

The forms

for

this

place-name are practically the

same as those for Rainton (Yorks,) (v. Lindkvist, p. 73), and Rennington (Xthb.). For the former Lindkvist suggests a patronymic formed from O.N Hreinn, while in a note on Rainhill in Lanes, (p. 74, n. 2) he quotes forms for the Durham Rainton, and suggests that the first element in both these names may be O.W.Scand. rein, a strip of land which forms the boundary of a tilled field or an estate (v. Bjorkman, Scand. Loan" words, p. 63), used in Norwegian dialect of a long

bank

of earth or gravel."

It

seems, however, impos-

sible to separate the history of the shire Raintons, and their history

Durham and Yorkmay be either that

suggested by Lindkvist for the Yorkshire Rainton, or, more probably, that given above for the Northumberland Rennington.

Saga-Book

204

RUMBY

HILL.

1382 Hatf.

The M.E. form the

is

element

first

of the

Viking Society.

Ronundby.

probably a mistake for Romundby, being the common O.N. name

Hromundr. SADBERGE.

1154-89

Finch.

Satberga;

1189

D.S.T.

Coldingham, Sathbergia; 1176 Pipe Sethberga; 1234 Pat. Sedberg 1338 Cl. Sedberne; 1307 R.P.D. Sadberg; 1318 Ch. Seberge, Sedberga; 1435 Pat. Sadberg. There is a good deal of uncertainty about the vowel of the first element in this place-name. The same found in is the case of the SedYorkshire uncertainty but whereas the e-forms bergh, predominate there, in lix.

Sadberg;

1214, Geoffrey of

;

the

Durham Sadberge

thing,

the evidence inclines,

to a as the original vowel.

monly explained

as from

O.N.

Sedbergh "

set-berg,

a

if

is

hill

any-

comwhose

shape," and it is possible that this may be correct, though t is never found in any M.E. form. In Norwegian dialect the forms sete and sata are both alike used of a little flat place on a rock or hill-top, and this might account for the variation in vowel, the voicing of the t being due to the following voiced b. Another possible explanation is that the first " element is O.N. sd5, seed," used, according to Rygh top suggests a seat by

(N.G.

I.,

with th

346),

its

as a nickname.

The

early spellings

possibly point to this, though they are capable of another explanation, and the variant vowel might be due to the influence of the cognate O.K. seed > M.E. sed. In any case the name is probably of " " of SadNorse origin, as there was a wapentake of that term north the use berge, the only example of

may

of the Tees.

SATLEY.

1228 Att. Test.' Sateley ; 1304 Cl.

S alley ;

1311

R.P.D. Satteley; 1312 R.P.D. Satley. The first element in this word may be the O.N. saata, a haystack, which Rygh finds in more than one Norse place-name (c/. N.G., v. 276), the meaning being

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names. "

meadow by

the

also be the

the haystack."

Norw.

might on a rock, or the top

The

dial, seta, seta,

first

"a

of a hill," but this

205

element flat

place

seems

less

likely.

SCHOOL AYCLIFFE.

i4th cent. B.B. Sculacle; 1440 D.S.T. cccv. Sculacley. So-called in distinction from Aycliffe, and probably named after its Norse owner, Skull, cf. Scoulton (Norf D.B. Sculetuna), Sculthorpe (ib. D.B. Sculetorpd). This Skuli may be the very Scula mentioned above .

173)-

(P-

SELABY.

1197 Pipe Selebi; 1317 Cl. Seletby ; 1322 Pat. Seleteby ; 1335 Ipm. Seletby; 1336 Ipm. Seletby; 1460 Pat. Seleby.

man

bearing the O.N. name *Sce-li Qi name is not actually found, but sailor. This sea-goer, names \vith See- as the first element are common in

The -by

of a

!

O.N., and Sce-li
M.E. development of the name cf. Follingsby, supra. SKERNE, R. 1402 F.P.D. aqua de Skyryne ; 1430 ib. Skeryn. impossible to separate this name from Skerne which the D.B. form is Schirne, while other The closest parallel are Skiren, Skyryn. forms early It

is

(Yo.), of

to these is the

hjem), which

Xorse

Rygh

river

name Skirna

(near Trond-

(Xorske Elvenavne, p. 217) con-

nects with skirr, clear, bright, skirna, to clear up, and skirning (a clearing), and the farm name, Skjern, in

the

same

district,

which

Rygh

says

is

named

after a

stream close to the farm.

SKIRNINGHAM.

c.

1090 Hist, de Obs. Dunelm. Skirn-

1135-54 Cart. Hy II. Skerningeim Cart. Schirningaham ; 1203 Joh. Reg. Skirningeham.

ingeheim,

;

206

"

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

The homestead by

the Skerne meadows." The O.N. engr, " grass-land, meadow," and the early spellings in heim and eim point very clearly to O.N. heimr rather than O.E. ham as the earliest form of the final element. Place-names Skjern and

element -ing

is

Skjerninge are found in Denmark (Steenstrup, op. cit., pp. 334-5), and we probably have the same name in Seaming (Norf. D.B. Scerninga). Whether the suffix has the same origin in all cases it is impossible to say.

SLINGLEY HALL

(nr.

Dalton-le-Dale).

1155 F.P.D. n.

Slingelaive.

The first element in this word may be the proper name found also in the Yorkshire place-name Slingsby. The earlier form of that name is Slingesby, and Bjork-

man

(Z.A.N., p. 77) suggests that the first element is from a Norse nickname *S10ngr or *Slengi, comparing the modern Norw. dial, sleng, used of a growing youth and also of an idler. In Northern English dialect to " to go about idling, to sneak sling is used in the sense or slink about." Bjorkman suggests that this usage depends on Norse influence. The second element is very often corrupted in N.E.

O.E.

hlaiiv,

as

from O.E. leak.

if

STAINDROP.

Hy.

II.

a

hill,

1131

E.P.D.

Steindrope

;

to -ley,

n. Standrop ; 1135-54 Cart, 1203 Cart. Joh. Reg. Stein-

drope ; 1311 Reg. Bp. K. Stayndrop.

The first element is O.N. steinn, stone or rock, a common element in place-nomenclature. The spellings with stan show the substitution of the common O.E. form stan; cf. Stainton and Stanton. The second element, -drop, is found in other place-names in England as a variant form of \>orp, due to metathesis and stopping of the continuant J>, e.g., Burdrop (Oxf.) and Souldrop (Beds.), but the early and uniform appearance of the spelling drop would seem to forbid such an explanation in this case. Lindkvist (p. 84, n. 4) suggests that the second element is O.W.Scand. dropi, a

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

207

O.W.Scand. drop, Norw. dial, drop, a dropping, dripping Staindrop lies in a valley on a small stream called Langley Beck. drop, or

:

STAINTON, GREAT AND LITTLE. 1308 Ch. Staintuna.

1284 Finch. Staynton;

STAINTON-LE-STREET. Strata; 1479

1312 Reg. Bp. K. Staynton-inB.B.H. Staynton-in-Strata. 1387 D.S.T. clvii. Nunstaynton.

NUNSTAINTON. O.N. steinn-tun = stone-enclosure, the equivalent of English Stanton. For the question how far placenames of this type can be considered names of Scandinavian settlements v. Lindkvist, p. 83.

SWAINSTON

(nr. Sedgefield). 1351 B.M. Swayneston. Swein's tun." This personal name is very common in place-names (v. Lindkvist, pp. 91-3). It is also found as Sivin- in Swinford (Leic.), Swine- in Swineshurst (Lanes.), Sivan- in Swanland (Yo.). There is a Swainston (I. of W.) containing this name it is prob-

"

:

ably of comparatively late origin.

THORPE BY EASINGTON.

c.

1025 H.S.C. Thorep

;

1197

Pipe Torp.

THORPE BULMER.

THORPE THEWLES. For the use

R.P.D. Thorpebulmer. 1314 Reg. Bp. K. Thorptheules.

1312

of thorp v. infra.

THRISLINGTON HALL

1309 F.P.D. 66 n. (Ferryhill). Thurstaneston. The tun or farm of Thorsteinn, a very common Scandinavian name in England. It is found in Thurstaston (Cheshire), Thurston End (Suff. D.B. Thur-

Thruxton (Norf. D.B. Turstanestuna), Thrussington (Leic. D.B. Turstane stone}.

stanestuna),

THROSTON.

c. 1270 Thoreston. "Thorir's farm."

(List

cf.

of

knights

Rygh, G.P.,

p.

at

259.

Lewes)

2o8

Saga-Book

ULN'ABY

HALL (High

of the

Viking Society.

Coniscliffe).

Newm.

Uluenebi;

1314 Reg. Bp. K. Ulneby.

The -by

or settlement of Ulfheftinn. This is a comIcelandic name, and from its use there Lindkvist concludes that it was already in use in Norway during the Viking period, though no example of its use

mon

earlier

than 1300 has been preserved to us.

form,

Vlfuen,

found

is

in a

A

contracted

Norse document of 1411.

is probable that a similar contraction took place England, giving the form Vluenebi.

It

USHAW.

a. 1196.

Uuesshaive

;

Finch. Ulveskahe; 1312 1312 Pat. Uuesshawe.

in

Reg. Bp. K.

The

first element is probably the O.N. name Ulfr O.K. (= Wulf), and the second the O.K. sceaga, a

" wood of a man named Ulfr." The wood, hence the skahe be due to the influence of the corresmay spelling ponding Norse word skogr, a wood.

WHAM. 1315 R.P.D. Northquivam, Qivhom. v. Whitwham (Nthb.) supra. Taking a survey of the whole county, the number of names is of course absolutely smaller than in Northumberland, but

in

we must bear

mind

in

estimating the relative proportion (i) that a much smaller propor-

whole county is preserved mediaeval documents in Durham than in Northumberland (2) that the county has only one-half the area of co. Northumberland. Bearing these two points in mind, it is probable that there is relatively a much greater protion of the place-names of the in

;

portion of Scandinavian names in Durham. several clear examples of -by, some of -ing,

We

-toft,

have

and

-holm, several containing the element crook, and the names are scattered fairly well over the county. Still, they are not so numerous as to suggest any definite

There does not seem to be any special prevaScandinavian names even in those districts assigned by Raegeneald to his followers, Scula and partition. lence of

Scandinavian Influence in Place-Names.

209

Onlafbeald, viz., from Castle Eden south to Billingham-in-Teesdale, and from Castle Eden north and west to the Wear. In studying the modern map we find the continued use of Scar along the coast (e.g., Long Scar), and Loom, by Easington, may well be the same as the familiar Norse place-name Lorn, dat. pi. of L6, a word

somewhat uncertain meaning. Medieval documents show that Holmside and Butterby are no evidence for Scandinavian settlement. Holmside is from earlier Holinside (from M.E. holen, holly), and Butterby is

of

Beautrove or Beautrone (the latter a blunder of the " " the well situated transcriber), meaning apparently (beau trouve), a name which aptly describes the position of Butterby on the well-wooded winding banks of the

Wear

(cf.

Bear Park

in the

immediate neighbourhood

Beau Repair). Biggin and Newbiggin are common, garth is occasionally used, there are fairly a few tofts, -mire is fairly common, holms and many and so is -carr, -her. Waskerley in the N.W. probably has the same history as in Northumberland, and so has In the high ground at the head of WearNafferton. dale and Teesdale place-nomenclature is very largely Scandinavian there are fells, grains, sikes, becks and gills in abundance, and it is much to be regretted that from

earlier

:

a great scarcity of early forms for these districts. Again, as in Northumberland, the great increase in the extreme west would seem to point to settlements there

from

is

Cumberland,

Westmoreland

and

Lancashire,

rather than from the eastern side of the county, though it should be noted that fell is found as far east as Gates-

head Fell and

The

Low

tributaries of

Fell.

The

use of beck

Tyne and Wear are

is

all

significant. called burn,

except in the extreme west of the county, and here a name like Beechburn Beck shows that they are not all original. On the other hand the tributaries of the Tees are almost uniformly known as beck, even in the

easternmost parts of the county.

2io

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

Finally, a word must be said about two suffixes over which there has been a good deal of discussion in dealing with questions of Scandinavian influence, viz., With regard to dale, this is the -dale and -thorp. common word for a valley in Northumberland and

Durham we hear

alike.

From

the time of the earliest records

of Glendale, Coquetdale, Tynedale, Allendale,

Redesdale, Wear dale, Teesdale, and as there is so little Scandinavian nomenclature in Northumberland, and not much in Durham, it seems safe to conclude that this use of dale is Anglian rather than Scandinavian, though it may have been extended under the influence of

the

later

settlers.

One

piece

of

evidence in

this

connexion seems to have been overlooked. Dalton-leDale is called Daltun already in Bede's history, so that the use of the word in Anglian place-names is clearly established. The case of thorp is

more

There are thorps Oxon. and other Bucks., England counties outside the sphere of Danish or Norse influence, but they are scattered and comparatively few in number. Thorps are abundant in East Anglia and Northern Mercia and in Yorkshire, just where Scandiin

southern

difficult.

in

navian influence is admittedly strongest. In Northumberland, the only two thorps are both in places where there seems to have been a small collection of Scandinavian settlements, while in Durham there are three thorps, all in those lands of St. Cuthbert which we know to have been at one time in the hands of Viking settlers. While not denying that thorp may often be of native origin, it seems to be fairly clear from the evidence of Northumberland and Durham often a mark of Scandinavian settlement.

that

it

is

ORKNEY AND SHETLAND HISTORICAL NOTES. BY

A. VV.

JOHNSTON,

F.S.A.Scor., President.

has been shown by professor Alexander Bugge and

IT dr. Jakob Jakobsen that the Norse colonisation of the islands must have begun as early as, if not earlier than 700, to account for the primitive forms of Norse place-names and institutions which are to be found there and not in the later colonies in Iceland and elsewhere. The place-names of Orkney and Shetland seem to indicate that the colonists came from western 2 Norway. On the assumption that the 68al succession 1

of

Gulathing-Law however,

have,

Orkney was Harald

king

was

force

in

historical

at in

proof

that

the

time,

sagas

we that

When colonised, at the latest, circa 664. fined the of boendr Orkney, harfagri

shortly after 893 (say 895), they were unable to pay him, whereupon earl Einar paid the fine on condition that the boendr gave him their ofiul, until they were to redeem them. have here these facts

We

able

:

(i) Orkney was in the possession of 65almenn, and 6Sal law was in full force with its lausn, right of

redemption (2) it took five generations of continuous ownership of land to make it 6Sal consequently (3) the youngest 6Sal family must have dated from the year 730 (i.e., 895, less five generations of 33 years each). ;

;

It is

incredible that all these families

began possession generations before shall, therefore, be safe in allowing a 895. minimum addition of two generations, or sixty-six years, to allow for the colonisation of the islands, which in

the

same year and exactly

five

We

1

Vesterlandenes

Inflydelse

paa Nordboernes, A. Bugge.

Stednavne, J. Jakobsen. /,

pi. 68ul,

property held in allodial tenure.

Shetlandstfernes

212

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society. *

would thus have begun

at the latest circa 664. The later colonisation of Iceland was effected in some fifty years, but this settlement arose from a definite political

cause in the lifetime of one man, Harald harfagri.

chronology, the Norsemen appearance in England in 787, and in the west of Scotland and Ireland in 795. Orkney and Shetland, being the nearest western land to Norway, would be first visited. From 565, the time when Orkney and Shetland were Christianised, three generations, or ninety-nine years, would be ample time to account for the Pictish ecclesiastical monuments of which the remains have been found. It was only some fifty years after the Norsemen in Orkney were converted themselves that their earl made a pilgrimage to Rome

According

made

and

to the accepted

their first

built a cathedral.

has been contended that the first Norse settlers found the islands without inhabitants, because the sagas make no mention of any having been found there. But the sagas only commence with the history of the islands at the time the earldom was founded in 872, nearly two centuries after their colonisation which is not referred It

to at all.

It is

incredible that the Pictish ecclesiastical

which the remains have been found, could have been erected, utilised and abandoned and the islands deserted in the short space of a hundred buildings,

of

years or even less.

The the

total

first

absence of any record or tradition regarding

arrival of the

Norsemen

in

Orkney, and the

continued presence of the Picts, as is shown by the survival of their place-names and church dedications, appear to indicate that the first colonisation by the vikings was gradual and peaceful, that they intermarried with the Picts, as they did later on with the Irish in Ireland, and that perhaps Christianity never 1

ii.,

The

colonisation of Shetland

10,

Stamme,

quoting 119).

Otto

Bremer

lias :

been already dated, 620 (Ud. N.H., der germanischen

Ethnographic

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

213

entirely died out in the islands. The latter supposition, if correct, may account for the ease with which the

vikings ultimately became Christians. Although no anthropological survey has yet been made in the islands, it would not be surprising if such a survey should reveal Pictish features coinciding, even after all these twelve centuries, with the districts preserving Pictish place-names, presumably the inland and inaccessible places, as is the case in the Isle of

Man. The comparatively small number of names in the islands must be accounted

Pictish

place-

by the predominance of the Norsemen, whose language would have been consequently adopted by the Picts. Many socalled Norse place-names may be unrecognisable glosses for

names. The name Orkney itself is a gloss of If a Pictish name, and so also probably is Shetland. the names of the two groups themselves are not of Norse origin, and only clothed in Norse garments, what of Pictish

1

may not be the names of the The persistency of Norse, place-names

is

lesser islands

and places

?

compared with Pictish well illustrated in the Hebrides, where as

the population, during the Norse period and until their cession to Scotland in 1266, was probably bilingual, the Gaels and the Norse each speaking their own language. Since the cession to Scotland, after which the rulers

were no longer appointed by or under Norway,

influences very quickly made the Norsemen And yet after all these adopt the Gaelic language. centuries, since the extinction of the Norse language, Norse place-names still flourish with but a very slight Gaelic tinge. Moreover, there are many Norse loanin words Gaelic, whereas there are very fe\v Gaelic loan-words in Scandinavian. The second migration from Norway to Orkney took place after king Harald harfagri began to consolidate Norway into one kingdom, 860-933 during which

political

;

1

Old-Lore Miscellany (Viking Society),

v.,

14,

104-8, vi., 10-19, 74-

214

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

period Iceland was colonised. He conquered Orkney and Shetland, and erected them into an earldom in 872. The first colonists no doubt took their Norwegian laws and form of government with them, and these would naturally have been conformed to Harald's new Norwegian constitution, when he founded the earldom. It is stated in Heimskringla that Iceland and Faroe were discovered and peopled during Harald's reign, and that there was also much faring of Northmen to Shetland, and further, that many mighty men of Norway fled as outlaws and fell to warring in the west, spending the winter in the Hebrides and Orkney, and

summer in raiding Norway. It is 'also stated that before Harald's time, Orkney had been the haunt of The special reference to the vikings (vikingabaeli). faring of Norwegians to Shetland and not to Orkney, the

in

Harald's reign, appears to indicate that Shetland

had not been previously so fully colonised as Orkney. This surmise appears to be supported by the researches

who has found

older forms of placethan in Shetland. Orkney The earliest Scandinavian literature consists of runic inscriptions. Writing began in Norway in the middle of the eleventh century, with the taking down of the hitherto oral code of laws, known as Grdgds, a work now lost. In Iceland the laws w ere taken down in 1118. which was followed by the recording of the oral sagas. The oral Edda lays are supposed to have been taken

of dr. Jakobsen,

names

in

r

down

in the twelfth

There can be

little

century.

doubt that the adoption of Christi-

anity by the Norse, circa 1000, with its written scriptures and missals, set the fashion of writing not to ;

forget the great and uncongenial burden it would have been on the lawsayingmen to be suddenly called upon to their memory the voluminous new laws dealwith the establishment of Christianity. ing As regards Orkney and Shetland we may therefore assume that their laws were written down at the same

to

add

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

215

time as they were in Norway, and also at the instigaking St. Olaf, the great apostle of Christianity in the north if indeed his code itself was not actually or adopted by imposed upon the islands, which seems tion of

;

more probable.

From Orkney bishop

the middle of the twelfth century we find the Rognvald, and, after him, the Orkney Biarni, the skald, both expert poets, busy at earl St.

and we have some of their was during this period that the Edda lays are supposed to have been taken down, and, as some of them have a local setting, it is not improb-

work with Icelandic

skalds,

literature preserved.

It

able that some, at least, may have been rescued from the mouths of Orkneymen and Shetlanders. It is significant that

many Edda

poetic

words are now alone 1

use, as seanames, in Shetland. Bugge was of opinion that the lays

in

Professor Sophus

were composed

in

the British Isles, in proximity to Christian influence." Such of these lays as may have been composed in

when the Norsemen first before 787-795, in the west of Ireland and England, Scotland, appeared Britain

could only have been composed in Orkney, where, it has been shown, the Norse arrived circa 664, and lived among the Christian Picts, but it appears to be generally agreed now, that none of the lays could have been composed earlier than the ninth century. In common with other Norse places, Orkney and Shetland had their sagas and poems. There are the sagas of the earls, 872-1206, which were taken down in writing and brought up to date in 1206. The following list of works is compiled from Orkneyinga Saga, unless Fundinn Noregr, mythical. where otherwise stated :

Jarla-sogur, of

made up

of

individual

sagas Porfinnsdrdpa,

what must have been separate and Ro'gnvaldsdrdpa,

earls.

by Arnorr

jarlaskald

(partly

in

saga

The Home of the Eddie Poems, London, 1899. Gudbrand Vigfiisson was the first to suggest tha.t the Jays were 1

Scot. Hist. Rev. IX., 148.

composed in the British

2

Isles.

216

Saga-Book

and partly f>dttr

in

Magnuss

of the

Snorra

Viking Society.

Edda),

written

in

1046-1064.'

Hdkon Pdlssons drdpa, menabout Hakon Palsson and Magnus

jarls.

Visur Erlendsson, mentioned. Pdttr Pals jarls. Jarteina bok. Pdttr Rognvalds jarls, which may also be called Sveins

tioned.

Hdttalykill, by earl Rognvald, mentioned, saga. in but Stockholm. preserved Jomsvikingadrdpa and Mdlshdttakvcefti, by bishop Biarni, not mentioned in the saga, but preserved in Codex Regius of

Snorra Edda (see Corpus Poeticum Boreale). Magnuss saga helga or Magnuss saga eyja-jarls (i) Magnuss saga hin lengri, (2) Magnuss saga hin skamma, (3) :

Legenda de sancto Magno

The

(six pieces).

difference between Icelandic

and Orkney saga

is

that the former describes personal and family feuds and litigations, whereas the latter is almost solely concerned with genuine viking life. Iceland was too detached for

viking cruises, but Orkney was an ideal striking point for sea-rovers. As a matter of fact the best saga of the Orkney collection is that which treats of Svein of Gairsey, the last of the vikings. He kept a bodyguard of eighty huskarlar. Each year, after seed time, he went on a vdr, spring, viking, and then returned for harvest, after which he went on a haust, autumn, viking, and returned home to spend the winter on his spoils. On one occasion he captured two English keels On his return off Dublin, laden with English cloth. he of the sewed some captured cloth on his journey sails,

so

that

they

appeared

as

though

they

were

made

of that material, and hence this viking entirely was called skruftviking ; skruft is used in old Norse for

and, in this instance, has been translated broadcloth by sir George Dasent, but, in accordance with Fritzner, it should be, pragtfuldt vikingetog, 2 As an instance of gorgeous viking expedition. finery,

1 Arnorr was an Icelander, resident in Orkney, where he composed these poems on the two earls, and hence he was nicknamed jarlaskald. 2 In Goudie's translation of the saga this meaning has also been

correctly given.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

217

Svein's fine feeling and generosity may be mentioned the capture of earl Rognvald's ships by earl Erlend and Svein, when Svein claimed, as his share all earl Rognvald's treasures, which he sent back to earl Rognvald. Earl Rognstraightway vald had only just returned from his famous pilgrimage

of the spoil,

Holy Land. He afterwards became one of earl Rognvald's hirtimenn or bodyguard, and in the end The saga fell, ambushed, in his last viking, in Ireland.

to the

ends with the following tribute to Svein is an end of telling about Svein; and it is the talk of men that he hath been the greatest man in the western lands, both of yore and now-a-days, of those men who had no higher rank than he." Svein

fittingly

:

"There now

1

set the splendid example of to the end in harness.

At the time 1206, the

circa

continuing one's

of the conclusion of the

male

line of the

Norse

life

work

Orkney saga, earls,

already

half Scottish, came to an end, having lasted only some three centuries; and was succeeded, in the female line,

by four

lines of Scottish earls, the Athole, Angus, Strathearn and St. Clair families, 1206-1470. The Norwegian crown passed through a female to a

Swedish line of kings, which reigned from 1319 to 1387 and then, after the treaty of Kalmar, when Norway, Denmark and Sweden were united in one kingdom, the crown passed to a Danish line, which was reigning in 1468-9, when Orkney and Shetland were wadset or pawned to Scotland, in security for the dowry of the queen of king James III. of Scotland. ;

The

succession of the Scottish earls in the thirteenth century, and of the Swedish and Danish kings in the fourteenth century, with their foreign influence, must account for the complete break in the insular literature, which was thereafter confined to complaints about Scottish 1

and other interference

ON.

hondi.

tignar-jiafu,

in insular affairs.

name and rank which

raised one above the

common

218

Saga-Book

The

of the

Viking Society.

residence of the crown in

Denmark, with the and place-men in Norway, very quickly established the Danish language in Norway, so that, by 1450, Norwegian as a national language came to an end, and, circa 1530, the NorIn wegian laws had to be translated into Danish. influx

of

Danish

officials

1

Norway

this resulted in the

Norwegian

literature,

complete disappearance of which is only represented by

charters.

After the transference of Orkney and Shetland to in 1468-9, the Scottish crown acquired the earldom (i.e., the earl's rule, title, the public revenues vScotland,

and the earldom landed estate), from the last Norse earl, William St. Clair, and thereafter appointed its own In 1472, the bishopric of Orkney and Scottish rulers. Shetland was transferred, by Papal bull, from the metropolitan see of Trondhjem to the newly created metropolitan see of St. Andrews in Scotland. In 1486, Kirkwall was erected into a Scottish royal burgh. In 1490, the bishopric was erected into a Scottish regality, with Scottish civil courts and officers. In 1602, we have the last mention of a judicial reference to the Norse law-book of the islands, 2 since when Scottish law has prevailed.

The

succession of the Scottish earls, with their Scotand retainers, transformed the islands into a sanctuary for Scottish fugitives and adventurers. Scottish fashions, habits and language soon took a hold tish kin

on Orkney, the seat of government, which was also nearer to Scotland than Shetland was. The latest known Norse charter in Orkney is dated 1329," and the latest Norse document circa 14.26,* a 1

Norges Historic, IV.

2

Mackenzie's Grievances of 0. and

8

D.N.,

*D.N.,

ii.,

S., 6-7.

144.

ii.,

514.

But

this

cannot be

the

Orkney dialect of the

period, as its vocabulary is mixed, and probably represents a sort of court or chancery language for the three kingdoms of the Union.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

219

complaint to the king of Denmark against a Scotsman who was then ruler of the islands. In Shetland, Norse charters occur as late as the seventeenth century, and towards the end of the sixteenth century it is related that a Shetland clergyman went to Norway to learn rather

[or

to

perfect

himself

in]

Norwegian, as the

knew no other language, and he so " Norsk." We have acquired the nickname of 2 Orkney charters in Scottish in 1433 and after, and m 1438 the lawman of Orkney gave his testimony in Shetlanders

Scottish. If

3

the insular literature

is

mainly confined

com-

to

plaints during the rule of the Scoto-Norse earls, it is still more so after the transference of the islands to

"

when

out of the the position became one of the fire." into This was accentuated by the frying pan strenuous efforts, made by the Scottish government, to Scotland,

render the redemption of the islands by Norway as as possible. The outstanding document in the literature of this period is the report of the royal commission, appointed in 1576, to take evidence regarding the alleged oppressions of the Scottish ruler, lord Robert Stewart, 1 an illegitimate son of king James V. He was, however, afterwards made earl of Orkney, contrary to the act of Scottish parliament, by which the title of earl of Orkney was annexed to the crown, not to be conferred on anyone but a legitimate son of the

difficult

sovereign. The survival

of Norse words and legal terms in a state of corruption which deeds indicates Orkney renders some of them almost unrecognisable.

Norse, as the language of the earl's court in Orkney, probably terminated with the succession of the St. Clair line in 1379, if not already with the termination of the Angus line in 1320, as the last known Norse deed in

Orkney,

in

1329,*

is

that of the countess of the last 2

1

Fasti Ecclesia Scoticana, *Opp. O.Z.

iii.,

441. 4

O. S. R.,

D.N.,

3

I.,

ii.,

246.

144.

ib.

44.

22o

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

As a dialect Norse, called Norn, continued in corners of the islands until the eighteenth century. One unfortunate result of the change of language earl of that line.

from Norse

to Scottish has been the extinction of Norse and music, one going with the other. A few relics have been preserved, and it has been noted that " Arrow Lay," Gray's " Fatal Sisters," was recited the in Norse in Orkney as late as the eighteenth century. Norse dialect words survive by the thousand. Dr.

ballad

1

Jakob Jakobsen has made a large collection of Shetland words, and is now engaged in rescuing what survive in Orkney after which he will extend his researches to ;

Caithness.

Orkney and Shetland

literature of the Scottish period the seventeenth began century, with topographical and historical descriptions of the islands. From that in

time to

this,

with perhaps one or two exceptions, the

The of all the authors are of outland origin. when in the of records eighteenth century, study began the landowners, with an eye to business, attempted to names

have some of their grievances remedied, and the work of hunting up and elucidating the records was done by mr. A. Mackenzie. 2 In 1820, mr. Alexander Peterkin edited a volume of rentals of the earldom and bishopric of

Orkney.

of records

Amongst the names of subsequent editors may be mentioned those of colonel David

of Balfour, mr. George Petrie, mr. Gilbert mr. F. J. Grant, and the venerable archdeacon Goudie, B. Craven. The most important collection of docuJ. ments is that contained in Diphmatarium Norvegicum. It now remains to fill in a few details of the foregoing very brief historical outline. At the most we can only indicate the uncertainties which remain to be cleared up when the necessary documents are found.

Balfour,

1

2

Memoirs of

the Life of Sir Walter Scott, 1837,

Mackenzie's Grievances of O. and S.

iii.,

190.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

221

LAND-TAKE: LAND-NAM. The

original colonisation of Orkney and Shetland have been effected in the same way as it was later may in Iceland. Chiefs and their followers would peg out their claims as they arrived. The word herafi, In district, still survives in Orkney and Shetland. Orkney it occurs in the name of a defined district, Byrgisheraft. This place is now divided into two parishes, Birsa and Harra, the latter was called Hurray The O.N. term Brugh, and also Brugh, in 1500.' byrgi, an entrenchment or mound, may have been

applied to this heraft, or district, on account of the exceptional number of mounds, covering the foundations of Pictish round towers, which are to be found in Harra or the name of the heraft may have been taken from a possible name of the tidal island, now called the ;

Brough

of

Birsa,

*Byrgisey

(which

may be

repre-

by the modern name Birsa), and probably so-called on account of its mound-like appearance. The original }>inghdr, ^ing-districts, into which the islands were divided, would each be probably of the size of ByrgisheraS. The colonists must have settled on the enclosed townships of the Picts, 2 whose chapels would have been utilised as hof, temples. That the Picts became thralls of the Norse seems probable. Dr. Jakobsen calls attention to the Shetland word sented

tralfangi-nn

(O.N.

*}>rcel-fangi),

applied to a short, of the aboriginal

square-built person, as suggestive race who became thralls.

Orkney was augmented by when their followers, and the Harald harfagri formed the united kingdom of Norway. When Harald conquered Orkney and Shetland, in 872, he drove out the leading vikings, who had been making reprisals on Norway, and of course would have confis-

The

original colony in discontented chiefs

cated their landed estates as well as those of other chiefs ip.R. No. i. For a description of these, see

2

Proceeds. S.A. Scot., 1884, 254.

222

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

These

estates would form the len * or notable that the earl's landed estate lay scattered throughout the islands, which appears to confirm the above conjecture that the forfeited estates in the islands.

fief

of the earl.

It is

of the

Orkney vikings formed the earldom

were

in

Birsa,

Orphir,

Kirkwall,

estate

Burrey,

;

these

South

Ronaldsey, Hoy, Westrey, Sandey and Stronsey. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that the earldom estate included a great part of the north isles, which would have been ideal viking stations. Each )>ingha would have had its hof, temple, for which a Pictish church would have done service. When

was adopted,

Christianity

the jnngha

would become the

hof the parish church. With the exception of ByrgisheraS, there is no indication in the saga parish, and

its

which the islands were divided. J?ing was the unit of government in the islands appears to be proved by the termination ing in the names of a number of Shetland parishes, Delting, Sandsting, etc., some of which are e.g., mentioned as early as 1321-1355. 2 of the districts

into

That the parochial lp

CHURCH HISTORY: KRISTNI The

ecclesiastical history of

SAGA.

Orkney and Shetland

is

particularly complicated. The Pictish church would of course be under lona.

Adam

Bremen (1067-1076) stated that Orkney was formerly by bishops appointed by the Scots In 605, Pope Gregory and (lona) English (York). of

ruled

wrote

to

there

should

Augustine that, after the latter's death, be two primates of England, one in London and one in York. It was maintained by the St.

archbishop of Canterbury, 1

in

1119, that

"

Britanniae,"

Borrowed from mid. low German, or more probably O.E.

lease, to

Norway

simpler meaning ''D.N.,

lizn,

a

account for the early use of the word, the feudal system in The true O.N., /
no;

'

loan.' iii.,

234.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

223

in Gregory's letter, included Scotland and Ireland. Meanwhile Orkney was colonised by the Norse, 664-872. In 822, Rheims was made metropolitan of the North, and in 831, Bremen was made metropolitan of the three Scandinavian kingdoms but there were no Christians in In 934, Hakon (son of king Harald Norway. harfagri and fosterson of Athelstan of England, by whom he was converted) vainly attempted to Christianise Norway. He asked for bishops from England. In 961, king Harald grafeldr, who had been baptised in England, succeeded to the Norwegian throne. In Olaf who had been in converted 995, king Tryggvason, l

;

England, formally introduced Christianity into Norway and Orkney and Shetland, assisted by English bishops and priests. Henry, called "the fat" (the treasurer of Knut, king of England, 1014, 1016-1035, and of Norway 1028-1035), was appointed bishop of Orkney, probably by York, when Knut was king of Norway, 1028-1035. Knut appointed one other Nor-

wegian bishop.

The early Christian kings of Norway repudiated Bremen as their metropolitan, and looked to England for bishops. It was only during the early part of the of Knut, when he claimed Norway, that Norway reign turned to Bremen rather than England. In 1050-56, Bremen appointed a bishop of Orkney, probably at the request of I>orrinn, the earl who built first cathedral in Orkney, after he had visited Bremen and Rome. This bishop was ousted, in 1085., by a bishop who had been appointed by York in 1073. The latter York bishop had been probably appointed on the strength of the Papal bull which assigned the primacy of Scotland to York in 1072. After this we have double bishops of Orkney, appointed by Bremen and York. These double bishops were probably run by the rival earls, each having his own prelate. The the

Pope upheld 1

D.N.,

xvii.

the

York bishops. The dispute was

B, 177, 178.

finally

Saga-Book

224

of the

Viking Society.

in 1152, when Nidaros, now Trondhjem, was the metropolitan see of Norway, including OrkHitherto the bishops had been missionary bishops

settled

made

ney. without

chapters, whereas now they were assigned cathedrals, with properly constituted chapters. Bishop William, the old, of Orkney (who would have been

appointed by Bremen in

1

102, or

Norway

in

if his appointment took place which was made metropolitan of by Lund, 1104, if, as is thought by some, his appoint-

ment took place

in 1112), was the sole bishop in poswhen Nidaros was made metropolitan of Orkney. During his episcopate the cathedral was transferred from Birsa to Kirkwall. As bishop William was the first constitutional bishop of Orkney

session

with a chapter, he is accordingly described in the saga " the first bishop of Orkney." In 1472, the bishopric as of

Orkney was

to the in

transferred from the see of Trondhjem newly erected metropolitan see of St. Andrews

Scotland.

Another cause of confusion arose during the greac Papal schism in 1378-1429, when double bishops of Orkney were appointed by the Popes and anti-Popes. Norway, which was in possession of Orkney, acknowledged the Papal bishops, so that they were alone in actual possession of the bishopric. Scotland, which until the 1417, had certain acknowledged anti-Popes Scottish clergy appointed as titular bishops of Orkney, but they had permission to retain their Scottish livings, in which they resided.

The payment

of tithe, tiund,

was probably imposed

on Orkney and Shetland early at the

same time as

it

was

in the twelfth century, laid on Norway, by king

SigurS jorsalafari (Jerusalem-farer or crusader), who had been earl of Orkney until his father's death in

1103.

The bishop and his retinue exercised in the islands. The nature of the civil the church over the clergy

great influence jurisdiction of of

and over the occupiers

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

225

lands remains to be more fully explained. are informed, in 1369,' that the bishop had jurisdiction of holy church, lay and learned, without let or

church

We

hindrance from the earl's and king's representatives. In 1490, the Scottish government erected the bishopric into a regality, with civil courts and officers of its own, having civil jurisdiction over all occupiers of church 2

which probably merely confirmed the powers exercised by the bishop under the Norwegian government. land,

previously

CODES: LOG-BCEKR. The

Norway were recited by the Norw ay, as a united law-speaker. in new laws were Harald 872, harfagri, kingdom, by framed. Further new laws were framed by king Hakon early oral laws of

On

the foundation of

r

hinn goSi (the good), 935-961, and by king Olaf hinn helgi (the holy), 1015-1030, including church and canon law. During the reign of king Magnus hinn goSi (the " " was taken down St. Olaf's Law good), 1035-1047, in writing in Grdgds (Greygoose), a record which is now lost. Old Gulathing Law was taken down about

and New Gulathing Law was adopted in 1275, while various amendments and ordinances were effected iioo,

nfter that.

Undoubtedly the Orkney vikings took their Norwegian oral laws, log, and law-speaker, logsogumaftr, with them to the islands. In the period from the colonisation

Law,

down

till

of

New Gulathing have exercised a measure although it is hard to

the enactment of

in 1275, the islands

may

legislative independence believe that at the foundation of the earldom, in 872, Harald did not have his new laws adopted there also. ;

Likewise the new Christian laws of St. Olaf must also have been adopted in the islands.

Although the Norwegian parliament, logging, had legislative power, such power was mainly confined to the adoption of new laws and amendments, framed and iD.N.,

I.,

308.

a

P.R.,App.

Q

226

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

proposed by the king or his council a nominal power, not unlike in nature to that possessed to-day by cathedral chapters in the election of bishops, in which there

no alternative but

to elect the king's nominee, the conge d'elire. notwithstanding The references in the saga to legislation in Orkney is

are as follows.

It is related,

in 1048, that earl J>orfinn

turned his mind to ruling the people and land and to law-giving a laga-setning. This was shortly after the :

compilation of Grdgds, 1035-1047, and may merely refer to the amendments introduced at that time, if not to the written code itself, which may have been transmitted to the earl of Orkney for adoption by his lawthing. In 1116, earl Hakon set up new laws (setti ny log) in Orkney, which pleased the bcendr better than those which had been before (ao>). This, again, coincides with the

recording of Old Gulathing Law, circa iioo, which may have been sent to Orkney for adoption. In 1137, in order to raise money for the completion of St. Magnus' cathedral, earl Rognvald was advised /cera log a, to bring up [for consideration, with the ostensive object of amelioration], an existing law which

was

felt to

be rather hard,

law by which the 6Sul after all bcendr

viz., that

had hitherto inherited

earls

all

[generation after generation], so that the heirs of these (i)] to redeem these 65ul [generation after generation], in order to regain possession of their ancestral 6Sul, [or otherwise (2) to continue in occupation of these 6'Sul as hereditary tenants, involving the

bcendr had [either

payment of land rent to the earls]. Then the earl called a )>ing and offered the bcendr to allow them to buy, kaupa, their 6Sul, so that there would be no need to, redeem, leysa them, thereafter, which was agreed to. 1

1

The

translation of Orkn. renders fcera log d bring in a law, it should be bring uf an existing law (see Fritzner s.v., med praep. a). This clearly explains this, hitherto obscure :

whereas fcera,

The existing law must refer to that by which earl TorfEinar acquired the 6Sul in 895 (see ante], which 6Sul remained; unredeemed, in the possession of the earls until 995, when earl '

passage.

'

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

A

227

mark had

to be paid for every ploughland. As a estimated at one acre, and plogsland by Vigfusson in Snorra Edda as equivalent to what four oxen could plough in a day and night, and as a markland in Ork1 ney averages a little more than an acre, it has been is

suggested that this land denomination. 2 buy their 65ul ?

may have been

the origin of this also have ro

Did the Shetlanders

Sigurd digri gaf upp Orkneyingum oftul sin gave u-p to the Orkneyingar their of>ul; which gift would thus only have been for one generation, after which the 6Sul would again revert to the earls. During the whole cf the period, 895-995 (during which the 6Sul remained unredeemed in the hands of the earls) the bcendr, as hereditary tenants, must have paid rent to the earls. King Olaf Tryggvason's account of the transaction was that king Harald harfagri took as his own all the lands in Orkney and Shetland in consequence of the slaughter of his son, and that earl Torf-Einar paid the king sixty gold marks [as the redemption price of the lands], and so acquired all these lands [the d5ul in Orkney and Shetland the Orkney saga is explicit in only mentioning the 6Sul in Orkney as having been acquired by the earl] which he held as a fief from :

5

;

the king. 1

Proceed., S. A. Scot, 1884, 274.

-

If the mark of land in the Hebrides is of the same origin as that Orkney and Shetland, it would appear to make the above supposition improbable. Moreover, a ploughland was of uniform area, whereas the mark of land, representing its purchase value, varied considerably in extent. Fritzner explains O.N. plogsland arable land On the in

:

basis of the eyrisland rent-valuation (see infra, Taxation), % eyrisland ( 6 pennylands= i * ertogland) X 24 years' purchase = i

Was It has been eyrisland the plogsland of the saga? calculated that the pennyland in Orkney contains from 4 to 13 acres (Proceed. S. A. Scot., 1884. 277), so that J eyrisland, or 6 pennymark.

would contain from 24 to 78 acres. Can the plogsland of Flateyjarbok (in which this part of Orkn. is alone preserved) be an extension of a possible contraction pgsland, in the original, for * pennyland,' only known in Orkney and peningsland? a term, the west with which the Flateyjarbok copyist would have been unlands,

'

while pgsland would also be the contracted form of If a mark had been paid for a pennyland ( T s eyrisplogsland. 18 of an eyrisland been the price would have land), an the of marks, as against 3 marks, redemption price In the silver valuation of Orkney eyrisland at 24 years' purchase. the pennyland was valued at from i to 12 and more marks, familiar,

'

228

of the

Saga-Book

Viking Society.

Norway, Denmark and Sweden, 1389-1523, Gulathing Law, together with subseamendments of the thirteenth and fourteenth cenquent

During the union

of

New

"

were the principal source of law, viz., St. Olaf's law and the good old customs," which the kings swore to maintain in Norway. That the Orkney and Shetland law-book, I'dg-bok, was an edition of New Gulathing Law seems clear from turies,

1

the following references.

In 1420 the feoffee, lensmaftr,

of the earldom undertook to rule

Orkney according to In 1425 law-book and old customs. 2 Norwegian the Orkneyingers petitioned the crown to uphold king Olaf's law and subsequent ordinances, precisely as in the royal oath above quoted. In 1538, a district court, rettr, in Shetland gave its decision in accordance with the

3

Gulathing Law, which decision was attested as sound 4 While in the by the king's council in Bergen. seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was the tradition in the islands that their laws were received from St. 5 6laf. One Scottish bishop was so at sea in the matter that he explained that one Udillaus was sent by the king of Norway to divide the land in Orkney into 6 He had turned Ulaus pennylands, hence udal land. so that one

mark, for

the outright

purchase of a pennyland,

in

would not have been exorbitant as compared with the possible recurrent redemption price of mark (i.e., eyrir X 24 years' purchase = ij eyrir mark). The redemption price would 1137,

^

undoubtedly have been maintained

on the basis of the eyrisland valuation in 895, when the lands were acquired by the earl; but, possibly at a nominal and less rate than 24 years' purchase, as otherwise each bdndi would have paid back the fine every time a successive generation redeemed the land, and if i mark was paid for each pennyland in 1137, the earl would have received back six times more than the sum for which it was originally acquired in 895. J

4

5

Ud. N.H., O.S.R.

I.,

i.,

69.

2

D.N.,

ii.,

489.

S

D.N.,

vi.,

449.

70.

Gifford's Zetland (reprint), 47, 48; Brand's Description (reprint), 41; Hibbert's Shetland, 193, 275; Sibbald's Description, 81. ' P.R. No. iii., 18, 20.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes. into

Udillaus,

the

little

229

by way of folk-etymology. Moreover, we do know of insular law corresponds

New Gulathing Law, e.g., (i) the daughter only inherited half as much as a son, whereas by Old G.L. she inherited nothing; (2) the eldest son had the first choice of the head house, whereas Old G.L. has no ordinance on the subject. The old customs, forn or gdmul sifivenja, or consue-

with

tudinary law, referred to in the royal include immemorial rights of foreshore,

oath,

would

common

pasturage, etc. and in certain cases fishing rights, which, in some cases flowed from royal grants these were the ;

;

emoluments, lunnendi, of 6Sal deeds.

LEGISLATURE, LAWS, LAW COURT: PING

(afterwards

LOGGING), LOG, LOGRETTA

The original Norwegian J>ing appears to have been a primary assembly of freeholders, oftalsmenn or hauldar. By the time of Old Gulathing Law the general assembly was called the law-thing, logging, and consisted of paid representatives from the various districts, nominated by the king's deputies; the king was represented by his deputies, lendirmenn and drmenn, barons and stewards, and the church by the bishops and priests. In 1164, the compulsory presence of the priests was limited to two from each fylki, who were nominated by The representative system arose from their bishops. the enlargement of the ]>ing-districts and the growth of the royal power.

these nominated men the king's depunominated a smaller selection, called the 16gre"tta, which inquired into and arranged the cases before the These 16gre"ttumenn decision of the j'ing was given. were also representative of districts, and were paid. It will thus be apparent that the Norwegian parliament of historic times was, like the contemporary Saxon

From among

ties

Saga-Book

230

of the

Viking Society.

1

purely a body of royal nominees and churchmen without a vestige of democratic election. There is not the slightest indication that the earl of

assembly,

Orkney had,

like

the

earls

in

Norway, lendirmenn,

The only appearunder him, ruling the islands. ance in the saga of a local j>ing is a laun-fying, or secret meeting, held in Westrey. We can only assume that the earldom was, as in Norway, divided into districts

with district assemblies, the predecessors of the In Shetland we find notices of parish

bailie courts.

courts and officials and also of a "varding," varying a 2 spring court.

From

.evidence given below

remained

it

will be seen that the

a

Orkney lawthing primary assembly. The representative nature of the persons serving in the Orkney logretta has been shown by mr. J. Storer Clouston

in the Saga-Book, VII., 100. references in the saga to the J>ing as follows. In the ninth century a fine

The

and laws are was exacted

from the whole community for the slaughter of the king's son at the instigation of the earl land was held ;

with the right of redeeming alienated 6Sal. In the eleventh century earl Einar rangmunnr held J>ing in spring with the bcendr; earl Einar's slaughter was atoned for as for three lendirmenn, and his third part of the earldom was confiscated by the king of Norway, in 65al,

for the- slaughter of the king's

horn, and afterwards given other two earls. In 1106,

hirSmaSr, Eyvind lirarin len to one of the

Hakon

earl

killed

the

king's syslumaftr, steward, who was looking after Magnus' share of the earldom. In in6, the two ruling earls met at the J?ingsta5r in Hrossey (Mainland), and The National Assembly in the Anglo-Saxon Period, by Professor F. Liebermann, pp. 38 seqq. Opp. O.Z., 71. A varying was held in Jamtland in 1463 (D.N., Hitherto the Shetland iii., 627) varding has been explained as varS-))ing, but there is no such term on record, and a 'beaconassembly' is not probable. Logging > logging in Shetland and elsewhere (D.N., i., 81 and N.G.L.), hence varying > varying > 1

'

'

:

varding.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

231

came to terms and bound their agreement with oaths and handsal. Earl St. Magnus stated that it was siftr ok log, custom and law, of men of old that the executioner should have the clothes of the person executed. In 1128, earl Pal is described as a man of few words, and no speaker at the J'ing. In 1137, Svein was outlawed and his estates forfeited for the slaughter of the earl's hirftmaftr, one of his bodyguard; a launfying, a secret J'ing, was held in West rev a J'ing was held in Hrossey (Mainland) at which there were present rikismenn, mighty men, bcendr, njosnar, spies, and a skald ;

;

Rognvald constantly held J'ing with the bcendr, because he had to do with mighty men, stormenn, who earl

were In

against

1151, earl

him; he held one

Rognvald

J'ing

called a full

in

.J'ing

Kirkwall. in

spring,

Hrossey, which was attended by all the hoffiingjar, In 1152, earl Erlend and Svein summoned a chiefs. J'ing of the bcendr in Kirkwall, to w hich they came from all the isles at this J>ing the king's brief was read, which gave earl Erlend earl Harald's half of the earldom, to which the bcendr promised obedience. Harald had got his half of the earldom from Rognvald by private arrangement and not as a len, fief, from the king. In 1154, eai"l Rognvald held a hushing (a housething, summoned by a trumpet, in cases of emergency a war council), regarding the invasion by earl Erlend and Svein. A sdtiar-ftmdr, peace meeting, was held between Svein and the earls, at which it was agreed that Svein should make peace by the payment of a mark of gold to each of the two earls, lose half of his lands and his good longship. In 1155, another sattarfundr was held in St. Magnus' cathedral, in which had been stored the sail of Svein 's forfeited longship, and at which earl Rognvald attended with a broad-axe. in

r

;

;

1

In accordance with old Gulajnngslog, a breiftox was one of the weapons breiftox to be borne in a levy by each armaSr and lendrmaftr while each bondi had or sverS (sword), sf>jbt (spear) and skjoldr (shield) to be provided with tvennar tylftit orva ok bogi einn, two-twelves, i.e., 24, arrows and one bow. 1

which had

of the

Saga-Book

232

Viking Society.

In 1194, Shetland was forfeited to Norway (skat tr and skyld public taxes and the rents of the earldom landed estate), for the part the earl had in the rebellion against

king Sverrir. the rebels

who

The

estates in

fell at

Orkney and Shetland

of

Floruvoe were also

forfeited, but their kinsmen.

were redeemable, within three years, by Shetland was taken under the king's own control, as well as one-half of all the fines in Orkney. After this the foguti the king's bailiff, was appointed to Shetland. From the foregoing references we find that as late as 1152, a )>ing of the bcendr was held in Orkney, lo which they came from all the isles a primary This assembly, which would have had its logretta. 1

;

years after the recording of Old Gulathing Norway, where the lawthing of Gulathing was

was

fifty

Law

in

attended by nominated and paid delegates. As Orkney was such a comparatively small place it seems unlikely that provision would have been made for the appointment and payment of delegates, so that the assembly

would remain primary. During 1273-1299 Shetland was in the appanage of duke Hakon, who became king in the latter year. The next notice we have is of a logging in Shetland (twenty-four years after the adoption of New Gulathing Law), which was attended by the logSingismenn. In 1307, the lawman, eleven men and all the logrettumenn of Shetland held a court [logretta of the logging ?] at Tingwall, at which the decision was given in

2

I299

by the lawman, with the special advice, rdS, and consent of handgengnirmenn [the eleven ?] and logrettumenn. The handgengnirmenn may have been in the service of the king or the lawman, as underfouds. In 1379, Shetland was restored to the earl of Orkney. It has not yet been shown on what terms Shetland was handed back. In 1386, the king's steward, drottseti, awarded certain lands in Shetland to the rightful 3

1

2

Sverr. S., 156, 157; Orkn., 231, 235.

D.N.,

I.,

81.

3

D.N.,

I.,

97.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

233

owners, as they had been illegally taken possession of by Malis Sperra. 1

The

earl of

his grandson,

Orkney died was invested

in 1404, in 1434.

and the next

During

earl,

this inter-

regnum the earldom of Orkney and lordship of Shetland were given out in len, fief, to various persons. In a grant of a part of Shetland, north of Mawed, in 1412, the grantee received skatt, landskyld and wesel (wattle, O.N. veizla, entertainment), with all royal right except }>egngildi, weregild of a }>egn, thane or freeman, and friftkaup, the price at which peace had to be bought from the king by one outlawed for manslaughter. 2 In 1433, the burgesses of Kirkwall had to observe the 3 statute of the country. In the last len of the earldom 4 in I434, the earl, as in the len of 1379, had to serve the king with one hundred men-at-arms out of Orkney, and had to be answerable for his faults to the king and council, in accordance with the law of Norway.

The

first

we have

notice

of

an assembly [logretta of

the lawthing ?] in Orkney since sagatime, is of one held before 1438 (either in 1434-1438 or 1404 or before), in the vestry of St. Magnus' cathedral, consisting of 5 Before 1438 (1434sundry goodmen of the country. 1438 or 1404 or earlier), a hirSmannastefna was held by '

'

and the gentles of the country regarding a land dispute which had been debated in the abovementioned meeting [logretta of the lawthing], and which had been reported to the hirfimannastefna, meet-

the earl

ing of the earl's bodyguard. Orkney was wadset by Norway to Scotland in the following terms

in

1468,

:

Damus, concedimus, impignoramus ac sub firma hypotheca et pignore imponimus atque hypothecamus omnes et singulas terras nostras insularum Orcadensium cum omnibus et singulis juribus, serviciis ac iD.N., I., 366. 'N.G.L. (anden

2

D.N.,

II.,

O.S.R.,

466. 5

raekke),

137.

O.S.R.,

I..

I.,

45.

246.

of the

Saga-Book

234

Viking Society.

justis suis pertinentiis nobis regali jure . . et habendas totas et integras terras nostras

tenendas insularum

.

unacum omnibus et pr?edictarum singulis custumis, profiscuis, libertatibus, commoditatibus ac aliis justis suis pertinentiis, quibuscunque, 1 tarn nominatis quam innominatis. etc. Orcadensium

(Translation.}

and under

Give, grant, wadset,

strict

hypothec and

pledge do set and hypothecate all and sundry our lands of the islands of Orkney, with all and sundry

and their just pertinents, belonging us by royal right to hold and to have all and whole our lands of the islands of Orkney aforesaid, together with all and sundry customs, profits, freedoms, commodities and their other just pertinents whatsoever, as well named as not named.

rights, services, to

.

.

.

The wadset was redeemable on the payment of the principal sum of 50,000 Rhenish florins (,20,833, Opp. O.Z., xii.), by the king of Norway or his successors.

Shetland was wadset

in

the following year

for 8,000 florins (Hvitfeldt, 921).

The hirSmannastefna, which was held by the earl before 1438, consisted of his hirft or bodyguard, who were appropriately described as the of the gentles have notice of a hirSmannastefna held country. by lord Robert Stewart in 1574, when it is described as a sheriffcourt called the hermanstein,' and at which '

'

We

'

lands

were escheated

for

theft.

This

latter

court

twenty-seven members, including some Shetland landowners. Lord Robert Stewart attempted to revive all the prerogatives of the old Norse regime, and naturally would wish to have his hirft or bodyguard, which actually included some Shetlanders, and was therefore not an exclusively Orkney court. Lord Robert Stewart alleged " himself to be as free lord and heritor of Orkney and Zetland as the king of consisted

P.R. app.

of

;

Torfseus' Orcades (1697), 195.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

235

is in his own realm, or the queen of England, or the king of France in France, and makes his vante, that in case he be put at by the king's majesty's authoto give the haill countrys into the king of rity,

Scotland

Denmark's hands." After 1468, we have the following lawthing in Orkney and Shetland. In

held

1510, at

the

of

a

court

Tingwall, [logretta

lawman

at

this

and Shetland. 2

notices

the

of

[logretta of the lawthing] was carried out the decree

which

of the] lawthing of Orkney the time being lawman of both Orkney In 1538, a rettr, (district) court, was ;

held in Shetland by the lawman, local lawrightmen, logrettumenn, and other good men, whose verdict was afterwards certified as correct by the king's court 3 in Bergen. In 1576, it was reported to the royal

commission, who were taking evidence as to lord Robert Stewart's oppressions in the islands, that the lawthing of Shetland was the head court of the county in

[i.e., logretta] gave decreets and the of the law thing were all persons having land,

which the assize

members

r

4

heritage and great taks, leases, from the king. court book of Patrick Stewart, earl of Orkney,

The 1602-

1604,* gives a detailed account of the circuit and head In 1538, a lawman of Shetland courts in Shetland.

was appointed by Norway.

6

There can be little doubt used Norway every opportunity of keeping alive her right of redeeming the islands, by making concurrent appointments to those made by Scotland and that

by encouraging

insular

the

references to

Norwegian

courts.

The

exact

relationship

between

the

and

insular

Norwegian king's council and law courts has

be of the earl has been cleared up. As also shown, in council to the was answerable Norway. king's Orkney 'Opp. O.Z., 5

2

5.

O.S.R.,

Peterkin's Notes, app.

burgh.

6

I.,

60.

4

to

'Ibid, 73. Opp. O.Z., 44, 58. in the Register House, Edin-

MS.

Original Norske Rigsregistranter,

I.,

57.

Saga-Book

236

of the

Viking Society.

Orkney, in 1509 and after, we have notices of " " ogangs, district courts, held by the lawman, the justice and the worthiest and best of the land, " landedmen roythmen," or " roythmen and roythmen's sons"; the lawman gave the decree with the " advice of the doomsmen " and, in one instance sealed the decreet on behalf of the "roythmen." The lawthing In

1

several

in 1509 and after, the members of the court described as above. After 1519, the members of being the lawthing court, logretta, are merely described as the

was held

"assize," as they were later on in Shetland. With regard to the terms " roythmen " and " royth" " men's sons," the terms and " roythman " royth 2 were used in Orkney, in I544 and after, as meaning the right of redeeming oo'al, and the person who had 3 that right. This is undoubtedly derived from O.N. rd5, rule, management, the. raS which the oSalsmenn exercised in alienating, as well as in redeeming, their 65ul. The same meaning must be attached to

the

members

as

roythmen

lawthing,

viz.,

a

class

of of

the

logretta

persons

who

of

the

were

eligible for nomination as members of the logretta or lawthing court, in virtue of their being 65albornir. The obvious explanation is that the members of

lawthing court or assize, logretta, were chosen 4 from, the landed men, roythmen and their sons, which was their property qualification whereas their the

;

character

qualification

consisted

in

their

being the

worthiest, best, and good men. They had to be honest and respectable landowners or persons having the rdS or right to alienated estates, and their sons, who were oSalbornir. There is no indication that the term roythman was borrowed from the designation radman or raadman, O.N. rdSraaSr, used for a member of the konungs rd5, king's council, or the boejar rdS, town 2

'O.S.R.,

I.,

251.

O.S.R.,

I.,

259.

Reg. Gt. Seal, Scot.

"O.S.R.,

I.,

254.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes. council of Bergen.

1

If

237

such a use of the word had been

copied from Norway, one would have expected Shetland to have also done so, considering its closer connexion with the mother country. It would be a contradiction in terms and an absurdity to require that one must be a councillor in order to be eligible for election as a councillor. Orkney may have been under bjarkeyarrettr, town law, and Kirkwall may have had a b 02 jar raS, town council, of which the rdfimenn, town councillors, were represented in the lawthing and its But this would not explain the " roythman's logretta. " son designation. Technically the term roythmen was applicable to all 65alsmenn, and we find their sons on the assize, designated as younger.' 2 The occurrence of the term lawrightman, Ibgrettumaftr, in Orkney, puts rdSmaSr, councillor, out of There is one instance of the " landedmen and court. roythmen," in an assize, being described as "at that time," a term applied to officials, whereas the term " " was applied to unofficial perpresent at that time sons. This instance occurs in a bungled docket on the back of a doom of the assize of the lawthing in 1516 " The dome of the best landit men in [deleted] and " '

:

in royhtmen in Orkna at that ty [deleted] tyme which doom it is stated that the doom was dempt before ;

"

the

justice of

"

persons

Orkney

(some of

lectively, as

" by 20 worthy younger "), who col-

for the time."

whom

were

"

"doomsmen," gave

their

"doom."

The

docket can have one of three possible interpretations,

landedmen and roythmen, in Orkney at that " " in Orkney present in Orkney at that time, " (2) landedmen and being qualified by "at that time roythmen (in Orkney) at that time, which would mean

viz.

(i)

time,

i.e.,

;

Mackenzie's Grievances (1750), reprint, app. ii., iv., and pp. n, in which the assize of lawthing = ratmen = raadmen, councillors, and hence the fictitious Orkney and Shetland raadmen of 1

12,

modern 2

glossaries.

Ibid., 252.

Saga-Book

238

of the

Viking Society.

and roythmen were reckoned as an explanation which would involve a number of absurdities or (3) landedmen and roythmen in Orkney, \_doomsmen or assisemen; or present] at that that the landowners

officials,

;

1

The original document is in the Record Room, " Sheriff Clerk's Office, Kirkwall. The terms landedtime.

men roythmen," " landedmen and roythmen," " roythmen and roythmen's sons, "are all explicit definitions of the qualification of logrettumenn they had to be landowners who were oftalsmenn or their sons, i.e., 6Sals:

to bcendr in the possession of a distinction and qualification which disbought land, appeared, with the term roythmen, when the assize was packed with persons other than oSalsmenn.

bcendr,

as

opposed

Besides the lawthing, ogangs and also

courts of arbiters and

retts,

the bailie

there were

courts

which

;

may have been

latter

In

j>ing.

the continuation of the districtShetland the parish foud and bailie were

2 synonymous terms.

The

justice of Orkney and the sometimes one and the same person, represented the executive, and were similar to the syslumaoV of Norway. In Shetland the foud was also the receiver of the public taxes and of the rents of the earldom lands. There were precisely similar officers in both Orkney and Shetland lawman, justice or foud, underfouds and (or bailies) lawrightmen. The two latter terms are seldom used in Orkney. The Shetland lawrightman, in 1576 and before, is described as an officer in every isle and parish, who was chosen by the common consent and election of the foud and commons, as their procurator and defender, to keep the weights and measures by which their taxes were paid, and to see

foud, foguti, of Shetland,

:

1 As for the time,' is the usual official, and present at that time,' at that the usual unofficial designation, and as the docket term, '

'

'

part of the latter, probably '-present '

time,' 2

is

Opp. O.Z., 58.

'

has been omitted.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

239

the taxes were justly measured. He was also specially chosen, for his discretion and judgment, to be chancellor of the assize in all courts, where he had

that

any legal questions and show the law, use and practice thereon, and to inform the assize and to pronounce decreets. For this service he was paid by the

to settle

commons.

1

This payment may have been direct, or have been may provided for in the skatt. The greater of the in skatt part Orkney and Shetland was undefined it

was paid simply as butter-, malt-skatt, etc. Although leiSangr, war tax, is not specifically mentioned in the Orkney skatt, it, as the fundamental skatt, must of course be included in the general term skatt. One of the taxes paid in Orkney is called

and

"forcop," fararkaup, travelling expenses, the term used in Gulathing Law for the wages paid to the levy. This term has hitherto been, incorrectly, explained as fyingfararkaup, the Icelandic term for the travelling expenses paid to those attending a j>ing; whereas the Norwegian terms are fyingfararfe in Frostathing, and fe in

Gulathing. " Lawbook " of Orkney and Shetland, regards the nothing is known of its existence after the judicial reference to it in i6o2. 2 It has been shown that Orkney and Shetland, so far as evidence goes, were under the same code, corresponding to New Gulathing Law, which would have

As

possible for the same man to act as lawman, or expounder of the law, in both groups, which we know

made

it

was the

case.

In 1611, after the downfall of Patrick Stewart, earl of Orkney, the Scottish privy council abrogated all .

O.Z., 18, 27.

Mackenzie's Grievances of O. and S., 6-7. The earl of Orkney referred " the auld Dans lawis to it in 1611, as by which they were governed." The bishop, in 1642, remarked that 65al Peterkin's Notes, App. 86. succession was in accordance with "the law of Norroway," P.R., 2

III., 20.

Saga-Book

240

of the

Viking Society. 1

foreign laws in Orkney and Shetland, as well as certain " whether they be established by acts specified laws, and ordinances or received by custom and observation 2

and declared that the islands were of the country," commission to be subject to the law of Scotland.

A

was issued to the bishop of Orkney and another to convocate and assemble the whole inhabitants to concur and assist them to make, prescribe and set down acts, statutes and ordinances for keeping the inhabitants under his majesty's obedience, and to hold sheriff and ;

3

In 1615, the sheriffs depute held a court justice courts. at which certain acts were passed by the sheriffs with

advice and consent of the gentlemen suitors of court and commons, all with one advice, consent and assent/ In 1623, acts were passed by the sheriffs with the advice and consent of the gentlemen and bailies ot 5 In 1628, acts were parishes and suitors of court.

passed by the sheriffs depute with consent of the whole

gentlemen and suitors of court and commonalty present for the time. 6

These courts would naturally be constituted and conducted on the same lines as the lawthing, their immediate predecessor, which they replaced a general assembly of the commons, a primary legislature, by whose consent acts were adopted, while legal decisions were given by an assize (logretta) chosen from the ;

assembly.

The

7

office

of

lawrightman (logrettumaSr) appears,

latterly, to have been divided into two distinct offices, held by different persons, viz., that of (i) a parochial

"

who

looked after the interest of the and (2) a member of the assize (logretta) of the lawthing, chosen at the lawthing. Probably a fresh assize was chosen for each sitting of the court, or for each case.

lawrightman,"

commons

in his district,

1

Peterkin's Notes, App. 64.

3

Ibid. 66. 5

*Ibid. 69. 4

Ib id. 421.

e

Barry's Orkney, reprint, 1867, 412.

Ibid. 424.

''Ibid.

420.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

The

following questions remain to be answered

there one manuscript lawbook for both Shetland, or had each its own copy ?

241 :

Was

Orkney and

Was

the law-

book of 1602 in old Norse, Danish or English ? If it was in old Norse, had it marginal explanations in English ? The possibility of a translation having been made seems highly probable, especially in Orkney, where Norse became generally extinct at an early date. The rentals of the earldom were translated circa 1490, if not earlier, and several old Norse charters bear a "

As the put this into Inglis." contemporary note, " " in Shetland law had to show the to lawrightman his parochial assize, it seems to be self-evident that each lawrightman must have had a copy of the Lawbook, in the same way as the later bailies had each to have a copy of the Acts of Bailliary (Barry's Orkney, 1808, 469, 482).

TAXATION

:

SKATTR.

Orkney and Shetland on the which is subdivided into 18 ounceland, eyrisland, and each into pennylands, 4 farthinglands. pennyland Skatt

is

assessed in

Norway the eyrir, ounce, of money = 30-60 pennies mark of silver. The English and Scottish mark = = 20 pence. The Orkney ounce of 135. 4d., of which ^

In

=

be explained from the fact that a Shetland (paid in produce) was reckoned equal to 12 = i8d. The ounce, eyrir, in eyrisshillings, of which J land, and the penny, penningr, in pennyland undoubtedly represent the amount of the original land rent. Skatt was only assessed on cultivated land, and it ceased so long as the land was not cultivated. In 895, Orkney was fined 60 gold marks, as weregild i8d.

may

mark

It is for the slaughter of the king's son. whether Shetland had to pay a share.

not

stated

This sum apparently represented the purchase value of the whole 'O.S.R.,

I.,

57.

Saga-Book

242

of the

Viking Society.

estates in Orkney, or in Orkney and Shetland, as otherwise the oSalsmenn would scarcely have given up their 65ul as a quid pro quo. Sixty gold marks were

A

3,840 silver aurar. equivalent to 480 silver marks very rough estimate of the eyrislands in Orkney, in 1500-1595, gives about 170, which is probably much too If the eyrir in eyrisland represents the rent value little. in 895, then the 170 eyrir x 22^ years' purchase would equal the amount of the fine paid to Harald. In circa 1200, land was valued at 24 years' purOf course it is just possible that Harald's fine amount to the full purchase value of the estates,

Denmark, chase.

1

did not so that Shetland

may have

unlikely that Shetland

been included

would have been

;

but

it

fined

seems for

a

crime committed in Orkney by Orkneymen. It is not known how many eyrislands there are in 2 Shetland. In 1628, there were 13,392 marks of land and one pennyland, or v? eyrisland, was valued at 8 ;

marks

1

in

I299.

On

the assumption that the average

value of a pennyland was four marks, as in Orkney, this would give 181 eyrislands in Shetland, or more than in Orkney. In the beginning of the I7th century the relative valuation of Orkney and Shetland was regarded as 2:1, for the purpose of assessing Scottish

land tax 3 in

1861,

;

in 1912 the ratio

1.57:1."

was

Eyrisland

in 1881, 1.91 : i ; is explained in Fritzner's

1.34

:

1

;

Ordbog, as land paying an eyrir of rent. on the other hand, the eyrisland were a gold If, purchase-price valuation of Orkney and Shetland in 895, corresponding with the amount of Harald's fine, then the Orkney eyrislands *i7o + the Shetland eyris-

lands *i8i = 351, as compared with the 480 gold aurar of Harald's fine. On this supposition, and assuming that 129 eyrislands had gone astray, the difference between the gold valuation of 895 and the later sterling 1

Orkney and Shetland Miscellany,

2

Goudie's Shetland, 177.

8

Peterkin's Notes, 153.

4

Tudor's Orkneys, 202. 412.

I.,

118.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

land

1

mark

silver

=

valuation,

is

as

i

:

72

i.e.,

;

mark

in 895, whereas the of the eyrisland in sterling silver marks,

silver

i

243

gold eyrisaverage value i

was 72 (eyrisx lands penny average 4 marks). The lowest silver valuation was 18 marks, and the highest 360. The burnt silver mark valuation of Orkney was the English mark of 135. 4d. (D.N. II., 146, A.D., 1329; Proceeds. S.A.Scot., 1884, 273). In England,

=

land

1

2os. in

8

1329

=

Coinml. Diet.,

66s. in present coins (see McCulloch's Coins), so that the English mark

s.v.

would be = 445. in present coins. Dasent calculated that the Norse mark of the loth century = 36 shillings sterling (Burnt Njal, II., 404), but it was probably of the same value as the English mark which was current in Orkney in 1329. Assuming of 1329

that the eyrisland valuation is that of the silver-rent in 872, then the rent of an eyrisland in 872 was one = 55. 6d. stg., eyrir, or | old Norse burnt mark silver

as

compared with

i.e.,

as

The

i

5.3,

:

295. 4d. sterling in 1500, in

Orkney, an increase which seems reasonable.

calculation

latter

is

arrived

as

at

follows

the

:

was valued in 1500, on the avermarks silver (4 marks per d.) on

eyrisland of i8d. lands

age at 72 sterling which rent was charged, on the average,

and the

lod. Scots,

at the rate of

ratio of Sterling to Scots, at that

time was i 3f; 2 so that 72 marks x rod. Scots = 72od. Scots = 2ood. stg. = 295. 4d. stg., in present coins, silver rent per eyrisland. The eyrisland valuation must have been made in 872, for the assessment of the skatt which Harald imposed :

for the support of the

of

government

his

The

earl.

ounceland, or tirung, and pennyland of the Hebrides must be explained in the same way. It can be proved by the rental of 1500 (P.R., I), that kviar,

Orkn. quoys, folds or enclosures,

1

The

1

Prsceeds

Diet,

earliest record of the

s.v.,

S.

A.

Scot.,

mark valuation 1884,

p.

255.

is

in

com-

the

in 1299, O.S.R.,

McCulloch's.

I.,

38.

Comml.

of the

Saga-Book

244

which

mons,

presumably

Viking Society.

had

been

under

brought

cultivation after the original eyrisland valuation had been made, were also valued and included in the skatt-

obvious that such new land would not have skatt-free in the early vigour of the Norse It may, therefore, be safely assumed fiscal system. that Harald's fine amounted to the price of the taxable roll.

It is

been

let off

land in Orkney in 895, and was calculated, on the basis of the then existing eyrisland or rental valuation, at

This would give 160 twenty-four years' purchase. in in or about 10 less than in 895, Orkney, eyrislands which a seems reasonable allowance for the sub1500, of cultivated increase and taxable land. sequent 1

The value

of

marks

the

decreased

evidently

of

land

considerably

in

Orkney had by 1500,

value

in

when

land, formerly worth a mark of 135. 4d. stg. (the = 255. stg. in 1500), sterling mark of 1329 would be of produce, worth rod. and i2d. mark Whereas in 1602, and Scots, =2-g-d. 3^d. stg. 2 for 8d. of land was sold 435. 4d. stg. (6s. stg.)

was

let

and

in

for a

payment

;

3

stg.

1603, 6 At this

6s. 8d.) was sold for sterling to Scots money

marks (^4 time

mark

and the

20

was

=

of

12, 1329 415. 4d. stg., sterling so that the land was sold for about double its mark i

:

value. 1

Comparative value of Orkney A D.

Rent.

895-

Value

/44-

in 895

and 1912

:

at 24 years' purchase.

i56.

1912.

87,920.

2,110,080, including Kirkwall and Stromness.

1912.

65,254.

i, 566, 096.

Banks and Bu 895.

1906.

of

excluding Kirkwall and Stromness,

Orphir g|d. land.

o2s.9j|d.

3 73. lod.

85.

2,040.

Including the towns, Orkney was about 2,000, and excluding the towns, 1,483 times more valuable in 1912 than 895; whereas the Bu of Oiphir was only 601 times more valuable; but Orkney now includes a large area of new land. 2 3

O.S.R.,

I.,

Ibid., 221.

272.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

The

earl's

acquisition

of

the

6Sul

in

245

Orkney

in

exchange for the fine which he paid for the oSalsmenn placed them in the same position as the oSalsmenn in Norway, where Harald appropriated all the oo'ul and the 65alsmenn became his vassals and tenants. In both cases the 6Sul were ultimately restored to the oSalsmenn, in order to

The Heimskringla, in Harald himself took possession of the 6Sul in Orkney, and gave them to earl Einar as a len or fief. Pennylands were, at a later date, valued at their purchase price in burnt silver marks of 135. 4d. sterling each, and on this valuation land rent was charged in Orkney down till 1600. The eyrislands of 1 Orkney are mentioned in I263. In Shetland the marks of land ceased to be used as the uniform basis of rent charge as early as the sixteenth century, when land was leased at so many pennies per mark, the penny repre-

one version,

gain their support. states that

senting the actual currency value of the rent paid in This method continued in use in Shetland produce. until

the

eighteenth century. eyrisland valuation of Shetland only one record of a pennyland

when

The pennyland and now lost; there is

is

in

Papey,

in

1299,

purchase price was valued at eight silver marks (=i gold mark), on which the rent was then charged, as in Orkney. 2 The purchase value in marks of the pennylands in Orkney varies considerably. Land in the north isles had not increased so much in value as in the Mainland its

(Hrossey). This is undoubtedly accounted for by the fact that the north isles (excepting Rousey, Edey and Westrey), are flat and without heath or moorland, and 1

Hak.

crown 3

S., 365-366,

estate

where

eyrisland

is

translated, geldable

land

and

!

It is assumed and continued but it is possible that it may have been amended from unaltered time to time. This valuation was only used for charging rent and for the division of oftal inheritance, except in Shetland, where it was latterly also used for tithing purposes.

O.S.R.,

that the

I.,

38; Old-Lore Miscellany,

I.,

mark valuation was made previous ;

117-119. to 1299

of the

Saga-Book

246

Viking Society.

consequently more easily cultivated. They would have been cultivated to their full capacity when the first valuation was made. Whereas the Mainland, with its heaths, hills, streams and alluvial soil, provided, as it still does, considerable scope for breaking in new land In Sandey, as its name of improvement. drift formed a sand serious impediment to its implies, The relative value of Orphir (Mainland cultivation. parish), to Sandey (north isle), is in pennylands, as 2. When i 7, whereas the present rental ratio is i the markland valuation was made, the average value

capable

:

:

of a pennyland in Sandey was ij marks, and 8 marks or over.

in

Orphir

LAW: ODALSRETTR.

6-DAL

Five generations of continuous ownership of land converted the estate into an oo'al, its owner into an The 6Sal could oSalsma'Sr, and his son oSalborinn. not be alienated without being first offered to the nearest heir, and, when alienated, it could be redeemed again. Before 1275, 65'ul were inherited equally by the sons only; but, after that date, daughters inherited onehalf of a son's share, and the eldest son had the first, choice of the head house, hbfuftbol, hofufiboeli-, and this was the law in Orkney and Shetland until the sixteenth century. On the introduction

of Christianity, the church speedily got rid of the inability of the 65alsmenn to bequeath land and goods to the church, by the enactment of laws which permitted oSalsmenn to give a hofufttiund and dvaxtartiund, a lithe of stock given

once in one's lifetime (usually on the deathbed), and an annual tithe of income. Latterly the law allowed oSals-

menn and

to give

away

loose goods,

tiundargjb'f, a tenth of inherited land fjdrftungsgjb'f, a fourth of self-

and

acquired land and loose goods, terms which appear in "

Orkney

charters as

tiend

penny and the ferd."

These

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes. gifts could

be

247

.

anyone, and were redeemable in

left to

the usual way. Upon the death of an 65alsma(5r, a court the seventh day afterwards, and

was held on

accordingly called a sjaund, at which the property was divided. As early as 1544, primogeniture crept into Orkney,' fortified by crown charters, and is now general. 1

CURRENCY

VERDAURAR.

:

we have when 2id. Orkney, In 1500,

butter

and

the last relic of butter currency in of butter=i spann. 2 In Shetland, cloth currency was in use until the seven-

teenth century

;

an

and 4 marks weight

ell

of

va5mal being = 2d.-vaSmal, and i lispund

of butter = id. -butter,

of butter = 6d.-butter.

3

In 1575, 2d.-vaSmal = 2s. Scots. 4

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: VAG OK MOLING. The information on this subject is too meagre and uncertain to arrive at any safe conclusion at present. The only certainty is that the weights and measures were fixed by law in Orkney and Shetland they differ in amount.

in 1828,

The spann, tioned

in

butter measure, of 2 id. butter, Orkney in 1500, as equivalent in

is

and

men-

current

market value to 4 lispunds of butter; and 20 lispunds of butter as equivalent in value to a barrel of butter. The lispund, lifspund, linspund, and the setting, settungr, are, contrary divided into 24 marks.

to

As

Norwegian custom, each in Norway, 6 settings =i

5

meil (mcelir). In Norway

the

bismarapund = 24

marks; a

sub-

division which probably got transferred to the lispund and setting in Orkney and Shetland. But here we must leave the subject, which can only be elucidated

^t.

Seal Reg., Scot.

2

P.R., No.

3

MS.

4

Opp. O.Z., 27. P.R., No. I.

5

I.

rental with Viking Society; Goudie's Shetland, 178.

by a

Saga-Book

248

of the

Viking Society.

large and systematic accumulation of facts, and by a thorough examination and study of the weights and measures of Norway and the Hebrides.

SOCIETY

FOLK.

:

1

In Gulajnngslog,

circa 1100, society was main classes (i) thralls, (2) freed grouped thralls, (3) free men and freeholders, (4) noblemen, feoffees of crown lands, (5) earls and king. The last

Classes.

into five

:

four classes were further divided into seven

so

stig,

as

far

the

of

payment

wergild,

grades,

was

bot,

concerned. wergeld ratio.

1.

unfree,

2.

f

ufrjdls

reed-man thrall :(a)

}>rcell,

:

pi.

leysingi,

:

leysingi of the

who

was

}>yrmsl,

original 3.

freed

leysingiar,

first

four generations, on the

dependent

original owner. the

when

thrall.

pi.

still

(b) leysingssonr,

\rcelar,

i

fifth

generation, dependence, on the

owner ceased.

bondi, pi. boendr (a) a tenant of a farm,

2

:

or the

owner

of

kaupajorft, bought land, as opposed to d5a/s/orS, freehold. (b) freeholder, franklin, hauldr, holdr, pi. oftalborinn oftalsmaftr, hauldar,

maftr

;

land became 6Sal

when

it

3

was

inherited from five forefathers, in the 2 sixth generation. N.G.L., see also Seebohm's Tribal Custom in Anglo-Saxon Law. In Seebohm's Tribal custom in Anglo-Saxon Law, 1903, 273, he quotes from Gulathing Law, 270, an incidental reference to 6Sal which is there described as land which afi has left to afi, and which his translator has rendered grandfather has left to grandfather.' 1

-

'

:

Afi in this instance Fritzner, s.v.,

(3)

thing Law, 266.

).

means ancestor (see N.G.L., V., Gloss, The full definition of 68al is given

s.v.,

and

in Gula-

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes. 4.

nobleman,

man fief,

5.

lendborinn,

(formerly hersir), of the king.

lendrmaftr,

(b)

To

len,

12 :

holding a Un,

earl,

(a) jarl,

landed-

one holding a

highborn man, tignarmaftr

249

fief,

of the

nil

king.

24

konungr, king.

48

duke, was added barun and riddari, baron and knight were conferred, in 1277, on the lendirmen, and the skutilsveinn in the king's hirft, bodyguard, who were styled herra, lord. Herra was also applied to the titled classes the hertogi,

later on.

The

titles

of

bishops, and sira to priests. In accordance with Old Borgarthings distinctions

of

class

Law

and grade were applied

dead as well as to the living.

these to

the

The churchyard was

divided into four quarters for burial. Lendirmenn were buried east and south-east of the church, under the eaves if they had taken part in the building of the church, otherwise they were buried in the bcendr's Hauldar and their children were buried next quarter. to the lendirmenn, and the \>rcelar, thralls, next to the

churchyard wall.

1

The

following are the saga references to society, personal appearance, etc., etc. As regards personal appearance, special attention is always directed to dark and swarthy persons, who are sometimes described as unlucky looking, and to very The inference being that fair persons with flaxen hair. the average islander was brown-haired, and not a pure Scandinavian. officials,

1 In the Oxford Icelandic Diet., s.v., Holdr, is given a description of the Norwegian graveyard, which concludes with a statement thai 'the hold had right to twice as much,' etc.; in the Diet, after nearest to the wall insert sources N.G.L., I., 344, 559, 368, and then commence In cases of landndm, i.e., fines for illegal possession or use of land, the hold had right to twice as much, etc., and correct the

source to N.G.L., 44.

Saga-Book

250

of the

Viking Society.

In 880, earl Hallad got weary of the earldom,

and

rett, 6Sal right, and went back to he When resigned his len, fief, of the earlNorway. dom he was only a hauldr or oSalborinn, as there was nothing else for him, unless the king gave him another len and made him a lendrmaSr in Norway. Earl Torf-Einar, 880-900, the famous skald (whose

took up his haulds

name was given by Snorri

to a metre called Torf-Einarshe had an eagle carved on the back of Half dan, the son of Harald harfagri, and sacrificed him to OSin, sung a song in which he referred to the holdar who had warned him of the danger, hcetta, he had incurred. The Orkney 65alsmenn or bcendr were therefore called hauldar. For this crime king Harald, as already mentioned, exacted a payment, gjald, from the islands. Earl Torfliinar paid the fine, in security for which the bcendr gave him their 6Sul. The rich, auftigr, bcendr agreed, because they thought that they would be able to redeem them, while the poor, snauftr, bcendr had no money hdltr),

after

pay the gjald. have here a clear statement that the bcendr of Orkney (and Shetland ?) were hauldar or oSalbornir. The designation b6ndi is applied, throughout the saga, to the 65albornir or oSalsmenn of the islands. The to

We

Scottish

hofSingi,

Summerled,

is

called

a

hb'ldr,

in

The bcendr

of Shetland are called fyegnar, thanes or freemen, in a verse.

1157.

Earl Einar took the earldom as a len, or

fief,

from

the king, and was not required to pay any skatt (as was paid by the earls in Norway), on account of the viking raids to

which the islands were subject.

Throughout the existence of the Norse earldom, 8721468, it was always held as a fief from the king of Norway, each earl being invested. The title was not strictly hereditary, as it was conferred, at will, by the king, on any member or connexion of the family, or on another family altogether.

Earl SigurS, circa 995,

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

251

restored the 65ul to the bcendr for services rendered

him in Scotland. He had a /nrS, bodyguard, which numbered among its members, Helgi and Grim Njalssons and Kari. He had also a syshimaftr, steward, in The b&tr, wergild, awarded Caithness and Stroma. to

by the king was fixed as the above

for the slaughter of earl Einar, for three lendirmenn, instead of

in

1026,

two as

in

list.

Earl I>orfinn,

who

ruled 1014-1064,

was

half a Scots-

mother being a daughter of the king of Scotland. He had the whole earldom to manage after 1028 and to own 1030-1035, the period of king Knut's reign over Norway. He had his foirS, bodyguard, and treated them and many other rikismenn, mighty men, exceptionally well, as he furnished them with meat and drink all the winter through, and not merely at Yule, as was the custom of other earls and kings, so that no man needed to go to a skytningr,- a guild or club.

man,

his

Earl Rognvald, 1045, brought certain matters before his vinir

raSgjafi

and rdftgjafar, friends and councillors. A was one of the council of a king or princely

person.

When the

1046,

earl

Rognvald burnt

women and

the

earl

ufrjdls,

f>orfinn's

bu,

unfreemen,

in

i.e.,

were allowed to escape, but the hirSmenn were burnt in the house, "as they would be no better to him alive than dead." However, the earl escaped in

thralls,

the dark.

Frequently a sdttar-fundr, peacemeeting, was held for the settlement of private disputes. During 1098-1102, SigurS, the nine-year-old son of king Magnus, was earl of Orkney, when the two ruling earls were banished to Norway. The king provided him with a

made

rdftvneyti, council.

During king Magnus' expedition to Scotland and England, Magnus, afterwards earl and saint, acted in his /lirS as skutilsveinn.

On

the succession of SigurS to the throne, the sons

Saga-Book

252 of the earls.

banished earls

Both

of the

Viking Society.

who had

since died were

made

of these earls were married to Scottish

the earl's men, in 1116, are mentioned merkismaftr, standard bearer, and steikari, cook. The merkismaSr of the king ranked as a lendrmaSr.

wives.

Among

his

When

Hakon's merkismaSr declined to execute Magnus, his steikari was ordered to do so. There a distinction drawn between the rikismen and bcendr earl

St. is

who

attended a thing in 1137; the difference may have been one of wealth, as previously mentioned, auSigr and snauftr. There were njosnarmen (news-men), The bishop, on one occasion, spies, in those days. acted as meftalferftarmaftr, intercessor, between the earls. There were two gildirmenn, great men, in 1128,

Jon vagngr (wing), at Uppland in Haey, and his brother RikarS, at Brekka in Strj6nsey. In 1135, the earl had his skutilsveinn and kertisveinn

page and torchbearer, at feasts. The skutilsveinn was one of the hirft, bodyguard. Two earls shared the earldom in 1139, and it was arranged that one should have ra5, rule, and that they should have only one hirS between them. Earl Rognvald, the saint and skald, took into his Hall, the Icelandic skald, and they collabor" ated in the composition of the famous Hattalykill hinn forni," a key to metres, and used five visur, strophes, to each hdttr, metre, but the kvcefti, song, was thought too long, and now two are sung to each hattr. Other Icelandic skalds were also taken into his hirS. hirS,

This

earl

had

his syslumaftr, steward, in Caithness, to

collect his revenues.

Svein, the last of the vikings, who was latterly a hirSmaSr of earl Rognvald, had in his house a heimakona, housemaid, and huskarlar, menservants, followers or bodyguard. He had also a landseti or husbondi, a The earl's and Svein 's tenant of one of his farms. huskarlar may have been their hirS, and not merely menservants because this term is sometimes applied ;

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

253

even to the king's hirS. When Svein and earl Erlend met unexpectedly, at a time when they happened to be at feud with each other, they endeavoured to settle their dispute on the spot. his hirft

But as the

and

was not accombodyguard and counearl

panied by rdftuneyti, cil, Svein offered the services of his

own fylg&, followers or bodyguard, and raSuneyti. This gives a idea of the of status an good Orkney rikismaor, gofugr maSr or gceSingr, of the period, 1

Other leading men, such as I?orbj6rn klerk, had a sveitungr or fylgSarmenn, a following of men. -The designation gceSingr denotes a man of gcefti, wealth. In 1064, the earl's gceSingar are mentioned. Earl Rognvald had the bishop and many of his gceSingar at his Yule

feast.

Svein 's revenues

in Caithness,

In 1153, the gceSingar 1126, are called his gceSi. went into two bands and took sides with the two earls. in

remarked that there were many gofugir menn, noblemen, in Orkney, of the stock of the earls, In 1128,

it

is

who were all gceSingar of earl Pal. In 1136, earl Pal summoned the gceSingar and asked council. He had a great feast with his gceSingar. The earl's gceSingar when the danger beacons were lit. a reference in Fms. vi., 442, to the king's stallari and other gceSingar, and x, 303, to the king's borS and gceSingar. The conclusion seems inevitable that the term gceSingar was applied in Orkney to the

came

There

earl's

to the earl is

hirSmenn, the "gentles" of a

later period.

At any

rate they were the wealthy oSalbornin, and of the stock of the earls. gceSingr was described in 1 159, as of the

A

earl's kin,

and the gofgastr

mafrr,

most worshipful by

birth, in the earl's /iS,. troops. They are always called the earl's gceSingar and of his- kin ; possibly they had

grants, during the earl's life, of portions of the earldom lands at veizlu, in return for which they would have

support him in battle and to entertain him when on As circuit, corresponding with the king's lendirmenn. to

1

The

translation of Orkn.

is

bad here.

,-v

2 54

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

the earl only held the earldom for

life, in fief from the he could only grant portions of it, at veislu, king, his tenure. during A Shetland buandi ( bondi), in 1137, had a leigu-

maftr, servant

dom,

is

An vice.

;

and

man-frelsi, giving a thrall his free-

mentioned.

drraaoV, steward, also appears in the earl's serbondi in Caithness was described as gb'fugr,

A

noble.

In

St.

1154,

Magnus'

was

cathedral

used

as

A

sanctuary.

Harald Thorbjorn addressed

earl Rognvaldr as herra only applied to kings and earls at that In 1277, knights and barons were created in time. Norway, to whom the title of herra was given.

a

in 1139-48,

The

title

king's foguti,

was annexed

it

to

his befalingsmen, 1210.

bailiff,

Norway, 1

appears in

officers, to

in

Shetland,

when

1194, and the king sent Orkney and Shetland in

was in the appanage of afterwards hertogi, duke, Hakon, king of Norway. There were no lendirmenn in Orkney and Shetland, as the earl was sole feoffee, but their place in society and in the government of the earldom would be taken by the rich and leading oSals-bcendr, the rikismenn, goeSingar, etc., who probably represented the earls in In

1273-1299,

Shetland

their respective districts.

Besides the political divisions of classes, it will have been already observed that there were then, as now, a multiplicity of social distinctions, even in one class. It has already been mentioned that, as early as 895, the brendr were divided into rich and poor, as well as For the earls' kin, chiefs, great men and such like. matrimonial purposes there would, undoubtedly, have 1

Orkn. 236

Undals Boglunga sogur; at befalingsman does not occur in Norway. 1600) of the

is syslutnenn.

:

Peder Clauson

lost

Danish

translation

(circa

time (1210) the term The term used in Sverr. S.

this

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

255

been

still further discrimination observed, having regard to family associations. The islands must have been a veritable storehouse of genealogical lore, seeing that five generations had to be traced back to claim 6Sal right, and four for a freed thrall family to claim to be freeborn. In Frostathinglaw, a family of thrall origin

had

to

trace

eight

The law

arborinn.

proved by witnesses

generations, in order to become required these genealogies to be in court.

As

regards the 65als-bcendr, they were all, rich and poor, members of their primary lawthing, and eligible for nomination as members of the logretta the humble

owner working owner with his

his

own patch

of ground,

and the

rich

estate let out to tenants

and, as such, poor, described as

they were indiscriminately, rich and g68ir-menn; good men, i.e., good, honest and respectable men whereas the rich, the well-born and leading men, or rulers, who were members of the hirSmannastefna, were, as such, appropriately described as the " " The hirSmannastefna, of the country. gentles which originally was concerned with court ceremonial, latterly, in Orkney, acted as a judicial assembly, over ;

which the

earl presided. faculty for

The inborn

genealogy was maintained

when

in

Shetland until the nineteenth century, that some families had oral genealogies going back for centuries, which had been handed down from generait

is

told

tion to generation.

Living. steads

In the saga

we have

descriptions of

home-

parlour; bakhus, bakehouse; an barn brunnr, well Ijori,

skdli, hall; stofa,

bygghus, bigghouse, opening in the roof for light and for the escape of smoke from the langeldar, longfires, in the centre of the hall floor; when the fires were not burning the Ijori was covered with a skjd-vindauga, skin window, formed ;

;

of a skjd-grind, a frame, covered with skjall, a membrane or skin, to admit light walls were hung with ;

tjald,

tapestry, with mythological subjects.

Saga-Book

256

of the

Viking Society.

There were skytningar, clubs or guilds, and Kirkwall was a kaupstaftr, merchant town, in 1137. The earls wore kyrtills and gilded helmets and had underclothing of lin-klcefti, linen.

Bread-breaking was

performed as a peace token. when feasts were held memorial toasts drunk out of horns,

Brewing took place before Yule, and

solemn

kapp-drykkja. Evening were the fashion.

meals,

with

drinking

after,

Earl Rognvald indulged in harp-playing, and in Among games mentioned are extemporising poetry.

mann-jofnufSr, man-matching, comparing which is the better of two, frequently ending in bloodshed tafl, draughts. Among sports otter (otr) hunting, hare (heri) hunt;

'

:

:

grouse (heiftar-hcend) shooting, in 1154, in Orkney, and deer hunting in Caithness. Ships. In the mythical part of the saga we are told of a stjornfastskip, a ship with the rudder fixed, a term used again in 1098, also bakborfti, larboard, as opposed to stjornborfii, starboard, which is mentioned in 1152. The following notices are arranged chronoin'g,

logically .880 stafnbui, :

forecastle men (stafn, stem, bow or The framstafn, the bow, aptrstafn, the stern). term occurs again in 1136, with frambyggvar, bow:

stern

The gangway

sitters.

leading to the

bow was

called

frambryggja. 1029: langskip, longship; framan siglu, before' the mast; sigla, mast; segl, sail; stafnle, a grappling hook (le, a scythe); dr, oar; lypting, poop, a raised place (castle) on the poop. 1046: bdtr, boat; hdls, the bow or neck of a boat; andceja, to paddle a boat against tide and wind to prevent drifting, modern dialect ando. 1047 tvitug-sessa, twenty-oared ship (sessa, a seat). .

:

,1098

:

fyrirrum, the

the lypting. J IT O

-

first

cabin in the after part, next

Orkney and Shetland Historical Xotes. 1136:

}>iljur

(planks),

the

six-oared

deck;

257

smd skip, small modern Shetland

boat, ships; sexceringr, sixareen ; veiftar-fteri, fishing tackle. 1137 byr&ingr, a merchant ship, a ship of burden; skuta, a small craft, cutter. :

1148:

steerer, skipstjornarma&r, ship captain, at a with ruma-tali, pritugt ship skipper thirty rooms, seats or divisions, for sixty rowers ; buit skip, orna;

mented ship

hdlf-fcrtugt at ruma-tali, a ship with for seventy rowers, and gulli lagi enni-spcenir ok veftrvitar ok vifia annars-staftar

thirty-five allir

;

rooms,

buit, gilded carved heads and weather-vane and many other parts ornamented dreki (a dragon), a ship of war, with a dragon's head as beak, and hofufiin ok krokar ;

mjok gullbuit, the head and tail or coils aft much gilded, and hlyr-birt, stained on the bows, and painted above the water line. 1152: dromundr, a warship, in the Mediterranean. aptr

1154: reiQi, tackle, including sails; eptir-bdtr, after boat, a cock boat of a ship. tjald, a tent or awning on board ship. 1158 Torf-Einar slew a viking in the ninth Beliefs. and gave him to the troll, trolls he made an century :

;

on the back of Half dan halegg with a sverft, sword, and skera, cut, the rif, ribs, all from the hryggr, spine, and draga, draw there out the lungu, lungs, and gaf, gave, him to OS in for his sigr, victory; after which he let cast Halfdan's " The Xorns have ruled it haugr, how, when he sung In earl 995 rightly." SigurS digri and the Orkneyingar were asserted by Olaf Tryggvason trua, to believe, in

Orkneyman

cut an

o'rn,

eagle,

7

,

:

'

ymislig

When

carved gods.' skur&gofi, various idols or the king desired skira, to baptise, the earl, the

abide by the dtrunaftr, faith, and the of his siSr, religion, frcendr, kinsmen, and forfeftr, forefathers (Orkn., 313, quoting Flalcyjarbok, ch. 12). latter preferred to

A spdmaftr, spaeman, forneskjumafir, sorcerer, or visindamaSr, wizard, was consulted by earl Hakon Palsson, s

Saga-Book

258

of the

Viking Society.

1090-94, about getting hamingja, good luck, and hearing his forlog, future fate, by forneskja or fjolkyngi, witchcraft. Heathen sacrifice, blot, is referred to. in

Svein brjostreip, a hir&'maSr of earl Pal, was forn tnjbk, versed in old lore or witchcraft, and had constantly uti setift and sat uti um nottina, sat out at night as a wizard (at the cross-roads), which is described as ubotaverk, a crime, in N.G.L. Svein preferred witchcraft to attending midnight mass on Yule eve. The slaughter of Svein was welcomed by the bishop as land hreinsan, a cleansing of the land, a term used in Gulathing Law for clearing the land of miscreants. Society after Saga times. The last Norse earls in the male line were already half Scottish in 1206; and

numerous Scottish relatives and friends of theirs came Orkney. As regards Scottish marriages, like rulers

to

like people.

that time

till

After 1206, the Scottish earls ruled. From 1400, and later, is more or less a blank,

except certain misdeeds of the bishops, an elopement, rival claimants to the earldom, and clergy translated from Norway to Orkney and Shetland. In 1347, king Magnus Eiriksson bequeathed, to St. Magnus'1 cathedral, a chasuble, dalmatic tunicle and a cope.

The king

of

England complained

to

Norway about

the bishop of Moray, the excommunicated adherent of 2 and Robert the Bruce, being harboured in Orkney later on, Robert the Bruce, who, tradition says, himself took refuge in Orkney, in turn complained about ;

An agreeone of his fugitives being received there. ment, in Norse, drawn up in 1369, between the bishop and the representative of the king of Norway, during an interregnum in the earldom, gives some insight into the 3

social condition of the islands at that time.

agreed that the bishop

men,

in

and the

rikast

Orkney and Shetland, should be

1

D.N., V., 149. 'D.N., XIX., 544. "D.N., V.. 63. See also 'D.N., I., 308.

II.,

98; XIX., 594.

4

It

was

noblest

menn, first and

fore-

Orkney and Shetland Historical Xotes. most

in

all

rdS,

259

henceforth as regarded the

councils,

and people, according to the laws and landssiftir, customs of the country, and that the bishop should have godirmen (O.X. goftir mcnn), good, honest men, inlenzkir, born in, Orkney and Shetland, at }>j6na, to serve him, as the custom was with other bishops in Norway. king, church

The

were evidently, at this early period, from It is significant Scottish adventurers. suffering that of the twenty-four leading men who were present at the making of that agreement, many had Scottish names, including the archdeacon of Orkney, a canon, and several clergy. Only two had Norwegian names, Gudbrand Andresson and Olave Skutt, while Sigurd of Paplay may be the only native man among the lot. The wardrobe and belongings of a Shetland gentleman of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, sir David Sinclair, great foud of Shetland, captain of islands

the king's castle in Bergen, etc., are set forth in his will of 1506; inter alia: Drinking vessels

" and one " mid stoops, with thirty stopps (flagons and cups?) " The Carvell " a little ship; and the Inglis Ships

two

:

:

silver

;

(English) ship.

Jewelry

gold chain, "

:

which he wore daily gold by the king of ;

collar," given to him Denmark; great silver belt; signet. Clothing linen robe bought from the

chain, called a

Flemings blue with stones with breast set hood, set doublet, precious with precious stones black doublet of velvet red hose short red velvet coat, without sleeves short black velvet coat doublet of cloth of gold grey satin gown three black damask gown with silver butostrich feathers tons grey scarlet hose doublet of down cramese red :

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

velvet

coat,

Cathedral

;

left

to

the

high

altar

of

St.

two-thirds of a black velvet coat,

Magnus' church, Tingwall, and one-third church of Dunrosnes; green cloth,

etc.

Magnus' left

to St.

to the

Cross

260

of the

Saga-Book

Harness

:

"

Book

Viking Society.

three saddles, etc

The Book

of Good Manners." Another Shetland gentleman, Magnus Leslie of Ayth, had purloined from him, circa 1576, by the foud of :

Shetland, besides, food, drink, " sixteen

articles:

ells

of

cattle, etc.,

keltar

"

one

;

the following pair double

a bed covering a doublet of cramese blankets a black cowl, which cost a crown of the sun three crystal stones set in silver, of the Dutch fashion copper kettle a keg, with twelve pounds of soap tin cans and empty stoops honey cruses pigs (earthenware jars) " " stalis cups; beakers; together with all his servants' clothing, such as cassies, breeks, doublets. ;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

1

Person-names. Patronymics were in use in Shetland until early in the nineteenth century, when they became stereotyped. Some names in Shetland appear to have been taken from local place-names. In Orkney the last vestiges of patronymics occur in the sixteenth In Orkney, Scottish settlers were rife, and century. it is probable that the immediate descendants of the first settlers, especially those without historic names, would conform to the prevailing fashion of patronymics, and, later, unencouraged by local intermarriage and the Scots set the fashion, possibly began doubtedly the adoption of place- as person-names (an advantage to fugitives). With the exception of Scottish and other outland names, nearly all other Orkney person;

names

are

now derived from

local

place-names.

In

the early stages of the adoption of place-surnames, and when the custom was in its full vigour, such Orkney

place-names as may have replaced Scottish surnames would become permanent whereas, in the final decay of the fashion in the i8th century, we find, as was to ;

be expected, that the substituted place-surname was, frequently, only of a temporary nature. We also find, in Orkney, that persons readily changed their placesurname for that of a new abode. Taking all this into !Opp. O.Z..

72.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

261

it would be difficult, if not impossible, which families are now of native Norse origin in the male line. Even Blaikie and Halcro, which have hitherto been regarded as the most important OrkneyNorse surnames, are only represented by genuine placenames in Forfarshire and Caithness. Another Forfarshire place-name, Fothringham, is also the surname of an old Orkney family. Another factor to be considered is the changing of place-names for one or other of the following reasons

consideration, to say

:

the inclination to acquire a property with the same or a similar sounding name to that of the purchaser, and conforming one with the other; (2) the deliberate (i)

of the place-name to that of the surname of the owner, e.g., the Caithness place-name Halcro was given to a place called Holland in South Ronaldsey, which belonged to the Halcro family, in the sixteenth

changing

century, and in recent times Balfour appears in Shapinsey, (3) personal association has introduced such foreign place-names as Inkerman, Balaclava, Ballarat, etc.,, while fables have converted Keeso into Kaesar, and

Grikalty into Agricola.

Of modern English place-names may be mentioned News = New-house, Nieland = New-land (old name = Glower-over-all, a Orquil, in Orphir), Glowrowra :

house on a hill-side, with a wide view. There are known instances of the glossing of placesurnames, induced by a sensitiveness to fashion. In the ascendancy of Scottish influence, Rusland became Russell, Burgar Burgess, etc., and conversely, in the full vigour of the Norse influence, Scottish surnames :

would have been conformed to Orkney forms. Each Scottish place-man and notable settler would have been followed by a train of relatives, friends, dependents and other persons from the same district, as actually occurred in and after the sixteenth century, of which we have records. Those persons in Orkney and Shetland who can

262

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

prove their descent from the St. Clair earls (which includes all the descendants of bishop Graham) are of viking descent. As an illustration of the readiness with which Scotsmen became naturalised in the islands,- may be mentioned the case of the Scottish-born Scotsman, Lawrence Bruce of Cultmalindie. He was the principal agent in

1575 of the oppressor, lord Robert Stewart, and in 1592 numbered himself, together with seven other persons " odallers," and bearing Scottish names, among the

as such supplicated the Scottish parliament against the oppressions of Patrick Stewart, earl of Orkney (the son " of his erstwhile employer), and championed the gwid subjectis, in

heritable possessoris of the udack

( !)

lands

Orkney and Zetland."

The bulk of the principal landowners in the islands have had Scottish names for centuries, including some such as families, Irvine, Craigie, leading 65al Cromarty, Sinclair, etc. The ascendancy of the Scots is only natural, when we consider (i) the proximity of Orkney to Scotland, (2)

the

succession

of

the

Scottish

earls

since

1206,

by Scotland in 1468, and their following

the acquisition of the islands since when the clergy, officials, (3)

have been Scots, and (4) the population, especially since the adoption of the English language, has been mainly recruited from Scotland, while considerable emigration of the viking element has been constantly in progress. If the male line of the earls died out in three centuries, as early as 1206, the same is to be expected of, at least, the ruling class as well. But there can be little doubt that there are few in the islands who

do not descend, through the distaff side, from the old vikings, whose spirit of adventure and colonisation they have so well maintained in all the British colonies. .

O.Z.. 101.

Orkney and Shetland Historical Notes.

AUTHORITIES REFERRED TO INTRODUCTION. Page references are

D.N.

to this

Diplomatarium Norvegicum quoted by

THE

volume. vol.

and page.

Norges Gamle Love.

N.G.L. Orkn.

IN

263

Orkneyinga Saga, Rolls Series of Icelandic Sagas, vols. 1 and translation. As the translation contains additional

,

text

III.,

text,

referred to by page but the text is used as the authority, as the translation is imperfect. In the Introduction this saga is referred to as " the saga." is

it

Hak.

S.

text is

;

Hakonar Saga, Rolls Series of Icelandic Sagas, vols. II., IV., and translation. The translation is cited by page but the text

founded on.

Opp. O.Z. Oppressions of the Sixteenth Century in the islands of Orkney and Zetland; from the original documents. Edited by colonel David Balfour, of Balfour, for the Maitland Club, Edinburgh, 1859. Heimskringla. Sverr. S.

Rev. O.T.

Saga Library,

Sverrissaga.

vols. 3-6.

Northern Library, Vol. IV.

Translated by the

Sephton, London, 1899. Northern Library, vol. Saga of king Olaf Tryggvason. lated by the Rev. J. Sephton, London. 1895. J.

I.

Trans-

Ud. N.H.

Udsigt over den Norske rets historic, by professor Absalon Taranger, 2 vols. Christiania, 1898, 1904.

Dr. Jakob Jakobsen's works referred pa Shetland, K0benhavn, 1897.

K0benhavn, 1901.

are: Det Norr0ne sprog Shetlands0ernes stednavne, Etymologisk ordbog over de Norr0ne sprog to

pa Shetland, a sju. K0benhavn, 1908, 1909, 1912. The dialect and placenames of Shetland, Lerwick, 1897. Nordisk minder, isaer sproglige pa Orkn0erne. Svensha LandsmMen, 1911.

Rentals of the ancient earldom and bishopric of Orkney. Edited by Alexander Peterkin, 1820. O.S.R. Orkney and Shetland Records, Viking Society, Vol. I., completed quoted by page. Explanations of terms have been taken from Cleasby's Icelandic-English Dictionary, Fritzner's Ordbog over det gamle Norske sprog, and the Gloss irium to N.G.L.

P.R.

;

TEMPLE- ADMINISTRATION AND CHIEFTAINSHIP IN PRE-CHRISTIAN NORWAY AND ICELAND. BY

THE

BERTHA

S.

PHILLPOTTS, M.A.

union of priestly functions and

political

power

exemplified in the position of the goftar in preChristian Iceland is a matter on which all scholars agree, and it is generally admitted that, to some extent at least, the political power of this class

Iceland developed as a

in

tration It

is

Were

result

of

temple-adminis-

.

regard to Norway that views diverge. Norwegian emigrants who came to settle in

with

the

Iceland accustomed to see political and religious administration combined in one office, and, if so, who were the persons in Norway who wielded this combined

power ?

The

older

1

2

Munch, and Sars, all held that the Icelandic constitution must have developed on Norwegian lines, and that the NorNorwegian

historians,

Keyser,

3

wegian prototypes of the go&ar are the petty kings, jarls, and chiefs (hersar), who, as they maintained, must have combined priestly functions with their administrative activities. Maurer 4 at first supported this view, but on finding that the word gofti occurred on three Danish Runic stones, he appears to have modified his opinion/ and came to the conclusion that goftar, and occasionally R. Keyser, Efterladte Skrifter, ii., i, pp. 6, 23. P. A. Munch, Det Norske Folks Historic, i., i, pp. 151 ff. S J. E. Sars, Udsigt over den norske Historic, i. 220. 4 K. Maurer, Die Entstehung des islandischen Staates, p. 98 ff. 5 K. Maurer, Zur Urgeschichte der Godenwiirde, Z.f.d. Phil. 1

2

p. 127

ff.

iv.

Temple Administration gy&jur,

priestesses,

in

exercised

Norway and Denmark, but

whom

chiefs or kings to

Norway and priestly

Iceland.

265

functions

in

dependence on the were attached, and on they in entire

He also admits that have in Norway, and sugexisted private temples may the of that owners these gests might also have been V. on the other Finsen, hand, fails to see any goftar. indication of a connection between the chiefs and the temple-administration in Norway, and maintains that the goftar, as an independent class of priests, had existed from early times among all Northern peoples, whose behalf they

officiated.

1

and

that the survival of the

merely due

title

in

Iceland alone

is

to the circumstance that there alone did the

come

to play

any important part in political life. on Northern religion, including Mogk, incline to Maurer's later view, but always basing their opinion mainly on the evidence adduced by him, which priests

Later writers

2

Finsen, rightly enough, considered insufficient. The present essay is due to the writer's conviction that there is room for a more detailed study of the question. The evidence vouchsafed by our sources, though meagre and scrappy in the extreme, does yet seem capable,

when

collected, of

somewhat more

exploitation

than has hitherto fallen to its lot. A systematic review of all the available items of information may bring us a little nearer to certainty as regards the main question

and may further throw

at issue,

light

on some other

points. I. It

NORWAY.

be best to begin our review of the evidence

will

by considering all that we can glean concerning Norwegian temples and their management. If we begin with the south, the prehistoric temple at Skiringssalr 1

Om

den

oprindelig

Institutioner, p. 56 2

Ordning af nogle

Herrmann, Nordische Mythologie

Paul's

Grundriss

(p. 610-12)

af

den islandske Fristats

ff.

Hi.,

399).

;

Golther,

Mogk,

Mythologie zur germ.

Handbuch

appears to hold Maurer's earlier view.

89

(in

Myth.

266 the

is

Saga-Book

of the

r

]

iking Society. '

be dealt with. Ski'ringssalr is generally to have comprised the modern district

first to

considered

of Tj011ing, east of Larvik, in the ancient kingdom of Vestfold, and to have taken its name from a temple

(Skirings-salr) supposed to be in the immediate neighbourhood of a royal residence. Sacrifice at Skirings2 salr is mentioned in the Sogubrot af Fornkonungum, and in the extracts of its lost continuation as preserved 3

by Arngnmr Jonsson. The former breaks off with the words " Then sacrifices were held at Skiringssalr, to which people flocked from all the vik.' Arn:

'

'

grimr continues the story, telling us that King Sigurd Ring, who seems to have owned lands in these regions, though he was probably of Danish origin, turned aside "in Vickiam Norvegiae provinciam ad facienda sacra ethnica in Sciringssal, quae solennia ibi erant," and there sees Alfsol, 4 the daughter of King Alfr of Vend-

Denmark. Skiringssalr was thus evidently of more than tribal importance as a religious as well as a

syssel in

mercantile centre, but all that we can glean for our purpose is that the temple was to some extent under the patronage of the Vestfold kings. However, as far Norwegian custom of that date is concerned, the Skiringssalr evidence is not really conclusive, since these Vestfold kings were not Norwegian in origin, but

claimed descent from the Yngling kings of Upsala, and these were certainly regarded as the chief priests of the Other evidence for the connection of Norpeople. wegian royalty with temples, not so good in itself, but not open to that particular objection, is furnished by the Fornaldar Sogur. Thus FriSjof's Saga tells us 1

G. Storm, Skiringssal og Sandefjord, Hist. Tidskr. Raekke iv.. Bd. ff. Also A. Kjaer: Hvad var Ski'ringssalr, Bd. v. (1908). Ch. x. (F.A.S., i., 363-88). Printed in Aarb. f.n. Oldk. 1894, p. 131 ff.

i.,

1901, p. 214 2 3

A kenning containing the word vtbraut, and applied to Harald Fairhair, has been quoted as evidence that he was protector of the But it seems that the kenning has no such significance, cp. temple. F. Jonsson, Heimskringla iv., p. 28. 4

Temple Administration in Norway and Iceland. 267 of a King Beli of Sogn, who lives close to Baldrshagi, a great temple, and later on it tells us that his sons, who had succeeded to the kingdom, sacrificed there. And Hervarar Saga knows of a disablot, a sacrifice to

the disir, at one

King

Alfr's.

\Ve can now proceed to Vors. Vors or Voss was the name both of a district in South HorSaland, and of a homestead in that district. The fact that we hear of at least one Thing held at the farm Vors suggests that 1

was the centre

it

name

its

to the

and that neighbourhood. It seems of the district,

it

had given

likely, then,

was the residence of the hersir. All w e know of sacrifice at Vors is from a statement in Viga-Glum's 2 Saga, where we are told of a great feast there at the that

r

it

winter nights, said to be a sacrifice to the disir, at the 3 temple ( ?) of the hersir Vigfus, in about the year 950. next reach Gaular, a district comprising the inner part of the Dalsfjord, in the region formerly called From various sources 4 we know Fjalir, in FirSafylki. that a certain Atli was jarl of Gaular from about 845-

We

870.

This Atli joins King Halfdan hinn svarti, and is jarl of Sogn by him, and by Harald after him, but clear that he was still jarl of Gaular. Egilssaga

made

*

5

is

it

"

Then (about gives us the following information He lived at Gaular. hinn Atli was 868) jarl. mjovi ... It was a certain autumn that there was a great :

We

gathering at Gaular for an autumn sacrifice." Atli further learn that Atli's daughter was present. was killed about 870,' and his last surviving son, Hasteinn, must have left the country shortly afterwards, so we cannot identify the host at the next great sacri270 and probably also F.M.S.,

1

F.M.S.,

2

Vgl., ch. 6 (cf. ch. 3)! " }>xr var veizla buin at vetrnottum ok gjort disablot ..." Hkr. Half. sv. ch 3, H.h. ch. 12, Fagrsk. ch. i., 2, Flat, i., 562, 570, etc.

s 4

5

f>au

iv.,

i.,

64.

Fgrsk. 2, bans hafufl bu var a Gaulum. Hkr., Hh. 12. Atli ord i mot, at hann mun halda Sygnafylki ok sva Gaulum.

6

Eg.

7

So F. Jonsson

jarl

sendi

2.

in his

Hkr.

ed..

but cp. Vigfusson, Timatal,

p. 290.

268

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

fice recorded at Gaular, in the spring of 917,' when we are told that great numbers from FirSafylki and Fjalir

and

Sogn, and most of them important persons, attended, including J>6rir, hersir of FirSafylki. King Eirikr Blodox was also present. On this occasion Egilssaga vouchsafes the further information that there

was a " most splendid chief temple " (hofufthof) there. But we are fortunate in knowing something more about Gaular.

2

Landnamabok

one I>orbj6rn, " called enn This I'orbjorn had a

tells of

a powerful hersir in Fjalafylki, gaulverski," the man of Gaular.

who was

son Flosi, who emigrated to Iceland, after killing three of Harald's officials, but did not come to Iceland till as

late,

called

clear

is

him

from the

the other settlers thus revealing that they

fact that

Flosi hinn norrceni,

3

already considered themselves Icelanders. So we may assume that he did not go to Iceland until towards 920 or 930, and therefore his father, I>orbj6rn, may have 4 lived at Gaular until nearly that date. Now Flosi's sister, Oddny, also came to Iceland with her son Loptr,

and to

of this

Loptr Landnama

Norway every

third

he went out behalf of Flosi and

relates that

summer on

himself, to sacrifice at that temple

which I>orbj6rn, 5

his 6

Finsen mother's father, had had charge of at Gaular. says (i) that nothing can be deduced from such an

isolated statement, (2) that I>orbj6rn may have had charge of the temple before he was hersir, (3) that the verb, varftveita, to have charge of, does not necessarily imply that he actually officiated. With regard to point (i), we must remember that it rests on Landnama's

unimpeachable testimony, and that

it

is

exactly the

1

Eg. 49. 2 Ld. Hauksbcik ch. 315, 323, Sturlubok 368. (F. Jonsson's ed. the following pages H = Hauksbok, S = Sturlubok).

'Ld. 4

S.,

In

315.

Cp. also Timatal, p. 285. Ld. H., 323. Loptr for utan

5 hit iij hvert sumar fyrir bond )>eira Flosa beggia moSurbroSur sins at biota at hon )>vi er ]>orbiorn moSurfaftir hans hafdi par var5 veitt a Gaulum. Cp. also Ld. H., 315 S., 368. 6 Om den opr. Ord., p. 52. ;

Temple Administration

in

Norway and

Iceland.

269

kind of unexpected statement that bears the stamp of upon it, for it is obvious that it could not be invented. The second objection is only a suggestion,

truth

and an unlikely one, since it is improbable that I^orbjorn's descendants would have gone to such trouble to keep up sacrificing, if I>orbjorn had only had charge of the temple in his youth. As regards (3) we find that the verb varftveita is used of Icelandic goftar, having 1

charge of their temple. doubt that the grandson as the

We

Moreover there can be at

any

little

rate actually officiated,

word

biota (to sacrifice) is used. are now faced by several possibilities.

Is the

temple at Gaular of which l>orbjorn had charge the same as the " chief temple " in Gaular mentioned in Egilssaga, and was it at this same temple that Atli held his sacrificial feast in about 868 ? It certainly seems probable that 5?orbjorn had had charge of a chief temple, for his descendants would hardly have thought it worth while to return to sacrifice at a mere private temple. Moreover, if it had only been a private temple, there would have been no reason why Flosi or Loptr should not have removed it, or its most sacred parts, to Iceland, as we know was done with a considerable number of temples. Of course, Atli may have had another temple the only difficulty in such a supposition is that there should be two, presumably important, temples in so small a district as Gaular. Perhaps :Eorbjorn only took over the charge of the temple after the death of Atli in 870. But there is nothing inherentlyimpossible in a jarl and a hersir sharing a temple, at any rate, if any credit can be given to Xjala's statement with regard to the GuSbrandsdal temple. The fact that Loptr returns every third summer to sacrifice reminds 2 us of the story in the late FriSj>jof's Saga, in which a :

hersir, I>orbj6rn of

Sogn, had a third of the kingdom,

Eyrb. 15. Snorri varftveitti ok varftveitti hofuShofit. 1

2

Ch.

i.

l>a

hof.

Vapn.

5.

Steinvor var hofgySja

Saga-Book

270

of the

Viking Society.

and made a great

feast for the King of Sygnafylki every third year. It is just possible that torbjorn (or his predecessor) and Atli, and perhaps another hersir, took it in turns to hold the sacrificial feasts. know that the chiefs of the Inner 3>randheimr district took over the charge of the sacrifices in turns. However this may be, we have at least seen that a hersir certainlv, and possibly a jarl, actually officiated in a chief temple in Gaular. are unfortunately unable to tell whether the King AuSbjorn of FirSafylki ever played any part

We

We

in this chief

temple. pass on to the temple in GuSbrandsdal, where a hersir line ruled from the time of King Halfdan hinn svarti (or earlier) till the reign of St. Olaf. Njala

We

now

'

us that the hersir Guftbrandr of Jarl Hakon's day was a great friend of that ruler, that the two shared a temple together, the second largest in Norway, which Njala declares was only opened when tells

(up to 995)

came

the jarl

thither.

This

last is

a more than doubtful statement.

usually regarded as hear of the temple

We

2

In 1022, when St. Olaf was forcibly Christianizing the neighbouring districts, the hersir GuSbrandr is said to have cut up the war-arrow and summoned all the inhabitants to a

again

in

engaged

small

Heimskringla. in

village

called

HundJ?orp.

We

are

told

that

enormous numbers of men attended. GuSbrandr then " " our makes a speech, in which he refers to temple, " which has always and to the image of Thorr in it, aided us."

We

may

discount the historical accuracy

of the speech, but it is clear from Snorri's description that he regarded the temple as the main place of worship for the

whole neighbourhood. 2

3

Hkr. O.h. 112. Cp. Flat, ii., p. 189. 87. Dr. A. C. Bang, " Dale-Gudbrand," 1897, casts doubt on the whole story and even on the existence of GuSbrandr as being a "local legend" (en paa Lokalsagn bygget Legende), but recent researches in many districts seem to reveal a greater substratum of truth in local See Gomme, Folklore as a tradition than has been hitherto admitted. Historical Science.

iCh.

3

Om

Temple Administration

So

in

Norway and

Iceland.

271

we gain

the impression that a hersir admintemple also, especially as GuSbrand builds a church in the Dales after conversion. At one time he may have shared the control of it with a jarl. But the warlike gathering at Hundj>orp is next addressed by a 3?6rSr istrumagi, and in one good MS. of the Heimskringla version he is called hofgofii, templeIn the other MS. used for priest of the Dalesmen. far

isters this

1

passage the reading is hofSingi, chief, and so in other versions of the story. One cannot help feeling that it is much more likely that hofftingi, a word of frequent occurrence in the Norwegian histories, should

this all

have been substituted for

hofgofti, which is rare even in Icelandic sagas, and not again met with in Heimskringla (except in Ynglingasaga) than that the reverse

should have been made. 2 Moreover, hof&ingi would need some further explanation, since it is obvious " " that GuSbrandr himself was over the hofSingi error

Dalesmen.

We

now arrive at the largest temple in Norway/ that HlaSir in Strindafylki. The first we hear of HlaSir that somewhere about 867 or 868 Haraldr established " " 4

at is

chief residence there, and called it his home. Haraldr had made the Jarl Hakon Grjotgarbsson, of Yrjar (on the north side of the fjord), Jarl over Strindafylki about the year 866, and soon we find Hakon called HlaKfl-jarl, and we hear of his entertaining Haraldr at

a

5

HlaSir. In 943, his father,

ed.).

told that SigurSr

was

Indledning. pp. xxiv.-xxvi., and

ff.

Icelandic scribe could the more easily have made the error, as in the habit of considering gofti almost synonymous with

An

was

*Odds O.T. 17 (F.M.S.
and we are

Cp. Hkr. (Finnur Jonsson's

xlvii. 8

find Earl Siguror, called HlaSa-jarl like entertaining King Hakon to a Yule-feast

sacrificial feast),

(i.e., 1

we

Fgrsk.

2.

x., 265), vj. 87.

he

Saga-Book

272

Viking Society.

1

and that he kept up all sacrificial S>randheimr on behalf of the king. If this

a great sacrificer, feasts in

of the

phrase means anything, the king, if present, was expected to preside over, or perhaps officiate at, sacriOf course, Hakon, as a Christian, would ficial feasts. refuse to

We 2

feast,

do

this in

any

case.

are next told, apparently a propos of another that SigurSr was the most generous of men, and

did a famous deed in giving a great feast at HlaSir and must suppose that meeting all expenses himself. he usually provided the horses and cattle for sacrifice,

We

but that the extra expense he incurred on this occasion in supplying the food and drink, which we are told the worshippers usually brought with them. The third 3 at HlaSir mentioned in our sources was in the feast

was

autumn sit

The king comes

of 952.

in the high-seat at the feast,

to

and

it,

is

made

to

instead of remaining

apart as he had hitherto done.

The

Norwegian temple of which we have (now Maere), an imporhomestead (later on a royal demesne) in Spar-

record tant

last

is

great

that at Masri or Maerin

The administration of this temple is byggjafylki. unique, but we must begin by premising that there had been a jarl of the district of Sparabii 1 in the 8th century, and that he had fled to Jamtaland before a conquering King

Eysteinn, perhaps about 780.

there

was a king

before Haraldr

Snorri

tells

us that

5

of this fylki until he fell in battle Maeri is undoubtharfagri in 866.

Now

edly the chief place in the fylki, so we may assume that either the jarls, or Snorri's somewhat apocryphal king, had lived there.

The first we hear of a temple at Masri is from " l>orhaddr Landnamabok, which relates as follows the Old was temple-priest (hofgofti] in t>randheimr at 6

:

1

Hkr. H.g.

14.

The

Jarl is called ves vagi-valdr in a verse:

protecting custodian of the sanctuary," cp. Hkr. vol. iv 2 4

6

Hkr. H.g. 14. Ch. 17. Hkr. H.g. 12. O.h. 137. Hkr. H.h. 7. Ld. Hauksbok, ch. 258; Sturlubok, ch. 297.

,

p. 49.

"the

Temple Administration

Norway and

in

Iceland.

273

He wished to go to Iceland, and took the Maeri. temple down first, and had with him the soil of the temple and the pillars. He landed in StoSvarfjorS and laid the Masri sanctity over the whole fjord, and allowed nothing to be killed there but the home cattle." This is the only hofgoSi mentioned in Norway besides note that the I>6r5r istrumagi in GuSbrandsdal. temple appears to be Thorhadd's private property, since he can unbuild it and remove its sacred pillars. After thus learning that the Masri temple had been partly demolished by a private owner, we are somewhat startled, when we next hear of it, to find that it is a " " chief temple (hofuS hof), and that eight chiefs, who had most of the management of sacrifices in all Prand-

We

1

heimr,

are

Hakon

there at a

after that

making preparations to entertain King Yule sacrifice, 2 only a few months

king had been an unwilling guest

Four

at

HlaSir

we

are told, are from Inner I>randheimr, and four from Outer I>randheimr. Their names are given, and we note that each is a lead(in 952).

of these chiefs,

ing landowner representing one of the eight fylki which These landowners force the compose 3?randheimr. luckless king to drink the toasts and eat the sacrificial meat.

We

read again

3

preparations for a sacrifice at

of

Masri, but this was less of a triumph for the heathen " chiefs who had hitherto kept up the sacrifices 4 at that

place."

In

998

Olaf Tryggvason

trandheimr heathens

agrees

with

the

that there shall be a -great mid-

summer

sacrifice at Maeri, but shortly before it is due he invites everyone to a feast at HlaSiir, and suggests He mentions seven sacrificing twelve chief men. 5

names, of which four are the same as those of the Inner I>randheimr farmers mentioned above. Finally ip.M.S. a 3 4

5

x., 323.

Hkr. H.g. 18. Hkr. O.T. 67,

68, 69.

Flat,

i.,

p. 319.

" hofuSblotum." In one case the son. Flat,

i.,

p. 319

Saga-Book

274

of the

Viking Society.

he enters their temple and throws down the statue of are not told that he destroys the temple, Thorr.

We

1

seems probable that -he would do so. In the reign of St. Olaf it transpires that the Inner 2 f>randheimr fylki still form a religious confederacy, and that twelve men manage the sacrificial feasts,

though

it

apparently in turn. fices in

St.

and there

rante delicto,

is

Olaf surprises them in flag-

an abrupt end

to public sacri-

Norway.

if there could be but one likely explanation of the successive administrations of this temple.

It

seems as

We must suppose that (i) a jarl or king lived at Maeri, and administered a temple, deputing his functions to a hofgofti, as in the GuSbrandsdal case, (2) on the departure or death of the king or jarl the hofgofti continued his functions until he went to Iceland, taking parts of his temple with him, and (3) after his departure the leading men of the whole of I>randheimr took over the temple, and confided the care of it to eight men, one from each fylki.

We

must admit that there

very strong evidence Norway is very closely bound up with chieftainship. Skiringssalr in the south is under the patronage of the Vestfold kings. The great temple in the north, the largest in Norway, is situated is

that temple administration in

at

HlaSir, residence.

King Harald Fairhair's The temple at Gaular is

self-chosen

royal

closely connected afterwards with a her sir that at Gu5-

with a jarl and brandsdal with a her sir and traditionally with a jarl. The temple at HlaSir is obviously kept up by a jarl, though out of originally royal estates. That at Maeri is administered by the chief men of the district. The voice of tradition is not quite so clear as regards our second point, the exercise of priestly functions in ;

1

When,

one of the leaders is charged by St. Olaf with he urges that the buildings are large "hus eru stor,"

later on,

sacrifices there,

Hkr. O.h., 108. 2 Hkr. O.h., 108, 109.

Temple Administration

in

Norway and

Iceland.

275

There is a very independent temple-priest and probably another, less independent, in GuSbrandsdal. But otherwise we find the jarl SigurSr himself officiating at HlaSir, and the hersir J?orbjorn at Gaular. One of the Fornaldar Sogur shows us kings the temple.

at Masri,

With regard

officiating at Baldrshagi.

to this point,

the actual exercise of priestly functions by chiefs, it may be urged that the evidence just quoted comes

through Iceland, and is open to the suspicion of having been affected by Icelandic ideas, since the Icelandic historians were themselves used to the idea that priestly functions and political power w^ent hand in hand. But, fortunately, there is some entirely independent more or less contemporary evidence on this point. Irish annals tell us that in

and

The "

"

the Viking king his abode in Armagh, the holiest place

841

Turges took up in Erin, and turned the cathedral into a heathen temple, in which he himself officiated as priest. I think this must be accepted as conclusive evidence for the priestly functions of Scandinavian chiefs.

I cannot, however, as conclusive evidence for the priestly functions of kings, as I find it difficult to credit Turges with it

accept

royal blood owing to his name. Whether it represents Thorgils or Thorgestr, it is certainly compounded with Thor, and would be unique for that reason in any Scandinavian royal family.

One point is worthy of notice. From some of the genealogies we observe that the jarls and hersar (and 1 The It can be following genealogy may serve as an illustration. l

deduced from various passages

in

Landnama.

VeSrar-

Grimr hersir or

Ketill veSr hersir of Hringariki.

Sogni

Bjorn buna = Velaug Sogni

Vemundr

FroSi

t

Yngvildr =

hersir

hersir or

Ketill Flatnefr hersir.

Hrappr = porunn = Ulfarr

porbjorn gaulverski = Hildr hersir \

Oxidnf =

Ormr

of the

Saga-Book

276

Viking Society.

to some extent the petty kings) must have formed an almost national Norwegian aristocracy, united by ties

The

of blood.

interests of

members

of this aristocracy

far outstripped the narrow limits of the petty to which the individual belonged. we

must have

Now

kingdom

have seen that the great sacrificial feasts were occasions for the chief connected with the temple, whether hersir Such or jarl, to entertain his friends and kinsmen. feasts were no doubt the cause of the rise of certain It may well be fylki temples to intertribal eminence. that this degree of religious union preceded and fostered political union between the petty states, and l

made it possible to establish the common Things which seem to have been in existence before the time of Harald Hairfair. This must be my justification for taking up so much of your time in marshalling evidence. The connection between temple-administration and chieftainship is important not only in itself, but because, once it is established, public religious observ-

ances are indissolubly linked with an aristocracy which forms a network extending far beyond the boundaries To discuss the effect of this of each little kingdom. intertribal aristocracy in neutralizing separatist tendencies in religion lies outside the scope of this paper, but

we must

realize

its

probable

effects

in

neutralizing

separatist tendencies in politics. The fact that templeadministration was vested in chiefs may thus have been

a

very

important

factor

in

the

unification

of

the

kingdom. II.

The

ICELAND.

results our examination of the Norwegian evidence will have shown us the importance of noting the ancestry of the temple builders, the founders of

goSi-families,

of

among

any large proportion

the settlers. of

The

them were

of

discovery that hersir descent

1 The existence of such intertribal religious unions is proved for a much earlier epoch by Tacitus' account of the common worship of

Nerthus, by seven tribes, probably in Sjselland.

Temple Administration

in

Norway and

Iceland.

277

would show

that the identity of the temple owner and the chief was, at any rate, partially due to Norwegian tradition. therefore proceed to adduce instances.

We

The

BoSvarr of Vors (brother of the hersir Vigfiis already mentioned) settles in Iceland, builds a 2 temple, and becomes a hofgofti; Ketill haengr, son hersir

1

an

of

earl of

Naumudal,

called dgicetr

by Landnama,

3

4 Rangarvellir Jorundr gofti, son of Hrafn hinn heimski, and eighth in descent from King 5 Haraldr hilditonn, builds a temple; Ketilbjorn of

settles at

Hof

in

;

Naumudal, called dgicetr by Landnama, which uses the word as equivalent to "of hersir (or jarl) birth," settles at Mosfell and has a temple HofSa-^orSr/ dgicetr, and said to be descended from Ragnar Lo8brok, dwells at Hof in HofSastrond, and is the ancestor :

8

of a line of goftar; Helgi bjola, son of the hersir Ketill flatnefr, dwells at another Hof (apparently in spite of 9

being a Christian in name); Eirikr, dgicetr, settles at Hof in GoSdalir and is counted among the foremost 10 hinn gamli, son of the exiled settlers; Ingimundr hersir son of Ketill raumr, dwells at Hot the ]?orsteinn, The two sons of in Vatnsdal and has a temple. hersir son of the Asbjorn, Heyjangrs-Bjorn of Sogn,

" come to Iceland, and must and Ozurr, Vej)ormr have a had since Vej'ormr's daughter temple, clearly is called hofgyftja, and Ozurr's son Freysgofti. Another 12 her is descended on Icelandic hofgyftja, frorlauj:, mother's side, if not on her father's, from hersar. Then 11

1

2

8

i. 249 cp. Vgl. 5, Ld. i., 338 ii., 385. Ld. H. 303, S. 344. (Only the main references are given.; Hof always means "Temple" in Iceland.

Flat.

;

;

*Ld. H. 305, S. 346. 5 Ld. H. 338 S. 385 his mother was daughter 6 See Cleasby and Vigfusson Diet., sub. agcetr. 7 Ld. H. 175, etc. 8Ld. H. r 4 S. 14. 9 Ld. H. 163. 10 Ld. H. 145; Vats. 17. Ld. H. 276; S. 316. 12 Ld. H. 29. ;

;

;

of an earl.

Saga-Book

278

of the

Viking Society.

1

3?6rSr skeggi, son of Hrappr (called dgicetr), son of the famous hersir Bjorn buna. J?6rSr brought 2 his temple pillars from Norway, as did also Hrollaugr, there

is

son of the Jarl Rognvaldr (and half-brother of Gongu-

We

Hrolfr of Normandy).

further note

may

torgrimr

3

Bjarnarhofn, who is of hersir go8i Kjallaksson on both sides. This is far from an exhaustive lineage but in view of the list, difficulty of ascertaining who built temples on arriving in Iceland, and the second of

difficulty

did,

of discovering the

genealogy of those who

we have mentioned enough

cases to

show

that just

as hersar and jarls had temples in Norway, so a very large proportion of the more important temples in Ice-

land were built by descendants of hersar and

hand some few

jarls.

On

rank appear not to have built temples, unless we are to suppose that their descendants lost the ownership of them. And again, other temple-builders are not stated to have been of hersir rank, though of course it is impossible to i>6rolfr mostrarprove a humbler origin for them. 4 skegg, who brought his temple-pillars with him from Norway, and is supposed to have founded the first \>ing, is sometimes quoted as being of less exalted rank, but the assumption seems somewhat rash, especially as he is called the foremost man on the island of Mostr, his Norwegian home. On the w hole it seems safe to the other

settlers of hersir

5

r

assume

not always of hersir temple-builders, had of importance in at rate been men lineage, any Of course we make some allowance for must Norway. of of the conditions afforded opportunities by rising that

if

a new country. we have established that the early goftar in Iceland came of a powerful governing class, it seems life in

If

worth while to enquire whether the possesion of a temple was quite such an essential factor in the acquirement of temporal power as it is usually held to have J

Ld. H.

14. 4

3

2Ld. H. 270.

Ld. H. 73.

5

Eyrb.

Ld. 3

H .72.

Temple Administration

in

Norway and

Iceland.

279

been. That the possession of a temple finally came to be a necessary qualification for a legal chieftainship we do not deny, but there seems reason to suspect that chiefs could rule }>ingmenn and hold sway over a district without it. That this was the case in the actual For period of settlement there can be no doubt. instance, AuSr djupuSga, though a Christian, exercised at least as much influence in her district as any temple-owning heathen. Of course it is true that her neighbours were mainly dependents and nominally 2 Christians, but Ketill fiflski, another Christian, who settled in a district entirely heathen as far as Norwegian immigrants were concerned, is yet reckoned among the foremost settlers in the East country. Another case is that of Ulfr h. skalgi,* fourth in descent from a king. 1

He comes to Iceland and settles in Reykjanes. With him comes out a man named Hallr, of high birth, who " built a temple because Ulfr was no sacrificer." We are then told that Hallr was a great chief, and many men then turned their allegiance to him (i.e., away from Ulfr). It is thus clearly implied that Ulfr, though not a gofti, had a chieftainship. But there are clearer instances than this.

We

know

that Hrafnkell Freys-

on hearing of the destruction of his temple by " Samr, decided that it was vanity to believe in gods," and never sacrificed again, 4 nor had he a temple in his

goSi,

new surroundings,

yet he gathers together }>ingmenn, district, and his sons

and soon has a regular }>inghd or

take on the raawwa/orrdS, 5 chieftainship, after him. Now Samr, the travelled atheist who destroys the temple,

cannot by any possibility be supposed of one, yet even without the prestige suppose Hrafnkell to have retained, mannaforrdft. This occurs as late as iLaxd.6,7.

2

Ld. H., 354.

3

f>orsk.

i.

to have charge which we may

he also gains 6 about 947-953. ^Hrafnk.

7.

Hrafnk. 10. The fact that Hrafnkell is said to have a goftorti, ch. can be explained by the later meaning of the word, chieftainship. 6

6

Timatal, p. 495.

9,

280

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

must be remembered

that Hrafnkels Saga is remarkUnfortunately this cannot be so unreservedly stated of the next saga from which we will quote, Vatnsdada, but the incident in question is It

ably

trustworthy.

so circumstantially related, and so much opposed to of the saga would consider probis that it On the death able, certainly to be credited. of Ingimundr his sons decide that whichever of them

what the actual writer J

make a successful plan to avenge him shall choose some valuable part of their property for himself. Porsteinn is successful, and he chooses the homestead of Hof and the land that goes with it. The brothers then shared up the rest of their inheritance, and the go$or& fell to 1?6rir's share. But I>orsteinn became chief (hofover and Vestrh6p and all those Vatnsdal Singi) districts which had owned allegiance to Ingimundr, his shall

2

Finally, in return for good advice given by Ponr, i>orsteinn begs that his sons may have All this takes place between c. 935-950.* the ^oSorS. father.

him It

to

is

made

here

perfectly clear that the goftorft,

i.e.,

was distinct from the chieftainship. we see the reason for the constantly used com-

priesthood,

At

last

bination

:

goftorft

ok mannaforrdft.

In earlier Icelandic

words are not synonymous, as the usage dictionaries would lead one to suppose, and their history is extremely different. GoSorS is an ancient word these

:

a

new word, coined

in Iceland to

mannaforrdft express the type of political and administrative power exercised by Icelandic chiefs. GoSorft meant priesthood, and is

nothing more, when the Icelanders first settled in the new country indeed, it may be doubted whether ihe meanings of these two words were ever merged into one until after the introduction of Christianity. It is possible that the revised law of 965, restricting :

number of goSar, was partly aimed against chiefs whose authority was solely temporal. Such chieftainships would have no guarantee of stability, since they the

1

Vats. ch. 24, 27.

'

2

Vats. ch. 37.

8

Timatal,

p. 495.

Temple Administration would lack

all

in

Norway and

tangible sign of union.

Iceland.

Now

281

Professor

Bjorn Olsen has suggested that the ready acceptance of Christianity in the year 1000 is partly to be ascribed to the agitations

and discontent

of ex-^oo'ar or their dispossessed of chieftainship by

who had been

sons, the law of 965. It seems more than probable that the " " ranks of these outsiders were swelled by families

who had

exercised chieftainship without possessing a

who had allowed their temple to descend to another branch of the family. And this seems the place to consider such information as we can glean about gyftjur, priestesses. are told of one Steinvor in the east of Iceland that she temple, or

We

was

hofgyfy'a,

and had charge

complained to the

of the chief temple.

She

whose

kins-

local chief, Broddhelgi,

woman

she was, that a certan man, a Christian, had refused to pay the temple-tax. Broddhelgi said he would deal with the matter, but as a matter of fact it 1

was allowed

to drop. Here a relative of Broddhelgi,

is

to

we

note

(i) that

Steinvor

and (2) therefore belongs a distinguished family, and (3) her sphere is entirely

We

know of three other limited to temple-jurisdiction. 2 well-attested gyftjur in Iceland, of whom two at least are of hersir family. How entirely one of these, Thorlaug, daughter of Hrolf the younger, must have been identified with the priestly office seems to follow from certain words in Landnama which have hardly received

" Hrolf r the younger they deserve. to Oddi married his daughter, J?orlaug gyfija, Yrarson. For that reason he moved house west to Ballara, and dwelt there a long while, and was called 3 Hrolf at Ballara." Evidently his daughter, the could not move to her husband's house, as priestess, The other two she could not leave the temple.

the

attention

iVapn., ch.

5.

f>uriSr gySja Solmundardottir (Ld. H. 147) furiSr hofgySja dottir (Ld. H. 276) and >orlaug gyftja Hrolfsdotta (Ld. H. 29). 2

;

s

Ld. H.

29, S. 41,

)>ui

reSzt

hann vestr

til

Ballarar.

Ve>orms-

282

Saga-Book

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Viking Society.

Solmundardottir 5>uridr are gyfya gyftjur Besides this, FriSJ>uriSr hofgyfija VeJ'ormsdottir. the wife torarinn of fylsenni, sacrifices in a gerSr, temple, at any rate during his absence, and 1 It seems probable that in gyftja in a verse.

is

all

called

these

some male kinsman or the husband had manna-

cases

/orrdo',

chieftainship.

The

case of I?6rarinn fylsenni,

just at the close of the tenth century, suggests that even after the revised law of 965 mannaforrdft could still be

held apart from priestly office, if the latter was in the hands of a kinswoman. We can quite understand that there would be less danger in the separation of the two offices, if the priestly functions were performed by a woman, who would be precluded from winning a real The mention of four gyftjur in political ascendancy. those of our sources which deal with the heathen period seems to suggest that they were a fairly large class.

We

are thus rendered less sceptical of the Norwegian mentioned in the Fornaldarsogur, and can

gyfijiir

whom

we are introduced credit the story of Alfhildr, to while she is performing a sacrifice at night. The case of Turges' wife, who acts as priestess at Clonmacnois, remembered. But in considering priestmust be admitted to be possible, and even probable, that we must set very definite limits to their activities and prevalence at the close of heathen times. There seems to be reason for suspecting that women

may

also be

esses

it

only performed functions as priestesses in the service group of divinities, Njoror, Freyja, and Frey, and in dmr-worship, which may possibly be a cult of ancestors. know of so few gyftjur that it is surely of importance to note what a large proportion of them are connected with these cults. To begin with the Elder Edda. HyndluljoS mentions the gyftja Hledis, the mother of that Ottarr who builds a hbrg for Freyja of the

We

sacrifices to her. Then there is the story told in the saga of Olaf Tryggvason, in the Flateyjarb6k ver-

and

iRristni S. ch.

2.

Temple Administration ch.

sion,

in

Norway and

Iceland.

283

where Gunnarr helmingr meets the Frey in Sweden. Again, Hervarar Saga

173,

priestess of

shows us Alfhildr reddening a horg at night. Now all the references we possess to this form of sanctuary show that in Norway it was dedicated to the Vanir Then we have J>uriSr hofgyftja in to Frey or Freyja. Iceland, whose maternal half-brother (and first cousin on the father's side), is called Freysgofti, which at any rate suggests that the family was addicted to the worthus fully possible that while priests or priestesses of Frey or Freyja, in late heathen times women were excluded from public office in the service of Thor. must note that the temples of two hofgoftar mentioned in Norway, at Masri and at GuSbrandsdal, are both 1 traditionally associated with Thor. To sum up. There is reason to believe that besides ship of this god.

both

It is

men and women might be

We

the persons exercising combined priestly and political power, there were in Iceland three other classes of chiefs, at least until 965.

(i)

goSi, exercising political dence of a temple. (2)

Persons

like

Hrafnkell Freys-

ascendancy in entire indepenPersons like l^orsteinn Ingi-

mundarson, who exercised political ascendancy, but whose family the priestly office had fallen to another

in

of

(3) Persons like Broddhelgi, or Hrolfr the Younger, who exercised political ascendancy, but whose temple was in the hands of a kinswoman. In Iceland, where there was at first no other bond to attract dependents, and where at first no settled

the co-heirs.

thing-places brought people together independently of the sacrificial feasts, the temple must have loomed large in the public eye, and we can understand that those who

succeeded

in consolidating their

possessed and administered this and who, further, did not have

power were those who central meeting-place, to delegate to others

Tryggvason throws down the statue of In the GuSbrandsdal temple is the image always aided us." Hkr. O.h. u?.. 1

Olaf.

O.T.

69.

Hkr. which has

|>6rr at Maeri,

of J>6rr "

Saga-Book

284

of the

Viking Society.

the observances that gave their acts a religious sanction. Hence the final success of the temple-owners in the race for power. And here we must be allowed to enter a protest against the view, recently repeated both in German and English books, that the mass of the Icelandic settlers were half-Christian, wholly atheistic, or in special and degrading superstitions. The inci" " dental mention of a couple of or the men, godless supposition that heathendom must have been sapped by

sunk

a Viking that the

life,

can weigh as nothing against the fact

communal

strong that

it

was so and adminis-

religious feeling in Iceland

shaped the whole

political

structure. Chieftainships not connected with temples were fore-doomed to extinction. Indeed, if one may be permitted to conclude with a generalization, one of the most remarkable things about early Scandinavian history is the constitutional importance of religion among a people so entirely lacking in a priestly caste. understand and are ready to make allowances for the vast power wielded by the Druids among the Celtic peoples, but the absence of priestcraft among the Scandinavians ought not to blind us to the

trative

We

by religion on the social structure. have seen reason to suspect that at least twice in the history of Scandinavia religious union preceded and fostered political union, and I hope we have also had influences exerted

We

a glimpse of how the political fabric of the youngest of the Scandinavian States was slowly built up on the basis of its religious organization.

THYRA, THE WIFE OF GORM THE OLD, WHO WAS SHE, ENGLISH OR DANISH? BY CAPTAIN

THE

lecture

which

I

ERNEST RASON.

am

to

communicate

to

you

not by any means intended as a final to-night " settlement of the question, Thyra, the wife of Gorm the old, who was she, English or Danish? " It is, on the contrary, merely an attempt to state the case in

England,

is

to call attention to the issues involved,

and

to interest, if possible, other English enquirers. The lecture is a development of the evidence

I have on the subject during research on another " Russia as the Eldorado of Canute the Great." theme,

collected

The question of Thyra is Denmark came largely

me

but a side issue, yet main work, its history had to be investigated for a certain period before Canute's reign. Whilst doing this the so-called Con-

as

for

into

my

quest of England by the Danes was forced upon my notice in a manner it had never been before. English boys are rarely taught their own early history, but rather that of Greece and Rome. It was with a distinct feeling of relief that I read in Saxo Grammaticus that Thyra was the daughter of Ethelred, King of England. If Thyra were the daughter of Ethelred, King of England, then the invasion of Svein and Canute was no foreign conquest, but merely a dynastic change brought about by Danish ships and Danish troops, and on the same principle as the Wars of the Roses, except that

Welsh and French troops were employed. came to consider the question further I found the most recent Danish opinion on the matter was

in the latter

When that

I

so divided, that in the Danmarks Riges Historie of 1906 Some people say the question is stated as follows that Thyra was the daughter of an English king, but '

:

'

286

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

more probability that she was the daughter Klak Harald, Jarl in Holstein." This statement seemed to call for examination, certainly from an Englishman. There is every appearance on the face of it that it was written in deference to a divided opinion, others with of

although Professor Steenstrup's name

is

connected with

this particular part of the history.

The elder Danish writers before the end of the sixteenth century either followed Saxo in his opinion, or they had some other source for their statement, except Cornelius Hamsfortii, who calls Thyra the daughter of Edward the Elder, and sister of the wife of Otto I., Emperor

of

Germany.

This, of course,

points to a general idea that of an English king.

is

wrong, but

it

Thyra was the daughter

Besides the old Danish writers,

my

authorities for

the lecture are the Heimskringla, by Snorre Sturlason, the Jomsborg Vikings Saga, and the Knytlinga Saga, perhaps the best and most reliable of the Icelandic I shall take sagas dealing with this particular time. the latter part of the the question first, and consider what the sagas say about Thyra as the daughter of

Klak Harald,

Jarl

in

Holstein.

Carlyle, than whom we have no better judge, said of the Heimskringla of Snorre Sturlason that it ought to

be reckoned amongst the great history books of the world, were it properly published with accurate maps and well edited. This saga was translated into English as long ago as 1844, and it has recently (1899) been

and published anew by Rasmus Anderson, some time Minister for the United States at the Court of edited

For the Jomsborg and Knytlinga Sagas have used Rafn's translation into Danish (1829).

Kopenhagen. I

The contention that Thyra was the daughter of Klak Harald rests almost entirely on the sagas. It was not heard about at all till towards the end of the sixteenth century, about 1594, when the sagas were translated for the first time from Icelandic. The Heimskringla tells

Thyra, the Wife of

Gorm

the Old.

287

us that a certain Thorny, the wife of Sigurd Hiortr, sister of Thyra Danmarkarbot, married to King Gorm the old, who at that time reigned over the Danish dominions this Thyra was the daughter of Klak Harald. Thorny was the grandmother of Harald Fair-

was the

;

hair,

King

of all

was born when

Norway, and we are

told that

Harald

mother, Ragnhild, was twenty Harald Fairhair died about 930, and sucyears old. ceeded his father at the age of ten, about 860, so that his mother, Ragnhild, .must have been born in 830, and his

allowing twenty years for Thorny's age when Ragnhild was born, we get 809 for the birth of Thorny, the sister, according to the saga, of Thyra. The same saga tells us that Harald Fairhair, when he was about fifteen years of age, wishing for a wife, sent a deputation to Gyda, the daughter of King Erik in HorSaland, but she refused to come, saying that she would not wed until she found the man who could reduce all the kings of

Norway

This

settles,

as

Gorm

the old had done in

Denmark.

as far as the saga is concerned, the date had established his paramount power in

when Gorm Denmark, viz., about

It may be observed that 865. Thyra, the daughter of Ethelred of England, was not

yet born.

The Jomsborg Saga gives a highly descriptive and detailed account of the courting of Thyra, the daughter of Klak Harald, by Gorm. Thyra is said to have been so wise and intelligent that she was already associated with her father in the government of his small kingdom,

when Gorm came down from the North of Jutland to woo her. Gorm had a large party with him, and Thyra was not ready

to give her love at once, nor Harald to with but Gorm, in the rough and ready her; part manner of those days, said that if her father would not give her to him for wife he would take her by force, which, it appeared, he was quite capable of doing. Under these circumstances Thyra decided to play with him by her wiles and wisdom till she was ready for him,

288

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

or perhaps to give her father time to prepare for resistance. Thyra told Gorm he must go home there he :

must have a house built in the forest no larger than to hold one bed on this bed he was to sleep alone for three nights, and if he dreamt dreams he was to send her an account of them, so that she might ascertain whether it would be a happy marriage. Gorm went to his place in the north, and had a house ;

constructed out in the forest only large enough to hold one small bed, in which he slept alone but, being a wise man, he placed a guard of 300 men round the house in the forest to guard against surprise. Under ;

these circumstances he dreamt his

dreams in peace; they are somewhat curious, and have a sort of resemblance to those of Pharaoh. The first dream was that he found himself out under the open heaven looking over all the land of his kingdom. Then the sea seemed to go back from the land till all the salt water lakes and fords were dry. Presently he saw three boars come up out of the sea they begged his pardon, and then they fed on the grass around and went back into the sea. ;

These boars were white. The second dream was that three boars came out of the sea, but they were of a red colour, and had large tusks, and behaved just like the The third dream was the same, but the first three. boars were black, and had the largest tusks of all. When these last boars had gone he heard a mighty noise, so loud that he thought it must have been heard over all Denmark, and the sea came back on the land with awful force. Thyra interpreted these dreams the three White Boars were three very cold winters, when there would be much snow, and all the fruits of the three Red Boars the ground would be damaged were three winters when there would be little snow, and the three Black Boars signified wars in the land, and that they all went back into the sea proved that these The noise of the troubles would not continue long. sea when it came back on the land again meant that ;

Thyra, the Wife of

Gorm

the Old.

289

mighty men would come on the land with great wars, and many of his relations would take part. If he had dreamed this the first night she would not have married him, but now there would not be so much injury, because she would give advice which would be proclaimed throughout the land. It seems as if these dreams had been added by some one who knew the Bible account of the dreams of Pharaoh and their interpretation. They have been added by the Christian skalds in their version of the story as told in Iceland. We at least know from another account in the saga that at that time Klak Harald was

a heathen, a believer in the old gods and all the superstitions attending such a belief. After Gorm and

Thyra had gone back to their homes in the Harald was invited to visit his son-in-law

north,

Klak

at Yuletide.

He left for the north in time to be at the Yule-feast, but on the way he saw an apple tree, on which were small green apples. This was very remarkable for the season of the year, and on the ground were many larger apples, arousing great astonishment in Harald and his followers, so that they turned and went home again. The next year Harald went north again to the Yulefeast, invited by his son-in-law, and had almost reached the Lim-fjord,

when something happened

to the

hounds

he had with him, and this caused him to give up his The third year he went north visit and go home again. and reached the again, ferry over the Lim-fjord on the western side. When he was at the ferry it seemed as if two waves arose, one from inside the fjord and the other from outside, they met at the entrance to the fjord, and then they seemed to turn into blood and for the third time Harald's superstitious fears were aroused, and he returned home. From the above we can judge, that as far as the circumstances of the saga are concerned, at the time of his daughter's marriage, and for three years after, Klak Harald was a heathen, with all ;

the heathen superstitions.

We

also

know very

well

v

Saga-Book

290

of the

Viking Society.

when

Christianity came into his country, for it was brought by the celebrated St. Anskar in 825. He established a small church at Ribe on the west coast,

and another celebrated priest became the pastor of the church, viz., Rembertus. We also learn from German He history when Klak Harald was made a Christian. was baptized at Mainz in 826. From the above history we can calculate that Thyra must have been married to Gorm about 825, which would make her birth fall about 806 to 812, and point her out as about the same age as her sister Thorny, the wife of Sigurd Hiort.

The same saga tells us that Gorm had two sons, Canute and Harald, that Harald was much younger than Canute, and that Canute was brought up chiefly at the house of his grandfather, Klak Harald, and when old enough was given a portion of his kingdom to govern this marks Canute down as born some time before 834, as Klak Harald died in 846, and Canute must have been twelve years old at least when he was given a kingdom to govern. This would make him at least one hundred years old when he was killed in 936. These three calculations from the side of the Heimskringla of the birth of Thorny, from the side of the Jomsborg Saga of the marriage of Gorm, and from the ;

story of Canute's being given a portion of the

kingdom

to govern, give approximately the same date for the marriage of Thyra, daughter of Klak Harald, to Gorm,

and for her birth any date from 806 to 812. Of Canute, we hear that he was killed in England or Ireland on a Viking cruise, and he left, so far as is known, but one son, Gold-Harald, who perished in 969. What the age of Harald was we are not told, but if his father Canute was seventy when he was born, Gold-Harald must have been about sixty-six at the time he was killed, and nearly as old as Harald Bluetooth,

viz., 825,

his uncle.

Now we

will consider the case of

Harald Bluetooth.

Gorm

Thyra, the Wife of

We

the Old.

291

Jomsborg Saga that he was much than his and there seem to have been brother, younger some signs of enmity between them, for we find the Jomsborg Saga saying that Harald killed Canute, which cannot be right, yet w e find from the Heimskringla that even if Harald did not kill his brother, he may be almost considered as an accessory to the death of Gold-Harald. He was afraid that Gold-Harald would attempt to fight him for half the land of Denmark, and, by an arrangement with Earl Hakon, Goldare told in the

r

Harald was

killed.

one thing certain about Harald Bluetooth which happened within a year on either We have decided that Thyra, the daughter of Klak Harald, was born not later than 812. Can she possibly have been the mother of Harald Bluetooth ? We are told in Medical Jurisprudence that sixty years is the extreme limit of a woman's powers of bearing children, though we have the account of Sarah, who bore Isaac at the age of ninety, which has been a standWe cannot suppose that ing wonder for centuries. If

there

is

his death, side of 986. it

is

Thyra was any exception tooth,

common lot, and theremother of Harald BlueCnut Danaast may have

to the

fore she cannot have been the

whatever her relation to

been.

We

are told in

Danmarks Riges' Historic

that

Thyra

knew from her

birth the necessity of building a Danevirke, with which the name of Thyra is connected, and this is considered one of the side proofs that Thyra w as r

the daughter of Klak Harald, as she was brought up near the Danevirke. But it is evident that she could

not have been the mother of Harald Bluetooth, neither could she have governed the kingdom in Gorm's old

age. I

think

now we have come

to the time

when we may

say that it is most probable that Thyra the daughter of Klak Harald, was not the mother of Harald Bluetooth.

Saga-Book

292

We

will

now

of the

Viking Society.

take the case of

Thyra as the daughter Saxo discompany

of Ethelred, King of England, a fact which Here he is in tinctly states in his history.

with

all

the old writers of

Denmark

before the end of

the sixteenth century, except Cornelius Hamsfortii, who says that Thyra was the daughter of Edward the Elder,

and sister of the wife of Otto I., Emperor of Germany, which of course is wrong; but Thyra as the daughter of Ethelred would have been a second cousin of Editha, Otto's wife.

Thyra was, of course, a Christian, but there is a curious story in Saxo of her wishing for dreams as 10 the future before she would give herself up to her husband, and there is a statement that Canute and Harald went over to England to wrest the kingdom from their grandfather; but, of course, this is incorrect, as Ethelred must have been dead before Gorm even married Thyra. Yet there is no doubt that Harald and Canute were in England at different times, and they, or at least Harald, may have had some idea that he had a claim on the kingdom. What history teaches us about the children of Ethelred is very little; we know from the will of Alfred the Great that there was a difference over their money matters between the two brothers, and it was finally agreed that all the money should go to the survivor Ethelred died first, unless the other had left a will. and somewhat suddenly, without making a will, and Alfred took all the money to himself, leaving in his only seven small manors to his nephews, Athelmaer and Ethelwold, and six manors between his daughters; but he stated that he only left to the spindle side what had belonged to him and Ethelred, and not what had been left by his father. This may be a reason will

why no mention in the will.

brother was

is

made

of

any daughter

In the time of Alfred,

made king

in

of Ethelred

when a younger

consequence of the youth Great was,

of his elder brother's children, as Alfred the

Gorm

Thyra, the Wife of then

it

was usual

the Old.

293

for the elder brother's children, if to inherit the kingdom after their

they were grown up, uncle,

and not the younger brother's children. But money and all the power,

King Alfred, having all the managed that his own son,

Edward the Elder, should succeed him, to the detriment of Ethelred's children. Ethelwold, the youngest of the two sons of Ethelred mentioned in the will, did attempt to establish his prior right to the throne, in which he was assisted by the Normans and Danes of East Anglia and Northumberland. It must be remembered that the North of England north of Watling Street was almost entirely Danish

at this time,

and

it

was the Danes who backed

Ethelwold. Gorm might even have been amongst them. Unfortunately, Ethelwold was killed, and the rising subsided. Steenstrup, in his Normanerne, when referring to the building of the Danevirke and the Burghs in England, calls attention

to the similarity of their construction,

especially about the escarpment of the ditch, as being different from the German and French burgs, which were also being built about that time. He adds that there was another similarity that they were built by women, and women whose husbands were ill at the time and he adds a third resemblance, if Saxo is right, that is, that both were built by the daughters of a king. He might have added that there was no wonder that they were alike, as they were built by cousins, for ;

;

Thyra, the daughter of Ethelred, was the cousin of Athelflaed, who built the burghs in England. In another part of the same book Professor Steenstrup calls attention to the great number of treacheries which took place in England during the invasion of

England by Svein and Canute, and he adds are not

many

instances in

all

that there

history that a nation has

been so often and so thoroughly betrayed by its own people as the Anglo-Saxons were at that time, except there had been a dynastic strife. But if Thyra was the

2Q4

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

daughter of Kthelred, then the so-called invasion of Svein and Canute was a dynastic strife for they had more right to the throne than Ethelred the II. They were in fact, almost in the same condition relative to ;

Ethelred

II.,

IV., were to

Roses.

Duke

as the

Henry VI.

The Duke

of

of

York and

at the

his son,

time of the

Edward

Wars

of the

York was unquestionably

heir

general of the royal line through his mother Anne, daughter of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, son of Phillippa, daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III., as against the reigning sovereign, Henry VI., a weak king, descended from a younger brother of Lionel. Similarly we may say that Svein

was undoubtedly heir general of the royal line by his grandmother, Thyra, daughter of Ethelred I., elder brother of Alfred the Great, as compared with the weak king, Ethelred II., descended from the younger brother,

The

Alfred the Great.

similarity in the treacheries

is

be the result of the same cause, viz., a dynastic struggle, and is strong corroborative evidence for the accuracy of Saxo's statement that Thyra was the daughter of Ethelred I. The number of traitors in both cases was very large, far too striking not to

and includes

all

sorts

and conditions

of

men.

The

great traitors, Warwick and the Duke of Clarence, in the Wars of the Roses, are well represented by ./Elfric and by Eadric Streona the latter's constant changes of side ;

and near connection

to the King Ethelred II. are on a with that of the Duke of Clarence, for the treachery par of Eadric Streona has never been properly explained. It puzzled Professor Ereeman, but I think, in the light of a dynastic dispute, his change of side may be

accounted for. Eadric Streona was the son of one ^Ethelric of Bocking, in Essex, who was accused to the king about 995 that he had said that Svein ought to be received in Essex; this accusation appears to have been kept in reserve till his will was brought to be confirmed by

Thyra, the Wife of

King Ethelred

Gorm

the Old.

295

Eadric Streona was the Thane of

II.;

Oswald, at one time Bishop of Worcester, and afterwards Archbishop of York, who was a Dane, and a great friend, I think a nephew, of Archbishop Odda, who was Archbishop of Canterbury. This gave Eadric a very good start in life, and his father could not have been such an unknown person as Freeman has stated, and as we know Eadric married Ethelred 's daughter. Amongst the signatures to the will of yEthelric of Bocking is the signature of ^thelmaer, immediately after those of the bishops, and at the head of the Thanes. This is most probably ^Ethelmaer, the great Earl of Wessex, son of the historian, ^Ethelweard, who claimed descent from Ethelred I., but whether from a son or

These people must another daughter is not known. have known that Svein was the head of the House of Ethelred I., and may have been in league with him to

common ancestors' family to the throne. Svein came south from Gainsborough we find the Wessex thanes met him at Bath to give their allegiance, and when Canute came back in 1015, after Svein 's death, yEthelmaer and the Wessex thanes welrestore their

When

comed him, and that ^Ethelmaer

still

clung

the Battle of Sherston near

When

Penselwood we find Canute, for he was at

after the defeat at to

Malmsbury.

Canute, after the death of

Edmund

Ironside,

divided the kingdom of England into earldoms, he reserved Wessex for himself. Was it because it was the rightful property of his ancestors ? The contention that Svein and his son Canute had, like the Duke of York and his son Edward IV., a prior right to the throne of king, accounts for so

England over the then reigning

many difficulties in the history may be taken as strong corrobora-

of that time, that it tive evidence in favour of Saxo's account of

Thyra 's

accounts for most of the treachery during the so-called conquest of England by Svein and Canute, it accounts for the special form of treachery of Eadric

birth.

It

296 Streona,

Saga-Book it

of the

Viking Society.

accounts for the change back to Ethelred

when Svein

died, as being the most fitting descendants of ^Ethelwulf left in England,

was; as well as for the return proved himself as fitting a

to

man

II.

of the

bad as he Canute when he had

man

as

his

father.

It

accounts for the willingness to divide the kingdom between the two rival dynasties, and finally it accounts for the wonderful manner in which England accepted the rule of Canute, when once he had asserted his right to the throne, both by descent and conquest and by election, just in the same manner as the English people behaved towards Edward IV., when once his power was established. Now I hope I have persuaded you that the account of Thyra's birth ought to be that some people say she was the daughter of Klak Harald, a Jarl or King in

Holstein, but that

it

is

more probable

that she

was the

daughter of Ethelred, King of England. I have one other piece of proof, which, although it could not be brought in by itself, can at least confirm the already considerable body of evidence. About the time that, according to the sagas, Gorm and the daughter of Klak

Harald were being married, viz., was first brought to Denmark by

in

St.

825,

Christianity

Anskar, and he

founded a small church at Ribe, a port close to the sea on the west coast of Denmark in those days, but now

somewhat inland. It Fano and Mano,

of

is just to the south of the islands close to which latter is the now

which was, however, nonRibe there was a Christian church built, and Rembertus was the pastor. He succeeded St. Anskar as Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen in 865, but he no doubt kept up his interest in the church of Ribe until his death in 888, for the port of Ribe was only a few hours' sail from Hamburg. flourishing port of Esbjerg, existent sixty years ago. At

Opposite Ribe, on the south part of the small island of Eano is the village of Sonderho. Some sixty years ago, before the great changes which took place as a

Thyra, the Wife of

Gorm

the Old.

THYRA'S FONT AT SoNDERHO.

297

I.

W

2g 8

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

consequence of the increasing trade of the port of Ksbjerg, a Mr. Marryat was travelling in Denmark for At Sonderho he heard a archaeological purposes. tradition that

Thyra, the wife of Gorm, the daughter

of an English king, had given the font to the old Sonderho church in consequence of her having been saved

from drowning when she was wrecked off Mano island on her way to Ribe to marry Gorm the old. Mr. Marryat did not pay much attention, and merely remarks that the font was an unshapely mass of There is no doubt that the font, looked at granite. casually, is to-day an unshapely mass, but on examination it may be noticed that from one direction it is very graceful and symmetrical, although from others most ungainly and ugly; further examination will show that the font has been badly treated, and much of it roughly broken, especially at the sides, just like the monuments in our churches were treated at the time of the Commonwealth, and that the greater part of the rim has been chipped away. There are five other granite fonts in Jutland, one close to Sonderho at Brondon, on the mainland. These are of the twelfth century; they have four crosses on the rim and one or two on the side.

We

can now see

the sides of the Sonderho font were broken, viz., to get rid of the crosses on the font rim and on the side. It seems very probable that the font

why

Sonderho had originally some crosses on the side and on the rim, which at some time were broken away, and

at

away the side of a granite was done purposely. There is no doubt that at one time the font was an extremely fine one and very graceful in its outline, and it was made at a time when good workers did work for Christian buildings. In it

takes a great deal to break

font

;

it

comparison with the

five fonts

made

in the twelfth cen-

was much more graceful in its lines. This font tury later fell into disrepute, was roughly treated by somebody's orders, for no amount of casual damage would equal the harm which has been done to it. Granite is it

Thyra, the Wife of

Gorm

the Old.

THVRA'S FONT AT SOXUERHO.

II.

299

300

Saga-Book

of the

Viking Society.

The font was again one of the hardest of stones. restored to favour, but it was used in its damaged condition, with the tradition attached to it which has It is situated in the very place already been stated. where a traveller coming from England would be wrecked. It is old enough to have been made at the It bears evidence of time mentioned, i.e., about 900. having been wilfully damaged in a manner which would occur during a lapse from Christianity, such as occurred during the regn of Svein, so I think we may add this as a scintilla of additional evidence in favour of Thyra's being the daughter of Kthelred I. of England.

The Danmarks Riges

Historie gives a choice of two

solutions for the birth of

Thyra,

I

should

like to offer

a third, and that is that Gorm the old had two wives, both of them named Thyra. The first was the daughter of

Klak Harald, and the second the daughter

Some one

of Ethel-

no doubt ask how did an English king's daughter come by such a Scandinavian name as Thyra; the answer is that Ethelred's mother was the daughter of the last of the princes of Moen, who were of Jutish descent. There is no difficulty in Gorm's having two wives, in succession or even together, or even of the same name. The instance of Halfdan the Black, King of Norway, red of England.

will

immediately recurs to memory. have seen that Thyra, Harald, could not for physical mother of Harald Bluetooth physical difficulty about Gorm,

We

the daughter of

Klak

reasons have been the but there is no great even at the age of over his when he married the young father eighty, being of Ethelred of daughter England, who would have been about twenty-eight years old. In support of the suggestion I have made I may remark on the inscriptions on the two rune stones in Jellinge churchyard, a large one ancj a small one. The church lies between two immense tumuli. The northern one is called by tradition Thyra's grave, but by a ;

Thyra, the Wife of

Gorm

the Old.

30!

curious chance the smaller rune stone, which comes from the southern tumulus, is inscribed as follows " Gorm made this monument in memory of his wife :

It is generally stated that Thyra Danmarkarbot." lived after which this monument proves Gorm, Thyra

The larger error, unless there were two Thyras. rune stone, which is said to have been always in the churchyard, tells us that Harald the king bade make an

Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, who conquered all Denmark and Norway

this stone after

the Harald

and made the Danes Christian. It is

noticeable that

Thyra

bot on the larger stone.

1

It

is

not called Danmarkar-

seems

to

me

that there

must

have been two Thyras one who helped Gorm when he was conquering all the smaller kings, and a second

Thyra who was the Thyra of his old age, who built the Danework, and who outlived him, and was the mother of

Harald Bluetooth.

Photographs of Thyra's Font. Photo I. represents the general appearance of the font, shewing that, with the exception of the broken parts, it is graceful in form,

much more so than the twelfth century granite The uneven line on the left upper rim is due damaged condition. A piece has been broken

fonts. to its off

on

right upper corner of the photograph, but the greatest damage has been done in the lower left-hand corner, which place corresponds to a cross on the

the

twelfth century font near Skuer in Jutland. High up on the left of Photo I. is a broken piece. This is shown on Photo II. in front view, and corresponds to a Runic inscription on the twelfth century font near Skuer. 1

It

may

also be noticed that

Thurin, while on the larger

it

is

on the smaller stone the name Thourin.

Curtis &> Beamish, Ltd., Coventry.

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DA 750 .V6 v.7-8 IMS

Saga book of the Viking Club 47091145

PONTIFICAL INSTITUTE

OF MEDIAEVAL. STUDIES QUtfEN'S PAKK

TOHONTO

5.

CANADA

2?6l6

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