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THE OEKNEYINGA SAGA 



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PrifUedbyR. S» R. Clark 

FOR 

EDMONSTON & DOUGLAS, EDINBURGH. 

LONDON . . . HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO. 
CAMBKIDCB . . MACMILLAIC AND CO. 
GLASGOW . . . JAMBS MACLBHOSE. 






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THE 



ORKNEYINGA SAGA 



TRANSLATED FROM THB ICELANDIC 
BY JON A. HJALTALIN AND OILBEBT.OOUDIB 



EDITED, WITH NOTES AND INTRODUCTION 

By JOSEPH ANDERSON 

KBEFEB OF THE NATIONAL MUBEUH OF THE ANTIQUABIEB OF SCOTLAND 



• • ^' 



• •! 



' J J • 

9 O » s> 






EDINBURGH 
EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS 

1873 



- • " V :..: '.:%/ 



PREFACE. 



^ 



The Orknetinga Saga is the history of the Orkneymen, Earls 
and Odallers of Norwegian extraction, who established an 
Earldom of Norway in the Northern Scottish Isles a thousand 
years ago, and whose descendants for several centuries held 
sway over the Hebrides and Northern Mainland of Scotland. 
Commencing with the conquest of the Isles by Harald Har- 
fagri, the Saga relates the subsequent history of the Earl- 
dom of Orkney under the long line of its Norse Jarls, and is, 
for a period of three centuries and a half, the principal 
authority for the history of Northern' Scotland. The narra- 
^ tive is mainly personal, and therefore picturesque, pourtraying 

^ the men in person and character, impartially recording their 

^ deeds, and mentioning what was thought of them and their 

^ actions at the time. Occasionally the Saga-writer is enabled 

to do this in the words of a contemporary Skald. The 
skaldic songs, so often quoted, were the materials from which 
y^ the Sagas were subsequently elaborated In estimating their 
^ value as historical materials, it must be borne in mind that 

all history has begun in song. When great events and mighty 
deeds were preserved for posterity by oral recitation alone, it 
was necessary that the memory should be enabled to retain 
its hold of the elements of the story by some extraneous 
artistic aid, and therefore they were welded by the word- 
smith's rhymes into a compact and homogeneous " lay." 
Thus, worked into a poetical setting (as the jeweller mounts 

312991 



o 



IV PREFACE. 

his gems to enhance their value and ensure their preservation), 
they passed as heirlooms from generation to generation, 
floating on the oral tradition of the people. Snorri. Sturluson 
tells us that the songs of the skalds who were with Harald 
Harfagri in his wars were known and recited in his day, after 
an interval of nearly four centuries. " These songs," he says, 
" which were sung in the presence of kings and chiefs, or of 
their sons, are the materials of our history ; what they tell of 
their deeds and battles we take for truth ; for though the 
skalds did no doubt praise those in whose presence they stood, 
yet no one would dare to relate to a chief what he and those 
who heard it knew to be wholly imaginary or false, as that 
would not be praise but mockery." Our earliest Scottish 
chroniclers did not disdain to make use of the lay-smith's 
craft, as a help to history, long after the Iceland skald had 
been succeeded by the Saga-writer, and the flowery recitative 
of an unclerkly age superseded by the terser narrative of the 
parchment scribe. The art is as old as Odin and the gods, 
if indeed it be not older, and these its creations. But its 
golden age had passed ere Paganism began to give way before 
Christianity, and the specimens we have in this Saga are 
mostly of the period of its decadence and by inferior skalds. 
Yet it is significant of the esteem in which the art continued 
to be held by the settlers in the Orkneys, that we find Earl 
Sigurd honouring Gunnlaug Ormstunga with princely gifts, 
Amor Jarlaskald enjojdng the special favour and friendship 
of Earl Thorfinn, and Earl Bognvald, the founder of the 
cathedral, courting for himself the reputation of an accom- 
plished skald. 

But though we can thus trace to some extent the author- 
ship of the unwritten materials from which the Saga was 
framed, there is nothing to show where or by whom it was 



PREFACE. V 

written. There is proof, however, that it was known in 
Iceland in the first half of the thirteenth century. Its earlier 
chapters, down to the division of the Earldom between 
Thorfinn and Bmsi, are incorporated into the Olaf Saga of 
Snorri Sturluson, and are there cited as from the ** Jarla 
Saga," or Saga of the Earls. It must therefore have been 
in existence as a completed work before 1241, the date of 
Snorri's deatL The compiler of the Fagrskinna, which is 
shown by internal evidence to have been written between 
1222 and 1225, also quotes from it, by the title of " Jarla 
Sagan." The closing chapters of the Orkneyinga Saga, in its 
present form, recording the burning of Bishop Adam, could 
not have been written before 1222 ; but, as it is stated in the 
last chapter that the terrible retribution exacted by the Scot- 
tish King for the murder of the Bishop was still in fresh 
memory, it may very well have been completed before 1225. 
No manuscript of the Jarla Saga is known to exist, and the 
original form of what is now called *' The Orkneyinga Saga" is 
thus matter of conjecture. We know it only as the substance 
of its earlier chapters was given by Snorri previous to 1241, 
and in the expanded version of the Flateyjarb6k, where it is 
pieced into the Sagas of Olaf Tryggvi's son and Olaf the Holy. 
The Flateyjarb6k, however, is nearly a century and a half 
later than Snorri's work, having been written between the 
years 1387 and 1394 

The object of the present issue being simply to provide a 
plain, readable, and xmadomed translation of the Orkneyinga 
Saga (which has been hitherto inaccessible to the English 
reader), it has been deemed advisable to adhere to the form of 
the Saga adopted by its first editor Jonseus, though not to 
Jonaeus's text, which is by no means free from corruptions. 
The Christiania edition of the Flateyjarb6k, printed literally 



VI PREFACE. 

from the manuscript, has afforded the means of rectifying the 
text where necessary ; and the expanded version of the earlier 
chapters given in the MateyjarWk has also been translated 
and inserted as an appendix, for the sake of the fuller details 
which it supplies of the earlier history of the Earldom. In 
one sense it might have been desirable to have compiled a 
text which would have given the fullest history of the Orkney 
Earls, but this would not have been the " Orkneyinga Saga." 
It would have necessitated the collection and critical collation 
of all the passages in all the Sagas and early writings relating 
to the history of the Northmen in Scotland — a work which 
has long been in progress in abler hands, and under more 
favourable auspices. 

The Introduction, however, has been compiled with a 
view to supplement the Saga narrative, as weU as to furnish 
a continuation of the history of the Earldom down to the 
time when it ceased to form part of the Norwegian dominions. 
Some account of the islands previous to the Norse invasion, 
and a few notices of their antiquities and ecclesiastical re- 
mains, as well as of the existing traces of the Norsemen, 
seemed requisite to supplement the notes in illustration of 
the text Chronological and (Jenealogical Tables have been 
added to facilitate reference ; and on the maps of Scotland 
and of the island-groups which formed the Earldom proper are 
shown the names of the principal places mentioned in the 
Sagas as known to the Northmen. 

In conclusion, I have to express my obligations to those 
kind friends who have aided me with their advice and assist- 
ance. To Dr. John Stuart, Dr. John Hill Burton, Sir Henry 
Dryden, Bart., and Colonel Balfour of Balfour and Trenaby, I 
am indebted for many valuable suggestions. To the first- 
named gentleman I am also under obligations for the use 



PREFACE. VU 

of the woodcuts of the symbols of the Sculptured Stones. 
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland have generously con- 
tributed the woodcuts of the Bresaay Stone, the Saverough 
BeU, and the Sword and Scabbard-tip ; to the Society of 
Antiquaries of London I am indebted for the illustrations 
of the Stones of Stennis ; to Mr. James Fergusson and Mr. 
John Murray for those of Maeshow; to Mr. Thomas S. 
Muir for the Dragon of Maeshow, the etchings of the 
churches of Weir and Lybster, and the ground-plans of 
the ancient churches ; to Messrs. Chambers for the woodcut 
of Mousa ; and to Dr Daniel Wilson and Messrs. Constable 
for those of the Brooch and Comb, illustrating the burial- 
usages of the Norsemen. The view of Egilsey church is from 
a photograph, for which I am indebted to Mr. George Petrie 
of Kirkwall, whose pleasant companionship in a pilgrimage 
among the localities described in the Saga is gratefully 
remembered. J. A. 



National Mttbium 

OF THX AlfTIQnABIBS OF SOOTLAKD, 

October 1S7^. 



CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTION— 

I. Earliest Hibtobioal Notiobs of the Obknets 

ZL Early Cheistianitt of the Islands . 

IIL Arrival of the Northmen and Establishment of 
THE Earldom of Orkney and Caithness . 

IV. The Earldom in the Nobsb Line, 872-1231 
y. The Earldom in the Angus Line, 1231-1312 

VL The Earldom in the Strathbrnb Line, 1321-1379 

yn. The Earldom in the Line of St. Clair, 1379-1469 
Vm The Bishopric of Orkney, 1102-1469 

IX. The Bishopric of Caithness, 1160-1469 
X Ancient Churches of Orkney 

XL Mabshow and the Stones of Stennis 

XTT. MOXTSA AND THE PiCTISH ToWERS 

TITL Bemains of the Northmen . 
Chronological Table 
Genealogical Tables 

OBKNEYINQA SAGA 
Appendix 
Index .... 



PAGE 

ix 
xi 



XXI 

« • • 

xxm 

xlvi 

Iv 

Ixi 

Ixxi 

Ixxix 

Ixxxvii 

ci 

cix 

cxi 

cxxv 

cxxxii 

1-201 

201-212 

213 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



On Sepabatb Pages. 

View of South Transept and part of Choir of the 

Cathedral of St Magnus . . . Frontispiece 

Map of Scotland, with Norse names . To jyrejace Introduction 

The Bressay Sculptured Stone .... xvi 

„ „ „ Reverse of . . . rvii 

Symbols on the Sculptured Stones of Scotland . . xix 

Cathedral of St Magnus, Elirkwall, exterior view. To face p. Ixxxviii 
The Church of Egilsey ..... xdi 

Chancel Arch of Church of Weir, and Chancel Doorway 



of Church at Lybster, Reay 
Map of the Orkney Islands 

„ of the Shetland Islands 
Dragon-ship of the Viking period 



xcvui 
To preface Saga 
Ibid. 

132 



In the Tbzt. 

Squarensided Iron Bell found at Saverough, Orkney 
Ground-plan of £^;il8ey Church and Tower, Orkney 
Ground-plan of Bound Church at Orphir, Orkney 
Ground-plan of Church at Weir, Orkney 
Ground-plan of Church at Lybster, Beay, Caithness 
Ground-plan and Section of Maeshow, Orkney 
View of the Chamber in Maeshow, Orkney » 

Dragon carved on the wall in Maeshow 
Stone Circle at Brogar, Stennis, Orkney 
Stone Circle at Stennis, and Cromlech, from the northward 
Stone Circle at Stennis, &om the westward 
Pictish Tower of Mousa (Moseyarborg), Shetland 
Norse Sword foxmd at Gorton, Morayshire . 
Scabbard-Point found in a Norse Grave in Westray, Orkney 
Bronze Tortoise Brooch foimd in a Norse Grave in Caithness 
Comb found in a Norse Grave la Westray, Orkney . 



Page xiv 

xci 

xdv 

xcvi 

xcvii 

cu 

cm 

civ 

cvi 

cvii 

cvii 

cix 

cxvi 

cxvii 

cxxi 

cxxii 



SYLLABUS OF INTRODUCTION, 



L "Early Population of the Orkne3r8 — Monmnents and Stractoral 
Remains — Saxon Invasion in the 5th century — ^The Orkneys 
under Pictish rule — ^Dalriad Invasion in the 6th century — 
Wasting of the Orkneys by the Pictish King Bruide. 

Pages iz-xi. 

II. Visitation of the Islands by Irish Clerics — ^Dicuil's Account of 
Iceland, the Faroes, Shetland and Orkney — Irish Christian 
Settlers driven away by the Northern Bobbers — ^Indications of 
the early Christianity of the Islands — ^Bells and Christian 
Monuments of an early Age found in the Islands — ^Art of their 
early Sculptured Stones — Symbols of the Scidptured Monu- 
ments of the Scottish Mainland : their probable Period — ^Indi- 
cations of an early Christianity in the Norse Topography of the 
Islands ...... zi-xxi« 

m. Earliest Notices of Northmen on British Shores : their first 
Inroads on the Irish Coasts ; they plxmder lona — ^Establish- 
ment of a Norse Kingdom at Armagh — Olaf the White, King 
of Dublin ^-Haiald Harfagri's Expedition to the Orkneys — 
Subjugation of Orkney, Shetland, the Hebrides, and Man. 

xxi-xxiiL 

IV. Sigurd, fintt Earl of the Orkneys — Earl Sigurd and Thorstein the 
Bed subdue Caithness and Sutherland — Sigurd's Death and 
Burial at Ekkialsbakki— Thorstein the Bed King of "^ half of 
Scotland" — Thorstein slain in Caithness — Duncan, Earl of 
Duncansbay — Guttorm Earl — Hallad Earl — Torf Einar Earl 
— ^Thorfinn Hausakliuf Earl — Bagnhild murders her Husbands 
— ^Battle at Skida Myre in Caithness — Earl Hlodver — ^Earl 
Sigurd the Stout— Earl Finnleik— Battle at Skida Myre— Earl 
Sigurd's Baven Banner — ^Battle at Duncansbay — ^Earl Sigurd 
marries a Daughter of Malcolm, King of Scots : is converted to 
Christianity by King Olaf, Tiyggvi's Son ; falls at the Battle of 
Clontaif — Earls Thorfinn, Brusi, and Einar — Kali Hundason 



SYLLABUS OF THE INTRODUCTION. 

takes the Eingdom in Scotland — Battles at Deemess and 
Baefiord ^ Rognvald Bmsison — ^Battle off Randabioig — Earl 
Thorfinn, surprised by Rognvald, escapes from the burning 
House — Rognvald slain on Papa Stronsay — Earl Thorfinn's 
Death — ^Ingibiorg, his Widow, marries King Malcolm Canmore — 
Battle of Stamford Bridge — ^Expeditions of King Magnus Bare- 
legs to Scotland — He carries off the Orkney Earls Paul and 
Erlend, and places his own son Sigurd over Orkney — Earl 
Hakon Palson — Murder of St Magnus — ^Harald (Slettmali) dies 
firom a poisoned Shirt — Paul the Silent — Rognvald Eolson 
wins the Orkneys — ^Earl Paul carried off to Athole by Swein 
Asleifson — Harald, Son of Maddad Earl of Athole, made joint 
Earl of Orkney — Earl Rognvald's Pilgrimage to Jerusalem — 
Erlend Ungi besieged in Mousa by Earl Harald — ^Earl Rogn- 
vald slain — Earl Harald at War with King William the Lion 
— The Eyarskeggiar — Earl Harald makes Peace with King 
Sverrir, and Shetland is taken from him : is captured by King 
William the Lion, and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle ; is 
released on his son Thorfinn being given up as a Hostage ; 
storms a Borg at Scrabster, and mutilates Bishop John — Penance 
prescribed for the Mutilation of the Bishop — Earl John — 
Burning of Bishop Adam at Halkirk — Earl John slain at 
Thurso .... Pages xiiii-xlvi. 

v. Magnus, son of Qilbride, Earl of Angus, made Earl of Caithness 
and Orkney — Gilbride Earl — Magnus, son of Gilbride — King 
Hakon Hakonson's expedition against Scotland — ^Battle of Largs 
— Death of Kiag Hakon at Kirkwall : his Body lies in State 
in the Cathedral ; is temporarily interred in the Choir ; is 
removed to Bergen — ^Earl Magnus Magnusson — Earl John — 
Marriage of King Eirik of Norway with Margaret of Scotland — 
Death of Queen Maigaret — Her Daughter Margaret, '' the Maid 
of Norway," made Heiress to the Scottish Throne, and betrothed 
to Prince Edward of England — ^The Maid of Norway dies on 
her voyage to Scotland — King Eirik marries Isabella Bruce — 
Earl John betrothed to their Daughter Ingibiorg — ^Appearance 
at Bergen of '' the False Margaret,'' a Gennan woman who gave 
herself out as thcf Maiden of Norway — ^The False Margaret 
burnt at Bergen, and her Husband beheaded — Magnus, last 
Earl of the Angus line .... xlvi-lv. 

VL Malise, Earl of Stratheme, succeeds to the Earldom of Orkney : 
falls at the Battle of Halidon Hill— Forfeiture of the Earldom of 



SYLLABUS OP THE INTRODUCTION. 

Stratherne — ^Malise the Younger goes to Norway : marries two of 
his Daughters to Swedish Noblemen — ^Emgid Snneson, son-in- 
law of Malise, made Earl of Orkney — ^Duncan Anderson's Mani- 
festo—Alexander de Ajd made Earl of Orkney for one Year — 
Eesigns his Lands in Caithness — ^The Stewarts Earls of Caith- 
ness — Sir G^rge Crichtoxm made Earl of Caithness — ^William 
St. Clair made Earl of Caithness . . Pages Iv-lxL 

VIL First Notices of the St Clairs in Orkney — Obecnre Questions 
connected with the Succession of the St Clairs — Heniy St. 
Clair made Earl of Orkney and Shetland — Malise Sperra slain 
at Scalloway — Henry IL Earl of Orkney ^Bishop Tnlloch 
made Commissioner for the King of Norway — ^David Menzies 
made Commissioner : his oppressions — ^William St Cisai, last 
Earl under the Norwegian Dominion — Impignoration of the 
Isles ...... bd-lxzi 

YXEL Origin of the Bishopric of Orkney — ^Bishops of Orkney conse- 
crated at Hamburg — ^Bishops of Orkney consecrated at York^ 
William the Old, "first Bishop"— William IL— Bjami — 
Jofreyr — Henry L — ^Peter — ^Dolgfinn — ^William ILL — ^William 
rV. — William V. — Henry H. — John — Patrick — Thomas de 
Tulloch — ^William de Tulloch — The See of Orkney placed under 
the Metropolitan Bishop of St Andrews . Ixzi-lzxix. 

IX. Earliest Notices of the Bishopric of Caithness — Andrew, first 
known Bishop — John — Adam — Letter of Pope Honorius 
referring to the burning of Bishop Adam — Qilbert the Saint — 
William — Walter — ^Archibald — Alan — ^Adam — ^Andrew — Fer- 
quhard — ^Nicolas — ^David — ^Alan — Thomas — ^Malcolm — ^Alex- 
ander — ^Bobert — William. . . budx-lxxxviL 

X. Cathedral of St Magnus — ^Removal of the Relics of St. Magnus 
firom Christ's Church in Birsay to St Olaf s Church in Kirk- 
wall : Transference to the Cathedral — ^Egilsey Church — Munch*s 
view of the Origin of the Name Egilsey — Discussion of the 
probable Age of the Church — Church of Orphir built in imita- 
tion of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem — ^Earl 
Hacon probably its Founder — Christ's Church in Birsay the 
first recorded Christian Church in the Islands — Remains of an 
older Church at the Site of the present Parish Church — Church 
of Weir : Bishop Bjami probably its Founder — Church at 
Lybster, in Reay, Caithness — Church on the Brough of Birsay 



SYLLABUS OF THE INTRODUCTION. 

probably twin-towered — Church on the Brongh of Deemess : 
SupeiBtitioiis Practices at it in last Century — Old Parish Church 
of Deemess — ^Towered Churches of Shetland Pages buccvii-ci. 

XL Maeshow, the Orkahaug of the Saga — ^The Hogboy — Description 
of Maeshow — The Runic Inscriptions on its Walls — Carved 
Dragon and Cross on its Buttresses — ^The Jorsalafarers — ^Names 
of Persons mentioned in the Saga carved on it — The Stones of 
Stennis — The Ring of Brogar — ^The Ring of Stennis, and Crom- 
lech — The Ring of Bookan — Stennis mentioned in the Saga — 
Havard's teigr — ^Earl Havard's Grave-Mound . ci-cviii. 

Xn. Mousa and its Tower — ^Description of Moseyarborg — Number and 
Distribution of the Pictish Towers — ^Results of recent Excava- 
tions in them — Condition of the People who lived in them — 
Roman Coins found in them — ^Notices of the Tower of Mousa 
in the Sagas ..... cix-cxi. 

Xni. The Norse Territory in Scotland still distinguished by its Norse 
Place-names — Notices of the Norse Language in Orkney and 
Shetland— Norse Ballads— The Ballad of Hiluge and Hildina 
recovered by Low in Foula : Outline of its Story ; its Dialect 
and Date — ^Runic Monxmients in Orkney and Shetland — ^Actual 
Relics of the Northmen — ^Burial Customs of the Pagan North- 
men in Orkney and Shetland — Narrative of an Eye-witness of 
the Incremation of the Body of a Norse Chief of the 10th cen- 
tury — Description of the Funeral Rites — "The Dead Man's 
Angel ^ — Sacrifice of Oxen, Horses, etc. — Slaughter of a Female 
Slave to accompany the Chief — ^Burning of the Bodies and 
erection of the Grave-Moxmd — ^Diversity of the Burial Usages — 
Burial in Stone Urns and Cooking Pots — ^Brooches of a peculiar 
Scandinavian type found with Norse Burials in Scotland — Group 
of Norse Graves in Westray, Orkney . . cxi-cxxiii. 



Sandey 
Irionsvy 




EDMOKSTON i DOUCIAS. E DINBlRCH. 



• •^■^ivaiwva 



' 



( t 



^ 1 



INTEODUCTION. 



I. Earliest Historical Notices of the Orkneys. 

The historical notices of the Orkneys previous to the Norse 
occupation are few in number, and exceedingly obscure. We 
learn little more from the allusions of the Eoman writers 
than that scarcely anything was known to them with 
certainty of these remote localities. It may be inferred, 
however, that the first wave of Celtic population that 
overspread the northern mainland of Britain must have 
gradually extended northward to the outlying Isles. The 
correspondence of the early remains found in the Islands with 
those of northern Scotland is of itself a striking testimony to 
the connection of their early population with the Celtic stock 
of the northern mainland of Scotland. We gather fix>m these 
remains that the earliest population of the Islands, of which 
we have any reliable evidence, lived in the same manner as 
the natives of the northern mainland, fought with the same 
varieties of weapons of stone and bronze, erected the same 
forms of defensive structures, practised the same funereal 
rites, and constructed similar forms of sepulchral chambers, 
over which they piled the great mounds which are among 
the most striking features of an Orkney landscape.^ The 

^ Wiitiiig of the barrows and cairns of Orkney, Captain Thomas states that 
at least 2000 might stiU be numbered. We have no estimate of the number 
in Shetland, but there also they are very numerous. Not less remarkable is 
the number of the early " dwellings of strength," of which Mousa is the type 
—huge edifices, constructed with amazing labour and wonderful skilL (See 
under Maeshow and Mousa.) 

a 



X ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

number and. magnitude of these monuments and structural 
remains bear witness in a most remarkable manner to the 
activity, intelligence, and social organisation of the times that 
have no other record. 

It is not until the middle of the 5th century of the 
Christian era that the early chronicles begin to cast occasion- 
ally a feeble and uncertain light upon the history of the 
northern isles. It is stated in the " Historia Britonum " of 
Nennius that the Saxon chiefs Ochtha and Ebissa, who came 
over with " forty keels" in the year 449, laid waste the Orkney 
Islands, and seized a great many regions beyond the Frisic 
Sea.^ At that time, and for a long period previously (accord- 
ing to Nennius), the Picts had been in possession of the 
Orkneys. Whatever value may be attached to these state- 
ments as referring to events which took place 400 years before 
the author's own time, there can be no reason for discrediting 
.lus testimony when he says that the Picts continued in 
possession of the Orkneys in his day.^ 

Adamnan, in his life of St Columba, mentions that the 
saint being on a visit to Bruide Mac Meilcon, king of the 
Northern Picts, at his stronghold on the river Ness, requested 
the king to recommend to the regvii of the Orkneys (one of 
whom was then present, and whose hostages were then in the 
king's hands) that Cormac and the clerics who had accom- 
panied him on a missionary voyage to the Orkneys should 
receive no harm ; and it is added that this was the means of 
saving them from a violent deatL But if the authority and 
influence of the king of the Northern Picts extended to these 
islands in the reign of Bruide, it does not seem to have been 
effectual in protecting them fix)m foreign invasion. Bruide 
Mac Meilcon died in 584, and some time before his death the 
new and rising power of the Dalriadic kings had made itself 

* The Frisic Sea is supposed to mean the Firth of Forth. 

' The " Historia Britonum " of Nennius (whoever he may have been) is be- 
lieved, on what seems reliable evidence, to have been written about A.D. 858. 
(See the Irish Nennius, Irish Archeological Society, p. 18.) 



r I r « . ■ *f !mmamm^m'^m&3 msm ll t gj j ggjg i 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

felt as far as the Orkneys. In the Annals of Ulster there is 
a notice under the year 580 of an expedition against the 
Orkneys by Aedan, son of Gubran, seventh king of the 
Dalriad Scots, who, coming over from Ireland (then called 
Scotia) about the year 503, had established themselves in 
Aigyle and the Western Highlands, and founded the kingdom 
of Dabiada. From the date of Aedan's expedition in 580 we 
have no mention of the islands in the native chronicles for a 
whole century, and the next entry, which occurs under the 
year 682, gives colour to the supposition that they may have 
been under Dalriadic rule in the interval The record in 
682 is simply, that the Orkneys were wasted by Bruide 
Mac Bile, the king of the Northern Picts, and apparently 
brought once more under the rule of the Northern Pictish 
kings. 



11. EaKLY CHRISTIilNITY OF THE ISLANDS. 

It is probable that both the island groups of Orkney and 
Shetland were visited at a very early period by wandering 
clerics of the Irish Church, whose missionary efforts contri- 
buted so much to the diffusion of Christianity in Scotland. 
But we have no record of an earlier visitation than that of 
the companions of St. Columba, although there are indications 
that between that time and the colonisation of the islands by 
the heathen Northmen, these Irish clerics were no strangers 
in any of the island groups. 

The Irish monk Dicuil, who wrote his treatise "De Mensura 
Orbis Terrarum" in or about the year 825, states that " thirty 
years before that time some clerics had told him that they 
had Uved in an island which they supposed to be Thule, 
where at the summer'solstice the sun only hid himself behind 
a little hill for a short time diiring the night, which was quite 
light ; and that a day's sail towards the north would bring 
them from thence into the frozen sea." This island is obviously 



XU ORKNEYLNGA SAGA. 

Iceland. He then states that there are many other islands in 
the northern British sea, which lie at the distance of two days 
and two nights from the northern islands of Britain, in a 
straight course, and with a fair wind and a full sail " One 
of these," he says, " a certain honest monk told me he had 
visited one summer after sailing a day, a night, and another 
day, in a two-benched boat" These appear to be the Shetland 
Islands. Dicuil further states that " there are also some other 
smaU islands, almost all divided from each other by narrow 
sounds, inhabited for about a century by hermits proceeding 
fix)m our Scotia;^ but as they had been deserted since the 
beginning of the world, so are they now abandoned by these 
anchorites on account of the Northern robbers ; but they are 
full of countless sheep, and swarm with sea-fowl of various 
kinds. We have not seen these islands mentioned in the 
works of any author," Here the reference to the "small 
isles separated by narrow soimds " is distinctive of the Faroes, 
of which the long narrow sounds are the peculiar physical 
feature ; while the statement that they are full of count- 
less sheep, taken in connection with the fact that the 
Northmen named them "Sheep-isles" (Fser-eyiar), estab- 
lishes the identity of the group which Dicuil describes. 
The Faroes were colonised by " the Northern robbers," led 
by Grim Eamban, in 825, the very year in which Dicuil 
was writing. 

The first Norwegian settlement was made in Iceland in 
875, by Leif and Ingulf, who carried with them a number of 
Irish captives ; and the Landnamab6k states that " before Ice- 
land was colonised from Norway, men were living there whom 
the Northmen called Papas ; they were Christians, and it is 
thought they came over the sea from the west, for after them 
were found Irish books, and bells, and crosiers, and other 
things, so that one could see that they were Westmen : these 
things were foxmd in Papey, eastwards, and in Papyli." Again, 

' Ireland was then called Scotia. 



INTRODUCTION. Xlll 

in the Islendiiigal)6k of Ari Frodi the same reason is assigned 
for the departure of the monks as is given by DicuiL Ari 
Frodi also says, speaking of Iceland : — " Christian men were 
here then called by the Northmen Papa, but afterwards they 
went their way, for they would not remain in company with 
heathens ; am' they left behind them Irish books, and bells, 
and pastoral staves, so that it was clear that they were 
Irishmen/* 

Thus by the concurrent testimony of Adamnan, the bio- 
grapher of St. Columba, himself an abbot of the monastery 
of Hy ; of the Irish monk Dicuil, writing during the lifetime 
of the men who had fled from the Northern robbers ; and 
lastly, of the Icelandic historians themselves — ^it is established 
that the whole of the northern islands were visited by 
Christian teachers, and probably, in part at least, converted to 
the Christian faith, before they were overrun by the Nor- 
wegian invaders, and the new faith swallowed up in the rising 
tide of heathenism thrown upon their shores from the land of 
Odin and the Aser. 

In the absence of all record we cannot expect to ascertain 
to what extent these early missionary settlements had suc- 
ceeded in leavening the Celtic population of the islands of 
Orkney and Shetland with the Christian faith. But it seems 
probable that during the three centuries that intervened be- 
tween the coming of Cormac in his coracle and the arrival of 
Harald Harfagri with his fleet of war gaUeys, the new faith 
had been firmly established and widely extended both in the 
northern mainland of Scotland and in the remoter isles. 

The indications which point to a Christian occupation of 
the isles, of no inconsiderable extent and continuance, previous 
to their occupation by the Norsemen, are : — The dedications 
of the early ecclesiastical foundations ; the occurrence of 
monumental stones sculptured in the style peculiar to the 
earliest Christian monuments of the mainland of Scotland, 
and bearing inscriptions in the Ogham character ; the finding 



ORKNBYINOA SAGA. 



(aa at Saverougli and Biurian) of ecclesiastical bells of tbe 
square-sided form, peculiar to the early agea of the Church ; 



and the occorrence in the Norse tojx^iraphy of the islnnds of 
place-names indicative of the previous settlement of Celtic 
Christian priests. 

The earliest dedications were probably those to St Ninian 
and St Columba, St Brigid, and St TredwelL It may be 
significant that in the south parish of South Eonaldsay, where 
in all probability the companions of St Columba would make 
their first landing in Orkney, there were no fewer than three 
chapels dedicated to him.' 

' St. NinUn ma coinmemoTat«d at Dimrossnesa in Shetland (Sibbald'l . 
Dtacription, 1711, p. 16) ; at Stove in Soath Ronaldsay, Orkney (Peterkin'a 
Bent«]«, Na III.) ; at thetiorth head of the bay of Wick in Caithness ; and 
at Navidale in Sntherland. St Colnmba'a three chapels in Sonth Tlonaldaay 
wera at Oirnuies*, Hopay, and Loch of Bnnrick (Peterktn'a Rentals, Na III. 
p. 8fl). There were also dedications to St Columba in the islands of Sanday 
and Hoy in Orkney, «t Olrig and Dirlet in Caithneas, on Island Comb, at 
Tongne, and at Eilealmkill in Sntherlandshira (Bishop Forbes's Calendu' of 
Scottish Saints). St Tridoana, whose name has been cormpted into St 



INTRODUCTION. XV 

The sculptured monmnents furnish us with three collateral 
lines of inference, tending to the same conclusion. These 
inferences are derived fix)m the inscriptions, the ornamenta- 
tion, and the symbols of the monuments. 

Two of these monuments bear inscriptions in the Ogham 
character, a style of cryptographic writing characteristic of 
the early inscribed stone monuments of Ireland, but occurring 
also in Cornwall, in Wales, and in Scotland. One of these 
two was found near the ancient church of Oulbinsbrugh, in 
the island of Bressay in Shetland. It is a slab of chlorite 
slate, 4 feet in length, about 16 inches wide at the top, taper- 
ing to a little less than a foot at the bottom, and about If 
inch thick. It is sculptured on both sides in low relief, and 
the inscription is incised on the edges of the stone. On one 
of its sculptured faces it bears the Christian emblem of the 
cross, and eunong the figures sculptured on it are those of two 
ecclesiastics with pastoral staves (see Plates). The other 
inscribed stone was found by Dr. William Traill in the Pictish 
Tower or " Broch" of Burrian,'in Ngrth Eonaldsay in Orkney. 
The inscription scratched on it has not yet been deciphered. 
It also bears the Christian emblem of the cross. The asso- 
ciation of the cross with these Ogham inscriptions^ points 

Tredwell and St Trndlin (the Trollhsena of the Saga), had dedications in 
Papa Westray in Orkney (Martin's and Brand's Descriptions), and at Kintrad- 
well in Sutherlandshire. It seems also, from the narratire of Bishop John's 
mntUation in the Saga, that there was a dedication to her near Thurso. St. 
Brigid had chapels in Stronsay and Papa Stronsay in Orkney. But it is im- 
possible to tell how many of these early religious sites had similar dedications, 
at scarcely a tithe of those that are known have preserved their names. Brand 
and Sibbald both mention the fact that in their time there were stiU recog- 
nisable the sites of 24 chapels in the island of Unst, 21 in the island of Yell, 
and 10 or 11 in the island of Fetlar : 55 religious foundations in the three 
most northerly islands of the Shetland group. The Christian period of the 
None occupation is marked by dedications showing the influence of the 
Crusades or of the national religious feeling. The dedications to the Holy 
Cross, St Mary, St Peter, St Lawrence, St. Olaf, and St Magnus, are probably 
all of this period. 

^ Unfortunately, the readings of these inscriptions which have been 
attempted are far from satisfactory. The Shetland and Orkney specimens are 



OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 



nlDg ooe ilile and Oghim InicripUon on «dge. 



INTBODUcnON. 



and OghRin InacripUoo at 



XVIU ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

to a period anterior to the Norse occupation of the 
islands. 

In examining the characteristics of the art of these monu- 
mental stones, we are guided to similar conclusions. The 
Bressay stone bears none of the sjnnbols peculiar to the 
Scottish monuments, and in its artistic features it comes 
nearer to some of the Irish than to the general style of the 
Scottish sculptures. It is sculptured in low relief, while all 
the Orkney examples are merely incised. But some of the 
forms of their ornamentation are also characteristic of the art 
pf the illuminated Irish manuscripts of the 7th and 8th cen- 
turies, and others are equally characteristic of the art of the 
bronzes of what has been styled the late Celtic period. 

The Scottish sculptured monuments scattered over the 
territory ranging from the Forth to the Orkneys are charac- 
terised by a peculiar set of symbols of unknown significance, 
which are often associated with the Christian emblem of the 
cross.^ The symbol which is of most frequent occurrence, 
and which may therefore be said to be the most characteristic 
of the period of the monuments, is a crescent conjoined with 
what has been called a double sceptre, as represented in the 
first figure of the accompanying Plate. 

This characteristic symbol occurs on a sculptured slab 
which was found btdlt into St. Peter's Church in South 
Eonaldsay, and which had evidently formed part of a monu- 
ment older than the church. It occurs also on the slab found 
at Firth, on the mainland of Orkney. Most singularly, it 
occurs on the phalangial bone of an ox which was foimd in 
the Broch of Burrian along with the slab previously described 

in different styles of the Ogham writing, and the whole sabject of the reading 
and interpretation of the inscriptions in this character is beset with difficulties 
of no ordinary kind. One rendering of the Bressay inscription makes it *' the 
cross of Natdod*s daughter here," and on the other edge of the stone, ** Benres 
of the sons of the Druids here ; " while the language is supposed to be a 
mixture of Celtic and Icelandic (Sculptured Stones of Scotland, vol. i p. 80.) 
^ Sculptured Stones of Scotland (Spalding Club), by John Stuart, LL.D., 
passim. 



INTRODUCTION. 




XX ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

as bearing an Ogham inscription and a peculiar form of crosa 
It occurs associated with the same form of cross on the ela- 
borately-sculptured stone at Ulbster in Caithness. We have 
this crescent symbol also associated with the cross on the 
inscribed stone of St. Vigeans in Forfarshire. This stone 
bears the only inscription which is known to have been left 
to us in the Pictish language : — ^ 



DROSTEN 

"Drost, 



IPE 

son of 



VORET 

Voret, 



ELT 

of the race of 



FORCUS 

Fergus," 



and is believed to refer to that Drost, king of the Picts, who 
fell at the battle of Blathmig, according to the i^nTialfl of 
Tigheamac, in AD. 729. 

The indications afforded by the Norse topography of the 
Islands, if taken in connection with the passages previously 
quoted firom the Landnamab6k and the Islendingab6k of Ari 
Frodi regarding the origin of the names Papa and PapyK in 
Iceland, require only to be mentioned. The most obvious of 
these are the frequency with which the name Papa* occurs 
both in the topography of Orkney and Shetland, and the 
occurrence of such names as St. Ninian's Isle in Shetland, 
Kinansey (Kingan's-ey, St. Ninian's Isle) in Orkney, Daminsey, 
now Damsey (St Adamnan's Isle), and Enhallow (Eyin-Helga, 
Holy Isle), given, we must suppose, intelligently by the 
Norsemen. 

^ Sir James Simpson's reading of the inscription, given in the Scnlptnred 
Stones of Scotland, voL ii p. 71. 

' In Orkney we have the islands of Papa Westray and Papa Stronsay (the 
Fa'pey meiri and Papey minni, or greater and lesser Papa of the Saga), Paplay 
in Sonth Ronaldsay, Paplay in the parish of Holm, and Papdale, near Kirk- 
wall, in the Mainland. In Shetland we have the isles of Papa — Papa Stour 
{Papey stora) and Papa Little (Papey lUla), and PapiU in the islands of Unst 
and YelL Papa Stronsay, Papa Westray, and Paplay, in the Mainland of 
Orkney, are mentioned in the Saga. Papa Stour occurs in a deed of A.D. 
1229 (Diplom. Norreg. i 89), Papill in Unst in a deed of A.D. 1360 (Ihid. 
ilL 810), and a '*Sigardr of Pappley " is mentioned in the agreement between 
Bishop William of Orkney and Hakon Jonson, May 25, 1369 (Ibid. 
L 404). 



INTRODUCTION. XXI 

Thus, at the very starting-point of their recorded history, 
we find indications of Christianity, with suggestions even of 
its civilisation and its art shedding their benign influence 
over the isles. 

III. Arrival of the Northmen, and Establishment 

OF THE Earldom of Orkney and Caithness. 

ft 

The earliest notice we have of the visits of the Northmen 
to the shores of Britain occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 
under the date A.D. 787 : — 

" In this year King Beorhtric took Eadburh, King Offa's daughter, 
to wife. And in his days first came three ships of Korthmen from 
Hseretha-land ; and then the reeve rode thereto, and would drive 
them to the king's vill, for he knew not what they were, and they 
there slew him. These were the first ships of Danish men that sought 
the land of the English race." 

As they came from Hseretha-land, now Hordaland, on the 
west coast of Norway, they were Norwegians, not Danes. 

The Irish Annals and the Welsh Chronicles agree in 
representing the first inroads of the Norsemen on the Irish 
coasts as having commenced in the year 795. In 798 they 
plundered Inispatrick of Man and the Hebrides ; in 802, and 
again in 806, they ravaged lona, slaying in the latter year 
sixty-eight of the monastic family there. In 807 they estab- 
lished themselves on the mainland of Ireland ; and a few 
years afterwards we find a Norseman making Armagh flie 
capital of his kingdom. 

In 852, Olaf the White, a chieftain descended fix)m the 
same family as Harald Harfagri, conquered Dublin, and 
founded the most powerful and permanent of the Norse king- 
doms in Ireland. 

By the victory of Hafursfiord in 872, Harald Harfagri 
made himself sole monarch of Norway. Large numbers of 
the wealthy and powerful odallers, whom he had dispossessed 
of their territorial possessions, fled to the islands of Orkney 



XXU ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

and Shetland, which, for a full century previous to this time, 
had been well known to the Norsemen as the viking station 
of the western haf — the rendezvous of the Northern rovers, 
who swept the coasts of the Hebrides and swarmed in the 
Irish Seas. Being fugitives from their country, and outlaws 
of the new kingdom which Harald had succeeded in establish- 
ing in Norway, they settled themselves permanently in the 
islands. Then they turned their haven of refuge into a base 
of operations for retaliatory warfare, hanying the coasts of 
Norway during the summer months, and living at leisure in 
the isljmds during winter on the plunder. At length K ing 
Harald, irritated by their incessant ravages, collected a power- 
ful fleet, and visiting Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, in 
succession, he swept their coasts clear of the plunderers, sub- 
duing the whole of the Northern and Western islands as far 
south as Mem. 

In this expedition Ivar, a son of Eognvald, Earl of Moeri, 
was killed.^ In order to recompense Eognvald for the loss of 
his son. King Harald bestowed on him the territory of the 
subjugated isles of Orkney and Shetland, with the title of 
Earl of the Orkneys. Harald seems to have dealt similarly 
with the Hebrides, but his conquest of the vikings in these 
remote isles was not so complete as in the Orkneys. Ketil 
Flatnef (Flat nose), who, according to the Laxdcela Saga, had 
emigrated to the Hebrides because he could not resist King 
Harald in Norway, had married his daughter Aud to Olaf 
the White, the powerful king of Dublin, and had estab- 
lished himself in a kind of independent sovereignty in the 
Hebrides ; and though he seems to have migrated from them 
to Iceland in consequence of King Harald's expedition, the 
continued hostility to King Harald's rule is evinced by the fact 
that the second earl whom he sent to the Hebrides, Asbjom 
Skerablesi, was slain by two relatives of Ketil Flatnef, his 
wife and daughter taken captive, and the latter sold as a 

^ There is a cairn in Sanday called Ivar's Enowe, which may be his burial 
mound. 



INTRODUCTION. XXIU 

slave. Eognvald, however, returned to his own Earldom in 
Norway, and 'made over his newly-acquired possessions to 
his brother Sigurd, the " first earl" of the Saga. 

IV. The Earldom in the Norse Line, 872-1231. 

Thorstein the Eed, son of Olaf the White, king of Dublin, 
came then to the north, and allying himself with Earl Sigurd, 
they crossed over to the mainland of Scotland, and subdued 
Caithness and Sutherland as far as Ekkialsbakki, and after- 
wards carried their conquests into Eoss and Moray. In this 
invasion Earl Sigurd killed Maelbrigd the buck-toothed (Mel- 
brigda tonn), a Scottish maormor of Eoss or Moray ; and 
having tied his head to his saddle-bow, "the tooth," 
which was very prominent, inflicted a wound on his leg, and 
the wound inflaming caused the death of the earl, who was 
hoylaid (buried in a mound or cairn) on EkkialsbakkL"^ 
After his death, Thorstein the Eed reigned as king over the 
conquered districts of Scotland, which at that time, says 
the Landnamab6k,^ comprehended " Caithness and Sutherland, 
Ross and Moray, and more than the half of Scotland." The 
Laxdsela Saga^ says that in his engagements with the Scots 
Thorstein was always successful, " until at length he became 
reconciled with the King of the Scots, and obtained possession 
of the half of Scotland, over which he became king." But 
he was shortly afterwards slain in Caithness by the treachery 
of the Scots ; and after his death Aud, his mother, migrated 
to Iceland. Previous to her departure she had given 6roa, 
the daughter of Thorstein, in marriage to Duncan, earl or 
maormor of Duncansby in Caithness. Thus the Norse earl- 

^ Olaf TiyggTSBon's Saga, Flate^arb6k, cap. 180, in the Appendix ; and 
Ynglinga Saga, Heimskringla, cap. 22. Earl Sigurd's graTe-mound, on the 
estuary of the Oykel (Ekkialsbakki), was known in the 12th century as 
Sitoardhoch, or Sigurd's How, and is still identifiable in the modem Cyder- 
hall (See the note on Ekkialsbakki, p. 107 of the Saga.) 

< LandnamalxSk, cap. ii. ' Laxdsela Saga, cap. iv. 



XXIV ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

dom of Caithness passed for a time into the family of one of 
its native chiefs. But by the subsequent marriage of Grelauga, 
the daughter of Duncan and Groa, with Thorfinn Hausakliuf, 
son of Torf-Einar, Earl of Orkney, the Scottish earldom was 
again added to the earldom of the Isles. 

While Thorstein the Eed ruled on the northern mainland 
of Scotland, Guttorm, the son of Sigurd Eysteinson, had suc- 
ceeded to the Orkney earldom on the death of his father, but 
after having held it for one year he died childless. 

Meantime, when Eognvald, Earl of Moeri, heard in Norway 
of the death of his brother Sigurd, he obtained a grant of the 
earldom of Orkney from King Harald for his own son Hallad. 
Hallad found the Islands so much infested by vikings that he 
soon gave up the earldom in disgust, and returned to Norway, 
preferring the life of a farmer to that of an earL^ 

Then Eognvald sent another son, Einar, to take posses- 
sion of the earldom. Einar was a man of a different stamp 
from Hallad. He soon made his power felt among the 
weBtem vikings, and freed his possessions entirely from their 
ravages. The sons of Harald Harfagri, Halfdan Halegg 
and Guthrod, grew up to be men of great violence. One 
spring they went north to Moeri and burnt Earl Eognvald in 
his own house with sixty of his men. Halfdan Halegg then 
sailed west to Orkney to dispossess Einar of the earldom, 
but having allowed himself to be surprised by Einar, he was 
captured in Einansey, and killed by having a blood-eagle cut 
on his back.^ Harald Harfagri came west, and fined the 
Orkneys in sixty marks of gold for the death of his son. 
Earl Einar offered to the Boendr* that he would pay the 
money on condition that he should have all the odal posses- 
sions in the islands — a condition to which they agreed the 

^ Olaf Tryggyason's Saga, FlateyjarlxSk, cap. 180, in Appendix. 

' This was done by hewing the ribs from the backbone, and tearing out the 
heart and Inngs. 

' Boondr, the odal landholders. (See note on this word, cap. 1. of the 
Saga.) 



INTRODUCTION. XXV 

more readily, says the Saga, " that all the poorer men had 
but small lands, while those who were wealthy said they 
would redeem theirs when they pleased." ^ But the odal lands 
remained in the possession of the earl till Einar's great- 
grandson, Sigurd Hlodverson,was obliged to buy the assistance 
of the odallers against the Scots when hard pressed by the 
Scottish earl Finleik.^ 

WLen Einar died he left three sons, two of whom, Amkell 
and Eriend, were killed with King Erik Bloodyaxe in England. 
The third, Thorfinn Hausakliuf, married Grelauga, daughter 
of Duncan, earl of Duncansbay, and thus reunited in the 
Norse line the two earldoms of Orkney and Caithness. Earl 
Thorfilnn Hausakliuf left five sons. Amfinn, the eldest, who 
was married to Eagnhild, a daughter of King Erik Bloodyaxe, 
was killed by his wife at Myrkhol (Murkle) in Caithness. 
She then married Havard, his brother. She soon tired of him, 
and instigated Einar Klining, his sister's soil, to kill him. 
Havard fell in the fray at Stennis, and was buried there.^ 
Eagnhild had promised to marry Einar if he killed her 
husband Havard Whei; the deed was done, however, she 
refused to perform her promise, and instigated another Einar, 
by the promise of her hand, to slay Einar Klining. This he 
did, but again Eagnluld was faithless. Then she married 
liot, the third son of Earl Thorfinn Hausakliflfer, and brother 
of the two husbands whom she had already had and slain. 
Meanwhile Skuli, a fourth brother, had gone to Scotland and 
obtained an earl's title for Caithness from the King of Scots.* 
He was defeated by Liot, and slain in the Dales of Caithness, 
and thus liot became sole earl of Caithness and Orkney. He 
fell in battle with a native chieftain, named Magbiod ^ in the 

1 Olaf Tryggvason's Saga, FlateyjarlxSk, cap. 188, in Appendix. 
' Finleik has been coigectnred to be Finlay, the father of Macbeth. 

* Olaf Tiyggvaaon's Saga, Flateyjarbok, cap. 184, in Appendix. 

* Ibid. cap. 186. 

^ This is probably the Celtic name Maelbrigd. Though it is snggestive of 
Macbeth, the date is too early for Macbeth MacFinlay. 

b 



> 



XXVI ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Sagas, at Skida Myre^ (Skitten) in Caithness, and was suc- 
ceeded in the earldom by EQodver, the last of the five brothers. 
Earl Hlodver married Audna, the daughter of the Irish 
king KiarvaL He died shortly after his accession to the 
earldom, and was buried at Hofn (Huna) in Caithness.^ His 
son Sigurd, sometimes called " the Stout," succeeded him. He 
is said to have been a mighty warrior, and to have driven the 
Scots completely from Caithness.^ But he was not left in 
imdisturbed possession of his Scottish earldom. The Scottish 
earl or maormor, Finlay (MacRuari ?) invaded Caithness and 
gave him battle at Skida Myre, where his imcle liot had 
fallen before another Scottish maormor -not long previously. 
Finlay had so large a force that there were no less than seven 
Scotsmen to one of Sigurd's men, and the Orkneymen who 
were with Earl Sigurd were unwilling to fight against such 
odds. Then Sigurd offered to restore to the Boendr their 
aUodial lands, which they had resigned to Earl Einar, his 
great-grandfather. By this means, more than by the charmed 
raven-banner made for him by his Irish mother, he obtained 
the victory. "After this," says the Njal Saga,* "Earl Sigurd 
became ruler over these dominions in Scotland, Eoss and 
Moray, Sutherland and the Dales " (of Caithness), which seem 
also to include the old Strathnaver. But his troubles with 
the Scots were not yet over. Caithness was invaded by two 
Scottish maormors, called Hundi and Melsnati in the Saga.^ 
A battle took place at Duncansbay, in which Melsnati was 
slain, but Hundi fled, and the Norsemen, learning that another 

^ The locality of Skida Myre has been identified by Munch with the Loch 
of Scister, in the parish of Canisbay. It seems rather to be indicated by the 
modem Skitten, as the name formerly applied to the great tract of moorland 
in the north-west comer of the parish of Wick, now generally known as the 
Moss of Eilmster. 

' Olaf Tryggrason's Saga, FlateyjarlxSk, cap. 186, in Appendix. 

* " He kept Caithness by main force from the Scots." (See Appendix, 
p. 209.) * Njal Saga, cap. Ixxxvii 

' Njal Saga, loc ciL This Hundi should be the father of the Kali Hunda- 
son of the subsequent narratiye. 



INTRODUCTION. XXVU 

Scottish earl, Malcolm, was assembling an anny at Duncans- 
bay, gave up the pursuit and returned to Orkney. Afterwards 
Sigurd became reconciled to Malcolm, King of the Scots, and 
obtained his daughter in marriage. 

But the most notable event in the life of Earl Sigurd was 
that which befel him as he lay in the harbour of Osmondwall 
shortly after his accession to the earldom. Olaf Tryggvason, 
King of Norway, returning from a western cruise, happened 
to run his vessels into the same harbour, as the Pentland 
Firth was not to be passed that day. On hearing that the 
earl was there he sent for him on board his ship, and told 
him, without much parley, that he must allow himself to be 
baptized, and make aU his people profess the Christian faith. 
The Flateyjarb6k says that the king took hold of Sigurd's boy, 
who chanced to be with him, and drawing his sword, gave 
the earl the choice of renouncing for ever the faith of his 
fathers, or of seeing his boy slain on the spot. In the posi- 
tion in which he found himself placed, Sigurd became a 
nominal convert, but there is every reason to believe that the 
Christianity which was thus forced upon the Islanders was 
for a long time more a name than a reality. Nearly twenty 
years afterwards we find Earl Sigurd bearing his own raven- 
banner " woven with mighty spells," at the battle of Clontarf, 
against the Christian king Brian ; and Sigurd's faU was made 
known in Caithness by the twelve weird sisters (the Valkyriar 
of the ancient mythology) weaving the woof of war : — ^ 

" The woof y-woven 
With entrails of men, 
The warp hardweighted 
With heads of the slain." 

An incident which occurred just before he set out for 
Ireland gives a striking illustration of the fierce manners of 
the times. King Sigtrygg, who had come from Dublin to 
obtain Earl Sigurd's aid, was being entertained at the Tule- 

^ Njal Saga, cap. clvi 



XXVm ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

feast in Earl Sigurd's hall in Hrossey (the Mainland of 
Orkney), and was set on the high seat, having Earl Sigurd on 
the one side and Earl Gilli, who had come with him, on the 
other. Gunnar Lambi's son was telling the company the 
story of the burning of Njal and his comrades, but giving an 
unfair version of it, and every now and then laughing out 
loud. It so happened that as, in answer to an inquiry of 
King Sigtrygg's how they bore the burning, he was saying 
that one of them had given way to tears, one of Njal*s friends, 
Kari by name, who had just arrived in Orkney, chanced to come 
into the halL Hearing what was said, Kari drew his sword,.and 
smote Gunnar Lambi's son on the neck with such a sharp blow 
that his head spun oflf on to the board before the king and the 
• earls, so that the board was all one gore of blood, and the earls' 
clothing too. Earl Sigurd called out to seize Kari and kill 
him, but no man stirred, and some spoke up for him, saying 
that he had only done what he had a right to do, and so Kari 
walked away, and there was no hue and cry after him. 

The battle of Clontarf, in which Earl Sigurd fell, is the 
most celebrated of aU the conflicts in which the Norsemen 
were engaged on this side of the North Sea. " It was at 
Clontarf, in Brian's battle," says Dasent, " that- the old and 
new faiths met in the lists face to face for their last struggle," 
and we find Earl Sigurd arrayed on the side of the old faith, 
though nominally a convert to the new. The Irish account 
of the battle ^ describes it as seen from the walls of Dublin, 
and likens the carnage to a party of reapers cutting down a 
field of oats. Sigurd is described as dealing out wounds and 
slaughter all around — "no edged weapon could harm him, 
and there was no strength that yielded not, and no thickness 
that became not thin before him." Murcadh, son of Brian 
Borumha, was equally conspicuous on the side of the Irish. 
He had thrice passed through the phalanx of the foreigners, 
slaying a mail-clad man at every stroke. Then perceiving 

' War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, p. 191. 



f 



^^^ >-*'' » — ■r^i.^M^^ ■..-s->..-^. -.Jtzjjg::.:- -1' ^.^^-^mum ,■3. m . t .-J. 



INTROl^UOTION. XXIX 

Sigurd, he rushed at him, and by a blow of his right-hand 
sword, cut the fastenings of his hehnet, which fell back, and 
a second blow given with the lefb-hand sword cut into his 
neck, and stretched him lifeless on the field. In the Njal 
Saga the incidents connected with Earl Sigurd's death are 
differently related. His raven-banner, which was borne 
before him, was fulfilling the destiny announced by Audna, 
when she gave it to him at Skida Myre, that it would always 
bring victory to those before whom it was borne, but death to 
him who bore it. Twice had the banner-bearer fallen, and 
Earl Sigurd called on Thorstein, son of Hall of the Side, next 
to bear the banner. Thorstein was about to lift it, when 
Asmiind the White called out, " Don't bear the banner, for all 
they who bear it get their death." " Hrafn the Eed !** cried 
Earl Sigurd, "bear thou the banner." "Bear thine own 
devil thyself," said Hrafn.^ Then said the earl, " 'Tis fittest 
that the beggar should bear the bag," and with that he took 
up the banner, and was immediately pierced through with a 
spear. Then flight broke out through all the host. 

When the news of Earl Sigurd's death reached Scotland 
King Malcolm gave the earldom of Caithness to Thorfinn, 
his daughter's son by Sigurd, then only five years of age, and 
Sumarlidi, Brusi, and Einar, Sigurd's sons by his former mar- 

* 

riage, divided the Orkneys between them. Sumarlidi soon 
died, and Einar got his portion. Einar made himself un- 
popular by the violence with which he exacted his services 

^ ELrafh the Red, whose denunciation of the raven-banner as the earl's 
devil may not altogether be accounted for,by the fervour of his Christianity, 
was chased into the river, where he was in danger of being drowned by the 
rising tide. In this emergency -he made a vow as follows: — *'Thy dog, 
Apostle Peter, hath run twice to Rome, and he would run the third time if 
thou gavest him leave." The Irish Chronicle states that the full tide in 
Dublin Bay on the day of the battle coincided with sunrise, and that the 
returning tide in the evening aided in the destruction of the defeated 
foreigners. The date assigned by the Chronicle for the battle is Good Friday, 
23d April 1014. It has been found by astronomical calculation that the full 
tide that morning did coincide with sunrise — a remarkable attestation of the 
authenticity of the narrative. 



XXX ORKNEYINQA SAGA. 

from the Boendr for his viking expeditions, and was killed by 
Thorkell Fostri (Anmundi's son) at Sandwick, in Deemess, 
Brusi then took possession of the whole earldom of the 
Orkneys, as Thorfinn had that of Caithness. Thorfinn, how- 
ever, claimed a share of the Islands, and as he had the assist- 
ance of his grandfather Malcolm, the King of Scots, Brusi felt 
himself unable to cope with him. He therefore went to 
Norway to negotiate with King Olaf Haraldson for a grant 
of the whole of the earldom of the Islands. Thorfinn followed 
him on the same errand, but the king was more than a match 
for them both, and the result was that he gave each a third of 
the Islands, declaring the third which had belonged to Earl 
Einar to be forfeited to himself for the murder of his friend 
and henchman Eyvind Urarhom, whom Einar had slain in 
revenge forEyvind's helping the Irish king Conchobhar against 
him at Ulfreksfiord. After Thorfinn's departure, however, he 
gave Brusi to understand that he was to have the forfeited third 
of the earldom, as well as his own third, to enable him to hold 
his own against Thorfinn. An arrangement was afterwards 
made between Brusi and Thorfinn that the latter should 
receive two-thii'ds of the Islands on condition of his under- 
taking the defence of the whole, as they were at that time 
much exposed to the predatory incursions of Norse and 
Danish vikings. 

When Thorfinn's maternal grandfather. King Malcolm, 
died. Kali Hundason ^ took the kingdom in Scotland. He 
attempted to exact tribute from Thorfinn for his dominions in 
the north of Scotland, and failing in this he sent his sister^s 
son, Moddan, into Caithness, giving him the title of EarL 
Thorfinn was supported by the inhabitants, however, and after 
an unsuccessful attempt to establish himself in Caithness, Mod- 
dan returned to King Kali with the news that Thorfinn was 
plundering in Ross and Sutherland. King Kali embarked a con- 
siderable force in eleven ships at Beruvik (apparently Berriedale 
on the southern frontier of Caithness), and sent Moddan north- 

^ See the account of him in the Saga, cap. v. and note. 



INTBODUCTION. XXXI 

wards by land with another division of his army, intending 
to enclose Thorfinn in the north-east comer of Caithness, and 
attack him from two sides at once. Thorfinn, however, was 
aware of the trap laid for him, and retired to the Islands. 
There Kali came up with him off Deemess, in Orkney, and a 
fierce battle took place, in which Kali was defeated. He fled 
southwards, and Thorfinn, following him, obliged him again to 
give battle at Baefiord, where he was again defeated, while 
Thorkell Fostri fell upon Moddan at Thurso and slew him. 
Then, say the Sagas, Earl Thorfinn overran Scotland as far 
south as Fife, burning and slaying, and subduing the land 
wherever he went. By these conquests he became the most 
powerful of all the Earls of Orkney. 

Rognvald Brusison was in Norway when he heard of his 
father's death, and being odal-bom to his father's third of the 
Islands, and having received from King Magnus Olafson a 
grant of that third which King Olaf had declared forfeited to 
himself for Eyvind Urarhom's murder, he went west to the 
Orkneys, prepared to maintain his rights against the claims 
of Thorfinn, who had taken possession of the whole. An 
amicable arrangement was made between the kinsmen, and 
they joined their forces for viking forays upon the Hebrides, 
venturing even upon an extensive foray in England during 
the absence of Hardicanute in Denmark After an eight 
years' alliance, however, discord broke out between the kins- 
men, and in a sea-fight in the Pentland Firth, off Bauda 
Biorg,^ in Caithness, Eognvald was defeated and fled, and 
Thorfinn I'educed the whole of the Islands. Eognvald went 
to Norway, and stayed some time with King Magnus. Then 
he came west to the Islands in a single ship, and surprising 
Thorfinn in a house on the Mainland of Orkney, he set fire to 
it. Thorfinn broke down part of the wall of the house and 
leapt out, carrying his wife Ingibiorg in his arms, and 
escaped through the smoke. Eognvald, believing that 

^ Rattar Brongh, a little to the east of Dunnet Head, seems to be the 
modeni form of Randa Biorg. 



XXXU OKKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Thorfinn had perished, took possession of the Islands. 
Thorfinn, who had got secretly over to his dominions in 
Caithness, returned shortly afterwards, and surprising 
Eognvald in a house on Papa Stronsay, burnt the house and 
all who were in it, except Eognvald, who sprang over the 
heads of the men who surrounded him, and got away in the 
darkness. He concealed himself among the rocks by the 
shore, but was discovered by the barl^ing of his dog, and 
slain by Thorkell Fostri. Thus Thorfinn was again sole ruler 
of the Orkney earldom, as well as that of Caithness. He 
went to Norway to make his peace with King Magnus, who 
was foster-brother to Earl Eognvald, and therefore would seek 
vengeance for his death. At that time Magnus was at war 
with Swein Ulfson, King of Denmark. While he lay with 
his fleet at Seley two war-ships rowed up to the king's 
vessel, and a man in a white cloak went straight aboard, and 
up to the quarter-deck, where the king sat at meat. Saluting 
the king, the man reached forth his hand, took a loaf from 
the table, broke it, and ate of it. The king handed the cup 
to him when he saw that he had broken bread at his table, 
and then he learned that it was Earl Thorfinn, who, having 
broken his bread and drunk from his cup, was, for the present 
at least, safe from his vengeance, according to the ancient 
laws of hospitality. He deemed it wise, however, to take his 
departure without having obtained a formal reconciliation. 
King Magnus died shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by 
his imcle Harald Hardradi Thorfinn again went to Norway 
on hearing of King Magnus' death, and effected a reconcilia- 
tion with King Harald, so that he was now established in the 
earldom of Orkney by consent of the over-lord, the King of 
Norway. 

From Norway he went to Denmark, visiting King Swein 
at Aalborg, and proceeded thence through Germany on a 
pilgrimage to Eomd, where he obtained absolution for aU 
his deeds. After his return from Eome it is said that he 
turned his mind more to the government of his dcminions 



INTBODUCnON. XXXIU 

and the welfare of his people than he had previously done in 
his career of conquest He built Christ's Kirk in Birsay, 
and established there the first bishop's see in the Orkneys. 
He died in 1064, having been Earl, by the Saga account, for 
" seventy winters," and the most powerful and wide-landed 
of all the Earls of the Orkneys. After his death, as the Saga 
states, his widow Ingibiorg was married to King Malcolm 
Canmore,^ and became the mother of Duncan, whom, however, 
the Scottish historians have always represented as a bastard. 

Thorfinn was succeeded by his two sons, Paul and Erlend, 
who were with King Harald Hardradi in his imfortunate 
expedition to England. After the battle of Stamford Bridge, 
in which King Harald fell, the Orkney earls were allowed to 
go home by the victorious Harold Godwinson, and they ruled 
their dominions jointly in great harmony till their sons grew 
up to manhood, when there began to be discord between the 
families. Hakon, the son of Paul, was of a turbulent and 
overbearing disposition. He seems to have had a lingering 
attachment to the Pagan faith of his forefathers, for, while in 
Sweden (which was longer in being converted to Christianity 
than Norway), he is said to have sought out the Pagan spae- 
men to learn his future from them. Coming to Norway he 
tried hard to induce King Magnus Barelegs to undertake an 
expedition to the Orkneys and the Western Isles, hoping that 
the king would conquer the Islands for the glory of the 
conquest, and hand them over to him, as Harald Harfagri 
had given them to Eognvald, Earl of MoerL He was more 
successful than he anticipated. King Magnus, fired with the 
love of conquest, did make the expedition, but he deposed 
Paul and Erlend, and carried them to Norway, placing his 
own son Sigurd, a mere child, over the Orkneys. 

Although the Saga speaks as if there had been only one 
expedition by King Magnus to Scotland, there were in reality 

^ See the Saga account, cap. zxiii. and note. The dates do not bear out 
the statement that Thorfinn was Earl for seventy years. 



XXXIV ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

three. Fordun ^ states that when Donald Bane, Duncan, and 
Edgar, were struggling for the kingdom on the death of 
Malcolm in 1093, King Magnus was ravaging the guKs of the 
Scottish seaboard, and it is stated in the Saga* that he 
assisted Murcertach in the capture of Dublin in 1094. In 
his second expedition in 1098 he carried oflf the Earls Paul 
and Erlend, and made his own son Sigurd Earl of Orkney. 
Munch surmises that the motives of this expedition were two- 
fold — ^to secure his power in the Orkneys, and to assist his 
protege Donald Bane, who had again usurped the crown of 
Scotland on the death of Duncan in 1095, and was in 1097 
hard pressed by Edgar with an English army. King Magnus 
took with him from the Orkneys Magnus Erlend's son (after- 
wards St. Magnus), and proceeded southwards to the Hebrides, 
where he ravaged Lewis, Skye, Uist, Tiree, and Mull, sparing 
lona on account of its sanctity. The Saga says that he 
opened the door of the little church of ColumkiU (St. Oran's 
chapel), and was about to enter, but stopped suddenly, closed 
the door, forbade any one to enter, and gave the inhabitants 
peace. Then he went on to Isla and Kintyre, and thence to 
Man and Anglesea, where he fought the battle with the two 
Hughs, Earls of Chester and Shrewsbury. On his return 
northward he caused his vessel to be drawn across the isthmus 
of Tarbert, in imitation of the fabulous sea-king Beite, of whom 
a similar story is told. He returned to Norway in 1099, and 
during the next two years was occupied with the Swedish 
war. In 1102 he returned to the west, married his son Sigurd 
to Biadmynia, the daughter of Murcertach, and fell in a 
skirmish with the Irish in Ulster in 1103. He was buried in 
St. Patrick's church in Dowa' 

Sigurd, the son of King Magnus, remained Earl of the 
Orkneys until his father's death, when he succeeded to the 
throne of Norway. 

Hakon Paul's son, and Magnus Erlend's son, then suc- 

^ Fordon, v. 24. ' Saga Magnus Berfoetts, Heimskringla, cap. xxr. 

' Chron. Mannie, Munch*s edition, p. 59. 



INTRODUCTION. XXXV 

ceeded to the earldom, and held it jointly until Magnus was 
murdered in Egilsay by Hakon on the 16th April, a.d. 1115.^ 

After the murder of Magnus, Hakon became sole earl. 
He went on a pilgrimage to Eome and the Holy Land, and after 
his return became a good ruler, and was so popular *' that the 
Orkneymen desired no other rulers than Hakon and his issue." 

Earl Hakon left two sons, Harald and Paul (the silent). 
Harald, who had succeeded to the earldom of Caithness, 
which " he held from the King of Scots," was in some way 
unintentionally put to death by his mother Helga and her 
sister Frakork. As the Saga teUs the story, he met his death 
by insisting on putting on a poisoned shirt which the sisters 
intended for his half-brother Paul, who, on Harald's death, 
became sole Earl of the Orkneys. 

A new claimant arose, however, in the person of Kali, 
son of Kol, a nobleman resident at Agdir, in Norway, who had 
married a sister of Earl Magnus the saint. Kali received 
firom King Sigurd the gift of half the Orkneys, which had 
belonged to his uncle Magnus, and his name was chsmged 
from Kali Kolson to Bognvald, because his mother said that 
Eognvald Brusison was the most accomplished of all the Earls of 
Orkney, and thought the name would bring her son good fortune. 

JRognvald had many romantic adventures in the prosecution 
of his attempt to obtain possession of half of the earldom held by 
Paul, which are detailed at length in the Saga. At last he was 
advised by his father Kol to make a vow to St. Magnus, that if he 
should succeed in establishing himself in the Orkneys he would 
build and endowa "stoneminster" at Klirkwall, dedicated to St. 
Magnus, " to whom the half of the earldom rightly belonged." 
The vow was made, and Eognvald's next expedition was suc- 
cessful He landed in Shetland, and by a dexterous stratagem 
the beacons on Fair Isle and in the Orkneys were made to 

1 See' the account of his death in the Saga, cap. zxxix. His feast days were 
16th April and 13th December, the former commemorating his death, and the 
latter the removal of his relics from Birsay by Bishop William. (Den Norske 
Kirkes Historie af R. Eeyser : Christiania, 1856, p. 162.) 



T^ 



XXXVl ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

give a false alarm of his descent upon the Orkneys, so that 
when he did land there he was unopposed. Then he secured 
the intervention of the bishop, and an agreement that he 
should have half the Islands was concluded between him and 
Earl PauL Shortly thereafter Earl Paul was captured by 
Swein Asleifson, a notable leader at that time in the Islands, 
and the last and greatest of the Orkney vikings. Swein 
carried the earl off in his vessel, and, landing him on the 
southern shore of the Moray Firth, delivered him into the safe 
keeping of Maddad, Earl of Athole,^ who was married to 
Margaret, a sister of Earl PauL What became of the earl is 
not known, " but this," says the Saga^ " is well known, that 
he came never again to the Orkneys, and had no dominions 
in Scotland." Swein Asleifson returned to Orkney, and by 
the joint consent of Earl Rognvald, Bishop William of Orkney, 
and Bishop John of Athole, Harald, the son of Maddad, earl 
of Athole, was made Earl, along with Eognvald, though he 
was at that time a child of only five years old. This arrange- 
ment was afterwards confirmed by a meeting, held in Caith- 
ness, of the Boendr and chiefs of the Orkneys and Caithness. 
The Earls Eognvald and Harald visited King Ingi by 
invitation at Bergen, and there Earl Eognvald met with 
Eindridi Ungi, a returned Crusader, and became possessed by 
a strong desire to visit the Holy Land. On his return voyage 
to Orkney, Earl Eognvald was shipwrecked at Gulberwick in 
Shetland, and narrowly escaped with his life. Bishop William 
strongly approved of his project to go on a pOgrimage to the 
Holy Land, and agreed to accompany him. Accordingly he 
went back to Norway to organise the expedition, and returned 
to the Orkneys followed by a large number of Jorsala-farers — 
mostly adventurers of very indiflferent character, if we are to 
judge by their turbulent and lawless behaviour during their 
stay in the Orkneys, where they spent the winter previous to ' 

^ Tlie Earls of Athole seem at this time to have occupied the rtUh or for- 
tress at Logierait. It is mentioned in one of the Scone charters as the capital 
of the earldom in the 12th century. (Lib. Eccles. de Scon, p. 35.) 



INTRODUCTION. XXXVll 

their departure for the East Early in the spring of the year 
1152 Earl Eognvald called a Thing-meeting of the inhabitants 
of the Islands, and told them of his purposed voyage, announc- 
ing that he was to leave the sole government in the hands of 
Harald during his absence, and asking them all to obey him 
and help him faithfully as their lawful lord. The summer 
was far advanced before he sailed, but he had a prosperous 
voyage, the adventures of which are detailed in the Saga ; 
and after visiting Jerusalem and bathing in the Jordan, he 
returned by way of Constantinople, Durazzo, Apulia, and 
Some, and so overland to Norway, the whole expedition 
occupying about three years. 

In the same summer that Earl Eognvald left the Orkneys 
on his pilgrimage, King Eystein came from Norway with a 
large force, and seizing Earl Harald Maddadson as he lay at 
Thurso with a single ship, made him pay a ransom of three 
marks of gold, and swear fealty to him for Orkney and Shet- 
land. Earl Maddad of Athole was now dead, and Margaret, 
the mother of Earl Harald, had come to the Orkneys. Erlend, 
the son of the Earl Harald (Slettmali), who was killed by the 
poisoned shirt, had set up his claim to half the earldom after 
Rognvald's departure. His cause was favoured by King 
Eystein, and espoused by Swein Asleifson, and Earl Harald 
was obliged to make peace by taking oath to allow Erlend to 
remain in possession of the Islands, an arrangement which 
was afterwards confirmed by a Thing-meeting of the Boendr 
of the Orkneys, Earl Eognvald's claim to his share of the 
Islands being, however, reserved. Earl Harald (Maddadson) 
was thus denuded of all power in the Islands. He fled across 
to Caithness, but after a time he returned to the Orkneys 
with four ships and a hundred men, and after an unsuccessful 
attempt to surprise Erlend^ he was obliged to abandon the 
enterprise for a time. Meanwhile, Erlend had carried off 
Harald's mother Margaret (who seems to have been still a 

' This was the occasion in which he and hia men spent the Ynle-feast day 
in the Orkahaug, which seems to be Maeshow. See the Saga, cap. zci. 



XXXVlll ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

beautiful woman, though of very indifferent character), and 
fled with her to the island of Mousa in Shetland, where they 
fortified themselves in the old Pictish tower or borg of Mousa, 
which about two centuries before had given shelter during a 
whole winter to a pair of lovers from Norway, under circum- 
stances somewhat similar.^ Harald pursued them, and laid 
siege to the borg, which could not be taken by assault, but 
the two earls came to a mutual imderstanding, and the siege 
was abandoned. Erlend married Margaret, and the same 
summer he and Harald went each on a visit to Norway to 
meet Earl Eognvald on his return from the Holy Land. 

Erlend succeeded in making an alliance with Earl Eogn- 
vald. Earl Harald was not aware of this till he returned 
from Norway, and heard the news in Orkney. He and 
Eognvald met at Thurso, and a skirmish took place between 
their respective followers, in which thirteen of Eognvald's 
men were slain, but by the efforts of their mutual friends the 
two earls were brought to an agreement of peaca Erlend 
and his faithful ally Swein Asleifson surprised the squadron 
of the two earls at Scapa, taking fourteen ships, and putting 
both the earls to flight They crossed over to Caithness 
during the nighty each in a separate boat, and returning 
some time after with a fresh force, they suiprised Erlend in 
Damsey, and slew him. Then they made peace with 
Erlend's old ally, Swein Asleifison, although this was not 
effected without some difficulty. Harald and Eognvald then 
ruled the two earldoms jointly, and apparently in great 
harmony, imtil the death of the latter in 1158. Eognvald 
was slain at Calder, in Caithness, by Thorbiom Klerk, the 
former friend and coimsellor of Earl ^arald, who had been 
made an outlaw by Earl Eognvald for a murder conmiitted 
in Kii'kwall, following on a series of acts of violence.^ 

^ See tbe notice from the Saga of Egill Skalagrimson, in the chapter on 
Monsa. 

* Some yean after his death Earl Rognyald was canonised, bat his name is 
not commemorated in any of the dedications now remaining in the Islands. 



INTKODUCTION. XXXIX 

Earl Harald Maddadson now became sole ruler of the 
earldoms of Orkney and Caithness. But by his second 
marriage he had allied himself with Hoarflad (Gormlath), 
daughter of Malcolm MacHeth, the so-called Earl of Moray, 
ex-bishop Wimund, and pretender to the Scottish throne, 
and consequently there could be no pacific relations between 
him and King William the Lion. The events of this period 
are somewhat confusedly told in the chronicles, but it seems 
probable that Harald was one of the six earls who rebelled 
against King Malcolm in 1160, in order to place William. of 
Egremont, grandson of Duncan, on the throne,^ and that he 
also supported Donaldbane, the son of William who aspired 
to the throne, and from 1180 maintained himself in Moray 
and Boss, till he was slain at the battle of Macgarvey, 1187.^ 
When Harald Ungi, son of Eirik Slagbrellir, by Ingigerd (or 
Ingirid)j daughter of Earl Eognvald, appeared as a rival 
claimant to the earldom of Orkney, having received from 
King Magnus Erlingson a grant of his grandfather's share of 
the Islands, King William embraced his interests, and gave 
him a grant of half of Caithness, which was thus taken from 
Earl Harald. Then Earl Harald became involved in diffi- 
culties with his other suzerain, the reigning King of Norway, 
through the expedition of the Eyarskeggiar or partisan^ of 
Sigurd, son of Magnus Erlingson, whom they endeavoured 
to place upon the throne in opposition to King Sverrir. 
Sigurd's cause was largely espoused by the Orkneymen, and 
the expedition (which was organised and fitted out in Orkney) 
did nmch mischief in Norway. Earl Harald was obliged to 
present himself before King Sverrir in Bergen. He went 
from Orkney accompanied by Bishop Bjami In presence of 
a great assembly in the Christ's Kirk garth, the earl confessed 
his fault, saying that he was now an old man, as his beard 
bore witness ; that he had bent the knee before many kings, 
sometimes in closest friendship, but oftener in circumstances 

' Mancli, Chron. MaunisB, p. 84. ' Fordun's Annals, xvL 



xl ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

of misfortune ; that he had not been unfaithful to his 
allegiance, although some of his people might have done that 
which was contrary to the king's interests ; and that he had 
not been always able to rule the Orkneys entirely according 
to his own will ; and that now he came to yield up himself 
and all his possessions into the king's power. So saying, he 
advanced, and casting himself to the earth, he laid his head at 
King Sverrir's feet. The king granted him pardon, but took 
from him the whole of Shetland,^ " which never after that 
formed part of the Norwegiem earldom of Orkney," though 
after the time of the Saga-writer, Shetland as well as Orkney 
was granted to Henry St. Clair in 1379 by King Hakon 
Magnusson, the second of that name. 

Yet though humiliated in this manner, and stripped of a 
great part of his dominions, Earl Harald, according to Hove- 
den, dared to contest the possession of Moray with King 
WUliam, instigated no doubt by his wife, in whose right 
alone he could have had any feasible claim to its possession. 

Eoger de Hoveden, chaplain to Henry II., a contemporary 
chronicler, thus records the events that followed : — ^ 

" In the same year (1196) William, King of Scots, having 
gathered a great army, entered Moray to drive out Harald 
MacMadit, who had occupied that district. But before the 
king could enter Caithness, Harald fled to his ships, not 
wishing to risk a battle with the king. Then the King of 
Scots sent his army to Turseha (Thurso), the town of the 
aforesaid Harald, and destroyed his castle there. But Harald, 
seeing that the king would completely devastate the country, 

^ From this time tiD 1379 Shetland passed into the immediate possession 
of the crown of Norway. So we find in 1812-1819, that King Hakon Magnus- 
son grants to the Maiy-Eirk in Oslo (Chri^tiania), for the completion of the 
fabric of the kirk, ** all our incomes of Hjaltland and the Faroes, so that those 
who haye charge of the kirk's building and fabric every year shall render ac- 
count thereof to our heirs, and when the fabric is altogether completed, then 
shall the foresaid revenues of Hjaltland and the Faroes revert to the crown. " 
(Nicolaysen, Norske Fomlevninger, p. 426.) 

' Chronica Rogeri de Hoveden (Rolls £d.), iv. pp, 10, 12. 



INTRODUCTION. xli 

came to the king's feet and placed himself at his mercy^ 
chiefly because of a raging tempest in the sea, and the wind 
being contrary, so that he could not go to the Orkneys ; and 
he promised the king that he would bring to him all his 
enemies when the king should again return to Moray. On 
that condition the king permitted him to retain a half of 
Caithness, and the other half he gave to Harald, the younger, 
grandson of B^inald (Bognvald), a former Earl of Orkney and 
Caithness. Then the king returned to his own land, and 
Harald to Ihe Orkneys. The king returned in the autumn 
to Moray, as far as Ilvemarran (Invemaim), in order to 
receive the king^s enemies trom Harald. But though Harald 
had brought them as far as the port of Lochloy near Inver- 
naim, he allowed them to escape ; and when the king returned 
late from hunting, Harald came to him, bringing with him 
two boys, his grandchildren, to deliver them to the king as 
hostagea Being asked by the king where were the king's 
enemies whom he had promised to deliver up, and where was 
Thorfinn his son, whom he had also promised to give as a 
hostage, he replied, ' I allowed them to escape, knowing that 
if I delivered them up to you they would not escape out of 
your hands. My son I could not bring, for there is no other 
heir to my lands/ So, because he had not kept the agreement 
which he had made with the king, he was adjudged to remain 
in the king's custody imtil his son should arrive and become 
a hostage for him. And because he had permitted the king's 
enemies to escape, he was also adjudged to have forfeited 
those lands which he held of the king. The king took Harald 
with him to Edinburgh Castle, and laid him in chains until 
his men brought his son Thorfinn from the Orkneys ; and on 
their delivering him up as a hostage to the king, Harald was 
liberated. 

** So Harald returned to Orkney, and there remained in 
peace and quiet, imtil Harald the younger, having received a 
grant of the half of the Orkneys from Sverrir Birkebein, the 
King of Norway, joined himself to Sigurd Murfc^ and many 



xlii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

other warriors, and invaded Orkney. Harald the elder, being 
unwilling to engage with him in battle, left the Orkneys and 
fled to the Isle of Man. He was followed by Harald the 
younger, but Harald the elder had left Man before his arrival 
there, and gone by another way to the Orkneys with his fleet, 
and there he killed all the adherents of the younger Harald 
whom he found in the Islands. Harald the younger returned 
to Caithness to Wick, where he engaged in battle with Harald 
the elder, and in that battle Harald the younger and all his 
army were slain. Harald the elder then went to the King of 
Scots, on the safe conduct of Boger and Beginald, the bishopd 
of St. Andrews and Bosemarkie, and took to the king a large 
sum in gold and silver for the redemption of his lands of 
Caithness. The king said he would give him back Caithness 
if he would put away his wife (Gormlath), the daughter of 
Malcolm MacHeth, and take back his first wife, Afreka, the 
sister of Duncan, Earl of Fife, and deliver up to him as a 
hostage Laurentius his priest,^ and Honaver the son of Inge- 
mund, as hostages. But this Harald was unwilling to do ; 
therefore came Beginald, son of Sumarlid, King of Man and 
the Isles, to William, King of Scots, and purchased from him 
Caithness, saving the king's annual tribute." 

Beginald, being supplied with auxiliary forces from Ireland 
by his brother-in-law, John of Courcy, overran Caithness, 
and, returning home, left the conquered earldom in charge of 
three deputies. Harald procured the murder of one of them, 

^ In the Clironicle of Melrose, under the date 1176, it is stated that 
" Laurentius, Abbot in Orkney, was made Abbot of Melrose." But as his death 
is recorded in the year 1178, the priest here mentioned by Hoveden must 
have been a different person, though of the same name. At the same time, as 
this passage shows that Earl Harald had a hird-priest named Jjaurentius, it is 
not improbable that the so-called Orkney abbot, who was made abbot of 
Melrose, may also have been Harald's family or court priest. Being himself 
the son of a Scottish earl, and allied by marriage first with the family of the 
Earl of Fife, and subsequently with the MacHeths, and having, moreover, 
such close relations with the abbey of Scone, it is not unlikely that he may 
have had Scottish priests about his family in preference to those of Norwegian 
extraction. 



INTItODUCTION, xliil 

and then, coming oVer from Orkney with a strong force, 
landed at Scrabster, where the bishop met him and en- 
deavoured to mollify him. But Harald had a special grudge 
against Bishop John, which added to his rage at what he con- 
sidered the defection of his Caithness subjects. The bishop 
had refused to collect from the people of Caithness a tax of 
one penny annually from each inhabited house, which Earl 
Harald had some years previously granted to the papal 
revenuea Accordingly he stormed the " borg " at Scrabster, 
in which the bishop and the principal men of the district had 
taken refuge, slew almost all that were in it, and caused the 
bishop to be blinded and his tongue to be cut out.^ The two 

* So says the Saga. Fordun says that the use of his tongue and of one eye 
was in some measure left him. The letter of Pope Innocent, addressed to the 
Bishop of Orkney, prescribing the penance to be performed by the man who 
mutilated the bishop, only mentions the catting out of the tongue. It is as 
follows : — 

** We have learnt by your letters that Lomberd, a layman, the bearer of 
these presents, accompanied his earl on an expedition into Caithness ; that 
there the Earl's army stormed a castle, killed almost all who were in it, and 
took prisoner the Bishop of Caithness ; and that this Lomberd, as he says, 
was compelled by some of the earl's soldiery to cut out the bishop's tongue. 
Now because the sin is great and grievous, in absolving him, according to the 
form of the church, we have prescribed this penance for satisfaction of his 
offence, and to the terror of others : — That he shaU hasten home, and bare- 
footed, and naked, except breeches, and a short woollen vest without sleeves, 
having his tongue tied by a string, and drawn out so as to project beyond his 
lips, and the ends of the string bound round his neck, with rods in his hand, 
in sight of all men, walk for fifteen days successively through his own native 
district, the district of the mutilated bishop, and the neighbouring country ; 
he shall go to the door of the church without entering, and there, prostrate 
on the earth, undergo discipline with the rods he is to carry ; he is thus to 
spend each day in silence and fasting until evening, when he shall support 
nature with bread and water only ; after these fifteen days are passed he shall 
prepare within a month to set out for Jerusalem, and there labour in the 
service of the Cross for three years ; he shaU never more bear arms against 
Christians ; for two years he shall fast every Friday on bread and water, 
unless by the indulgence of some discreet bishop, or on account of bodily in- 
firmity, this abstinence be mitigated. Do you then receive him returning in 
this manner, and see that he observe the penance enjoined him." (Epist 
Innoc III. Lib. iii. No. 77 ; Diplom. Norvegicum, viL 8.) 



xliv ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

remaining deputies of King Reginald fled to the King of Scots, 
whose first act was to take revenge on Harald's son Thorfinn. 
He was blinded and castrated after the barbarous manner of 
the times, and died miserably in the dungeon of Roxburgh 
Castle. King William, then collecting a great army, marched 
north to Eysteinsdal on the borders of Caithness in the spring 
of 1202. Though Harald had collected a force of 6000 men, 
he Mt himself unable to cope with the king, and was obliged 
to sue for peace, which was obtained on the hard condition of 
the payment of every fourth penny to be found in Caithness, 
amoimting to 2000 marks of silver. 

Earl Harald's career was now drawing to a close. He 
died in 1206, at the advanced age of seventy-three, having 
had the earldom for twenty years jointly with Earl Bognvald, 
and forty-eight years after Kognvald's death. 

His sons John and David succeeded him, and ruled jointly 
for seven years, when David died and John became sole Earl 
of Orkney and Caithness. The most notable event of his time 
was the burning of Bishop Adam at Halkirk in Caithness. 

Bishop Adam was a man of low birth. According to the 

Saga he was a foundling, and had been exposed at a church 

door. Previous to his consecration to the see of Caithness, 

in 1214 he had been Abbot of Melrose.^ He arbitrarily 

increased the exaction of the bishop's scat to such an extent 

that the populace rose in a body, and proceeding tumultuously 

to Halkirk, where he was residing, demanded abatement of the 

unjust exactions. Earl John, who was in the neighbourhood 

at the time, declined to interfere, and the exasperated populace, 

finding the bishop indisposed to treat them more liberally, first 

killed his adviser, Serlo, a monk of Newbottle, and then burnt 

the bishop. In the quaint language of Wyntoun — 

" Thre hundyre men in cumpany 
Gkuldyrt on hym suddanly, 
Tuk hym owt quhare that he lay 
Of his chawmyre befor day, 

' Chron. de Mailros, p. 114 ; see also p. Ixxxi infra. 



INTRODUCTION. xlv 

Modyr naked h js body bare ; 

Thai band hym, dang hym, and woimdyt sair 

In-to the nycht or day couth dawe. 

The monk thai slwe thare, hys falawe. 

And the child that in hys chawmyr lay, 

Thare thai slwe hym before day. 

Hymself bwndyn and wowndyt syne 

Thai pwt hym in hjB awyn kychyne, 

In thair felny and thare ire ' 

Thare thai biynt hym in a fyre." 

The Saga tells that when the tidings of this outrage 
reached King Alexander he was greatly enraged, and that 
the terrible vengeance he took was stUl fresh in memoiy 
when the Saga was writtea Fordun states that the king 
had the perpetrators of this deed mangled in limb and 
racked with many a torture. The Icelandic Annals are more 
precisa They say that he caused the hands and feet to be 
hewn from eighty of the men who had been present at the 
burning, and that many of them died in consequence. 

With this tragic and ill-omened event the chequered 
history of the line of the Norse Earls draws to a closa Earl 
John sought to clear himself firom the guilt of complicity in 
the murder of the bishop by the testimony of "good men" 
that he had no hand in it ; but seeing that he had neither 
assisted the bishop nor sought to punish his murderers, he 
was heavily fined by King Alexander, and deprived of part 
of his Scottish earldom. Subsequently he had an interview 
with the king at Forfar, and bought back his lands. In the 
summer of 1224 he was summoned by King Hakon to 
Norway, having fallen under suspicion of a desire to aid the 
designs of Earl Skule against Hakon's power in Norway ; 
and after a conference with the king at Bergen he returned 
to Orkney, leaving his only son Harald behind him as a 
hostage. In 1226 Harald was drowned at sea, probably on 
his passage home £rom Norway. In 1231, Eeurl John having 
become involved in a feud with Hanef Ungi, a commissioner 
whom King Hakon had sent over to the Orkneys, Snsekoll 



xlvi ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Gunnason, grandson of Earl Eognvald (Kali Kolsson), and 
Aulver lUteit, they attacked him suddenly in an inn at 
Thurso, set fire to the house, and slew him in the cellar, 
where he had sought to conceal himself. . 

Thus the ancient line of the Norse Earls, that had ruled 
the Orkneys since 872 — a period of 350 years — became 
extinct, and the earldom passed into the possession of the 
house of Angus. 

V. The Earldom m the Angus Line — 1231-1312. 

On the failure of the line of the Norse Earls by the death 
of Earl John in 1231, Bang Alexander II. of Scotland, in 
1232, granted the earldom of North Caithness to Magnus,^ 
the second son of Gilbride, Earl of Angus. Sutherland, or 
the southern land of Caithness, was now made a separate 
earldom, and given to William, son of Hugh Freskyn, who 
was thus the first of the Earls of Sutherland. 

Magnus seems to have been confirmed in the earldom of 
Orkney by the King of Norway ; but from this time the 
notices of Orkney and its earls in the Icelandic or Norwegian 
records are so few and obscure, that but little is to be 
gathered from them. The Iceland Annals, however, record 
the death of Magnus, Earl of Orkney, in 1239. 

In the Diploma of Bishop Thomas TuUoch, drawn up 
circa 1443,^ it is stated that this Magnus was succeeded by 

1 Magnus, son of the Earl of Angos, appears among those present at the 
perambulation of the boundaries of the lands of the Abbey of Aberbrothock 
on 16th January 1222 (Regist Vet. de Aberbrothock, p. 163) ; but he seems 
to have been Earl of Angus as well as of Caithness at the date after mentioned* 
A charter of King Alexander II. to the chapel of St Nicholas at Spey, dated 
2d October 1232, is witnessed by M. Earl of Angus and Eataness (Regist 
Moraviense, p. 123). 

' The title prefixed to the translation of this document by Dean Gule, 
made for William Sinclair of Rosliu, in 1554, calls it: — "A Diploma or 
Deduction concerning the Genealogies of the ancient Earls of Orkney, drawn 
up from the most authentic records, by Thomas, Bishop of Orkney, with the 
assistance of his clei^ and others, in consequence of an order from King Eirik 



INTRODUCTION. xlvii 

Earl Gilbride, to whom succeeded Gilbride his son, who held 
both the earldoms of Orkney and Caithness in Scotland. The 
Annals only notice one Gilbride, whom they call " Gibbon, 
Eari of Orkney." His death is placed in the year 1256. 

According to the Diploma, Gilbride had one* son, Magnus, 
and a daughter, Matilda. This Magnus is mentioned in the 
Saga of Hakon Hakonson as accompanying the ill-fated 
expedition of that monarch against Scotland in 1263. " With 
King Hakon from Bergen went Magnus, Earl of Orkney, and 
the king gave him a good long-ship." Pilots had previously 
been procured from the Orkneys, and the fleet, after being 
two nights at sea with a gentle wind, put into Bressay Sound 
in Shetland, where they remained nearly half a montL 
Then they sailed for the Orkneys, and lay for some time in 
Elwick Bay, opposite Inganess, near KirkwalL Then they 
moved round South Konaldsay, and lay some time in Eon- 
aldsvoe, while men were sent over to Caithness to levy a 
contribution from the inhabitants,^ of which the scald sings 
that " he imposed tribute on the dwellers on the Ness, who 
were terrified by the steel-clad exactor of rings." Ordering 
the Orkneymen to follow him as soon as they were ready, 
the king mailed south to Lewis and Skye, where he was 

of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, to investigate the rights of William 
Sinclair to the earldom." But in the document itself King Eirik is spoken of 
as "our former lord of illnstrious memory," and the date is evidently 
erroneons. It is probably to be assigned to about 1448. It was first printed 
by Wallace in 1699, and subsequently by Jonseus in the appendix to the 
Orkneyinga Saga in 1780 ; by Barry in his History of the Orkneys in 1805 ; 
in the Bannatyne Miscellany, 1848 ; and by Munch in his Symbol®, Christi- 
ania, 1850. 

^ Among the documents found in the King's Treasury at Edinburgh in 
1282, were the letters addressed by the King of Norway (presumably Hakon) 
to the inhabitants of Caithness. The inhabitants of Caithness seem to have 
been also obliged by the Scottish King to give hostages for their fealty to 
him. In the accounts of Laurence Grant, Sheriff of Inverness, for the year 
1263, there is a charge of £15 : 6 : 8 for the expenses of twenty-one hostages 
from Caithness, at the rate of one denarius (penny) for each per day for 
twenty-five weeks, ** and then they were set at liberty. " (Compota Camerarium 
Scotite, i. p. 81.) 



xlviii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

joined by Magnus, King of Man. The fleets which now 
consisted of more than a hundred vessels, for the most part 
large and all well equipped, was divided into two squadrons, 
one of which, consisting of fifty shipsf, plundered the coasts 
of Kintyre and Mull, rejoining King Hakon at Gigha. A 
deteu^hed squadron now plundered Bute, and the fleet cast 
anchor in Arran Sound, from which King Hakon sent 
Gilbert, Bishop of Hamar, and Heniy, Bishop of Orkney, 
with three other envoys, to treat for peace with the Scottish 
King. The negotiations failed, and soon after the fleet was 
disabled by a storm, and the power of the Norwegian King 
utterly broken in the battle of Largs. King Hakon, gather- 
ing together the shattered remnants of his fleet and army, 
retired slowly northwards, meeting with no impediment 
imtil they arrived off Durness, in Sutherlandshire, when the 
wind fell calm, and the fleet steered into the sound, where 
seven men of a boat's crew, who had been sent ashore for 
water, were killed by the Scots. In passing through the 
Pentland Firth one vessel went down with all on board in 
the ** Swelkie," a dangerous whirlpool in certain states of the 
tide, and another was carried by the current helplessly 
through the Firth, and made straight for Norway. King 
Hakon laid up his fleet in Midland Harbour and Scapa Bay. 
He then rode to Kirkwall, and lay down to die. He was 
lodged in the bishop's palace, and after having been confined 
to his bed for some days, he recovered so much that he 
attended mass in the bishop's chapel, and walked to the 
cathedral to visit the shrine of St Magnus. But there came 
a relapse, and he was again laid prostrata He caused the 
Bible and Latin books to be read to him to beguile the 
tedium of the sick bed, until he was no longer able to bear 
the fatigue of reflecting on what he heard ; and then he 
desired that Norw^ian books should be read to him night 
and day — first the Sagas of the Saints, and then the 
Chronicles of the Kings, from Halfdan the Black through 
all the succession of the Bangs of Norway. Then he set his 



INTRODUCTION. xlix 

affairs in order, caused his silver plate to be weighed out to 
pay his troops, and received the sacrament. He died at 
midnight on Saturday, 15th December 1263. On Sunday 
the corpse, clothed in the richest garments, with a garland on 
the head, was laid in state in the upper hall of the palace. 
The king's chamberlains stood round it with tapers, and all 
day long the people came to view the remains of their king. 
The nobles kept watch over the bier through the night ; and 
on Monday the royal remains were borne to St. Magnus' 
Cathedral, where they lay in state all that night. On 
Tuesday they were temporarily interred in the choir of the 
church, near the steps leading to the shrine of St. Magnus. 
Before his death the king had given directions that his body 

m 

should be carried east to Norway, and buried beside the 
remains of his father and his relatives in Bergen. In the 
month of March the corpse was exhumed and conveyed to 
Scapa, where it was pkced on board the great ship in which 
he had sailed on the unfortunate expedition to Largs, and taken 
to Bergen, where it was interred in the choir of Christ's Church, 

Magnus Gilbride's son, who was Earl of Orkney at the 
time of King Hakon's expedition, died (according to the 
Annals) in 1273. 

He was succeeded by a son of the same nama The 
Annals have the entry under the year 1276 : — " Magnus, King 
of Norway, gave to Magnus, son of Earl Magnus of Orkney, 
the title of Earl, at Tunsberg." He appears also as Earl of 
Orkney in the document, dated 5th February 1283, declar- 
ing Margaret^ the Maiden of Norway, the nearest heir to the 
Scottish throne.^ The death of Earl Magnus, Magnus' son, is 
recorded in the year 1284,* along with that of Bishop Peter 
of Orkney and Sturla the Lawman. The Diploma states that 
he died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother John 
in the earldom of Orkney and Caithness. 

John, as Earl of Caithness, appears in 1289 as one of the 

^ Acta ParL Scot, voL L p. 82. 
' Iceland AnnalB, 9fuh wmm. 



1 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

signatories to the letter addressed by the nobles to King 
Edward of England proposing that the young Prince Edward 
should marry Margaret, the Maid of Norway. His name also 
occurs in the list of those summoned to attend the first 
parliament of BalioL He swore fealty to King Edward at 
Murkle in Caithness, in 1297. 

King Eirik of Norway in 1281 had married the Scottish 
princess Margaret, daughter of Alexander III. She died in 
1283, leaving one daughter, Margaret, " the Maid of Norway,*^ 
who became sole heiress to the crown of Scotland, and in 
1289 was formally betrothed to Prince Edward of England. 
She died at sea off the coast of Orkney,^ on her way to Scot- 
land, in September or October 1290. There is no record of 
the circumstances of her death,^ but we learn from a letter 

^ The Scala Cronica says off the coast of Buchan. ** One Master Weland, 
a Gierke of Scotlande, sent yn to Norway for Margaret, dyed with her by 
tempeste on the se cumming onte of Norway to Scotland yn costes of 
Boghan." (Scala Cronica, Mait Clnb, pp. 110, 282.) Wyntoun says she was 
''pnt to dede by martyry," and assigns as the reason that the Norwegians 
would not have one who was of another nation and a female to be heir to the 
throne of Norway, though their laws allowed it He had probably heard the 
story of the ** false Maigaret " (See p. lii.) 

^ In the Wardrobe Rolls of King Edward I. (1290) the following payments 
occur : — ** Sept. 1. — ^To Lord Eli de Hamyille going by the king's orders with 
the Lord Bishop of Durham towards Scotland to meet the messengers of the 
King of Norway and the princess, and was to return with the news to the 
king. To John Tyndale, the messenger from the Bishop of St Andrews, who 
brought letters from his master to the king concerning the rumours of the 
arrival of the Princess of Scotland in Orkney — ^by gift of the';king, xxsh. To 
William Playfair, messenger of the Earl of Orkney, who brought letters to 
our Lord the King, on the part of Lord John Comyn, concerning the reported 
arrival of the Scottish Princess in Orkney — ^by gift of the king, ziiish. 4d." 
There is also a detailed account of the expenses of two messengers who 
left Newcastle on the 15th September, were at Haberdene on the 23d, at the 
Meikle Ferry in Sutherland on the 80th, where they met the messengers from 
Scotland, then proceeded by Helmsdale and Spittal to Wick, which they 
reached on the 4th October. They left Wick on the 6th October, and arrived 
at Norham on the 21st November. On the 18th May of the following year 
(1291) Earl John of Orkney had a safe conduct to come to King Edward till 
the 24th June, when the earl would doubtless communicate to the king all 
that he knew of the princess's death. 



INTRODUCTION. li 

of Bishop Audfinn of Bergen,^ written twenty years after the 
event in connection with the case of the false Margaret, who 
was burned at Beigen in 1301 (as will be detailed hereafter), 
that her remains were brought back to Bergen in charge of 
the Bishop (most probably of the Orkneys) and Herr Thore 
Hakonson, whose wife, Ingibiorg Erlingsdatter, was Margaret's 
attendant on the voyage. In 1293 Eiiik married Isabel, who 
is styled in the Iceland Annals " daughter of Sir Eobert, son 
of Bobert, Earl of Bms." ' It appears that on the 24th of 
July of that year King Edward gave permission to Bobert 
Bruce, Earl of Carrick, the father of Isabella Bruce, to go to 
Norway,^ and to remain there for a time ; and Munch, the 
Norwegian historian, conjectures that he had then brought 
over his daughter, and stayed till the marriage took place,^ 
and that King Eirik may have hoped by tins alliance to bring 
the crown of Scotland once more into the possession of a 
branch of his own royal Una In 1297 Isabella bore him a 
daughter named Ingibiorg. King Eirik died 13th July 1299, 
and was succeeded by his brother Hakon (Magnusson). 

John, Earl of Orkney, seems to have gone to Norway to 
take the oath of allegiance to King Hakon immediately after 
his accession, for we find in the Icelandic Annals that he 
was betrothed to King Eirik's daughter in 1299. The state- 
ment is explicit, and though it may seem strange to us that 
an infant scarcely two years of age shotdd be betrothed to a 
man of forty. Munch makes the remark that such unlikely 
contracts were by no means so unusual in those days as to 

^ This letter was dated Ist Febmaiy 1820, and the sabstance of it is giyen 
by Suhm, yoI. zii p. 29. It does not seem to be known from the original 
document howerer, but from a later "paraphrase," as Mnnch calls it, pre- 
served in the Boyal Library at Stockholm. (Det Korske Folks Historie, yoL 
ir. part 2, p. 848.) 

' Under the date 1298 the following entry occurs in the Chronicle of 
Lanercoet: — ''Dominica etiam post festnm Sancti Martini (Nov. 15) 
desponsata est filia Roberti de Carrick regi Korwagiae Magno." (Chron. de 
Laoercost, p. 155.) Magnus is plainly a mistake for Eirik, the son of Magnus, 
who reigned from 1280 to 1299. * Rymer's Foedera, Syllabus i. p. 114. 

* Det Norske Folks Historic, vol. iv. part 2, p. 202. 



lii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

oblige us to discredit the statement. In fact, we find this 
same King Hakon betrothing his own daughter when an 
infant of one year to a man who, though he was much younger 
than Earl John, was nevertheless a fuU-grown man. But Earl 
John seems to have died shortly after the betrothal, for we find 
that Ingibiorg was betrothed anew in ISll^and John's successor 
in the earldom appears on record in 1312, with Ferquhard^ 
Bishop of Caithness, witnessing the confirmation by King 
Eobert I. and Hakon V. (at Inverness, 28th October) of the prior 
treaty executed at Perth, 6th July 1266, between King Alex- 
ander IIL and Magnus IV. (the son of the unfortunate Hakon), 
by which the Kings of Norway ceded for ever the Isle of Man 
and all the other islands of the Sudreys, and all the islands in 
the west and south of the great Haf, except the isles of Orkney 
and Shetland, which were specially reserved to Norway. In 
consideration of this the King of Scotland became bound to pay 
to the King of Norway and his heirs for ever an annual sum 
of 100 merks, within St. Magnus' church, in addition to a pay- 
ment of 4000 merks to be paid within the space of four years. 
It was about the time of Earl John's visit to the court of 
King Hakon, on the occasion above referred to, that there 
occurred in Norway one of the most extraordinary instances 
of imposture on record. A woman appeared in Bergen, 
in 1300, declaring that she was the princess Margaret, 
daughter of King Eirik, and heiress to the crown of Scotland, 
who was believed by all in Norway and in Britain to have 
died off the coast of Orkney some teti years previously. She 
had come over in a ship from Lubeck,^ and her story was that 
she had been " sold " or betrayed by her attendant Ingibioig 
Erlingsdatter, in the interest of certain persons who wished 
her out of the way, and had falsely given her out for dead. 
Although her appearance and circumstances were strongly 
against the credibility of her story, it seems to have taken a 
strong hold of the popular mind, and not a few of the clergy 
and the higher classes, possibly influenced by political 

^ Munch, Det Norske Folks Historie, voL iv. part 2, pp. 195, 844. 



INTRODUCTION. lui 

motives^ appear to have given her countenance. She was a 
married woman, and was accompanied by her husband, a 
German. She is described by Bishop Audfinn as being 
well up in years, her hair was greyish, sad. partially whitened 
with age, and to all appearance she was at least twenty years 
older than the date of King Eirik's marriage with Margaret 
of Scotland, and consec^^uently about seven years older than 
King Eirik himself, who was but thirteen when he was 
married. "Yet," says Munch, "though the king's daughter 
Margaret had died in the presence of some of the best men 
of Norway, though her corpse had been brought back by the 
bishop and Herr Thore Hakonson, to King Eirik, who himself 
had laid it in the open grave, satisfied liimself of the identity 
of his daughter's remains, and placed them in the Christ's 
Kirk by the side of her mother's ; — though this woman, in 
short, was a rank impostor, yet she found many among the 
great men to believe her story, and not a few of the priests 
also gave her their countenance and support. That this 
German woman, purely of her own accord^ should have 
attempted to personate the princess Margaret ten years after 
her death, and should have ventured to appear publicly in 
Norway on such an enterprise, seems hardly credible. It 
is more likely that she may have been persuaded to it by 
some parties perceiving in her a certain personal resemblance, 
who schooled her in the story she must tell to give her 
personation an air of reality." King Hakon was away from 
Bergen, and no action was taken in regard to her case until 
he returned in the early part of the winter of 1301. It was 
natural that he should wish personally to see and examine 
the impostor, and confront her with the princess's attendants, 
especially to hear the testimony of Ingibiorg ErUngsdatter, 
before deciding on anything. There is no record of the trial, 
but ^oon after the king's arrival the " false Margaret ** was 
burnt at Nordness in Bergen, as an impostor, and her husband 
was beheaded. As she was being taken through the Kongs- 
gaard gate to the place of execution, she is reported to have 



liv ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

said — "I remember well when I as a child was taken 
through this self-same gate to be carried to Scotland. There 
was then in the High Church of the Apostles an Iceland priest^ 
Haflidi ^ by name, who was the court priest of my father 
King Eirik ; and when the clergy ceased singing, then Sir 
Haflidi struck up with the ' Veni Creator/ and the hymn was 
sung out to the end just as I was being taken on board 
the ship." Notwithstanding the manifest nature of the im- 
posture she was regarded by the multitude as a martyr ; a 
chapel was erected on the spot where she suffered, and the 
number of pilgrimages made to it increased to such an extent 
that Bishop Audfinn interfered and forbade them.^ 

Earl John's successor in the earldom of Orkney and 
Caithness was his son Magnus, the fifth of the name, and last 
of the Angus line. He first appears on record in 1312 in the 
treaty between King Eobert Bruce and Hakon Magnusson, 
concluded at Inverness. In 1320, as Earl of Caithness and 
Orkney, he subscribed the famous letter to the Pope, asserting 
the independence of .Scotland.^ It seems as if he had been 

^ Haflidi Steinson died nearly- nineteen years after this as priest of Breida- 
bolstad in Iceland. The Iceland Annals, recording his death in 1319, recount 
the story as if this were the real Margaret (whose death they record in 1290), 
and add that ''to this Haflidi himself bore witness when he heard that this same 
Maigaret had been burnt at Nordness. " (See Wyntoun's Statement, p. 1, note 1.) 

* On the 2d April 1820 Bishop Audfinn writes to the Archbishop that on 
the 1st Februaiy he had issued a prohibition against the bad custom of making 
pflgrimages to Nordness, and offering invocations to the woman who had been 
burnt many years ago for giving herself out as King Eirik's daughter. He also 
complains to the archbishop that opposition had been offered to the reading 
out of the prohibition in the Church of the Apostles of Beigen. (Munch, Det 
Norake Folks Historic, iv. part 2, p. 348.) 

* This noble document was signed by eight earls and thirty-one barons of 
Scotland, at the abbey of Aberbrothock on the 6th April 1320. After asserting 
the Intimate claims of King Robert the Bruce, and narrating his struggles in 
the cause of Scottish independence, it goes on to say that '* If he were to desist 
from what he has begun, wishing to subject us or our kingdom to the King of 
England or the English, we would immediately endeavour to expel him 
as our enemy, and the subverter of his own rights and ours, and make another 
king who should be able to defend us. For so long as a hundred remain alive, 
we never will in any degree be subject to the dominion of the English. Since 



INTKODUCTION. Iv 

dead in 1321, for in a document addressed by King Eobert 
Bruce to the " ballivi " of the King of Norway in Orkney, and 
dated at Cullen, 4th August 1321, he complains that Alex- 
ander Brun, "the king's enemy," convicted of lese majestatis, 
had been received into Orkney and had been refused to be 
given up, ftougk b,UnUy dLnded by « our bJU™ in 
Caithness, Henry St Clair." He was certainly dead in 1329, 
for in that year Katharina, as his widow, executes two 
charters in her own name as Countess of Orkney and Caith- 
ness, by which she purchases from the Lord High Steward 
(Drottset), Herr Erling Vidkunnson, certain lands in Eogn- 
valdsey, including the Pentland Skerries.^ In one of these 
documents she speaks of Earl John as he from whom her 
husband had inherited his possessions which he left to her, 
thus corroborating the statement of the Diploma that Magnus 
was the son of John.* 

VI. The Earldom in the Stratherne Line — 1321-1379. 

The Diploma states that the earldom now passed by 
lineal succession to Malise, Earl of Stratheme, Magnus Y. 
having left no male issue. In 1331 Malise, Earl of Strath- 
eme, possessed lands in Caithness,^ doubtless in right of his 
wife, probably a daughter of Magnus V. Malise fell in the 

not for glory, riches, nor honour, we fight, but for liberty alone, which no 
good man loses but with his life. " The duplicate, preserved in the General 
Begister House, is printed in facsimile in the National Manuscripts of Scot- 
liuid, published under the superintendence of the Lord Clerk Register. 

^ The lands are those of Stuftun, Euikobba, SLlaet, Thordar, Borgh, Leika^ 
lidhy Haughs-ceth and Petland-Sker. (Diplom. Norvegicum, ii 146.) 

' Munch, in his Genealogical Table of the Earls of Orkney, makes Katharina 
to be the daughter of Earl John (following Douglas' Peerage of Scotland), and 
Magnus to be a son of Malcolm of Caithness, whom he conjectures to have 
been a son of the first Magnus. But in a note on this subject in the second 
series of his History, he acknowledges the mistake, referring to this document 
in proof of Magnus' descent from Earl John. (Det Norske Folks Historic, 
Anden Afdeling, voL i p. 817.) 

* An entry in the Chamberlain Rolls for that year mentions the dues of the 
fourth part of Caithness, which the Earl of Stratheme had. (Comp. Camer. 
Scot. L p. 285.) 



Ivi ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, and was succeeded by his son, 
also named Malise, who became heir to the three earldoms of 
Stratheme, Caithness, and Orkney. 

Malise (the younger) styles himself Earl of Stratheme, 
Caithness, and Orkney, in a document dated at Inverness in 
133V in which he A his daughter Isahella in marriage to 
William, Earl of Boss, granting her also the earldom of 
Caithness failing heirs male of himself and his wife Marjory.^ 

William, Earl of Boss, succeeded his father Hugh, who fell 
at Halidon Hill in 1333, but it is stated that he was not 
confirmed in the earldom for three years, on account of his 
absence in Norway.^ 

It seems that Earl Malise must have passed over to 
Norway about the same period, in all probability to obtain 
formal investiture of the earldom of Orkney from the 
Norw^an King Magnus, and William, Earl of Boss, may 
have accompanied his father*in-law. There is no record of 
Malise's movements, but we learn incidentally that he had 
betaken himself to his northern possessions/ when he lost the 
earldom of Stratheme, which was declared forfeited by King 
Edward and given to John de Warrenne, Earl of Surrey. It 
is stated that Malise, apparently seeking to preserve the 

^ This doctiment is not not now to be found, but Mr. Coemo Innes says 
(Lib. Insole Missanun, p. zliii) tbat be made a note of its pnrport as given above 
in the Donrobin charter-room. Sir Robert Gordon, in his Qenealogy of the Earls 
of Sutherland (p. 49), gives the pnrport of tiie document in precisely similar 
terms, but says that it is dated 28th May 1844. Sir James Balfour, in his 
Catalogue of the Scottish Nobility, also gives 1844. The confirmation of this 
contract by David II. is recorded as a ** confirmation of a contract of marriage 
betwixt Malisius, Earl of Stratheme, Caithness, and (h^ey, and William, 
Earl of Ross." (Robertson's Index of Missing Charters, p. 51.) 

* There ia also on record a confirmation by Robert I. of a charter of the 
lands of Kingkell, Brechin, to Maria (Maijorie !) de Stratheme, spouse of 
Malise of Stratheme. (Robertson's Index, p. 19.) 

' Chronicle of the Earls of Ross, Mis. Scot, voL iv. p. 128. 

* There is an entry in the Chamberlain Rolls, in 1840, in regard to a pay- 
ment by Johannes More, "pro terris de Beridale in Cattania, de quibus didt 
se hereditarium infeodari per comitem de Strathem et per R^;em confirmari." 
(Comp. Camerar. Scot. L p. 265.) 



INTRODUCTION. Ivii 

earldom in a branch of his own family, gave one of his 
daughters in marriage to John de Warrenne, and that Eling 
David then declared the earldom forfeited,^ and bestowed it on 
his nephew, Maurice de Moravia,^ son of Sir John de Moravia 
of Abercaimy, who had married Malise's sister Mary.^ 

Malise appears to have made an effort to recover the 
earldom of Stratheme in 1334. In that year King Edward, 
by a letter dated 2d March, directed Henry de Beaumont, 
Earl of Boghan, not to allow any process to be made before 
him respecting the earldom of Stratheme forfeited for treason 
by Earl Malise. He also wrote a letter of the same date to 
Edward Balliol, stating that he has heard that Malise, Earl of 
Stratheme, claims the county of Stratheme, which he had 
granted to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and requesting 
Balliol to act with deliberation.* 

The Diploma states that Malise was first married to 
Johanna, daughter of Sir John Menteith, and that by her he had 
a daughter Matilda, married to Wayland de Ard. But there 
is a record of a confirmation by Eobert I. (13Q6-1329) of a 
grant of the lands of Carcathie (Cortachy) in Forfarshire, and 
half of Urkwell in the earldom of Stratheme, by Malise, 
Earl of Stratheme, to his wife Johanna, daughter of the late 
John de Monteith.^ As Malise the younger only became 

* Sir James Balfour (Catalogae of the Scottish Nobility) says : — " This 
Earl Halisius was forfaulted by King Dayid II. for alienating the earldom of 
Stratheme to the Earl of Warrenne, an Englishman, the king's enemy, and all 
his possessions annexed to the crown." Sir Robert Gordon says that the 
charter by King David granting the earldom of Stratheme to Maurice Moray 
is dated the last day of October 1345. 

' A dispensation granted by Pope Benedict XII. in July 1389 for the 
marriage of Maurice de Moravia with Johanna, widow of John, Earl of Athole, 
styles her Ck>untess of Stratheme. (Theiner's Monumenta, p. 275.) Maurice 
fell at the battle of Durham in 1346. Johanna, Countess of Stratheme, in her 
widowhood executed a charter in favour of Robert of Erskine and his wife, 
Christian of Keith, her cousin, which is confirmed by Robert, Steward of 
Scotland and Earl of Stratheme in 1861. (Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, 
Grampian Club, p. 255.) ' Third Report of Com* on Hist MSS. p. 416. 

* Rymer's Fcedera, Syllabus i. p. 272. 

* Robertson's Index of Charters, pp. 18, 34. 

d 



Iviii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Earl of Stratheme on the death of his father in 1333, if the 
confirmation be correctly ascribed to Robert L, this must 
refer to the Malise who was earl previous to 1333, and who 
had a daughter Matilda contracted to Bobert de Thony in 
1293, "being not yet in her 20th year." ^ 

The Diploma further states that Malise (the younger) was 
married the second time to a daughter of Hugh, Earl of Boss, 
consequently a sister of William, Earl of Eoss, who married 
Malise's daughter Isabella. From the deed of 1334 we learn 
that Malise's wife's name was Marjory. In a deed of 1350 
we find William, Earl of Eoss, styling his sister Marjory 
Countess of Caithness and Orkney,* and with her consent 
appointing his brother Hugh his heir in the event of his own 
death without male issue. From this it would appear that 
Malise was then dead. He must have been dead before 
1353, when his son-in-law, Emgils Suneson, obtained the title 
of Earl of Orkney from the King of Norway. He is men- 
tioned as dead in 1357 and 1358,^ and the Earl of Eoss is 
then said to have entered to his lands in Caithness, doubtless 
in right of his wife Isabella, and in terms of that deed of 
1334 previously noticed.* 

* Hist Doc. Scot i p. 894. 

* Balnagown Charters, Orig. Parocb. ii 487. 

' Robert Stewart, Seneschal of Scotland and Earl of Stratheme, certifies 
that, in his conrt held at Crieff^ 8th May 1858, he had seen read and con- 
firmed the charters granted to the abbot and convent of Inchafiray of the 
annual of 42 marcs of the thanage of Dunyne, given by the former earls of 
good memory — Malise the first and Malise the second, his predecessors. 
(Liber Insula Missanmi, p. 55.) £t nihil hie de terris quondam Malesii 
infra comitatu Cathanie quia comes de Ross se intromittit de eisdem. (Comp. 
Camerar. Scot, an, 1357, i p. 820.) That the second Malise of Robert 
Stewart's deed is the last Malise who was Earl of Stratheme seems to be 
shown by another deed of Robert Stewart, dated in 1861, in which, as 
Seneschal of Scotland and Earl of Stratheme, he grants to James Douglas the 
lands of EeUor in Stratheme, *' which the late Malise gave." In the con- 
firmation of this grant by Enfamia, Countess of Moray and Stratheme, he is 
styled '*the late MaHse of good memory." (Regist Honoris de Morton, ii. 
pp. 60, 86.) 
* See page Ivi. 



INTRODUCTION. lix 

While Malise was in Norway and Sweden two of his 
daughters had been married to Swedish noblemen — one to 
Arngils^ or Emgisl, son of Sane Jonsson, and another to 
Guttorm Sperra.* On the death of Malise, or shortly there- 
after, Emgisl Soneson claimed his wife's shaxe of the earldom. 
In the year 1353 we find him executing a deed on the 10th 
April as plain Emgisl Suneson, and on the 6th May there- 
after his signature appears to a document drawn up at 
Yagahuus concerning the queen's dowry, occupying the fore- 
most place among the nobles of Norway, and with the title 
of Earl of Orkney.^ Although the Diploma states that he 
held only his wife's share of the earldom, it is plain fix>m this 
document that he must have received the title of Earl of the 
Orkneys from the "King of Norway. He soon became 
involved with the Swedish party in favour of King Eirik of 
Pomem, and in 1357 King Magnus sequestrated his estates 
in Norway, and declared his title forfeited. His right to the 
earldom would have lapsed with the death of his wife, who 
died childless before 1360.* Nevertheless he continued to 
style himself Earl of Orkney during his lifetima^ He died 
in 1392. 

On the sequestration of Emgisl's rights by the king, a 
certain Duncan Anderson, who appears to have been a 
Scotchman, and probably agent for Alexander de Ard, the 
son of Matilda, called the eldest daughter of Malise, issued a 
manifesto, notifying to the inhabitants of Orkney that he has 

* Called in the Diploma "Here Ginsill de Swethrik," for "Erengiale de 
Saeda." He was lawman of Tisherad in Sweden in 1837. 

' In the Diploma he is called " quodam Gothredo, nomine Gothonno le 
Spere" — Chthredo being a misreading for Oothricio, " a native of Gothland." 
(Mnnch, Symbobe, p. 55.) 

* Munch, Norske Folks Historie, 2d series, i p. 595. 

^ In 1860 he grants certain lands to the monastery of Calmar for the sonls 
of his deceased wives, Meretta and Annot or Agneta, the latter being probably 
Malise's daughter, as the name is not a common one in Sweden. 

* He styles himself "Comes Orchadensis" in a deed of 4th March 1888. 
(Diplom. Korvegicnro, ▼. 246.) 



Ix ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

the true and legitimate heir of Earl Malise, the former Earl 
of Orkney, under his guardianship ; that this heir has now 
the full and undeniable right to the earldom ; and that, as 
he has heard that the King of Norway has recently seques- 
trated the revenues of the earldom, he warns the inhabitants 
not to allow these revenues to be taken fiirth of the land tiU 
the true heir be presented to them, which will be ere very 
long, if the Lord will The inhabitants, who seem to have 
been somewhat disquieted by the missive, sent a representa- 
tion on the subject to the court of Norway. It would seem 
that a representation must have been made by the court of 
Norway to the Scottish King regarding the troubling of the 
islands by the claimants or their Mends in Scotland, for 
an edict was issued by King David from Scone, in 1367, 
forbidding any of his subjects, of whatever rank or condition; 
to pass into Orkney, or frequent its harbours, on any other 
errand than that of lawftd commerce. 

In 1375,. King Hakon of Norway granted the earldom of 
Orkney for a single year till next St John's Day to Alexander 
de Ard,^ naming him, however, in the document not as Earl 
but simply as Governor and Commissioner for the King, and 
declaring, in the document addressed to the Islanders, that 
this grant is given provisionally until the said Alexander shall 
establish his claim to the earldom. He seems; not to have 
been regarded with much favour by the king, for this grant 
was not renewed, and in 1379 Henry St. Clair and Malise 
Sparre preferred their claims to the earldom. 

Alexander de Ard had succeeded to the earldom of Caith- 
ness by the law and custom of Scotland, in right of his mother 
as heir to Earl Malise. In 1375 he resigned the castle of 
Brathwell (Brawl), and all the lands in Caithness or any other 
part of Scotland which he inherited in right of his mother, 
Matilda de Stratheme, to King Eobert II., who bestowed them 
on his own son, David Stewart. 

Earl David Stewart appears in 1377-78 as Earl Palatine 

* Diplom. Norvegicum, ii. 837-339. 



INTRODUCTION. Ixi 

of Stratheme and Caithness. King Robert III. gave the earl- 
dom of Caithness to his brother, Walter Stewart, of Brechin, 
who held it tiU about 1424 He then resigned it to his son 
Alan, who was slain at Inverlochy in 1431. The earldom 
reverted to his father, who in 1437 was forfeited for his share 
in the murder of King James I. The earldom remained in 
possession of the crown till 1452, when it was granted by 
King James 11. to Sir George Crichtoun, Admiral of Scotland. 
On his. death in 1455 King James granted the earldom of 
Caithness to William St Clair, then Earl of Orkney, in whose 
line it has continued till the present day. 

VIL Thb Eabldom in the Line of St. Clair — 1379-1469. 

The genealogical questions connected with the succession of 
the St. Clairs of Boslin to the earldom of Orkney are involved 
in apparently inextricable confusioa 

So early as 1321 we find a Henry St. Clair acting as the 
"ballivus" of King Eobert Bruce in Caithness,^ and in 1364 
we also find a Thomas St Clair installed at Kirkwall as the 
*• baUivus" of the King of Norway, an Alexander St. Clair, 
and a Euphemia de Stratherne, styling herself one of the heirs 
of the late Malise, Earl of Stratheme.^ 

The Diploma states explicitly that one of the four daugh- 
ters of Malise, Earl of Stratheme,^ by his wife Marjory, 
daughter of Hugh, Earl of Boss, was married to William St. 
Clair. This must be William St. Clair, son of the Sir William 

^ See the document dated at CnUen, 4th August 1321, quoted on p. Iv, supra. 

* In a deed executed at Kirkwall, 20th January 1864, by which Bernard de 
Bowie resigns to Hugh de Ross (brother of William, Earl of Ross) the whole 
lands of Fouleroule in Aberdeenshire, the witnesses are John de Gamery and 
Symon de Othyrles, canons of Caithness ; Euphemia de Stratheme, one of 
the heirs of the late Malise, Earl of Caithness ; Thomas de St Clair, "ballivus 
regis Norvagie ;" and Alexander St Clair. (Regist Aberdonense, i 106.) 

* Sir James Balfour calls her Lucia. She ia also called Lucia by William 
Drummond, author of the '* Genealogie of the House of Drummond, 1681," 
but in neither case is j any documentary authority cited. Camden says the 
eldest daughter. 



Ixii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

St. Clair who fell with the Douglas in Spain fighting against 
the Saracens in 1330.^ The Diploma goes on to narrate that 
Henry St Clair, the son of William St. Clair and this daughter 
of Malise, succeeded to the earldom of Orkney apparently in 
right of his mother. We know from the deed of investiture 
that his accession to the earldom took place in 1379. 

In a charter of 1391 Earl Henry names his mother 
Isabella St. Clair. It is usually said that his father, William 
St Clair, married Isabella^ daughter of Malise, Earl of Strath- 
erne. But, as we have seen from the deed of 1334, Isabella 
was married to William, Earl of Boss, not to William, Earl of 
Eoslin. Yet it appears from the deed of 1391 that Henry's 
mother's name was Isabella, and though he does not style her 
a daughter of Malise, the terms of the document imply that 
she was heiress to lands in Orkney and Shetland. The 
Diploma only mentions one of the Earls Malise, and it may be 
that the Isabella whom William St Clair married was the daugh- 
ter of the elder and sister of the younger Malise of Stratherne. 

If he had married one of the four daughters of the 
yoxmger Malise it seems unuaccountable why he did not 
claim his wife's portion of the earldom. We find that the 
representatives of the other sisters were claimants, and that 
one of them, Emgisl Simeson, actually received his wife's 
share, and enjoyed the title of Earl of Orkney, while Alex- 
ander de Ard is said to have succeeded to the earldom of 
Caithness in virtue of a similar claim, and had his rights to 
the earldom of Orkney so far recognised by the King of 
Norway on the forfeiture of Emgisl Suneson. The Earl of 
Boss, as we have seen, also succeeded to the share falling to 
his wife Isabella. But no claim seems to have been made for 
the Isabella who is said to have been married to William St 
Clair. If she had been a daughter of the yoimger Malise it 
can scarcely be doubted that such a claim would have been 
made, and if made, established as readily as that of the other 

1 Barbour's Bruce (Spdd. Club), p. 482. 



INTEODUCTION. Ixiii 

sisters. William St Clair was alive in 1358, five years after 
the claim of the sister married to Erngisl Suneson had been 
made good, and one year after Emgisl's title to the earldom 
had been declared forfeited. 

But a more fatal objection to the statement of the Diploma, 
that William's wife was a daughter of the younger Malise, 
arises from the fact that in the attestation by the Lawman 
and Canons of Orkney in favour of James of Cragy (1422) it 
is expressly certified that Henry Sinclair was himself married 
to a daughter of the younger Malise, styled " Elizabeth de 
Stratheme, daughter of the late reverend and venerable 
Malise, Earl of Orkney," and that by her he had a daughter, 
Margaret, who was married to James of Cragy. The Diploma, 
on the other hand, states that Henry was married to Janet 
Haliburton, daughter of Walter Haliburton of Dirleton, and 
by her had a son Henry, who succeeded him. It is quite 
possible, however, that both these statements might be true, 
the attestation in favour of James of Cragy having no reason 
to mention the second wife, and the Diploma having no 
special reason to mention the first wife in connection with the 
succession which it derives through the mother, making her, 
moreover, such a remarkable instance of longevity that she 
survived her husband, her son, and all her younger sisters, 
and all their sons and daughters, and became sole heiress to 
the earldom after Earl Henry's death, although he left a son 
who ought to have succeeded him, but who, according to the 
Diploma, succeeded to her, his grandmother. 

In whatever way these apparently contradictory state- 
ments are to be reconciled, the statement of the Diploma 
that Henry St Clair was the first of the line who enjoyed the 
title of Earl of Orkney is undoubtedly borne out by the 
records. In the summer of 1379 he passed over to Norway 
and received formal investiture from King Hakon of the 
earldom of Orkney and also of the lordship of Shetland,^ 

^ Mnnch's Norske Folks Historie, 2d series, vol. ii. p. 96. See also the 
deed of inyestitore, which is printed at length in the Diplomatarinm Nor- 
Tegicnm, vol. ii pp. 858-858. 



Ixiv ORKNEYINGA SAOA. 

which, since the time of its forfeiture to King Sverrir by Earl 
Harald Maddadson, had been in the possession of the crown 
of Norway. The conditions on which he accepted the earldom 
are set forth at length in the deed of investiture, and con- 
trasting them with the semi-independence of the ancient earls 
a recent writer has remarked that they left him little more than 
the lands of his fathers.^ Although the Earls of Orkney 
had precedence of all the titled nobility of Norway, and 
their signatures to the national documents stand always after 
the Archbishops, and before the Bishops and nobles, though 
the title was the only hereditary one permitted in Norway 
to a subject not of the blood royal, yet it was now declared 
to be subject to the royal option of investiture. The earl 
was to govern the Islands and enjoy their revenues during 
the king's pleasure, but he was taken bound to serve the 
king beyond the bounds of the earldom, with a hundred 
men fully equipped, when called on by the king's message ; 
he was to build no castle or place of strength in the Islands, 
make no war, enter into no agreement with the bishop, nor 
sell or impignorate any of his rights, without the king's ex- 
press consent; and moreover he was to be answerable for 
his whole administration to the king's court at Bergen. At 
his death the earldom and all the Islands were to revert to 
the King of Norway or his heirs, and if the earl left sons 
they could not succeed to their father's dignity and possessions 
without the royal investiture. At the following Martinmas 

^ Balfour, OppressionB of Orkney (Maitland Club), p. xzvi Snch was not 
the opinion of Father Hay, the panegyrist of the St Clairs of Roslyn. He 
says that ** Henry, prince of Orknay, was more honoured than any of his ances- 
tres, for he had power to canse stamp coine within his dominions, to make laws, 
to remitt crimes ;— he had his sword of honour carried before him wheresoever he 
went ; he had a crowne in his armes, bore a crowne on his head when he consti- 
tuted laws ; and, in a word, was subject to none, save only he held his lands 
of the King of Danemark, Sweden, and Noraway, and entred with them, to 
whom also it did belong to crowne any of those three kings, so that in all 
those parts he was esteemed a second person to the king. " (Genealogie of the 
St. Clairs, p. 17.) Father Hay's romances receive no countenance whatever 
from the deed of investiture. 



r 



INTRODUCTION. Ixv 

he was taken boirnd to pay to the king 1000 English nobles.^ 
It was part of the compact also that Malise Sperra, son of 
Guthonn Sperra, should depart from all his claims to the 
earldom in right of his mother ;^ and he left with King Hakon, 
as hostages for the due fulfilment of his shajre of the contract^ 
the following from among his friends and followers : — 
William Daniel, knight, Malise Sperra, and David Crichton. 
But King Hakon died in the year after Earl Henry's 
investiture, and the events that took place in the Orkneys 
during the reign of King Olaf, his successor, are entirely un- 
known to the Norwegian chroniclers. Earl Henry seems 
neither to have courted the favour of his suzerain nor to have 
stood in awe of his interference. He built the castle of Kirk- 
wall in defiance of the prohibition contained in the deed of his 
investiture, and seems to have felt himself sufl&ciently inde- 
pendent to rule his sea-girt earldom according to his owri will 
and pleasure. 

The fact that King Hakon's investiture of Earl Henry 
took him bound not to enter into any league with the bishop 
nor to establish any friendship with him without the king's 
express consent, shows us that the bishop was then acting in 
exposition to the king and the representatives of the civil 
power. The likelihood is that Earl Henry found this 

> About £888 sterling. 

* Father Hay states (Genealogie of the St Glairs, p. 17) that Henry St Clair 
'* married Elisabeth Sparres, daughter of Malesius Sparres, Prince of Orkney, 
Earl of Eaithness and Stratheme, through which marriage he became Prince 
of Orkney." But Malise Sperra never had any connection with the earldoms 
of Caithness or Stratheme. In another place, p. 88, he says that Sir William 
Sinclair (who fell fighting with the Saracens in Spain in 1830) *' was married to 
Elizabeth Sparre, daughter to the Earle of Orkney, and so by her became the 
^t Earl of Orkney of the Saintclairs. His name was Julius Sparre. He is 
also reputed Earl of Stratheme and Caithness." But this is manifestly a 
tissue of impossibilities. He seems to have copied the last statement ftx>m the 
Drummond MS. (1681), where the additional statement is made that Eliza- 
beth's mother was Lucia, daughter of the Earl of Ross. (Genealogie of the 
House of Drammond : Edinburgh, 1881, p. 287.) Both writers seem to have 
confounded Malise, Earl of Stratheme, with his daughter's son, Malise Sperra. 



Ixvi ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

opposition of the bishop favourable to his own design of 
making himself practically independent, and represented it 
as the excuse for the erection of the castle of Kirkwall, 
contrary to the terms of his agreement with the crown. Munch 
attributes the discord to the growing dislike of the Norwegian 
inhabitants of the Islands to Scotsmen, whose numbers had 
been long increasing through the influence of the Scottish 
family connections of the later earls. Whatever may have 
been its origin, the end of it was that in some popular com- 
motion, of which we have no authentic account, the bishop was 
slain in the year 1382.^ 

Malise Sperra appears to have endeavoured to establish 
himself in Shetland' in opposition to Earl Henry. He had 
seized, it is not stated upon what groimds^ the possessions in 
Shetland which had belonged to Herdis Thorvaldsdatter, and 
of which J6n Hafthorson and Sigurd Hafthorson were the 
lawful heirs. It seems as if a court had been about to be 
held by the earl to settle the legal rights of the parties con- 
cerned. The court would be held at the old Thingstead, near 
Scalloway, but a conflict took place, the dispute was terminated 
by the strong hand, and Malise Sperra was slain.' As a 
* number of his men were slain with him, it seems probable 
that he had been the aggressor. As both he and the earl are 
among those who were present at the assembly of nobles at 
Helsingborg, on the accession of "King Eirik of Pomem in 
September 1389, and the Iceland Annals place the death of 
MaUse Sperra in this same year, it is probable that the earl 

^ Iceland Annals, suJf cmno, Mtinch, Det Noiske Folks Historie, 2d 
series, voL u. p. 106. 

* He seems to have held lands in Banffshire. In the Chamberlain Bolls, 
1438, there is an entry of a receipt of £9 from James M'fersane for the land 
formerly belonging to Malis Speir, knight in the Sherifidom of Banff, remain- 
ing in the king's hands. (Diplom. Nonregicum, I 866.) . 

' The Iceland Annals, under the date 1389, hare the foUowing entry : — 
" Malise Sperra slain in HjalUand, with seven others, by the Earl of Orkney. 
He had previously been taken captive by him. From that conflict there 
escaped a man-servant who with six men in a six-oared boat got away safely to 
Norway." 



INTRODUCTION. Ixvii 

landed in Shetland on his way home from Norway for the 
express purpose of seeing justice done in the cause of the heirs 
of Thordis. In 1391, by a deed executed at Kirkwall (and 
subsequently confirmed by King Eobert III.), he dispones the 
lands of Newburgh and Auchdale in Aberdeenshire,^ to his 
brother David for his services rendered, and in exchange for 
any rights he may have to lands in Orkney and Shetland, de- 
rived firom his mother Isabella St. Glair. In 1396 a deed was 
executed at Boslin by John de Drummond of Csxgyll^ and 
Elizabeth, his wife, in favour of Henry, Earl of Orkney, Lord 
Boslyn, " patri nostro," by which they renounce in favour of 
the earl's male issue, and for them and their heirs^ all claims 
to the earl's lands ** infra regnum Norvagie." * 

The Diploma states that after the death of the first Henry 
St Clair, his mother, the daughter of Malise,* came to Orkney, 
and, outliving all her sisters and all their sons and daughters, 
became the only heiress of the earldom. It is added that of 
this thing there were faithful witnesses still living who had 
seen and spoken with the mother of Henry the first. 

Her grandson Henry, son of the first Henry, succeeded to 
the earldom, but there seems to be no record of his investiture 

1 Diplom. Norvegicmn, iL 401. Regist Mag. SigQL 196. 

* This deed is said by Robert RiddeUto be in the Perth Charter-chest A 
copy of it is in one of his MS. note-books in the Advocates' Library. See also 
Robertson's Index of Charters, p. 128. The '* double " of this deed is said by 
William Drummond (1681) to have been given to him by a friend, and the 
sabstance of it is given by him as follows : — "Sir John Drummond and his 
lady Elisabeth Sinclair oblige themselves to a noble and potent Lord, Henry, 
Earle of Orkney, Lord Roslin, their father, that they nor their aires shaU 
never claime any interest or right of propertie to any lands or possessions 
belonging to the said earle or his aires lying within the kingdome of Norroway, 
80 long as he or any air-male of his shall be on lyfe to inherit the same ; hot 
if it happen (which Gk)d forbid) the said earle to die without any air-male to 
succeed to him, then it shaU be lawful for them to claim such a portion of the 
aforesaid lands as is known by the Norwegian laws to appertain to a sister of 
the family. Sealled at Rosline 13th May 1896." (Genealogie of the House 
of Drummond, p. 91.) 

* Henry himself had married a daughter of MaUse. See page bull 



Ixyiii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

by the Norwegian king. In 1404 he was entrusted with the 
guardianship of James I., and on his way to France with the 
young prince, for whose safety it was judged necessary that he 
should be removed from Scotland, he was captured by the 
English off Hamborough Head, and retained some time in 
captivity.^ In 1412 he went to France with Archibald 
Douglas to assist the French against the English.* In 1418 
John St Clair, his brother, swears fealty to King Eirik at 
Helsingborg for the king's land of Hjaltland, and becomes 
bound to administer the Norse laws according to the ancient 
usage, and it is stipulated that at his death Shetland should 
again revert to the crown of Norway.^ It seems from this 
that Earl Henry must have been dead in 1418, though Bower 
in his continuation of Fordun says that he died in 1420.* A 
dispensatioa was granted for his widow's marriage in 1418.^ 

Henry was succeeded by his son William, the last of the 
Orkney earls under Norwegian rule. But the investiture of 
the new earl did not take place till 1434 and for a period of 
fourteen years the administration of the Islands was carried 
on by commissioners appointed by King Eirik. 

On the death of Earl Henry, Bishop Thomas Tulloch 
was appointed commissioner in 1420. He swore fealty to 
King Eirik in the church of Vestenskov in Laland, undertak- 
ing the adminstration of the Islands according to the Norsk 
law-book and the ancient usages.* On 10th July 1422 he 

^ Father Hay says that he escaped through the instnunentality of one John 
Robinsone, indweller at Pentland, one of his tenants, who went to the place 
where his master was confined and played the fool so cunningly that he was 
allowed access to the prison, and so found means to convey the earl out in dis- 
guise. (Genealogie of the St Clairsj p. 81.) 

> Balfour's Annals, L 148. 

• Diplom. Norvegicum, ii 482. * Fofdun, Scotichron. xv. cap. 82. 

' Douglas' Peerage. The Diploma says nothing of his wife, but he is said 
to have married £gidia Douglas, daughter of Lord William Douglas, and 
Egidia, daughter of Robert II. (Extracta ex Cronicis Scocie, p. 200.) 

• Diplom. Norvegicum, ii. 489. This document is endorsed — ** Biscop 
Thomes breif af Orkney, at han skal halde Orknoy til myn herres konnungens 
hand, oc bans effterkommende, oc lade him with Noren lagh." 



INTRODUCTION. Ixix 

received as a fief fix>m the king " the palace of Kirkwall and 
pertinents, lying in Orkney, in Norway, together with the lands 
of Orkney and the government thereof." ^ 

In 1423 the administration of the Orkneys and Shetland 
was committed to David Menzies of Wemyss by King Eirik. 
In 1426 a complaint was sent to the king by the inhabitants, 
setting forth that they had been subjected to oppression and 
wholesale spoliation during the period of his administration.^ 
Among the accusations preferred against him it was asserted 
that he diminished the value of the money by one-half, that 
he threw the Lawman of the Islands into prison unjustly, and 
illegally possessed himself of the public seal and the law-book 
of the Islands, which the Lawman's wife had deposited on the 
altar of the Church of St Magnus for their security ; that he 
exacted fines and services illegally and with personal violence, 
and was guilty of many other illegal acts of tyrannical oppres- 
sion. 

The government of the Islands seems to have been again 
entrusted to Bishop Tulloch ^ until 1434, when the young 
earl received his formal investitura^ 

William, the last of the Orkney earls under Norwegian 
rule, succeeded to his father Henry, and received investiture 
on terms nearly similar to those imposed upon his grand- 
father. Moreover, he was to hold for the king and his suc- 
cessors the castle of Kirkwall, which his grandfather had 
built without the king's consent. He had taken the title 

* Diplom. Norvegicum, ii 498. This document is endorsed — ** Item biscop 
Thomes aff Orknoy bref nm Eirkwaw slot i Orknoy, oc nm landet oc greves- 
chapet ther samestads." 

' This document is printed at length in Torfeeus, pp. 179-182 ; in Balfour's 
Oppressions of Orkney (Maitland Club), pp. 105-110 ; and also in the Norse 
language of the time in the Diplomatarium Norvegicum, iL 514. 

' TorfsBUS, Hist. Ore 182. The document of which Torfopus here gives a 
copy, however, is that of the 31st year of the reign of Ring Eirik (1420), previ- 
ously noticed, and refers not to the bishop's second appointment but to his 
first. 

* Torfieus, p. 183. 



IXX ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

before he received investiture from King Eirik, for in 1426 
he appears as Earl of Orkney on the assize at Stirling, for 
the trial of Murdoch, Duke of Albany.^ In 1435, as Lord 
High Admiral of Scotland, he had command of the fleet that 
conveyed the Princess Margaret to France. In 1446 he was 
summoned by the Norwegian Bigsraad to appear at Bergen 
on next St. John's Day,^ to take the oath of allegiance to King 
Christopher, the successor of Eirik of Pomem. In 1460 the 
king's commissioners in Kirkwall certify to King Christian I. 
that John of Boss, Lord of the Isles, has for a long time most 
cruelly endeavoured to depopulate the Islands of Orkney and 
Shetland by burning the dweUings and slaying the inhabits 
ants, and that in these circumstances Lord William St. Clair, 
the Earl of Orkney and Caithness,® had been prevented from 
coming to the king.* On 28th June 1461 Bishop William of 
Orkney writes to the king from Kirkwall excusing the earl 
for not having -come to take the oath of allegiance, because in 
the month of June of that year he had been appointed one of 
the regents of the Kingdom of Scotland on account of the 
tender years of the prince (King James III.), and therefore 
was personally resident in Scotland. The bishop also repeats 
the complaint against John of Boss, Lord of the Isles, and the 
bands of his Islesmen, Irish, and Scots from the woods, " who 
came in great multitudes in the month of June, with their 
ships and fleets in battle array, wasting the lands, plundering 
the farms, destroying habitations, and putting the inhabitants 
to the sword, without regard to age or sex." ^ Tradition still 
points in several parts of the Islands to "the Lewismen's 
graves," probably those of the invaders who were killed in 
their plundering expeditions through the Islands. 

On the 8th September 1468 a contract of marriage was 
signed between James III. of Scotland and Margaret, 

* Balfour's Annftls, i. 155. ' Diplom. Nonreg. vii. 430. 

' He had received a grant of the earldom of Caithness from King James 
II. 28th August li55, as formerly mentioned, p. 1x1. 

* Diplom. Norvegicum, v. 699. ' Ibid. v. 605. 



INTRODUCTIOK. Ixxi 

daughter of King Christian I. of Denmark, Sweden, and 
Norway, by which, after discharging the arrears of the 
tribute due by Scotland for Man and the Hebrides,^ King 
Christian engaged to pay a dowry of 60,000 florins with his 
daughter, stipulating for certain jointure lands (including the 
palace of Linlithgow and the castle of Doune), and her terce 
of the royal possessions in Scotland if left a widow. Of the 
dowry 10,000 florins were to be paid before the princess's 
departure, and the Islands of Orkney were pledged for the 
balance of 50,000 florins. Only 2000 florins of the 10,000 
promised were paid, and the Islands of Shetland were pledged 
for the remainder. The amount for which the whole of the 
Islands of Orkney and Shetland were thus impignorated was 
58,000 florins of 100 pence each, or about £24,000. 

In 1471 King James III gave William, Earl of Orkney, 
the castle and lands of Bavenscraig in Fife in exchange for 
all his rights to the earldom of Orkney, and an Act of 
Parliament was passed on the 20th of February of the same 
year annexing to the Scottish Crown "the Erledome of 
Orkney and Lordship of Schetland, nocht to be gevin away in 
time to cum to na persain or persainis, excep alenarily to 
ane of the king^s sonnis of lauchful bed" 

VnL The Bishopkic of Orkney— 1060-1469. 

The origin of the bishopric of Orkney is involved in 
obscurity. Its early history is complicated by the fact that 
there were two if not three distinct successions of bishops, 
only one of which is recognised by the Norse writers. 

The Saga statement regarding the origin of the bishopric 
unfortunately is lacking in precision. It is stated that Earl 
Thorfinn built Christ's Kirk in Birsay, apparently after his 
return from his pilgrimage to Home, and that the first bishop's 
see in the Orkneys was established there. Taking this in 

* These islands had been ceded by Norway to Scotland in 1266 on condi- 
tion of an annual payment of 100 merks, which at this time had fallen into 
arrear for 26 years. 



Ixxii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

connection with the statement that William the Old, who was 
bishop in 1115, when St Magnus was murdered, was the first 
bishop, the inference^ would be that the bishopric was erected 
in his time. The statement regarding his tenure of office for 
sixty-six years is scarcely credible ; but supposing it to be the 
feet, as he died in/ll67, we obtain 1102 as the date of the 
erection of the bishopric. 

On the other hand, Adam of Bremen states^ that Thorolf 
was the first Bishop of Orkney, and that he was consecrated 
by Adalbert, Archbishop of Hamburg, in the middle of the 
11th century,^ and that another bishop named Adalbert suc- 
ceeded him. Now, as William the Old was not consecrated 
before 1102, if there was a bishop in Earl Thorfinn's time 
(the date of his death being 1064), it must have been this 
Thorol£ If Thorolf was consecrated in the middle of the 
11th century, it was probably before Earl Thorfinn's death in 
1064 But it seems that the see was vacant or unoccupied 
before 1093. 

It appears from a letter of Lanfranc, Archbishop of 
Canterbury (1070-1089), that Earl Paul of Orkney had sent to 
him a cleric whom he wished to be consecrated a bishop, and 
Lanfranc orders Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester, and Peter, 
Bishop of Chester, to go to York and assist the archbishop 
there at the consecration. This must refer to the Earl Paul, 
son of Thorfinn, who with his brother Erlend was carried to 
hN orway by King Magnus on his second expedition to the west 
in 1098, and neiAei^-of^hem eve^. returned. The name of 
this bishop is not given in Lanfranc's letter. But the English 
writers^ mention that in the end of the 11th century a cleric 
named Ealph was consecrated Bishop of Orkney by Thomas, 

* His words imply that it was by request of the Orkneymen themselves 
that Adalbert sent them preachers " extremi venerant Islani, Gronlani, et 
Orchadum legati petentes nt prsedicatores illuc dirigeret, quod et fecit." 

• Keyser, Den Norske Kirkes Historic, i. 168 ; Torfieens, i. 160 ; Munch, 
Det Norske Folks Historic, ii. p. 216 ; Grab's Eccles. Hist. i. 252. 

» Twysden, Decern Scriptores, pp. 1709-13. 



INTRODUCTION. IxxJiJ 

Archbishop of York. Thomas was archbishop from A.D. 1070 to 
1100. It is mentioned that when the right of the Archbishop 
of York to consecrate Turgot Bishop of St. Andrews was 
asserted in 1109, it was proposed that he should do it by the 
assistance of the (English) Bishops of Scotland and of Orkney. 
Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1092-1107), wrote^ to 
Earl Hakon Falson, exhorting him and his people to obey 
the bishop " whom now by the grace of God they had." 

A second bishop, named Boger, was consecrated by Gerard^ 
who was Archbishop of York in the beginning of the 12th 
century, from 1100 to 1108. 

A third bishop, named Balph, previously a presbyter of 
York, said to have been elected by the people of Orkney, was 
consecrated by Archbishop Thomas, the successor of Gerard. 
It is this Balph who figures in the accounts of the battle 
of Northallerton, 1138. Pope Calixtus IL and Pope Hono- 
rius IL addressed letters to the Norwegian Kings, Sigurd 
and Eystein, in favour of Balph.^ In the letter of Pope 
Honorius it is expressly stated that another bishop had 
been intruded in the place of BalpL This must refer to 
William the Old, whom the Sagas make bishop from the 
year 1102. 

The explanation of all this seems to be that the Arch- 
bishops of Hamburg and York both tried in vain to secure the 
right of consecrating the Bishops of Orkney ; the former on 
the ground that as the successors of St Anschar they were 
primates of the Scandinavian churches, and the latter on the 
same ground on which they claimed the right to consecrate 
the Bishop of St. Andrews — viz. that their jurisdiction ex- 
tended to the whole of Scotland and the Isles. In the appendix 
to Florence of Worcester's Chronicle,* written in the beginning 
of the 12th century, it is said that " the Archbishop of York 
had jurisdiction over aU the bishops north of the Humber, 

^ Printed in the Kotes and Illnstrations to the Scala Cronica (Maitland 
Club), p. 284. 

^ Monaaticon Anglicannm, vL p. 1186. 
• Flor. Wig. Chron. Monum. Hist Britann. p. 644. 

6 



Ixxiv ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

and all the bishops of Scotland and the Orkneys^ as the 
Archbishop of Canterbury had over those of Ireland and 
Wales. Meantime, however, the Norwegians made their own 
bishops, and these, having obtained possession of the see, 
were the real bishops of Orkney, though the others might 
enjoy the empty title. 

Thus William the Old was the first of the actual bislyps 
of Orkney of whom we have distinct record. As the Saga 
and the Saga of St Magnus both state explicitly that he held 
the bishopric for sixty-six years, and the Annals place his 
death in 1168, he must have been consecrated in 1102. The 
see, which was first at Birsay, where Earl Thorfinn erected 
the Christ's Kirk,^ was removed to Kirkwall on the erection of 
the Cathedral, 1137-52. He went with Earl Eognvald to the 
Holy Land in 1152. When Pope Anastasius erected the 
metropolitan see of Trondheim in 1154 he declared the Bishop 
of Orkney one of its suffi*agans, and Bishop William's 
canonical rights were thus implicitly recognised. He died in 
1168 ; and in 1848, when certain repairs were being executed 
on the cathedral, his bones were foimd enclosed in a stone 
cist thirty inches long and fifteen inches wide, along with a 
bone object like the handle of a staff, and a leaden plate, in- 
scribed in characters apparently of the 13th century : — 

HiC BEQUIESCrr WmJALMUS SENEX, FEUCIS MEMORLS, 

PRIMUS EpISCOPUS. 

The position in which the bones were found in the choir 
seems to indicate that they must have been moved from 
their previous resting-place. Bishop William*s bones, and 
the cist which contained them, were carted away with the 
rubbish when the church was re-seated in 1856.^ The leaden 
plate and bone object which were found in the cist are 

^ The name Chrisf s Church, says Munch, was only giren to a cathedral 
church. 

' Sir Henry Dryden's Notices of Ancient Churches in Orkney, in the 
OrcadiaTi, 1867. 



INTRODUCTION. IxXV 

preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland. 

William IL, the second bishop, is only known from the 
entijr of his name in the list of bishops^ (1325), and the 
entry of his death under the year 1188 in the Icelandic 
Annals. 

Bjakni, son of Kolbein Hruga (who built the castle on 
the island of Weir), was the third bishop. His mother, 
Herboig, was a great-granddaughter of Earl PauL^ Bjami 
himself was a famous poet, and to him is ascribed the 
J(m>svi]cvngardrapa — the l^j of the Jomsburg Vikings.^ A 
buU of Pope Innocent III, dated at the Vatican, 27th May 
1198,* is addressed to him in connection with the refusal of 
Bishop John of Caithness to collect an annual tribute in his 
diocese, as noticed hereafter.^ It appears from a deed of his 
in the Chartulary of the monastery of Munkalif at Bergen 
that he possessed lands in Norway, as weU as his patrimonial 
lands in Orkney and castle in the island of Weir. By that 
deed he gives to the monastery, '' for the souls of his father 
(Eolbein Hruga), his mother, his brother, his relations and 
Mends," the lands called Holand^ near the Dalsfiord, north of 
Bergen. It is curious thus to find in authentic records a 
mortification of lands to a church in Norway to provide 
masses for the soul of a man who is now known in his own 
former home in Orkney only as Cotine Bow, " the giant," or 
" goblin " of the castle, which he built and inhabited. Bishop 
Bjami was present witl^ John, Earl of Orkney, at the great 
assembly of nobles at Bergen,^ in 1223, and died shortlj 
thereafter. 

JoFREYB, the fourth bishop, was consecrated in 1223, 
according to the Annals. There was a Jofreyr, Dean of 
Tunsberg, present at the same assembly in Bergen above 

^ Mnnch's Catalogue of the Bishops of Orkney, Bannatyne Miscellany, 
iii. 181. * See the Saga, p. 126. 

• Fonunanna Sogor, voL vi * Diplom. Norvegicum, viL p. 2. 

" See page Izzx. ^ Hakonar Saga bins ganJa, Flateyjarb6k, iii. 52. 



Ixxvi ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

referred to, and as the name is a very uncommon one, it is 
probable that he is the same Aivho was made Bishop of the 
Orkneys. He seems to have been long an invalid, for, by a 
buU dated at Viterbo, 11th May 1237,^ Pope Gregory IX. 
enjoins Sigurd, Archbishop of Nidaros (Drontheim), to move 
Bishop Jofreyr of Orkney, who had been paralytic and 
confined to bed for many years, to resign office, or, if he was 
unwilling to resign, to provide him with a wise and prudent 
helper. Jofeeyr retained the see, however, for ten years after 
this. The Annals place his death in 1247. 

Henrt (I.) was the fifth bishop. A papal dispensation 
for the defect of his birth, by Pope Innocent IV., is dated 9th 
December 1247.^ He was then a canon in the Orkneys. He 
was with King Hakon's expedition in 1263, and died in 1269. 

Peter, the sixth bishop, was consecrated in 1270. A 
brief of his,* dated at Tunsberg, 3d September 1278, grants 
forty days' indulgence to those in his diocese who contribute 
in aid of the restoration of St. Swithin's cathedral at Stavan- 
ger, which had been destroyed by fira He died in 1284 

DoLGFiNN, the seventh bishop, was consecrated in 1286. 
Nothing is known of him but the nama He died, according 
to the Annals, in 1309. 

William (IIL) was the eighth bishop. He was con- 
secrated in 1310. At the Provincial Council held at Bergen, 
in 1320, there were several complaints made by the arch- 
bishop against William, Bishop of Orkney.^ Kormak, an 

* Diplom. Norvegicum, yii p. 18. * Ibid, i 82. 

' Eeyser, Den Korake Eirkes Historie, ii 210. TorfauB Hist Oro., p. 
172. 

' Biplom. Norvegicum. The Chron. de Lanercost, under the date 1275, 
incidentally notices a Bishop of Orkney, named William, who related many 
wonderful things of the islands under Norwegian rule, and specially of 
Iceland. Munch supposes him to have been one of the titular bishops 
consecrated at York, and suggests that he may haye been the author of the 
curious fragment of a Chronicon Norvegi» preserved in the Panmure 
transcript, along with the transcript of the Diploma of the succession of the 
Earls of Orkney, printed at Christiania, 1850. (Munch, Symbols, pp. 2, 18 ; 
Det Korske Folks Historie, iv. part 1, p. 678 ; Chron. de Lanercoet, p. 07.) 



INTRODUCTION. Ixxvii 

archdeacon pf the Sudreys, and Grim Ormson, prebendaiy of 
Nidaros, had been sent by the archbishop on a visitation of 
the diocese of Orkney, and had reported that William had 
squandered the property of the see, that he had bestowed the 
offices of the church on foreigners and apostates, that he 
had compromised his dignity as a prelate of the church by 
participation in the boisterous pastime of hunting and other 
unseemly diversions, that he had been careless and lukewarm 
in the exercise of his spiritual office, and had not sought out 
those who practised idolatry and witchcraft, or who were 
heretics or followed imgodly ways. Moreover, he had 
imprisoned Ingilbert Lyoing, a canon of Orkney, whom the 
archbishop had sent to make inquiry into the collection of 
the Peter's pence, and had deprived him of his prebendary 
and all his property. He had also clandestinely appropriated 
to himself during fifteen years a portion of the church dues, 
amounting to the value of 53 marks sterling, and he had 
refused to permit the removal of the corpse of a woman from 
Orkney, although her wUl had been that she should be 
interred in the cathedral of Trondheim. He was suspended 
in the following year (1321) by the archbishop, but in 1324 
we find him assisting at the consecration of LaurentiuSy 
Bishop of Hola^ By a deed,^ dated at Bergen, 9th September 
1327, he mortgages his dues of Shetland to his metropolitan, 
Eilif, Archbishop of Nidaros, for the payment of 186 marks 
sterling, which he should have paid the archbishop for six 
years' teinds. By another document of the same year,* 
Bishop Audfinn of Bergen requests Bishop William of 
Orkney to assist his priest Ivar in the collection of the 
Stmnive^mid — a contribution which the inhabitants of Shet- 
land had paid from old time to the shrine of St. Simniva at 
Bergen. The date of this bishop's death has not been 
ascertained. 

William (TV.), ninth bishop, succeeded him, sometime 

1 Kejser, Den Norske Eirkes Historie, ii 216. 
• Diplom. Norvegicum, vii. p. 134. ' Ibid. p. 184. 



mm 



Ixxviii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

after the year 1328. There is extant an agreement between 
him and Hakon Jonsson^ dated at Kirkwall, 25th May 1369.^ 
The next mention we have of him is the entry in the Annals, 
under the date 1382 — ^''Then was heard the mournful tidings 
that Bishop William was slain in the Orkneys/' 

William (V.), tenth bishop, appears only in a record of 
the time of King Bobert IIL of Scotland. Munch supposes 
that he may have been the William Johnson who appears as 
Archdeacon of Zetland, in a Norse deed dated at Sandwick in 
Shetland, March 4, 1360. 

Hbnry (IL), eleventh bishop, according to Torfceus, 
appears in a record of 1394 

John, twelfth bishop, appears in the Union Treaty of 
Calmar in 1397. 

Patrick, thirteenth bishop, appears in an Attestation by 
the Lawman of Orkney, two canons of the church of St 
Magnus, and four burgesses of Kirkwall, of the descent and 
good name of James of Cragy, laird of Hupa* He is other- 
wise imnoticed, but as he is there referred to by his canonical 
title, and the many losses, injuries, and disquietudes which he 
endured at the hands of his adversaries, are specially alluded 
to, there seems to be no doubt that he held the bishopric 
between the death of John and the incumbency of Thomas 
de TuUoch. 

Thomas de Tulloch, fourteenth bishop, first appears in 
existing records in 1418. He seems to have been previously 
Bishop of Ross.* On 17th June 1420, at the church of 
Yestenskov in Laland, he gives his pledge to King Eirik and 
his successors, and undertakes that he will hold the crown 
lands of Orkney committed to him, for the Kings of Norway, 

^ Among the persons mentioned in this record are Sir Bichard of Rollisey 
(Bonsay), Sir Christen of Sanday, John of Orkney, Signrd of Pappley, John 
of Dnnray (Downreay in Caithness). The title "sir" is equivalent to our 
"reverend." (Diplom. Norv^cmn, L 808.) 

' Printed from the Panmnre transcript in the Miscellany of the Spalding 
Club, voL V. p. 267. 

' Theiner, Vetera Monuments, p. 876. 



INTRODUCTION. Ixxix 

promising at the same time to give law aad justice to the 
people of Orkney according to the Norsk law-book and the 
ancient usages.^ In 1422 he receives the palace and perti- 
nents of Elirkwall — " thet slot oc faeste Kirkqwaw liggende j 
Orkney j Norghe meth landet Orkney/' etc. — as a fief from 
King Eirik. A record of the set of the threepenny lands of 
Stanbuster, in the parish of St Andrews, executed by him on 
12th July 1455, and confirmed by his successor in 1465, is 
preserved at Kirkwall His death took place before 28th 
June 1461, when we find his successor in office.* 

William (VI.) de Tulloch, the last bishop during the 
dominion of Norway in the Orkneys, was bishop in June 
1461, and tendered his oath of allegiance in 1462. 

A bull of Pope Sixtus IV., dated at the Vatican, l7th 
August 1472, placed the see of the Orkneys imder the metro- 
politan Bishop of St. Andrews. 

IX. The Bishopmo of Caithness — 1150-1469. 

The BishopricofCaithnessappearsto have been co-extensive 
with the older earldom, comprehending Caithness and Suther- 
land as far south as Ekkialsbakki or the Kyle of Sutherland. 
In later times the cathedral church was at Dornoch.^ But 
it would seem as if the episcopal see had at one time been at 
Halkirk (called in the Saga Hd Xirkiu, or the High Kirk), 
near Thurso, where we find the bishops frequently residing. 
The date of the erection of the bishopric is unknown. 

Andrew is the first bishop who appears in authentic 
records. About the year 1153 King David granted to him 

^ See page box. Both these docnments are printed at length in the second 
Tolmne of the Diplomatariom Norvegicmn, and are exceedingly curious speci- 
mens of the language of the time. * Diplom. Norveg. t. 605. 

* There was a monastery at Dornoch before the death of Earl Rbgnyald in 
1158. King Dayid of Scotknd addressed a missiye to Rognyald, Earl of Ojkney, 
and to the Earl of Caithness (Harald Maddadson), and to all good men in Caith- 
ness and Orkney, requesting them to protect the monks living at Dumach in 
Caithness, their servants and their effects, and to see that they sustained no 
loss or injury. (Regist. de Dunfermelyn, p. 14.) 



IXXX ORENETINGA SAGA. 

the lands of Hoctor Comon/ and about the same time he 
himseK gave a grant of the Church of the Holy Trinity of 
Dunkeld to the monks of Dunfermline.^ About the year 1165 
he and Murethac, his clerk, are witnesses to a charter of 
Gregory, Bishop of Dunkeld, confirming the said gift About 
the year 1181 he is a witness to the grant by Earl Harald 
Maddadson to the see of Bome of a penny annually from 
every inhabited house in Caithness, which brought his suc- 
cessor. Bishop John, into such trouble.^ He is also a witness 
to the remarkable document engrossed in the Book of Deer, 
by which King David L declares the clerics of Deer to be 
free from all lay interference and undue exaction, " as it is 
written in their book, and as they pleaded at Banff and swore 
at Aberdeen." * The Chronicle of Mailros records his death 
at Dunfermline on 30th December 1185. He seems to have 
been a learned man, and was much about the court of David 
I. He is said to have been the author of part of the curious 
treatise " De Situ Albanise,'' attributed to Giraldus Cambrensis. 
John, second bishop, succeeded him. He seems to have 
refused to exact from the inhabitants the papal contribution 
of one penny annually from each inhabited house in Caith- 
ness granted by Earl Harald, for in a bull * dated at the Vati- 
can, 27th May 1198, Pope Innocent IDL enjoins Bishop Bjami 
of Orkney and Bishop Eeginald of Boss to compel Bishop 
John to give up his opposition to its collection on pain of the 
censure of the Church. About this time also Caithness had 
been taken from Harald by Eling William the lion, with 
whom he was involved in hostilities, and given over to 
Eeginald Gudrodson, the petty king of the Hebrides. Hence, 
on Harald's recovery of his possessions in 1202, he was so 
exasperated that he took vengeance on the bishop ^ by blind- 

^ R^^ de Dnnfermelyn, p. 14. * Ibid. p. 74. 

* Diplom. Nonreg. vii. p. 2. 

* The Book of Deer (Spald. Club), p. 95. 

* Diplom. Nonregicum, vii p. 2. 

^ See page iliii, and also the account of these transactions in the Saga, 
cap. cxv. 



INTRODUCTION. Ixxxi 

ing him and cuttiiig out his tongno, and inflicted severe pun* 
ishments on the people, -whom he held to have been guilty 
of rebellion. Bishop John appears to have survived his 
mutilation till 1213. 

Adam, third bishop, was consecrated in 1214 by Malvoiain, 
Bishop of St. Andrews. He was a foimdling exposed at a 
church door, but he had been Abbot of Melrose previous to his 
appointment to the see of Caithness. In 1218 he went with 
the Bishops of Glasgow and Moray on a pilgrimage to S6ma 
He seems to have been of an opposite disposition to that of 
his predecessor, who suffered martyrdom in the cause of his 
people. It was an old custom in Caithness that the husband- 
men paid the bishop a i^wnn of butter for every twenty cows. 
Bishop Adam exacted the contribution first for every fifteen, 
and at length for every ten cows. Exasperated by these 
exactions, the people rose in a body and came to him at Hal- 
kirk, where in the tumult a monk of Newbottle named Serlo 
was killed and the bishop himself burned in his own kitchen. 
A letter of Pope Honorius III., dated in January 1222, and 
addressed to the Scottish bishops of the time, is extant in the 
archives of the Vatican,^ in which, after commending King 
Alexander for his promptitude and zeal in avenging Bishop 
Adam's murder, he goes on to tell that, having learned from 
their letters what a horrible crime, what a detestable deed had 
been committed, his spirit quaUed and his heart trembled and 
his ears tingled as he realised the daring atrocity of the deed. 
"Your letters," he says, "have informed us that a dispute 
having arisen between Adam, Bishop of Caithness, of adorable 
memory, on the one part, and his parishioners on the other, 
concerning the tithes and other rights of the Church, and 
these matters having been submitted to the king himself by 
the mediation of certain ecclesiastics, with consent of the 
bishop, and the king being absent in England, his parishioners, 
moved with anger against him because he upheld the cause of 
his Church against them, fell on their pious pastor likeraven- 

* Printed in Theiner's Vetera Monumenta, p. 21. 



Ixxxii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

ing wolves, on their father like degenerate sons, and on their 
Lord Christ like emissaries of the devil, stripped him of his 
clothing, stoned him, mortally wounded him with an axe, and 
finally killed and burned him in his own kitchen." The letter 
concludes with an injunction to excommunicate all concerned 
in the murder. The bishop's body was interred in the church 
at Skinnet, and is said to have been subsequently removed to 
Dornoch in 1239.^ The Saga states that the fearful vengeance 
taken by King Alexander II. for the murder of the bishop 
was still fresh in memory in the writer^s time ; and we learn 
from the Annals that " the Scottish king caused the hands and 
feet to be hewn from eighty men who had been present at the 
burning, so that many of them died." 

Gilbert de Moravia^ fourth bishop, had been Archdeacon 
of Moray previous to his elevation to the see of Caithness in 
1223. He built the cathedral at Dornoch^ and his charter of 
constitution * is still extant in the record-room at Dunrobin 
Castla For many years there had been an intimate connec- 
tion between the diocese of Caithness and the abbey of 
Scone,^ and in the constitution of his cathedral Bishop 
Gilbert named the Abbot of Scone one of the canons. The 
fourteen churches assigned to the prebends were those of Clyne, 
Dornoch, Creich, Eogart, Lairg, Farr, Kildonan, and Durness, 
in Sutherland ; and Bower, Watten, Skinnet, Olrig, Dunnet, 
and Canisbay, in Caithness. Golspie and Loth, Beay, 
Thurso, Wick, and Latheron, were reserved to the bishop. 

^ Chron. de Mailros, pp. 139, 150. 

' Printed in the Miscellany of the Bannatyne Club, toI. iiL 
* The bones of St Fergus, the patron saint of Caithness, were deposited 
in the abbey of Scone. Harald Maddadson, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, 
granted a mark of sUver yearly to the canons of Scone for the souls of him- 
self and wife, and the souls of his predecessors. The grant is witnessed by his 
son "Turphin." The Abbot of Scone obtained a royal precept from King 
Alexander II. addressed to the sheriffs and bailies of Moray and Caithness, for 
the protection of the ship of the convent when on its voyages within their 
jurisdiction. The Abbey of Scone was proprietor of the church of Eildonan, 
which, with its chapels and lands, was confirmed to the canons of Scone by 
Pope Honorius III. in 1226. (Liber Ecclesie de Scon, pp. 87, 45, and 67.) 



INTRODUCTION. IxxXJiJ 

He seems to have been a man of mstrk in his time. He' built 
the "Bishop's Castle" at Scrabster, and was made keeper of 
the king's castles in the north.^ He seems also to have been 
the first discoverer of gold in Sutherlandshire, for Sir Eobert 
Gordon states that he ^ found a mine of gold in Duriness, in 
the lands belonging to his bishoprick.** He died at Scrabster 
in 1245^ and was afterwards canonised. His relics were pre- 
served in the cathedral church at Dornoch, and continued to 
be held in reverence down to the middle of the 16th century. 
In a record of the year 1545 it is stated that the parties com- 
pearing before Earl John of Sutherland in the chapter-house 
of the cathedral at Dornoch made oath by touching the relics 
of the blessed Saint Gilbert He is the only bishop of Caith- 
ness, except Bishop Adam, whose death is recorded in the 
Icelandic Annals. The entry is under the year 1244 : — 
** Death of Gilibert, bishop in Scotland." 

William, fifth bishop, was his successor. In 1250 he 
appears among the other Scottish bishops in a document 
addressed to Alexander lU concerning the liberties of the 
ChurcL He died in 1261 or 1262. 

Walter de Baltrodin, a canon of Caithness, was chosen 
as his successor. Pope Urban IV. in 1263 addressed a letter ^ 
to the bishops of Dunkeld, Brechin, and Boss, setting forth 
that his election had not been proceeded with according to 
canonical form, but as it had been unanimous, and in con- 
sideration of the poverty of the Church, and the expense of 
making such long journeys to distant places, he enjoins them 
to prefer the said Walter to the bishopric if they find that he 
is not disqualified by defect of birth or otherwise. He died 
before 1274. On his death, Nicolas, Abbot of Scone, was 
chosen as his successor, but rejected by the Pope.' 

Archibald, Archdeacon of Moray, was chosen on the 
rejection by the Pope of Nicolas, Abbot of Scone. The Pope's 

^ Sir Robert Gordon mentions a tradition that he was the builder of the 
noble castle of Kildmmmy, in Mar. 

« Theiner, Vet. Mon. Hib. et Scot p. 89. « Ibid. p. 104. 



Ixxxiv ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

letter confirming his election mentions H, the Dean, 
Patrick, the treasurer, and Eoger de Castello, canon of 
Caithness, as the parties by whom he was nominated. In 
his time Boyamnnd de Vitia was commissioned by Pope 
Gregory X. to collect a special subsidy in aid of the crusade, 
and his accoxmts furnish us with the names of a number of 
the churches in the diocese of Caithness and the amounts 
contributed.^ 

Bishop Archibald must have been dead before 1279, for in 
that year the Pope addressed a letter to the Bishops of St 
Andrews and Aberdeen,* setting forth that the see of Caith- 
ness being vacant, the chapter had proceeded to the election 
of R, the Dean of Caithness, and had constituted Henry 
of Nottingan * (in Caithness) their procurator to obtain con- 
firmation of the said election, and that the said Henry, in the 
Pope's presence, had confessed that the said dean had a son 
thirty years old or more, and that he was said to have 
another, although he (Henry of Nottingan) did not believe 
it ; and, moreover, that he had been stricken with paralysis, 
and was old and debilitated. The bishops are enjoined to use 
their influence to oblige him to resign. 

Alan de St. Edmund, eighth bishop, was an Englishman, 
elected by the influence of Edward L of England. In 1290 

^ There was collected in the year 1274 — ^From Olric (Olrig), 2 mores ; 
Dinnosc (Dunnet), 828. 4d. ; Cranesby (Canisbay), 408. ; Ascend (Skinnet), 
68. 4d. ; Hankyrc (Halkirk), 148. 2d. ; Torishan (Thnrso), 268. 7d. ; the 
chapel of Halndal (Halladale), 98. 4d. ; Lagheiyn (Latheron), 278. lOd. ; 
Domesa, 14a. Sd. There was collected in the year 1276 — Lateme (Latheron), 
828. ; Cananby, 82s. ; Thorsau, 2 marcs ; the chapel of Helwedale (Halla- 
dale), 98. 4d. ; Ra (Reay), 98. 4d. ; Haukyrc (Halkirk), ISs. 9d. ; Olric 
(Olrig), 2 marcs ; the church of Scynand (Skinnet), 18s. 8d. ; the church of 
Donost (Dunnet), 2 marcs ; Eeldoninare (Kildonan), 2 marcs. The personal 
contributions include one from Magister H. de Kotingham — doubtless the 
Notingham near Forse which still bears the name unchanged. (Theiner, 
Vet. Monum. pp. 112, 116.) 

* Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, p. 124. 

* Henry of Nothingham was a canon of Caithness in 1272. (Lib. Ecdes. 
de Scon, p. 86.) 



INTRODUCTION. IxXXV 

he signs the letter addressed to that king, proposing a mar- 
riage between the Maid of Norway and the young Prince 
Edward. Alan was a favourite with King Edward, and was 
made Chancellor of Scotland in 1291. In that year a writ ^ 
was addressed by the king to Alexander Comyn, keeper of 
the royal forest of Temway, in Moray, ordering him to give 
Bishop Alan 40 oaks suitable for material for the fabric of 
the cathedral church of Caithness, which the king had 
granted for the souls of Alexander, King of Scotland, and 
Margaret, his queen, the sister of King Edward. Bishop 
Alan died in 1291, and on his death King Edward ordered 
the Bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow to commit the 
vacant cure to some cleric in the king's allegiance.^ The 
fulfilment of this mandate is not on record, but we learn 
from the letter of Pope. Boniface VIII.^ addressed to Bishop 
Adam in 1296, that on the death of Alan the chapter of 
Caithness had chosen the Archdeacon of Caithness, whose 
name is given as I(oannes}) to be his successor, but because 
the election had not been in canonical form it was not con- 
firmed by the Pope, who preferred to the vacant diocese 
Adam, then precentor of the church of Boss. 

Adah, ninth bishop, as we learn from the Pope's letter 
above mentioned, was not elected in the usual way, but pre- 
fcJrred by the Pope and consecrated by the Bishop of Ostia. 
The letter addressed by the Pope * " to the chapter of Caith- 
ness, to the people of the district and diocese of Caithness, 
and to our dearest son in Christ the King of Scots," in 1296, 
announces his preferment, and the reasons that led to it. 
He died at Sienna very shortly after the date of this letter.* 

Andrew, abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Cupar,® was 
now preferred to the see of Caithness ; and because, "onaccount 
of the wars that are imminent in those parts, and the dangers 
of the way, which is long and perilous, it is impossible for 

* Rotuli ScotiflB, vol. L p. 6. * Ibid. vol. L p. 7. 

» Theiner, Vet Monum. p. 161. * IbicL • IbicL p. 168. « Ibid. 



Ixxxvi ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

him to approach the apostolic seat for consecration," a mandate 
was addressed to the Bishops of Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Boss, 
to give him consecration. 

Ferquhakd, Bishop of Caithness, appears in 1310, among 
the other bishops of Scotland, acknowledging Eobert Bruce as 
King of Scotland. In 1312, along with Magnus, Earl of 
Caithness and Orkney, he attests the payment of 100 marks 
sterling (the annual tribute payable for the Hebrides) by 
Eling Eobert Bruce to the King of Norway, in St. Magnus' 
Cathedral, EorkwalL He was dead and the see vacant in 1328.^ 

Nicolas, a deacon, was bishop-elect in 1332.* 

David was the next bishop, but of him we have no record 
except that he was dead before 1340.^ 

Alan, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, was confirmed as Bishop 
of Caithness in 1341 by Pope Benedict XII.* He died in 
1342. 

Thomas de Kngask was elected on the death of Alan, and 
his confirmation by Pope Clement VI. is dated in November 
1342.** He is witness to a writ by William, Earl of Boss, in 
1355, declaring the abbey of Feme exempt from all the 
king's taxes.^ He appears as witness to a deed with Ingelram 
of Caithness, Archdeacon of Dunkeld, in 1359.^ He died at 
Elgin in 1360, and was buried in our Lady's aisle of the 
chanonry church of Elgin, under the bishop's seat, 

Malcolm is the next bishop of whom we have any authen- 
tic account® His confirmation by Pope Urban V. is dated 

1 Comp. Camerar. Scot L 25-26. 

" See a paper by Joseph Robertson, Proc Soc Antiq. Scot. toL ii p. 81, 
noU, * Theiner, Yet Monuln., p. 276. 

* Ibid. » Ibid. p. 277. • Origines Parochiales, iL 486. 
' Begist Moray* p. 868. 

* There is a writ of Pope Innocent VI., dated in May 1860, preferring 
Thomas to be bishop of the " Ecclesia Cathayensis," and ordering him to 
repair to his diocese on being consecrated by the Bishop of Preneste. It 
appears from subsequent documents, however, that he was obstructed and 
interfered with by the bishops of Limerick, Ardfert, and Clonmacnoise, who 
laid many chai^ges of criminal and illegal proceedings against him, asserting 



INTEODUCTION. IxXXvii 

Feb. 21, 1369.^ A bull of Pope Gregory XL, dated at Avignon 
in March 1376, confirms to Dr. William of Spynie the 
chanonry and prebendary of the church of Orkney, which had 
become vacant by the preferment of Malcolm to be Bishop of 
Caithness.* 

Alexandeb appears as Bishop of Caithness in 1389, when, 
along with Alexander, Bishop of Eoss, and Adam, Abbot of 
Einloss, he takes part in the settlement of a dispute between 
the Earl and Bishop of Moray.® He appears by proxy at the 
provincial synod held at Perth in 1420.* 

Egbert was bishop in 1434, and his successor William, 
who appears as bishop in 1449, was still in office at the 
period of the transference of the Orkneys from the Norwegian 
to Scottish rule, in 1469. 

X. Ancient Churches of Oekney. 

" The Cathedral of St, Magnus," says Worsaae, ** is incon- 
testably the most glorious monument of the time of the Nor- 
wegian dominion to be found in Scotland." "It is," says 
Peterkin, *one of the two cathedral churches in Scotland 
remaining entire, and is, therefore, a national monument^ in- 
teresting ftowi its antiquity, its beauty, and the rarity of such 

mind of the stranger visiting Kirkwall a more vivid impres- 
sion of the ancient importance of this quaint little town, 
which has been the capital of the Orkneys for at least 800 

that the " Eccleda Cathayensis " was a |»arochial and not a cathedral chnrch, 
and the Pope appointed Geoige, Archbishop of Cashel, to report on the matter. 
Owing to the death of the archbiBhop the report was not made, and the remit 
was renewed by the snccesssor of Pope Innocent Tl. to the Bishop of Idsmore. 
It is not clear whether this was a preferment to the see of Caithness following 
on the death of Thomas de Fingask, or a series of mistakes. See Theiner's 
Yetera Monxmienta, pp. 816, 818, 824. 
^ Theiner, Vetera Monnmenta, p. 883. 

* Biplom. Korvegicom, vii p. 809. • Regist. Morav. p. 200. 

* Regist Episc. Brechinensis, p. 89. 



IxXXViii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

years, than the grandeur of its cathedral, and the imposing 
aspect of the ruins of the palaces of the Bishops and Earls of 
Orkney. 

The Saga tells how the erection of the cathedral was un- 
dertaken by Earl Eognvald II. (Kali Kolson), in fulfQment of 
a TOW which he had made to build and endow a splendid 
stone minster in Kirkwall in honour of St. Magnu£f, his 
mother's brother, from whom he derived his right to a share 
of the earldom of the Orkneys. He won the earldom in the 
year 1136, and the erection of the cathedral was commenced 
under the superintendence of his father Kol, in 1137, and 
carried on until the earl's means failed. By agreement with 
the odallers, a mark for each ploughland in the islands was 
contributed for the purpose of carrying on the work, and this 
brought in money enough to enable the erection of the church 
to be proceeded with. 

The cathedral, as it now stands, however, is by no means 
the work of Earl Bognvald's time, although the portion built 
by him is still clearly distinguishable. " The church," says 
Sir Henry Dryden,^ **as designed and partly built in the time 
of Kol (father of Earl Eognvald), was of the same width as at 
►present, but possibly one bay shorter at the west end. There 
can be little doubt that the choir terminated in an apse, which 
began about half-way along the great piers in trout of the sub- 
sequent altar steps, and extended as far as the line of those 
steps. The builders, having laid out the whole church, carried 
up the choir and its two aisles and the transepts to the eaves, 
and built the piers of the central tower." The architectural 
history of the structure, however, is puzzling. "Though I 
spent eighteen weeks at the cathedral," says Sir Henry in a 
letter to Mr. Worsaae, "and have thought over the thing 
many times, I cannot make out the history of the building to 
my own satisfaction. There is no doubt that there is a great 

^ For the details of the structure by Sir H. Diyden, see the Transactions of 
the Architectural Institute of Scotland, 1869-78. See also Billings' Baronial 
and Ecclesiastical Antiquities, 1848 ; and Worsaae^s Danes and Northmen, 1852. 



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INTEODUCTION. IxXXJX 

deal of copying in it, i,e, of building at one time in the style 
of another." ^ The chief interest of the structure lies in the 
fact that it was built by a Norwegian earl, and designed and 
superintended by the Norwegian Kol, who had the principal 
oversight of the whole work. It is significant of their 
community of origin that the oldest portions of St. Magnus 
show traces of the same peculiarities of style which are found 
in the nearly contemporary but somewhat older Norman 
churches in Normandy, the home of the Christian descend- 
ants of the Vikings who followed Hrolf the Conqueror, son of 
Eognvald, Earl of MoerL 

The cathedral was erected for the express purpose of re- 
ceiving the relics of St. Magnus, but we have no record of 
their transference to the new churcL There is reason to be- 
lieve that they had been brought to Elirkwall before the 
erection of the cathedral was begun, and, though it is not so 
stated, it may be inferred that on their removal from Christ's 
Church in Birsay, they were deposited in the church of St. 
Olaf at Kirkwall, and remained there for some years until the 
cathedral was ready to receive them. It seems probable that 
it is to the church of St Olaf that Kirkwall owes its name 
of KirJdvr^vagr, the Creek of the Kirk. This name does not 
occur in the Saga before the time of Earl Eognvald Brusison, 
who is said to have resided there, and it is most likely that 
the church of St. Olaf was built by him in memory of his 
fosteivfether. King Olaf the Holy. Earl Eognvald was in the 
battle of Stiklestad (1030) in which the warrior saint of Nor- 
way fell, and being his foster-son he was more likely than any 
of the subsequent earls to dedicate a church to his memory. 
We are told in the Saga ^ that the relics of St. Magnus 
were exhumed by Bishop William twenty years after his death 
and placed in a shrine at Christ's Kirk. Shortly thereafter, 

* Sir Henry Dryden recognises the foUowing styles in the building : — Ist 
style, 1137 to 1160 ; 2d style, 1160 to 1200 ; 8d style, 1200 to 1250 ; 4th 
style, 1250 to 1350 ; 5th style, 1450 to 1500. (Guide to St. Magnus* Cathe- 
dral by Sir H. Dryden, Daventry, 1871.) 

* Magnus Helga Saga (edidit Jonssus : Hafni©, 1780), pp. 536, 538. 

/ 



XC ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

says the Saga, St. Magnus appeared in a dream to a man who 
lived in Westray, by name Gunni, and ordered him to tell 
Bishop William that he (St. Magnus) wished to go out of 
Birgisherad and east to ElirkwalL Gunni was afraid to do 
so lest he should excite the wrath of Earl Paul, whose father 
had been the murderer of St Magnus. The foUowipg night 
St. Magnus again appeared to him, ordering him to disclose 
his dream whatever the consequences might be, and threaten- 
ing him with punishment in the life hereafter if he disobeyed. 
Struck with terror, Gunni went to the Bishop and told him 
in the presence of Earl Paul and all the congregation. Earl 
Paul, it is said, turned red with anger, but aU the men there 
united in requesting the bishop to proceed at once to carry 
the wishes of St. Magnus into execution- So the bishop went 
east to Elirkwall with the relics, accompanied by a great con- 
course of people, and " placed them in a shrine upon the altar 
of the church which then was there," and which could have 
been no other than St Olaf s,^ seeing that the building of the 
cathedral was not commenced until after Earl Paul had been 
carried off to Athole by Swein Asleifson. The Saga of St 
Magnus adds that there were then few houses in the town, 
but that after the relics of St. Magnus had been transferred 
thither the town rapidly increased. 

Earl Eognvald (II.) himself was buried ^ in the cathedral in 
1158. In the winter of 1263 the remains of King Hakon 

^ The present church of St Olaf 8, which is not older than the 16th cen- 
tury, and is said by Wallace to have been built by Bishop Reid, in all proba- 
bility stands on the site of the older one. The veneration of St Olaf extended 
both to Scotland and England. There was a church dedicated to him at 
Cruden, and among the articles enumerated in an inventory of the treasury 
of the cathedral of Aberdeen in 1518, there is "a small image of St Olaf of 
silver decorated with precious stones. " — (Regist Episc. Aberdonense, ii. p. 172.) 

^ Neale, in his Ecclesiological Notes (p. 116), states that Earl Rognvald's 
remains were first interred in the church of Burwick, South Ronaldsay, but 
gives no authority for the statement. The Saga, on the other hand, states 
expressly that his remains were taken to Kirkwall, and interred in the cathe- 
dral It is not likely that the founder of the cathedral would have been in- 
terred anywhere else. 



■W^" 



INTEODUCriON. 



XCl 



V"/,y ' 



c 



v^ 



■7^7 



PT-ry/ 



-w^. 



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3 



T^^: 






f.. 



■■>«^; 



Hakonson were deposited in the cathedral previous to their 
removal to Bergen. Worsaae states that the remains of the 
Princess Margaret, the Maid of Norway, were interred in the 
cathedral in 1290, and the local tradition is to the same efiT^ct, 
but there is no authority for the statement. The princess's 
remains were taken back to Norway and buried in the High 
Church of Bergen by King Eirik, beside the remains of her 
mother.^ 

Egilsey Chitrch, on the little isle of Egilsey, is interesting 
from the suggestions of its connec- 
tion with the earlier Christianity of 
the islands previous to the Norse in- 
vasion. 

The church stands on the highest 
ground of the island, on the west side, 
and is a conspicuous object in the 
landscape from all sides. It con- 
sists of chancel and nave, but differs 
from aU the existing churches in the 
islands in having around tower rising 
at the west end of the nave. It is of 
small size, the nave being 30 feet long 
by 15 J feet in breadth inside, and the 
chancel 15 feet long by 9J feet in 
breadth. The chancel is vaulted, and 
the waUs are about 3 feet thick. 
The tower, which seems to have been 
built with the nave, is 7 feet diameter 
inside, and is now 48 feet high, the 
walls being about 3^ feet thick. It EGILSHAS.MAGNUS. 

is stated that about 1 5 feet were taken ' ' * '^''^• 

off the height to prevent its falling.* The only two windows in 






yy 



I: 



? 




^ See p. liii, wnUa, 

' In the engrayiDg given of this church by Hibbcrt, the church and tower 
are both represented as covered by a stone roof, that of the tower being a 
conical cap resembling the usual termination of the Irish Round Towers. 



m^^^w 



•^"^jl^: — f 



XCU ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

the nave tliat are original are round-headed and 3 feet high, 
with jambs splaying inwards from 8J to 33 inches wide, and 
having no external chamfer. Two windows in the chancel are 
exactly similar but smaller. Over the chancel vault there is 
a small chamber lighted by a flat-headed window 18 inches 
high. 

Its original dedication is unknown,^ and there is nothing 
to fix the date of its erection with absolute certainty. 

'* The church of Egilsey," says Munch, " is shown by its 
construction to have been built before the Northmen arrived 
in Orkney, or, at all events, to belong to the more ancient 
Christian Celtic population ; both its exterior and its interior 
show so many resemblances to the old churches in Ireland of 
the 7th and 8th centuries, that we are compelled to suppose 
it to have been erected at that time by Irish priests or Papas, 
As we find no remains of any similar churches on the islands,^ 
we must suppose it to have been the first of the few on the 
thinly inhabited isle-group. The island on which it stood 
might, therefore, very justly be called * Church isla' But the 
Irish word Eedais (church), derived from the Latin Ucdesia, 
might easily be mistaken by our forefathers for Egils, the 
genitive of the man's name EgiL" 

If we could unhesitatingly adopt Munch*s view of the 
origin of the name Egilsey, it might be safely assumed that 
this was the church which gave its name to the island, as no 
other ecclesiastical site is known within its bounds. The 
Norsemen were heathens down to the time of the Christian- 
ising cruise of "King Olaf Tryggvason in A.D. 1000, and not 
very hearty in their Christianity for a long time after that. 
The church could not have been built, therefore, between 872 

^ In Jo. Ben*B description of the islands (1529) it is said that the church 
of Egilsey was dedicated [to St. Magnns. Bnt as he adds that St Magnus 
was bom in Egilsey, and brought up there from his infancy, and that he gave 
a piece of ground to his nurse, on which she made an underground house with 
aU its furniture of stone, it is plain that he is merely repeating the absurd tra- 
ditions of the time. 

' There were three towered churches in Shetland (see p. ci. ) 



g i 
tefi 



I ^ p I I « ' m m. "wgi^^^^^^iw^^^p^— —^■^iir'^^y^gpni^^^^i^^^ipw^r^l^p^'j— ^ 



LNTRODUCTION. XCUl 

and the accession of Earl Thorfinn in 1014 Kor is it likely 
to have been erected during Thorfinn's minority, fpr he was 
only five years old when his father fell fighting under a hea- 
then banner at Clontart The Saga teUs that Thorfinn built 
Christ's Church in Birsay, and made it the first bishop's see 
in the Orkneys. K he, or any of his successors previous to 
the death of St. Magnus, had erected such a notable structure 
as that of EgUsey, it would probably have been recorded. 
There was a church in Egilsey in 1115 when St. Magnus was 
murdered, and the only question is whether it was the present 
church. Its resemblances to the Irish churches of the 7th 
and 8th centuries are not suflBciently definite and determina- 
tive to enable us to assign to it imhesitatingly an Irish origin ; 
while, on the other hand, the resemblance to theroimd-towered 
churches of Norfolk suggests that it may have been of Scan- 
dinavian origin. But there is nothing in the architecture of 
the building either to fix the date of its erection or to deter- 
mine the questions of Celtic or Scandinavian origin with any 
degree of certainty.^ 

The Church of Orphir is one of the few circular 
churches in Britain, built in imitation of the church of the 
Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The crusades were the means of 
importing this form into the ecclesiastical architecture of the 
west. A few of these roimd churches remain in Denmark, and, 
like those of England, they are mostly of the 12th century.* 

^ ** Its style of architecture," says Sir Henry Dryden, ''discarding certain 
indications of an earlier date, prevents our assigning to it a date later tlian the 
beginning of the 12th century. When we contrast it with the KirkwaU 
Cathedral begun in 1137, we are forced to give an earlier date than that to 
Egilsey, and this opinion is corroborated by the churches at Orphir and 
Brough of Birsay.— (Ruined Churches in Orkney and Shetland, in the Orcadicm 
of 1867.) 

* Those in Britain are Cambridge, consecrated in 1101 ; Northampton, 
about 1116; Maplestead, 1118 j the Temple Church, London,' 1186 ; the 
small Norman church in Ludlow Castle, and the Earls' Church at Orphir in 
Orkney— the only example in Scotland. " The round churches at Cambridge, 
Northampton, and London," says Ferguson, "were certainly sepulchral, or 
erected in imitation of the church at Jerusalem " (History of Architecture, 



ZCIV ■ OUKHEYIKGA SAGA. 

All that remains of this interesting etructure is merely 
the semiciicular cbancel and about 9 feet of the walls of the 
circular nave on either side, as shown in the annexed ground- 
plan. It is deacrihed in the Old Statistical Accoiint as having 
been a rotuudo, 18 feet in diameter and 20 feet high, two- 
thirds of which were taken down to build the present 



-dK. 



parish church. The curvature of the part of the walls still 
remaining would give a diameter of 18 to 19 feet. The semi- 
circular chancel ia 7 feet wide and a little more than 1 feet 
deep. The walla are well built of yellow Orpbir freestone. 
The only remaining window is a small one in the east end 
of the chancel, 30 inches high, having a semicircular head, 
and the jambs splaying inwards from lOJ inches to 20 inches 
wide. It has a groove for glass. 

The Eev. Alex. Pope of Eeay, who visited Orphir in 1758, 
has given a description of " The Temple of Orphir, or Oerth 
Hotise," but there is little to be gathered from it, and the 
measurements as given ^ are evidently wrong. He states, 

a. p. 60). Wilson, on the other hand, mppoaes that the earl; drr-bnilt bee- 
hire hoiues of the Western hlaudB ma; haTsgerved OS & model for some of the 
earliest Christian orat«riea, of vhich that at Orphir, he remarks, ii an interest- 
ing example (Prehistoric Annuls, ii p. S66). But there is no analog; wliat- 
ever between the architectural features of Orphir and those of the beehive 
honsea, nor has it an; resemblance to the earlier oratories and chapels of the 
Western lales. 

» Pope's Translation of Torfieus (Wick, 1866), p. 108. 



■ - - ■» ^m"' I' 



"^ 



INTRODUCTION. XCV 

however, that extensive remains, supposed to be those of the 
Earls' Palace at Orphir, had been discovered in excavating the 
foundations of the neighbouring farm-buildings. Indications 
of these, and of an extensive refuse-heap, are still to be seen. 

The church of Orphir is first mentioned in the Saga in 
connection vsdth Earl Paul Hakonson's residence at Orphir. 
The church is there referred to as a splendid structure, and it 
is not spoken of as recently erected, or as having been built 
by Earl PauL But Earl Hakon, his father, who had made a 
pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land, is said in the Saga to 
have brought back relics which he would doubtless deposit in 
the church at Orphir, where he seems to have resided. The 
probability is that the church was built by him after his 
return from his pilgrimage, perhaps as an expiatory offering 
for the murder of his cousin, St Magnus. Earl Hakon died 
in 1122, and three out of the six roimd churches in Britain 
had been built before that time. 

Christ's Church in Birsay is the first church of which we 
have any record in the Saga> and, so far as we know, the fijst 
church erected in the Orkneys after the conversion of the 
Norwegian inhabitants to Christianity. It was built by Earl 
Thorfinn some time about the middle of the 11th century. 
Earl Thorfinn made a pilgrimage to Eome about the year 
1050, and it is likely that Christ's Church would be built 
after his return to Orkney, or between 1050 and 1064, the 
date of his death. It was the seat of the bishopric previous 
to the erection of the cathedral of St Magnus, and William 
the Old, who was the first (actual) bishop, lived to see the 
bishopric transferred to Kirkwall some time after 1137. 

It is doubtful whether any recognisable traces of the 
original Christ's, Church now remain. Neale says, "The 
parish church, which contains some fragments of old work, 
seems to have been the famous Christ's Church built by Earl 
Thorfinn." But it does not seem at all likely that any portion 
of the existing parish church can be as old as the middle of 
the 11th century. There are remains of an older church, how- 



XCVl 



ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



ever, beside it, which are still known as the Christ's Kirk, and 
Mr. George Petrie, who has made a ground-plan of the struc- 
ture (of which only part of the foundation remains), has ascer- 
tained that it had an apse at the east end. 

The Chxjrch of Weir, on the island of the same name, 

consists of chancel and nave, the 
extreme length exteriorly being 36 
feet, and the width 18^ feet. The 
nave is 19 feet by 13 feet inside, and 
the chancel little more than 7 feet 
square. The door is in the west end, 
having parallel jambs with no rebate. 
The doorway has a semicircular head, 
roughly arched with thin slaty stones 
set on edge, the arch being set a 
little back on the imposts.^ There 
are two windows on the south side 
of the nave, only one of which ap- 
pears to be original It is flat-headed, 
22 inches high and 8 inches wide, 
the jambs splaying inwards to a 
width of 27 inches. The chancel arch, of which a represen- 
tation is given in the accompanying plate, is exactly like 
the doorway. There is one window in the south side, which 
seems to have been roimd-headed, 27 inches high by 11 
inches wide. 

Of this chapel Mr. Muir says,* " Excepting that at Lybster, 
in Caithness, the entrance to the chancel is the most diminutive, 
not of primitive date, I have ever seen, the total height being 

^ Sir H. Dryden says tliis mode of putting on the arch was probably 
resorted to in order to give a support to the centre on which the arch was 
built. This seems highly probable, and in some cases it would seem as if the 
original supports still remain in the shape of two long thin slabs resting on 
the imposts on either side and meeting in the centre of the arch. See the 
engraving of the doorway in St Mary's Church, Kilbar, Barra, in Mr. Muir's 
Characteristics of Old Church Architecture, p. 280. 

* Caithness and Part of Orkney, an Ecclesiological Sketch, by T. S. Muir, 
p. 25. 




IMTE0DX7CTI0N. XCVll 

only 4 feet In plan, size, and general expression, Weii and 
Lybster are remarkably alike, and in all probability both 
buildings are the work of the same period, though Lybster 
is perhaps fully the older of the two." Sir Henry Dryden also 
remarks the similarity of the chapels of Weir and Lybster, 
and adds "Probably Weir is of the 12th or 13th century, but 
the characteristics are not decisive enough to approximate 
more closely to its date." 

It ia most probable that this chapel * was built by Bishop 
Bjami, the son of Eolbein Hmga, who built the castle on the 
island of Weir, as recorded in the Saga. Bjami was bishop 
from 1188 to 1223, and would probably reside on his paternal 
estate in Weir when not required 
by the duties of the episcopate to 
beinKitkwalL This period answers 
to the indications afforded by the 
architectural characteristics of the 
building, and we have no record of 
any other person who was likely to 
have erected a chapel on this little 
island. The fact that it is still 
called " Cobbie Bow's Chapel" 
points to its connection with Kol- 
bein Hn^'s family. 

The CmntCH at Lybstee^ 
(Eeay), in Caithness, corresponds 
in style and plan so closely to the 
church of Weir that it may be de- LYBSTER S. MARY 

scribed here briefly. There is no ' 1 1 

other church in Caithness of any antiquity which demands 
special notice. Ecclesiastical sites of early date are thickly 
scattered over the county, but the ruins of the buildings them- 
selves have suffered so much that there is scarcely an architec- 

1 From an expresedoQ of Jo. Ben'a it would sum to haTs been dedicated to 
SL Peter :^"Weir, insula est parva, Petro Apostolo dicato." 

' This clmrch, whici was called St Peter's in 1728, is called St Mary's 
by Mr. Huir. 



XCVIU ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

tural feature left to guide us to conclusions as to their date. The 
church at Lybster is fortunately an exception. It consists of 
chancel and nave, slightly larger than Weir, and very rudely 
constructed. There is a doorway with inclined jambs in the 
west end, of which a representation is given in the accom- 
panying plate ; but Mr. Muir notices as a singular feature of 
the building that there are nowhere traces of windows, although 
all the elevations except the east one, which is broken down 
to a little below the gable line, remain nearly entire. The 
entrance to the chancel is of the same form as the doorway, 
having inclined jambs. " With regard to even the probable 
age of this building," says Mr. Muir, " I would not like to 
venture an opinion. The diversified shapes and sizes of the 
stones, and the primitive form and smallness of the entrances 
to the nave and chancel, would suggest extreme earliness of 
date ; whilst, on the other hand, the refined character of the 
ground-plan would indicate a period of time not more remote 
than the 12th century.*' 

St. Peter's Church, on the Brough of Birsay, a holm of 
about 40 acres, separated from the mainland by a channel 
about 150 yards wide, and dry at low water, consists of nave, 
chancel, and apse, all weU defined, and apparently built at the 
same time, the material being a grey whinstone. The toted 
length of the building is 57 feet The nave is 28 feet by 
15J inside, and the chancel about 10 feet square. There is 
but one doorway, in the west end of the church. It has 
parallel jambs without any rebate for a door.^ There are 

^ Sir Henry Dryden remarks that the same mode of making doorways is 
to be seen in the chapels at Lybster in Caithness, at Weir, at Linton in Shap- 
insay, Uyea in Shetland, and in some of the early oratories in Ireland, and 
suggests the question — ^Were there doors in these churches, and if so^ where 
were they placed and how were they hung ? "It is known," he adds, "that 
in many cottages in old time the door was an animal's hide hung across the 
opening, and probably this may haye been the case in these unrebated church 
entrances." The custom of closing the entrances to the places of worship by 
a skin or heavy curtain survives in the East to the present day. The " veil 
of the Temple," covering the entrance to the Holy of Holies, is a familiar 
illustration of this ancient custom among the Jews. 



I 






•^^rw^s^:^?^. 



CTiancel -Arct.of Church at Weir 



Doorv.-ay in West Piii of Chiircli at Lylster, Reay. 



r 



w-«v^«W*>< ■ IB 111 ■ m If II V 



INTEODUCTION. XCIX 

the remains of a window in the north wall, 3 feet high by 
10 J inches wide, square-headed, and splaying both internally 
and externally to a width of 22^ inches. Only the founda- 
tions of the apse remain. The floor was originally level to 
the end of the apse, but subsequently there had been a reredos 
which blocked off the apse, and then there were steps to the 
altar, some portion of which still remains. A stone projec- 
tion or " seat," 14 inches high and the same in width, runs 
aU round the nava In the north-east and south-east domers 
are two circular spaces, 5^ feet in diameter, in one of which 
are the remains of a spiral stone staircasa In all proba- 
bility the church was twin-towered, like many of the Scan- 
dinavian churches dating from the 13th century. Barry 
states that this church was dedicated to St Peter, but the dedi- 
cation seems to have been unknown in the locality ^ in 1627. 
There are the remains of a chapel similarly situated on 
the Brough of Deemess, at the east end of the Mainland. 
The Brough of Deemess is an outlying rock, nearly 100 feet 
high, and covered with green sward on the top. The chapel 
stands near the centre of the area, and is surrounded by a 
stone wall enclosing an area of about 60 feet by 45. The 
chapel, which is a smaller and ruder building than that 
on the Brough of Birsay, is a simple parallelogram of 
not more than 17 feet by 10 inside, the walls being from 
3 to 4 feet thick. The doorway is in the west end, and there 
are the remains of a window in the east end, but the heads 
5f both are gone. Around the chapel there are the foun- 
dations of about a score of stone-built huts scattered irregu- 
larly over the area of the Brough. They are irregularly 
built^ with a tendency towards the rectangular form, the 
walls being from 2^ to 3 feet thick. Several of them are 
nearly as long as the church, but not so wide, the internal 

* The minister of Birsay in 1627 says :— " There is likewise ane litill holm 
within the sea callit the Brughe of Birsay, quhilk is thocht be the elder sort to 
have belongit to the reid friaris, for there is the foundation of ane kirk and 
kirkyard there as yet to be seen."— Peterkin's Rentals, No. III., p. 98. 



C ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

area measuring about 18 feet by 6. Low ^ states that in his 
time, notwithstanding the difficulty and danger of the access 
to the Brough, " even old age scrambled its way through a 
road in many places not six inches broad, where certain death 
attended a slip.** Jo. Ben, in 1529, mentions that people 
of aU classes and conditions were in the habit of climbing 
up to the top of the Brough on their hands and knees to 
visit the chapel called the "Bairns of Brugh;" and when 
they had reached the top, " on their bended knees and with 
hands joined they ofiTered their supplications with many incan- 
tations to the Bairns of Brugh, throwing stones and water 
behind their backs, and making the circuit of the chapel 
twice or thrice." There is stiU a fine spring on the Brough, 
which doubtless had the reputation of a "holy weU" in con- 
nection with these superstitious practices. The Brough was 
fenced with a strong stone wall toward the land side in Low's 
time, and from this and the remains of the huts he concludes 
that it had been a rock fort subsequently converted into a 
sanctuary by the ecclesiastics. 

The old parish church of Deemess, of which Low hjis pre- 
served three sketches (one of which is engraved in Hibbert's 
Shetland), had the peculiarity of being twin-towered, as the 
church on the Brough of Birsay seems also to have been, and 
as many of the Scandinavian churches dating from the 13th 
century were.^ Low describes it as having a vaulted chancel 
at the east end, of which the twin towers rose from each 
comer. The tower on the south-east comer of the chancel 
was entered by a doorway opening from the chancel (in the 
same manner as the one at Brough of Birsay), and a spiral 
staircase led to a small apartment or vestry between the 
towers, on the second storey. From this apartment was the 
entrance to the other tower. 

^ Low's Tonr through Orkney and Zethind, MS. in the possession of 
David Laing, Esq. 

' See the article on " The Twin-towered Chnrches of Denmark," by J. 
Komemp, in the Aarboger for Nordisk Oldkindighed for 1869, p. 13. 



) 

\ 



INTRODUCTION. CI 

There were three towered churches in Shetland — St. Lau- 
rence in West Burra, St. Magnus at Tingwall, and Ireland 
Head, but, like the old church of Deemess, they have long 
disappeared, and there is no description of them more precise 
than the casual notices of Low and Brand. It is not even 
quite clear whether they were single*towered or twin-towered. 
If single-towered they may have been examples of the rare 
form of which Egilsey is now the only remaining instance. 

XL Maeshow and the Stones of Stennis. 

Maeshow, the Orkahaug of the Saga, is connected in such 
an interesting way with the Norse history of the Isles that it 
is necessary to notice briefly its most peculiar features. 

It stands about a mile to the north-east of the great stone 
ring of Stennis. Its external appearance is that of a trun- 
cated conical moimd of earth, about 300 feet in circumference 
at the base and 36 feet high, surrounded by a trench 40 feet 
wide. Nothing was known of its internal structure till the 
year 1861, when it was opened by Mr. Farrer, M.P.,^ but the 
common tradition of the country represented it as the abode 
of a goblin, who was named "the Hogboy,"* though no one 
knew why. When excavated, the mound was foimd to cover 
a great cairn of stones, in the centre of which was a chamber 
about 15 feet square, the walls of which stiU remained entire 
to a height of 13 feet. A long low passage led ftom the west 
side of the chamber to the exterior of the %mound, a distance 

^ Detailed aoconnts of the oxcayation, with translations and facsimiles of 
the inscriptions of Maeshow, have been given in a privately-printed work by 
Mr. Farrer, and in a work published by the late Mr. John Mitchell. An 
account of the structure of Maeshow, with notices of the inscriptions, is given 
by Dr. John Stuart, secretary to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in 
their Proceedings, voL v. p. 247. A notice, with readings of the inscriptions, 
by Dr. Charlton, is given in Archseologia iEliana, voL vi p. 127 (1865). See 
also the splendid work on The Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and Eng- 
land, by Professor George Stephens, Copenhagen, 1866-68. 

' Hogboy is the Norse word Haug-bui, the tenant of the Tiaugt how, or 
tomb — a hoy-laid dead man, or the goblin that guards the treasures buried in 
the how. (Ordbog det Norske Gamle Sprog, 9ub voce,) 



CU ORKNEYINOA SAGA. 

of about 54 feet, and on the other three sides of tbe chamber 
there were small cells or loculi entered by openings in the 
walls about 2^ feet square at a height of about 3 feet above 
the floor. 

Structurally, Maeshow belongs to a class of chambered 
sepulchral cairns of common occurrence in the north of Scot- 



PUd and SectioD at Hanhov. 

land, but to a special variety of that class which is peculiar 
to the Orkneys.^ These chambered tombs occur in groups in 
certain places, thus suggesting the probability that, as in the 
great royal cemeteries of early times in Ireland, they may have 
been for centuries the gathering places of the tribes and the, 
buiying-places of their kings. 

But the most interesting fact connected with Maeshow 
was the discovery that a large number of Runic inscriptions 

* The leading specific feature of the Orkney group of chambered caima ia 
the fonuation of amall cells or loculi off the principal chamber. The Caith- 
aesB group ia diatinguiahed by the tricameration of the chamber, and the Clava 
group by having a ciTcnlar or oval chamber aDiUvided and DDfarnished vith 



INTRODDCnON. ClU 

had been scratched on the stones of the interior walls of the 
chamber. It was evident, horn the height at which the in- 
scriptions occurred, as well as from indications of the weather- 
ing of the stones pievious to their being inscribed, that when 
die rones were cut the chamber was roofless and partially 



view of Chunber In Haeiliov. 

filled np with rubbish. The form of the letters of which the 
inscriptions are composed is that of the later class of Kor&e 
Bunea, " which," aays Professor Munch, " are never older than 
A.D. 1100 at least." The majority of the inscriptions are such 
as men seeking the shelter or concealment of the "broken 
how" might scribble from mere idleness. One gives the 
Honic alphabet A number of others are simple memoranda 
consisting of the name of a man and the statement that he 
"hewed this" or "carved these runes." But one of the 
longer inscriptions supplies the importtuit information that 
" the Jorsak-^rers broke open the Orkahaug in the lifetime 



CIV ORKNBTINGA SAGA. 

of the blessed earL" This seems to imply that the inscrip- 
tion was carved after the death of " the blessed earl" Edgn- 
vald, or subsequent to 1158. The Jorsala-farera who accom- 
panied him from Norway in 1152 remained a considerable 
time in Orkney before the expedition was ready, and as we 
leam from the Saga tlieir conduct during that time was such 
as would naturally result from the enforced idleness of a 
numerous body of rough and uncontrolled adventurers. The 



RUBBING FROM MAESHOW TUMULUS. 

"breaking of a how" in the hope of finding treasure was a 
common exploit among the Northmen, It seems to have 
been done sometimes also as a proof of courage, for the bravest 
were not altogether void of superstitious fears. From an- 
other part of the inscription we gather that the Jorsala-farers 
who broke the Orkahaug were disappointed in the hope of 
finding treasure, as it had been previously carried away. In 
all probability they were not the first who had been tempted 



1 



INTRODUCTION. CV 

by the magnitude of the monument to tiy the venture. On 
one of the buttresses, long slabs inserted in the comers of 
the chamber, is carved a cross, and on another a dragon, 
similar in style to that in the tomb of King Grorm the Old 
at Jellinge in Denmark, and bearing also some resemblance 
to one sculptured on the Eunic stone dug up in St. Paul's 
Churchyard, London, and to another at Hunestad in Scania. 
The tomb of King Gorm is dated about the middle of the 
10th century. Eafn assigns the stone dug up in London to 
about the middle of the 11th century ; while the Hunestad 
example is assigned to about 1150, which is close on the 
date of Earl Eognvald's expedition to the Holy Land, which 
brought the Jorsala-farers to Orkney. 

Among the names thus carved on the stones of Maeshow 
are those of Ingibiorg, Ingigerd, Thorer, Helgi, Ingi, and Am- 
finn. All these are names of persons who are mentioned in the 
Saga as living in Earl Eognvald's time, and several of whom 
were closely connected with him. Ingigerd, his daughter, 
was married to Eric Slagbrellir, and they had a daughter 
named Ingibiorg. Helgi ^as a particular friend of Earl 
Eognvald's. Amfinn was taken prisoner by Earl Harald the 
morning after he and his men had spent the Tule-feast day 
at Orkahaug on his way to surprise Earl Erlend.^ There is 
nothing, however, to identify any of these names with cer- 
tamty as the names of the persons mentioned in the Saga. 
But the fact that the name Orkahaug, which only occurs once 
in the Saga, is not known to occur anywhere else except 
in the inscription carved on the walls of Maeshow, refer- 
ring to the breaking open of the tumulus, is interesting in 
more ways than one. It shows that the Norsemen were 
ignorant of the origin of the tumulus, which they knew only 
as the Orka-haug^ or "mighty how." In one of the inscrip- 

^ See Chap. zci. 

' The first part of the word seems analogous to the last part of our own Car- 
ling-wark, indicating astomshment at the amount of labour required for the 
rearing of such a structure. 

9 



CVl 



ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



tions the writer assigns its construction to the sons of Lod- 
brok, which is equivalent to saying that its origin was quite 
unknown ^ to them. 

About a mile to the south-west of Maeshow, and scattered 
over the ness or tongue of land separating the loch of Stennis 
from the sea, is a remarkable group of stone circles and 
tumuli* The largest of the circles, the " King of Brogar," 
having a diameter of 366 feet, encloses an area of 2^ acres. 




RiDg of Brogar, fi:om the south-west. 

It is surrounded by a trench 29 feet broad and 6 feet deep. 
Within the enclosure thirteen stones of the great circle still 
remain standing, the stumps of thirteen more are visible, and 
ten are lying prostrate. The original number of the stones, 
says Captain Thomas, on the presumption that they were 
placed at nearly equal distances apart, would have been sixty, 
so that twenty-four have been entirely obliterated. The highest 
stone stands almost 14 feet above the surface of the ground, 
and the lowest is about 6 feet, the average being from 8 to 10 
feet It is difficult to realise the amount of laborious effort 
expended in the construction of a work like this, which does 
not appeal to the eye like the magnitude of the great mounds 

^ In lu8 recent work on Rude Stone Monnments of all Countries (London : 
John Murray, 1872), Mr. Feiguson suggests that Maeshow may have been 
erected for Earl Havard, who feU at Stennis about A.D. 970. But apart from 
its Celtic structural character, if it had been Earl Havard's tomb his country- 
men could scarcely have so completely forgotten the fact in the short space 
of 200 years. 

' The most detailed account of these is to be found in an elaborate paper 
on the Celtic Antiquities of Orkney, by Captain F. W. L. Thomas, RN., in 
the Archsologia, yol. xxxiv. 



IlfTRODUCTION. 



around it. Bub when one reflects on what is implied in the 

transportation and erection of these great stones, and the 
excavation of a ditch round them of 10 yards wide, 2 yards 
deep, and 366 yards long, it loses none of its magnificence in 
comparison with the more imposing monuments. 

The smaller circle, called the " King of Stennis," is more 
clearly monumental than the Ring of Brogar, as it contains 




Ring of Stennia and Cromlech, (Vom the northward. 

the remains of a cromlech within it. It seems to have con- 
sisted originally of twelve stones placed round the circum- 
ference of a circle of about 100 feet in diameter, and sur- 
roimded by a deep and broad trench with a circumscribing 
mound, now nearly obliterated. Only two stones of the circle 
remain standing, and a third lies prostrate. Peterkin states 



Btng of Stennii, from the westwud. 

that some were thrown down and removed by the tenant of 
the adjoining lands in 1814. The cromlech is also thrown 
down, but one of the supports of the massive capstone is still 
standing, and the capstone, which lies beside it, is 9 feet long 
by 6 feet broad. 

The Eing of Bookan is a circular space 136 feet in 



^ *•■• ■• • "■ — V^^^^^>^i^^a^iaMHOT^lVV^H*^^^Vl^i^ 



f 



CVIU ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

diameter, surrounded by a trench 44 feet broad and 6 feet 
deep. There are upwards of twenty tumuli, some of them 
very large, in the immediate vicinity. 

In the Saga of Olaf, Tryggvi's son, Stennis is mentioned 
as the place where Havard, eldest of the five sons of Earl 
Thorfinn Hausakliuf, was slain in battle with his sister's son 
Einar. The Saga says : ^ — *' Havard was then at Stseinsnes 
in Hrossey. There it was they met, and there was a hard 
battle, and it was not long till the Earl felL The place is now 
called Havard's teigr!* Teigr is an individual's share, or 
allotment, of the tun or town-land, and the expression might 
be taken to mean rather that Havard was buried by simple 
inhumation than that there was a cairn or tumulus raised 
over him, in which case it would have been known as 
Havard's How. But the name of Havard was never con- 
nected with the great tumulus known as Maeshow, and if he 
was buried in a tumulus at all, it is more likely that his 
corpse was burnt with the customary ceremonies of that 
heathen time and his ashes placed in a great stone urn. The 
grave-mounds of the Viking period in Norway prove this to 
have been then the common practice. Such a mound, enclos- 
ing such an urn, was opened at Stennis by Mr. Farrer, M.P., 
in 1853. This tumulus, if not Havard's, was apparently 
Norse, and being the largest in the neighbourhood of Stennis, 
must have been that of a person of great distinction. 

The fact that the Norsemen at this early period (about 
AD. 970) called this place Steins-ness, shows that it was 
known to them, only as it is to us, as the ness of the monu- 
mental stones. If they had had anything to do with the 
erection of any of these monuments, in all probability we 
shoiQd have hsA some incidental record of the fact in one or 
other of the Sagas. 

^ Flateyjarb6k (Christiania, 1860-68), voL L p. 225. See the translation 
' in the Appendix, p. 208. 



urrBODUcnON. cue 

XII. MODSA AND THE PiCTISH TOWEES. 

The little island of Monsa (the Mosey of the Saga), lying 
off the Mainland of Shetland, is interesting as containing the 
beat preserved specimen of the " towers of defence," which 
were the strongholds of the native inhabitants previous to the 
ISoTBB invasion. 



The tower of Mousa, of which a view is here given, con- 
sists of a circnlai dry-boilt wall, 15 feet thick at the base, 
enclosii^ an area or circular court 30 feet in diameter, and 
open to the sky, so as to admit light to the ranges of windows 
which open fivm the galleries towards the interior. The 
doorway leading thiongh the wall into this interior court is 
the only opening to the outside of the tower. From the court 
other openings in the wall give access to small ovoid chambers 
in the thickness of the wall on the ground-floor, and to a stair 
which ascends to the upper galleries. Above the chambers 
on the ground-floor the wall is carried up hollow, or rather 
there are two concentric walls with a space of about 3J feet 
between them, which is divided into storeys or galleries by 
horizontal courses of transverse slabs, which bind the two 
walls together. Thus each of these courses of horizontal slabs 



mm^^^ .1 mn %_ v^lO^M^avF 



CX ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

forms the roof of the gallery beneath it, and serves as a floor 
to the one above it. 

These singularly-constructed towers were once thickly 
planted over the whole of the northern mainland of Scot- 
land, as well as over the most of the Northern and Western 
Isles.^ A number of them have been excavated of late years, 
and the results of these excavations^ furnish us with interesting 
evidences of the conditions of life among the people who lived 
in them. The relics that have been obtained from them have 
no connection as a class with those that are usually found in 
the cisted graves and chambered tombs of earlier times.^ 
But judging from the general character of their included 
remains, the people who lived in these towers were possessed 
of a considerable degree of civilisation. There is abundant 
evidence that they were not only expert hunters and fishers, 
but that they kept flocks and herds, grew grain and ground it 
by hand-mills,* practised the arts of spinning and weaving, 
had ornaments of gold of curious workmanship, and were not 
unskilled workers in bronze and iron. Their pottery was 
rude, but not ruder than the pottery manufactured and used for 
common or domestic purposes in some of the islands of Scot- 

* The foUowing enumeration of the known sites of the ** Pictish Towers," 
Borgs, or Brochs, will give some idea of their number and distribution. In 
Shetland there are, in ihe island of Unst, 7 ; in Whalsay, 8 ; in Yell, 9 ; in 
Fetlar, 4; in Mainland and its outlying islets, 51 ; in Foula, 1 — ^total, 75. 
In Orkney, in the island of North Ronaldsay, 2 ; in Papa Westray, 2 ; in 
Westray, 6 ; in Sanday, 9 ; in Eday, 1 ; in Stronsay, 8 ; in Shapinsay, 1 ; in 
Gairsay, 1 ; in Rousay, 3 ; in Mainland, 35 ; in South Ronaldsay, 4 ; in Hoy, 
1 ; in Hunday, 1 ; in Burray, 2 — total, 70. In Caithness, 79. In Suther- 
land, (50. In Lewis and Harris, 38. In Skye, 80. (For detailed descriptions 
of Mousa, and many others of these Towers, and lists of their sites, so far as 
known, see the Archfeologia Scotica, " Transactions of the Scottish Society of 
Antiquaries," vol. v.) 

* Detailed accounts of these are printed in the Proceedings and Trans- 
actions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 

* No instance of a flint arrow-point, a flint celt, a polished stone axe, or 
perforated stone hammer, has yet been found in a Broch or ** Pictish Tower." 

* As the people of the islands did universally to a comparatively recent 
X>eriod, and as in some of the islands they do to this day. 



INTRODUCTION* CXI 

land within the present century. It is true that silver denarii 
of the Eoman Emperors Antoninus, Trajan, and Vespasian, 
have been found in the outbuildings connected with the Broch 
or " Pictish Tower" of Lingrow at Scapa in Orkney ; but it is 
to be noticed that upwaxds of 4000 of these Boman denarii have 
been found in Scandinavia, where the Eomans never were, and 
found so often associated with relics of the Viking period «U3 
to suggest that they were carried thither some centuries after 
their dates. 

The Tower of Mousa, Moseyjar-borg, is twice mentioned 
by the Saga writers. The earliest notice occurs in the Saga 
of EgUl Slagruusor, the warrior-poet, and refers to a period 
about A.D. 900. It is there stated that Bjom Brjmulfson, fleeing 
from Norway with Thora Eoald's daughter, because his father 
would not allow him to celebrate his marriage with her, was 
shipwrecked on the island of Mousa, landed his C£u:go, and 
lived in the Borg through the winter, celebrating his marriage 
in it, and afterwards sailed for Iceland. The second notice 
of Mousa,^ singularly enough, occurs on an occasion somewhat 
similar to this, when Earl Erlend Ungi fled from Orkney 
with Margaret, the widow of Maddad, Earl of Athole, and was 
besieged in the Borg by Earl Harald (Maddadson), who was 
displeased at the prospect of having Erlend for a step-father. 



Xni. Eemains of the Northmen. 

Turning from the pages of the Saga to the scenes of the 
events which it records, we find, both in the topography and 
traditions of the localities, and in the customs and character- 
istics of the people, abundant evidence of the substantial truth 
of the narrative. 

The range of territory possessed and occupied by the 
Norsemen may still be distinguished on the map of Scotland 
by the prevalence of Norse place-names. In Shetland and 

^ See the Saga, p. 161. 



^^^^■^— ^^— ^^^■^W^^^^W^^^^^W^^'^^P^TW^t—-. ■ I iMt ■ J » »> W ■ ■ ■ II . 



CXU ORNEYINGA SAGA. 

Orkney the topography is altogether Norsa In Caithness 
and Sutherland there is a core of Celtic topography in the cen- 
tral mountain districts, while the Norse names spread out 
through the valleys, forming a broad fringe along the sea- 
board, and occupying the whole angle of lowland Caithness. 
But south of Ekkialsbakki they rapidly thin out, and finally 
disappear, with a few outlying instances, in Moray. The per- 
manent dominions of the Northmen in the mainland of Scot- 
land were limited to the earldom proper, the southern boim- 
dary of which was the Kyle of Sutherland. The Saga says 
they conquered the country as far south as Ekkialsbakki; and 
though they sometimes extended their power over parts of 
Eoss and Moray, and even made a raid on one occasion as (ax 
south as Fife, they made no permanent lodgment south of the 
Moray Firth, and their presence in Eoss has but slightly 
affected the topography between the Kyle of Sutherland and 
the Beauly Firth. 

In the Hebrides the Norse names, though much disguised 
by contact with the Celtic, still form a considerable if not a 
preponderating element in the topography, and their old Norse 
name, " Sudreyar," still survives in the title of the Bishop of 
Sodor and Man. Along the western seaboard of the Scottish 
mainland, from Cape Wrath to the Mull of Kintyre, the North- 
men have left their traces more sparsely, but very distinctly, 
upon the topography. In Bute, Arran, and the Cumbraes, and 
on the shores of the Solway Firth, the topography also shows 
the influence of the Northern element, exerted during the 
existence of the Norse "Kingdom of Man and the Isles." 

There are many remnants of the older usages^ in the pecu- 
liar local customs ; and in the characteristics of the people of 
the Northern Isles there are also, of necessity, many striking 
resemblances to those of the Scandinavian race. The elucida- 
tion of these, however, would lead into a field fax too wide to 

* Scat still remains the Orkney grievance. "Scalds" were got rid of in 
the 17th century, haying been then solemnly abolished by the kirk-session of 
Kirkwall, on pain of 40s. penalty and four hours in the cuckstool, as slanderers 
and persons offensive to their neighbours. 



INTRODUCTION. CXUl 

be entered on here. The language of the early Colonists, which 
must have survived as long as the Islands were governed 
" according to the Norse law-book and the ancient usages," 
seems to have died out rapidly after they were transferred to 
Scottish rule. Yet Jo. Ben foimd it existing in Eendal in 
Orkney in 1529 ; and it is stated^ that in 1593 a clergyman, 
named Magnus Norsk, who was ordained to a Shetland parish, 
went to Norway to learn the Norse language, in order to qua- 
lify himself for his ministry, because the Shetlanders at that 
time understood no other tongua Even s6 late a^ 1774, Low 
found people in Foula who could repeat the Lord's Prayer in 
Norse, and he gives thirty-five stanzas of an old Norse ballad 
which he took down from oral recitation. In the Faroe Isles 
a large number of these ballads and metrical tales have been 
collected.* There can be no doUbt that they were equally 
common in the neighbouring island groups, but no literary 
antiquary possessed of the requisite knowledge seems to have 
visited Shetland and Orkney in time to rescue th^m from 
oblivion. 

The curious literary fragment, taken down phonetically 
by Low, who was completely ignorant of the language, is 
plainly akin to the old Scandinavian Kcempeviser, The story 
is based on the Sorlathattr, one of the smiles of which is laid 
in the island of Hoy. The main incidents of the older poem 

^ Fasti Eccles. Scot y. p. 141. This statement must be taken cum grano 
scUis. There can be no doubt, however, that the old language was in use in 
Shetland at that date. The latest known document in the Norse language, 
written in Shetland, is dated 1586, and among those mentioned in it is ''Mons 
Korsko minister i Jella" — Magnus Norsk, minister in YelL (Mem. de Soc. 
Antiq. du Nord, 1860-60, p, 96.) 

• See Lyngbye's Faeroiske Qvieder, with Muller^s Introduction : Banders, 
1822. The old man, William Henry, of Guttorm, in Foula, from whom Low 
took down the Shetland ballad, spoke to him of " three kinds of poetiy used in 
Norn and recited or sung by the old men — yiz., the Ballad, the Vysie or Vyse, 
now commonly sung to dancers, and the simple song. By the account he gave 
of the matter, the first seems to have been valued chiefly for its subject, and 
was commonly repeated in winter by the fireside ; the second seems to have 
been used in public gatherings, now only sung to the dance ; and the third at 
both." (Low*sMS.) 



CXIV ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

are as follow : — Hedin, a prince of Serkland, hcwi sworn 
mutual brotherhood with Hogni, King of Denmark. Nothing 
occurred to disturb their friendship untU Hogni went on a 
war expedition. Hedin, wandering in the woods, fell in with 
a sorceress, from whom he received a magic philtre to enable 
him to win the love of Hilda, Hogni's daughter. The result 
was that he ran off with her in a splendid ship belonging to 
Hogni, and made for Serkland. When Hogni came home he 
set off in pursuit, and came up with them at the island of 
Hoy. There they both landed with their men, and a furious 
battle commenced. Odin (who enjoyed a good fight) cast a 
spell upon the combatants, so that they were obliged to fight on 
without cetising, until a Christian should come who should 
have the hardihood to mingle in the fray, of which Hilda 
was doomed to be all the time an agonised spectator. At 
last Olaf Tryggvi's son came to the Orkneys, and Ivar Liomi, 
one of his men who landed in Hoy, went into the fight and 
broke the spell, killed Hedin and Hogni, and bore off the 
prize.^ 

The story of the Shetland ballad is that Hiluge, a young 
nobleman at the court of Norway, made love to the king's 
daughter Hildina, and was rejected by her, though her father 
supported his pretensions to her hand. When the king and 
Hiluge were away at the wars, an Earl of Orkney came to 
Norway, and found such favour with Hildina that she con- 
sented to fly with him to the Orkneys. When the king and 
Hiluge returned and discovered what had happened in their 
absence, they set sail, with a great host, in pursuit of the 
fugitives. Hildina persuaded the earl to go imarmed to meet 
her father, and ask for his pardon and peace. The king was 
pleased to forgive him, and to grant his consent to their union. 

' In the Stockholm edition of Snoiro's Edda, it was Hilda, by her enchant- 
ments, who raised the slain, as fast as they fell, to renew the combat, and the 
episode of Ivar Liomi and the Christian additions do not occur. AUusions to 
Hogni's daughter Hilda occur in the stanzas of £yyind Skaldaspiller (Saga of 
Harald Harfagri, cap. 13), and in those of Einar Skalaglum (Harald Grafeld's 
Saga, cap. 6, and Olaf Tryggvason's Saga, cap. 18). 



f 

I 



INTRODUCTION. CXV 

But now Hiluge, by artfully working on the king's mind, stirs 
up liis latent wrath against the earl, and induces him to 
revoke his consent. The result is, that he decides that Hiluge 
and the earl shall meet in single combat, and fight it out to the 
death of one or other. Hiluge was victorious ; and, not con- 
tent with the death of his enemy, he cut off his head and cast 
it into Hildina's lap with taunting words. Hildina answered 
his taunts boldly, and conceived a bloody revenge. But she 
must now follow him to Norway, where he renewed his court- 
ship. Ere long she seemed to relent, and gave him her promise, 
but besought her father to grant her this boon, that she her- 
self should fill out the first wine-cup at the bridal Her 
request was granted. The guests came, the feast was set, and 
Hildina filled up the wine-cups for them. The wine was 
drugged, and they were all cast into a deep sleep, from which 
nothing could awake them. Hildina now caused her father 
to be carried forth, and set fire to the house. Hiluge, awaking 
in the midst of the burning, cried out for mercy. Hildina 
repUed that she would give him the same mercy as he had 
given to her earl, and left him to perish in the flames. 

The dialect of the ballad resembles that which prevailed 
in Norway ux^ the middle of the loth century, but presents 
several peculiarities of local origin. The allusions in it to St. 
Magnus show that it cannot be older than the 12th century 
in its present form, although the story of Hedin and Hogni, 
on which it appears to have been founded, belongs to the 
heathen time. 

Looking at the number of Eunic monuments in the island 
of Man,^ and the beauty of their workmanship, it certainly 
seems surprising that none of these characteristic works of 
northern art should have survived in the Orkneys.^ Previous 

^ For descriptions and readings of these see Munch's Chronicon Mannise, 
Cliristiania, 1860 ; Cumming's Runic and other Monumental Remains in the 
Isle of Man, London, 1857 ; and Worsaae's Danes and Northmen, London, 
1852. 

* It is no less singular to find a Rune-inscribed stone so far up the valley of 
the Spey as Knockando in Morayshire. See Sculpt Stones of Scotland, i p. 61. 



CXVl ORKNBYINQA SAQA. 

to the discovery of the inscriptions in Maeshow, the only 
Bime-inscribed momunent known within the 
bounds of the ancient earldom was the stone 
in the churchyard of Crosskirk, Nortbmavine,, 
Shetland, described by Low, which reads 
(according to hie imperfect copy) " Bid pray 

for the soul of ," and consequently 

belongs to the ChriBtian tima That there 
were similar monuments in other places, how- 
ever, is shown by the recent discovery of a. 
Runic firagment at ^ithsvoe, Cunningsburgfa, 
Shetland.^ It is a mere &agment of the tei^ 
minal part of a monumental inscription, in* 
cised on the edge of the stone, consisting of 
the letters KYIMIK, which Professor Stephens 
reads as the concluding part of the customary 

formula, " hewed me," ie. carved this ston& 

But perhaps the most interesting and sug- 
gestive remains of the Northmen are those 
that have been from time to time recovered 
&om the soil which they made their own 
• — the relics which were actually possessed by 
the men and women of the Saga time ; the 
weapons they used, and the ornaments they 
wore. In the grave-mounds of the heathen 
period, the warrior Viking still lies as he was 
laid, with his shield at Ms shoulder, and his 
sword ready to his hand. 

The sword here figured, which is of a dis- 
tinctively Scandinavian type, was dug up 
in making the railway near Gorton, in 

Morayshire, and is now in the museum of the Society of 

' This Fragment, irhich is now io the mnsenm of tlie Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, U fignred Uld described by Professor George Stephens of Copcn- 
lugen, in tlie " lUustreret Tidende " for 20th July 1873, and will be included 
in the third Totnme of bis great vork on the Rimic monuments of ScBodinavia 
and EngUnd, now prepariiig for the press. 



INTKODUCTION. CXVU 

Antiquaries of Scotland. It is 35 inches in length, of excel- 
lent workmanship, damjiscened along the centre of the blade, 
and the ponunel and recurved guard are beautifully inlaid 
with silver. A number of fragments of shield-bosses and 
broken swords, fix)m Orkney graves, are also in the museum. 
The swords are chiefly of the older form, with straight guard 
and massive square or triangular poiomeL In one of the 




interments at Westray the scabbard-tip here figured was 
found, and in others the bones of the dog and horse were 
foimd along with the human skeleton, indicating the continu- 
ance in Orkney of the sepulchral rites which prevailed in the 
heathen time in Norway. 

For at least a century and a half after the establishment 
of the Norse earldom in Orkney and Shetland, the heathen 
Norsemen practised the burial customs which they had 
brought with them from Norway. Sigurd, Eystein's son, the 
first Earl of Orkney, was buried in a cairn on EkkialsbakM, 
(and his grave-moimd was known as Sigurd's How {Sivxtrd' 
hoch) in the 12th century,^) and Torf Einar caused his men 
to rear a cairn over the remains of Halfdan Hdlegg, the son 
of Harald Harfagri, whom he offered to Odin in Einansey. 

A vivid picture of the ceremonies attending the burial of 
a Norse chief of the 10th century is preserved in the narrative 
of an eye-witness, in the work of an Arab geographer ;* and 

^ See the note at p. 107 of the Saga. 

' "Desciiptioii by Ahmed Ibn Fozlan (an eye-witneas) of the ceremoni^ 
attending the incrematiQn of the dead body of a Norse chief, written in the 
early part of the 10th century. Translated from Holmboe's Danish version 
of the Arabic original, with notes on the origin of cremation and its con- 
tinuance, by Joseph Anderson, Keeper of the Hnsenm." Printed in the 
Prooeedings of the Sodety of Antiquaries of Scotland, voi iz. 



T 



I CXviii ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



all its details are amply confirmed by the contents of the 

grave-moimds of the period. Ahmed Ibn Fozlan, being in 

the country on the upper part of the Volga (then occupied 

by the Norsemen), as ambassador from the Caliph Al 

Moktader (a.d. 907-932), resolved to see for himself whether 

what he had heard of their burial customs was true. A 

great chief among the Norsemen had just died, and Ibn 

Fozlan describes, with curious minuteness of detail, the 

strange things he witnessed on the occasion. He gives a 

most characteristic pictui'e of the drinking habits of the 

Northmen. " This nation,'* he says, " is much given to wine 

and drink, by day and nighty and it is not uncommon for one 

or another of them to die with beakers in their hands. 

When a chieftain dies, his family ask his maids (concubines) 

and men-servants, ' Which of you will die with him V One 

of them will say, * I,* and by this promise he is bound, and 

cannot revoke it. If he should desire to do so, he is not 

permitted." It is mostly the maids who are willing to be 

thus sacrificed, says Ibn Fozlan, and on this occasion it was 

one of them who offered to die with her lord. She was 

accordingly given in charge to the other servants, who were 

to indulge her in every wish till the day of her sacrifice ; 

and he adds, that " every day she drank, sang, was lively 

and merry." Meantime the dead man had been laid in a 

temporary grave, and strong drink, fruits, and musical 

instruments placed beside him, as if to relieve the tedium of 

his confinement untU. the completion of the preparations for 

the fimeral rites. A splendid suit of clothing was prepared 

for him, his ship W6is hauled up on the strand, and placed r 

on four posts erected for the purpose. A bed was prepared 

in the midst of the deck, with a tent-Uke canopy over it, and 

covered with gold-embroidered cloth. In the preparation of 

this bed there comes on the scene an old hag, " whom they 

called the dead man's angeL" It was she who took charge 

of the making of the dead man's clothing and all needful 

arrangements, and she it was also who wjis to put the girl to 



1 



INTRODUCTION. CXIX 

deatk " I saw her," says Ibn Fozlan ; " she was sallow and 
stem." While the "dead man's angel" was arranging the 
bed, the multitude were away at the temporary grave, 
disinterring the corpse. They clothed him in the rich 
garments provided for the occasion, and then bore him to the 
ship, where he was laid in state under the canopy. "So 
they laid him on the mattress, and stayed him up with 
pillows, then brought the strong drink, the fruits, and odori- 
ferous herbs, and set them by his side, placing bread, meat, 
and onions also before hinu Then came a man forward with 
a dog, hewed it into two portions, and cast them into the 
ship. So brought they all the dead man's weapons and laid 
them by his side. Then they led forth two horses, made 
them run till they were covered with sweat, then hewed 
them in pieces with the sword, and cast the flesh into the 
ship. So also they brought forth two oxen, hewed them in 
pieces, and cast them into the ship. Next they came with a 
cock and hen, slew them, and cast them also into the ship." 
In the meantime the woman who was to die kept going 
backwards and forwards in and out of the tent. At last 
they led her away to an object which they had made in the 
form of the framework of a door— two posts, with a cross 
piece on the top, or, as is suggested, a substitute for a 
trilithon. " She set her feet on the palms of men's hands, 
stepped up on the frame, and said some words in their 
tongue, after which they made her stand down. 'Then they 
lifted her up a second and third time, and she went through 
the same ceremony. Now they handed her a hen, the head 
of which she cut off and cast away, but the body they cast 
into the ship. I asked my interpreter what it was that the 
woman had said. He answered, she said the first time, * Lo ! 
I see my father and my mother;' the second time, *Lo! 
here I see seated all my deceased relations ;' the third time, 
' Lo I here I see my master seated in paradise — paradise, 
beautiful and green, my master surrounded by his men and 
his menials ; he calls for me ; bring me to him.' Thereupon 



CXX ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

they conveyed her to the ship. She took the bracelets fix)iii 
her arms, and gave them to the crone whom they called ' the 
dead man's angel ;' And .the rings &om her ankles, and gave 
them to the two young girls who had attended her, and who 
wexe 'tibe dead man's angel's daughters/ Then came men 
with shields , and staves, a^d brought her a beaker of strong 
dnpk. She sang a song, and drank it out Folk said to me 
thi|it she tiheyeby took leave of her friends. They reached her 
e second beaker. She took it, and sang a long time. The 
old hag bade her hastcA to empty it, and go into the tent 
where ^er dead master was. I watched her ; she was out of 
herself. In attempting to go into the tent she stuck by the 
head in ^ space between the tent and the ship. The old 
hag cai]ght hold of her by the head and dragged her in with 
her, while the men commenced to beat their shields with the 
staves,; that her shrieks might not be heard, and so frighten 
, other girlsy and make them xmwilling to die with their lords." 
The sequel is too horrible to be given as it stands in the old 
Arab's plain-spoken narrative. A cord was finally wound 
round her neck, at the ends of which two men pulled, while the 
"dead man's angel" stabbed her to the heart with a broad- 
bladed knife. Then the relatives of the dead man set fire to 
the pile. A storm that was just beginning to rage fanned the 
fames, and drove them aloft to a great height A Norseman 
who was standing by said to Ibn Fozlan "You Arabs are fools. 
You take the man whom you most have loved and honoured, 
and put him down into the earth, where vermin and worms 
devourhim. We, on the contrary, bum him up in a twinkling, 
and he goes straight to paradise." After the pile was con- 
simied to ashes they raised a great mound over the spot, and 
set up on it a pillar made of a tree-trunk, on which they carved 
the names of the dead man and of their king. 

The burial usages, however, were not always the same. 
Great men. were buried with the pomp and ceremony befitting 
their rank, while meaner men were simply reduced to ashes 
and inhumed in a clay urn, or in a stone pot, not unfrequently 



INTfiODUCTION. CXXl 

in the Btone cooking-kettle that had served them when in 
life.^ This burial in stone ums, or in cooking veasels of 
steatite, is of common occurrence in the gTave-mounds of 
the Viking period in Norway, and is also not unfrequently 
found in Orkney and Shetland. 

Associated with such burials in Norway there are occa- 
sionally found the peculiar brooches which are characteristic 
of the later Pagan time.' Although they occur perhaps more 
frequently with unburnt burials, they link on with the 
custom of cremation. Thus they afford a valuable index to the 
chronology of these remains in Scotland, becatise the Pagan 
period of the Scandinavian occupation may be said to he 
limited to the time between the expedition of Harald Har- 



fagri and the battle of Clontarf (872-1014). These brooches 
are found in Scandinavian graves of this period, in Scotland, 
England, Ireland, Normandy, Eussia, and Iceland — in short, 
wherever the heathen Vikings effected a settlement. In 
Scotland they have been found in various places — in Suther- 
land, in Caithness, in Orkney, in the Hebrides, and even in 
remote St. Kilda. The specimen here figured, which is now 

' A large Dumber of these Btone kettles, made of steatites and fnruiahed 
with iron "bowB," eiactlyUke those of our modem cast-iron pola, are pre- 
served in the Christiama Museum, filled, aa they were found, with the burned 
hones of the former owners. Sometimes the sword of the owner is found 
twisted and broken, and lud on the top of thu bones. 

' There are upwards of ^00 of these brooches in the museum at Stockholm, 
nearly half as many in Christiania, and a large number in Copenhagen. 



CZZn ORENETINOA SAGA. 

in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, is 
one of a pair found in a stone cist on a mound wMcb covered 
the remains of a " Fictish Towei " at Castletown in Caitlineas.' 
They are usually found ia pairs, one near each shoulder of the 
skeleton. This corresponds with the statement of an ancient 
Arab writer, that the Norse women used to wear such brooches 
in pairs on their breasts.^ 

The most renmrtable discovery of these characteristic 
Scandinavian interments that has hitherto occurred in Scot- 
land was made in the island of Westray, Orkney, in 1849, by 
Mr. WOliam Eendali' A number of graves were found in 
the sandy links near PierowaJl (the Hofn of the Saga), in 
some of which were swords and shield-bosses, indicating that 
the skeletons were those of men. But in one a pair of tortoise 
or shell-shaped brooches and a trefoil ornament were the only 
objects found with the skeleton. In another, a pair of these 
brooches were found on the breast, and a pair of combs, of the 



form here figured, lay on either side of the neck, apparently 
as they had fallen out of the hair. In a third, a pair of 
brooches, a pair of combs, and a bronze pin, were found. It 
appears from these examples that the brooches undoubtedly 
belonged to women, and that the warriors were usually buried 
with sword and shield and " panoply of war ;" and, aa we read 
in Ibn Fozlan'a account, the dog and the horse of the 
deceased appear also to have been sacrificed at the grave, and 

> Theother(meiBUithenin9enmatCopMJiagen,andi«figarBdinWorBaae's 
Dane* and Northmen, p. 255. 

' Mem. de la Soc Antiq. du Nord, 1840-44, p. 76. 

* Far full details of this remark&ble group of intermeata, we Wilstm'B 
Prehiatoric Annala of Scotland, vol. ii p. 803, and Journal of tie BriHsh 
ArcliToIogical Aasociation, vol. iL p. 328. 



INTRODUCTION. CXXIll 

interred with him, in Orkney as well as on the banks of the 
Volga. 

But we meet with few memorials of the daily life of the 
Norsemen beyond those which have been buried with them 
in the early period of their occupation of the Islands. Chris- 
tianity aboUshed the custom of burying such reUcs with the 
dead, and for the remains of the Christian period we must 
look to the yet unexcavated sites of the dcdlis and homesteads 
of which we read in the Saga. It would be equally interesting 
to the ai:chaeologist, and instructive to the historian, to be able 
to compare the relics from such sites as those of Kolbein 
Hruga's castle in Weir, the castle of which BIdn was the 
keeper in Damsey, or the shdli of Swein Asleifson at Langs- 
kail in Grairsay, with the extensive collections obtained in 
recent years from the "Pictish Towers'* of Orkney, which 
have given us such suggestive glimpses of the domestic life of 
the period preceding the Norse occupation. 

It gives a curious feeling of reality to the ancient legends 
when we can thus handle the blades and bucklers of which 
we read such stirring stories, and remember that it was be- 
cause the Norse sword was then the longest, and the Norse 
arm the strongest, that we now read the earliest chapters 
of the history of northern Scotland in the guise of an Iceland 
Saga. 



/ 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE. 



A.D. 

795. First appearance of the Norse Vikings in the Western Seas. 

They plunder the Isle of Rachrin. 
798. Invasion of the Isle of Man hj the Norsemen. Inispatrick 

burned. 
802. I Columbkill burned by the Norsemen. 

806. I Columbkill again plundered by the Norsemen, and sixty-eight 

men of the monastery slain. 

807. First invasion of the mainland of Ireland by the Norsemen. 
816. Turgesius (Thorkell J), chief of the invading Northmen, estabr 

lishes himself as king of the foreigners in Ireland, making 
Armagh the capital of the kingdom. 

824. Bangor, in the north of Ireland, the seat of the monastery of St. 
Comhgall, burned, and the bishop and clergy slain by the 
Northmen. 

843. Union of the Picts and Scots under Kenneth M'Alpin, founder 
of the Scottish dynasty. 

853. Arrival of Olaf the White in Ireland. He seizes Dublin, estab- 
lishes himself there as king, makes an expedition to Scotland, 
and besieges and takes Dumbarton. 

872. Harald Harfagri becomes sole King of Norway ; makes an ex- 
pedition against the westem^VLkings, who have established 
their viking station in Orkney, drives them from their 
haunts, and subdues Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, and 
Man. He gives Orkney and Shetland, as an earldom of 
Norway, to Rognvald, Earl of Mceri, father of Hrolf (Rollo), 
the conqueror of Normandy. 

875. Earl Sigurd Eysteinson, who had received the earldom of 
Orkney from his brother Rognvald, Earl of Mceri, forms an 
alliance with Thorstein the Red, son .of Olaf the White, King 
of Dublin. They invade the northern mainland of Scotland, 
and subdue Caithness and Sutherland as far as Ekkialsbakki. 
Thorstein the Red is shortly afterwards killed in Caithness ; 
and Earl Sigurd dies, and is buried under a cairn at Ekkials- 
bakki. 



CXXVl ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

A.D. 

893. Einar (Torf Einar) slays Halfdan Hdlegg, one of the sons of 
Harald Harfagri, and buries him under a cairn in North 
Ronaldsay. 

933. Death of Harald Harfagri. Eirik Bloodyaxe^ his son, becomes 
King of Norway. About this time the name '' Scotia " and 
" Scotland," previously applied to Ireland, is first given to 
North Britain, which had formerly been called Caledonia, 
Pictavia, or Alban. 

950. Fall of King Eirik Bloodyaxe, and of Amkell and Erlend, 
sons of Torf Einar^ and Earls of Orkney^ in battle in Eng- 
land. , 

963. Thorfinn Hausakliuf Earl of Orkney. The sons of Eirik Bloody- 
axe arrive in Orkney. 

980. Sigurd Hlodverson becomes Earl of Orkney. 

986. I ColumbkUl plundered by the Norsemen, and the abbot and 
fifteen of the clerics slain. 

992. Olaf Tryggvi's son, while on a roving expedition^ is baptized by a 
hermit in the Scilly Islea 

996. Olaf Tryggvi's son becomes King of Norway, and inmiediately 
establishes Christianity by the strong hand. Returning from 
a western cruise, on his way to Norway he finds Earl Sigurd 
Hlodverson by chance at Osmondwall in the Orkneys^ and 
obliges him to profess Christianity, and to promise to estab- 
lish the true faith in the Orkneys. 
1000. Fall of King Olaf Tryggvi's son at the battle of Swalder in 
Norway. 

1014. Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin, in which Sigurd Hlodverson, 

Earl of Orkney, felL Thorfinn, his son, is made Earl of 
Caithness and Sutherland by Malcolm H., King of Scots, his 
maternal grandfather. 

1015. Olaf Haraldson (afterwards St. Olaf) becomes King of Norway. 

1018. Battle of Ulfreksfiord, in which Earl Einar is vanquished by 

Eyvind Urarhom and King Conchobhar. 

1019. Einar (Wryinouth), Earl of Orkney, slain by Thorkel Fostri at 

Sandwick, in Deemess, Orkney. 

1020. The Earls Thorfinn and Brusi acknowledge the suzerainty of 

King Olaf the Holy over the Orkneys. 
1028. Olaf the Holy driven fipom Norway by Canute the Great, King of 

England and Denmark. 
1030. Fall of King Olaf the Holy at the battle of Stiklestad. 
1034. Death of Malcolm H., King of Scots. According to the Saga, 

<' Kali Hundason takes the kingdom," and according to the 

Scottish historians Duncan I. succeeds to the throne in Scot* 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE. CXXVli 

A.D. ^^ Mission of Einar Thambarskelfir and Ealf Ameson to 
Russia to offer their aid to Magnus, son of King Olaf the 
Holy, to obtain the throne of Norway. 

1035. Magnus the'Gk>od, son of Olaf Haraldson (the Holy), succeeds to 
the throne of Norway, and Rognvald Brusison becomes Earl 
of Orkney. 

1039. Duncan L, King of Scots, slain by Macbeth, who becomes king. 

1047. Magnus the Qood dies in Denmark, and is succeeded by Harald 
Sigurdson, sumamed Hardradi. 

1050. Einar Thambarskelfir and Ijie sons of Endridi slain in Norway 
by Harald Hardradi 

1054. Macbeth defeated by Malcolm (Canmore), son of'Dimcan. 

1057. Malcolm Canmore crowned at Scone. 

1064. Death of Thorfinn Sigurdson, Earl of Caithness and Orkney. He 
is succeeded by his sons Paul and Erlend, and his widow, In- 
gibioig (according to the Saga) is married to Malcolm Can- 
more. 

1066. Fall of King Harald Sigurdson (Hardradi) at the battle of Stam- 

ford Bridge, near York, in which Harald Godwinson was 
victor. His son Olaf (Kyrre) and the Orkney Earls, Paul and 
Erlend, who were with him in the battle, receive peace from 
the conqueror and liberty to return to Orkney. Olaf Kyrre 
succeeds to the throne of Norway. 

1067. Malcolm Canmore marries Margaret, sister of Edgar Atheling. 
1093* Malcolm Canmore killed at Alnwick. Death of King Olaf 

Kyrre, and accession of Magnus Barelegs to the throne of 
Norway. He makes an expedition to the west, ravages the 
Scottish coasts, and assists Muirceartach in the capture of 
Dublin. 

1098. King Magnus makes a second expedition to the west, seizes the 
Earls of Orkney, Paul and Erlend, and sends them both to 
Norway (where they died) ; places his own son, Sigurd, over 
the Orkneys ; and overruns the Hebrides, Kintyre, and Man. 

1103. Magnus, King of Norway, slain in Ireland. His son, Sigurd, 
goes from Orkney to Norway, and succeeds to the kingdom 
jointly with his brothers Eystein and Olaf. Magnus Erlend- 
son (St Magnus), and Hakon, Paul's son, succeed to the earl- 
dom of Orkney. 

1106. Accession of Alexander I. to the throne of Scotland. 

1107. King Sigurd (Magnusson) sets out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 

which occupies him for three years. He is thenceforth called 
Sigurd, the Jorsala-farer. 
1115. Magnus Erlendson (St. Magnus) slain in Egilsay by his cousin 
Hakon, Paul's son. 



CXXVm ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

A.D. 

1124. Death of Alexander L, and accession of David I., King of Scots. 

1130. Death of King Sigurd, the Jorsala-farer, and accession to the 
throne of Norway of King Harald Gilli, an illegitimate son 
of King Magnus Barelegs, from the Hebrides. 

1136. Harald Gilli slain by Sigurd Slembidiakn. Rognvald (Kali) 
Kolson obtains the earldom of Orkney from Earl Pall, son 
of Hakon, who is carried off to Athole by Swein Asleifson. 

1139. Death of Sigurd Slembidiakn. Visit of Bishop John of Athole 
to Orkney. Harald Maddadson, son of Maddad, Earl of 
Athole, shares the earldom of Caithness and Orkney with 
Earl Rognvald (Kali). 

1161. Earl Rognvald and Erling Skakki leave Norway to prepare for 

their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Jorsalarfarers winter in 
Orkney. 

1162. Earl Rognvald leaves the Orkneys on his pilgrimage to Jerusa- 

lem. King Eystein comes to Orkney from Norway, and 
seizing Earl Harald Maddadson at Thurso obtains from him 
an acknowledgment of his suzerainty over the Orkneys. 

1163. Death of David L, King of Scotland^ and accession of Malcolm 

the Maiden. 

1166. Earl Rognvald returns from Palestine. Erlend Ungi receives 
Rognvald's mother, Margaret, in marriage, and is shortly 
afterwards slain by the Earls Rognvald and Harald. 

1158. Earl Rognvald slain at Calder in Caithness by Thorbiom Ellerk. 
Earl Harald becomes sole ruler of Caithness and Orkney. 

1166. Malcolm the Maiden dies at Jedburgh, and is succeeded by 
King William the Lion. 

1168. Death of William the Old, first Bishop of Orkney. 

1176. Magnus Erlingson becomes King of Norway. Harald Ungi (son 
of Eirik Slagbrellir by a daughter of Earl Rognvald) receives 
from King Magnus the title of earl and half of the Orkneys, 
and from King William the Lion half of Caithness, and is 
subsequently defeated and slain in Caithness by Earl Harald 
Maddadson. 

1184. Magnus Erlingson, King of Norway, slain by King Sverrir, who 
succeeds him. 

1188. Death of William H., Bishop of Orkney. 

1192. Canonisation of Rognvald (Kali), Earl of Orkney, who was 
killed by Thorbiom Klerk. 

1194. The Eyjarskeggiar collect forces in'Orkney, and attempt to place 
Sigurd, son of Magnus Erlingson, on the throne of Norway, 
but are defeated, and nearly all slain, by King Sverrir at 
Floruvogr, near Bergen. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE. CXXIX 

A.D. 

1195. Earl Harald Maddadson, compromised by this expedition, goes 
to Norway with Bishop Bjami, lays his head at the king'* 
feet, saying that he is now an old man, and entirely in the 
king's power. He is pardoned by King Sverrir, but on 
condition of forfeiting to the crown of Norway the whole of 
Shetland, which does not again form part of the domain of 
the Norwegian Earls of Orkney till 1379. 

1202. King William the Lion marches north to Eysteinsdal on the 
borders of Caithness, with a great army, to take revenge for 
the mutilation of Bishop John, and the expulsion of the 
deputies of Bognvald Gudrodson from Caithness by Earl 
Harald. Harald purchases peace by a payment of 2000 
merks. 

1206. Death of Earl Harald Maddadson. He is succeeded by his sur- 
viving sons, John and David. Thorfinn, his eldest son, 
died in Koxbiirgh Castle, where he was confined as a hostage, 
and had been mutilated by King William the Lion. 

1214. Death of King William the Lion, and accession of Alexai^der IL 
to the throne of Scotland. Death of David, son of Harald 
Maddadson. His surviving brother John becomes sole Earl 
of Orkney and Caithness. 

1222. Burning of Bishop Adam at Halkirk in Caithness^ by the 

enraged peasantry. The King of Scots caused the hands and 
feet to be hewed from a number of those who were present 
at the burning, and many of them died in consequence, t 

1223. Death of Bishop Bjami, and consecration of Jofreyr to the see 

of the Orkneys. 
1231. Earl John slain at Thurso. The line of the ancient Norwegian 

Earls of Orkney having become extinct by his death. King 

Alexander II. creates Magnus, son of Gilbride, Earl of 
^ Angus, Earl of Caithness, and separating Sutherland into 

another earldom, gives it to William, son of Hugh Freskyn. 
1239. Death of Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney. 
1243. Death of Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness. 
1247. Death of Jofreyr, Bishop of Orkney. 

1249. Death of Alexander H., Eling of Scots, at Kerrera, Argyllshire. 
1256. Death of Gilbride IL, Earl of Orkney. 
1263. Expedition of King Hakon Hakonson, of Norway, to Scotland; 

he is defeated at Largs, and dies at KirkwalL 
1266. Cession of the Hebrides and Man to Scotland by treaty between 

Magnus IV., King of Norway, and Alexander IIL, King of 

Scotland. 
1273. Death of Magnus, son of Gilbride, Earl of Orkney. 



CXXX ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

A.D. 

1276* Magnus, son of Magnus, made Earl of Orkney by King Magnus 

Hakonson, at Tunsberg. 
1281. Marriage of King Eink Magnusson to Margaret, daughter of 

Eling Alexander XL of Scotland. 

1283. Death of Margaret, Queen of Norway. 

1284. Margaret, infant daughter of Eirik, King of Norway, recognised 

as heiress to the Scottish throne. Death of Magnus Mag- 
nusson, Earl of Orkney. 
1286. Death of King Alexander TIL of Scotland^ 

1289. Betrothal of the Princess Margaret, the Maiden of Norway, to 

Prince Edward of England. 

1290. Death of Margaret, the Maiden of Norway, off the coast of 

Orkney, on her way to Scotland. 
1293. Marriage of King Eiiik Magnusson of Norway to Isabella, 
daughter of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick. 

1300. Appearance at Bergen of the false Maigaret, a Qerman woman 

who gave herself out as the ^ Maiden of Norway ,** daughter 
of King Eirik and Queen Margaret, stating that she had 
been *' sold " by Ingibiorg Erlingsdatter, and spirited away 
by parties who had an interest in her disappearance. 

1301. The false Margaret is burnt as an impostor at Nordness in 

Bergen, and her husband beheaded. 
1310. Death of John, Earl of Orkney. 
1312. Treaty of Perth (1266) renewed at Inyemess. 
1314. Battle of Bannockbum. 

1333. Battle of Halidon Hill. Death of Malise, Earl of Stratheme. 

1334. Forfeiture of the earldom of Stratheme, and marriage of Isabella, 

daughter of Malise, Earl of Stratheme, Caithness and Ork- 
ney, to William, Earl of Ross. Malise goes to Norway. 

1353. Emgisl Suneson, son-in-law of Malise, Earl of Stratheme, made 
Earl of Orkney. 

1375. King Hakon grants the earldom of Orkney for one year to 
Alexander de Ard, who resigns all his lands in Caithness to 
King Robert IL 

1379. Henry St. Clair made Earl of Orkney and Shetland by King 
Hakon Magnusson, at Marstrand. 

1382. Bishop William of Orkney slain. 

^^9. Malise Sperra slain near Scalloway by Henry, Earl of Orkney. 

13(|i. Death of Emgisl Suneson. 

1397. Union Treaty of Calmar, by which Denmark, Sweden, and 
Norway, were made one kingdom. 

1400 (circa). Death of Earl Henry St. Clair. 

1418 {circa). Death of Earl Henry (IL) St. Clair. 



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE. CXXXl 

A.D. 

1420. Bisliop Thomas Tulloch made commissioner in the Orkneys for 

the King of Norway. 
1423. David Menzies of Wemyss made commissioner in the Orkneys 

for the King of Norway. 
1434. William St Clair made Earl of Oikney. 
14C8. Contract of marriage between King James IIL of Scotland and 

Maigaret, Princess of Denmark, and impignoration of the 

islands of Orkney and Shetland for the Princesses dowry. 



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OKKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTEE I. 



OF THE £A£LS. 

It is said that the Orkney Islands were colonised in the 
days of Harald the Fairhaired/ but previously they were a 
station for Vikings.* 

The first Earl of the Orkneys was called Sigurd. He 
was the son of Eystein Glumra (the loud-talking), and 
brother of Eognvald, Earl of Moeri.* 

After Sigurd his son Guttorm ruled one year. 

Torf-Einar/ son of Earl Eognvald, succeeded him. He 
was a man of great power, and was Earl a long time. 
Hdlfddn Hdlegg^ (high-legs) made an expedition against 
Torf-Einar, and drove him from the Orkneys. Einar 
returned, and slew Hdlfddn in Einansey.* Thereupon King 

^ The erents narrated in this chapter are told with greater fulness of. 
detaO in the extracts from the Flateyjarb6k given in the Appendix. 

' Vikinga-bodi, a vik-ing station, or haunt of the.sea-roTers, who harried 
the coasts wherever they could find plunder. From vik, a bay or creek, are 
formed the nouns viking, denoting the species of plundering, and vikingr, 
denoting a person engaged in it. 

' Moeri, a province of Norway, lying southwards of Drontheim (Saga of 
Harald Harfagri, cap. x). The word signifies a plain bordering on the sea. 

"^ ''He was called Torf-Einar because he cut peat for fueL'' (See Ap- 
pendix). 

' A son of Harald Harfagri. 

* Rinansey, North Ronaldsay. Munch suggests that the form Ronansey 
implies its derivation from St. Ronan or Ninian, and that the name is there- 
fore older than the Norse colonisation. St. Ninian is often called St Bingan, 
and Hingansey seems quite a probable derivation of Rinansey. 

B 



. : ' 42 . : ' \: : ", .; : JcJfeKNTEYlNGA SAGA. 



• •••"», • * 



Harald brought an army over to the Orkneys. Then Einar 
fled to Scotland. King Harald made the Orkneymen swear 
oaths of fealty to him for themselves and all their posses- 
sions. The Earl and King Harald were afterwards recon- 
ciled. He became the King's man, and held the land as a 
fief from him. He had, however, no tribute to pay, as 
there was much predatory warfare then in the islands ; but 
he paid the king sixty marks of gold^ (once for all). After 
this, King Harald madea raid on Scotland, as is told in the 
Glumdrapa.^ 

After Torf-Einar, Amkell, Erlend, and Thorfinn Hausa- 
kliiif (skuU-splitter), his sons, succeeded him. In their 
days Eirik B16dox* (bloody axe) came over from Norway, 
and the Earls were his vassals. Amkell and Erlend fell in 
battle,* but Thorfinn governed the land and became an old 
man. His sons were Amfid, Havard, Lodver, Lj6t, and 
Skiili ; their mother was Gr(51aug, daughter of Earl Dungad 
(Duncan) in Caithness.^ Her mother was Gr6a, daughter of 
Thorstein the Red. 

In the days of Earl Thorfinn the sons of Eirik B16dox 

^ This 18 represented in the Saga of King Harald as a fine exacted by 
Harald for the death of his son, and paid by the Earl for the bamdr or free- 
holders who surrendered their odal lands to him in consideration of being 
freed from this payment (see Appendix). , 

^ A poem by Thorbiom Homklofe, quoted in the Saga of Harald Harfagri. 

' Son and successor of Harald Harfagri. 

* They feU in battle in England, with King Eric Bloodyaxe, and " five 
kings," as told in the Saga of Hakon the Good. The place where this battle 
was fought has not been satisfactorily identified. 

' Dungad, called also Dungal, was a native chieftain, Maormor, or ** Jarl," 
in the north-east comer of Caithness, who seems to have considered the policy 
of conciliation preferable to that of resistance, judging from the intimate rela* 
tions he formed with the foreigners, marrying the daughter of one, and giving 
his daughter in marriage to another, of the chiefs of the invaders. His bee or 
hamlet of residence became on this account so well known to the Norsemen, 
that they named the district of Dungalsbae (now Duncansbay ) by it, and spoke 
of the headland (now Duncansbay Head) on which it was sitiiated, as Dun- 
galsness, or Duncan's cape. The supposed remains of his castle were seen by 
Pennant in 1796, and are described by him as the ruins of a circular building, 
in all probability one of the ** burghs ** or circular towers so common in the 
north of Scotland, which seem to have been the defensive habitations of the 
native Celtic or Pictlsh population of the period between the 6th and 9th or 10th 
centuries. It is now a green mound. From the Session Records of the parish 
it appears that the district retained its ancient name of " Dungasby " down to 
the beginning of the last century, when it first appears as Duncansbay, and to 






OP THE EARLS. 3 

arrived from Norway, when they had fled from Earl Hdkon, 
and they did many deeds of violence in the islands. Earl 
Thorfinn died on a sickbed, and his sons, of whom there are 
extensive histories, succeeded him. Lodver survived his 
brothers, and ruled the land alone. His son was Earl 
Sigurd the Stout; he was a powerful man, and a great 
warrior. 

In his days Olaf, Tryggvi's son, returning from a viking 
expedition to the west, came to the Orkneys with his men, 
and seized Earl Sigurd in Eorvdg,^ as he lay there with a 
single ship. King Olaf offered the Earl to ransom his life 
on condition that he should embrace the true faith and be 
baptized ; that he should become his man, and proclaim 
Christianity over all the Orkneys. He took his son Hundi 
or Hvelp (whelp) as a hostage, and left the Orkneys for 
Norway, where he became King ; and Hundi stayed with 
him some years, and died thera 

After that Earl Sigurd paid no allegiance to King Olaf. 
He married the daughter of Malcolm, King of Scots,^ and 
their son was Earl Thorfinn; his elder sons [by a former 
marriage] were Sumarlidi, Bnisi, and Einar. 

this day it is called '* Dnngsby " by the older iDhabitants. The name of the 
adjacent district of Canisbay, now applied to the whole parish, is similarly 
derived from CanaiCs bai. It appears between 1223 and 1245 as Canenesbi 
(Sutherland Charters), and in Blaeu's Atlas, the MS. maps of which were 
drawn {drca 1620), by Mr. Timothy Pont, the minister of the a4jacent 
parish of Dnnnet, it is marked Conansbay. These two, Duncan and Conan, 
are the only native chieftains of Caithness at the time of the Norse invasion 
whose names have come down to ns, probably because they were the only ones 
who held friendly relations with the invaders. 

^ In the Saga of Olaf, Tryggvi's son, it is said that Earl Sigurd lay at As- 
mundarvag, now OsmundwaU, in the south end of the island of Hoy. There 
is a place called Roray on the west side of the island, which might be the 
ancient Riirvag. 

' Munch (Chronicon Mannise, p. 46) alludes to the mistake so common 
among the historians of Scotland to confound the two Malcolms, and to make 
one of them, as if one Malcolm only (Malcolm II.) reigned from 1004 to 1084. 
Though this theory has been ingeniously supported from a Norse point of 
view, it is at variance with the concurrent testimony of the early Scottish 
Chronicles. The Saga is the only authority for this marriage ; but admitting 
its testimony on this point to be unassailable scarcely necessitates the re- 
pudiation of the authority of the Scottish Chronicles on the question of 
the succession. (Compare Skene's Highlanders, cap. 6 ; Robertson's Scotland 
under her Early Kings, f oL ii p. 447 ; and Fordun (Skene's edition), text and 
notes.) 



4 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Five years after the death of King Olaf, Tryggvi's son/ 
Earl Sigurd went to Ireland. He set his elder sons over 
his domains, and sent Thorfinn to the King of Scots, his 
mother's father. While on this expedition Sigurd wa^ 
kiUed in Brian's battle;^ and as soon as the news came to 
the Orkneys his sons Sumarlidi, Bnisi, and Einar, were 
accepted as Earls, and they divided the islands among them, 
each taking one third. 

Thorfinn was five winters old when their father feU. 
When the King of Scots heard of the Earl's death he 
bestowed Caithness and Sutherland upon his grandson, with 
the title of Earl, and gave him men to rule the domain along 
with him. Earl Thorfinn was very precocious in the 
maturity of all his powers. He was of large stature and 
strong, but ungainly. As he grew up it soon became appa- 
rent that he was avaricious, harsh, and cruel, yet a very 
clever man. 

The brothers Einar and Bnisi were different in their dis- 
positions.. Bnisi was clever and fond of company, eloquent 
and beloved- Einar was stubborn and taciturn, disagreeable 
and avaricious, yet a great warrior. Sumarlidi was like 
Bnisi in his disposition. He was the eldest, and the most 
short-lived of the brothers. He died on a sickbed. 

After his death Thorfinn demanded his share of [Sumar- 
lidi's portion of] the Orkneys, although he already had 
Caithness and Sutherland which had belonged to his father 
Sigurd. This Einar considered to be much more than a 
third of the Orkneys, and he would not give up any part of 
them to Thorfinn. Bnisi, however, consented to give up 
his share [of the portion belonging to SumarUdi], saying that 
he did not covet more of the land than his own proper third. 
Then Einar took possession of two shares of the islands. 
He became then a powerful man, and had a large number 
of retainers. In the summer he made war expeditions, 
calling out great levies of his men from their homes; 
but these expeditions were not always successful, and the 

1 Olaf; Tryggvi's son, fell at the battle of Svoldr, a,d. 1000. 

' The battle of Olontarf; A.D. 1014 (see the Introduction). The Iceland 
Annals say that he held the earldom for sixty-two years, so that he most have 
become Earl in A.D. 962; but Munch makes his true period to be 980-1014. 



•^^m 



OP AMUNDl AND THORKEL. 5 

Boendr^ began to grow tired of them, but the Earl exacted all 
his services with violence, and did not snfiTer any one to speak 
against them. He was indeed a man of the greatest 
violence. Then there arose great scarcity in the islands on 
account of the labour and large expense to which the Boendr 
were thus subjected. However, in the parts belonging to 
Bnisi there were good seasons and easy life, and he was 
greatly liked by the Bcendr. 



CHAPTEK 11. 

OF AMUNDl AND THORKEL. 

There was a powerful and wealthy man, by name Amimdi, 
who lived in Hrossey,* at Sandvik on Laufandaness. He 

* The word B6ndi (pL Bcendr), literaUy "a resident " or " dweller," has no 
English equiyaJent, although the form remains in the words "hasband"and 
husbandman," (hus-bondi, house-dweller or house-master). The Boendr were 
freeholders by odal tenure, proprietors of the lands which they had inherited by 
succession from the original "land-takers." '*In the primitiye form of 
Scandinavian society," says Balfour, in his Odal Rights and Feudal Wrongs, 
''land was the only wealth, its ownership the sole foundation of power, 
privilege, or dignity. As no man could win or hold possession without the 
strong arm to defend it, every landowner was a warrior, every warrior a 
husbandman. King Sigurd Syr tended his own hay harvest, and Sweyn of 
Gairsay and Thorkel Fostri swept the coasts of Britain or Ireland while the 
crops which they and their rovers had sown grew ready for their reaping." 
The use of the ancient term survived in Orkney till 1529, as we learn from 
the description by Ja Ben, that in the parish of Rendale the people saluted 
each other with " Goand da bound^e " (i.e. godan dag bondi / ") instead of the 
" Guid day, gudeman," of the Scottish vernacular. Among the documents 
found in the king's treasury at Edinburgh in 1282, was one entitled "A quit> 
claiming of the lands of the bondi of Caithness for the slaughter of the Bishop," — 
viz. Bishop Adam, who was burned at'Halkirk in 1222 by the " bondi,** exas- 
perated by his exactions. Although the word is Icelandic, it has been retained 
in the translation as a convenient term to designate the class, in preference to 
such periphrastic renderings as "farmer-lairds," "peasant proprietors," or 
"peasant nobles," as are usuaUy employed. 

' Hrossey (Horse Isle) was lie name given by the Norsemen to the main- 
land of the Orkney group. The Sandvik here mentioned as the residence of 
Amundi and Thorkel can only be the Sandvik (now Sandwick) on Deemess. 
When Thorfinn drew his vessels in under Deemess before he was attacked by 
KaU Himdason (cap. v.), he sent to Thorkel asking him to collect men and 
come to his assistance. ThorkeFs residence could not therefore have been far 
from Deemess, although the mention of Laufandaness is somewhat suggestive 
of Lopness in Sanday. 



6 OKKNEYINGA SAGA. 

had a son, by name Thorkd, who was the most accom- 
plished man in all the Orkneys. 

One spring the Earl called out the Boendr as usual, but 
they murmured greatly, and brought their grievances before 
Amundi, and asked him to say a good word for them to the 
EarL He replied that the Earl was not disposed to listen 
to advice, £md it would be of no avail to ask him to do this, 
as he and the Earl were such good friends ; he further said 
that, from what he knew of his own temper and that of the 
Earl, there was great danger that they might become enemies, 
and he would have nothing to do with the matter. Then 
they asked Thorkel, and he was very reluctant, although 
at last he yielded to their solicitations, but Amundi thought 
he had been too rash to promisa 

When the Earl held a meeting (Thing) ^ Thorkel spoke 
on behalf of the Boendr. He begged the Earl to spare the 
people, and told him of their distress. The Earl answered 
blandly, and said he would give great weight to Thorkel*s 
words. " I had intended," he said, " to take out six ships, 
but now I shall not take more than three \ but thou, Thor- 
kel, do not ask this of me a second time." 

The Boendr were very grateful to Thorkel for his assist- 
ance, and the Earl made an expedition during the summer, 
and again in the autumn. 

Next spring the Earl again called out his men, and held 
a meeting with the Boendr. Thorkel spoke again on their 
behalf, and begged the Earl to spare them. The Earl became 
wroth, and said that for his speech the lot of the Boendr 
should be far worse than before. Then he became so mad 
with rage, that he said that one or other of them should not 
leave the meeting imhurt, and immediately dissolved the 
meeting. 

When Amundi heard what Thorkel and the Earl had 
said to each other, he bade his son go abroad, and Thorkel 
went to Earl Thorfinn in Caithness. He stayed there a long 

* The Things were local or general assemblies for determining by public 
agreement the course that should be pursued with reference to matters 
affecting the common weal or the public peace. All odal-bom freemen (not 
under outlawry) had an equal voice, and king, earl, or common bond!, met 
on the thingstead on equal terms, as thingmen. 






OF AMUNDI AND THORKEL. 7 

time, and became foster-father to the Earl, who was still 
young. From that time he was called Thorkel F6stri, and 
became a man of great repute. Other men of note and 
influence fled from the Orkneys on account of Earl Einar*s 
violence ; some to Earl Thorfinn, some to Norway, and some 
to other countries. 

When Earl Thorfinn came to man's estate, he sent to his 
brother Einar, and demanded from him what he considered 
his share of the Orkneys. Einar was not inclined to divide 
his possessions : so, when Earl Thorfinn heard this, he called 
out men from Caithness, and set out for the Orkneys. When 
Earl Einar had news of this, he collected an army, with the 
intent to defend his possessions. Earl Bnisi also collected 
an army, and went to meet them, and tried to reconcile them ; 
and peace was made on condition that Thorfinn should have 
one-third of the Orkneys as his own proper share. 

Then Bnisi and Einar jomed their portions, on the foot- 
ing that the latter should rule them and defend them for both, 
and that he who survived the other should inherit his portion. 
But this compact was thought imfair, as Bnisi had a son, by 
name Bognvald, and Einar had no son. Thorfinn appointed 
his own deputies to manage his possessions in the islands, 
but he himself lived for the most part in Caithness. 

In the smnmer Einar went on expeditions to Ireland, 
Scotland, and Bretland (Wales). One summer, when ravaging 
Ireland, he fought in Ulfreksfiord^ with Konufogr,^ an Irish 
king, and was defeated, with a heavy loss of men. The next 
summer Eyvind Urarhom^ (bull's horn) came from Ireland 

^ Ulfreksfiord seems to have been the Korse name of Lough Lame, which 
in a docmnent of the reign of the Irish King John (a.d. 1210) is styled Wul- 
vrUheford (Worsaae's Danes and Northmen, p. 311). It is snggestive of the 
identification of this Lough as the scene of Earl Einar's defeat, that Norse 
burials have been discovered at Lame. One of these is described in the 
Crania Britannica, pi. 56. The form of the iron sword found buried with 
the skeleton, having a short guard and triangular pommel, establishes its 
Norwegian character. 

" Konufbgr is plainly the Norse form of the Irish Conchobhar. Severa 
Irish kings of this name are mentioned in the Annals. 

' Eyyind Urarhom was a Lenderman (or Baron) of King Olaf Haraldson. 
He had gone to Ireland to King Conchobhar previous to Einar^s expedition, 
and had assisted the Irish against the Orkneymen. The Saga of Olaf Harald- 
son says that Earl Einar was much displeased with the Northmen who had 



8 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

on his way to Norway, and being overtaken by a violent gale, 
he turned his ships into Asmundarvag,^ and lay there for a 
while. When Earl Einar heard this, he went thither with 
many men, seized Eyvind, and caused him to be killed, but 
gave quarter to most of his followers. They went to Norway 
in the autumn, and when they met King Olaf,^ they told 
him of Eyvind's murder. He said little about it, but it was 
afterwards found that he considered this a great loss and a 
serious offence against himself, though he never said much 
about things with which he was displeased. 

Earl Thorfinn sent Thorkd F6stri to coUect his revenues, 
but Earl Einar r^arded it as chiefly owing to Thorkel that 
Earl Thorfinn had come into [his possessions in] the Islands. 
Thorkel left the islands suddenly, and went to Ness (Caith- 
ness). He told Earl Thorfinn that he had become aware 
that Earl Einar had intended to kill him, if his relatives 
and friends had not given him warning. "And now," he 
added, "I will avoid the risk of having such a meeting 
with the Earl as shall bring matters to a crisis between us, 
and I will go farther away, where his power does not reach 
me. 

Thorfinn persuaded him to go to King Olaf, in Norway, 
and spend the winter with him in great friendship ; " for you 
will," he said, " be highly esteemed wherever you come among 
noble men ; but I know your temper and that of the Earl to 
be such that you will not long refrain from hostilities. 

Thorkel then prepared for his departure, and in the 
autumn he went to Norway to visit King Olaf, and spent 
the winter with him in great friendship. The King often 
sought Thorkel's advice, because he considered him a wise 
man and a weighty counsellor, and such was the truth. In 
telling of the Earls, the King found that he was very partial, 
a great friend of Thorfinn, and an enemy of Earl Einar. 
Early in the spring the King sent a ship with a message to 

been in the battle on the side of the Irish king, and seized this opportunity of 
wreaking his vengeance on Eyvind, their leader. 

^ Asmundarvag, now OsmundwaU, in the south end of the island of Hoy. 
The termination vdgr usually becomes wcUl^ as Kirkiuvagr, which in the 
modem form is Kirkwall. 

' Olaf Haraldson, sumamed '*the Holy," and afterwards known as St 
Olaf, who became king in the year 1015. 



THORKEL SLAYS EARL EINAR. 9 

Earl Thorfinn, asking liim to come and see him ; and the 
Earl did not put ofif the jomney, for protestations of friend- 
ship had accompanied the message. 



CHAPTEK III. 

THORKEL SLAYS EARL EINAR. 

Thorfinn went east to King Olaf in Norway, where he was 
well received, and spent the summer there ; and when he 
prepared to go westward again. King Olaf gave him a large 
and excellent war-ship, fully equipped. Thorkel r6stri went 
with the Earl, who gave him the ship in which he had come 
from the west in the summer. The King and the Earl 
parted great Mends. 

In the autumn Earl Thorfinn came to the Orkneys. 
When Earl Einar heard of it, he stayed with many men in 
his ships. Bnisi went to meet the two brothers, and tried 
to reconcile them ; and once more they made peace and con- 
firmed it with oaths. Thorkel F6stri should be pardoned, 
and be a friend of Earl Einar, and each of them should give 
the other a banquet, and the Earl should first come to Thorkel 
at Sandvik.^ 

When Einar came, he and his men were most sump- 
tuously treated, yet the Earl was not cheerfuL The banquet- 
ing haU was a large one, with doors at each end. When the 
Earl was going away, Thorkel was to accompany him, and 
he sent men to examine the way by which they were to go. 
When they returned, they said they had discovered three 
divisions of armed men in ambush, and were certain that 
foul play was intended. Upon hearing this, Thorkel delayed 
startiDg, and called his men together. The Earl asked him 
to make himself ready, and said it was now time to go. 
Thorkel replied that he had many things to see to, and 
kept going out and in. 

There were fires on the floor, and Thorkel walked about, 
and once when he entered by one of the doors he was fol- 
lowed by an Icelander, by name Hallvard, fipom the east of 

' Now Sandwick, in Deemess. 



10 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Iceland, who shut the door after him. As Thorkel passed 
between the fire and where the Earl sat, the latter said: 
" Are you ready now ? " 

Thorkel replied : " I am ready now," and struck the 
Earl a blow on the head, so that he fell forward on the floor. 

HaUvard said : " I never saw people with so little pre- 
sence of mind as you who are here. Why do you not take 
the Earl out of the fire ?" 

With his axe he again struck the Earl on the back of the 
head, and pulled him towards the bench. Then Thorkel 
and his men walked out quickly by the door opposite to 
that by which he had entered, and there, outside the door, 
were the rest of his men fuUy armed. 

The Earl's men took hold of their master and found that 
he was dead. They were too much stupified to take revenge, 
as the thing was done so suddenly, and no one expected such 
a deed from Thorkel ; besides, the Earl's men were mostly 
without arms, and many of them were good friends of Thor- 
kel's before. Thus Thorkel had to thank his good fortune 
that he enjoyed a longer lii'e. 

The Earl's men went away, and Thorkel to his ship. 
In a few days, shortly after the beginning of the winter, he 
left for the east, and arrived safely in Norway. He went 
immediately to see King Olaf, who received him very 
graciously, and felt much pleasure at his deed; and with 
him Thorkel spent the winter. 



CHAPTEK IV. 

•OF EARL BEUSI. 

After the death of Earl Einar, Earl Bnisi took possession 
of that portion of the domain which had belonged to his 
brother (Einar), for there had been many witnesses to the 
compact which they had mada Thorfinn thought it right 
that they should each have one-half of the Islands, yet Briisi 
had two-thirds that year. Next year Thorfinn demanded 
one-half, to which Bnisi did not consent, and they had many 
meetings about it Their friends tried to settle matters 



mmmmrmtemimmtmm'^^'mimmmmmmmmmm^mi^^mmitm^m^fir'^ 



OP EARL BRUSI. 11 

between them, but Thorfinn would not take anything less 
than half of the Islands. 

Bnisi said : " I was satisfied with that third part which I 
inherited from my father, and no one claimed it &om me, and 
I have inherited a second third after my brother according to 
a lawful agreement ; and although I am unable to contend 
with you, brother, I will have recourse to other means than 
giving up my lands and title at present." 

Thus the meeting ended. But Bnisi saw that he had no 
strength to hold his own against Thorfinn, because he had 
much larger possessions, and, besides, some hope of assistance 
from his grandfather, the King of Scots. He therefore 
resolved to go to Olaf, King of Norway, taking with him his 
son Eognvald, who was then ten years old. The King 
received him well, and he told him his business and 
explaiued to him how matters stood between him and his 
brother, and begged his assistance to keep his possessions, 
oflfering in return his full friendship. 

The King replied by stating that Harald the Fairhaired 
had reserved to himself all odal rights ^ in the Orkneys, and 
that the Earls since that time always held those lands as 
fiefs, and never as their own. 

** It is a proof of this," he said, " that when Eirik 
B16d-ox and his sons were in the Orkneys, the Earls were 
tiaeir vassals ; and when Olaf, Tr^ggvi's 8(;n. my Idnsman, 
came there, your father. Earl Sigurd, became his man. 
Now, I have succeeded to the entire heritage of Olaf, 
Tryggvi's son. I will give you the islands as a fief, on 
condition that you become my man, and then I will try 
whether my help will not be of more avail to you than the 

' In the Saga of Harald Hdrfagri it is stated (cap. vi) that " King Harald 
made this law over all the lands he conquered, that all the odal possessions 
should be his, and that the Boendr, both great and small, should pay him land- 
dues for their possessions." Thus he put an end to odal right, in its pure and 
simple form at least, wherever he extended his authority; and the Boendr, thus 
taxed and deprived of their odal rights, complained, with justice, that they 
were changed from a class of proprietary nobles into a class of tributary 
tenantry. Having assumed the ownership of the earldom of Orkney as his 
own by conquest, his heirs became the odal-bom lords of Orkney, while the 
Earls were theoretically the liegemen of the Kings of Norway, though having 
also an odal right to the earldom which the royal prerogative could not set 
aside. 



12 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

aid and assistance of the King of Scots to your brother 
Thorfinn. But if you will not accept these terms, I will try 
to recover the possessions and dominion which my kinsmen 
have inherited and possessed there in the west** 

The Earl considered these words thoughtfully, and sought 
the advice of his friends as to whether he should consent to 
King Olaf s terms and become his man. " I do not see," he 
said, " how matters Will go with me at our parting if I refuse, 
because the King has made an imequivocal claim, and regards 
the Islands as his property. Now, considering his great 
power, and the circimistance that we are here, he will have 
no scruples in making my case such as he likes." 

Thus, although the Earl had objections to both alterna- 
tives, he resolved to give up aU, himself and his dominions, 
into the King's power. Then King Olaf asserted his suze- 
rainty over aU his hereditary possessions, and the Earl 
became his man, and confirmed this compact with oaths. 

Earl Thorfinn heard that his brother Bnisi had gone east 
to King Olaf to solicit his assistance ; but as he had himself 
seen the King before, and secured his friendship, he thought 
that his case had been well prepared there, and he knew that 
many would advocate his cause. Nevertheless, he resolved 
to prepare to go to Norway as quickly as possible, intending 
that he should arrive there very nearly at the same time with 
his brother, so that he might see the King himself before his 
brother had concluded his business. This, however, turned 
out otherwise than the Earl intended, for he did not see King 
Olaf until the treaty between Earl Bnisi and the King was 
fully concluded ; and he did not know that Earl Bnisi had 
given up his dominions imtU he came to the King. 

At their first interview the King made the same claim 
to the dominion of the Orkneys which he had made before 
to Earl Bnisi ; and he made the same request of Thorfinn — 
namely, that he should acknowledge the King's suzerainty 
over his portion of the islands. 

The Earl gave a courteous answer to this demand, saying : 
" I consider your friendship of great importance ; and if you 
think you require my assistance against other chiefs, you 
have well deserved it ; but I cannot well pay you homage, 
as I am already an Earl of the King of Scots, and his vassal" 



^^^^^mm^Hmm^mmmmf^mmmmm 



OP EAKL BRUSI. 13 

But when the King found from these words that the 
Earl wished to avoid the claims which he had put forward, 
he said : " If you will not become my man, there is the other 
alternative — ^viz., that I place that man over the Islands 
whom I choose. But I wish you to promise me with oaths 
not to claim those lands, and to leave him in peace whom I 
place over them. Now, if you wilj not accept any of those 
conditions, he who governs the land will say that hostilities 
may be expected from you, and in that case you must not 
think it strange if a dale meets a hilL"^ 

The Earl answered by requesting time to consider these 
matters. The King gave him time, and permission to con- 
sult with his friends ; but then the Earl asked the King for 
a further delay to the next summer, so that he might go 
home ; " for," said he, '' my counsellors are at home, and my 
judgment is not yet mature on account of my age.** The 
Kiog told him to meike his choice. 

Thorkd r6stri was with the King at the time, and he 
sent a message to the Earl secretly, telling him that whatever 
else his intentions were he should not think of parting with 
the King without being reconciled to him for the present, as 
he had got him in his power. Now the Earl thought there 
was no alternative but to let the King have his Will, although 
he did not consider it by any means a desirable thing to 
relinquish all hope of his patrimony, and to promise with 
oaths to leave those in imdisturbed possession of his domi- 
nions who had no hereditary right to them. But because he 
was not certain about his departure (if he refused), he chose 
to submit to the King, and to become his man, as Bnisi his 
brother had previously done. 

The King perceived that Thorfinn was a man of much 
stronger wiU than Bnisi, and distrusted him therefore more. 
He saw that Thorfinn would think himself sufficiently 
powerful, with the aid of the King of Scots, though he broke 
this treaty ; and the King was sagacious enough to perceive 
that, while Bnisi agreed to everything sincerely, jmd made 
only such promises as he intended to keep, Thorfinn agreed 
cheerfully to everything, while at the same time he had 
resolved within himself what course he would take ; and 

' If like meets like, or if you be met in the same spirit as yon come. 



14 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

though he made no objections to anything which the King 
proposed, yet the King suspected that he intended to act 
upon their agreements afterwards in his own way. 



CHAPTEE V. 

OF THE EAHLS BRUSI AND THORFINN. 

When King Olaf had considered aU these matters, he had a 
general meeting summoned by the blowing of a trumpet, to 
which the Earls were also called. 

The King said : " I will now make publicly known the 
treaty between me and the Earls of the Orkneys. They have 
acknowledged my suzerainty over aU the Orkneys and 
Hjaltland (Shetland), promising to become my men, and 
confirming these their promises with oaths. In return, I 
will give to Bnisi one-third of the land, and to Thorfinn 
another third, which they had before; but the last third, 
which belonged to Earl Einar, I adjudge to be forfeited to 
me, because he slew Eyvind Urarhom, my henchman ^ and 
beloved comrada Of this portion I will dispose as I shall 
think fit ; and I make it a condition with you, my Earls, 
that you be reconciled to Thorkel Amundi's son concerning 
your brother Einar^s slaying, and I wish to act as an arbi- 
trator between you if you agree to this." 

The Earls consented to this, as to everything else which 
the King proposed. Then Thorkell stepped forward and 
submitted his case to the King's decision, after which the 
meeting was dissolved. King Olaf awarded a wergild* for 
Earl I^ar as for three Lendermen; one-third, however, 
should be remitted in consideration of the EarFs guilt 

Earl Thorfinn asked permission to depart, and when he 
had obtained it, he made himself ready in great hasta One 
day, when all was ready, and the Earl was drinking on board 
his ship, Thorkel, Amundi's son, came and laid his head 

* The word is hirdman. The hirdmen were the Eing*s bodyguard. 
' The manbote (or fine for manslaughter) for every Norwegian Lenderman 
or Baron was fixed at 6 marks of sUver, by the Older Gnla-thing. 



OP THE EARLS BRUSI AND THORFINN. 15 

on the Earl's knees, and asked him to do with it what he 
liked. 

The Earl said : " Why do you do this ? We are recon- 
ciled accprding to the King's arbitration ; arisa" 

He rose and said : " I will abide by the King's arbitra- 
tion concerning differences between me and Bnisi ; but, as 
far as you are concerned, I leave everything to you. Although 
the King has reserved for me possessions and safety in the 
Orkneys, I am so well acquainted with your disposition that 
I know it would be impossible for me to go there imless I 
have your confidence ; and I will promise you never to go to 
the Orkneys, whatever the King says." 

The 'Eaxl replied slowly, and said : " Would you rather 
have me to adjust our afifairs than abide by the King's deci- 
sion ? If so, I make it the first condition that you shall go 
with me to the Orkneys, and remain with me, and not leave 
me except with my permission ; that you shall be in duty 
bound to defend my land, and to do everything I wish to 
have done while we are both alive." 

Thorkel replied : " I leave this to you, like everything 
else that concerns me." Thereupon he submitted his case to 
the Earl's decision. 

The Earl said he would fix the money payment [for his 
brother's death] afterwards, and received oaths from Thorkel 
according to their agreement; and Thorkel prepared to go 
with him. The Earl left as soon as he was ready, and he 
and King Olaf never met afterwards. 

Earl Bnisi remained behind, and prepared for his depar- 
ture more leisurely. Before he left, King Olaf had an 
interview with him, and said : " I think it advisable to make 
you my confidential agent in the western parts. I intend to 
give you two-thirds of the islands, which you had before, 
because I do not wish you to have less power, now that you 
are my man, than you had before ; and as a pledge of my 
good faith, I will keep your son Eognvald with ma I see 
that with two-thirds of the land and my assistance you may 
well hold your own against Earl Thorfinn. 

Bnisi was thankful for two-thirds of the land. He 
stayed a little while yet before he left, and came west to the 
Islands (the Orkneys) in the autumn. His son Bognvald 



16 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

remained with King Olaf. These facts are mentioned by 
Ottar Svarti (the swarthy) : 

Readily these noble people 
Will obey thee as thy subjects. 
Use your power with moderation ; 
Hjaltlanders ! your fame is well known. 
Till we had thee, fierce in battle, 
To these eastern shores, there was not 
Any prince on earth who conquered 
Those far distant western islands. 

When the brothers Thorfinn and Bnisi came west to the 
Islands, Bnisi took possession of two-thirds of the domain, 
and Thorfinn of one, but he was all the time in Caithness, in 
Scotland, and placed deputies over the islands. Bnisi alone 
had to defend them, for they were in those times very much 
exposed to the ravages of Norwegians and Danes, who called 
there on their viking expeditions to the west, and plundered 
in the outlying parts. Bnisi made complaints to his brother 
Thorfinn on account of his not contributing anything to the 
defence of the Orkneys or Hjaltland (Shetland), although he 
received his full share of all the Ijmd-dues and revenues. 
Then Thorfinn proposed to Bnisi to take two-thirds of the 
Islands, undertaking the defence of the whole, and leave 
Bnisi one-third. Although this division did not take place 
immediately, yet it is said in the History of the Earls that 
it did take place, and that Thorfinn had two-thirds of the 
Islands, and Bnisi one-third, when Canute the Great conquered 
Norway, after the flight of King Olaf. 

King Olaf, Harald's son, received no homage from Earl 
Thorfinn after he made the treaty with him and Bnisi. 

Earl Thorfinn now became a powerful chief. He was 
a man of very large stature, imcomely, sharp-featured, dark- 
haired, and sallow and swarthy in his complexion. Yet 
he was a most martial-looking man, and of great energy ; 
greedy of wealth and of renown; bold and successful in 
war, and a great strategist He was five years old when 
he received the title of Earl and the revenues of Caithness 
from King Malcolm,^ his grandfather, and fourteen when he 
went forth from his own territoiy on maritime expeditions, 

^ Malcolm II., King of Scotland. 



OF THE EAELS BRUSI AND THORFINK. 17 

and attacked the possessions of other chiefs. So says 
Am6r Jarlaskald (the Earls' poet) : 

By the prince in storm of behnets 
Was the sword's edge deeply crimsoned 
Scarcely fifteen, the great-hearted 
Sought renown on fields of battle, 
Ready to defend his own land, 
Or to ravage in another's. 
Under heaven a braver leader 
Ne'er was found than Dinar's brother. 

Earl Thorfinn was greatly supported by the King of 
Scots. This assistance being so near, it much increased 
his power in the Orkneys. 

The King of Scots died after the reconciliation of the 
brothers. Karl Hundason^ took the kingdom in Scotland. 
He considered Caithness to belong to him, as to the former 
kings, and demanded tribute from it as from other places. 
Thorfinn, towever, did not think his inheritance from his 
mother^s father large, though he had Caithness ; and besides, 
according to his own opinion, it had been given to him first; 
he was therefore unwilling to pay any tribute. Thus they 
became open enemies, and made war on each other. King 
Karl wished to appoint a chief, by name Moddan, over 
Caithness; he was his sister^s son, and he gave him the 
title of EarL Then Moddsm went down from Scotland and 
collected forces in Sutherland. 

^ The identity of Earl or Kali Hundaaon is one of the historical puzzles 
which exercise the ingenuity of modem historians. Supposing the Saga name 
of this individual to be a Korse corruption of the name of a Scottish king, it 
resembles none more nearly than that of Culen Induffson, the Oulen Mac 
Induff of the Chronica Pictomm, But if EaU Hundason be intended for 
Culen Induffson, the dates do not agree by more than sixty years. On the 
other hand, supposing the events here narrated to be of the period assigned to 
them by the Saga, Kali Hundason ought to be Dimcan, son of Crinan, Abbot 
of Dunkeld, who was the grandson and successor of King Malcolm Mac Ken- 
neth. But Fordun states that Duncan's succession was a peaceful one. It is 
not to be orerlooked, however, that Earl Thorfinn was also a grandson of 
Malcolm Mac Kenneth ; and if we could account for the discrepancy as to the 
name given by the Saga, the war between the two grandsons of the deceased 
monarch might readily be accounted for. For ftill details of the specula- 
tions regarding the identity of Kali Hundason, see Skene's Highlanders of 
Scotland, cap. v.; the Irish version of "Nennius" (Irish Arcbeological 
Society), Appendix, p. 78 ; Robertson's Scotland under her Early Kings, vol. 
it p. 477 ; and Munch's Norske Folks Historic, voL i pt 2, p. 864. 

C 



18 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

When Earl Thorfinn heard of this, he gathered together an 
anny in Caithness. Thorkel Fostri also came to Earl Thorfinn 
from the Orkneys with many men, and their united forces 
were somewhat more numerous than those of the Scots. 
When the Scots knew this they hesitated in their invasion, 
and returned to Scotland. Earl Thorfinn subdued Suther- 
land and Soss, and plundered far and wide in Scotland, and 
returned again to Caithness, and Thorkel went back to the 
Islands ; their men also returned home. Earl Thorfinn 
stayed at Dungalsbae, in Caithness, where he had five war- 
ships and followers numerous enough to man them. 

Moddan came to find King Karl (at Beruvik)^ and 
informed him of his unsuccessful expedition. The King 
became very angry at his land being plimdered, and started 
immediately with eleven war-ships and a numerous army. 
He sailed northward along Scotland, after having despatched 
Moddan to Caithness a second time with many troops. 
Moddan went by land, and it was intended that he should 
make the attack from that side, so that Earl Thorfinn might 
be placed between the two armies. 

Now, it is to be told of King Karl that he did not stop 
until he arrived at Caithness, and he and Earl Thorfinn 
were not far from each other. Th(n*finn went on board his 
ships, and sailed out on the Pentland Firth, intending to 
go to the Orkneys ; and so near were they that King Karl 

^ The words " at Beravik " in Jonsens's edition are not in the Flateyjarb6k. 
Two places of this name are mentioned in the Saga. One of these is plainly 
Berwick-on-Tweed (cap. xcii) The locality of the other (which must be the 
" Beravik " of this passage) is fixed by the statement in cap. xciv., where it 
is said that Earl Rdgnvald was then in Sutherland celebrating the marriage 
of his daughter with Eirik Slagbrellir ; and when word was brought to him 
that Harald had come to Thurso, he rode with a number of his foUowers 
*' from Beravik to Thurso.*' It has been conjectured that the place here 
indicated was CaisUU a Bharruick, an old square tower situated on an 
eminence near EirkiboU, on the east side of the shore of the Kyle of Tongue 
{Orig, ParochidUSfWoL iL p. 717). Judging frt>m the context, however, it 
seems more likely that it may have been the vik or inlet at the mouth of the 
water of Berriedale (Berudal), on the southern border of Caithness, where 
there are also the ruins of an old square tower — the Castle of Berriedale. 
This agrees with the statement that King Eali, sailing northuxird from Bern- 
vik, saw the sails of Thorfinn's ships going towards Deemess, as he sailed into 
the month of the Firth from the east Had Eali come from the Eyie of 
Tongue, he would have sailed east^ and Thorfinn would have seen and in- 
tercepted him frx)m Duncansbay. 



OF THE EARLS BRUSI AND THORFINN. 19 

saw their sails as he sailed into the Firth from the east, and 
immediately sailed after them. Earl Thorfinn directed his 
course to the east of the Orkneys, intending to go to Sand- 
vik.* He moored his ships on the east side of Dymess, and 
immediately sent word to Thorkel to collect troops. 

Earl Thorfinn arrived at Dymess late in the evening ; 
but as soon as it was daylight next morning. King Karl 
came upon them unawares with eleven war-ships. There 
were only two alternatives — one to run on shore, and leave 
the ships with all their valuable contents to the enemy; the 
other was to meet the King, and let fate decide between 
them. Earl Thorfinn exhorted his men, and ordered them 
to have their arms ready. He said he would not flee, and 
told them to row briskly towards the enemy. Then both 
parties fastened their ships together. Earl Thorfinn ad- 
dressed his men, advising them to be smart and to make 
the first attack fiercely, and saying that few of the Scotsmen 
would be able to make a stand. The fighting was long and 
fierce. Am6r Jarlaskild says : 

Once, off Dymess, to the eastward, 
Came King Kali in a mail-coat 
Famous for its strength and brightness ; 
But the land was not defenceless, 
For, with five ships, nothing daunted, 
Scorning flight in warlike temper. 
Valiantly the Prince went forward 
'Gkdnst the King's eleven vessels. 

Then the ships were lashed together — 
Know ye how the men were falling ? 
All their swords and boards were swimming 
In the life-blood of the Scotsmen ; 
Hearts were sinking — ^bowstrings screaming. 
Darts were flying — spear-shafts bending ; 
Swords were biting, blood flowed freely, 
And the Prince's heart was merry. 

Now Earl Thorfinn incited his men to the utmost, and 
a fierce conflict ensued. The Scots in the King's ships 
made but a feeble resistance before the mast, whereupon 
Thorfinn jumped from the quarter-deck, and ran to the fore- 

* Now Sandwick, in Deemess, Orkney. 



20 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

deck, and fought fiercely. When he saw the crowd in the 
King's ships getting thinner, he urged his men to board 
them. King Karl, perceiving this, gave orders to his men 
to cut the ropes, and get the ships away instantly ; to take 
to their oars, and bear away. At the same time Thorfinn 
and his men fastened grappling-hooks in the King's ship. 
He called for his banner to be borne b^ore him, and a great 
number of his men followed it. King Karl jumped from 
his ship into another vessel, with those of his men who 
stiU held out ; but the most part had fallen already. He 
then ordered them to take to their oars ; and the Scots took 
to flight — Thorfinn pursuing them. Thus says Am6r : 

Never was a battle shorter ; 
Soon with spears it was decided. 
Though my lord had fewer numbers, 
Yet he chased them all before him ; 
Hoarsely croaked the battle-guU, when 
Thickly fell the wounded king's-men ; 
South of Sandwick swords were reddened. 

King Karl fled all the way south to Breidafiord,^ where 
he went on shore, and collected an army anew. Earl Thor- 
finn went back after the battle, when Thorkel Fdstri came 
to him with a numerous army. They then sailed south to 
Breidafiord in pursuit of King Karl, and when they came to 
Scotland they began to plunder. Then they were told that 
Earl Moddan was at Thurso, in Caithness, with a large 
army. He had sent to Ireland for men, because he had 
there many relatives and friends, and he was waiting for 
these troops. Then it was thought advisable that Thorkel 
should go to Caithness with a portion of the army; but 
Thorfinn remained in Scotland, and plundered ther6. 
Thorkel went secretly, because all the inhabitants of Caith- 
ness were true and faithful to him ; and no news went of 
his journey till he came to Thurso by night, and surprised 
Earl Moddan in a house, which they set on fire. Moddan 
was asleep in an upper storey, and jumped out ; but as he 
jumped down from' the stair, Thorkel hewed at him with a 
sword, and it hit him on the neck, and took off his head. 

1 Broad Firth— the Moray Firth. 



»4^p*^«h;^^»ta 



OF THE ORKNBYMEN. 21 

After this his men surrendered, but some escaped by flight. 
Many were slain, but some received quarter. 

Thorkel did not stay there long, but went to Breidafiord, 
bringing with him all the men he had been able to collect 
in Caithness, Sutherland, and Boss. He met Earl Thorfinn 
in Moray, and told him what he had done in his expedi- 
tion, for which he received hearty thanks fix)m the Earl, 
and there they both stayed for a while. 



CHAPTEB VI. 

OF THE ORKNEYMEN. 

Now it is to be told of King Karl that he went to Scotland 
after the battle with Earl Thorfinn, and collected an army as 
well from the south as the west and east of Scotland, and all 
the way south from Satin (Kintyre) ; the forces for which 
Earl Moddan had sent also came to him from Ireland. He 
sent far and near to the chieftains for men, and brought aU 
this army against Earl Thorfinn. They met at Torfnes,^ on 
the south side of Bsefiord. There was a fierce battle, and 
the Scots were by far the most ntmierous. Earl Thorfinn 
was among the foremost of his men ; he had a gold-plated 
helmet on his head, a sword at his belt, and a spear in his 
hand, and he cut and thrust with both hands. It is even 
said that he was foremost of all his men. He first attacked 
the Irish division, and so fierce were he and his men, that 
the Irish were immediately routed, and never regained their 
position. Then King Karl had his standard brought for- 
ward against Earl Thorfinn, and there was the fiercest 

^ Torfiiess, the scene of the final conflict between Earl Thorfinn and Kali 
Hnndaaon, is here described as on the south side of BsB^ord, and by Amor, 
the Earls* skald, as south of Ekkial, the riyer Oikel, which gave its name to 
EkldlQsbakkd, or the district along ihe banks of the Oikel and its estuaiy — ^the 
Kyle of Sutherland — ^which formed the march between the territory of the 
Korse earls and Scotland. Torfness may thus be conjectured to be Tarbat- 
ness, although we have nothing to fix the locality more definitely. Bsefiord, 
in this case, would be the wider portion of the Dornoch Firth. Munch sug- 
gests that the seemingly French name of Beaufort Castle may be a corruption 
of Bsefiord (which in that case would be the Beauly Frith) ; but in all pro- 
bability the name Beaufort is what it seems to be, and much more modem. 



22 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

struggle for a while ; but it ended in the flight of the King ; 
and some say he was slain. Thus Am6r Jarlaskald : 

Reddened were the wolf s-bit's edges 
At a place — men call it Torfiiess ; — 
It was by a youthful ruler 
This was done, upon a Monday. 
Pliant swords were loudly ringing 
At this War-Thing, south of Ekkial, 
When the prince had joined in battle 
Bravely with the King of Scotland. 

High his helm the Lord of Hjaltland 
Bore amid the clang of weapons ; 
In the battle ever foremost, 
Reddened he his gleaming spear-point 
In the wounds it gave the Irish 
Thus my lord his mighty prowess 
Showed beneath his British buckler — 
Taking many warriors captive ; 
Hlodver^s kinsman burnt the countiy. 

Earl Thorfinn drove the fugitives before him through Scot- 
land, and subdued the country wherever he went, and all the 
way south to Fife. Then he sent Thorkel F6stri away with 
some of his men. When the Scots heard that the Earl had 
sent away some of his men, those that had submitted to him 
meant to attack him. As soon, however, as he was aware of 
their treachery, he called his men together and went to meet 
them ; but when they knew he was prepared, they hesitated 
to make the attack. Earl Thorfinn resolved to give battle 
to the Scots as soon as he met them ; but they had not the 
manliness to defend themselves, and ran away into woods 
and deserted places ; and when he had pursued the fugitives, 
he called his men together, and said he would bum the 
whole district, and thus pay the Scots for their treachery. 
Then the Earl's men went over hamlets and farms, and 
burnt eveiything, so that scarcely a hut was left standing. 
Those of the men whom they found they kUled, but the 
women and old people dragged themselves into woods and 
deserted places, with wailings and lamentations. Some of 
them they drove before them, and many were taken cap- 
tives. Thus says Am6r Jarlaskald : 



MPtW^^F^'T'^^r" 



OF THE FAMOUS DEEDS OF EARL THORFINN. 23 

Fast the flames devoured the homesteads ; 
Lives that day were in great peril ; 
Fire the Scottish kingdom ravaged — 
All reduced to smoking ashes ; 
Great the mischief done that summer 
By the mighty Slaughter-Teacher ; 
Three times were the luckless Scotsmen 
By the Prince completely vanquished. 

After this Thorfinn went through Scotland to the 
north, till he reached his ships, and subdued the country 
wherever he went, and did not stop till he came to Caith- 
ness, where he spent the winter ; but every season after 
this he went out on expeditions, and plundered in the 
summer time with all his men. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

OF THE FAMOUS DEEDS OF EAEL THOEFINN. 

Eael Thokfinn made himself famous in the Orkneys by 
entertaining his own men and many other men of note 
throughout the winter, so that no one had to go to inns — 
providing food and drink at his own charges, in the same 
manner as chiefs in other countries. Kings, and Earls enter- 
tain their henchmen and guests at Christmas tima About 
this time Earl Bnisi died, and Earl Thorfinn took possession 
of all the islands. But of Eognvald, Bnisi's son, it is said 
that he was in the battle of Stiklastad^ when King Olaf was 
killed. Bognvald escaped, with other fugitives, and carried 
away King Olaf 's brother, Harald Sigurdson, who was danger- 
ously wounded, and brought him to a small Bondi to be cured; 
but he himself crossed the KjoV and went to Jamtaland, 
and thence to Sweden to see King Onund. Harald stayed 
with the Bondi imtil he had recovered from his wounds. 
The Bondi then gave hiTn his son as an attendant, and he 

^ In which King Olaf Haraldson (the Holy) was killed, A.D. 1080. 
' The Ejolen mountains, part of the range separating Norway ^m 
Sweden. 



^3-i^ii=isammmm9mmKamm^V9mmKmwm^nm 



24 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

went through Jamtaland to Sweden secretly. At their 
parting, which took place in a certain copse, Harald sang : 

. Though now thus here and there I'm hunted 
Through the covert — email's the honour, 
Who knows but that far and wide yet 
Some day shall my name be fJEunous 1 

Harald met Eognvald in Sweden, and they went both 
of them east to Gardariki (Russia), along with many others 
who had been with King Olaf. They did not stop till they 
came east to King Jarizleif, in H61mgard;^ and he re- 
ceived them most heartily for the sake of King Olaf the 
Holy. He took them both, as well as Erling, Eognvald's 
son, into his service as defenders of his country. . 



CHAPTER VIIL 

MAGNUS, OLAF'S SON, ACCEPTED KING OF NOKWAY. 

RoGNVALD, Bnisi's son, remained in Gardariki (Russia) when 
Harald, Sigurd's son, went toMikligard (Constantinople); he 
had the defence of the frontier in summer, and spent the 
winters in H61mgard. The King as well as the people 
esteemed him highly. Rognvald was a man of large stature 
and great strength, and one of the handsomest men in ap- 
pearance, and his accomplishments were such that his equal 
was hardly to be found. Am6r Jarlaskdld says that he 
fought ten battles in Gardar: 

So it happened that ten battles 
Fought the soldier fierce in Gardar. 

Einar Thambarskelfir and Kdlf Amason brought Magniis, 
Olaf 's son, fix)m Gardariki (Russia). Rognvald met them in 
Aldeigiuborg.* He had nearly made an attack on KAlf before 
he had informed him of their business. Einar said that 
Kdlf repented of (his share in) the great crime of having 

^ H61mgard, now NoTogorod, fonnerlj Chobnogori, in Russia, which the 
Northmen caUed GardarikL 

' The town of Ladoga, which Rurik, the first King of Russia, made his 
capital in the 9th centuiy. It is now a mere hamlet 



f 



MAGNUS, OLAF'S SON, MADE KING. 25 

deprived King Olaf the Holy of his life and kingdom, and 
that he now wished to make amends to his son Mt^iis. 
He further told Eognvald that Kdlf wished to place Magniis 
on the throne, and support him against the Vikings in the 
pay of the Canutes. By this Bognvald was softened, and 
now Einar Thambarskelfir asked him to go with them up to 
H61mgard, and introduce them and their business to King 
Jarizleif. He shoidd teU him that the ITorw^ans were so 
disgusted with the rule of the Canutes, but most of all with 
Alfifa,^ that they woidd prefer any hardships to serving them 
longer; and then he should ask King Jarizleif to permit 
Magmis, Olaf 's son, to become their chief. When they came 
there, Bognvald, Queen Ingigerd,^ and many of the noblemen, 
pleaded their cause. King Jarizleif was unwilling to trust 
Magniis into the hands of the Norwegians, because of their 
treatment of his father. At last, however, they succeeded 
so far that twelve of the noblest men made oaths to the effect 
that their offers were sincere; but King Jarizleif trusted 
Bognvald so much that he did not require him to swear. 
Kdlf promised King Magniis with an oath that he would 
accompany him both within his kingdom and out of it, and 
do everything to support his power and to secure his safety. 
Thereupon the Norwegians accepted Magniis as their King, 
and swore fealty to him. 

Einar and Kalf stayed in H61mgard till after Christmas. 
Then they went down to Aldeigiuborg (Ladoga), and procured 
ships. As soon as the sea was open in the spring, Bognvald, 
Bnisi's son, made himself ready to go with King Magniis. 
They went first to Sweden, then to Jamtaland, crossed the 
Kjol, and came to Veradal. When King Magniis came to 
Thrandheim, all the population submitted to him. Then he 
went down to Nidar6s,* and was accepted King of the whole 
country at the Eyrar-Thing. After this came the dealings 
of King Magniis and King Sveinn. 

^ AlfifSft, qneen of Canute the Great. 

' Ingigerd, daughter of King Olaf of Sweden, was married to King Jariz- 
leit She stipulated that lU^yald should accompany her to Russia, and he 
receiyed the town and earldom of Ladoga (Aldeigiuborg). 

' Nidar^s, now the town of Drontheim, so called from its being situated 
at the mouth of the riyer Kid. 



26 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTEE IX. 

ROGNVALD ASKS MAGNUS FOR LEAVE TO GO TO THE ISLANDS. 

When Eognvald, Bnisi's son, came to Norway, he heard of 
the death of his father Bnisi, and at the same time, that Earl 
Thorfinn had taken possession of the whole of the Islanda 
Then he wished to visit his odal possessions, and asked King 
Magniis to pennit him to go. The King saw that it was 
necessaiy for him to go, and willingly gave him permission. 
At the same time, he gave him the title of Earl, and three 
war-ships well equipped. He also gave him a grant of that 
third part of the Orkneys which King Olaf had possessed,^ 
and had given to his father BnisL At last King Magniis 
promised his foster-brother his fall Mendship, adding that 
his assistance should be at his service whenever he required 
it Thus they parted the best of Mends. 



CHAPTEE X. 

OF bognvald's voyage. 

Earl Eognvald sailed for the Orkneys, and went first to the 
estates which his father had possessed.* Thence he sent 
messengers to his kinsman. Earl Thorfinn, and asked for that 
third part (of the Islands) which had belonged to his father. 
He also requested them to tell him that he had obtained 
from King Magniis a grant of that third which had belonged 
to King Olaf. He therefore demanded two-thirds, if it was 
the pleasure of his InngniftTi Thorfinn. At this time Thor- 
finn had great quarrels with the Irish and the inhabitants of 
the Sudreyar (Hebrides), and felt himself greatly in want of 
assistance. He therefore gave Eognvald's messengers the 
following reply: — ^That Eognvald should take possession of 
that third which rightly belonged to him. "As for the 
third which Magniis calls his own," he said, " we gave that 
up to King OM the Holy because we were then in his 

^ King Olaf adjudged Earl £inar*8 third of the islands to be forfeited for 
the slaying of Eyvind Urarhom. (See cap. v.) 



BATTLE OF THORPINN AND ROGNVALD. 27 

power, but not because we thought it just I and my kins- 
man Eognvald will agree all the better the less we talk of 
that third, which has been long enough a cause of dispute. 
But if Eognvald wishes to be my faithful Mend, I consider 
those possessions in good hands which he has for his pleasure 
and for the good of us both. His assistance will soon be of 
greater value to me than the revenues which I derive from 
them" 

Upon this the messengers returned, and said he had 
yielded up to Eognvald two-thirds on condition that they 
shoidd be allies, as it was right they shoiild be, on accoimt 
of their relationship. Eognvald s«dd, however, that he did 
not demand more than what he considered his own ; but as 
Thorfinn had so willingly given up the lands, he woidd indeed 
assist him, and be his firm Mend, which was but natural, as 
they were so nearly related. Accordingly Eognvald took 
possession of two-thirds of the islands. 



CHAPTEE XL 

THE BATTLE OF THE KINSMEN THORFINN AND ROGNVALD. 

Early in the spring Thorfinn sent word to his kinsman 
Eognvald, and asked him to go out with him on an expedi- 
tion, bringing as many men as he coiild. As soon as 
Eognvald received this message, he collected together as 
many men and vessels as he coiild, and when he was ready 
he went to meet Earl Thorfinn, who was also ready with his 
band. He received his kinsman Eognvald very well ; and 
they joined their forces. During the summer they plim- 
dered in the Sudreyar (Hebrides), and in Ireland, and in: 
Scotland's Fiord ;^ and Thorfinn conquered the land wherever 
he went. They had a great battle at a place called Vatns- 
fiord.* It began early in the morning, and the kinsmen 
gained the victory. This is mentioned by Am6r Jarla- 
skald: 

^ SkoUandsJiordf Scotland's Firth, was the name given to the channel be- 
tween the Hebrides and the mainland of Scotland. (See cap. zzx.) 

^ Vatnsfiord, probably Loch Yattin, an arm of the sea branching off Loch 
Bracadale, in Skye. 



28 ORKNEY INGA SAGA. 

Know ye that place, Vatnfifiord 1 
There was I in greatest danger ; 
Marks are there of my Lord's doings. 
He who tries the strength of warriors. 
Forth the people quickly carried 
From the ships the shields of many ; 
Then was heard the dismal howling 
Of the gray wolf o'er the corpses. 

After this battle they retuAaed to the Orkneys, and 
stayed at home during the winter. Thus eight winters 
passed that Earl Bognvald had two-thirds of the islands 
without any objection on the part of Earl Thorfinn. Every 
sununer they went out on war expeditions, sometimes both 
together, sometimes separately, as Am6r says : 

The chief beloved did many deeds. 
Fverywhere there fell before him 
Irishmen, or British people ; 
Fire devoured the Scottish kingdom. 

The kinsmen agreed very weU whenever they met ; but 
when bad men went between them dissensions often arose. 
Earl Thorfinn dwelt for the most part in Caithness, at the 
place called Gaddgedlar,^ where Scotland and England (?) 
meet 

^ Gaddgedlar. — This passage has given rise to a variety of coigectares. 
None of the explanations which have yet been offered are free from difficulties. 
Munch {Chronicon Mwnmm^ p. 46) says that, considering the situation of 
Caithness, and how well the author of the saga must have known it, it 
becomes evident that between '' Caithness " and " at the place " an and must 
have been dropped by the subsequent writer, who, living about A.D. 1880, and 
in Iceland (this part of the saga existing only in the Codex FkUeyensis), might 
easily have dropped an ok (or the abbreviation thereof), not conscious of the 
great blunder he committed. He further adds that Gaddgedlar is evidently 
the Norse corruption of ** Galwydia," Galloway. This explanation is open to 
the objections that, besides the improbability of Thorfinn having dwelt for the 
most part in Caithuess and in Galloway, the latter place does not fit the descrip- 
tion that there Scotland and England meet The word einglwnd, signifying 
meadow, or strath land, may possibly have been used as a general term for 
" The Dales of Caithness," if it may not be supposed to be a mis-transcription 
of the word eignarlandf meaning Thorfinn's own tenitoiy. Gaddgedlar might 
be the Norse pronunciation of the native word GaU-gael, applied to the mixed 
population of the districts where the Norse element had not entirely displaced 
the Celtic, or the border districts between the Norse earldom and the purely 
Celtic territory " where Scotland and his (Thorfinn's) own land meet" 



OP EARL THORFINN's WARFARE. 29 



CHAPTER XII. 

OF EAEL THORFINN'S WARFARE. 

One summer Earl Thorfinn made war in the Sudreyar 
(Hebrides) and in Scotland. He had sent men into England 
to foray, and they carried away all the spoil they could find. 
But when the English became aware of the presence of the 
Vikings, they gathered together and attacked them. They 
took &om them all the cattle, and killed aU the men that 
were of any note, but sent back some of the reivers, and 
requested them to tell Earl Thorfinn how they had made the 
Vikings tired of plunder and rapine, to which they added 
many insulting words. Thereupon the reivers went to Earl 
Thorfinn and told him of their mishaps. He was greatly 
annoyed at the loss of his men, yet he said he could not then 
do anything, and that they would have to refrain at this 
time ; but he said he was quite able to repay the Englishmen 
for their mockery, and would do so if he were well next 
summer. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

OF EARL THORFINN'S EXPEDITION TO ENGLAND. 

At that time Hardicanute was King of England and Den- 
mark. Earl Thorfinn went to the Orkneys and spent the 
winter there. Early in the spring he called out a levy fix)m 
all his domains, and sent word to his kinsman Rognvald. 
Rognvald assented, and called out men from aU his posses- 
sions. Earl Thorfinn collected troops in Caithness and the 
Orkneys. He also had many fh)m Scotland and Ireland, and 
from the Sudreyar (Hebrides), and with all these forces he 
sailed to England as he had promised. Hardicanute was in 
Denmark at the time. As soon as the Earls came into 
England they began to harry and plunder ; but the chiefs 
whose duty it was to defend the land went to meet them 
with an army. There was a great and fierce battle, in which 
the Earls gained the victory. After this they plundered far 



■p^ 



30 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

and wide in England, slaying men, and burning the dwellings 
of the people. TWb ia mentioned by Am6r : 

Not forgotten was this battle 
By the English, or men ever. 
Hither came the rich ring-giver, 
With his warriors, nearly doubled ; 
Swords cut keenly ; under shield-boss 
Rushed all Rognvald's men together ; 
Strong were all the old one's people. 
South of Man did these things happen. 

On the native land of Britons 
Brought the Earl his banner forward ; 
Reddened then his beak the eagle ; 
Forward pressing hard his warriors, 
Battle waxed, and men diminished ; 
Fugitives were chased by victors ; 
Blazed the fire, with red rays gleaming 
Of the wood's foe, leaping heavenward. 

Earl Thorfinn had two pitched battles in England. 
Besides, he had many casual encoimters, and slew many 
people. He stayed there throughout the summer, and went 
back in autumn to the Orkneys for the winter. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

KALF FLEES TO THE ORKNEYS. 

About this time Kalf Amason was banished by King Mag- 
mis. He crossed the seas, and went to Earl Thorfinn, his 
brother-in-law. Thorfinn's wife was then Ingibiorg, the 
mother of the Earls (Paul and Erlend), and daughter of Earl 
Finn Amason. There was great friendship between Kdlf 
and Earl Thorfinn. The Earl had a great many of his men 
about bin, which became very expensive to him. Then there 
were many who advised him not to leave two-thirds of the 
Islands to Eognvald, since his own expenses were so large. 
Thereupon Earl Thorfinn sent men into the Islands to demand, 
from Eognvald that third portion which had belonged to Earl 
Einar Bangmuth (wry-mouth). 



KALP FLEES TO THE OEKNEYS. 31 

Upon receiving this message, the Eaxl (Eognvald) con- 
sulted with his friends. Then he called Earl Thorfinn's 
messengers, and told them that he had received that portion 
of the Islands which they claimed as a fief from Sang Mag- 
mis, and that the King called it his patrimony. " It was 
therefore," he said, '' in the power of King Magmis to decide 
which of them should have it ; and he would not give it up 
if the King wished him to retain it." 

The messengers went away, and told these words to Earl 
Thorfinn, adding that the third portion [which he had de- 
manded] would certainly not be got without troubla On 
hearing this. Earl Thorfinn became veiy angry, and said that 
it waa unfair if King Magmis should have the inheritance of 
his brother, adding tliat he had yielded to the demand more 
because he was then in King Olaf s power than because it 
was a just claim. " Now," he said, '' I think Eognvald does 
not return me weU mygood will in having left him in quiet 
"" possession for a time, if I am not to have the inheritance of 
my brother now except by fighting for it." Now Earl Thor- 
finn became so enraged that he straightway sent men to the 
Hebrides and to Scotland, and collected together an army, 
making it known that he would march against Eognvald, 
and demand that without abatement which he had not got 
when he asked peacefully for it. 

When this was told to Earl Eognvald, he called his 
friends together, and complained to them of his kinsman 
Thorfinn intending to come and make war on him. He 
then asked what help they would offer him, saying that he 
would not give up his own without a trial of strength. 
But when he asked them to declare themselves, their 
opinions were very different. Some spoke in favour of 
Earl Eognvald, and said that one could not be hard upon 
him for not being willing to part with his possessions; 
others again said it was excusable on the part of Earl Thor- 
finn to desire to have those possessions for a while which 
Eognvald had had before, and which had belonged to Earl 
Einar. Further, they said it was the greatest foolishness for 
Eognvald to fight with such troops as he could get from two- 
thirds of the Islands against Thorfinn, who had one-third, 
with Caithness, a great deal of Scotland, and aU the Hebrides 



-*<- r^t^^r-^r^r^ ^fTT^a^r::^ — i - -i 



32 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 

besides. There were also those who advised reconciliation. 
They asked Eaxl Eognvald to offer Earl Thorfinn one-half of 
the Islands, so that they might still be friends, as it was meet 
they should be, owing to their relationship. But when 
Eognvald found that their opinions were divided, and that 
they all dissuaded him from resistance, he made known his 
determination that he would not part with his possessions 
by any arrangement, but that he would rather leave them for 
a time, and go to King Magniis, his foster-brother, and see 
what assistance he would give him to retain them. Then 
he made ready, and went to Norway, and did not rest until 
he came to King Magniis, and told him how matters stood. 
The King received Earl Eognvald very well, and invited 
him to stay as long as he liked, and to receive such lands 
from him as were sufficient to keep him and his men ; but 
Earl Eognvald said he wished assistance to recover his pos- 
sessions. King Magniis said he would certainly give him 
such aid as he stood in need of. Eognvald stayed a short 
time in Norway, until he had made ready his expedition for 
the Orkneys. He had a numerous and well-equipped army, 
which King Magniis had given him. The King also sent 
word to Kdlf Amason that he should have his estates re- 
stored to him, and be permitted to stay in Norway, if he took 
Earl Eognvald's part in his dispute with Earl Thorfinn. 



CHAPTEE XV. 

BATTLE OFF RAUDABIORG. 

Earl Eognvald sailed from Norway for the Orkneys, and 
landed in Hjaltland (Shetland), where he collected men, and 
went thence to the Orkneys. There he summoned his 
friends to meet him, and obtained reinforcements. Earl 
Thorfinn was in Caithness, and' news soon reached him 
of Earl Eognvald's proceedings. He collected forces from 
Scotland and the Sudreyar (Hebrides). Eognvald imme- 
diately sent King Magnils's message to Kilf Amason, who 
apparently received very well all that the King had said. 
Earl Eognvald collected his army together in the Orkneys, 



BATTLE OFF RAUDABIORG. 33 

intending to cross over to Caithness, and when he sailed into 
the Pentland Firth he had thirty large ships. There he was 
met by Earl Thorfinn, who had sixty ships, but most of them 
small They met off Eaudabioig^ (red clifiQ, and at once 
prepared for battle. 

Kalf Amason was there also ; he had six ships, all of 
them large, but did not take part in the fight. 

Now the battle b^an with the utmost fury, both Earls 
encouraging their men. When the fighting had thus con- 
tinued for a while, the loss of men began to be heaviest on 
Earl Thorfinn's side, the chief cause being the great difference 
in the height of the ships. Thorfinn himself had a large 
ship, well equipped, in which he pressed forward with great 
daring ; but when the smaller vessels were cleared, the Earl's 
ship was attacked fix)m both sides, and they were placed in 
great danger. Many of the Earl's men were killed, and 
others dangerously wounded. Then Earl Eognvald com- 
manded his men to leap on board ; but when Thorfinn per- 
ceived the imminent danger, he caused the ropes to be cut 
with which his ship was fastened to the other, and rowed 
towards the shore. He had seventy dead bodies removed 
fix)m his ship, and all those who were disabled by wounds 
went also on shore. Then Thorfinn ordered Am6r Jar- 
laskdld, who was among the Earl's men and high in his 

* Raudabioig^ or Red Headland, muat be looked for in the neighbourhood 
of Dunnet Head, where the red beds of the Old Bed Sandstone form the dis- 
tinctiye feature of the coast A little to the east of Dminet Head there is an 
outlying crag named Brough of Rattar, or Rattar Brough — ^in all probability 
a corrupted form of the old name Raudabiorg. Still farther to the eastward, 
where the bum of Rattar enters the Firth, are the ruins of an old ** Pictish 
tower," or broch — in old Norse, borg. In its immediate vicinity is a little 
promontory called Kirk o* Taing (Kirkiu Tungoy the Tongue, or Ness of the 
Kirk), on which are the ruins of one of the small rudely-built chapeh of the 
early Christian time. On the north side of the chapel tiie edges of a number 
of stone cists are visible through the turf ; and from two of these, which were 
dug up in cutting a drain in the spring of 1872, eight silver armlets of the 
ancient penaunular form were obtained. These correspond exactly with the 
armlets which formed part of the great hoard exhumed at Skaill, in Orkney, 
on the opposite side of the Firth, with Cufic and Anglo-Saxon coins of the 
tenth century — in all probability a hoard deposited by some of the vikings on 
their return from a plundering expedition. As Earl Thorfinn aind his men 
were Christians, it seems probable that, if the chapel was then in existence, 
the bodies of the seventy slain in the fight off Raudabiorg, which were landed 
here, would be buried in the consecrated ground attached to this chapel. 

D 



"ia>^"'" - ' .- 



34 OBKNEYINGA SAGA. 

favour^ to go on shore ; and on landing he sang these 

verses : — 

This will I not hide from comrades, 
Though 'tis right one's chief to follow, 
Yet am I myself unwilling 
Thus to meet the son of BniaL 
When these Earls so fierce in battle 
Close in fight, then will our case be 
Hard beyond the case of most men 
In this trial of our friendship. 

Earl Thorfinn selected the ablest of his men to man his 
ship, and then he went to see Kalf Amason, and asked his 
assistance. He said that Kdlf would not be able to buy 
king Magnus's friendship, since he had already been banished, 
and w€ts therefore unable to keep the king's favour, even when 
they were once reconciled. " You may be sure," he added, 
'' that if Bognvald overcomes me, and he and King Magnus 
become masters here in the west, you will not be welcome 
in this quarter, but if I come off victorious you shall lack 
nothing that it is in my power to give you. If we two keep 
together we shall be a match for any one here in the west, 
and I hardly think you wiU allow yourself to lie crouching 
aside like a cat among stones whUe I am fighting for behoof 
of us both. Moreover our ties are so close that it is more 
seemly for us to aid each other, since you have no ties of 
blood or affinity with our enemies." 

When Kdlf heard Thorfinn's persuasions he called his 
men and gave orders to fall to and fight on the side of Earl 
Thorfinn. Now Thorfinn and Kdlf both rowed back to the 
fight, and when they arrived Thorfinn's men were ready to 
fly, and many of them had been slain. The Earl pushed his 
ship forward against that of Earl Eognvald, and a fierce fight 
ensued. As is said by Am6r Jarlaskald — 

Then I saw the two wealth-givers 
Hewing down each other's warriors. 
Fierce the fight was in the Pentland, 
As the sea swelled and the red rain 
Crimsoned all the yielding timbers, 
While from shield-rims sweat of hot blood . 
Dripping, stained the warriors' garments. 



EARL THORFINN SUBDUES THE ISLANDS. 35 

Kalf attacked Eognvald's smaller ships, and speedily 
cleared them, as there was a great diJBference in the height of 
the ships. When the hired troops from Norway saw the 
vessels beside them cleared they cut away their ship and fled. 
Then only a few ships remained with Earl Eognvald, and the 
victory began to lean the other way. So says Am6r Jarla- 

skald : — 

Then the prince so fierce in battle. 
Valiant kinBmaTi of the Yikings, 
All the old land might have conquered 
With assistance of the Islesmen. 
Fewer were his slaughtered heroes ; 
But the chiefs strong men in helmets^ 
All the way to northem Hjaltland, 
Chased the weak and flying remnant. 

And when the main portion of the troops had fled, Kalf 
and Earl Thorfinn attacked Earl Bognvald's ship together, 
and then a great number of his men were slain. When he 
saw the imminent danger, and that he would not be able to 
overcome Thorfinn and Kdlf, he had the cables cut, and fled. 

It was now late in the day, and darkness was coming 
on. Earl Bognvald stood out to sea the same night, and 
sailed for Norway, and did not stop till he found King 
Magnus, who received him well, as he had done before, and 
invited him to remain with him, and there he stayed some 
time. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

EARL THORFINN SUBDUES THE ISLANDS. 

Now it is to be told of Earl Thorfinn that on the morning 
after the battle he sent boats to all the islands to search for 
the fugitives. Many were killed, and some were pardoned. 
Earl Thorfinn subdued all the Islands, and made all the in- 
habitants his subjects, even those who had sworn allegiance 
to Earl Eognvald. Thorfinn then fixed his residence in the 
Orkneys, keeping a great number of men about him ; he im- 
ported provisions from Caithness, and sent Kdlf Amason to 
the Sudreyar (Hebrides), and ordered him to remain and 
maintain his authority there. 






36 ORKNEYINGA. SAGA. 

When Earl Eognvald had stayed with King Magnus for 
some time, he said to the King that he wished to go back to 
the Islands. When the King heard this he said it was not 
wise, and advised him to remain until the winter had passed 
away and the sea was free from ice. Yet he said that he 
would give him as many men as he wanted, and a sufficient 
number of ships. Eognvald in reply said that this time he 
would go without the Bong's men, adding that he could not 
lead an army against Earl Thorfinn without a great loss of 
men, as he had such extensive dominions in the west. 
" This time," he continued, " I intend to go to the west in a 
single ship, as well manned as possible ; thus I expect there 
wiU be no news of us beforehand ; and if I get to the Islands 
I shall take them by surprise, and then we may speedUy 
gain such a victory as could hardly, if at all, be gained by a 
number of troops ; but if they become aware of our move- 
ments we can still let the sea take care of us." 

King Magnus said he might go as he pleased, and 
return to him when he wished. 

After this Eognvald made his ship ready, and selected 
the crew carefully. Several of King Magnus's henchmen 
went with him, and altogether he had a picked crew in his 
vesseL When they were ready they saQed out to sea and 
had a fair wind. This was early in the winter. 



CHAPTEE XVII. 

ROGNVALD COMES TO THE ISLANDS. 

Eognvald first came off the coast of Hjaltland (Shetland), 
and heard that Earl Thorfinn was in the Orkneys with few 
men, because he did not expect any enemies in the depth of 
winter. Eognvald went straightway to the Orkneys. Earl 
Thorfinn was in Hrossey,^ suspecting nothing. When 
Eognvald arrived in the Orkneys, he went where he had heard 
that Earl Thorfinn was, and came upon him unawares, so 
that his presence was not known imtil he had secured 
all the doors of the house in which the Earl and his men 

^ The Mainland of Orkney. 



EAKL ROGNVALD SLAIN. 37 

were. It was in the night time, and most of the men were 
asleep, but the Earl was still sitting over his drink. Eogn- 
vald and his men set fire to the house. When Earl Thorfinn 
became aware of the presence of enemies he sent men to the 
door to know who they were. They were told that it was 
Earl Eognvald. Then they aJl leaped to their weapons, but 
they were unable to do anything in the way of defence, as 
they were all prevented from getting out The house was 
soon in flames, and Earl Thorfinn said that permission should 
be asked for those to go out who were to receive quarter. 
When this was asked of Earl Eognvald he permitted all the 
women and thralls to go out, but he said that most of 
Thorfinn's henchmen would be no better to him alive than 
dead. Those who were spared were dragged out, and the 
house began to bum down. Earl Thorfinn bethought him 
of a plan, and broke down part of the woodwork of the 
house and leaped out there, canying Ingibiorg, his wife, in 
his arms. As the night was pitch dark he got away in the 
smoke unperceived by Earl Eognvald's men, and during the 
night he rowed alone in a boat over to Ness (Caithness). 
Earl Eognvald burnt the house, with all who were in it, and no 
one thought otherwise than that Earl Thorfinn had perished 
there. 

After this Eognvald went over the Islands and took 
possession. of them alL He also sent messages over to Ness 
(Caithness), and to the Sudreyar (Hebrides), to the effect 
that he intended to have all the dominions of Thorfinn, and 
nobody spoke against him. Earl Thorfinn was then in 
Caithness in hiding with his friends, and no news went 
abroad of his escape from the burning. 



CHAPTEE XVin. 

EARL ROGNVALD SLAIN. 

Earl Eognvald resided in Kirkiuvdg (Kirkwall), and 
brought there all necessaries for the winter ; he had a great 
number of men, and entertained them liberally. A little 
before Christmas the Earl went with a numerous foUowiog 



38 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

into little Papey ^ to fetch malt for the Christmas brewing. 
The evening which they stayed in the islands they sat a 
long time round the fires to wann themselves, and he who 
had to keep up the fires said they were running short of 
fuel Then the Earl made a slip of the tongue in speaking, 
and said : " We shall be old enough when these fires are 
burnt out," but he intended to have said that they would be 
warm enough ; and when he noticed his blunder he said : 
" I made a slip of the tongue in speaking just now ; I do 
not remember that I ever did so before, and now I recollect 
what my foster-father King Olaf said at Stiklastad when 
I noticed a slip of the tongue which he made — ^namely, that 
if it ever so happened that I should make a slip in my 
speech I should not expect to live long after it It may be 
that my kinsmaii Thorfinn is stOl aUve." 

At that moment they heard that the house was surroimded 
by men. It was Earl Thorfinn and his men. They set the 
house on fire immediately, and heaped up a large pile before 
the door. Thorfinn permitted aU others to come out except 
Earl Eognvcdd's men, and when most of them had gone out 
a man came to the door dressed in Unen clothes only, and 
asked Earl Thorfinn to lend a hand to the deacon ; this man 
placed his hands on the wall and sprang over it and over 
the ring of men, and came down a great way off, and dis- 
appeared immediately in the darkness of the night Earl 
Thorfinn told his men to go after him, saying : " There went 
the Earl, for that is his feat and no other man's." They 
went away, and divided into parties to search for him. 
Thorkel Fdstri with some others went along the beach, and 

^ The two Papeys, the great and the little (anciently Papey meiri and 
Papey roinni), now Papa Westray and Papa Stronsay, are both mentioned in 
the Saga. Fordun, in his ennmeration of the islands, has a ** Papeay tertia," 
which is not now known. There are three islands in Shetland called Papey, 
and both in Orkney and Shetland there are several districts named Paplay or 
Papplay, donbtless the same as the Papyli of Iceland. Mnnch considers that 
these names betray a Kelto-Christian origin. They probably indicate the 
settlements of Irish ecclesiastics in the islands previous to the arrival of the 
Northmen. The recent discoveries in Orkney of ecclesiastical bells of the 
early square form, and of stone monuments with Ogham inscriptions (in one 
case associated with a figure of the cross of an early form), seem to point to 
the settlement of ecclesiastical communities in the islands at a very early 
period. (See Introduction.) 



EAKL ROGNVALD's BURIAL. 39 

they heard the barking of a dog among the rocks by the 
sea. Earl Eognvald had had his favourite dog with him. 
Thorkel had the Earl seized, and asked his men to kill him, 
offering them a reward in money. But no one would do it 
So Thorkel F6stri slew Earl Eognvald himself, as he knew 
that one of the two (Earls) must die. Then Earl Thorfinn 
came up, and did not find fault with the deed. They spent 
the night in the island, and all were killed who had accom- 
panied Earl Bognvald thither. 

Next morning they took a barge and filled it with malt; 
then they went on board and ranged the shields which had 
belonged to Earl Eognvald and his men along the bulwarks, 
neither had they more men in the barge than Eognvald had 
had. So they rowed to Kirkiuvag (Kirkwall) ; and when 
those of Eognvald's men who were there saw the vessel they 
thought it was Earl Eognvald and his men returning, and 
they went imarmed to meet them. Thorfinn seized thirty 
of them and slew them ; most of them were henchmen and 
friends of King Magnus. To one of the King's henchmen 
the Earl gave quarter, and told him to go east to Norway 
and tell King Magnus the tidings. 



CHAPTEE XIX. 

EARL ROGNVALD'S BURIAL. 

The body of Earl Eognvald was brought to the larger Papey* 
and buried there. Men said that he was one of the most 
accomplished and best-beloved of all the Earls of the Orkneys ; 
and his death was greatly lamented by all the people. 

After this Earl Thorfinn took possession of the whole of 
the Islands, and no one spoke against him. 

Early in the spring these tidings came east to Norway 
to King Magnus. He regarded the death of Eognvald, his 
foster-brother, as a great loss, and said he would avenge him 
by and by, but just then he was at war with King Swein, 
Ulf 's son.« 

> Now Papa Westray. • King of Denmark. 



40 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER XX. 

EAEL THORFINN COMES TO KING HARALD. 

About this time King Harald, Sigurd's son/ King Magnus's 
unde, arrived in Norway, and King Magnus gave him the 
half of the kingdom. One winter they called out men from 
the whole of Norway, intending to go south to Denmark, 
but while they lay in Seley ^ two war ships rowed into 
the harbour and up to King Magnus's ship. A man in a 
white cloak went from the [strange] ship, and along the 
[King's] ship, and up to the quarterdeck. The King sat at 
meat ; the man saluted him, and taking up a loaf he broke 
it and ate of it. The Eong received his salutation, and 
handed the cup to him when he saw that he ate the bread. 
The King looked at him and said : " "Who is this man ? " 

*' My name is Thorfinn," he said. 

" Art thou Earl Thorfinn ? " said the King. 

" So am I called in the west," he said, " and I am here 
with two ships of twenty benches, well manned considering 
our means, and I wish now to join in this expedition with 
you, if you will accept my assistance ; aU my men and I 
myself are in God's power and yours, my lord, on account of 
my great misdeeds by which I have offended you." 

In the meantime some men gathered together and 
listened to their conversation. 

" It is true. Earl Thorfinn" (said the King), " that I 
intended, in case we should meet, that you should not have 
to teU of our parting, but now matters stand so that it does 
not become my dignity to have you slain, and .you shall go 
with me now, but the terms of our reconciliation I will 
declare when I am more at leisure." 

Earl Thorfinn thanked the Eong and returned to his 
ship. The King stayed a long time in Seley, and men 
gathered to him from Vlk ;^ for he intended to sail to Jut- 

^ Harald Sigurdson is the famous Harald Hardradi who afterwards fell at 
the battle of Stamford Bridge, near York, fightmg against Harald Godwinson 
the Saxon King of England, in 1066. 

' A smaU island off Lindesnes, in the south of Norway. 

' The district round the head of the Christiania Fiord. 



ff W ' 



Tg^iT^ Mtfiii I [ uli HPagy^sM—WBgr'^^—iPigw^^ggg' 



EARL THORFINN COMES TO KING HARALD. 41 

« 

land when he obtained a fair wind. Thorfinn was often in 
conversation with the King, who treated him in a friendly 
mcuiner, and had him frequently present at his councils. 

One day the Earl went on board the King's ship, and 
went up to the poop. The King asked him to sit down. 
The Earl sat down, and they both drank together and were 
merry. A tall brave-looking man, dressed in a red 
tunic, came to the poop and saluted the King, who received 
his greeting graciously. He was one of the King's hench- 
men. He said : " I have come to see you, Earl Hiorfinn." 

" What is your business with me ?" said the EarL 

" I wish to know what compensation you intend to give 
me for my brother who was killed by your orders out west 
in Kirkiuvdg (Kirkwall), along with others of King 
Magnus's henchmen." 

" Have you never heard," said the Earl, " that it is not 
my wont to pay money for the men whom I cause to be 
kiUed?" 

" I have nothing to do with how you have treated other 
people, if you pay the manbote for him for whom it devolves 
on me to seek compensation. I also lost some money there 
myself, and was shamefully treated. It is more binding on 
me than any one else to seek redress for my brother and 
myself, and therefore I now demand it. The King may 
remit offences committed against himself, even if he thinks 
it of no importance that his henchmen are led out and 
slaughtered like sheep." 

The Earl answered : " I understand it to be to my ad- 
vantage here that I am not in your power. Are not you 
the man to whom I gave quarter there ?" 

" True enough," said he, " it was in your power to have 
killed me like the others." 

Then the Earl said : " Now the saying proves true — ' That 
often happens to many which they least expect.' I never 
thought I should be so placed that it would be injurious 
to me to have been too generous to my enemies ; but now 
I have to pay for having given you quarter ; you would 
not have denounced me to-day in the presence of chiefs if I 
had caused you to be killed like your comrades." 

The King looked at the Earl and said : ** There it comes 



42 OBENEYINGA SAGA. 

out still, Earl Thorfinn, that you think you have killed too 
few of my henchmen without compensation." While sajdng 
this the king turned blood-red [with anger]. The Earl 
started up and left the poop, and returned to his own ship, 
and all was quiet during the evening. In the morning, 
when the men awoke, a fair wind had sprung up, and they 
rowed away from the harbour. The King sailed south to 
Jutland with the whole fleet. In the earlier part of the day 
the Earl's ship stood out farther to sea^ and in the afternoon 
he took a westerly course, and there is nothing to be told of 
him tUl he arrived in the Orkneys, and resumed the govern- 
ment of his dominions. 

King Magnus and Harald sailed to Denmark, and spent 
the summer there. King Swein was unwilling to meet 
them, and stayed in Skiney ^ with his army. That summer 
King Magnus was seized with an illness of which he died ; 
but he had previously declared that he gave the whole king- 
dom of Norway to his uncle Harald. 



CHAPTEE XXI. 

EABL THORFINN*S MESSAGE TO KING HARALD (HARDRADI). 

Earl Thorfinn now ruled the Orkneys and all his dominions. 
Kdlf Amason was frequently with him. Sometimes he 
made viking expeditions to the west, and plundered in 
Scotland and Ireland. He was also in England, and at one 
time he was the chief of the Thingmen. 

When Earl Thorfinn heard of the death of King Magnus, he 
sent men to Norway to King Harald with a friendly message, 
saying that he wished to become his friend. When the 
messengers reached the Eling he received them well, and pro- 
mised the Earl his friendship. When the Earl received this 
message from the King he made himself reeuly, taking from the 
west two ships of twenty benches, with more than a hundred 
men, all fine troops, and went east to Norway. He found the 
King in Hordaland, and he received him exceedingly well, 
and at' their parting the King gave him handsome presents. 

^ Scania, the southern part of Sweden. 



\ 



EARL THORFINN'S MESSAGE TO KING HABALD. 43 

From thence the Earl went southwards along the coast to 
Denmark. He went through the country, and found King 
Svein in Alaborg;^ he invited him to stay, and made a 
splendid feast for him. Then the Earl made it known that 
he was going to Eome ; ^ but when he came to Saxland he 
called on the Emperor Heinrek, who received him exceedingly 
well, and gave him many valuable presents. He also gave 
him many horses, and the Earl rode south to Bome, and saw 
the Pope, from whom he obtained absolution for aU his sins. 

Then the Earl returned, and arrived safely home in his 
dominions. He left off making war expeditions, and 
turned his mind to the government of his land and his 
people, and to the making of laws. He resided frequently in 
Birgish^rad (Birsay), and built there Christ's Kirk, a splendid 
church ; and there was the first Bishop's see in the Orkneys. 

Thorfinn's wife was Ingibiorg, [called] the mother of the 
Earls. They had two sons who arrived at manhood ; one 
was called Paul, the other Erlend. They were men of large 
stature, fine-looking, wise, and gentle, more resembling their 
mother's relations. They were much loved by the Earl and 
all the people. 

^ Aalborgy in Jutland. 

' Earl Thorfinn's pilgrimage to Rome took place most probably about the 
year 1050. King Magnus died in A.D. 1047, and some time must have elapsed 
before Thorfinn heard of his death. Then his messengers went to Nor- 
way, and returned ; and his own expedition was thereafter prepared. After 
visiting King Harald Hardradi in Norway, ho stayed some time with Svend 
Estridson, the King of Denmark. Then he visited Henry III., Emperor of 
Germany, and would probably reach Rome soon after the accession of Pope 
Leo IX., who occupi^ the Papal throne from 1049 to 1055. As Macbeth, 
the only Scottish sovereign who ever visited the city of Rome, made his 
pilgrimage thither in the year 1050, and Thorfinn and he were close friends and 
allies, it is probable that they went together. (Compare Saga of King Harald 
Hardradi ; Wyntoun, vol. ii. pp. 468, 469 ; Marianus Scotus, in Mon. Hist. 
Brit., p. 604 ; Florence of Worcester ; Ghron. de Mailros ; Ritson's Annals, 
vol. il p. 116 ; Skene's Highlanders, chap. v. ; Grub's Ecclesiastical History 
of Scotland, chap, xiii.) 



m.t 



44 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

05" EARL THORFINN's DEATH. 

Earl Thorfinn retained all his dominions to his dying day, 
and it is truly said that he. was the most powerful of all the 
Earls of the Orkneys. He obtained possession of eleven 
Earldoms in Scotland, all the Sudreyar (Hebrides), and a 
large territory in Ireland. So says Am6r Jarlaskdld — 

Unto Thorfinn, ravens' feeder, 
Armies had to yield obedience 
From Thussasker ^ right on to Dublin. 
Truth I tell, as is recorded. 

Earl Thorfinn was five winters old when Malcolm ^ the 
King of Scots, his mother's father, gave him the title of Earl, 
and after that he was Earl for seventy winters. He died 
towards the end of Harald Sigurdson's reign.^ He is 
buried at Christ's Kirk in Birgish^rad (Birsay), which he 
had built He was much lamented in his hereditary 
dominions ; but in those parts which he had conquered by 
force of arms many considered it very hard to be under his 
rule, and [after his death] many provinces which he had 
subdued turned away and sought help from the chiefs who 
were odal-bom to the government of them.* Then it soon 
became apparent how great a loss Thorfinn's death was to 
his dominions. 

The following stanzas were made about the battle 
between Earl Eognvald, Brisrs son, and Earl Thorfinn: — 

Since the Earls have broken Mendship 
Peace I can ei^oy no longer. 
Feasts of corpses to the ravens 

^ This quotation from Am6r seems to have reference only to Thorfinn's 
conquests in Ireland. Doubtless the extent of these is considerably exag> 
gerated. The Thussasker appear to be the outlying skerries off the S.E. of 
Ireland, still known as the Tuscar Rocks. 

* Malcolm II., Mac Kenneth. 

' Harald Sigurdson (Hardradi) was slain at Stamford Bridge in 1066, and 
Earl Thorfinn died in 1064. 

* Transferred their allegiance to the native chieftains, to whom they be- 
longed by hereditary right 



OF THE EARLS PAUL AND ERLEND, 45 

Each has in his turn provided. 
Ofif the Islands were the blue tents 
By the mighty rent asunder. 
Dabbled were the foul birds' feathers 
In red blood 'neath lofty branches. 

Have ye heard how Ealfr followed 
Finnr's son-in-law in battle 9 
Quickly didst thou push thy vessels 
'Gainst the EarFs ships on the water. 
To destroy the son of Briisi, 
ThoUy courageous ship's commander 
Wast unwilling, but of hatred 
Mindful, didst thou help Thorfinn. 

When the Earls had joined in battle 
Misery there was unbounded. 
Thick and fast the men were filing 
In the struggle ; sad the hour when 
Nearer went the daring Eastmen 
To the unexampled fire-rain. 
In that battle ofif the Red Biorg 
Many a noble man was wounded. 

Swarthy shall become the bright sun, 
In the black sea shall the earth sink, 
Finished shall be Austri's labour. 
And the wild sea hide the mountains, 
Ere there be in those Mr Islands 
Bom a chief to rule the people — 
May our Qod both help and keep them — 
Greater than the lost Earl Thorfinn. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

OF THE EARLS PAUL AND ERLEND, AND GENEALOGIES. 

Now the sons of Earl Thorfinn succeeded him. Paul was 
the elder of the two, and he ruled for both of them. They 
did not divide their possessions, yet they almost always 
agreed in their dealings. 

Ingibiorg, the mother of the Earls, was married to 



46 ORKNEVINGA SAGA. 

Malcolm, King of Scots/ who was called Langhals (Longneck), 
and their son was Duncan, King of Scots, the father of 
William the excellent man; his son was called WiUiam 
Odling (the Noble), whom all the Scots wished to have 
for their Eong.^ 

Earl Paid, Thorfinn's son, married the daughter of Earl 
Hdkon, Ivar^s son, by whom he had many children. They 
had a son called Hdkon, and a daughter called Th6ra, who 
was married in Norway to Hald6r, son of Brynj61f XJlfaldi 
(camel). Another son of theirs, named Brynj61f, married 
Gjnrid, Dag's daughter. A second daughter of Paul, called 
Ingirid, was married to Einar Vorsakrdk. Herbiorg was the 
third daughter of Paul She was the mother of Ingibiorg 
Eagna, who was married to Sigurd of Westness ; their sons 
were Hakon Plk, and Brynj61f. Sigrid was a second 
daughter of Herbiorg. She was married to Kolbein Hniga 
(heap). The fourth daughter of Earl Paul was Eagnhild, 
who was the mother of Benidikt, the father of Ingibiorg, the 

1 This marriage is unknown in Scottish history, and rests on the authority 
of the Sagas alone. Duncan is said by the Scottish historians to have been a 
bastard, while the Sagas make him the legitimate offspring of Malcolm and 
Ingibioig, who must by this time have been old enough to be Malcolm's 
mother. She was married to Earl Thorfinn before Edlf Amason was banished 
by King Magnus (cap. xiv.), which was some time between 1086 and 1041. 
Earl Thorfinn died in 1064, seven years after King Malcolm was crowned at 
Scone, in 1057. Malcolm's marriage with the Princess Margaret of England 
took place in 1067, or less than three years after Ingibioig became a widow. 
Munch supposes that Ingibiorg must have died in childbed with Duncan, and 
suggests that the fact that Duncan claimed the crown before Edgar, the son 
of Malcolm by Margaret, may be taken as showing that he must have been 
the offspring of a preyious marriage. Maopheraon (Wyntoun, toL iL p. 472), 
while accepting the statement of the Saga, accounts for Duncan being called a 
bastard from the circumstance that Malcolm's marriage with Ingibibrg was 
within the degrees of propinquity forbidden by the canon law. 

» This WiUiam Odling (the Noble) is William of Egremont (the boy of 
Egremont), son of William Fitz Duncan, and consequently grandson of Dun- 
can. The reference here to him as the person whom all the Scots wished to 
have for their king is explained by the fact that, on the death of David I., by 
the old Celtic law of succession, he became in the eyes of the Celtic population 
the rightful heir to the throne ; and his claims were supported by no fewer 
than seven Earls, among whom were those of Strathem, Ross, and Orkney. 
The insurrection was speedily put down, but the claim was subsequently 
levived by Donald Bane Macwilliam, who, on the same principle, obtained the 
support of the northern chiefs. (See Skene's Highlanders of Scotiand for a 
full account of the conflict between the feudal and the Celtic systems of 
succession.) 



DEATH OF KING HAKALD AND HIS DAUGHTER. 47 

mother of Erling Erkidiakn (archdeacon). Bagnhild had a 
daughter, by name Bergli6t, who was married to Hdvard, 
Gimnar^s son. Their sons were Magnus, Hikon Eld (claw), 
Dufoial, and Thorstein. All those were the families of 
Earls and chiefs in the Orkneys, and all of them will be 
mentioned in this Saga afterwards. The wife of Earl 
Erlend, Thorfinn's son, was Th6ra, the daughter of Sumarlidi, 
Ospak's son ; the mother of Ospak was Th6rdis, the daughter 
of Hall of Sida (in Iceland). Their sons were Erling and 
Magnus, and their daughters Gunnhild, and Cecilia, who was 
married to Isak, and their sons were Indridi and KoL 
Erling had a natural daughter called Jdtvor ; her son was 
Berg. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

HERE IS TOLD OF THE DEATH OF KING HARALD AND HIS 

DAUGHTER. 

When the brothers Paul and Erlend had succeeded to the 
government of the Orkneys, Eong Harald Sigurdson (Hard- 
radi) came from Norway with a large army. He- first 
touched Hjaltland ; from thence he went to the Orkneys, 
and left there his Queen EUisif, and their daughters Maria 
and Ingigerd. From the Orkneys he had many troops; 
both the Earls went with him on the expedition. He went 
from Orkney to England, and landed at a place called E^lif- 
land (Cleaveland), and took Skardaborg (Scarborough). Then 
he touched at Hallames (Holdemess), and had a battle there, 
in which he was victorious. The Wednesday next before 
Matthiasmas (20th September) he had a battle at J6rv£k 
(York) with the Earls Valthi6f and M6rukAri. M6rukari 
was slain there.* Next Simday the borg at Stamford- 
bridge surrendered to him; and he went on shore to 
arrange the government of the town ; and there he left 
his son Olaf, tiie Earls Paul and Erlend, and his brother-in- 
law Eystein Orn. While he was on shore he was met by 
Harald Gudinason (Godwinson) at the head of a numerous 

^ This is a mistake. Morkere was present at the battle of Hastings, and 
he and Waltheof went afterwards to Normandy with William the Conqueror. 



- - ,' jt* ^-mu* '• w*! ■•* ■ ■n"^"*. ■■ .^^•"n* 



• \ 



48 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 

army. In that battle Eling Harald Sigurdson felL After 
the death of the King, Eystein Orri and the Earls arrived 
from the ship, and made a stout resistance. There Eystein 
Orri fell, and almost the whole army of the Northmen with 
him. 

After the battle King Harald (Godwinson) permitted 
Olaf, the son of King Harald Sigurdson, and the Earls to 
leave England, with all the troops that had not fled. Olaf 
sailed in the autumn fix)m Hrafnseyri ^ to the Orkneys. The 
same day and at the same hour as King Harald fell, his 
daughter Maria died, and it is said that they had but one life. 

Olaf spent the winter in the Orkneys, and was very 
friendly to the Earls, his kinsmen. Th6ra, the mother of 
King Olaf, and Ingibiorg, the mother of the Earls, were 
daughters of two brothers. In the spring Olaf went to 
Norway, and was made King along with his brother Magnus. 

While the brothers (Paul and Erlend) ruled the Orkneys 
they agreed extremely well a long time ; but when their 
sons came to manhood Erling and Hakon became very 
violent. Magnus was the quietest of them alL They were 
aU. men of large stature, and strong, and accomplished in 
everything. Hakon, Paul's son, wished to take the lead among 
his brothers ; he considered himself of higher birth than the 
sons of Erlend, as he was the daughter's son of Earl Hdkon 
Ivar's son, and Eagnhild, the daughter of King Magnus the 
Good. Hakon wished his friends to have the Uon's share of 
everything before those who leant to the sons of Erlend, but 
Erlend did not like his sons to be inferior to any in the 
Islands. Matters went so far that the kinsmen could not be 
together without danger. Then their fathers persuaded them 
to compose their diflferences. A meeting was appointed, 
but it soon became apparent that each [of the fathers] 
was inclined to take the part of his sons, and therefore 
they did not agree. Thus dissensions arose between the 
brothers, and they parted without coming to an agreement, 
which was by many considered a great misfortune. 

* Fordon (v. cap. L) records the landing of Macduff " at Ravynsore in 
England. " Camden mentions a place on Holderness, at the mouth of the 
Hmnber, fonnerly called Ravensere. It no longer exists, having been de- 
stroyed by the encroachments of the sea. 






A MEETING OF PjJA$4?-':i •' • "4ft' iC 



' - , • 



>••-«• •<•• If • 



CHAPTER XXV. 

A MEETING OF PEACE. 

After this well-disposed men interfered and tried to reconcile 
them. A meeting for reconciliation was appointed in 
Hrossey,^ and at that meeting they made peace on the 
understanding that the Islands should be divided in two 
shares, as they had been between Thorfinn and Bnisi, and 
thus matters stood for a while. 

"When Hakon had arrived at the age of manhood he was 
continually on war expeditions. He became a very violent 
man, and greatly molested those who adhered to Erlend and 
his sons ; and this went so far that they came to open 
enmity a second time, and attacked each other with numerous 
troops. Havard, Gunnar*s son, and all the principal friends 
of the Earls, consulted once more and tried to make peace 
between them. This time Erlend and his sons refused to 
make peace if Hdkon remained in the Islands ; and because 
their friends considered their quarrels so dangerous to them- 
selves, they besought Hdkon not to let the condition that he 
should leave the Islands for a time stand in the way of 
peaca Then, by the advice of good men, they became 
reconciled. 

After this Hdkon left the Islands, and first went east to 
Norway, and saw there King Olaf Kyrri (the qidet), and 
stayed with him for a whUe. This was towards the end of 
his reign. After that he went east to Sweden to Eong Ingi, 
Steinkel's son, who received him welL He found friends 
and kinsmen there, and was highly honoured on accoimt of 
the esteem in which Hakon, his mother^s father, was held. 
He had possessions from Steinkel, the King of the Swedes, 
ever since he was banished by King Harald, Sigurd's son, 
and became greatly beloved both by the King and the 
people. A second daughter's son of Earl Hdkon, Ivar's son, 
was Hdkon who was called the Norwegian; he was the 
father of King Eirfk Spaki (the wise), who was King of 
Denmark after Eirik Eymimi (the ever-remembered). 

' Now called the Mamland of Orkney. 

E 



• ••«••• • •••• • 

• • • ^ • • •• 



• - • « 









* * « • 



* • • • _• * 



>fS<J: ' I: •:••*: cJipTEYiNGA saga. 



4 



Hdkon remained in Sweden for a while, and was well 
treated by King Ingi. But when some time had passed in 
this way he felt so home-sick that he wanted to go west again 
to the Islands. Christianity then was young, and newly 
planted in Sweden. Many men still dabbled in ancient 
lore, and were persuaded that by such means they were able 
to ascertain future events. King Ingi was a good Christian 
man, and loathed aU those that meddled in ancient [super- 
stitious] lore, and made strenuous efforts to abolish the evil 
customs which for a long time had accompanied heathen- 
ism; but the chiefs and leading Boendr murmured loudly 
if they were reproved for their evil habits, and at last 
matters went so far that the Boendr elected another King, 
Swein, the brother of the Queen, who permitted them to 
make sacrifices, and was therefore caUed "Sacrificing Swein." 
Eling Ingi had to flee from him to Western Gautland (Goth- 
land) ; but their dealings ended thus, that King Ingi caught 
Swein by surprise in a house, and burnt the house and 
him in it After this he subdued the whole country, and 
uprooted many wicked customs. 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 

OF THE WORDS OF THE SPAE-MAN. 

When Hakon, Paul's son, was in Sweden he had heard of a 
man in that country who practised sorcery and spae-craft, 
whether he used for those purposes witchcraft or other 
magical arts. Hdkon became very curious to see this man, 
and anxious to know what he could ascertain about his 
future. So he went in search of the man, and at last he 
found him in a seaside district, where he went from one 
feast to another, and foretold the seasons and other things to 
the country people. When Hakon had found this man, he 
iuquired of him whether he would succeed in r^aining his 
dominions, or what other fortune awaited h\m. The spae- 
man asked him who he was, and he told him his name and 
family — that he was the daughter's son of Hdkon, Ivar's son. 
The spae-man then said: "Why should you ask foresight 



WIUM^^dM^A.^H^ 



OF THE WORDS OF THE SPAE-MAN. 51 

or knowledge of the future from me? You know well 
that your kinsmen have had little liking for such men as I 
am ; and yet it might be necessary for you to try to ascertain 
your fate from your friend, Olaf the Stout, in whom aU your 
faith is placed ; but I suspect that he would not condescend 
to teU you what you are anxious to know, or else he may 
not be so mighty as you call him." 

Hdkon answered : " I will not reproach him, and I should 
rather think I was not worthy to learn wisdom from him, 
than that he was incapable ; so that I might learn from him 
for that matter. But I have come to you, because I thought 
that we had no reason to envy each other on account of 
virtue or religion.** 

The spae-man replied : " I am glad to find that you place 
your entire trust in me, and not in that faith which you and 
your kinsmen profess. Truly they who apply themselves 
to such things are strange men. They keep fasts and vigils, 
and believe that by such means they will be able to ascer- 
tain that which they desire to know; but the more they 
apply themselves to these things, the less they ascertain of 
what they wish to know when it is most important to them 
to know it. But we undergo no bodily pains, yet we always 
obtain knowledge of those things which it is of importance 
to our friends not to be ignorant of. Now matters will go 
betwfeen us in this way, that I shall help you because I 
understand that you think you will rather obtain the truth 
from me than from the preachers of King Ingi, in whom he 
puts his entire trust. After three nights* time you shall 
come to me, and then we shall try whether I may be able 
to teU you any of the things you wish to know.** 

Upon this they parted, and Hdkon stayed in the dis- 
trict When three nights had passed, he went again to see 
the spae-man. He was in a certain house alone, and groaned 
heavily as Hakon entered. He passed his hand across his 
forehead, and said that it had cost him much pain to obtain 
the knowledge which Hakon desired. Hakon then said he 
wished to hear his future. 

The spae-man said : " If you wish your whole fate un- 
folded, it is long to teU, for there is a great future in store 
for you, and grand events will happen at certain periods of 



52 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

your life. I foresee that you will at last become the sole 
ruler of the Orkneys ; but you will perhaps think you have 
long to wait. I also see that your sons wiU rule there. Your 
next journey to the Orkneys wiU be a very eventful one, 
when its consequences appear. In your days you wiU also 
commit a crime/ for which you may or may not obtain 
pardon from the God in whom you beUeve. Your steps go 
farther out into the world than I am able to trace, yet I 
think you will rest your bones in the northern parts. Now 
I have told you what has been given me to teU you at this 
time, but what satisfaction you may have derived from your 
visit rests with yourself." 

Hakon replied : " Great things you have foretold, if they 
turn out to be true ; but I think my fate will prove itself 
better than you have said ; and perhaps you have not seen 
the trutL" 

The spae-man said he was free to believe what he liked 
of it, but that such events would not the less surely come 
to pass. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

OF THE SCHEMES OF HAKON, PAUL'S SON. 

After this Hdkon went to see King Ingi, and stayed with 
him a short while. Then he obtained leave from the King 
to depart. He went first to Norway to see his kinsman. 
King Magnus, who received him very welL There he 
heard that the government of the Orkneys was almost 
exclusively in the hands of Earl Erlend and his sons, and 
that they were greatly loved, but that his father Paul took 
little part in the government. He also thought he could 
perceive from conversations with men from the Orkneys, 
who gave him a true account of the state of matters, that 
the Orkneymen had no desire for his return home. They 
were living in peace and quiet, and were afraid that Hakon's 
return would give rise to disturbance and strife. When 
Hakon was turning this over in his mind, he thought it 
likely that his kinsmen would try to keep him out of his 

^ The reference here most be supposed to be to the murder of St Magnus. 



— -^ %iMUK — nnu» - ,^'VWjJBJ—j»'"^-.i]BJW- ■ ,11.^ ^^JJCiTO' 



HAKON's interview with king MAGNUS. 53 

possessions, and that it would be dangerous for him if he 
did not go west with a numerous retinue. Then he devised 
a scheme to induce King Magnus to put him into his pos- 
sessions in the Orkneys. 



CHAPTEE XXVIII. 

HAKON*S INTERVIEW WITH KING MAGNUS. 

This was after King Magnus had put Steigar Th6rir and 
Egil to death, and put down aU opposition to his rule. 
Hakon was a sagacious man, and he thought he could 
understand from King Magnus's conversation that he was 
ambitious of grand undertakings, and covetous of the pos- 
sessions of other rulers. Hakon began to teU the King that 
it would be a princely feat to make an expedition to the 
west, and subdue the Islands, as Harald the Fairhaired had 
done. He also said that if he established his power in the 
Sudreyar (Hebrides), he might easily make forays into 
Ireland and Scotland from them. Then, having subdued 
the western countries, he might attack the English, with the 
help of the Northmen, and thus take revenge for his grand- 
father Harald, Sigurd's son. 

Wlien they were speaking about these things, it became 
evident that the King was pleased with this proposal, and 
said it was spoken like a nobleman, and quite according to 
his own mind. "But I wish you not to be surprised, 
Hakon," said the King, " in case I shall be persuaded by 
your words to cany an anny into the west, if I put forward 
a strong claim to the possessions there, without regard to 
the claims of any man." 

When Hakon heard thip suggestion, he was not so weU 
pleased, because he suspected the real meaning of the King's 
words ; and after this he no longer persuaded the King to 
go ; neither was it required, for after their conversation, the 
King sent messages throughout his dominions to make 
known that he was soon to lead out an expedition, and then 
he made it known to the people that he was going to the 
west, whatever might be the result. Preparations were 



54 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

made for the expedition throughout the whole kingdom. 
King Magnus took with him his son Sigurd, who was eight 
winters old, and a hopeful boy. 



CHAPTEE XXIX. 

THE WESTERN EXPEDITION OF MAGNUS BAEELEGS. 

When the brothers Paul and Erlend ruled the Orkneys, King 
Magnus came from Norway. He had a large army. Many 
of his vassals followed him, among whom were Vidkunn 
Jonsson, Sigurd Hrani's son, Serk from Sogn, Dag Eilif s 
son, Skapti from Gizki, Ogmund, Finn and Th6rd, Eyvind 
Olnbogi (the King's High Steward), Kali, Snsebiom's son 
from Agdir, the son of Thorleif Sptdd (the wise) who was 
maimed by Hallfred, and Kol his son. Kali was a very 
wise man, much esteemed by the king, and made verses well. 
When King Magnus came to the Orkneys, he seized the 
Earls Paul and Erlend, and sent them east to Norway, but 
placed his son Sigurd over the Isles, and gave him coun- 
sellors. King Magnus went to the Sudreyar (Hebrides), 
accompanied by Magnus and Erling, the sons of Earl Erlend, 
and Hakon, Paul's son. But when King Magnus came to 
the Islands, he began hostilities first at Li6dhxi8 (Lewis), and 
gained a victory there. In this expedition he subdued the 
whole of the Sudreyar, and seized Logman, the son of 
Gudrod, King of the Western Islands. Thence he went to 
Bretland (Wales), and fought a great battle in Anglesea 
Sound with two British chiefs^ — Hugh the Stout and Hugh 
the Bold. When the men took up their arms and buckled 
for the fight, Magnus, Erlend's son, sat down on the foredeck, 
and did not take his arms. The King asked why he did not 

* *« HuglL the Stout " was Hugh, Earl of Chester ; and ** Hugh the Bold," 
Hugh of Montgomery, Earl of Salop. According to Ordericus Vitalis, King 
Magnus came into the Menai Straits vnih only six ships, canying a red shield 
on the mast as a sign of peace and commercial intercourse. The Welsh King 
Griffith was at that time engaged in war with the Norman Earls above men- 
tioned, who had invaded his territories, and advanced as far as the Straits, 
when the arrival of King Magnus gave an unexpected turn to the course of 
events, in the death of the Earl of Montgomery, as here narrated. 



IV'^. I r ■ ■■ a^ll 



kali's death. 55 

do so. He said he had nothing against any one there^ and 
would not therefore fight. 

The King said : " Go down below, and do not lie among 
other people's feet if you dare not fight, for I do not believe 
that you do this fipom reKgious motives.** 

Magnus took a psalter and sang during the battle, and 
did not shelter himself. The battle was long and fiercely 
contested, and both swords and missiles were used. For a 
long time the result of the battle was doubtful King 
Magnus shot from a bow, and a man from Halogaland^ was 
with him. Hugh the Bold fought valiantly. He had a 
suit of armour which covered him entirely, except his eyes. 
King Magnus ordered the man from Hdlogaland to shoot at 
the same time as he did, and they shot both at once. One 
of the arrows struck the nose-piece of the helmet, and the 
other pierced the eye, and that was said to be the king's 
arrow. 



CHAPTEE XXX. 

kali's death. 

After Hugh's death the British (Normans) fled, and King 
Magnus obtained a great victory. He lost there many brave 
men, and many others were wounded. Kali had received 
many wounds, but none mortal After the battle King 
Magnus sailed from the south along the coasts of Bretland 
and Scotland, having conquered all the Sudreyar and 
Anglesea, which is one-third of Bretland. 

King Magnus had appointed Magnus, Erlend's son, as one 
of the waiters at his table, and he performed continually the 
duties of that oflBce ; but after the battle in Anglesea Sound 
the king showed that Magnus had incurred his serious dis- 
pleasure. He had not been wounded, although he had not 
sheltered himself. During the night he stole away fipom the 
King, and hid himself for some time in the woods, while the 
King's men made a search for him. Magnus made his way 
to the court of Malcolm,^ the King of Scots, and remained 

^ Hdlogaland, the most northern part of Norway. 

' The Saga writer (says Munch) has been here misled by the Scottish deno- 



56 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

there a while. For some time he was with a certain bishop 
in Bretland. He was also in England ; but he did not come 
to the Orkneys while King Magnus was alive. 

King Magnus held northward, along the coasts of Scot- 
land, and messengers came to him from Malcolm, the King 
of Scots, to ask for peace. They said that the King of Scots 
was willing to give him all the islands lying west of Scot- 
land, between which and the mainland he could pass in a 
vessel with the rudder shipped. Thereupon King Magnus 
landed in Satiri (Kintyre), and had a boat drawn across the 
neck (isthmus) of Satiri,^ he himself holding the helm, and 
thus he gained possession of the whole of Satiri, which is 
better than the best island of the Sudreyar, Man excepted. 
It is in the west of Scotland, and on the land side there is a 
narrow isthmus, across which vessels are frequently drawn. 
Thence King Magnus went to the Sudreyar, and sent his men 
into Scotland's Fiord.^ They rowed in along one coast and 
out along another, and thus took possession of all the islands 
west of Scotland. 

Then the King made it known that he was going to 
spend the winter in the Sudreyar, but gave permission to those 
who had most urgent business to go home. When the troops 
knew this, they all wished to go home, and murmured greatly 
at being longer detained. The King then held a council with 
his advisers, and looked at the wounds of his men. He saw 

inination of the reigning monarch, Edgar MacMalcolm. Malcolm Canmore 
died in 1093, the year of King Magnus's first expedition to the west. The 
seoond expedition, which was in 1098, was the one in which he fought with 
the two Norman Earls in Anglesea Sound. The events of the two expeditions 
are here mixed up together, and the references to Malcolm Canmore do not 
synchronise with either. It is possible that the offer of the islands (as here 
mentioned) may have come to King Magnus from Donald Bane, the brother 
of King Malcolm, to secure the support of King Magnus in his attempt to retain 
the throne against Edgar, although the incident of the drawing of the boAt across 
the isthmus may have taken place in the reign of Edgar. The ** Fagrskinna '* 
(p. 166) adds that King Malcolm of Scotland sent his daughter out to the 
Orkneys to be married to Magnus's son Sigurd, he being then nine and she 
five years of age, and that he left her in the Orkneys when he went to Norway. 
The author has confounded Malcolm with M^kiartan. 

^ Pennant mentions (1772) that not long previously it was customary for 
vessels of nine or ten tons to be drawn across the isthmus by horses, in order 
to avoid the dangerous and circuitous passage round the MulL 

' Scotland's Firth — the channel between the west coast of Scotland and 
the Hebrides. 



^y* - 



BIRTH OF KALI, SON OF KOL. 57 

Kali, and asked about his wounds. Kali said they did not 
heal weU, and that he did not know what the end would be. 
The King asked for his advice. Kali said : " Is it not so 
that your friends are now failing you?" The King said he 
did not think so. Kali asked him to hold a wapinschaw, 
and thus to ascertain the number of his troops. This the 
King did ; then he missed many men. This he told to Kali. 
Then KaU sang : 

How do thy great chiefs repay thee 
For the bounties lavished on them 1 
Now, King, of this make trial — 
On western currents ships are shaken. 

The King replied : 

Surely it was in my folly 
That my wealth I gave to these men ; 
Yet my long ships, swiftly speeding, 
Still shall dimb the chilly billows. 

After this the King kept a watch to prevent men fipom 
deserting. 

When King Magnus was in the Sudreyar, he obtained 
the hand of Biadmonia, the daughter of M3h*kiartan,^ the son 
of Thialbi, the King of the Irish in Kunnattir (Connaught), 
for his son Sigurd, who was then nine winters old, and she 
five. This winter Kali died from his wounds. Sigurd Sneis 
(slice), Kali's kinsman, a Lenderman from Agdir, had fallen 
in Anglesea Sound. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

BIKTH OF KAU, SON OF KOL. 

Eaely in the spring King Magnus left the Sudreyar, and 
went first to the Orkneys, where he heard of the death of the 
Earls. Erlend died in Nidar6s,^ and was buried there ; and 
Paul died in Biorgvin (Bergen). Then King Magnus married 
Gimnhild, the daughter of Earl Erlend, to Kol, Kali's son, in 

1 Muircearteach, grandson of Brian Boroirahe, King of Munster. 

' Now Drontheim, so called because situated at the mouth of the Kid. 



58 ORKNETINGA SAGA. 

order to compensate him for (the loss of) his father. Her 
dowry consisted of possessions in the Orkneys, including a 
farm at PapuL^ Some say that ErKng, Eriend's son, feU in 
Anglesea Sound, but Snorri Sturluson says he fell in Uladstir^ 
with King Magnus. At his wedding Kol became King 
Magnus's vassal Afterwards he went to Norway with the 
King, and home to Agdir with his wife, and went to reside 
at his estates there. Kol and Gunnhild had two children ; 
their son was called Kali, and their daughter Ingirid. They 
were both very promising children, and brought up with 
affectionate care. 



CHAPTEE XXXII. 

SIGUED MADE KING. 

When Magnus had been king nine winters, he went to the 
west, and made war in Ireland, and spent the winter in 
Kimndttir (Connaught). The next summer, on St Bartho- 
lomew's Day, he fell in XJladstir (XJlster). When Sigurd 
heard in the Orkneys of the death of his father, he went 
immediately to Norway, and was made king, along with his 
brothers Eystein and Olaf. He had left the daughter of 
the Irish king in the west. 

One winter or two after the death of King Magnus, 
Hdkon, Paul's son, came from the west, and the kings 
gave him an earl's title and possessions beseeming his birth. 
Then he returned to the west and took possession of the 
Orkneys. He had always accompanied King Magnus while 
he was alive. He was with him in his expedition to Gaut- 
land, which is mentioned in the song m^de about Hakon, 
Paul's son. 



CHAPTEE XXXIII. 

MAGNUS (eELEND'S SON) OBTAINS THE TITLE OF EARL. 

When Earl Hakon had ruled the Orkneys for some time, 
Magnus, the son of Earl Erlend, came from Scotland, and 

^ See note at p. 38. ' Ulster, in Ireland. 



••f'-^ »«,p 



OP EAEL MAGNUS, ERLEND's SON. 59 

wished to take possession of his patrimony. The Bcendr 
were highly pleased with this, for he was beloved among them, 
and had many kinsmen and connections who wished to help 
him to his dominions. His mother was married to a man 
called Sigurd. Their son was named Hakon Karl (man). 
They had estates in PapnL When Earl Hakon heard that 
Earl Magnus had come to the Orkneys, he collected men 
together, and refused to give up any part of the Islands. 
But their Mends tried to make peace between them, and at 
last they succeeded so far that Hdkon consented to give up 
half of his dominions if the Kings of Norway approved of it. 
Magnus went immediately to Norway to see King Eystein, 
for King Sigurd had then gone to Jerusalem.^ King Eystein 
received him exceedingly well, and gave up to him his patri- 
mony, one-half of the Orkneys, with the title of EarL 
Thereupon Magnus went west to his dominions, and his kins- 
men and friends and all the people were glad to see him back. 
Through the kind oflSces of mutual friends, Magnus and 
Hakon agreed very weU. So long as their friendship con- 
tinued there were good times and peace in the Orkneys. 



CHAPTEE XXXIV. 

OF EARL MAGNUS (eRLEND'S SON). 

The holy Magnus, Earl of the Islands, was a most excel- 
lent man. He was of large stature, a man of a noble 
presence and intellectual countenance. He was of blameless 
life, victorious in battles, wise, eloquent, strong-minded, 
liberal and magnanimous, sagacious in counsels, and more 
beloved than any other man. To wise men and good he was 
gentle and affable in his conversation ; but severe and un- 
sparing with robbers and vikings. Many of those who 
plundered the landowners and the inhabitants of the land 
he caused to be put to death. He also seized murderers and 
thieves, and punished rich and poor impartially for robberies 
and thefts and aU crimes. He was just in his judgments, 

^ King Sigurd, the Jorsalafarer, set out on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 
1107. 



60 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

and had more respect to divine justice than diflference in the 
estates of men. He gave large presents to chiefs and rich men, 
yet the greatest share of his liberality was given to the poor. 
In all things he strictly obeyed the divine conmiands ; and 
he chastened his body in many things, which in his glorious 
life were known to God, but hidden from men. Thus, he 
made known his intention to espouse a maiden of a most 
excellent family in Scotland, and having celebrated his 
marriage, he lived with her for ten winters free from the 
defilement of carnal lusts, for he was pure and spotless with 
regard to aU such sins, and if he were tempted, he bathed in 
cold water, and prayed for divine assistance. Many other 
glorious virtues he exhibited to God himself, but concealed 
from men. ' 



CHAPTEE XXXV. 

OF MAGNUS AND HAKON. 

Magnus and Hakon ruled their Ijmds and defended them for 
some time, the two agreeing very weU. In a song made 
about them, it is said that they fought with a chief called 
Diifnidl, their third cousin, who feU before them. They 
also slew a famous man named Thorbiom, in Borgarfiord,^ in 
Hjaltland. Other deeds of theirs are set forth in song, 
though not specially narrated here. When they had ruled 
the land for some time, it happened, as often is the case, that 
men of evU dispositions were found who destroyed their good 
understanding. Hakon was more disposed to listen to these 
miserable men, because he was very jealous of the popularity 
and greatness of his kinsman Magnus. 

1 Borgarfiord, the " fiord of the Borg,** now Burra Firth, on the west side 
of the Mainland of Shetland, so named by the Norsemen on account of the 
** borg," or " Pictish tower," which still stands on the little holm of Hebrista, 
though greatly ruined. It is probable that the reason of Thorbiom*8 connec- 
tion with Borgarfiord was its afibrding him and his followers a shelter and 
defensive position in the borg. The old name Borgarfiord occurs in a docu- 
ment in the Norse language dated 1299. It is a record drawn up in the 
Lagthing of certain charges made against Herr Thorvald Thoresson, by a 
woman named Ragnhild Simonsdatter, who accuses him of malversation of the 
land-rents of Brekasettr. {Diplom. Korvegicum, vol. L p. 81.) Harald of 
Borgarfiord in Shetland witnesses a document in 1498. 



OF EARL MAGNUS. 61 



CHAPTEE XXXVI. 

OF EAKL MAGNUS. 

Two men with Earl Hakon are chiefly mentioned as being 
the worst in creating enmity between the two kinsmen. 
These were Sigurd and Sighvat Sokki (sock). Through the 
slander of wicked men this enmity went so far that the Earls 
gathered troops together and went to meet each other. Both 
went to Hrossey, where the Orkney Thingstead ^ was, and 
when they arrived there, both drew up their troops in battle 
array, and prepared to fight. There were both the Earls and 
all the chief men, many (of whom) were friends of both, and 
did all they could to make peace between them, showing 
much goodwiU and virtuous disposition. This meeting was 
during Lent But, as many well-disposed men joined them- 
selves together to avert hostilities between them, and to 
assist neither of them against the other, they confirmed their 
reconciliation with oaths and shaking of hands. 

Some time after this. Earl H4kon, with hypocrisy and 
fair words, appointed a day of meeting with the blessed Earl 
Magnus, so that their friendship and the newly-made peace 
should neither be disturbed nor destroyed. This meeting, 
which was to confirm their peace and reconciliation, should 
take place in the spring, in the Pasch week, in Egilsey.* 
Earl Magnus was weU pleased with this arrangement, as he 
thought it was meant to confirm a sincere peace, without any 
suspicions, treachery, or covetousness. Each of them should 

^ The place where the Orkney Things were held is nowhere more particu- 
larly indicated. Stennis has been suggested, on the supposition that the great 
stone circle there would have been thus utilised by the Northmen. It does 
not appear, however, that the occasion on which Havard, son of Thorfinn 
Hausakliuf, was killed at " Steinsness " was a Thing meeting there, and this 
is the only occasion on which Stennis is mentioned in the whole of the 
FlateyjarlxSk. **Tingwale," in the parish of Bendale, occurs in the Orkney 
Land List of 1502. This seems to be the only trace of the old Thing-voU in 
Hrossey. 

' Egilsey, in Jo. Ben's description of the Orkneys (1529) called *' Insularum 
£cclesia,'* is regarded by Munch as deriving its name not from the Norse 
proper name Egil, but from the Irish EaglaiSf a church. '* To this day," he 
says, " Egilsey contains a church shown by its construction to have been built 
before the Northmen arrived in Orkney, or at all events to belong to the more 
ancient Christian Celtic population. (See under ** Egilsey" in the Introduction). 



62 ORKNBYTNGA SAGA. 

have two ships and an equal number of men (at the confer- 
ence). Both swore to keep the peace, on conditions dictated 
by the wisest men. 

Inmiediately after Easter, preparations were made for the 
meeting. Earl Magnus sunmioned all those whom he knew 
to be best disposed to him, and most likely to make matters 
smooth between them. He had two ships, and ae many men 
as had been agreed upon, and when he was ready he went 
to Egilsey. As they were rowing in calm and smooth water, 
a great wave rose under the ship, which was steered by the 
Earl, and broke over it where he sat His men wondered 
very much at such an occurrence, — that a breaker should rise 
in smooth water where no man could remember a breaker to 
have arisen, and where the water was so deep. Then the 
Earl said: "No wonder that you are surprised at this. 
Indeed, I take this as a foreboding of my deatL Perhaps 
it wiU come to pass as was prophesied about Earl Hdkon, 
and this may be to prepare us for Hakon, my kinsman, not 
dealing honestly with me at this meeting." The Earl's men 
became very sorrowful when he spoke of his death being 
near at hand, and begged him to take care of his life, and 
not to trust himself to the good faith of Earl Hdkon* Earl 
Magnus answered : " Let us go this time, and let aU that 
depends on our journey be in God's wilL" 



CHAPTEE XXXVII. 

EARL HAKON AND EAEL MAGNUS. 

Now it is to be told of Earl Hakon that he gathered together 
a numerous army, and had many ships equipped as if for 
battle. And when the troops were assembled, he made 
known to his men that he intended that this meeting should 
decide between him and Earl Magnus, so that both of them 
should not rule over the Orkneys. Many of his men 
approved of this plan, adding many wicked suggestions to 
it, yet Sigurd and Sighvat Sokki counselled the worst things. 
Then they began to row fast, and went along quickly. 
Hdvard, Gunnai's son, who ^ras the friend and counsellor of 



THE OFFEKS OF EAKL MAGNUS. 63 

the Earls, and equally faithful to both, was on board the 
EarFs ship. Hakon had concealed this wicked plan from 
him, in which he would by no means have had any part. 
And when he knew that the Earl was so resolute in this 
wicked purpose, he jumped overboard, and swam to a certain 
uninhabited island. 

Earl Magnus arrived first with his men at Egilsey, and 
when they saw Earl Hakon coming they perceived that he 
had eight war-ships. Then Earl Magnus suspected that he 
intended to act treacherously towards him. So he walked 
along the island with his men, and went into the church to 
pray. His men oflFered to defend him. The Earl replied : 
" I will not put your lives in danger for mine, and if peace 
cannot be established between us, let it be as God wills." 
His men now recognised the truth of his words, and as he 
foreknew the hours of his life — ^whether from his wisdom or 
from a divine revelation — ^he would neither fly nor avoid his 
enemies. He prayed devoutly, and had a mass sung for him. 



CHAPTER XXXVIIL 

THE OFFERS OF EABL MAGNUS. 

Hakon and his men came up in the morning, and ran first 
to the church and ransacked it, but did not find the Earl. 
He had gone to another part of the island, to a certain hiding- 
place, accompanied by two men. But when the holy Earl 
Magnus saw that they searched for him, he cedled to them, 
and thus made known to them where he was, and said they 
need search no farther. And when Hakon saw him, he and 
his men ran thither with loud yelling and clangour of their 
weapons. 

Earl Magnus was praying when they came up to him, 
and when he had finished his prayer he made the sign 
of the cross, and said firmly to Earl Hakon : *' You did not 
act well, kinsman, when you broke your oaths, and it is 
highly probable that you were instigated to this more by the 
wickedness of others than your own. Now, I will make you 



64 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

three offers, that you may rather accept one of them than 
break your oaths, and slay me who am innocent" 

Hakon's men asked what these offers were. 

" The first is, that I shall go to Rome, or away to Jeru- 
salem, and visit the holy places, taking with me two ships 
from the Orkneys, with the necessary equipment for the 
journey, and obtain benefits for the souls of us both. I shall 
swear never to return to the Orkneys." 

This offer was promptly rejected. 

Then said Earl Magnus : " Now, because my life is in 
your power, and I have offended against Almighty God in 
many things, you shall send me to Scotland, to our mutual 
friends, and keep me in custody there, with two men for 
companionship. Make such provision that I shall not be 
able to escape from this custody." 

This too was promptly refused. 

Magnus then said : " There is yet one more offer which 
I will make, and God knows that I think more of your soul 
than of my own life, for it were better that you should do as I 
shall offer you than that you should take my life. Let me 
be maimed as you like, or deprived of my eyes, and throw 
me into a dark dungeon." 

Then said Earl HAkon : " This offer I accept, and I ask 
for no more." 

But the chiefs started up and said to Earl Hakon : " One 
of you will we kill now, and from this day you shall not 
both rule the lands of the Orkneys." 

Earl Hdkon replied : " Slay him then, for I will rather 
have earldom and lands than instant death." 

Thus their conversation was related by Holdbodi, a truth- 
ful Bondi in the Sudreyar, who was one of the two of Earl 
Magnus's men who were with him when he was taken. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE BEHEADING OF EARL MAGNUS. 

The worthy Earl Magnus was as cheerful as if he were 
invited to a banquet, and spoke neither words of offence nor 



THE SAINTSHIP OF EARL MAGNUS MADE MANIFEST. 65 

anger. After these words had passed, he fell on his knees 
to pray, hiding his face in his hands, and shedding many 
tears before God. Then, when the holy Earl Magnus was 
thus doomed to death, Hakon ordered his banner-bearer, 
Ofeig, to slay the Earl, but he refused, with the utmost 
wrath. Then forced he Llf61f, his cook, to be the slayer of 
Magnus, but he began to weep aloud. " Weep not thus," 
said Earl Magnus, "for this is an honourable task. Be 
firm, and you shall have my clothing, according to the 
custom and laws of the men of old. Be not afraid, for you 
do this against your wiU, and he who forces you sins more 
than you." 

When he had said this, he took off his tunic and gave it 
to Lif61f. Then he asked for permission to pray, which was 
granted to him. He fell upon the earth, and gave himself 
to God, oflfering himself as a sacrifice. He prayed not only 
for his friends, but also for his enemies and murderers, and 
forgave them, with aU his heart, their ofTences against him- 
self. He confessed his sins to God, and prayed that they 
might be washed from him in the shedding of his blood. 
He commended his spirit to God's keeping, and prayed that 
His angels might come to meet his soul and carry it into the 
rest of paradise. Some say that he took the sacrament when 
the mass was sung. Then, when God's friend was led to 
execution, he said to Lff61f : " Stand before me, and hew me 
a mighty stroke on the head, for it is not fitting that high- 
bom lords should be put to death like thieves. Be firm, 
poor man, for I have prayed to God for you, that he may 
have mercy upon you." After that he signed the sign of 
the cross, and stooped imder the blow, and his spirit passed 
into heaven. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE SAINTSHIP OF EAKL MAGNUS MADE MANIFEST. 

The place where Earl Magnus was slain was previously 
covered with moss and stones, but shortly afterwards his 
merits before God became manifest in this wise, that it be- 
came green sward where he was beheaded. Thus God 

F 



66 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

showed that he had suffered for righteousness' sake, and had 
obtained the beauty and verdure of paradise, which is called 
the land of the living. 

Earl Hakon did not permit his body to be brought to 
the church (for burial). 

The day of Earl Magnus's death was two days after 
Tiburtiusmas (14th April). Then he had been seven 
winters Earl in the Orkneys along with Earl Hakon. 
Seventy-four winters had passed since the death of King 
Olaf. The Kings of Norway were at this time Sigurd, 
Eystein, and Olaf. It was one thousand and ninety-one 
winters after the birth of Christ.^ 



CHAPTEE XU. 

THE earl's body BROUGHT TO CHUECH. 

Thora, the mother of Earl Magnus, had invited both the 
Earls to a banquet after their meeting, and Earl Hakon went 
there after the murder of the holy Earl Magnus. Thora 
herself served at the banquet, and brought the drink to the 
Earl and his men who had been present at the murder of her 
son. And when the drink began to have effect on the Earl, 

^ These dates are self-contradictory, and utterly irreconcilable. King 
Magnus Barelegs fell in Ireland in the year 1103 ; and it is stated in the Saga 
of Sigurd, the Jorsala-farer, that Hycou, Paul's son, came to Norway to King 
Sigurd "a year or two after King Magnus's fall." The King gave him the 
earldom and ^vemment of the Orkneys, and he went back immediately to 
Orkney. Then it is added that four years after the faU of King Magnus — that 
is, in 1107 — King Sigurd set out on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Now, it is 
mentioned in this Saga (cap. xxxiii.) that Earl Magnus went to Norway to see 
King Eystein, "for King Sigurd had then gone to Jerusalem." This must 
have been after 1107. King Eystein gave him his patrimony, one-half of the 
Orkneys. If his visit to Norway was in the year after King Sigurd's depar- 
ture, as seems likely from the narrative, or in 1108, and ** he had been seven 
winters Earl in the Orkneys along with Earl Hakon," this would bring the 
date of his death exactly to the year assigned in the Iceland Annals appended 
to the FlateyjarbiSk, or to 1115. The entry in the ** Annalar " for that year 
is : " Pindr enn heilagi Magnus jarl i Orkney ium." Torfmus dates this event 
in 1110. The Saga of St. Magnus says he had been twelve winters Earl of the 
Orkneys jointly with Hakon, counting evidently from the vacancy of the 
earldom in 1108 by the accession of Sigurd, Magnus' son, then Earl of the 
Orkneys, to the throne of Norway. This also gives the date 1116. 



MIRACLE-WORKING OF MAGNUS THE MARTYR. 67 

then went Th6ra before him and said : " You came alone here, 
my lord, but I expected j^u both. Now, I hope you will 
gladden me in the sight of God and men. Be to me in stead 
of a son, and I shall be to you in stead of a mother. I 
stand greatly in need of your mercy now, and (I pray you 
to) permit me to bring my son to church. * Hear this my 
supplication now, as you wish God to look upon you at the 
day of doom." 

The Earl became silent, and considered her case, as she 
prayed so meekly, and with tears, that her son might be 
brought to church. He looked upon her, and the tears fell, 
and he said, " Bury your son where it pleases you." 

Then the Earl's body was brought to Hrossey, and 
buried at Christ's Kirk (in Birsay), which had been built by 
Earl Thorfinn. 



CHAPTEE LXII. 

THE MIRACLE-WORKING OF MAGNUS THE MARTYR. 

Soon after this a heavenly light was seen above his burial- 
place. Then men who were placed in danger began to pray 
to him, and their prayers were heard. A heavenly odour 
was frequently perceived above his burial-place, from which 
people suffering from illness received health. Then sufferers 
made pilgrimages thither both from the Orkneys and Hjalt- 
land, and kept vigils at his grave, and were cured of all thieir 
sufferings.^ But people dared not make this known while 
Earl Hakon was alive. 

It is said of the men who were most guilty in the 
murder of the holy Earl Magnus that most of them met 
with a miserable death. 

^ A curious catalogue of cases in which diseased and infirm people were 
miraculously restored to health and vigour, after paying their vows at the 
shrine of St. Magnus, is given in the Magnus Saga. These pilgrims mostly 
came from Shetland. Two of the cases are interesting as affording the earliest 
notices of leprosy (likthrd) in Shetland — a disease which seems to have con- 
tinued in the Islands till towards the close of the last century. — (Sir James 
Simpson's Archeeological Essays — Leprosy and Leper Hospitals in Britain.) 
These cases appear to have been overlooked by Sir James. Schroder has pub- 
lished a curious Swedish version of the story of St Magnus, in which the 
account of his miracles is considerably varied. 



68 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTEE XLin. 

THE MIRACLES WROUGHT BY THE BLESSED FRIEND OF GOD, 

MAGNUS. 

William was Bishop of the Orkaeys at this time. He was 
the first bishop there. The bishop's seat was at Christ's 
Kirk in Birgish^rad (Birsay). William was bishop for six 
winters of the seventh decade.^ For a long time he dis- 
believed in the sanctity of Earl Magnus, until his merits 
became manifest to such a degree that God made his holi- 
ness grow the more conspicuous the more it was tried, as is 
told in the book of his miracles. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

THE JOURNEY OF EARL HAKON TO THE SOUTH. 

After the murder of Earl Magnus, Hakon, Pacul's son, took 
possession of all the Orkneys, and exacted an oath of fealty 
from all men, and took submission from those who had 
served Earl Magnus. He became a great chief, and made 
heavy exactions from those of Earl Magnus's friends who in 
his opinion had taken part against him. 

Some winters after this he prepared to leave the country, 
and went to Rome. Then he also went to Jerusalem, ac- 
cording to the custom of the pahners, and brought away 
sacred relics, and bathed in the river Jordan. After that 
he returned to his dominions, and resumed the government 
of the Orkneys. He became a good juler, and established 
peace throughout his dominions ; he also made new laws for 
the Orkneys, which the landowners liked better than the 

^ That is for sixty-six years. As William died, according to the Icelandic 
Annals, in 1168; and was bishop in the year of St Magnus's death, 1115, 
he was undoubtedly bishop for fifty-three years. That he was bishop for the 
long period of sixty-six years, as this passage seems to imply, may be open to 
some doubt. Munch supposes that the *' seventh decade " may be an error 
for ''sixth." This would place his consecration to the see of Orkney in 1112 ; 
but the Saga of St Magnus says he was bishop sixty-six years. 



GENBALOGICAL. 



69 



fonner ones. Then he became so popular that the Orkney- 
men desired no other rulers than Hakon and his issua 



CHAPTEE XLV. 



GENEALOGICAL. 



When Earl Hdkon ruled over the Orkneys there lived a noble 
and wealthy man, by name Maddan, at Dal (Dale), in Caith- 
ness. His daughters were Helga and Prdkork Th6rleif. Helga, 
Maddan's daughter, was the concubine of Earl Hdkon, and 
their son was Harald, who was called Sl^ttmdli (smooth-talker), 
and their daughter was Ingibiorg, who was married to Olaf 
Bitling (little bit), the King of the Sudreyar. Their second 
daughter was Margaret. Maddan's daughter, Frakork, was 
married to a man who was named Li6t Niding (miscreant), 
in Sutherland, and their daughter was Steinvor the Stout, 
who was married to Thorli6t, at Rekavlk.^ Their sons were 
Olvir Eosta (strife), Magnus Orm, and Maddan Eindridi, and 
then* daughter Audhild. A second daughter of Frdkork was 
Gudnin, married to Thorstein Hold, Fiaransmunn (open- 
mouth). Their son was Thorbiom Klerk (clerk). 

Hdkon, Paul's son, had a son named Paul, who was called 
Umdlgi (speechless) ; he was a reserved man, but popular. 
When the brothers grew up they never agreed. Hdkon, 
Paul's son, died on a sick-bed in the Islands, and his death 
was considered a great loss, for in the later days of his 
reign there was unbroken peace, and the Islanders suspected 
that the brothers would not agree well. 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

THE SLAYING OP THORKEL FOSTRI, 

After the death of Earl Hdkon, his sons succeeded him ; 
but they soon disagreed, and divided the dominions between 

^ Rekavik is either the modem Rackwick, on the northern point of the 
Island of Westray, in Orkney, or Rackwick, in the Island of Hoy ; more pro- 
bably the latter. 



70 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

• 

them. Then also dissensions arose between the great men, 
and the vassals of each were divided into factions. Earl 
Harald held Caithness from the King of the Scots, and he 
resided frequently there, but sometimes also in Scotland 
(Sutherland ?), for he had many friends and kinsmen there. 

"When Earl Harald was staying in Sutherland there came 
to him a man called Sigurd Slembir,^ who was said to be 
the son of the priest Adalbrekt. He came from Scotland, 
having been staying with King David, who had held him in 
high esteem. Earl Harald received him extremely welL 
Sigurd went into the Islands with Earl Harald and Frakork, 
Maddan's daughter, for her husband, Li6t Nfding, was dead. 
She and her sister took a large share in the government with 
Earl Harald. Sigurd Slembir was a great favourite with aU 
of them. At that time Audhild, the daughter of Th6rleif, 
Maddan's daughter, was his concubine. Afterwards she was 
married to Hakon K16 (claw). Before that time she had 
been married to Eirlk Streeta; their son was Eirik Slag- 
bellir. 

When Sigurd and Frdkork came to the Islands great 
dissensions arose, and both , of the Earls called together as 
many of their friends as they could get The most attached 
to Earl Paul was Sigurd, at Westness,^ who had married In- 
gibiorg the Noble, a kinswoman of the Earls', and Thorkel, 

^ Sigurd Slembir or Slembidiakn bad a most romantic history. In his 
youth he was considered the son of a priest, Adalbrekt by name, and was 
brought up for the church. His tastes appear to haye lain in quite another 
direction, however ; and he soon broke loose from the restraints of ecclesias- 
tical life. He gaye himself out as an illegitimate son of King Magnus Barelegs, 
and commenced a life of roving and adventure, visiting the Holy Land, and 
turning an honest penny occasionally by trading expeditions to Scotland, the 
Orkneys, Ireland, and Denmark. In the latter country he proved his pater- 
nity by the ordeal of hot iron, as King Harald Gilli had done. He then 
went to King Harald, and asked him to recognise him ; but instead of this 
he was placed on his trial for the slaying of Thorkel F6stri, Sumarlidi's son. 
He managed to make his escape by jumping overboard with two of his guards 
in his arms, and soon after returned and killed King Harald Gilli in his bed 
in Bergen. Then he tried to place Magnus the Blind on the throne by assist- 
ance from Denmark ; but the expedition was met on the south coast of Nor- 
way by the sons of King Harald, and totally defeated. Magnus was slain, 
and Sigurd Slembir was taken, and put to death with almost incredible tor- 
tures. (See the account of him in the Sagas of Magnus the Blind and the 
sous of Harald in the Heimskringla.) 

* Westness, in Rousey (Hrolfsey), see p. 73, 



mmmmmt^mmmmmffi'mmmmmi 



EARL HARALD SLAIN BY SORCERY. 71 

• 

Simiarlidi's son, who was always with Earl Paul, and was 
called his foster-father. He was a kinsman of the holy 
Earl Magnus, and a most popular man. The friends of the 
Earl thought that no man would less deplore their dissen- 
sions than Thorkel, because of the injury done him by their 
father Hakon. At last Earl Harald and Sigurd Slembir 
went to Thorkel F6stri,^ and slew him. When Earl Paul 
heard this, he was very much displeased, and gathered men 
together ; but when their mutual friends became aware of 
this, they went between them and tried to reconcile them ; 
and all took part in making peace. Earl Paul was so 
wroth that he would not make peace, unless aU those who 
were concerned in the manslaying were banished. But as 
the islanders thought their dissensions a great calamity, 
they all tried to pacify them; and the result was that 
Sigurd and all those who, in Earl Paid's opinion, were most 
concerned in this crime, were banished from the Orkneys. 
Earl Harald paid the manbote (compensation) for the slaughter 
of Thorkel. The terms of this peace were that their friend- 
ship shoidd be confirmed, and that they should spend Christ- 
mas and aU the chief festivals together. 

Sigurd Slembir left the Orkneys, and went to Scotland, 
and stayed for a while with Malcolm, King of Scots, and 
was well entertained. He was thought a great man in all 
manly exercises. He remained for a time in Scotland, until 
he went to Jerusalem. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

EARL HARALD SLAIN BY SORCERY. 

Once the brothers were to be entertained at Orfjara (Orphir), 
one of Earl Harald's estates, and he was to bear the expense 
of the entertainment for both of them that Christmas. He 
was very busy, and made great preparations. The sisters 
Frakork and Helga were there with the Earl, and sat sewing 

1 Thorkel F68tri Sumarlidi's son, foster-father to Earl Paul, not to be con- 
founded with Thorkel F6stri, Amundi's son, previously noticed as foster-father 
to Earl Thorfinn Sigurdson. 



72 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

in a Kttle room.^ Earl Harald went into the room where 
the sisters were sitting on a cross-bench, and saw a linen 
garment, newly made, and white as snow, lying between 
them. The Earl took it up, and saw that it was embroidered 
with gold. He asked, " To whom does this splendid thing 
belong ? " 

Frdkork replied, " It is intended for your lirother PauL" 

" Why do you make such a fine garment for him ? You 
do not take such pains in making my clothing." 

He had just come out of bed, and was dressed in a 
shirt and linen drawers, and had thrown a mantle over his 
shoulders. He threw off the mantle, and spread out the 
dress. His mother took hold of it, and asked him not to 
envy his brother of his fine clothing.' The Earl pulled it 
from her, and prepared to put it on. Then Frdkork snatched 
off her head-gear, and tore her hair, and said that his life 
was at stake if he put it on, and both of the women wept 
grievously. The Earl put on the garment nevertheless; but as 
soon as it touched his sides a shiver went through his body, 
which was soon followed by great pain, so that he had to 
take to his bed ; and he was not long in bed until he died. 
His friends considered his death a great loss. 

Immediately after his death his brother Paul took pos- 
session of his dominions, with the consent of the Bcendr. 
Earl Paul considered thitt the splendid underclothing which 
Earl Harald had put on had been intended for him, and 
therefore he did not like the sisters to stay in the Orkneys. 
So they left the Islands with all their attendants, and went 
first to Caithness, and then to Scotland to the estate which 
Frakork had there. Her son Erlend was brought up there 
wMle he was young. Olvir Eosta, the son of Thorli6t, from 
Eekavlk (Eackwick), and Steinnj^ (Steinvor?), Fr^kork's 
daughter, were also brought up there. Olvir was a man of 
great strength, a violent man and a great fighter. Thorbiom 
Klerk, the son of Thorstein Hold, was brought up there, 
and also Margaret, the daughter of Earl Khkon and Helga, 

^ Stofa. In the twelfth centoiy men began to liye more comfortably, and 
broke up their large halls into separate compartments. Thus, a portion of 
the SkiUi at the upper end, where the pall or dais was, was shut off, and 
called A^o. — (Dasent's preface to the Njals Saga.) 



OP EARL PAUL. 73 

Moddan's daughter, and Eirik Slagbrellir. All these were 
men of great families, and accomplished, and thought they 
had claims to the Orkneys. The brothers of Frakork were 
Magnus Orfi (the liberal) and Earl Ottar, in Th6rsey (Thurso), 
who was a noble man. 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

OF EAKL PAUL. 

Earl Paul then ruled the Orkneys, and was very popular. 
He was somewhat taciturn, spoke little at the Things, and 
gave others a large share in the government with himself 
He was a modest man, and gentle to the people, liberal.with 
his money, and spared nothing with his friends. He was not 
warlike, and kept himself very quiet. At that time there 
were many noble men descended from Earls in the Orkneys. 
Then there lived at Westness, in Hr6Ksey (Rousey), a noble 
man, by name Sigurd, who had married Ingibiorg the Noble. 
Her mother Herborg was the daughter of Earl Paul, Thorfinn's 
son. Their sons were BrynJTilf and Hdkon Pfk (peak). All 
these were Earl Paul's vaasals; so were also the sons of 
HAvard, Gunni's son — ^Hakon K16, Thorstein, and DAfnialL 
Their mother was Bergli6t, and her mother was Eagnhild, 
the daughter of Earl PauL There was a man named Erling, 
who lived in Caithness. He had four sons, aU of them 
accomplished men. A man named Olaf lived in Garek- 
sey (Gairsay), and had another estate at Dungalsbae, in 
Caithness. Olaf was a great man, and highly honoured by 
Earl PauL His wife was named Asleif, a wise woman, 
accomplished, and of a great family. Their sons — ^Valthi6f, 
Swein, and Gunni — ^were all accomplished men. Their sister 
was named Ingigerd. Sigurd, the Earl's brother-in-law, had 
married Th6ra, the mother of Earl Magnus, and their son 
was Hakon Karl (man). Both Sigurd and his son were 
great chiefs. In Efnarsey (North Ronaldsay) there lived a 
woman, by name Ragna, and her son was named Thorstein, 
a man of great strength. A farmer named Kugi, a wise and 



74 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

wealthy man, lived at Gefsisness/ in Westrey. A farmer 
named Helgi lived at a hamlet in Westrey. Thorkel Fl^tta 
(a braid), a violent and powerful man, lived in Westrey. 
Thorstein and Haflidi were impopular men. At Swiney 
(Swona), in the Pentland Firth, lived a poor man, and his 
sons were Asbiom and Margad, sturdy fellows. In Fridarey 
(Fair Isle) lived a man by name Dagfinn. A man named 
Thorstein lived at Fluguness,^ in Hrossey (the Mainland of 
Orkney), and his sons were Thorstein Krokauga (crooked 
eye) and Blan, both of them wUd fellows. Jatvor, the 
daughter of Earl Erlend, and her son Borgar, lived at Knar- 
rarstadir; ^ they were rather unpopular. J6n Voeng (wing) 
lived at Uppland, in Haey (Hoy). Eikgard lived at Brek- 
kur,* in Straumsey. They were poor men, and relatives of 
Olaf Hr61fsson. A man named GrfmkeU lived at Glet- 
tuness.^ AU these men will be mentioned in the saga 
afterwards. 

^ Gefsisness. No place answering to this name can now be traced in 
Westray, but a yarious reading of the passage has Reppisness ; and there is a 
place on the south-east aide of the island still called Rapness, probably the 
place here indicated. 

' Fluguness does not again occur in the saga, and has not been identified. 
It is the same as the Flydruness of p. 92. 

' Enarrarstadir seems to signify the district at the head of Scapa Bay, 
south of EirkwalL Munch derives the name from knOrTf a merchant-ship. 
It is said at p. 110 that Jdtvor and her son Boi^gar lived at Greitaberg, which 
seems to be the place now called (Catnip, on the east side of Scapa, anciently 
Scalpeid. 

* Brekkur in Straumsey may have been the name of a homestead in the 
island of Stroma. There is some confusion as to the locality, however. It is 
said in cap. Ixvii to have been in Stronsay. The name is not now recognis- 
able in either of the islands. 

' Glaitness, near Kirkwall, is probably the modem representative of the 
ancient Glettuness. In the testament of Sir David Synclair of Swynbrocht 
(Sumburgh, in Shetland), in the year 1506, there is a bequest '* to Thorrald 
of Brucht, and to his wife and his airis, ten merks land in Glaitness, and 
fifteen merks land in Linggo, with all guids there contenit, and twenty-two 
merks in Pappale, ten merks in Brucht." 



OF KALI AND GILLICHRIST. 75 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

OF KALJ, WHO AFTERWARDS BECAME AN EARL. 

KoL, who was a very wise man, resided on his estates at 
Agdir (in Norway), and did not go to the Orkneys. His son 
Kali grew up there, and was a most promising man. He 
was of middle size, well proportioned, and very handsomely 
shaped ; his hair was of a light auburn colour. He was very 
aflFable and popidar, and highly accomplished. He made the 
following verses : — 

At the game-board I am skilful ; 
Knowing in no less than nine arts ; 
Runic lore I well remember ; 
Books I like ; with tools I'm handy ; 
Expert am I on the snow-shoes, 
With the bow, and pull an oar well ; 
And, besides, I am an adept 
At the harp, and making verses. 

Kali was frequently with his kinsman Solmund, the son 
of Sigurd Sneis. He was treasurer at Tiinsberg, and had 
estates at Austragdir. He was a great chief, and had a 
numerous retinue. 

CHAPTER L. 

OF KALI AND GILLICHRIST. 

When Kali was fifteen winters old, he went with some 
merchants to England, taking with him a good (caigo of) 
merchandise. They went to a trading place called Grimsboe 
(Grimsby). There was a great number of people from Nor- 
way, as well as from the Orkneys, Scotland, and the Sudreyar. 
Kali met there a man who was called GiUichrist The latter 
asked Kali about many things in Norway, and spoke chiefly 
with him, so that they became companions. Then he told 
Kali in confidence that his name was Harald,^ that Magnus 
Barely was his father, and his mother was in the Sudreyar. 

^ Harald GiUichrist, who snbsequently became King of Norway, under the 
name of King Harald Gilli. See p. 84, note. 



76 OBKNEYINGA SAGA. 

I 

He further'asked him how he would be received in Norway 
if he came there. Kali said that he thought King Sigurd 
would be likely to receive him well, if others did not set him 
against him. GilUchrist and Kali exchanged presents, and at 
parting they promised each other mutual friendship wherever 
they might meet. 



CHAPTER LI. 

OF KALI AND JON. 

After that Kali went from the west in the same ship. 
They touched at Agdir, and from there they went to Bjor- 
gvin (Bergen). Then he made a stanza : — 

Unpleasantly we have been wading 
In the mud a weary five weeks. 
Dirt we had indeed in plenty, 
While we lay in Grimsby harbour ; 
But now on the moor of sea-gulls 
Ride we o'er the crests of billows, 
Gaily as the elk of bowsprits 
Eastward ploughs its way to Beigen. 

When they came to the town, there was a great number of 
people from the north and the south (of Norway), and from 
foreign lands, who had brought much merchandisa The 
crew of the ship went to some public places to amuse them- 
selves. Kali was a great dandy, and made a great display, 
as he was newly arrived from England. He thought a great 
deal of himself, and many others thought a great deal of him 
too, because he was of a good family, and highly accom- 
plished. In the inn where he sat drinking there was a man 
named J6n P^trsson, the son of Serk, from Sogn. He was 
the king's vassal at the time. His mother was Helga, the 
daughter of Hdrek, from Setr. J6n was a great dandy too. 
The dame who kept the inn where they were drinking was 
Unn by name, a woman of good repute. J6ntuid Kali soon 
became companions, and parted great friends. Whereupon 
J6n went home to his estates, and Kali went to his father, 
Kol, at Agdir. Kali stayed frequently with his kinsman 



KALI GOES INTO DOLLS CAVE. 77 

Solmiuid. Thus some years passed, in which Kali made 
trading trips during the summer, and spent the winters at 
home or with Sohnund. 



CHAPTER LII 

KALI GOES nrrO DOLLS CAVE. 

One summer Kali went to Thrdndheim ; he was detained by- 
weather in an island called DoUs, and there was a cave called 
DoUshellir. It was said that money was hidden there. 
The merchants went into the cave, and found it very difficult 
to penetrate into it. They came to a sheet of water stretch- 
ing across the cave, and no one dared to cross it except Kali, 
and one of Sohnund's domestics called Hdvard. They swam 
across the lake, having a rope between them. Kali also 
carried firewood and fire-making gear between his shoidders. 
They came to the opposite shore, which was rugged and 
stony ; the smell also was there very bad, so that they coidd 
hardly make a light. Kali said they should not go any 
farther, and piled up stones as a monument. Then Kali 
sang a song : 

Here I raise a mighty stone-pile^ 
In remembrance of our daring, 
In this Dolls cave, dark and gloomy, 
Where we sought the goblins' treasure. 
Tet I know not how the captain 
Of the ocean's gliding snow-skates 
May re-cross the dismal water : 
Long and dreary is the journey. 

Then they returned, and came safe to their men, and it is not 
mentioned that anything else happened during their journey. 
When they came to Bjorgvin, Kali went to the same inn, to 
Dame Unn. J6n P^trsson was there, and one of his domes- 
tics, by name Brynjiilf. Many other men were also there, 
although their names are not mentioned here. 



78 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER LIIL 

OF HAVARD Am) BRYNJULF. 

One evening, when Jon and Kali had gone to bed, many 
remained drinking, and talked a great deal. The guests 
were getting drunk, and at last they began comparing men,^ 
and disputing about who were the greatest of the landed 
men of Norway. Brynjiilf said that'J6n P^trsson was the 
best man, and of the noblest family of all the young men 
south of Stad. Havard, the companion of Kali, spoke of 
Solmimd, and said that he was in nothing inferior to Jon, 
adding that the men of Vlk would esteem him more than 
J6n. Out of this a great quarrel arose, and as the ale spoke 
in them, they kept so little within bounds that Havard 
jumped up, took a piece of wood, and struck Brynjiilf a blow 
on the head, so that he fainted. Those present took hold of 
Brynjiilf, and sent Havard away to Kali, who again sent him 
to a priest called Rikgard, in Alvidra. " And tell him from 
me," said Kali, " to keep you till I come to the east." Kali 
sent a man with him, and they rowed to the south till they 
came to Grceningiasund. Then Havard said to his fellow- 
traveller : " Now, as we are out of their reach, let us rest 
ourselves, and lie down to sleep." 

When Brynjiilf recovered, he was conducted to J6n, and 
he told him all that had happened, and also that the man 
had been sent away. J6n guessed the truth about Havard's 
destination, and ordered ten men, led by Brynjiilf, to take a 
rowing boat, in which they rowed till they came to Groening- 
iasund, and by that time it was daylight. They saw a boat 
on the beach. Brynjiilf said : '' Perhaps these men may be 
able to tell us something of Havard." Then they went up 
and found them when they had just woke up. BrynjiiK and 
his men attacked them inmiediately with arms, and Havard 
and his companion were both slain. After this they returned 

^ Comparing men. This was a fayourite occupation of their leisure hours 
among the Northmen. A curious instance of it occurs in the Saga of King 
Sigurd, the Jorsala-farer, in the Heimskringla, where the narrative states that 
as the ale was not good the guests were very quiet and still, until King Eystein 
said, ** It is a common custom over the ale-tahle to compare one person with 
another, and now let us do so. " As in this case, a quarrel was the usual result. 



OP JON AND SOLMUND. 79 

to the town and told the news to J6n, and then it was known 
to the whole town. 

Kali considered these slaughters a great offence against 
himself; and when mediators went between him and J6n, 
the latter said that he would leave to him to say what 
amends he wished for the ofTence, without prejudice to the 
right of the King and the parties to the suit. Kali agreed 
to this, yet they were no friends from this time. Kali went 
home after this occurrence, and when he saw his father he 
told him the news and the result. 

Then Kol said : " I think your judgment was rather 
strange, in that you should have agreed to any terms of re- 
conciliation before Solmund knew. I think your position is 
diflScult, and that you can do little else than try to be recon- 
ciled. But Solmund would not have acted like you if your 
man had been killed." 

Kali replied : " I suppose it is true, father, that I have 
judged rather hastUy in this matter, and you were too far 
away to advise ma It will often appear that I am not so 
deeply wise as you. But I thought that Solmund had not 
a better chance of gaining honourable amends, though I re- 
fused what was offered to me. And I consider it no dis- 
honour for you and Solmund if he offers to aUow you to 
determine your compensation, though I doubt whether such 
an offer will be made. But I consider myseK under no 
obligation to BrynjiUf, while I have made no award and no 
money has been received." 

Father and son had a long talk about this, and did not 
agree ; then they sent men to tell Solmund the news. 



CHAPTEE LIV. 

OF JON AND SOLMUND. 

After that, Kol and Kali had an interview with Solmund. 
Kol wished to send men to J6n to try to make peace between 
them ; but Solmund and HaUvard, Havard*s brother, refused 
everything but blood-revenge, and said it was not becoming to 
ask for settlement. Yet Kol's advice was taken, because he 



80 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

promised not to withdraw from the case imtil Solmund had 
received honourable amends; and Kol was to lay all the 
plans. When the messengers returned, they said they had 
received a most imfavourable reply to their demands, and 
that J6n refused positively to make compensation for a man 
who by his own act had forfeited his personal security. 
Solmund said that this had turned out just as he expected — 
namely, that little honour would be gained by asking J6n for 
settlement ; and then he begged Kol to propose a plan that 
might be of some avail. 

Kol replied : " Is Hallvard willing to run any risk in 
order to avenge his brother, even though it may come to 
Uttle ? " 

Hallvard said he would not spare himself in order to 
take revenge, even if there were danger connected with it. 

" Then," said Kol, *' you shall go secretly to Sogn, to a 
man called Uni, who lives not far from J6n. He is a wise 
man, but rather poor, for he has been a long time oppressed 
by J6n; he is a great friend of mine, and considerably 
advanced in years. You shall take to him from me six 
marks (of silver) weighed, in order that he may give you 
advice how to take revenge on Brynjiilf, or some other of 
J6n's men, whom he considers not less a loss to him. And 
if this can be brought about, Uni shall send you to my kins- 
man Kyrpinga Orm, at Studla, and his sons Ogmund and 
Erling, and there I consider you will be as if you were at 
home. Tell Uni to sell his farm and come to me." 

Hallvard prepared to go, and we are not told of his 
journey or night quarters, until he came to Uni one evening. 
He did not tell his true name. They inquired of each other 
for current news ; and in the evening, when they were sitting 
round the fire, the guest asked a great deal about noble men 
in Sogn and Hordaland. Uni said that none of the landed 
men were considered more powerful than J6n, on account 
of his fanuly and his violence ; and he further asked whether 
they had no experience of it in the south. When he had 
said this, the guest became silent. Then the people arose 
from the fire, and the two remained. 

Then Uni said : " Did not you say just now that your 
name was Hallvard?" 



r . 'L^ 



-■^/^iirn. *"B- 



OF JON AND SOLMUND. 



8L 



" No," said the guest ; " I called myself Saxi this even- 
ing. 

Uni said : " Then I am out of all difficulties ; but if my 
name were Brynjiilf, I should think yours was HaUvard ; 
and now let us go to sleep." 

The guest took hold of him and said : " Let us not go 
yet." Whereupon he delivered the purse, and said : " Kol 
sends you his greeting and this silver, in order that you may 
be willing to advise me how to avenge my brother Havard 
on BrynjiiK." Then he told him Kol's plans. 

Uni said : " Kol deserves well of me, but I cannot know 
what may be done about the revenge on Brynjiilf ; but he is 
expected here to-morrow to fetch his concubine's clothes." 

Thereafter he went with Hallvard to a stable which 
stood opposite the door of the house, and concealed him in 
the manger. This was before the people got up, but he had 
slept in the house during the night When Hallvard had 
been a little while in the stable, he saw a brisk man coming 
to the house. He called into the house, and told the woman 
to make herself ready. She took her clothes and brought 
them out. Then Hallvard thought he knew who the man 
was, and walked out. BrjmjiiK had put down .his weapons 
while he was tying the clothes ; and when Hallvard met him 
he dealt him a desuily blow, and returned to the stable and 
hid himself. While the slaughter was being committed the 
woman had gone into the house to take leave of the inmates, 
but when she came out she saw what had occurred, and ran 
in crying and frightened to such a degree that she was nearly 
fainting, and told the news. Farmer Uni ran out, and 
said that the man had probably been an assassin. He de- 
spatched a man to tell J6n the news, and urged his men with 
great eagerness to search for the murderer; therefore no one 
suspected him. HaUvard remained in the stable until the 
search had slackened. Then he went, with Uni's advice, 
to Orm and his sons at Studla, and they sent men with him 
to the east. Kol and Sohnund received him well, and were 
then well satisfied with their case. After a while the truth 
came out, and J6n was very much grieved. Thus that year 
passed. 

Next winter, towards Yuletide, J6n left his home with 

G 



82 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

thirty men, sajring that he waa going to pay his uncle Olaf 
a visit. This he did, and was very well received. J6n told 
his uncle that he was going to Agdir to see Sobnund. Olaf 
dissuaded him from it, and said that he had held his own 
though they parted as matters stood then. But J6n said he 
was not satisfied to let BiynjiiK remain unavenged. Olaf 
said he thought he would gain very little by trying ; yet he 
had from there thirty men, and thus he went with half a 
hundred men across the hills, intending to take Sobnund and 
Kol by surprise. When J6n had just gone from the north, 
Uni went in haste to Orm and his sons at Studla, and they 
sent men with him to KoL He arrived there at Yule, 
and told them that J6n was going to attack theuL Kol 
despatched scouts inmiediately to all parts where J6n was 
expected ; and he himself went to see Sobnund, and they 
and their kinsmen waited with a great number of men about 
them. They had news of J6n*s movements, and started 
immediately to meet him. They met at a certain wood, and 
the fight began immediately. Kol's men were much more 
numerous, and came off victorious. Jon lost many men, and 
fled into the wood. He was wounded in the leg, and this 
woimd healed so bsuily that he was lame ever after, and was 
called J6n F6t (leg). He came to the north during Lent, 
and his expedition was considered rather ignominious. The 
winter thus passed, but the next summer J6n caused two of 
Kol's kinsmen to be killed, Gunnar and Asldk. 



CHAPTER LV. 

THE BECONCILIATION OF THE ORKNEYMEN. 

Shortly afterwards King Sigurd came to the town, and these 
difficulties were laid before him. Then the King summoned 
both to appear before him, and they came accompanied by 
their kinsmen and friends. An attempt was made to recon- 
cile them, and the result was, that the King should judge all 
their differences, which both parties confirmed by shaking of 
hands. Kiug Sigurd, assisted by the advice of the wisest 
men, then made peace between them. One part of the agree- 



KING Sigurd's death. 83 

ment was, that J6n P^trsson should many Ingirfd, Kors 
daughter, and their fidendship should be confinned by the 
connection. The killed were set off against each other. The 
attack on Kol, and J6n's wound, were set off against the loss 
of men in the east. Further wounds were matched, and the 
difference made up. Each should assist the other, both at 
home and abroad. As a result of this reconciliation. King 
Sigurd gave Kali, Kol's son, the half of the Orkneys, jointly 
with Paul, Hakon's son, and made him an Earl at the same 
time. He also gave him the name of Earl Eognvald, Bnisi's 
son, because his mother, Gunnhild, said that Eognvald was 
the most accomplished of all the Orkney Earls, and thought 
the name woidd bring good fortune. This part of the 
Orkneys had belonged to Earl Magnus, Kali's mother^s 
brother. After this reconciliation, they who were enemies 
before parted good friends. 



CHAPTEE LVI. 

KING SIGUED'S death. 

Tffls winter King Sigurd resided in Osl6.* During Lent he 
waa taken iU. and died one night after Lady-day. His son 
Magnus was in the town, and held a Thing, and was accepted 
king throughout the land, agreeably to the oaths which the 
inhabitants had sworn to King Sigurd. He also took posses- 
sion of all the royal treasures. 

Harald GiUi was at Tiinsberg when he heard of the death 
of King Sigurd. He had meetings with his friends, and sent 
for Eognvald and his father, because they had always been 
friends since they met in England. Eognvald and his father 
had also done most to help Harald to prove his paternity to 
Sigurd. In this they were assisted by many barons ; among 
others Ingimar, Swein's son, and Thi6st61f, All's son. 
Harald and his party resolved to hold the Hauga-Thing ^ at 

^ Oslo, or Opslo, was the old capital of Norway. Its site is now included 
in that of Christiania. 

' Hanga-Thing, so called apparently because the place of meeting was a 
hang, or harrow. Whether this was a local name at Tiinsbei^, or whether it 
refers to a special assembly held at the bnrial-place of the King, is not clear. 



I 



84 ORKNEYINQA SAGA. 

Tiinsterg, and there Harald was accepted king of one-half of 
the land. The oaths with which he had given up his patri- 
mony in order to be permitted to prove his paternity by an 
ordeal ^ were said to have been given imder compulsion. 
Then people flocked to him, and gave in their allegiance, 
and soon he had many men about him. 

Messages went between him and King Magnus, but it 
was not imtil four winters had passed that they were recon- 
ciled, on the tenns that each of them should have one-half of 
the kingdom ; but King Magnus had the long ships, and the 
table-service, and all the treasures (of his father), yet he was 
dissatisfied with his portion, and showed enmity to aU the 
friends of King Harald. King Magnus would not hold valid 
King Sigurd's gift of the Orkneys and the earldom to Eogn- 
vald, because he was the firmest partisan of King Harald, 
until aU their dealings were concluded. Magnus and Harald 
were three winters Kings of Norway, and nominally at peace, 
but the fourth summer they fought at Fyrileif,^ where King 
Magnus had nearly 6000, but Harald only 1500 men. The^e 
chiefs were with King Harald : his brother Kristrod, Earl 
Eognvald, Ingimar from Ask, Thi6st61f All's son, and Sol- 
mund. King Magnus gained the victory, and Harald fled. 

' Harald GiUichrist, illegitimate son of King Magnus Barelegs, was'of 
Celtic extraction, his mother being a native of the Hebrides. He and his 
mother were brought over to Norway from the Sonfhem Hebrides in a ship 
belonging to a Norwegian merchant named Halkel Hiik. When the story of 
Harald's parentage was told to King Sigurd, he consented to aUow Harald to 
prove his paternity by the ordeal of hot iron, but on condition, that if he suc- 
ceeded in proving his descent according to his claim, he should not desire the 
kingdom in the lifetime either of King Sigurd or of his son, King Magnus, 
and to this Harald bound himself by oath. This seems to be the oath referred 
to as given under compulsion. ** The ordeal," it is added in the Saga of King 
Sigurd, **was the greatest ever made in Norway, for nine glowing plough- 
shares were laid down, and Harald walked over them with bare feet, attended 
by two bishops, and invoking the holy St. Columba " — another testimony to 
his Celtic birth. His feet were then bound up, and he was laid in bed. 
After the customary three days had elapsed, his feet were examined, or, as the 
Saga has it, '* the ordeal was taken to proof, and his feet were found unbumt " 
His claims were therefore held to have been proven, and made good. It is 
curious to find that among the privileges granted by the Scottish King David 
to the monks of Holyrood, they were specially empowered to make trials by the 
ordeal of hot iron. 

* In V£k, in the south of Norway. 



KOL'S SCHEMES. 85 

Kristrod and Ingimar were killed. Ingimar made the fol- 
loYong stanza : — 

Fiends me drove to Fyrileif ;* 

Not with my will did I fight there. 

Bit by arrows from the ehnbow. 

Ne'er to Ask shall I return. 

King Harald fled to his ships in Vlk,* and went to Den- 
mark to King Eirik Eymuni.' who gave him HaUand for his 
maintenance, and eight long ships without rigging. Thi6s- 
t61f. All's son, sold his lands, bought ships and arms, and 
went in autumn to King Harald, in Denmark. At Yule- 
tide King Harald came to Biorgvin, and lay in F16ruvagdr till 
after Yule. Then they attacked the town, and met with 
little resistance. King Magnus was seized on board his own 
ship, and maimed. King Harald then took possession of the 
whole kingdom, and the next spring he renewed the gift of 
the Islands and the title of Earl to Sognvald. 



CHAPTEE LVIL 

eol's schemes. 

KoL resolved to send men to the Orkneys to ask Earl Paul 
to give up half the Islands which King Harald had given to 
Eognvald, and they should be friends and good kinsmen. 
But if Earl Paul refused, the same men should go to Frdkork 
and Olvir Eosta, and offer them one-half of the land, jointly 
with Earl Eognvald, if they were willing to take it from Earl 
Paul by force of arms. When they came to Earl Paul in 
the Orkneys, and delivered the message, he replied: "I 
understand this claim ; it has been planned advisedly, and 
with long forethought ; they sought the help of the Kings 
of Norway to obtaia my possessions. Now, I will not repay 
this perfidy by giving away my possessions to a man who is 

' Now Ferlof, in Sogn, Norway. 

' Vfk meant properly the bay of Oslo, the npper part of which is now 
called the Christiania Fiord, but it was also applied to the district bordering 
on the bay. 

' Harald and Eric, Kings of Denmark, had sworn mutual brotherhood. 



86 OEKNETINGA SAGA. 

not nearer to me than Eognvald is, and refusing them to my 
brother^s son or sister^s son. There is no need to talk any- 
more of this, for with the assistance of my Mends and kins- 
men I shall defend the Orkneys as long as GU)d grants me 
life." 

Then the messengers saw what would be the residt of 
their message to Earl Paul, and went away across the Pent- 
land Firth to Caithness, and south into the country to Fra- 
kork, and deUvered their message, to the effect that Kol and 
Eognvald offered her and Olvir half the Islands if they were 
willing to conquer them from Earl PauL 

Frakork replied : " It is true that Kol is a very clever 
man, and it was wisely planned to seek assistance here, as 
we have a great many relatives and connections. I have 
now married Margaret, Hakon's daughter, to Moddan, Earl of 
Atjoklar (Athole), who is of the noblest family of all the 
Scottish chiefs. His father, Malcolm, ia the brother (uncle?) 
of King Malcolm, the father of David, who is now King of 
Scots. We have many and just claims on the Orkneys. 
We ourselves have also some power. We axe said also to 
be rather far-seeing, and during hostilities all things do not 
come on us unawares; yet we wiU be glad to enter into 
alliance with Kol and his son for many reasons. Tell 
them from me that I and Olvir shall bring an army to the 
Orkneys against Earl Paul about the middle of the next 
summer. Let Earl Eognvald meet us then, and come to 
a decisive battle with Earl Paul ; and I wiU collect forces 
together during the winter from my kinsmen, friends, and 
connections in Scotland and the Sudreyar (Hebrides). 

The messengers returned to Norway, and related how 
matters stood. Next winter Earl Eognvald prepared to go 
west, and the chiefs Solmimd and J6n with him. They 
went the next summer, and had a fine body of troops, 
though not numerous, and five or six ships. They arrived 
at Hjaltland (Shetland) about the middle of the summer, 
but heard nothing of Frdkork. Strong and contrary winds 
sprung up, and they brought their ships to Alasund,^ and 

^ Alasund is now Yell Sonnd, the ancient name for the island of YeU 
being Jala. In the latest known Hjaltland document, written in None, and 
dated in 1586, the name of the island appears as " Yella.*' 



' u iji wu "-^^^^vH^^^^i^^w^p^B^p^iH^ViHHHaai^wyHHM^HIS^q^gpHiV 



T 



FIGHT BETWEEN EARL PAUL AND OLVIR ROSTA. 87 

went a-feasting over the country, for the Boendr received 
them well 

But of Frdkork it is to be told that in the spring she 
went to the Sudreyar, where she and Olvir gathered troops 
and ships together. They got twelve ships, all of them 
small and somewhat badly manned ; and about the middle 
of the summer they directed their course to the Orkneys, 
intending to meet Earl Rognvald, according to their agree- 
ment. The wind was rather imfavourable. Olvir Bosta 
was the commander of these troops, and he was to obtain an 
earldom in the Orkneys if they gained the victory. Frdkork 
was there also with many of her retainers. 



CHAPTER LVni. 

* * 

THE FIGfHT BETWEEN EARL PAUL AND OLVIR ROSTA. 

Earl Paul was then at a feast with Sigurd at Westness, in 
Hr61fsey (Rousey), and when he heard that Earl Eognvald 
had arrived in Hjaltland, and at the same time that an army 
which was going to attack him was gathering in the Sud- 
reyar, he sent word to Kugi, in Westrey, and Thorkel Flettir, 
who were wise men, and many others of his chief men he 
called together. At this meeting Earl Paul sought advice 
from his friends, but they differed in their opinions. Some 
wished him to share his possessions with one of the two 
parties, so as not to have both as enemies. Others advised 
him to go over to his friends in Ness (Caithness), and see 
what assistance he could get there. 

Earl Paul replied, " I will not offer them my possessions 
now, since I refused peremptorily when they asked civilly. 
Besides, I think it would be imworthy of a chief to flee 
from my lands without a trial of strengtL My coimsel is 
to send men to-night to collect troops throughout aU the 
Islands. Let us then go to meet Earl Bognvald, and have 
matters decided between us before the Sudreymen come." 
Earl Paul's plan was adopted. 

With Earl Paul there was a man by name Swein, called 
BricSstreip (breast-rope), who was his henchman, and highly 



mm 



88 ORKNBYINGA SAGA. 

esteemed by him. In the summer he was always on viking- 
raids, but in the winter [he stayed] with the EarL Swein 
was a man of large stature and great strength, swarthy and 
ill-favoured. He was greatly skilled in ancient lore, and 
had frequently been engaged in outsittings.^ His place 
was in the forecastle of the Earl's ship. 

During the night the following chiefs came to Earl Paul : 
— ^Eyvind, Melbrigdi's son, in a ship fully manned ; 01af,E61f s 
son, from Gdreksey (Gairsey), had another ; Thorkel Flettir 
the third ; Sigurd the fourth ; and the Earl himself the fifth. 
With these five vessels they went to Hr61fsey (Rousey), 
and arrived there in the evening about sunset. Troops 
gathered to him during the night, but more ships were not 
to be had. The next day they were going to sail to Hjalt- 
land to meet Earl Eognvald ; but in the morning, shortly 
after sunrise, some men came to Earl Paul, who said they 
had seen longships coming from the Pentland Firth ; whether 
ten or twelve they did not know. The Earl and his men 
were convinced that this was Frdkork's party, and the Earl 
ordered his men to row against them as fast as possible. 
Olaf and Sigurd advised them to go leisurely, sajring that 
their troops might arrive at any moment. 

When they were east of Tannskaruness (Tankemess), the 
longships, twelve together, sailed to the west from MiilL* 
The Earl and his men fastened their ships together ; then 
the Bondi, Erling from Tannskdruness, and his sons, came to 
the Earl and ofTered him their assistance; and then their 
ships were so crowded that they thought they could not use 
more men. The Earl asked Erling and his men to bring 
stones to them, until they were prevented by the fighting. 
When they had prepared themselves, Olvir came up and 
made the attack with a superior force, but his ships were 
smaller. Olvir (himself) had a large ship, which he placed 
beside the Earl's ship, and there was the severest fighting. 

^ Oatsittmgs, a peculiar kind of sorcery resorted to in order to obtain 
foreknowledge of the future, in whicli the person sat out at night under the 
open sky, and by certain magical rites or incantations summoned the dead 
from their graves to consult them. A curious instance is given in the 40th 
chapter of the Fsreyinga Saga, in which Sigmund Brestisson is brought from 
the dead, with his head in his hand, to show who was his murderer. 

' The Moul Head of Deemess. 



^FVP«|I 



FIGHT BETWEEN EARL PAUL AND OLVIR ROSTA. 89 

Olaf, Il61fs son, attacked the smallest ships of Olvir, and 
cleared three of them in a short time. Olvir attacked the 
Earl's ships so fiercely that aU the forecastle men were 
driven abaft the mast Then Olvir urged his men strongly 
to board, and jumped himself from the quarterdeck to the 
forepart of the ship, and was the first to board. 

Swein Bri6streip was the foremost of aU the Earl's men, 
and fought bravely. When the Earl saw that Olvir had 
boarded Ms ship, he uiged his men forward, and jumped him- 
self from the quarterdeck to the forepart of the ship. When 
Olvir perceived this, he grasped a spear, and hurled it at 
the Earl, who received it with his shield, but feU down on 
the deck. Then there was a great shout ; but in the same 
moment Swein Bri6streip seized a huge stone,^ and threw 
it at Olvir. It hit him in the chest with such force that 
he was thrown overboard, and sank ; but his men were able 
to drag him up into one of their ships, and it was not known 
whether he was dead or alive. Then some cut the cables, 
and wanted to flee. All Olvir's men were also driven 
down off the Earl's ship, and began to withdraw. At that 
moment Olvir recovered, and asked them not to flee ; but 
all pretended not to hear what he said. The Earl pursued 
the fugitives along the east of Hrossey and Eognvaldsey, 
and into the Pentland Firth, where they parted. Then he 
returned, and five of Olvir^s ships remained where they had 
fought The Earl took them, and manned them with his 
troops. The battle took place on Friday, but in the night 
the Earl had the ships made ready, and many troops and two 
longships came to him, so that in the morning he had twelve 
ships aU well manned. 

On Saturday he sailed to Hjaltland, and took by surprise 
those that had charge of Earl Kognvald's ships. He kiUed 
the men, and seized the ships with aU their contents. In 

' ^ The Norsemen were in the habit of carrying stones on board their war- 
ships to be used sa missiles. It is told in the Fsereyinga Saga of Sigmund 
Brestisson that when about to attack the ships of another Viking lying on 
the opposite side of an island on the coast of Sweden, he spent the whole 
night in landing the goods and plunder from his vessels, and breaking up 
stones, and loading his vessel with them to serve as missiles in the attack. 
The same thing had been done by the EarVs men in this case before the com- 
mencement of the fight 



90 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

the morning Earl Eognvald had news of this, and his men 
gathered together, and a great many of the Bcendr. Then 
they went down to the beach, and challenged Earl Paul and 
his men to come on shore and fight. Earl Paul did not 
put much faith in the Hjaltlanders, and would not go on 
shore ; but he told them to take ships, and then they might 
fight Earl Eognvald saw, however, that they could get no 
ships in Hjaltland, such as would give them any chance, and 
they parted thus aa matters stood. Earl Paul and his men 
went back to the Orkneys, but Earl Eognvald and his men 
remained in Hjaltland during the simuner. In the autumn 
they went back to Norway with some merchants, and it was 
thought their expedition had come to a most ridiculous end. 

When Earl Eognvald came to the east, he saw his 
father Kol, who asked him whether he was dissatisfied with 
his expedition. He replied that the result had brought 
little honour to himself. 

Kol replied : " I do not think so ; I think a great deal 
has been done, since the Hjaltlanders are your friends, and 
the journey was better than staying at home." 

Eognvald replied : " If you praise this journey, then you 
are either more indifferent about my case than I thought, 
or you see something in it which I do not perceiva I 
should wish very much to have your counsels, and that you 
would go with us yourself." 

Kol replied: "I shall not do both — caU everything 
easy for you, and come nowhere near myself; but I think 
I shall hold fast to my own plans, so that there is no pre- 
judice to your honour." 

Eognvald replied : " I will gladly follow your coimsels." 

Kol replied : " First, I advise you to send word to King 
Harald and other friends of yours, and ask them to give 
you men and ships to go to the west in the spring; but 
during the winter we ourselves wiU collect all the forces we 
can, and then try a second time whether we can gain pos- 
session of the Islands, or find our graves there." 

" I have made up my mind," said Earl Eognvald, " not 
to make another journey like that we made just now, and 
I think that most of us who went are of the same mind." 



EARL ROGNVALD's PLANS. 91 



CHAPTEK UX. 

EARL RoGNVALD'S PLANS. 

Earl Paul went back to the Orkneys, after having taken 
the ships of Earl Eognvald. He had gained a great victory, 
and feasted aU his friends and vassals. 

It was now resolved to make a beacon in Fridarey 
(Fair Isle), which should be lighted if enemies were seen 
coming from Hjaliland. Another beacon was made in 
Elnarsey (North Eonaldsay), and others in some other islands 
also, so that they might be seen aU over the Isliands. 
Thorstein, the son of Havard, Gimni's son, was to have 
charge of that on Efnarsey ; his brother Magnus of the one 
in Sandey ; Kugi of that in Westrey ; and Sigurd, at West- 
ness, of the one in E61fsey. Olaf, Il61f's son, went to Dim- 
galsbae, in Caithness, and was to have the emoluments of 
that place. His son Valthi6f lived at that time in Straum- 
sey (Stroma). 

Earl Paul gave presents to his men, and all promised 
him their mifailing friendship. He had many men about 
him in the autumn, until he heard that Bognvald and his 
men had left Hjaltland. Nothing happened in the Islands 
imtil Yule. Earl Paul had a grand Yule feast, which he 
prepared at his estate in J6rfiara (Orphir), and invited many 
guests. Valthi6f, Olaf's son, from Straumsey (Stroma), was 
invited. He went with his men in a ten-oared boat, and 
they perished aU of them in the West Firth on Yule Eve. 
That was thought sad news, as Valthi6f was a most accom- 
plished man. His father, Olaf, had a large party in Caith- 
ness. There were his sons Swein and Gimni, and the sons 
of Grim of Swiney,^ Asbiom and Maigad, brave-looking 
fellows, who always followed Swein. Three nights before 
Yule, Swein, Olaf 's son, Asbiom, and Maigad, had put out 
to sea-fishing, and Asleif and her son, and Gunni, Olaf 's 

^ Probably at the place now called Swiney, in Caithness, near Lybster. 
Though the context here seems to imply that Swiney, in Caithness, is meant, 
it seems that Grim was in the island of Swona (the smaU island between Hoy 
and South Ronaldsay), when Swein, Asleif s son, visited him (see p. 92). Per- 
haps Swiney, in Caithness, was so named from its being the property of Grim 
of Swona. 



92 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

son, had gone a short distance to visit their friends. The 
night after that Olvir Eosta arrived at Dimgalsbae with the 
party that had been out with him on a viking-raid daring 
the summer. He surprised Olaf in the house, and set it on 
fire inmiediately. There he was burnt with five others, but 
the rest were pennitted to escape. Olvir and his men took 
all the movable property, and then went away. 

After this Swein was called Asleif 's son. He came 
home on Yule Eve, and went immediately out north, on 
the Pentland Firth. At midnight they came to Grim, the 
father of Asbiom and Margad, in Swefney (Swona) ; he went 
into the boat to them, and they brought Swein to Knarrar- 
stadir (Knarstane), in Skalpeid (Scapa). A man, by name 
Amkel, lived there. His sons were Hanef and Sigurd. 
Grim and his sons returned, and Swein gave him a finger- 
ring of gold. Hanef and Sigurd accompanied Swein to 
J6rfiara (Orphir), where he was well received ; and he was 
conducted to his kinsmaii Eyvind Mdbrigdi's son. Eyvind 
conducted him to Earl Paul, who received him well, and asked 
his news. He told him of his father's death, at which the 
Earl was much grieved, and said it had in a great measure 
happened through him. He invited Swein to stay with 
him, and he accepted the invitation with thanks. 



CHAPTER LX. 

SWEIN SLAYS SWEIN. 

Then they went to evensong. There was a large home- 
stead there (at Orphir) ; it stood on the hill-side, and there 
was a height behind the houses. From the top of the hiU 
Aurridafiord^ may be seen on the other side; in it lies 
Damisey. In this island there was a castle ; the keeper of 
it was a man by name Bldn, the son of Thorstein, at 
Flydruness.^ In J6rfiara there was a large drinking-haU; • 

* Aorrida Firth, or Sahnon-tront Firth, now the Bay of Firth. 

' Flydruness seems to be the same as Fluganess, in Hrossey (Mainland), 
mentioned as the residence of Blan and his father Thorstein, at p. 74. 

' The EarFs seat at Orphir appears to have consisted of a clnster of build- 
ings, of which the main hall or skdli answered to the public room of the re- 



SWEIN SLAYS SWEIN. 93 

the door was near the east gable on the southern wall, and 
a magnificent church was in front of the door ; and one had 
to go down to the church from the hall. On entering the 
haU one saw a large flat stone ^ on the left hand; farther in 
there were many large ale vessels ; but opposite the outer 
door was the stofa. 

When the guests came from evensong, they were placed 
in their seats. The Earl had Swein, Asleif 's son, next to 
him. On the other side, next to the Earl, was Swein 
Bri6streip, and then J6n his kinsman. When the tables 
were removed, there came in men with the tidings of 
Valthi6f 's drowning. This the Earl considered sad news. 
He said that no one should tell it to Swein while the 
Yule feast lasted, adding that he had cares enow already. 
In the evening, when they had finished drinking, the 
Earl went to bed, and so did most of his guests. Swein 
Bri68treip went out and sat out all night, as was his 
wont. In the night (at midnight?) the guests arose 
and heard mass, and after high mass they sat down to the 
table. Eyvind Melbrigdi's son, shared the management of 
the feast with the Earl, and did not sit down to the table. 
Table-boys and candle-boys were standing before the Earl's 
table,^ but Eyvind handed drinking - cups to each of the 

sidence. The descriptions given of the Orkney sldUis are wanting in that 
minuteness which is necessary to enable us to understand the details of their 
construction. No doubt they were similar to those of Iceland, the larger of 
which were constructed partly of stone and partly of timber, the middle division 
of the haU being higher in the roof than the ** aisles" on either side of it, and 
separated from them by a row of pillars running parallel to each of the side 
walls. The walls of the aisles and the spaces between the pillars were covered 
with wainscoting, sometimes with carved work, and on high days hung with 
tapestry. Shields and weapons were hung along the sides of the hall, above 
the benches, and the fires were lit on hearths in the middle of the floor. The 
benches were ranged along both sides of the hall; the '*high seat" of the 
Earl, or owner of the skdli, was in the centre of the south side, and the seats 
of highest honour were those next to him on either side. 

^ Probably a large flagstone set on end to serve as a partition-wall. This 
is a common feature of the ancient structures in Caithness and Orkney. It 
was in the shadow of this flagstone that Swein, Asleif *s son, stood when he 
killed Swein Briostreip (see p. 95). 

* Serving the table, and holding lights. The light-bearers or candle- 
holders were a distinct class of servants at the King's court. This custom is 
said to have been first introduced by King Olaf Kyrre in the latter half of the 
eleventh century. 



94 ORKNETINGA - SAGA. 

Sweins. Swein Bri68treip thought Eyvind poured more 
into hifl cup than Swein, Asleif 's son's, and that he took 
the cup away from the latter before he had emptied it, 
so he called Swein, Asleif's son, a sluggard at his drink. 
There had long been a coldness between Swein Bri6streip 
and Olaf, Hr61f 's son, and also between him and Swein, 
Asleif 's son, since he grew up. When they had been drink- 
ing for a while, the guests went to nones' service. When 
they came in again, memorial toasts^ were proposed, and 
they drank out of horns. Then Swein Bri6streip wished 
to exchange horns with his namesake, saying his was a small 
one. Eyvind, however, put a big horn into Swein Asleif 's 
son's hand, and this he offered to his namesake. Then 
Swein Bri6streip became angry, and was overheard by the 
Earl and some of the men muttering to himself, " Swein 
will be the death of Swein, and Swein shall be the death 
of Swein." But nothing was said about it. The drinking 
went on imtil evensong; and when the Earl went out, 
Swein, Asleif's son, walked before him ; but Swein Bri6s- 
treip remained behind drinking. When they came out to 
the ale-room, Eyvind followed them, and craved a word 
alone with Swein, Asleif's son. 

He said, " Did you not hear what your namesake said 
when you offered him the horn?" 

" No," he replied. 

Then Eyvind repeated his words, and said that it was 
surely the devil that had spoken through his mouth in the 
night. "He intends to kill you," he added, "but you 
should forestall him, and slay him." 

Eyvind put an axe into his hand, and told him to stand 
in the shadow beside the flat stone ; he should strike him in 
front if J6n preceded him ; but from behind if J6n followed 
him. 

The Earl went to the church, and no one took heed of 
Eyvind and Swein; but when Swein Bri6streip and Jon 
walked out shortly after, the latter had a sword in his hand, 
as was his habit, though the others Y^ere unarmed. J6n 

^ The emptying of horns of ale to the memory of departed heroes and 
comrades, with the accompaniment of speeches setting forth their fiunoos 
deeds, was a recognised custom at the festivals of the Northmen. 



SWEIN SLAYS SWEIN. 95 

walked in front. Some light came through the outer door, 
but outside the sky was cloudy. When Swein Bri68treip 
came into the doorway, Swein, Asleif 's son, struck him on 
the forehead, so that he stumbled, but did not fall; and 
when he regained his footing, he saw a man in the door, 
and thought it was he who had wounded him. Then he 
drew his sword, and struck at his head, splitting it down to 
the shoulders. This, however, was J6n, his kinsman, and 
they fell there both. Eyvind came up at the same moment, 
and led Swein, Asleif *s son, into the stofa, opposite the 
door, and he was dragged out through a window. There 
Magnus, Eyvind's son, had a horse ready for him, and 
accompcmied him away behind the house, and into Aurrida 
Firth. There he took a boat, and brought Swein to the 
castle in Damisey ; and the next morning Blan accompanied 
him to Bishop "William, in Egilsey. When they arrived 
there the Bishop was at mass, and after the mass Swein 
was conducted to him secretly. Swein told the Bishop the 
news — ^the death of his father and brother Valthi6f, and the 
slaughter of Swein and Jon ; then he besought the Bishop's 
assistance. The Bishop thanked h\m for the slaughter of 
Swein Bri6streip, and said it was a good riddance.^ He 
kept Swein, Asleif's son, during the Yule-tide, and after 
that he sent him to a man called Holdbodi, Hundi's son, in 
Tyrvist (Tiree), in the Sudreyar (Hebrides). Holdbodi was 
a great chief, and received Swein very well, and there he 
spent the winter highly esteemed of all the people. 



CHAPTER LXI. 

OF EAKL PAUL. 

A SHORT time after the slaughters had been committed in 
J6rfiara, the men ran from the church, and carried Swein 
into the house, for he was not yet dead, but insensible, and 
he died during the night The Earl commanded every one 
to take his seat, as he wished to know for certain who had 

^ Besides his evil repnte as a tnrbolent feUow, Swein was suspected of 
sorcery, and tlins obnoxious to the chorch (see p. 88). 



96 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

committed the manslaughters. Then Swein, Asleif s son, was 
missed, and it was thought clear that he had done the deed. 

Then Eyvind came and said that it was plainly seen that 
Swein Bri6streip must have killed Jon. 

The Earl said that no one should touch a hair of Swein, 
Asleif 's son's head, as this had not been done without provo- 
cation. " But if he avoids meeting with me," he said, " he 
wiU harm himself by so doing." 

It was thought most probable that Swein had gone to 
Hakon Karl in Papuli,^ the brother of Earl Magnus the holy. 
He was a great chief, a quiet man and moderate. The Earl 
did not hear of Swein that winter, and then he outlawed 
him. In the spring the Earl visited many of the northern 
islands, to collect his land-dues. He made great friends of 
the chiefs, and bestowed presents with both hands. The 
Earl visited Straumsey (Stroma), and gave Thorkel Flettir 
the farm which Valthi6f had, till such time as he should know 
where Swein was. 

Thorkel said: "Here the saying does not prove true, 
that ' the King has many ears.' Although you are an Earl, 
I think it strange that you have not heard of Swein, for I 
knew immediately that Bishop WiUiam had sent him to 
Holdbodi, Hundi's son, in the Sudreyar, and there he has 
been all winter." 

The Earl replied : " What shall I do with a Bishop who 
has acted thus?" 

Thorkel replied : " The Bishop should not be blamed for 
this in critical times like these ; and you will need all your 
friends if Eognvald and his men come from the east." 

The Earl said that was true. 

From Straumsey he went to Einarsey, 6uid received an en- 
tertainment from Eagna and her son Thorstein. Ragna was 
a wise woman. They (she and her son) had another farm in 
Papey. The Earl spent three nights there, as he was pre- 
vented by weather from going to Kugi, in "Westrey. The 
Earl and Eagna spoke of many things. 

^ This most either be Paplay in South Ronaldsay, or Paplay on the Main- 
land. Munch says that the circumstance that the name of the island is always 
carefdlly added in the Saga when a Mainland district is not the one alluded 
to favours the supposition that it is the latter which is here meant 






OF EABL PAUL. 97 

She said to him: "There was no great loss in Swein 
Bri6streip, although he was a brave warrior, for he brought 
on you the hatred of many. I should therefore advise you, 
in presence of the difficulties that face you, to make as many 
friends as possible, and be slow to resent offences. I could 
wish that you would not attach blame to Bishop William 
and other kinsmen of Swein, Asleif 's son, but rather take the 
Bishop into favour, and send word to the Sudreyar after Swein 
to pardon him and restore him his i)ossessions, in order that 
he may be to you such as his father was. It has long been 
the custom of the noblest men to do a great deal for their 
friends, and thus to secure support and popularity." 

The Earl replied : '* You are a wise woman, Sagna, but 
you have not yet been made Earl of the Orkneys, and you 
shall not nile the land here. Is it come to this, that I must 
give Swein money in order to be reconciled to him, thinking 
that it would be to my advantage ? " Then he became wroth, 
and continued : " Let God decide between me and my kins- 
man llognvald, and may He let it happen to each of us 
according to his deeds. If I have offended against Bognvald, 
I now make offer of reparation ; but if he will invade my 
dominions, I will think him my greatest friend who assists 
me to defend them. I have never seen Eognvald ; and, so 
far from having ever offended him with my knowledge, it is 
known that I had no part in what my kinsmen did." 

Many replied that to try to deprive him of his posses- 
sions by force of arms would be a most improvoked assault ; 
and no one spoke against this. 

When the spring advanced. Earl Paul had beacons kept 
up in Fridarey (Fair Isle) and Elnarsey (North Eonaldsay), 
and ahnost all the Islands, so that each could be seen from 
the other. A man named Dagfinn, Hlodver's son, an active 
feUow who had a farm in Fridarey, was to keep that beacon, 
and Ught it if an army were seen coming from Hjaltland. 

Earl Eognvald spent the winter at home at Agdir (in 
Norway), where he and his father had farms, and sent mes- 
sages to his kinsmen and friends. Some of them he visited 
himself, and asked them to assist him with troops and ships 
to go to the west, and most of them were willing to help him 
in his need. 

H 



98 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

During the month of 661,^ Kol sent away two trans- 
port vessels; one west to England to buy provisions and 
arms. Solmund took the other south to Denmark, to buy 
such things as Kol told him, because he had all the manage- 
ment of their equipment. It was intended that these vessels 
should return about Easter, and they had arranged to stcit 
in the week after Easter. Kol 6uid Eognvald had one war- 
ship each, and Solmund a third ; they had also a transport 
ship with provisions. When they came to Bjorgvin, King 
Harald was there, and he gave Eognvald a war-ship fuUy 
manned. J6n F6t (leg) had a war-ship also. Asldk, the 
son of Erlend, jfrom Hemur, and the daughter's son of Steigar 
Th6rir, had the sixth ; he had also a barge with provisions. 
Thus they had six large ships, five boats, and three trans- 
ports. When they were waiting for fair wind at Hemur, a 
ship came from the west, and tiey aaked .for news from the 
Orkneys, and also what preparations Earl Paul would have 
if Earl Eognvald came to the west 



CHAPTEE LXn. 

kol's counsels. 

While they were lying at Hemur, Earl Eognvald called 
together a meeting of his men, and spoke of Earl Paul's pre- 
parations, 6uid also of the great enmity the Orkneymen 
showed against himself, since they were going to prevent him 
taking possession of his patrimonial inheritance, which had 
been justly given him by the Kings of Norway. He made 
a long 6uid eloquent speech, the conclusion of which was that 
he intended to go to the Orkneys and gain them or die there. 
His speech was approved of by all, and every one promised 
him faithful support 

Then Kol arose and said: "We have heard from the 

^ Q6U the fonrth month of the year, corresponding to onr Felmiary and 
part of March. The ancient mode of reckoning among the Northmen was by 
"winters," the year commencing on the 28d November. GkSi was some- 
times called ''homing-month" — the month in which the deer shed their 
horns ; and it was also the month in which, in heathen times, the great annual 
sacrifice took place at Upsala, as mentioned in the Saga of King Olaf the Holy. 



K^aaT«*i^^B^Ei^p>«^*^s*>^Ka«PM^iBainw«s*:^«WB«caB«i^PBHi^HB(9^i«^P^MW^MHi^PWamaci^' 






• • • 
• o 






• • •• a 






OP KOL Airt> UNf.'* ' ^ ' ....:•:; .i?9 :. : 

Orkneys that all the islanders will rise with Earl Paul 
against you to keep you out of your inheritance. They are 
slow to lay aside the enmity which they have conceived 
against you, kiuFffnan. Now it is my counsel to seek for 
help where it is likely to be had effectually, and to pray 
that he may permit you to enjoy these possessions, to whom 
they rightly belong — ^namely, the Holy Saint Magnus, your 
mother's brother. It is my wish that you should make a 
vow to him, that he may grant you your patrimony and his 
inheritanca You should promise one thing — ^that if you 
oj^tain those dominions you will build a stone minster at 
Kirkiuvdg (Kirkwall) in t^e Orkneys, more magnificent than 
any other in these lands, dedicating it to your kinsman. Earl 
Magnus the Holy, endowing it with money, so that it may 
be fitly established, and that his relics and the Bishop's see 
may be brought there." 

Every one thought this good advice, and the vow was 
made and confirmed. Then they stood out to sea, and had 
a fair wind. They landed in Hjaltland, and the inhabitants 
there, as well as the Norwegians, were glad to see each other. 
The Hjaltlanders were able to tell them much &om the 
Orkneys, and there they stayed for some time. 



CHAPTER LXIII. 

OF KOL AND UNI. 

Uni, who has been mentioned before, 6uid who was an accom- 
plice in the slaughter of Brynjiilf, was now advanced in years. 

Once Kol said to him : " What plan would you propose, 
Uni, in order to get the beacon in Fridarey discontinued, 
or how would you manage to prevent it from being lighted 
a second time ? I put this question to you, because I know 
you are more ready-witted than most others here present, 
although here are men of more distinction." 

Uni replied : " I am not a man of invention, and I do 
not wish the expedition to be made according to my plans ; 
I would rather choose to come afterwards, for then I should 
foUow my own devicea" 



•••/.*- • ••• • »•• 

• •'••*•• •*• • • • 



« . • • •* 



• ' • . •• • • • 



» 
• * 



I 



' • iXKS ••-••-♦ •'•* * -ORXNEYIltGA SAGA. 

Shortly after, Kol had many small boats made ready, and 
directed their course to the Orkneys. No chiefs took part 
in this expedition except KoL When they had gone so far 
that they thought they could be seen from Fridarey, Kol 
had the sails spread on all the boats, but ordered his men to 
row backwards, in order that their speed might be as slow as 
possible, although the wind was right astern. The sails were 
at first hauled to the middle of the masts only, but after- 
wards higher, as if they were coming nearer to the island. 

Kol said : " These manoeuvres will be seen from Fridarey 
as if the boats were approaching nearer. They will then 
perhaps light the beacon, but they wiU go themselves to Earl 
Paul to teU him the news. 

So when the beacon in Fridarey was seen, Thorstein, 
Eagna's son, lighted the beacon in Elnarsey; then the 
beacons were lighted one after another in all the Islands, and 
all the Boendr went to the Earl, and there was a great gather- 
ing of men. 

When Kol saw the beacon burning, he ordered his men 
to turn back, saying that this would now cause dissensions 
among their enemies. This done, Kol went back to Hjaltland, 
and said to Uni that he should now carry out his scheme. 

Uni took with him three HjaManders, and they took a 
six-oared boat, some provisions, and fishing tackle. They 
went to Fridarey. Uni said he was a Norwegian, but had 
been married in Hjaltland, and had sons there. He further 
said that he had been robbed by Earl Eognvald's men, 6uid 
spoke very ill of them. He took a house there, but his sons 
went out fishing, and he stayed at home himself £uid took 
care of the fish they caught. He entered into conversation 
with the men of the island, and became familiar with them, 
and was weU Uked. 



CHAPTER LXIV. 

OP THE ORKNEYMEN. 

When Dagfinn had lighted the beacon, he went to Earl 
Paul, as has been mentioned before. All the Earl's leading 
men came to him also. A watch was kept for Rognvald's 



OF THE ORKNEYMEN, 101 

movements, and it was thought strange that he nowhere 
appeared. Still the troops were kept together for three 
days. Then the Islanders began to murmur, saying that it 
was great foolishness to light beacons when fishermen were 
seen in their boats. 

Thoratein, Eagna's son, was blamed for having lighted 
the beacon in Elnarsey. He replied that he could do 
nothing but light his beacon when he saw the blaze in 
Fridarey, £uid said that this had all happened through Dag- 
finn. 

Dagfinn replied : " People come more firequently to hann 
through you when you cannot blame me for it" 

Thorstein told him to be silent, and leapt up with an 
axe and dealt him a heavy blow. Then each man seized 
his weapons, and there was a fray. This was in Hrossey, not 
far from Kirlduvdg. Sigurd from "Westness, and his son 
Hakon K16, and Brynjiilf, took part with Hlodver, Dagfinn's 
father, but Thorstein was aided by his kinsmen. Then the 
Earl was informed of what was going on, and it was a long 
time imtil he could part them. 

Kugi of Westrey made a long speech, and said : " Do not 
di^racJd the Earl by fighting among yourselves! Ere long 
you will need all your men ; let us take care then not to be 
disabled or at enmity among ourselves. This has probably 
happened according to the designs of our enemies, and has 
been a device of theirs to destroy the beacons in this way. 
Now they may be expected every day, and let us make our 
plans accordingly." 

Dagfinn said : " No one has had £uiy evil intention in 
this, but we have acted with more thoughtlessness than we- 
ought to have done," 

Kugi guessed the whole truth, and spoke many wise 
words about it At last they both agreed that the Earl 
shoiQd judge between them ; and it was resolved to disperse 
the gathering, juid the people went home. 

A man by name Eirik was now appointed to take charge 
of the beacon in Fridarey. When Uni had stopped there a 
short time, he came to Eirik, and said : *' Would you like me 
to take care of the beacon ; I have nothing else to do, and 
can give it my undivided attentioit" Eirik accepted his 



102 OBKNETINGA SAGA. 

oflfer, and when no one was near Uni poured water over it, 
and made it so wet tliat it could not be lighted. 



CHAPTER LXV. 

THE BEACONS OF THE ORKNEYS DESTROYED. 

Earl Eognvald and his men said they woidd wait until the 
tidal currents were met by an east wind, for then it is hardly 
possible to go from Westrey to Hrossey, but with east wind 
one can sail from Hjaltland to "Westrey. For this Eognvald 
and his men waited, and came one Friday evening to Hofii,i 
in Westrey, to Helgi, who dwelt there. 

No beacons coidd be lighted, for when the sails were 
seen from Fridarey, Eirik prepared to go to Earl Paul, and 
sent a man to Uni to light the beacon, but when he came 
there Uni was away. When the man tried to light the 
beacon himself, it was so wet that it would not bum. When 
Eirik heard this, he knew what was the matter, and went to 
Earl Paul and told him. 

When Earl Eognvald had arrived in Westrey, the islanders 
ran together. Hedgi and Kugi put themselves at their head, 
and their first plan was to try to make peace with the Earl ; 
and their dealings ended in such a way that the Westreymen 
submitted to Earl Eognvald, and swore him oaths of fealty. 



CHAPTEE LXVI. 

ROGNVALD RULES THE ORKNEYS. 

On Sunday Earl Eognvald had mass celebrated there in the 
village.* As they were standing outside the chuiteh, they 

^ Hbfn, the haven, in Westray, is probably the modem Pierowall, the only 
safe natural harbour in the island, and the only place entitled to the name of 
"the haven." 

' The thorp or village of Hofh here mentioned most likely stood on the 
shore by the landing-place at PierowalL The fact that there are a number of 
graves on the links here, in which have been found the swords peculiar to the 
Norse viking period, shield-bosses, bronze tortoise brooches (a distinctively 



^ 



ROGNVALD RULES THE ORKNEYS. 103 

saw sixteen men approaching nnarmed, and with their hair 
close cut The Earl's men thought their dress singular, and 
spoke among themselves of who they might be. Then the 
Earl made a ditty : 

Sixteen have I seen together, 
With a small toft on their foreheads ; 
Surely these are women coming, 
All without their golden trinkets. 
Now may we of this bear witness. 
In the west here all the maidens 
Wear their hair short — ^that isle Elon ^ 
Lies out in the stormy ocean. 

After Sunday, Earl Eognvald's men visited the neigh- 
bouring districts, and all the people gave in their submission 
to the EarL One night in "Westrey the EarFs men became 
aware that the islanders were holding a secret meeting to 
devise some treachery against Earl Eognvald. When the 
Earl heard of it, he rose and went to the place of meeting. 
When he came there, his men had beaten many of the 
islanders, and had taken Farmer Kugi and put him in fetters, 
saying that he was the author of all these proceedings. 
Xugi pled his cause eloquently, and many put in a word for 
him, and protested his innocence with him. Then the Earl 
sang: 

Scandinayian form), and other relics nnqnestioiiably of Norse origin, shows 
that the neighbourhood must have been largely frequented by the Northmen, 
and perhaps made a permanent settlement long before this time. The Chorch 
of Westray is mentioned among those vacant in 1827-28 by the Papal Nuncio, 
who collected the tithes for these years. 

^ Although there is a curious similarity between this incident and that 
related in chap. Izzi. on the occasion of the visit of Bishop John to the Ork- 
neys, yet the fact of Earl Rognvald turning the procession into ridicule, 
whereas Bishop John's party appear to have been received with aU due respect, 
suggests that the two narratives can scarcely refer to the same incident The 
reference here to the "isle Elon," taken in connection with the statement in 
chap. xcix. that there were monks on Eller Holm (named " Helene-holm " by 
Fordun), may mean that there was a colony of clerics on the little island, 
whose dress and tonsure may thus have tickled the fancy of the rhyming Earl. 
In the rental of Schapinsay (1642), Elgin-holme is set in feu to Sir John 
Buchanan for payment of 12s. annually. In 1529 Jo. Ben mentions that there 
were foundations of houses and even of a chapel on Eloerholme, though it was 
then waste and uninhabited (see chap. xcix). Neale notices ** the ruins of a 
veiy small chapel " on EUerholm (Ecclesiological Notes, p. 111). 



i. tm w m * 



mrma 



104 



ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



I can see the crooked irons 
Fastened round the legs of Kugi ; 
Stray thou canst not in thy fetters. 
Old man ! fond of making ni^t trips ; 
Now you must not hold night meetings. 
And must keep the peace established ; 
Kugi ! all your tricks are hinder'd, 
And your oaths you must keep sacred. 

The Earl pardoned them all, and they renewed their compact. 



CHAPTER LXVII. 

OF EAEL ROGNVALD AND PAUL. 

Aptee Earl Bognvald's arrival in the Orkneys, and when 
many had submitted to him, Earl Paul held a meeting in 
Hrossey with his men for consultation. The Earl asked 
their opinion of what was to be done in these difl&culties. 
There were considerable differences of opinion. Some advised 
Earl Paul to share his dominions with Earl Eognvald. But 
most of the more powerful men and Bcendr wished to buy 
Rognvald away with money, and offered their means for that 
purpose. Others were for fighting, as they said that this had 
been the successful way before. 

Earl Rognvald had spies at the meeting, £uid when they 
came to him, the Earl asked a certain skald, who had been 
there, for news. He sang : — 

Of our foes I gain'd this knowledge 
That o'er secrets th^ are brooding. 
From the meeting of the Bcendr 
Has the great chief heard the tidings 
That among the powerful feeders 
Of the woIycs, the wish prevails that 
All your ships should leave the islands 
And that Paul should rule the land here. 

Then Earl Rognvald sent men to see the Bishop, and 
asked for his intervention. He also sent for Thorstein, 
Bagna's son, and Thorstein, Hdvard's son, in Sandey, and re- 
quested them to try to make peace between him and his 



SWEIN TAKES EARL PAUL CAPTIVE. 105 

kinsman. The Bishop procured a fortnight's truce> in order 
that they might endeavour to establish a more lasting peace. 
Then the islands were allocated that should maintain each 
of them in the meantima^ Earl Rognvald went to Hrossey 
(Mainland), and Earl Paul to Hr61fsey (Kousay). 

At this time it happened that the kinsmen Swein, 
Asleif 's son, J6n Vaeng of Uppland in Hdey, and Kil^ard 
of Brekkur in Sti6msey (Stronsay), attacked Thorkel Flettir 
on the estate which had belonged to Valthi6f, and burnt 
him in the house, with nine others. After that they went 
to Earl Bognvald, and told him that they would go to Earl 
Paul with the whole body of their kinsmen, if he would not 
receive them ; but he did not turn them away. 

As soon as Haflidi, Thorkel's son, heard of his father^s 
burning, he went to Earl Paul, who received him well. 

After this J6n and his men boimd themselves to serve 
Earl Eognvald, who had now many followers in the Islands, 
and had become popular. Earl Bognvald gave leave to 
J6n, Solmund, and Aslak, and many others of his partizans, 
to go home, but they said they preferred to wait imtil mat- 
ters shoiQd be definitely setUed. Earl Bognvald replied : 
" If it is the will of God that I should gain possession of 
the Orkneys, I think He and the Holy Earl Magnus, my 
kinsman, will give me strength to hold them, even if you 
go home to your estates." 

Then they went home to Norway. 



CHAPTEB LXVIII. 

SWEIN TAKES EAKL PAUL CAPTIVE. 

Early in the spring, Swein, Asleif 's son, left the Sudreyar 
(Hebrides), and went to Scotland to see his friends. He 
stayed a long time at Atjoklar (Athole) with Earl Maddad 
and Margaret, Hakon's daughter, and had many secret con- 
sultations with theuL Swein heard that there were dis- 
turbances in the Orkneys, and became desirous of going there 

^ The Iceland Annals place Earl Rognyald's winning the Orkneys in the 
year 1186. 



106 OBKNEYINGA SAGA. 

to see his kinsmfln. He went first to Th6rsey (Thurso), in 
Caithness, accompanied by a nobleman by name Li6t61f. 
Swein had stayed with him a long time in the spring. They 
came to Earl Ottar, at Th6r8ey, the brother of Frakork. 
Li6t61f tried to make them compose the matters that had 
been done by Frdkork's orders, and Earl Ottar made com- 
pensation for his part He promised his friendship to 
Swein, and he promised to Ottar, in return, to help Erlend, 
the son of Harald Sl^ttm^ (smooth-talker), to obtain his 
patrimony in the Orkneys when he should wish to claim it 
Swein changed ships there, and took a barge manned 
by thirty men. He crossed the Pentland Firth with a north- 
westerly wind, and so along the west side of Hrossey, on to 
Efjusund,^ and along the sound to Hr61fsey (Eousay). At 
one end of the island there is a large headland and a yast 
heap of stones beneath it Otters often resorted to this 
stone-heap. As they were rowing along the sound, Swein 
said, '' There are men on the headland, let us land and ask 
them for news; let us change our dress, imtie our ham- 
mocks,^ and twenty of us lie down there, and ten keep on 
rowing: let us go leisurely." When they came near the 
headland the men in the island called to them to row to 
Westness, and bring Earl Paul what was in their vessel, 
thinking they were speaking to merchants. Earl Paul had 
spent the night at a feast with Sigurd, at "Westness. He had 
been early up in the morning, and twenty men had gone 
south on the island to catch otters, which were in the 
stone-heap beneath the headland. They were going home 
to get a morning draught The men in the barge rowed 
near the land ; ^ey asked the men on shore about all the 
news, 6uid were asked what news they brought, and whence 
they cama Swein's men also asked where the Earl was, and 
the others said he was on the stone-heap there. This was 
heaixl by Swein and those that lay hid with him in the skin- 
bags, Swein told them to row to land, where they could not 
be seen &om the headland. Then he told his men to get 
their weapons, 6uid slay the Earl's men wherever they found 

» 

* Evie Sound ; from Effa^ now Evie. 

' ^i(Mf/*a^^kin-bags, or sleeping haps, made of hides sewed together, so 
as to envelope the sleeper as in a sack. 



m^mmt^mmmmmmmi 



SWEm TAKES EARL PAUL CAPTIVE. 107 

them, and so they did. Swein's party killed nineteen men, 
and lost six. They seized Earl Paul with violence, and 
brought him on boaid their ship, and stood out to sea, 
returning by the same way, by the west side of Hr61fsey, 
and through the channel between Haey and Grlmsey, and 
then by the east of Svelgr,^ thence to Breidafiord (the Moray 
Firth), until they came to Ekkialsbakki^ There he left his 

^ Still known as the Swelkie, a dangerous whirlpool in certain states of 
the tide, off the island of Stroma, fabled to be caused by the waters being 
sucked down through the eye of the quern ** Grotti," which once belonged to 
King Fr6dL Grotti was found in Denmark, and was the largest quern: that 
had ever been known. It would grind for King FnSdi gold or peace, which 
he pleased. But the sea-king M^^sing took Grotti, and caused white salt to 
be ground in his ships till they sank in Pentland's Firth. This is why the 
Swelkie has been there ever since. As the waters fall through the eye of the 
quern, the sea roars as the quern grinds ; and, moreover, this is how the sea 
first became salt. — (Elder Edda, Grottasong. ) Traces of this legend stiU linger 
in the locality. 

' Ekkialsbakki is three^ times mentioned in the FlateyarlxSk, and Ekkial 
once by Amor Jarlaskald (see p. 22). Earl Sigurd, Eystein's son, who killed 
Malbrigd (Maormor of Mar according to Skene), was ** hoy-laid " (buried in a 
how or barrow, haitgr), on Ekkialsbakki ** There cannot be the least doubt," 
says Worsaae, in his ' Danes and Northmen,' '' that Ekkial is the river Oykill 
(Oykel), which still forms the southern boundary of Sutherland. But nobody 
is able to point out the barrow of Sigurd JarL The tradition relating to it 
has vanished with the Norwegian population." But, fortunately, there are 
records more permanent and reliable than popular tradition, by which the 
truth of the Saga narrative may be verified, and the locality of Sigurd's 
grave-mound indisputably fixed. There is a place near the Ferry on the 
north bank of the Dornoch Firth (into which the Oykel runs) which is now 
somewhat Inappropriately called Cyder HalL In Blaeu's Atlas (1640) it 
appears as Siddera. In older charters it is conjoined with Skebo, and ciJled 
Sythera. In a deed of the year 1275 the Bishop of Caithness claims right to 
"six davochs of SchytheboUe and Sytheraw, with the ferry." In the deed of 
constitution of the Cathedral Chapter of Caithness, executed between 1223 
and 1245, there are assigned to the treasurer the rectorial tithes of ScytheboU 
and Siwardhoch, its conjunction with ScytheboU showing it to be the same 
place which is called at subsequent periods Sytheraw, Siddera, and Cyder 
HalL This place, named Siward's Hoch {StgurcTs hcmg) at that early date, 
could be no other than the traditional site of Earl Sigurd's grave-mound, 
and the Ekkialsbakki on which he was buried must .thus have been the 
north bank of the Oykel's estuary. But the Ekkialsbakki twice mentioned 
in connection with Swein Asleifton's journey to Athole can scarcely be the 
same with that of the earlier narrative. It seems probable that in Swein 
Asleifson's narrative the word may have been originally Aljoklsbakki — ^the 
coast on the side of the Breidafiord (Moray Firth) next to Atjoklar (Athole). 
The word hakhi is sometimes used for a ** coast" The Saga writer may have 
been misled by the similarity of sound to substitute Ekkialsbakki for Atjokls- 
bakki. (See p. 115.) 



108 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

ship with twenty men, and continued his journey until he 
came to Earl Maddad ^ 6uid Margaret, Earl Paul's sister, at 
Atjoklar (Athole). There they were weU received. Earl 
Maddad placed Earl Paul in his high seat, and when they 
were seated, Margaret entered with a long train of ladies, and 
advanced to her brother. Then men were procured to 
amuse them; but Earl Paul was moody, and it was no 
wonder, for he had many cares. 

It is not recorded what passed between Earl Paul and 
Swein while they were on the journey together. Earl 
Maddad, Margaret, £uid Swein, had a consiQtation together ; 
but in the evening, when the drinking was finished, Swein's 
followers were conducted to a sleeping-room by themselves, 
and the key turned upon them. This was done every even- 
ing while they were thera 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

OF SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON'S, BETURN TO THE ORKNEYS. 

One day Margaret announced that Swein, Asleif 's son, shoidd 
go to the Orkneys to see Earl Eognvald, and ask him whom 
he preferred to share in the dominion of the Orkneys with 
him — ^Earl Paul, or Harald, the son of (her husband) Maddad, 
who was then three winters old. 

When Earl Paul heard this, he said: "So far as my 
mind is concerned, I will say that I have left my dominions 
in such a way as has never been heard of before, I think ; 
and I shall never return to the Orkneys any more. I see 
that this must be God's vengeance for the theft which I 
and my kinsmen committed. But if God thinks the domi- 
nion mine, then will I give it to Harald, if he may enjoy it; 
but I wish some money given to me, so that I jna,j estab- 

^ The name of Maddad, Earl of Athole, appears in contemporary docu- 
ments as Maddoc, Madach, and Madeth. In the foundation-charter of Scone by 
King Alexander I. and his queen Sibilla, "Madach Comes" is a witness. 
' ' Maddoc" and ' * Madeth Comes" also witness charters of King David I. From 
a charter by King Malcolm the Maiden, granting aid for the restoration of the 
Abbey of Scone, we learn that the style of the Earls of Athole was " Comes 
de £thocl," the Atjokl of the Saga. — (Regist de Dunferm. Regist de Scone.) 



OF EARL ROGNVALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF's SON. 109 

lish myself in some monastery, and you can take care that 
I do not escape. And you, Swein, shall go out to the 
Orkneys, and say that I have been blinded, or still more 
mutilated, because my Mends will fetch me if I am an 
immaimed man. In that case I may not be able to refuse 
to return to my dominions with them, for I suspect that 
they will consider our parting a greater loss than it is." 

What more the Earl said has not been placed on re- 
cord. 

Then Swein, Asleif's son, went to the Orkneys, and 
Earl Paid remained behind in Scotland. 

This is how Swein related these matters. But some 
men tell the story in a way by no means so creditable (to 
those concerned) — ^namely, that Margaret induced Swein, 
Asleif's son, to blind her brother Earl Paul, then threw him 
into a dungeon, and subsequently induced juiother man to 
put him to death. "We do not know which of these two 
statements is the more correct ; but it is well known that 
Earl Paul came never again to the Orkneys, and that he had 
no dominions in Scotland. 



CHAPTER LXX. 

OP EAEL ROGNVALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 

It happened at Westness, when the Earl did not come home, 
that Sigurd sent men to search for him. When they came 
to the stone-heap they saw the slain, and then they tJiought 
the Earl had been killed. They went home and told the 
news. Sigurd went immediately to examine the bodies, 
and they recognised nineteen as the Earl's men; but six 
they did not know. Then Sigurd sent men to Egilsey, to 
the Bishop, to teU him the news. He went immediately to 
Sigurd. When they were talking about what had happened, 
Sigurd hinted that it had been done at the instigation of 
Earl Eognvald; but the Bishop replied that it would be 
proved that Earl Eognvald had not acted treacherously 
towards his kinsman Earl Paul " It is my opinion," he 
said, " that some others have committed this crime." 



110 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Borgar, the son of Jatvor, Erlend's daughter, who lived 
at Geitaberg,^ had seen the barge coming from the south, 
and returning. When this was heard, it was believed to 
have been done at the instigation of Frdkork and Olvir. 

When the news spread in the Islands that Earl Paul 
had disappeared, and no one knew what had become of him, 
the Islai^ders had a consultation, and most of them went to 
Earl Rognvald, and swore fealty to him; but Sigurd, of 
Westness, and his sons, Brynj61f and Hdkon EI6, said they 
would not swear oaths of fealty to any man while they did 
not know anything of, Earl Paul, or whether he might be 
expected to return or not There were others also who 
refused to 9wear oaths to Earl Bognvald. Others again fixed 
an hour or a day when they would become Earl Eognvald'a 
men, if Earl Paul had not then been heard of. But when 
Earl Eognvald saw that he had to do with many powerful 
men, he did not refuse peremptorily anything which the 
people asked; and, as the time passed, he had frequent 
meetings with the inhabitants, and at each of them some 
submitted to him. 

One day it happened in Kirkiuv^ (Earkwall) when 
Earl Eognvald was holding a Thing meeting with the Bcendr, 
that nine armed men were seen walking from Skdlpeid 
(Scapa) to the meeting. When they came near, Swein, 
Asleif 's son, was recognised, and all were curious to know 
what news he had to teU. He had come in a ship to Scdl- 
peid, and left it there, while he and his men walked to 
KirMuvag. When Swein came to the meeting, his kins- 
men and friends turned to him, and asked him for news, but 
he did not say much. Swein sent for the Bishop, who 
welcomed him heartily, because they had long been friends. 
They went aside to talk, and Swein told the Bishop the 
whole truth about what he had done, and asked for his 
advice in these difficult circumstances. 

The Bishop said : " Those are weighty tidings you have 

^ Qeitabei^g is probably the place now known as Gatnip, on the east side 
of Scapa Bay, near EirkwalL It is formerly stated that Jdtvor and her son 
fiorgar liyed at Enarrarstad, which is evidently the name for the district, 
while Geitabeig was the name of Borgar's homestead. Gatnip is the highest 
point on that side of the bay, and thus Boi^gar was able to notice the barge 
rowed by Swein's men as it passed up and down the Firth. 



/ 



I 



OP EARL ROGNVALD AND SWBIN, ASLEIF's SON. Ill 

brought, Swein, and we shall probably not lie by ourselves 
sufficient in this matter. I wish you to wait here for me ; 
but I shall plead your cause before the people and Earl 
Eognvald." 

Then the Bishop went to the meeting, and asked for 
silence. When silence was obtained, the Bishop pleaded 
Swein's cause, explaining for what reason he had left the 
Orkneys, and what penalties Earl Paul had inflicted on him 
for the slaying of Swein Bri6streip, a most wicked man. 
The Bishop concluded by asking Earl Bognvald and all the 
people to grant security to Swein. 

Earl Eognvald replied : " For my part, I promise Swein 
three nights' security ; but I think I can see from your 
countenance. Sir Bishop, that you and Swein know some 
great news which you have not yet made known. I wish 
you to take Swein into your keeping, and to be responsible 
for him, and I will speak to him to-morrow." 

" I win," said the Bishop ; " and he will be very glad to 
speak to you as soon as possible ; for he wishes to become 
your man, if you are willing to receive him." 

The Earl replied : " I do not think my friends are too 
many in these lands, yet I shall have some farther talk 
before I consent to this." 

Then these four — ^Earl Eognvald, his father Kol, the 
Bishop, and Swein, Asleif 's son- — ^had a private interview. 
Swein repeated everything, good and bad, that had hap- 
pened between him and Earl Paul, and they came to the 
conclusion to send away the bulk of the people at the meet- 
ing. The Earl arose next morning and gave the people 
permission to go home ; but when the multitude had gone 
away, he called together all those that remained, and made 
them aU renew their promise of security to Swein, while he 
told the news. 

In the morning, Magnus^ Karl, the brother of the Holy 
Earl Magnus, was persuaded to teU Sigurd of Westness and 
his sons of Earl Paul's abduction, that he was not to be 
expected back to his dominions, and that he had been 
maimed. 

Sigurd said : " Great news do I think this, about the 

^ Magnus, in the text here, is clearly a mistake for H&kon. 



112 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

carrying away of the Earl ; yet to me the saddest oi all is 
that he should have been maimed, for he would not be any- 
where where I would not go to him." Afterwards he told 
his friends that Hakon would not have left him unharmed, 
if he had had a sufl&cient force with him when he told him 
these tidings, so greatly was he moved by them. 

When the news became generally known, all the Orkney- 
men submitted to Earl Bognvald, and he became the sole 
ruler of Earl Paul's dominions. 

Not long after this the foimdations of St. Magnus' Church^ 
were marked out, and craftsmen procured, so that more was 
done during that year than in the ensuing four or fiva 
Eol took great interest in the erection of the building, and 
had the principal oversight of the whole ; but as it pro- 
ceeded, it became very expensive to the Earl, and his means 
were nearly exhausted. Then he consulted his father, and 
he advised him to pass a law declaring that the Earls should 
be considered to have inherited all the odal possessions 
fix)m the owners, but that they were to be redeemable by the 
heirs.* This was considered a great hardship. Then Earl 
Bognvald called a Thing meeting, and proposed to the Boendr 
that they should purchase the odal possessions, so that it 
would not be necessary to redeem them afterwards, and an 
agreement was made with which all parties were satisfied. 
It was to this effect, that they should pay the Earl one 
mark (eight oz. of silver) for each plough's land all over the 
Islands. From that time there was no want of money to 
build the church ; and it was made a magnificent structure. 

^ The erection of St Magnua' Churcli was commenced apparently between 
the years 1186 and 1188. The remains of St. Magnus appear to have been 
transferred to it from Christ's Church, in Birsay, previous to the departure of 
Earl Rognyald to the Holy Land in 1152. After Earl Rognvald's death, in 
1158, the building of the cathedral was carried on by Bishop William, until 
his death in 1168, after which we have no record of its progress. 

> The odal tenure of the lands in the islands was first modified by Harald 
Harfagri in the time of the Earl Torf Einar. Earl Sigurd Hlodverson re- 
stored the odal rights in return for the assistance of the Brendr at the battle 
of Skida Myre (see Appendix). This arrangement subsisted till the imposi- 
tion of the succession-dues by Earl Bognvald, which were subsequently bought 
up, as here narrated. 



BISHOP JON AKBIVES PROM SCOTLAND. 113 



CHAPTER LXXI. 

BISHOP j6n arrives FROM SCOTLAND. 

When Earl Eognvald had ruled the Orkneys two winters he 
had a Yule-feast at his estate called Knarrarstadir.^ The 
sixth day of Yule a ship was seen crossing .the Pentland 
Firth from the south. It was a fine day, and the Earl was 
outside the house, with many men, looking at the ship. 
There was also a man named Hr61f, the Earl's court priest 
When the strangers landed, they left the ship, and the Earl's 
men calculated their number to be fifteen or sixteen.* In 
front of them walked a man in a blue cloak, with his hair 
tucked up under the cap ; the lower part of the chin was 
shaved/ but the Ups unshaved, and the long beard was 
hanging down (from them). They thought this man some- 
what strange, but Hr61f said it was Bishop J6n from Atjok- 
lar (Athole), in Scotland. Then the Earl went to meet 
them, and gave the Bishop a gracious welcome. He placed 
him in his high seat, but served at the table himself like a 
waiter. 

Early next morning the Bishop held a service, and went 
to Egilsey to see Bishop William. This was the tenth 
day of Yule. Then both the Bishops went with a noble 
suite to visit Earl Eognvald, and told him their business, 

^ Enarrarstad, as has been formerly explained, was applied to the district 
at the head of the Bay of Scapa. It was so called because it was the place 
where the merchant-ships lay — from Knarrar^ genitive of ibidrr, a merchant* 
ship ; and ^adry a stance or stead. The name Ib preserved in old estate-lists 
as Knarstane. In the near neighbourhood there is an ancient ''broch" or 
** Pictish tower," recently excavated by Mr. George Petrie. Remains of very 
extensive buildings have been foimd within and around it, evidently belong- 
ing to a secondary occnpation of the tower, of later date than that of its 
original constmction. Among the relics found in these secondary buildings 
there are some which correspond with relics of the later Viking period found 
in Scandinavia. This gives a certain amount of probability to the supposition 
that the ruins of this " Pictish tower " may have been occupied and utilised 
by Earl Rognvald's men, as we know that the similar tower of Mousa, in 
Shetland, was on different occasions, one of which is narrated in chap, xdi of 
this same Saga. 

' This incident bears a remarkable similarity to that related in chap. Ixvi. 

• It is curious that Csesar has described the ancient Britons as observing 
in his time the same custom of shaving the lower part of the chin, and wear- 
ing the hair long on the upper lip. 

I 



114 6RKNEYIN0A, SAGA. 

explaining the agreement between Swein, AsleiTs son, and 
Earl Maddad — ^namely, that their son Harald should bear the 
title of Earl, and have half the Orkneys jointly with Earl 
Eognvald, but Earl Eognvald should have the government in 
his hands, even when Harald grew up ; and if a difference 
arose between them. Earl Eognvald should have his own way. 

Swein was present, and confirmed the Bishop's state- 
ment It was resolved to hold a meeting during Lent in 
Caithness, and there they agreed upon the terms above 
mentioned, and their agreement was confirmed by the oaths 
of the best men of the Orkneys and Scotland. Then Harald, 
Maddad's son, went to the Orkneys with Earl Eognvald, and 
was invested with the title of Earl. 

Harald was accompanied to the islands by Thorbibm 
Klerk, the son of Thorstein Hold, and Gudnin, the daughter 
of Frakork. He was a wise and a great man. He was 
foster-father to Harald at that time, and had great influence 
with him. Thorbiom married in the Orkneys Ingirid, 
Olaf's daughter, sister to Swein, Asleif 's son. He was 
sometimes in the Orkneys, and sometimes in Scotland. He 
was a most valiant man, but overbearing in most things. 

Swein, Asleif 's son, took possession of all the estates 
that belonged to his father Olaf and his brother Valthi6f ; 
he became a great chief, and had always many men With 
him. He was a wise man, and far-seeing in many things ; 
but overbearing and rasL No two men in the west were 
considered at that time greater than the brothers-in-law 
Swein and Thorbiom, and there was a warm friendship 
between them. 



CHAPTEE LXXII. 

THE BURNING OF FRAKORK. 

On one occasion Swein, Asleif's son, asked Earl Eognvald to 
give him troops and ships to take vengeance on Olvir and 
Frakork for the burning of his father Olaf. 

The Earl said : " Do you not think, Swein, that Olvir 
and that old hag Frakork, who is good for nothing, will 
scarcely be able to do us any harm now ?" 



THE BURNING OP PRAKORK. 115 

Swein replied : " They will always be mischievous 
while they live ; and I expected something else when I 
did great things for you, than that you would refuse me 
this." 

The Earl replied : " What will you be .satisfied with ?" 

Swein said : " Two ships well equipped." 

The Earl said he should have what he wished. 

Then he made preparations for going. When he was 
ready he sailed south to Borgarfiord,^ and had a north- 
west wind to Diifeyrar,^ which is a trading-place in Scot- 
land. From there he passed Moray to Ekkialsbakki,^ and 
from there he went to Earl Maddad at Atjoklar (Aihole). 
He gave Swein guides who knew the way across moimtains 
and forests wherever Swein wished to go; and he went 
through the interior of the country, over mountains and 
through woods, away from all habitations, and came down in 
Hjdlmundal,* near the middle of Sutherland. Olvir and 
Frakork had had spies wherever they thought they might 
expect enemies from the Orkneys, but this way they did not 
expect any. They did not, therefore, perceive the enemy 
tm Swein and his men were in a certain slope behind the 
housa Olvir Eosta met them there with sixty men, and 
the fight began immediately. There was little resistance on 
the part of Olvir's men, and they retreated towards the houses, 
because they could not reach the wood. A great many were 
killed, and Olvir ran to Hjalmundal's river, and then up on 
the mountains. After that he went to Scotland's Firth (on 

^ Boigarfiord seems here to be a misreadiDg for Breidafiord (the Moray 
Firth), unless we suppose that there was another Borgarfiord besides the one 
in Shetland. Joneus has nordr instead of sudr, thus making Swein sail north 
to Borgarfiord, which in this case would be in Shetland. But it is hardly 
probable that he would have taken Shetland in his route from Orkney to tho 
coast of Moray. 

' Ddfeyrar must have been situated on the sandy shore of the parish of 
Dufi^ on the Moray coast, eyri signifying a spit of sand. It has been sup- 
posed, with some degree of probability, that Buighead is the place here meant. 

* Ekkialsbakki, probably for AtjoklsbakkL (See note on p. 107.) 

^ Hjalmundal, Strath Helmsdale, or Strath UlU, which runs up along the 
south side of the Ord, the mountain chain separating Caithness from Suther- 
land. The expression ''near the middle of Sutherland" must mean that 
Swein came up through the central or inland region of the country, and thus 
came down into Stratii Helmsdale, along way from the coast, or "near the 
middle of the knd." 



116 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

the west coaat), and from there to the Sudreyar (Hebrides), 
and he is not mentioned further in this Saga. 

When Olvir escaped, Swein and his men approached the 
houses, and plundered everything. Then they burnt the 
houses, with all the inmates, and there Frdkork perished. 
Swein and his men committed many ravages in Sutherland 
before they went to their ships. After that they were out 
on raids during the summer, and ravaged in Scotland. 

In the autumn Swein came to Earl Eognvald in the 
Orkneys, and was well received. Then he crossed over to 
Ness (Caithness), and spent the winter in Dungalsbae. At 
this time Swein received a message from Holdbodi, in the 
Sudreyar, that he should come and help him, because Hold 
from Bretland had been there, driven him from his estates, 
and taken much booty. The messenger was named Hr6d- 
bjart (Eobert), of English descent When Swein received 
the message, he quickly left for the Orkneys, and called on 
Earl Eognvald, and requested him to give him troops and 
ships. The Earl asked Swein what he was going to do then. 
He said that he had received a message from a man whom he 
ought least of all to refuse, and who had proved his best friend 
in his greatest need, and when most others were Ms enemies. 

The Earl said : " It is well if you part good friends, but 
most of those Sudreyarmen are treacherous. You must, 
however, act a manly part, and I will give you two ships 
fully manned." 

Swein was well pleased with this, and went to the Sud- 
reyar, but did not find Holdbodi till he came to the Isle of 
Man, because the latter had fled thither. When Swein 
came to the Isle of Man, Holdbodi was very glad to see him. 
The British Hold had plundered and kUled men, to a large 
extent in the Isle of Man as weU as in the Sudreyar. He 
had killed a nobleman named Andrew, who left a widow by 
name Ingirid, and a son by name Sigurd. Ingirid was 
wealthy, and had large estates. Holdbodi advised Swein to 
woo her; and when he proposed marriage, she made it a 
condition of her acceptance that he should avenge her late 
husband Andrew. 

Swein replied : " I may inflict some loss on the British, 
but we cannot know how we may succeed in manslaying." 



OF 8WEIN AND HOLDBODl's RAIDS. 117 

Then Swein and Holdbodi went out on an expedition 
with five ships. They plundered in Bretland, landing at a 
place called Jarlsness/ and committing great ravages. One 
momiag they went into a certain village, and met with a 
little resistance. The inhabitants fled from the village, and 
Swein and his men plimdered everything, and burnt six 
homesteads before dinner. An Icelander, named Eirfk was 
with Swein, and sang the following : 

Half-a-dozen homesteads burning. 
Half-a-dozen households plundered : 
This was Swein's work of a mommg — 
This his vengeance ; coals he lent them. 

After this they went to their ships. They were out 
reiving all the simuner, and obtained much booty, but Hold 
fled into an island called Lund,^ where there was a strong 
place. Swein besi^ed it for some time, to no purposa In 
the autunm they went back to the Isle of Man. 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 

OF SWEIN AND HOLDBODl'S RAIDS. 

This winter Swein married Ingirfd, and remained there, 
greatly honoured. In the spring he gathered men together, 
and went to see Holdbodi, and asked for his assistance, but 
he excused himself, saying that many of his men were occu- 
pied, and some on trading trips ; so Swein got none there. 
But the truth was, that he had secretly made peace with 
Hold, and confirmed their alliance by exchanging presents. 
Swein went out, nevertheless, with three ships, but made 
little booty in the earlier part of the summer. Later they 
went south, imder Ireland, and seized a barge belonging to 
some monks in SyUingar,* and plundered it He made 

^ Ines in Jonsens ; it has not been identified. 

* Probably Ltindy Island, in the Bristol Channel. 

' Syllingar, the SciUy Islands. There was an ecclesiastical settlement 
there in Olaf Tryggvason's time. It was in the Scilly Islands that he was 
baptized, and embraced the faith which he afterwards propagated with the 
strong hand both in his own kingdom and in Orkney. 



118 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

inroads in Ireland in many places, obtained a large booty, 
and returned to the Isle of Man in antunm. 

When Swein had been a short time at home, he heard a 
report to the effect that Holdbodi was not faithful to him, 
but Swein shrank from believing it. One night in the spring 
Swein's watchmen came to him and said that enemies were 
approaching them. Swein and his men seized their arms, 
and ran out, and saw a great number of men carrying fire to 
the homestead. Then Swein and his men ran to a hill, 
and defended themselves from it They had a hom^ 
which they sounded. The neighbourhood was thickly inha- 
bited, and men came flocking to help Swein, so that the 
assadlants at last gave way. Swein and his men pursued 
them, and killed many in the flight, but many of both sides 
were wounded before they parted. The chief of the attack- 
ing band was Holdbodi. He escaped in the flight, and did 
not stop till he came to Lundey (Lundy Isle). Hold received 
him well, and they remained together. Swein went home, 
and kept a large number of his men about him, maintaining 
a strict watch, because he distrusted the Sudreyarmen. 
Late in the winter he sold his lands, and went early in 
the spring to Li6dhus (Lewis). During this expedition he 
had committed many ravages. 



CHAPTER LXXIV. 

OF EAKL ROGNVALD AND SWEIN. 

While Swein was in the Sudreyar, Earl Eognvald went over 
to Caithness, and was entertained at V£k (Wick) by a man 
named Harald. His son was named Swein, an active fellow. 
While the Earl was there, Thorbiom Klerk came up from 
Scotland, and said that his father, Thorstein Hold, had been 
killed by a certain Earl. People talked of how frequently 
Earl Eognvald and Thorbiom spoke together, because the 
Earl scarcely took leisure to discharge his duties for that 

^ i^r.— This same signal was used by the anny of the Boendr at the battle 
of Stiklestad (Flateyarb6k, ii. 852). The signal-hom used at the present day by 
the Shetland fishermen still retains the ancient name, ** the ludr-hom." 



, 1 1 i>vHiiM .■■IB 1111 m mu ^^^^^^tr^^m^^ im X 'w^mmm^f^^^i^mr^^^^mftf^fsi^fffg^Km^K 



EARL HOGNVALD's PLEASANTRIES. 119 

reason. Thorbiom went with the Earl out to the Islands 
(Orkneys), and Swein, Harald's son, became the Earl's table- 
boy. Thorbiom had been in Scotland for some time. He 
had slain two men who had been with Swein, Asleif s son, 
at the burning of Frdkork. 

When Swein came from the Sudreyar, he went home to 
his farm in Gareksey (Gsdrsay), and not to Earl Eognvald, 
as he used to do when he came from his expeditions. So 
when the Earl heard that Swein had come home from the 
Sudreyar in the summer, he asked Thorbiom for what reason 
he thought Swein did not come to him. 

Thorbiom replied : " I suppose Swein is offended with 
me because I had those men slain who were with him at the 
burning of Frdkork." 

The Earl said : " I do not like you to be enemies." 

Then Earl Eognvald went to Gdreksey, and tried to 
reconcile them, which was easy, because they both wished 
the Earl to judge between them. Then he made peace 
between them, and it lasted for a long time after. 



CHAPTER LXXV. 

EARL BOGNVALD'S PLEASANTRIES. 

At this time there came a certain Icelandic ship to the 
Orkneys, in which was a man by name Hall, the son of 
Th6rarinn Breidmagi (broad waist). He went to Rlnarsey 
(North Ronaldsay), to stay with Thorstein and Eagna. He 
became tired of staying there, and asked Thorstein to bring 
him to Earl Eognvald. They went to see him, but the Earl 
would not receive HalL When they came home, Eagna 
asked how they had succeeded, and Hall replied by a ditty : 

It was to thy own son, Ragnay 
(Let truth be known among the people) 
I gave the noble task of asking 
My reception 'mong the courtiers ; 
But the generous ring-giver, 
Who ei^oys the highest honour, 
Has declined my clownish service, 
Haying plenty of the bravest. 



120 OBKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Shortly afterwards Eagna went to see Earl Rognvald on 
this errand herself. She was so dressed that she had a 
red head-gear of horse's hair ; and when the Earl saw her he 
sang: 

Neyer did I know before this 

How the ladies of the cross-bench 

Deck their heads with finest kerchiefe. 

If I use the proper language, 

Seems to me that this gold-wearer 

Hides the tresses of her hmd-head 

With a chestnut filly's tail-locks, 

And her head-dress shows her temper. 

Eagna said : " Now the saying comes true, ' that few are 
so wise that they see everything as it is,' for this [hair] is of 
a horse, and not of a mare." 

Then she took a silken kerchief and wrapped it round 
her head, continuing, nevertheless, her business with the 
EarL He gave her a rather cold answer at first, but became 
more pleasant as they spoke longer, and she obtained what 
she wanted — namely, to procure for Hall a place at the 
(Earl's) court. He remained a long time with Earl Eogn- 
vald. They made jointly the " Old Metrekey," ^ with five 
verses for each different metre. Afterwards that was thought 
too much, and now two verses only are made for each dif- 
ferent metre. 



CHAPTEE LXXVI. 

OP EAEL ROGNVALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 

SwEiN, Asleifs son, is said to have heard that Holdbodi had 
arrived in the Sudreyar. Then he asked Earl Eognvald to 
give him troops to avenge himself. The Earl gave him five 
ships, and Thorbiom Klerk was the commander of one of 
them ; Haflidi, the son of Thorkel Flettir, of another ; Diif- 
nidl, the son of Hdvard, Gunni's son, the third; Efkgard 
(Eichard), Thorleif s son, the fourth ; and Swein, Asleifs son, 

^ Clavis BhythmicOf apparently a kind of rhyming dictionary or repertory 
of yersification. Torfsns states Uiat this joint production of Earl Rognvald 
and Hall, Eagna's son, is still extant in the library at Upsala. 



■ piw .J lit, jwmtm i n> ii^sT'gJuu.kWM^jwwffp^ff 040.11-^?! 



OP EARL ROGNVALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 121 

the fifth. When Holdbodi heard of Swein, he fled from the 
Sudreyar. Swein and his men killed many people in the 
Sudreyar, and ravaged and burnt far and wida They 
obtained great booty, but could not catch Holdbodi, and he 
never came to the Sudreyar after that Swein wished to 
remain in the Sudreyar during the winter, but Thorbiom and 
the others wished to go home, and went in the autumn to 
Caithness, and arrived at Dungalsbse. When they were 
going to divide their booty, Swein said they should all share 
equally, but that he himself should have a chiefs share 
besides, saying that he had been the chief, and that the 
Earl had sent the others to his assistance. Besides, he 
added further that he alone had the quarrel with the Sudrey- 
armen, while the others had none. Thorbiom, however, said 
he did not deserve less than Swein, and had not been less a 
leader than he. They also wished that all the ships' com- 
manders should have equal shares ; but they had to submit 
to Swein, because his men were by far the most numerous 
there on the Ness (in Caithness). 

Thorbiom went out to the Orkneys and told Earl Eogn- 
vald how matters had gone between him and Swein, and 
that they were very much displeased to have been deprived 
by him of their just proportion of the spoil 

The Earl said it would not be only once that Swein had 
turned out not to be an equitable man, yet he would in the 
end receive retribution for his injustice ; but, he added : " You 
shall not quarrel about this. I shall give you as much money 
of my own as you have lost through him, and it is my will 
that you do not claim it of him. It will be a good thing if 
this does not lead to greater diflBculties with him." 

Thorbiom replied : " May God reward you, my lord, for 
the honour you do us, and we shall not quarrel with Swein 
about this ; but I shall never be his friend any more, and I 
shall do biTTi some despite in return." And after that Thor- 
biom divorced himself from Ingirfd, Swein's sister, and sent 
her to him over to Ness (Caithness). Swein received her 
well, but considered Thorbiom's conduct a great insult to 
himself. There was then fierce enmity between them. Then 
the saying proved tme that monsters are best matched 
together. 



122 OBKSETiNGA SAGA. 

When Swein was in the Sudreyar, he had placed Margad, 
Grim's son, over his affairs at Dungalsbse, and transferred to 
him the oflSce (of deputy or factor) which he held from Earl 
Eognvald, but Margad was resentful and overbearing, and 
became unpopular on account of his violenca Those who 
were the first objects of his oppression ran to Hr6ald (at 
Wick), and remained there. From this enmity arose between 
the two. Shortly after Margad went south to Vfk (Wick) 
on business with nineteen men, and before he left he attacked 
Hr6ald, and killed him and several others. Then he went 
to Dungalsbse to see Swein. The latter gathered men 
together, and went to Lambaboig,^ where he fortified himself. 
It was a strong place, and there he remained, with sixty men, 
and brought thither provisions and other necessaries. The 
borg (castle) was situated on a sea-girt rock, and on the land- 
ward side there was a weU-bmlt stone walL The crags ran 
a long way along the sea on either side. Swein and his men 
committed many violent robberies in Caithness, and brought 
everything into the stronghold, and became greatly hated. 



CHAPTEE LXXVII. 

OF SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON'S MOVEMENTS. 

Tms news came to the ears of Earl Bognvald, and Swein, 
Hr6ald's son, and he asked the Earl to help him to obtain 
redress in this cause ; and many supported Swein's request 
At last Earl Bognvald crossed over to Ness (Caithness), and 
the following chiefs with him: — ^Thorbiom; Haflidi, Thor- 
kel's son ; and Dilifriidl, Hdvard's son. These counselled the 
most severe measures against Swein. They went to Dun- 
galsbse, but Swein was not thera They heard that he was 
in Lambaborg, and then the Earl went thither. When they 
came to the borg, Swein asked who their leader was, and he 
was told that it was Earl Bognvald. Swein asked him what 

^ From the description of Lambaborg, and its situation with regard to the 
coast and the river at Freswick, it seems to have been the fortalice now caUed 
Bucholly Castle, Arom a Mowat of Bucholly who possessed it in the 17th cen- 
tury, and by whom it was partially rebuilt 



OP SWEIN, ASLEIF^S SON^S MOVEMENTS. 123 

he wanted. The Earl said he wished him to deliver Margad 
up to them. Swein asked whether he was to receive quarter. 
The Earl said he would not promise. Then Swein said : " I 
have not the heart to deliver Margad into the power of Swein, 
Hr6ald's son, or of my other enemies who are with you, but 
I should wish very much to be at peace with you, my lord." 
Then Thorbiom Elerk said: "Hear what the traitor 
says, that he would willingly be at peace with his lord after 
he has plundered his land, and betaken himself to the high- 
ways like a thief, you make a bad return to the Earl for all 
the honour he has done you, and so you will do to all you can." 
Swein replied : " You need not say much in this case, 
Thorbiom, for no respect will be paid to your words. But 
it is my foreboding that you wiU repay him worse for all the 
honour he h^ done to you, before you part, for nobody wiU 
gain good fortune from any dealings with yoit" 

llxen Earl Bognvald said that men should not rail at each 
other. 

Then they besieged the borg, and cut off all communica- 
tion, and a long time passed, as they could not make an 
assault And when the provisions were exhausted, Swein 
called his men together, and consulted with them. But they 
all said, as with one mouth, that they wished to foUow his 
guidance as long as they were able. 

Then Swein said : " I think it most disgraceful to starve 
here, and afterwards to surrender to our enemies. It has 
turned out, as was likely, that our skill and good fortune 
should fail against Earl Eognvald. We have tried to obtain 
peace and security for life, but neither was to be had for my 
ycompanion Margad. Though I know that the others will be 
able to obtain quarter, yet I have not the heart to deliver 
him under the axe. Still, it is not right that so many here 
should suffer for his difficulties, although I am unwilling to 
part from him for a time." 

Then he tied together ropes which they had, and during 
the night they let Swein and Margad down from the borg 
into the sea. They swam along the cliffs till they came to 
the end of them, then they got on shore and went to Suther- 
land, thence to Moray, and then to Diifeyraif.^ There they 

* Probably now represented by Duffus in Moray. 



124 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

met with some Orkneymen in a trading vesseL Hallyaid 
and Thorkel were the commanders, and they were ten alto- 
gether. Swein and Margad went on board with them, when 
they were twelve together, and then they saQed south oflf 
Scotland, until they came to Maeyar (the Isle of May). 
There was a monastery, the head of which was an abbot, by 
name Baldwin.^ Swein and his men were detained there 
seven nights by stress of weather. They said they had been 
sent by Earl Eognvald to the King of Scots. The monks 
suspected their tale, and thinking they were pirates, sent to 
the mainland for men. When Swein and his comrades 
became aware of this, they went hastily on board their ship, 
after having plundered much treasure from the monastery. 
They went in along MyrkviSord (the Firth of Forth), and 
found David, the King of Scots, in Edinburgh. ' He received 
Swein well, and requested him to stay with him. He told 
the King expUcitly the reason of his visit, how matters had 
gone between him and Earl Eognvald before they parted, and 
also that they had plundered in Mdeyar. Swein and Mar- 
gad stayed for a while with the King of Scots, and were well 
treated. King David sent men to those who had been robbed 
by Swein, and told them to estimate their loss themselves, and 
then of his own money he made good to every one his loss. 

King David proposed to Swein to bring his wife from 
the Orineys, and to bestow upon him such honours in 
Scotland as he might be well satisfied with. Swein de- 
clared aU his wishes to the King. He said it was his wish 
that Margad should remain with him, and that the King 
should send word to Earl Eognvald to be reconciled to him ; 
but he said he would himself leave his case entirely to the 
decision of Eognvald, adding that he was always well pleased 
when there was friendship between them, but ill at ease 
when they were at enmity. 

King David replied : '' I suppose this Earl is a good 
man, and you value nothing except what comes from him, 
since you prefer the risk of surrendering yourself to his 
good faith, and refuse my offers." 

^ This passage supplies the name of a prior of the monastery of May, not 
otherwise on record. (See records of the Priory of the Isle of May, issued by 
the Soc Antiq. Scot 1868). 



EARL VALTHIOP'S DEATH. 125 

Swein said he would never give up his friendship, yet 
he asked the King to grant him this, and the King said it 
shoidd be as he wished. 

King David sent men to the Orkneys with presents, and 
a message requesting that the Earl would make peace with 
Swein. Then Swein went north to the Islands, and Margad 
remained behind with the King. King David's messengers 
went to Earl Eognvald, who received them well, and also 
the presents, promising peace to Swein. Then he was fully 
reconciled to Swein, who now returned to his estates. 



CHAPTER LXXVIII. 

EABL VALTHIOF'S DEATH. 

When Swein and Margad had left Lambaborg,^ those that 
were in the fort resolved to surrender it to Earl Eognvald. 
He asked them what they knew last of Swein and Margad, 
and they told the truth. 

When the Earl heard it, he said : " To tell the truth, 
Swein has no equal among those that are now with us, and 
such feats are both brave and hardy ; but I will not abuse 
my power over you, although you were involved in these 
troubles with Swein. Every one of you shall go home in 
peace as far as I am concerned.'' 

The Earl went home to the Orkneys, and sent Thorbiom 
Klerk in a ship with forty men south to Breidafiord (the Moray 
Firth), to search for Swein ; but he heard nothing of him. 

Thorbiom then said to his men : " Our journey is a 
strange one ; we are all this time wandering after Swein, 
but I have heard that Earl Valthi6f, who slew my father,* 
is not far off, with but a few men ; and if you will attack 
him with me, I will promise you that I shall not act as 
Swein did — namely, to deprive you of your share if we get 
any booty, for you shall have all we get, except what you 
wish to give me, because I think glory is better than booty." 

Then they went to the place where Earl Valthi6f was at 
a banquet, and surprised them in the house, and set it on 

^ See p. 128. ' See chapL Ixziv. 



126 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

fire immediately. Valtlii6f and his men ran to the door, 
and asked who was the raiser of the fire. Thorbiom told his 
name. Valthi6f ofifered compensation for Thorstein's slaying, 
but Thorbiom said it was useless to ask for peace. They 
defended themselves bravely for a time ; but when the fire 
pressed them they ran out; after that their defence was 
short, because the fire had overcome them. Earl Valthi6f 
fell, and thirty men with him. Thorbiom and his men got 
a great deal of booty, and he kept all Ms promises to them 
faithfully. Then they went to the Orkneys to Earl Eogn- 
vald, who was well satisfied with what they had done. 
Then there was peace and quiet in the Islands. 

At that time a young man lived in the Islands,^ by 
name Kolbein Hrdga (heap), a very overbearing man ; he 
built a fine stone castle,^ which was a strong defence. Kol- 
bein's wife was Herbiorg, the sister of Hdkon Bam (child), 
but their mother was the daughter of Herborg, Paul's 
daughter. Their children were Kolbein Karl, Bjami Skald, 
Sumarlidi, Asldk, and Frida ; they were all well mannered. 



CHAPTER LXXIX. 

OF EINDRIDI UNGI (THE YOUNG). 

At that time the sons of Harald Gilli^ ruled over Norway. 
Eystein was the oldest of them, but Ingi was a legitimate 
son, and he was most honoured by the Lendermen, because 
he let them have their way in all things as they liked. • At 
this time the following Lendermen (Barons) assisted him in 

* The Stockholm translation of the Saga has " in Vigr," instead of "in 
the Islands.*' 

' In the Saga of Hakon Hakonson it is stated that Kolbein Hn!iga*s castle 
was on the island of Vigr, now Weir. It was to this stronghold that SnsekoU 
Gunnason fled when he had slain Earl John (son of Harald Maddadson), the 
last of the Norse Earls of Orkney, in A.D. 1232 ; and the Saga states that 
the castle was so strong that it resisted aU the efforts of the Earl's friends to 
take it In 1529 we learn from Jo. Ben that the ruins were still yisible. 
Barry describes it as a small square tower, 15 feet square inside, and the walls 
7 feet thick, strongly buUt with large stones, well cemented with lime. It is 
now a green mound, like the older Pictish towers ; but to this day among the 
peasantry of the locality the mound bears the name of Cobbie Ilow*8 (Kolbein 
Hruga's) Castle. ' See note on p. 84. 



^m^r^^mmmr^m^mm^mm^mm^^^^^mm 



OF EINDRIDI UNGI (tHE YOUNG). 127 

the government : — Ogmimd and Erling, the son of Kyrpinga 
Orm. They advised King Ingi to send word to Earl Eogn- 
vald, and give him an honourable invitation, saying truly that 
he had been a great friend of his father, and desired him to 
become as intimate with the Earl as he coidd, so that he 
might be a dearer friend of his than of his brother, whatever 
might happen between them. The Earl was related to the 
brothers, and a great friend of theirs ; and when he received 
this message, he quickly prepared to go, because he felt a 
desire to go to Norway to see his friends and kinsmen. Earl 
Harald asked to be permitted to go with him, out of curiosity 
and to amuse himself; he was then nineteen winters old. 

When the Earls were ready, they started from the west 
with some merchants, having a noble retinue, and arrived in 
Norway early in the spring. They foimd King Ingi in 
Biorgvin (Bergen), and he received them very welL Earl 
Rognvald saw many of his friends and kinsmen, and spent a 
great deal of the summer there. Eindridi Ungi (the young) 
arrived frx>m Mikligard (Constantinople) that suromer; he 
had been long in service ^ there, and was able to teU many 
things from there ; and it was thought good entertainment 
to inquire from him about things in that part of the worid. 
The Earl conversed frequently with him. 

^ Probably in the body-gaard of the Greek Emperor, which, the Byzan- 
tine historians of the period inform us, was composed of natives of the remote 
north, whom they caU Varangians. The name Varangi first appears with them 
in the year 985, but they are said to have served of old in the body-guard, and 
to have come partly from Thule and partly from England. In the Saga of 
Harald Hardradi his exploits during his sojourn in the East are minutely 
detailed, and it is recorded that he became chief of the Vaerings, who were 
at that time in the Imperii^ service. For several centuries these mercenaries 
in the pay of the Emperors were renowned for their bravery, discipline, and 
fidelity. After the Norman conquest of England, a body of Anglo-Saxon 
youth, under Siward of Gloucester, choosing exile rather than the ignominy 
of submission to the conquerors, went to Constantinople, and enrolled 
themselves among the Veerings. So many followed them that a mixture of 
Danish and Saxon became the official language of the guards of the Imperial 
Palace. Hoards of Eastern coins and ornaments are almost annually dis- 
covered in Norway and Sweden, and occasionally in Orkney and the North of 
Scotland. The museum of Stockholm possesses a collection of more than 
20,000 Cufic coins found in Sweden, dating from the close of the 8th to the 
end of the 10th century, and vast quantities of those silver ornaments of peculiar 
forms and style of workmanship, which are also believed to have been brought 
from the East, partly by trade and partly by the returning Vferings^ 



128 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Once when they were talking, Eindridi said ; " It seems 
strange to me that you do not think of going out to J6r- 
salaheim (Jerusalem), and that you shoidd be satisfied with 
being told of the things that are there ; it would best suit 
such men as you are to be there on account of your great 
accomplishments, and you will be honoured above all others 
wherever you come among noble men." 

When Eindridi had said this, many spoke in favour of 
it, and exhorted the Earl to become the leader of such an 
expedition. Erling made a long speech in support of the 
proposal, and said he would join the party himself, if the 
Earl woidd consent to be their chief And as many men of 
note seemed eager for the journey, he promised to go. And 
when he and Erling were settling matters between them, 
many noble men joined the party. These Lendermen 
(Barons) were among them : Eindridi Ungi, who was to be 
their guide, J6n P^trsson, Aslak Erlendsson, Guttorm Mol, 
and Kol from HaUand. It was resolved that none of them 
should have a larger ship than with thirty benches, except 
the Earl, and no one shoidd have an ornamented vessel but 
he. This was done in order that no one shoidd envy an- 
other because he had finer men or a better ship than he. 
J6n F6t (leg) was to build a ship for the Earl, and to have 
it as finely fitted out as possible. Earl Eognvald went 
home in the autumn, and intended to stay at home two 
winters. King Ingi gave the Earl two long ships — small, 
but very beautiful, and specially built for rowing; they 
were, therefore, of all the ships the swiftest Earl Eognvald 
gave Harald one of them, called Fffa ; the other was called 
Hjalp. In these ships the Earls went to sea, holding west- 
ward. Earl Eognvald had received large presents from his 
friends. It was Tuesday evening when the Earls put out to 
sea, and they had a fair wind during the night On 
Wednesday there was a* great storm, and in the evening 
they saw land. It was very dark, and they saw signs of 
breakers surrounding them on all sides. Up to this time 
they had kept together. There was nothing to be done 
except to run the vessels on shore, and this they did.^ The 
beach before them was stony and narrow, enclosed behind 

^ The scene of the shipwreck seems to have been near Golhcrwick. 



™ •?' 



OF EINDRIDI (the YOUNG). 129 

by crags. All the men were saved, but they lost a large 
quantity of their stores. Some of the things were thrown 
up by the sea during the night. As usual, Earl Eognvald 
bore himself as the bravest of all the men there. He 
was so merry that he played with his fingers, and spoke 
nearly all his sayings in rhjone. He took a golden ring 
from his hand, and sang this ditty : 

Thus I hang the hammer-beaten 
Hand-ring from my rounded fingers ; 
Thus I put my fingers through it : 
So the nymph of crashing waters 
Threw me, joyful, in a rock-rift 
There to play me with my fingers. 

When they had carried their things up fipom the sea, 
they went farther inland to search for habitations, because 
they thought they knew they had landed in Hjaltland. 
They soon found farms, and distributed themselves among 
them. The people were glad to see the Earl, and when he 
was asked about his voyage, he sang : 

Both my ships on beach went crashing ; 
When the surges swept my men off*, 
Sore afflicted by the billows 
Were the fiiencls of Hjalp and Fifa. 
Certainly this misadventure 
Of the danger-seeking rovers 
Will not soon be quite forgotten 
By those who got such a wetting. 

The mistress of the house brought a fur cloak to the Earl, 
who, stretching his hands forward to receive it, and laughing, 
sang this ditty : 

Here I shake a shrunken fur coat ; 
Surely 'tis not ornamental 
All our clothes are in the ship-field, 
And it is too wide to seek them. 
Lately, all the young sea-horses 
Left we dressed in splendid garments, 
Ab we drove the steeds of mast-heads 
To the crags, across the surges. 

Large fires were made, and there they warmed them- 



130 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

selves. A female servant entered shivering all over, and her 
words were unintelligible on account of her sliiver. The 
Earl said he understood her : 

Asa ! you seem quite exhausted. 
Atatata ! 'tis the water. 
Hutututu ! where shall I sit ) 
By the fire — 'tis rather chilly. 

Tne Earl sent twelve of his men to Einar in Gullberu- 
vik, but he said he would not receive them unless the Earl 
came himself. When Earl Eognvald heard this, he sang : 

Einar said he would give food to 
None of all the lads of Rognvald, 
He himself alone excepted — 
(Empty words I now am talking), 
For I know that he, the friendly. 
Never failed' to keep his promise. 
Cto we in then where the fires are 
Burning brightly all the evening. 

The Earl stayed a long time in Hjaltland, and in the 
autumn he went south to the Orkneys, and resided in his 
dominions. That autumn two Hjaltlanders ^ came to him. 
One was named Arm6d, a poet; the other was Oddi the 
little, the son of Gliim: he made verses welL The Earl 
received them both as his men. The Earl had a grand 
Yide feast, to which he invited guests, and gave his men 
presents. He handed a spear, inlaid with gold, to the poet 
Arm6d, shook it at him, and told him to make a song on the 
spur of the moment : 

Princely gifts the battle-fanner 
With no niggard hand distributes : 
Scaldic honours are not measured 
By the gifts bestowed on others. 
The defender of his country, 
And the best of all commanders, 
With his own hand brings to Arm6d 
ThiB blood-candle, golden pointed. 

One day during Yule the guests were looking at the 
tapestry. The Earl said to Oddi the little : " Make a song 

' The MS. translation at Stockholm reads **two Icelanders." 



OP EINDRIDI (the YOUNG). 131 

about the workman's handicraft on the tapestiy, and have it 
made by the time that I have finished my stanza, and use 
none of the same words that are in mine. The Ecurl sang : 

The old one on the hangings standing, 
Has a sheath-rod on his shoulder, 
But, m spite of all his anger, 
He will not get one step further. 

Oddi sang : 

For a stroke himself prepares the 
Warrior in stooping posture, 
Where the tapestry is parted ; 
Tet his danger wiU be greatest. 
Time it is for ships' commanders 
Peace to make ere harm does happen. 

During Yule-tide, the Earl entertained Bishop William 
and many of his chiefs. Then he made known his intention 
to go to J6rsalaheim (Jerusalem), and requested the Bishop 
to go with him, because he was a good Parisian scholar,^ and 
the Earl wished him to be their interpreter. The Bishop 
agreed to the Earl's request, and promised to go. The fol- 
lowing chiefe went with Earl Eognvald : — ^Magnus, the son 
of Havard, Gunni's son ; Swein, HjxSald's son ; and the fol- 
lowing men of lesser note: — ^Thorgeir SkotakoU, Oddi the 
little, Thorberg Svarti, Arm6d the scald, Thorkel Krokauga, 
Grimkell of Flettuness, and Bjami his son. When the two 
winters appointed for their preparations were passed. Earl 
Eognvald went early in the spring from the Orkneys east to 
Norway, to see how far the Lendermen (Barons) had pro- 
gressed with their preparations; and when he came to 
Biorgvin, he found there Erling, J6n, his brother-in-law, and 
Aslak, but Guttonn arrived shortly after. To Biorgvin came 
also the ship which J6n F6t had caused to be built for the 
EarL It was a most exquisite piece of workmanship, and 
all ornamented. The whole of the carved work on the prow, 
the vanes, and many other parts of the ship, were gilt 
Altogether, it was a most splendid ship. Eindridi came 

* Having studied probably at the University of Paris. Schroder gives the 
names of several Swedish studenCs at the University of Paris as early as 
1276. (De Universitate Parisiensi : Joh. Hen. Schroden) 



'tV^ 



r ,. ^ . ^ - 



132 ORKKEYINGA SAGA. 

frequently to town during the summer, and said he should 
be ready in a week. The Earl's men murmured greatly at 
having to wait so long, and some proposed not to wait for 
him, saying that such voyages as this had been made without 
Eindridi. A short time after Eindridi came to town and said 
he was ready. Then the Earl commanded his men to set sail 
when they thought there was favourable wind ; and when the 
day came when they thought they might expect a favourable 
wind, they left the town, and set sail The breeze was faint, 
and the Earl's ship moved slowly, because it required strong 
wind. The other chiefs lowered their sails, and would not 
leave the EarL When they were outside the Islands, the 
breeze increased to such a degree that in the smaller vessels 
they had to take in sail, but the Earl's ship now went at a 
great speed. •They saw two large ships coming after them, 
and soon they passed them. One of these two ships was 
highly finished. It was a dragon ; both its head and stem 
were richly gUded ; it was white on the bows, and painted 
everywhere above the sea where it was thought it woidd look 
well The Earl's men said that was very likely Eindridi's, 
adding : " He has not kept well the agreement that no one 
should have an ornamented ship except you, sire." 

The Earl replied : " Eindridi's pride is great, and he may 
be excused for not liking to be on the same level with us, 
as we are so much his inferiors ; but it is diflScult to see 
whether his good fortime runs before him or goes along with 
him. But let us not direct our movements according to his 
hotheadedness." 

Eindridi soon passed them in the larger vessel, but the 
Earl kept aU his ships together, and had a successful voyage. 
They arrived all safe in the Orkneys in the autumn. 



CHAPTER LXXX. 

OF EARL ROGNVALD AND THE ORKNEYMEN. 

It was resolved that they should spend the winter there. 
Some lived at their own expense, others were quartered with 
the Boendr, and many were with the Earl. There was a great 



I 



5 S 



OP EARL ROGNVALD AND THE ORKNEYMEN. 133 

turmoil in the Islands ; the Orkneymen and the Eastmen 
quarrelled frequency about bargains^ and women^ and other 
things. The Earl had a very difl&cult task to keep peace 
among them, for both parties considered that he deserved 
well of them and they of him. 

Of Eindridi it is to be told that when they came to 
Hjaldand (Shetland) his fine ship was totally wrecked, and 
he lost a great quantity of goods, but the smaller ship was 
saved. He spent the winter in Hjaltland, and sent men to 
Norway to have another ship built for the voyage to the 
East 

One of Eindridi's crew was called Ami Spltulegg (stick- 
leg). He went to the Orkneys during the winter with nine 
men. Ami was a very violent man, daring and turbulent. 
He and his comrades lived at their own expense during the 
winter. He bought malt and meat of a tenant of Swein, 
Asleif 's son, and when he demanded payment Ami delayed 
to pay. When he demanded it a second time, he was over- 
whelmed with abuse; and before they parted Ami strack him 
with the back of his axe, saying, " Go and tell your cham- 
pion, Swein, whom you are always praising, to obtain redress 
for you ; you will need no more." The man went and told 
Swein, requesting him to obtain redress. He gave him a 
cold answer, and said he would promise nothing. One day 
in the spring Swein went to collect his rents. They were 
four together in a ten-oared boat. They had to pass the 
island in which Ami was stajring, and Swein said he woidd 
land there. It was ebbing tide. Swein went on shore alone, 
carrying an axe with a short handle, and no other weapon. 
He told his men to keep the boat from getting aground. 
Ami Spitul^g and his comrades were lying in an outhouse 
not far firom the sea. Swein walked up, and foimd them 
indoors. They greeted him. He acknowledged their greet- 
ing, and spoke to Ami, saying that he should settle the 
farmer's account. Ami replied that there was plenty of 
time for that Swein asked him to do it for his intercession, 
but still Ami refused. Then Swein said he would not ask 
any further, and at the same time he drove the axe into 
Ami's skull, so that the iron was buried in it, and he lost 
hold of the handle. Swein ran out, and Ami's companions 



134 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

after him, to the beach. As they ran &st along the muddy 
shore, one of them, who was the swiftest, came to dose quar- 
ters with him. There were large roots of seaweed lying in 
the mud. Swein seized one of them, and thrust it into the 
face of the man who had come up with him, and he grasped 
at his eyes to clear the mud away, but Swein escaped to his 
boat, and went home to Gdreksey. Shortly after he went on 
his own business over to Caithness, and sent word to Earl 
Eognvald to settle the matter about Ami Spltulegg's slaying. 
And when the Earl received the message, he summoned 
together those who were entitled to compensation for Ami, 
and settled the matter to their satisfaction, he himself paying 
the compensation money. Many other acts of violence per- 
petrated by the Eastmen and the Orkneymen during the 
winter the Earl made good out of his own [funds]. 

Early in the spring he called a Thing meeting in Hrossey 
(Mainland), to which came aU the chiefs residing in his 
dominions. He then made it known to them that he intended 
to leave the Orkneys and to go to J6rsalaheim (Jerusalem), 
saying that he would leave the government in the hands of 
his kinsman Harald, and praying all his friends to obey him, 
and help him faithfully in whatever he required while he 
was obliged to be away himself. Earl Harald was then 
nearly twenty, tall and strong, but ugly ; yet he was a wise 
man, and the people thought he would be a good chief. 

In the summer Earl Eognvald prepared to leave the 
Orkneys ; but the simimer was far advanced before he was 
ready, because he had to wait a long time for Eindridi untQ 
his ship came from Norway. When they were ready, they 
left the Orkneys in fifteen large ships. The following were 
commanders of ships: — Earl Eognvald; Erling Skakki; 
Bishop WiUiam; Aslak, Erlend*s son; Guttorm; Magnus, 
Havard's son ; Swein, Hr6ald*s son ; Eindridi Ungi ; and the 
others who were with him are not named. From the Orkneys 
they sailed to Scotland, and then to England, and when they 
sailed to Nordjanbraland (Northumberland), oflf the mouth of 
Hvera (the Wear), Arm6d sang : 

High the crests were of the bUlowB 

As we passed the mouth of Hvera ; 

* Masts were bending, and the low land 



^a^^r^mi^mmmmmmK^m^i^^im^msm^^m^tffr^mm'^'^^ 



OF BAEL ROGNVALD AND THE ORKNEYMEN. 135 

Met the wavee in long sand reaches ; 
Blind our eyes were with the salt spray 
While the youths at home remaining, 
From the Thing-field &re on horseback. 

Then they sailed till they were south off England, and so on 
to Valland.^ There is no account of their voyage until they 
came to a seaport called Verbon.* There they learned that 
the Earl who had governed the city, and whose name was 
Geirbiom, had lately died ; but left a young and beautiful 
daughter, by name Ermingerd. She had charge of her patri- 
mony, under the guardianship of her noblest kinsmen. They 
advised the Queen to invite Earl Bognvald to a splendid 
banquet, saying that her fame would spread far if she gave 
a fitting reception to noblemen arrived from such a distemce. 
The Queen left it to them ; and when this had been resolved 
upon, men were sent to the Earl to tell him that the Queen 
invited him to a banquet, with as many men as he himself 
wished to accompany him. The Earl received her invitation 
gratefully, selecting the best of his men to go with him. 
And when they came to the banquet there was good cheer, 
and nothing was spared by which the Earl might consider 
himself specially honoured. One day, while the Earl sat at 
the feast, the Queen entered the hall, attended by many 
ladies. She had in her hand a golden cup, and was arrayed 
in the finest robes. She wore her hair loose, according to the 
custom of maidens, and a golden diadem round her forehead. 
She poured out for the Earl, and the maidens played for 
them. The Earl took her hand along with the cup, and 
placed her beside him. They conversed during the day. 
The Earl sang : 

La^y fair ! thy form surpasses 
All the loveliness of maidens, 
Though arrayed in costly garments, 
And adorned with precious jewels : 
Silken curls in radiant splendour 
Fall upon the beauteous shoulders 
Of the goddess of the gold-rings. 
The greedy eagle's daws I redden'd. 



^ Yalland, probably for Gaul-land, the Norse name for the west coast of 
France^ * Verbon has not been identified. 



136 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

The Earl stayed there a long time, and was well entertained. 
The inhabitants of the city solicited him to take up his resi- 
dence there, saying that they were in favour of giving the 
Queen to him in marriage. The Earl said he wished to 
complete his intended journey, but that he would come there 
on his return, and then they might do what they thought fit. 
Then the Earl left with his retinue, and saUed round Thras- 
ness. They had a fair wind, and sat and drank, and made 
themselves merry. The Earl sang this song : 

Long in the Prince's memoiy 
Enningerd's soft words shall linger ; 
It is her desire that we shall 
Ride the waters out to Jordan ; 
But the riders of sea-hoises. 
From the southern climes returning, 
Soon shall plough their way to Yerbon 
O'er the whale-pond in the autumn. 

Then Ajm6d sang : 

Ne'er shall I see Ermingerda 
More, from this tune, if it be not 
That my &te shall be propitious ; 
Many now are grieving for her. 
Happy were I if I could but 
Be beside her just for one day ; 
That, indeed, would be good fortune, 
Once again to see her Mr &ce. 

Then Oddi sang : 

Truth to tell, we two are scarcely 
Worthy of j&ur Ermingerda ; 
For this wise and lovely Princess 
May be called the Queen of Maidens : 
This the title that beseemeth 
Best the splendour of her beauty. 
While she lives beneath the sun-ray. 
May her lot be ever happy. 

They went on till they came west to Gralicialand,^ five 
nights before Yule-tide, and intended to spend it there. They 
asked the inhabitants whether they were willing to sell them 

^ Galicialand, the modem Galicia, the north-west comer of Spain. 



OF EARL ROGNVALD AND THE ORKNEYMEN. 137 

provisions; but food is scarce in that country, and they 
thought it a great hardship to have to feed such a numerous 
host. It so happened that the country was under the rule 
of a foreigner, who resided in the castle, and oppressed the 
inhabitants greatly. He made war on them if they did not 
do everything he wished, and menaced them with violence 
and oppression. When the Earl asked the inhabitants to 
sell hJTn victuals, they consented to do so until Lent, but 
made certain proposals on their part — to wit, that Earl 
Bognvald should attack their enemies, and should have aU 
the money which he might obtain from them. The Earl 
communicated this to his men, and asked them what they 
would be inclined to do. Most of them were willing to 
attack the castle, thinking that it was a very likely place to 
obtain booty. Therefore Earl Bognvald and his men agreed 
to the terms of the inhabitants. 

When the Yule-tide was close at hand the Earl called his 
men together, and said: "We have been resting for a while, and 
have not disturbed the men of the castle, and the inhabitemts 
are getting tired of supplying ua I suppose they will think 
our promise will come to nothing ; and it is not manly in us 
not to try to do what we promised. Now, I wish to hear 
your advice as to how we are to take the castle, as I know 
you here are men of great discretion ; therefore I ask every 
one here present to state what plan he thinks most likely to 
succeed." 

Erling replied to the Earl, and said : " I will not be silent 
since you command us to speak, although I am not a man of 
sage coimsels ; and those ought rather to be asked who have 
seen more and are more experienced in such imdertakings, 
as Eindridi Ungi But I suppose we must do here as the 
saying is, ' Shoot at the bird before we catch it' I may try 
to give some advice, whatever may be its valua If you and 
the. other ship-commanders do not think it a bad plan, we 
shall to-day go all of us to the wood, and carry three bundles 
of faggots each to the castle, because it appe£u^ to me that 
the lime would not stand well if much heat were applied to it 
Let us do this for the next three days, and see what happens." 
They did as Erling advised, and when they had finished 
their work Yule was close at hand. The Bishop would not 



138 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 

peimit the inhabitants of the caatle to be attacked during the 
Yule-tida 

The chief inhabiting the castle was named Gudifrey. He 
was a wise man, and somewhat advanced in years. He was 
a good scholar, had travelled much, and knew many lan- 
guages. He was a covetous man, and overbearing. 

When he saw what the strangers were doing, he called 
his men together, and said : " The plan adopted by the North- 
men seems to me a wise one, and likely to do us great hann. 
We shall see, when fire is applied to the stone wall round 
the castle, that it is not strong. Moreover, the Northmen 
are valiant, and men of great strength, and we may expect a 
fierce attack from them if they get an opportunity. Now, I 
wish to hear your advice about the difficult position in which 
we are placed." 

But aU his men asked hiyn to do what he thought best 

Then he said : " My first plan is to tie ropes together, 
and you shall let me down over the castle walL I will dress 
myself in rags, and go to the camp of the Northmen, and see 
what I can ascertain." 

They did as he told them, and he came to Earl Bognvald 
pretending to be a beggar, and speaking Valska, as they 
understood a little of it He walked throughout the camp 
and begged food. He perceived that there was much jealousy 
among the Northmen, and that they were divided into two 
factions. Eindridi Ungi was the leader of one, and the Earl 
of the other. 

Gudifrey went to Eindridi and spoke to him. He said 
that the chief of the castle had sent him there, wishing to 
form an alliance with him. " He expects that you will give 
him quarter if the castle is taken ; and he is more willing to 
let you have his treasure, if you will do this in return, than 
those who wish to have him a dead man." 

Such things they spoke, and many others, but it was 
Qoncealed from the Earl, as at first they observed profound 
secrecy. When Gudifrey had been some time with the Earl's 
men, he returned to his castle. But they did not remove 
their property fix)m it, because they did not know whether 
the attack would be successful, and they could not put faith 
in the inhabitants. 



*v«^ 



EARL ROGNVALD TAKES A CASTLE. 139 



CHAPTEE LXXXL 

EARL ROGNVALD TARES A CASTLE. 

The tenth day of Yule-tide was a fine day, and Earl Eogn- 
vald arose and commanded his men to arm themselves, and 
summoned them with trumpets to the attack of the castle. 
They dragged the wood close to it, and heaped up large piles 
round the walls. Then the Earl gave orders where each 
should make the attack. He himself with the Orkneymen 
had the attack from the south, ErUng and Asldk from the 
west, J6n and Guttonn from the east, and Eindridi Ungi 
from the north. When they were ready for the attack, they 
set fire to the wood, and the Earl sang : 

Maids in lace and snow-white linen 
Bring us here the white wine sparkling. 
Fair to see was Ermingerda, 
When we met her in our travels. 
Fare we now to try the castle 
With our flaming oaken firehrands ; 
Quickly leaping from the scabbard 
Gleams the sharp-edged smiter. Forward ! 

Now they began to attack the castle vigorously, both with 
weapons and with fire. They shot missiles into it, for that 
was the only way of attack. The besieged did not stand 
firm on the walls, because they had to guard themselves 
against the missiles. They poured down burning pitch and 
brimstone, which, however, did veiy little harm to the Earl's 
men. What Erling had foretold came to pass; the lime 
could not stand the fire, and the wall fell down, leaving large 
breaches open. 

A man named Sigmund Ongul (fish-hook), the Earl's 
stepson, was one of the keenest in the attack, and frequently 
went in fix)nt of the Earl, although he was then hardly a 
full-grown man. When the attack had lasted for a while,- 
all the besieged were driven from the wall The wind blew 
from the south, and drove all the smoke towards Eindridi, 
and when the fire began to spread rapidly the Earl had water 
poured on it to cool the burnt stones, and then there was a 
short pause in the attack. The Earl sang a song : 



140 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Now I mind me of the Yule-tide 
Which I spent with friends and brave men 
On the east of Agdir's mountains^ 
With the valiant warrior Solmund ; 
Now, again, another Yule>tide 
Am I in the same way busy 
At the south side of this castle. 
Adding to the din of weapons. 

Further he sang : 

Glad I was when that fair lady 
Listened to my love-tale's telling ; 
Hopelessly was I led captive 
By a Valland maid in autumn. 
Still I love the noble lady, 
And I spread the feast for eagles. 
Stone and lime, well bound together, 
Now before me fiall asunder. 

Then Sigmund Ongul sang : 

When, in spring-time, o'er the waters 
Ye go homeward to the Orkneys, 
Tell the lady whom I most love — 
Lady of the splendid garments — 
That, beneath the castle ramparts. 
There was none who stepped more boldly 
'Mong the young men than her lover. 

Then the Earl and Sigmund prepared to force their way 
into the castle, and meeting with little registance, they entered 
it, and many were killed ; but those that surrendered to the 
Earl received quarter. They obtained a great deal of pro- 
perty, but did not find the chief, and almost no treasure. 
There was a great discussion about the escape of Gudifrey, 
and how he had effected it ; and they soon suspected Eindridi 
Ungi that he had given him the means of escaping, and that 
he had followed the smoke, and thus gained the forest 

After this Earl Bognvald and his men stayed a short 
time in Galicialand, and directed their course along the west 
of Spain. They plundered far and wide in heathen Spain- 
land,^ and obtained great booty. They went into a certain 

^ Heathen Spainland must refer to the provinces then in possession of the 
Moors. The Saga of Sigurd the J6r8ala-farer says that when he visited Lisbon, 



EARL ROGNVALD TAKES A CASTLE. 141 

village, but the villagers ran together and offered fight 
They made a stout resistance, but fled at last, when many of 
them had been killed. The Earl sang : 

When in Spainland I went fighting, 
Quickly we overthrew the foemen, 
For, when tired of our hard hewing. 
Home they ran to see their sweethearts : 
All the land was strewed with corpses. 
Our deeds in song shall now be fiunous ; 
And my hope is, to be worthy 
Of the lovely Enningerda. 

Then they sailed along the west of Spain, and were over- 
taken by a gala There they lay at anchor three days, and 
great waves broke over them, so that the vessels nearly foun- 
dered. Then the Earl sang : 

Here I'm storm-tossed, but undaunted, 
While the cables hold together. 
And the tackle of the vessel 
Breaks not, as she breasts the bUlows ; 
I am promised to the fair one 
Whom we left out in the North-land ; 
Now again there comes a fidr wind ; 
Speed we on into the channel 

Then they set sail, and ran into Njorfasund ^ with a fair 
wind, and Oddi sang : 

When the faithful £riend of heroes. 
In the guest-hall sweet mead quaffing. 
Sat beside the fair ring-giver. 
That was a week to be remembered. 
Now the splendid steeds of billows 
Bear the noble-minded Rognvald 
And his warriors, wearing bucklers. 
Quickly through the Sound of Njorfi. 

When they were tacking into the Sound, the Earl sang : 

By an east wind, breathing softly, 
As firom lips of Valland lady, 

four years after the faU of King Magnus Barelegs (circa A.D. 1107), '* there lies 
the division between Christian Spain and heathen Spain, and all the districts 
that lie west of the city are occupied by heathens " — ^meaning Moslems. 
> Njorfasnnd, the Straits of Gibraltar. 



142 ORKNEYINGA. SAGA. 

Are our ships now wafted onward, 
As we push the yards out farther ; 
Though we had to tie the canvas 
Tighter than we had expected 
To the middle of the sailyard, 
South off Spain — ^we bear away now. 

They sailed through Njorfasund, and then the gale began to 
abate ; and when they had cleared the Sound, Eindridi Ungi 
parted from the Earl with six ships, and sailed across the sea to 
Marselia (Marseilles), but Earl Bognvald and his men remained 
at the Sound. It was said that Eindridi now himself proved 
that he had allowed Gudifrey to escape. The EarFs men 
sailed out to sea, and stood southwards to Serkland.^ Then 

Earl Eognvald sang : 

Now our good ship, land forsaking, 
Laves her breast in limpid waters. 
Long ere he who sings these verses, 
Sees again the northern islands ; 
With the sharp prow I the yielding 
Earth-surrounding sea am carving. 
Far off Spain-land, sweeping southward. 

More is not said of the Earl's progress till they came south 
ofif Serkland, and lay near Sardinia, not knowing where the 
land was. It was very calm, and a thick fog spread over 
the water, so that they could hardly see anything from the 
ships, and they sailed therefore slowly. One morning the 
mist disappeared, and the crew arose and looked around and 
saw two islets. When they looked for them the second time, 
there was but one islet. This they told to the EarL Then 
he said : " This cannot have been islets which you have seen ; 
it must be ships such as they have in this part of the world, 
and which they call Dr6mundar.^ From a distance they look 
as big as holms. But where the other Dr6mund lay, a puff 
of wind has probably swept over the water, and she has 
sailed away ; but they are likely some rovers." 

^ Serkland, or Saracen land — the north coast of Africa. 

' Dromones, originally used for long and swift ships, was m later times 
applied to the larger ships of war (Du Cange sub voce). In the early French 
romances it appears as '* Dromons," and " Dromont." Matthew Paris, in his 
account of the crusading expedition of Richard I. of England (a.ix 1191) 
notices the capture of a Saracen ship — ** navis permazima quam Dromundam 
appellant. " — HisL Angl, vol. ii. p. 23, Rolls Ed. 



ROGNVALD CONQUERS THE DROMUND. 143 

Then he summoned the Bishop and all the ship-com- 
manders, and said: "I ask of you my Lord Bishop, and 
ErUng my kinsman, whether you see any chance or device 
by which we may ovOTCome those in the Dr6mund." ^^'i 

The Bishop replied : " I think you will find it difl&cult 
to attack the Dr6muiid in your long-ships, for you will hardly 
be able to reach their bulwarks with a boarding-pike, and 
they have probably brimstone and boiling pitch to pour under 
your feet and over your heads. You may see. Earl Eogn- 
vald, wise as you are, that it would be the greatest rashness 
to place yourself and your men in such jeopardy." 

Then Erling said : " My Lord Bishop, it may be that you 
are right in thinking that we shall not obtain the victory by 
rowing at them ; yet 1 cannot help thinking that if we try 
to push close to the Dr6mund, their missiles will fall beyond 
our ships lying dose alongside ; but if this be not the case, 
we can push away quickly, for they will not be able to chase 
us in the Dr6mund." 

' The Earl said : " That is bravely spoken, and very much 
to my own mind. I will now make it known to the ships' 
commanders and all the men, that every one may arm and 
prepeo^ himself, each in his own place, os well as he can. 
Then let us attack them, and if they are Christian merchants, 
we can make peace with them ; but if they are heathens, 
which 1 think they are, by the favour of Almighty God we 
shall be able to overcome them, but of the booty we obtain 
we shall give every fiftieth penny to the poor." 

Then they unfastened their arms, prepared the bulwarks 
of their ships for battle, and made themselves ready in other 
ways as their circumstances permitted. The Earl assigned 
to each vessel its place in the attack; then they ptilled 
vigorously onwards. 



CHAPTEE LXXXII. 

ROGNVALD CONQUERS THE DR6mUND. 

When the men in the DnSmimd saw the ships pulling 
towards them, to attack them, they spread fine clothing 



144 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 

and costly stuffs out on the bulwarks, and made a great 
shouting, which the Earl's men took as a challenge. Earl 
Bognvald brought his ship dose imder the stem of the 
Dr6mund, on the starboard side. Erling did the same on 
the larboard side. J6n and Aslak brought theirs imder 
her bows, and the others amidships on either side, all stick- 
ing as close to her as possible. But when they came close 
under the Dromimd, she was so high in the side that the 
Northmen were imable to use their weapons, and the others 
poured blazing brimstone and burning pitch over them ; but 
most of it fell outside the ships, as Erling had foreseen, and 
they had no need to shield themselves from it However, 
when the attack did not succeed, the Bishop moved away 
his ship and two others, and they told off their bowmen to 
go in them. After having got to a convenient distemce for 
shooting, they shot their arrows into the Dr6mund, and this 
was the most effective mode of attack. The men in the 
Dr6mund protected themselves with their shields, and paid 
little heed to what those were doing who were in the ships 
close under the DnSmund. 

Earl Eognvald then ordered his men to take their axes, 
and cut the planks of the Dr6mund, where the iron fasten- 
ings were fewest ; and when the men in the other ships saw 
what the Earl's men were doing, they did the sama Now, 
where Erling had stationed himself, there was a large anchor 
hanging from the DnSmund, which had its fluke hooked over 
the gunwale, but the shank hung down towards Erling^s 
ship. One of his forecastle men was named Audun Baudi 
(red) ; he was lifted up on the anchor-stock, and then he 
pidled up others. Standing there as close as they could, 
they hacked away at the planks with all their might ; and 
this was far higher than the others could reach. When 
they had made an opening large enough to admit them, they 
prepared to board the Dr6mund. The Earl and his men 
entered on the lower deck, and Erling and his men on the 
xipper ; and when they both got in, there began to be severe 
fighting. Those in the Dr6mund were Saracens, whom we 
call Mahometan infidels. There were also many black men, 
who withstood them most fiercely. Erling received a severe 
wound in the neck, near the shoulder, when he jumped on 



^w^ 



ROGNVALD CONQUERS THE DROMUND. 145 

board ; it healed so badly that he carried his head to a side 
ever after, and therefore he was called crick-neck (Skakki). 

When Earl Eognvald and Erling joined each other, the 
Saracens were driven to the forepart of the ship ; and the 
Earl's men boarded one after another until they were more 
numerous, and then they pressed the enemy hard. In the 
Dr6mimd. they saw one man far superior to the others in 
appearance and stature, and they were persuaded that h6 
must be their chief. Earl Eognvald ordered his men not 
to wound him, if they could seize him in any other way. 
Then they surroxmded him, and pressed him with their 
shields, and thus caught him. He and a few others with 
him were sent to the Bishop's ship. All the rest they 
killed, and obtained great booty and many precious things. 
When they had finished the hardest part of their work, 
they sat down and rested, and the Earl sang : 

At the spreading of the banner, 
Erlmg, mighty tree of battle. 
Went to victory and honour 
Foremost when we foaght the Dr6mund; 
Then we felled the black-skinned fighters; 
Everywhere the blood ran streaming, 
And the keen-edged swords were reddened 
As we hewed among the heathen. 

We have had our fill of slaughter. 
Round us lie the heaps of corpses ; 
QoTj swords have been red-painting 
At the Dr6mund all this morning ; 
Soon the news will spread to northward 
Of this furious sword-tempest; 
It will soon be known at Yerbon, 
How we dealt death-blows this morning. 

There was much talk about what had been done ; every one 
told what he had seen. Then they talked of who had been 
the first to board, but were not all of one opinion. Some 
said it would not be creditable to them if they did not. alj 
relate this great exploit in the same . way. At last they 
all agreed to let Earl Eognvald decide, and every one should 

L 



146 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

afterwards tell the stoiy in the same way as he did Then 
the Earl sang : 

Audun Raudi was the man who 
First, with energy and valour, 
Scaled the black sides of the Dromund ; 
Soon the brave one seized his booty. 
By the help of God*s good favour 
Have we overcome the heathen ; 
Steeped our swords are all in red blood ; 
Round us lie the sable corpses. 

When they had cleared the Dr6mund, they set it on fire. 
When the big man whom they had taken prisoner saw this, 
he changed colour and became pale, and could not keep 
himself still. But though they tried to make him speak, 
he did not say a word, neither did he make any kind of 
sign ; he was immovable to fair promises and menaces 
alike. But when the DnSmund began to blaze up, they 
saw a glowing stream, as it were, run into the sea. At this 
the captive man was greatly moved. They concluded that 
they had not made a careful search for the money, and now 
the metal, whether gold or silver, had melted in the fire. 

Then Earl Eognvald and his men sailed south, under 
Serkland, and lay off a certain town of Serkland, and had 
seven nights* truce with the men of the town, and sold 
them silver and other valuables. No one would buy the 
big man; and then the Earl gave him leave to go away 
with four men. He came back on the morning after, with 
his men, and told them that he was a nobleman of Serk- 
land, and that he had been ransomed from there with the 
DnSmund and all its contents. " It grieved me most," he 
said, " that you should bum it, and thus destroy so much 
treasure, without any one's having the benefit of it Now 
you are in my power, but it counts for yoiu* benefit with 
me that you spared my life, and did me such honour as yon 
could. But I would gladly never see you eigBin, and now 
may you live hale and welL" Then he rode away into the 
countiy. 

Ecurl Bognvald sailed to Crete, and anchored in a strong 
gale. When Armod kept watch during the night, he sang : 



<j • "ut, . " I ' '"wr " ■■ ' ■ ^4 



EOGNVALD CONQUEBS THE DROMUND. 147 

Lie we now, where stormy billowB 
Break above the sturdy bulwarks ; 
My lot is to keep the watch well, 
Ou this waye-surmountiiig seahorse ; 
While the lads are snugly sleeping, 
I, to Crete, look o*er my shoulder. 

They lay off Crete until they had fair wind to J6rsalir 
(Jerusalem), and arrived early on a Friday morning at 
Akursborg (Acre). They went on shore with great pomp 
and splendour, such as seldom had been seen there. Thor- 
biom Svarti sang : 

Oft have I, with comrades hardy. 
Been in battle, in the Orkneys, 
When the feeder of the people 
Led his forces to the combat. 
Now our trusty Earl we follow, 
As we carry up our bucklers 
Gaily to the gates of Acre 
On tKis joyful Friday morning. 

They stayed in Akursborg for a while, and a disease 
broke out among their men, of which many died. Thor- 
biom Svarti died thera Oddi LitU sang : 

Bravely bore the Baron's vessels 
Thorbiom Svarti, scald and comrade. 
As he trod the sea-king's highway. 
Round by Thrasness, south to Acre. 
There I saw them heap the grave-mould 
Of the High Church o'er the King's friend. 
Earth and stones now lies he under 
In that southern land of sunshine. 

Earl S5gnvald and his men left Akursboig, and visited 
all the holiest places of J6rsalaland. They went all to 
J6rdan and bathed. Earl Bognvald and Sigmund OnguU 
swam across the river, and went to some shrubs and tied 
large knots.^ The Earl sang : 

^ ThA tying of knots at the Jordan is also allnded to in the saga of Sigurd 
the Jdrsala-farer. King Sigard and his brother Eystein are " comparing each 
other's exploits,*' and Sigard says : — " I went to Palestine, and I came to 



n 



148 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Long the way is I have travelled 
To this heath, enclosed by deserts, 
And the wise maid will remember, 
Too, my crossing over Jordan. 
Seems to me, that those who tarry 
At their homesteads, will not find it 
A short journey here to travel. 
Warm the blood falls on the wide plain 

Then Sigmund sang : 

This day I have tied a strong knot 
For the churlish down that's sitting 
By the home-hearth ; 'tis no falsehood 
That we play him^now a fine trick. 

The Earl sang : 

On this feast-day of St Lawrence, 
Tie we knots for this fine fellow. 
Tired I came to this nice comer, 
Where the shrubs grow close together. 

And when they were going from J6rsalaland Earl Eogn- 
vald sang : 

From the scald's neck hangs the cross now. 
In his hand a palm he carries. 
Now should cease unkindly feelings : 
From the heights my men rush downwards. 

During the summer Earl Eognvald and his men left 
J6rsalaland, and were going to Mikligard. In the autumn 
they came to a town called Imbolum,^ and stayed there a 
long time. When two persons met where the street was 

Apulia, but I did not see you there, brother. I went all the way to Jordan, 
where our Lord was baptized, and swam across the river ; but I did not see 
thee there. On the edge of the river-bank there was a bush of willows, and 
there' I twisted a knot of willows, which is waiting thee there ; for' I said tl^s 
knot thou shouldst untie, and fulfil the vow, brother, that is bound up in it." 
The tying of knots seems also to have had another meaning cpvertly alluded 
to in the stanzas. — (See the story of GunnhUd and Hrut in the Nj&ls Saga, 
p. 18.) 

^ This seems to be no place-name, but a name formed, as the Turks formed 
the name Istambol, from hearing the Greeks constantly talking of going 
etj Tip ToKar" — "to the city," meaning Constantinople. 



« 



ROGNVALD CONQUERS THE DROMUND. 149 

crowded, and one of them thought it necessary to go to one 
side, he cried out to the other, "Midway, midway!" One 
evening the Earl's men, among whom was Erling Skakki, 
walked from the town, and on the bridge leading to the 
ship, some inhabitants of the town met them, and cried 
out, " Midway, midway ! " Erling was very drunk, and pre- 
tended not to hear it ; and when they met, he jumped from 
the bridge into the mud ; his men ran to his assistance, and 
dragged him out, and had to undress him completely. Next 
morning, when the Earl saw him, and was told what had 
happened, he smiled and sang : 

Bad the luck my friend has met with ; 
In the mud he tumbled, splashing ; 
As he would not ciy out " Midway ! " 
Loudly, like the foreign people. 
I suppose the prince's brother, 
When upset, looked rather rueful. 
Black the mud that on the ground is 
In Imbol, as Erling knoweth. 

Some time after, it happened that they came from the 
town very drunk, and J6n F6t was missed by his men, 
and no one else was missing. They sent immediately to 
the other ships to search for him, but he was not found. 
They could not search for him on shore during the night ; 
but in the morning, when it was daylight, they found him 
murdered under the wall of the town ; but it was never 
known who had slain him. They buried him honourably 
at a holy church, and then they went away, and came north 
to -^gisness,^ and there they waited some nights for a fair 
wind to sail to Mikligard. They made their ships look 
splendidly, and sailed with great pomp, as they knew Sigurd 

^ Probably the promontory of Sigeum, at the mouth of the Dardanelles. 
It might be <»lled JSgisness, from its being at the entrance to the .£gean Sea. 
It is called Engilaness in the saga of " King Sigurd the J6rsala-farer," and it 
is stated that Sigurd's fleet also lay here for a fortnight waiting a side-wind, 
that they might show off their sails (which they had stitched over with silks) 
as they passed up to Constantinople. There was, however, a town called 
Mgq% at the mouth of a stream of the same name, near the northern end of 
the Dardanelles, a Uttle below the modem Gallipoli 



150 ORKNDYINGA SAGA. 

J6rsalafari had dona While they were crossing the sea 
northward the Earl sang this song : 

Let us ride the searking's horses, 
Leave the plough in field untouched. 
As we drive the wet prows onward 
All the way to Mikligardr. 
There we*ll take the royal bounty, 
Paid for wielding well our weapons, 
While we fill the wolf's red palate, 
And on battlefields win honour. 



CHAPTER LXXXIIL 

OF EARL ROGNVALD. 

EoGNVALD and his men came to Mikligard, and were well 
received by the Emperor and the Vseringiar.^ At this time 
Menelaus, whom we call Manuli,^ was the Emperor of Mik- 
ligard. He gave them a great deal of money, and offered 
them pay if they would stay there permanently. They 
spent there a great part of the winter. Eindridi Ungi was 
there when they came, and weis highly honoured by the 
Emperor. He had little to do with the Earl and his 
men, but rather spoke slightingly of them to others. Eogn- 
vald commenced his journey from Mikligard during the 
winter, and went first to Dyraksborg* in B61garaland. 
From there they sailed west to PiilL* Earl Eognvald, 
Erling, Bishop WiUiam, and most others of their noblest 
men left their ships there, procured horses, and rode first 
to E6maborg (Rome), and then from R6m imtil they came 
to Denmark. From there they went to Norway, where the 

^ See note at p. 127. 

' Manuel I., successor of John Comnenus, who reigned from 1143 to 
1180. 

' D]^raksborg must be Durazzo, the ancient Dyrachium, a seaport in 
Albania, on the Adriatic, opposite to Brundnsium in Italy. 

^ Pull, the ancient Apulia or Puglia, in Italy, on the opposite shore of the 
Adriatic from Dyrachium. Apulia had been under the dominion of its Nor* 
man dukes from the middle of the eleventh century, and this may have been 
the reason why the route homewards through Apulia was chosen both by 
Sigurd the Jdrsala-farer and Earl Rognvald. 



^ — :^ 



OF EARL ROGNVALD. 151 

people were glad to see them. This journey became very 
famous, and all those who hetd made it were considered 
greater men afterwards than before. 

Ogmund Dreng, Erling Skakki*s brother, had died while 
they were away ; while both were alive, he was considered 
the greater of the two. After the death of King Ingi, 
Magnus, the son of Erling and Kristin, the daughter of 
Sigurd J6rsalafari, was made King, but the government of 
Norway was in the hands of Erling alone. Valdimar, 
King of the Danes, gave him the title of Earl, and he 
became a great chief. Eindridi came from the south some 
winters after Earl Eognvald, and went to King Eystein, 
because he would not have anything to do with Erling. 
But after King Eystein's death Eindridi and Sigurd, the 
son of Havard Hold of Eeyr, raised a party, and made 
Hakon Herdabreid,^ the son of King Sigurd, son of Harald 
GiUi, their king. They slew Gregorius Dag*s son and 
King Ingi. Eindridi and Hakon fought with Erling, under 
Sekkr,^ where Hakon was killed ; but Eindridi fled. Earl 
Erling had Eindridi Ungi killed some time after in Vik.^ 

Earl Eognvald spent the summer in Hordaland, in 
Norway, and heard many tidings from the Orkneys. There 
were great disturbances there, and most of the chiefs were 
divided into two factions, few remaining neutral. Earl 
Harald was at the head of one of these factions, and Earl 
Erlend and Swein, Asleif 's son, of the other. When the 
Earl heard this, he sang : 

Though the most part of my nobles 
Have forgot the oaths they sware me 
(Such the wickedness of men is), 
Yet will their designs be thwarted. 
Traitors plotting in my absence, 
Will not by it grow more loyal; 
Slow but sure shall be my motto 
While a beard on chin I carry. 

* Hdkon Heixiabreid (the broad-shouldered) became King in 1161. (For 
an account of his death, and that of King Ingi and Gregorius Dagson, see 
the sagas of the sons of Harald GiUi and H&kon Herdabreid, in the Ueims* 
kringla.) 

' Near Bergen. * Yiken, in the south of Norway. 



152 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

The Earl had no ships, but he asked his kinsmen and 
Mends to bmld some long-ships for him during the winter. 
They gave a favourable answer, and consented to everything 
he proposed, and bmlt the ships. 



CHAPTEE LXXXIV. 

EAMi ROGNVALD GOES TO THE ORKNEYS. 

In the summer the Earl made himself ready to go west to 
his dominions in the Orkneys, but it was late before he was 
ready, because many things kept him back. He went to 
the west in a merchant-vessel belonging to Th6rhall, Asgrim's 
son, an Icelander of a noble family, who had a farm south in 
Biskupstimgur.^ The Earl had a numerous train of noble- 
men on board the vesseL When they came to Scotland 
the winter was far advanced, and they lay at Torfhes.^ The 
Earl arrived in his dominions shortly before Yule. 



CHAPTER LXXXV. 

KING EYSTEIN TAKES EARL HARALD PRISONER. 

Now we have to tell what happened in the Orkneys while 
Earl Rognvald was away. The same summer that the Earl 
went on his journey, King Eystein, son of Harald Gilli, 
arrived from Norway with a numerous army, which he had 
landed at Rlnansey.' He heard that Earl Harald had gone 
over to Caithness in a ship of twenty benches, with eighty 
men, and lay then at Th6rsa. When King Eystein heard of 
him, he manned three boats, and crossed the Pentland Firth, 
going westward, and on to Th6rsa. When he arrived there 
the Earl and his men did not know anything of them until 
the King's men boarded the ship, and took the Earl pri- 

^ Bishop's-tongaes, a district lying between three rivers in the south of 
Iceland, also mentioned in the Njdls Saga. 
• See note on p. 21. 
' One of the MS. copies of the" saga has ** Rognvaldzeyiar.'* 



■f^""^-^!! ..UJi'.^'i 



OF EARL HARALD. 153 

soner. He was brought before the King, and the result 
was that the Earl ransomed himself with three marks of 
gold, and surrendered his dominions to King Eystein, so 
that he should hold them from him in the future. Then 
he became King Eystein's man, and confirmed their com- 
pact with oaths. From there King Eystein went to Scot- 
land, and ravaged there during the simmier. During this 
expedition he plimdered in many parts of England, con- 
sidering that he was taking revenge for King Harald, 
Sigurd's son.^ 



CHAPTER LXXXVI. 

OF KING EYSTEIN. 

Then King Eystein returned to his kingdom, and his ex- 
pedition was variously thought of. Earl Harald remained 
in his dominions in the Orkneys, and most of the inhabitants 
were satisfied with his rule. At this time his father. Earl 
Maddad, was dead ; but his mother, Margaret, had gone to 
the Orkneys. She was a handsome woman,*' but a virago. 
At this time David, the King of Scots, died, and his son 
Malcolm^ was made king. He was quite a child when he 
succeeded his father. 



CHAPTER LXXXVII 

OF EARL HARALD. 

Erlend, the son of Harald Sl^ttmdli, spent most of his time 
in Th6rsa. Sometimes he was in the Sudreyar, or on war 
expeditions, after the death of Earl Ottar. He was a very 
promising man, and accomplished in most things, liberal in 

^ Harald Hardradi, son of Sigurd Syr, who was slain in the battle of 
Stamford Bridge. See p. 47. 

* See the account of her elopement with Earl Erlend Ungi in chap, zdi, 
and of her relations with Gunni, Olaf 's son, chap. IzxzviL 

' This was Malcolm the Maiden, the grandson, and not the son, of King 
David I. 



154 ORKKEYINGA SAGA. 

money, gentle, open to advice, and greatly loved by his men. 
He had a large following. 

There was a man named Anakol, who had fostered 
Erlend, and to his counsels he chiefly listened. He was of 
a noble family, and hardy. He was Earl Eriend's right-hand 
man. 

When Earl Rognvald had left his dominions to go to 
J6rsalaheim, Erlend went to Malcolm,^ the King of Scots, 
and requested him to give him an EarFs title, and Caithness 
for his support, as his father Earl Erlend had. And because 
Erlend had many friends, and Malcolm was a child in years, 
it was brought about that he bestowed the title of Earl on 
Erlend, and gave him the half of Caithness jointly with his 
kinsman Harald. Then Erlend went to Caithness to see his 
friends. 

After that he gathered troops together, went out to the 
Orkneys, and sought to be accepted by the inhabitants. 
When Earl Harald, Maddad's son, heard this, he gathered troops 
together, and had many men. Some parties went between the 
kinsmen and tried to make peace between them. Erlend asked 
for half of the Islands jointly with Earl Harald, but Earl 
Harald refused to give them up. Truce was, however, made 
between them for that year ; and it was resolved that Erlend 
should go to the east and see the King of Norway, and ask 
for that half which belonged to Earl Eognvald, which Earl 
Harald said he would surrender. Then Erlend went east to 
Norway, but Anakol and some of his party remained behind. 

Gunni, Olaf 's son, the brother of Swein, Asleif s son, had 
children by Margar(5t, Earl Harald's mother, but Earl Harald 
had banished him, and therefore enmity arose between him 
and Swein. The latter -sent his brother Gunni south to 
Li6dh\is (Lewis) to his friend liotolf, with whom he had been 
staying himself. Fugl, the son of Li6t61f, was with Earl 
Harald, and there was therefore coldness between him and 
Swein. When Earl Erlend went east to Norway, Earl 
Harald went over to Caithness, and resided at Vfk (Wick) 
during the winter. Swein, Asleif s son, was then at Thras- 
vlk (Freswick), in Caithness, and took care of the estate which 
his stepsons had there, for his former wife was Bagnhild, 

^ Malcolm the Maiden. 



^i^mr^^^'^immv^^ivi^f^ 



OF swEm, asleif's son. 155 

Ingimund's daughter, though they lived but a short time 
together. Their son was Olaf. After that he married 
Ingirid, Thorkel's daughter. Their son was Andreas. 

On Wednesday in Passion week Swein went with some 
6thers to Lambaborg. They saw a transport vessel coming 
from the north across the Pentland Firth, and Swein con- 
cluded that they were Earl Hatald's men whom he had 
sent to collect his revenues (scat) in Hjaltland. Swein 
ordered his men to take a boat and attack the barge, which 
they did. They seized all its cargo, and put Earl Harald's 
men on shore, and they went to Vfk (Wick) and told him. 
Earl Harald did not say much to this, yet he said : *' Swein 
and I shall have our turns." He distributed his men to be 
entertained during Easter. The Caithnessmen called this 
— ^that the Earl waa in guest-quarters. 



CHAPTER LXXXVIII. 

OF SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 

Immediately after Easter week, Swein, Asleif's son, went 
with a barge and a boat rowed by oars to the Orkneys ; and 
when they came to Skalpeid (Scapa), they took there a ship 
from Fugl, Li6t61f s son. He was coming from his father at 
Li6dhiis (Lewis), and was going to Earl Harald. During the 
same trip they took twelve ounces of gold from Sigurd Klaufi, 
a housecarl of Earl Harald's. This money had been left at 
the homestead, but the owners were in Kirkiuvag (Kirk- 
wall). Then Swein went over to Ness (Caithness), and up 
through Scotland. He found Malcolm,^ King of Scots, who 
was then nine winters old, in Apardion (Aberdeen). Swein 
spent a month there, and was well entertained. The King 
of Scots insisted upon his enjoying all those emoluments 
of Caithness which he had before he became Earl Harald's 
enemy. 

^ Malcolm the Maiden was twelve years old when he came to the throne. 
Perhaps the Saga-writer meant that he had then been nine winters king. 



156 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER LXXXIX. 

OF SWEIN AND ANAKOL. 

After this Swein prepared to go away, and the King of 
Scots and he parted very good friends. Then Swein went 
to his ships, and sailed from the south to the Orkneys. 
Anakol was at Djhuess when Swein sailed from the south, 
and they saw them sailing east off MiilL^ They sent Gauti, 
a bondi of Skeggbjamarstadir,^ to Swein, and Anakol requested 
him to come to terms with Fugl about the seizure of the 
ship, because Anakol and Fugl were related to each other. 
When Gauti found Swein, and told him AnakoFs message, 
he sent a messenger back to Anakol, asking him to go to 
Sandey, that they might meet there, because he (Swein) had 
to be there himself. They had a peaceful meeting there, 
and came to terms ; and the result was that Swein should 
make the award as he liked himself. After that Anakol 
formed an alliance with Swein, and bound himself to make 
peace between Swein and Earl Erlend, when he came from 
the east — for they were bitter enemies on account of the 
burning of Frakork. Swein and Anakol went to Stri6nsey, 
and lay off Hofsuess * some nights. At this time Thorfinn 
Bessason lived at Stri6nsey. His wife was Ingigerd, Swein's 
sister, who had been deserted by Thorbiom Klerk. 



CHAPTER XC. 

THE EECONCILIATION OF EARL ERLEND AND SWEIN. 

When Swein and Anakol were lying off Hofsness, Earl 
Erlend arrived there from Norway. Anakol and Thorfinn 
endeavoured to reconcile him to Swein, but he gave an 
unfavourable answer, saying that Swein had always been 

^ The Mull of Deemess, or Moulhead of Deemess, as it is caUed in the 
maps, in the north-east of the Mainland, Orkney. 

* Skeggbjamarstad was probably a homestead on Skebro Head, in Rousay. 
The old form of Skebro Head might be Skeggbjamarhbfdi. 

' Hofsness, probably Hnipness, the most northerly point of Stronsay. 



RECONCILIATION OP EARL ERLEND AND SWEIN. 157 

opposed to his kinsmen, and had not kept the agreement 
between him and Earl Ottar, that he should help him to the 
dominion. Then Swein offered the Earl his support, and 
they were negotiating the whole day ; yet the Earl would 
not be reconciled until Anakol and Thorfinn declared that 
they would follow Swein from Orkney if the Earl would not 
make peace with him. Earl Erlend then told the message 
from King Eystein, that he should have that part of the 
Orkneys which had formerly been held by Earl Harald. 

When they had made peace, Swein gave the advice that 
they should go to Earl Harald before he heard this from 
others, and ask him to surrender the dominion. Swein's 
advice was acted upon. They found Earl Harald on board 
his ship, off Kjdrekstadir.^ 

It was in the evening of Michsielsmas that Harald 
and his men saw long-ships approaching, and suspecting 
them to be enemies, they ran from the ships into the castle. 
There was a man named Ami, Bafn's son, who ran from 
Earl Harald's ship to Kirkiuvag. He was so frightened 
that he forgot that he had his shield at his shoulder until it 
stuck fast in the door. Earl Erlend and Swein ran from 
their ships, and pursued Earl Harald to the castle, and 
attacked them both , with arms and fire. The assailed 
defended themselves bravely, until night parted them. 
Many were wounded on both sides, and Harald and his 
men would soon have been exhausted if the attack had 
lasted longer. The next morning the Boendr and their 
mutual friends arrived, and tried to make peace between 
them. Earl Erlend and Swein were very reluctant to make 
peace. In the end, however, they agreed, on condition that 
Harald should swear to let Earl Erlend have Ms part of the 
Islands, and never demand it from him. These oaths were 
made in the presence of the best men in the Islands. 

^ Ejarekstad. — Munch identifies this place with the modern Earaton or 
Caiesfon, which lies on the inlet leading to the Loch of Stennis, a little to the 
north-east of Stromness. But this wonld make Ami, Rafh's son, ran a good 
ten miles without once remembering that he had his shield on his shoulder 
until it stuck in the door at KirkwalL If this Ejarekstad be not the same 
with Enarrarstad at Scapa, which was Earl Rognvald's homestead (see p. 118), 
and might be the castle here spoken of, there is a Comess near Eirkwall (in 
old maps Carisness) which may be more readily supposed to be the Ejarek- 
stad from which Ami ran than Careston near Stromness. 



158 ORKNEYINQA SAGA. 

After that Earl Harald went over to Ness (Caithness), 
and to his friends in Scotland, accompanied by only a few 
men from the Orkneys. 

Earl Erlend and Swein called together a Thing-meeting 
with the Bcendr in Kirkiuvag, and they arrived from all the 
Islands. Earl Eriend pleaded his cause, saying that King 
Eystein had given him that pait of the Orkneys of which 
Eari Harald had charge, and he requested the Bcendr to 
receive him, showing them King Eystein's letters, which 
proved his words. Swein, and many others of his friends 
and kinsmen, spoke in favour of the Eari ; and at last the 
Bcendr promised obedience to Eari Eriend. Then he took 
possession of all the islands, and became ruler over them. 
It was an agreement between Eai-1 Eriend and the Bcendr 
that he should not hinder Earl Eognvald from taking posses- 
sion of that part of the islands which belonged to him, if it 
should be granted him to come back ; but if Earl Bognvald 
should demand more than one-half of the islands, they should 
help Earl Eriend to resist his claims. Swein, Asleif 's son, 
W81S frequently with Earl Eriend, and asked him to be on his 
guard, and not to trust Earl Harald or the Scots. The most 
part of the winter they were on board their ships, and had 
scouts on the look-out. Towards Yule-tide the weather 
began to grow boisterous, and Swein went home to his estate 
in Gareksey, and asked the Earl not to relax his vigilance 
though they parted, and the Earl did so. He remained on 
board his ships, and had nowhere a Yule feast prepared for 
him in the Islands. 



CHAPTEE XCI. 

EARL HARALD COMES UNPERCEIVED TO THE ORKNEYS. 

The eleventh day of Yule-tide, it happened in Gareksey that 
Swein was sitting at his drink with his men. Bubbing his 
nose, he said : '' I think Earl Harald is now on his way to 
the Islands." 

His men replied that this was unlikely, on account of 
the strong gales prevailing at that time. 



i 



I HARALD COMES UNPERCEIVED TO THE ORKNEYS. 159 

I 

He replied : " I know such is your opinion, and I shall 
not therefore send intelligence to the Earl now, merely on 
the strength of my presentiment ; yet I suspect it is neces- 
sary." Then the subject was dropped, and they went on 
drinking as before. 

Earl Harald commenced his voyage to the Orkneys during 
Yule-tide. He had four ships, and a hundred men. Two 
nights he lay under Gareksey (Grimsey ?). They landed in 
Hafnarvag,^ in Hrossey, and the thirteenth day of Yule-tide 
they walked to Fiord (Firth). They spent the Yule-holiday 
at Orkahaug.* There two of their men were seized with mad- 
ness, which retarded their journey. It was near day when 
they came to Fiord (Firth). There tliey learned that Earl 
Erlend was on board his ship, but that he had been drinking 
during that day at a house on shore. There Harald and his 
men killed two men — one was named Ketill, the name of 
the other is not mentioned — and made four prisoners : Am- 
finn, AnakoFs brother, another man called Li6t61f, and two 
others. Harald and Thorbiorn Klerk returned to Th6rsa; 
the brothers Benedict and Eirik went to Lambaborg, taking 
Amfiun with them. 

* Munch says of this passage that the text reads, very improperly, " Garek- 
sey " for ** Grimsey.'* Hafnarvag he identifies with the Medalland's hofn of 
Hakon Hakonsofi's saga, which is the '* Midland Harboar" lying between the 
Holm of Houston and the Mainland on the south side of Orphir. The name 
Hafnarvag, however, simply signifies a landing-place in a voe or inlet, and 
might more appropriately be applied to some place near the head of the inlet 
immediately opposite Giimsey, which goes up to the Loch of Stennis. If 
Harald and his men landed at '* Midland Harbour," they took the longest 
land route to walk to Firth ; if they landed ne^r the head of the inlet above 
mentioned, they chose the shortest land route. 

^ The word Orkahaug is only known to occur twice — once here, and once 
in one of the Runic inscriptions on the walls of the chamber of Maeshow. 
Here it is given merely as the name of the place where Earl Harald and hie 
men had a Yule-tide carouse, which disabled two of them from proceeding on 
their journey, so that they failed in surprising Earl Erlend at his Yule feast 
In the inscription in the chamber of Maeshow it appears as the name of the 
burial-mound which was broken into by the J6rsala-farers in search of treasure. 
There seems to be little doubt that this name " Orkahaug" was the name by 
which the Maeshow was then known. The Orkahaug of the text must either 
mean the actual " how '* itself, or a homestead near it which was named from 
it. There is an Orkhill (OrquiU) not very far from Maeshow, and there was 
another Orkhill near Euarstane, Scapa, which is called Orquile in "the 
coppie of my Lord Sinclairis Ren tale that deit at Flowdin." No other Orka- 
haug, however, is known. (See under Maeshow in the Introduction.) 



160 OKKNEYINGA SAGA. 

As soon as Earl Erlend became aware of the enemy, 
he sent men during the night to Gareksey to tell Swein. 
He pushed out his boats immediately, and went to see Earl 
Erlend, according to the message, and they stayed on board 
the ships a great part of the winter. Benedict and his 
brother sent word that Amfinn would not be liberated unless 
Earl Erlend sent them back their ship which had been seized 
off Kjarekstadir. The Earl was willing to give up the ship, 
but Anakol dissuaded him from it, saying that Amfinn would 
get away without this sacrifice. 

On the Wednesday before Lent, Anakol and Thorstein, 
Eagna's son, went over by night to Ness (Caithness) in 
a boat with twenty men. They hauled the boat ashore 
under a cliff in a hidden creek. Then they went up and hid 
themselves in some copsewood a short distance from Thrasvik 
(Freswick). They had fitted up the boat in such a way that 
the men seemed to be each in his place. Some men had 
come past the boat in the morning, and had not suspected 
anything. 

Anakol and his men saw some men rowing from the 
borg^ and landing at the river-mouth.^ Then they saw a 
man riding from the boig, and another walking, whom they 
recognised to be Eirfk. Then they divided themselves into 
two parties. Ten went along the river down to the sea, to 
prevent them from getting to the boat ; other ten went to 
the hamlet. Eirik came a short time before them to the 
hamlet, and walked towards the drinking-hall. Then he 
heard armed men moving about, and ran into the hall, and 
out through another door, and down to his boat ; but there he 
came upon men who seized him, and brought him out to the 
Islands to Earl Erlend. Then messengers were sent to Earl 
Harald to tell him that Eirik would not be liberated until 
Amfinn and his companions came safe to Erlend. And the 
wishes of both were complied with. 

^ The castle at Freswick, elsewhere called Lambaborg (see p. 122). 
* The mouth of the bom of Freswick. 



w f ^ %» • kf .m^tn^B^^mm^^^^ 



RECONCILIATION OP EARLS HARALD AND ERLEND. 161 



CHAPTER XCII. 

THE RECONCILIATION OF THE EARLS HARALD AND ERLEND. 

In the spring Earl Haxald prepared to go from Caithness 
north to Hjaltland. His intention was to take the life of 
Erlend Ungi, who had wooed his mother Margaret, although 
the Earl (Harald) had refused him. Then Erlend gathered 
men together, and carried her off fix)m the Orkneys, and took 
her north to Hjaltland, took up his residence in Moseyjarborg,^ 
and made great preparations (for defence). When the Earl 
(Harald) came to Hjaltland, he besieged the borg, and cut off 
all communication ; but it was difficult to take it by assault, 
and men went between them and tried to reconcile them. 
Erlend asked the Earl to give him the woman in marriage, 
and in return he oflTered to assist the Earl, saying it was of 
greater consequence for him to recover his dominions than 
this, and it would be advisable for him to make as many 
friends as he could. Many spoke in favour of Erlend's pro- 
posal ; and the result was that they made peace, and Erlend 
married Margaret Then he became an ally of Earl Harald, 
and during the simmier they both went east to Norway. 

When these tidings came to Orkney, Earl Erlend and his 
men laid their plans. Swein counselled to go on a harrying 
raid to obtain booty. This they did, and went south to 
Breidafiord,^ and made inroads on the east of Scotland. 
They went south to Beruvfk (Berwick-on-Tweed). There 
was a man named Kniit the wealthy, who was a merchant, 
and always resided in Beruvflc Swein and Erlend seized a 
large and fine vessel belonging to Kniit. On board was a 
valuable cargo, and Kniit's wife. Then they sailed south to 

^ Moseyjar-borg, the burg or castle on the little island of Monsa, in Shet- 
land. This cnrioQs Btructnre is the best preserved example of the old Celtic 
strongholds, or **Pictish towers," which were so thickly planted over the 
northern and western districts of Scotland, and specially in those districts 
exposed to the ravages of the Northmen. We learn from the Saga of Egill 
Skallagrimson that folly two centuries before the event here narrated Mousa 
had been occnpied in a precisely similar manner by a couple who fled from 
Norway, and after celebrating their marriage in the deserted buig, lived in it 
for a whole winter. (See under Mousa in the Introduction.) 

« The Moray Firth. 

M 



162 OREKEYINGA SAGA. 

Blyholmar.* KdM was at Beruvlk when he heard of the 
plunder. He induced the Beruvik men for a hundred marks 
of silver to try to recover the goods. Of those who went in 
pursuit most were merchants. They went in fourteen ships 
to search for them. When Earl Erlend and Swein were 
lying under Bl]^h61mar, Swein said in the night that they 
should sleep without awnings, saying that he expected that 
the Beruvfk men might come upon them during the night in 
great numbers. A gale was blowing, and no heed was paid 
to Swein's words, and they slept under the awnings, except 
in Swein's ship, where there was no awning abaft the mast. 
Swein was sitting on a chest in a fur coat, saying that he 
wished to be ready during the night. 

One of Swein's crew was called Einar Skeif. He said 
that Swein's bravery was much talked of, that he was called 
a bolder man than others, but now he dared not have awn- 
ings on board his ship. Watchmen were on shore in the 
island. Swein, hearing that they did not agree about what 
they saw, went up to them and asked what they were dis- 
puting about ? They said they were not sure what it was 
that they saw. Swein had keener sight than any of his 
men, and when he looked he saw fourteen ship^ approaching 
them from the north. Then he went on board his ship 
again, and told his men to wake up and take down the awn- 
ings, and then a great outcry arose, every one asking Swein 
what they should do. He told them to be silent, and said 
that Ms advice was to moor the ships between the island 
and the mainland, adding : " We shall see whether they do 
not pass by us, and if they do we shall part ; but if they 
attack us, we shall row against them as vigorously as pos- 
sible, and let us make a stout resistance if we meet." 

Others spoke against this plan, saying the only way was 
to sail from them, and so they did. 

Swein said : " If you wish to S6dl away, then stand out 
to sea.*' Swein was not so soon ready as the others, but 
Anakol waited for him. Swein's ship was, however, a 
swifter sailer, and he took in S6dl and waited for Anakol, 
not wishing him to be left behind in a single ship. When 

^ Bly-lK^lmar (lead islands) must refer to a group of islands not fiur to the 
south of Berwick, probably the Fern Islands. 



PEACE BETWEEN EABLS ROGNVALD AND ERLEND. 163 

they stood off^ with all sail set, Einar Skeif said : " Swein, 
does our ship stand still ? " 

Swein replied : " I do not think so ; but I advise you 
not to question my courage any more, since through your 
fright you cannot tell whether the ship moves or stands still, 
yet it is one of the swiftest sailers." 

They put in under Mosey,^ and Swein sent men to 
Eidinaborg to tell the King of Scots of his plunder ; but 
before they cams to the town they met twelve men on horse- 
back who had saddle-bags filled with silver, and when they 
met they inquired after Swein, Asleif 's son. The others told 
where he was, and asked what they wanted with him. The 
.Scots said they had been told that Swein was taken prisoner, 
and the King of Scots had sent them to ransom him. Thus 
they told their errand. 

The King did not make much of Kniit's loss, but sent a 
costly shield to Swein, and other presents besides. 

Earl Erlend and Swein arrived rather late in the Orkneys 
in the autumn. This summer Earl Harald went east to Nor- 
way. At the same time. Earl Bognvald and Erling Skakki 
came to Norway from MiMigard, and he arrived^ at his 
dominions in the Orkneys shortly before Yule. 



CHAPTEE XCIII. 

PEACE BETWEEN EARL ROGNVALD AND EARL ERLEND. 

Then there went men immediately between Earl Erlend and 
Earl Eognvald, and tried to make peace between them, the 
Boendr pleading the agreement they had come to with Earl 
Erlend, that he should not prevent Earl Eognvald from 
taking possession of his part of the Islands. A conference 
took place between the Earls at Kirkiuvag (Kirkwall), and 
at that conference they confirmed their pea^ce with oaths. 
It was two nights before Yule when they made peace, and 
the terms were, that they should each have one-half of the 
Islands, and both should defend them against Earl Harald 
or any other if he claimed them. Earl Eognvald had no 

' Moeey, the Isle of May. 



164 ORKNEYIlJGA SAGA. 

ships till his own came from the east in the summer. This 
winter all was quiet, but in the spring the Earls prepared 
their plans in case Earl Harald should come from the east. 
Earl Eriend went to Hjaltland to intercept him if he should 
come there. Earl Eognvald went over to Th6rsa, because 
Earl Harald was expected to go there if he came from the 
east, as he had there many friends and kinsmen. Earl 
Eriend and Swein were in Hjaltland during the siunmer, 
and kept back all ships, so that none went to Norway. 

In summer Earl Harald left Norway with seven ships, 
and landed in the Orknejrs. Three of the sliips, however, 
were driven by stress of weather to Hjaltland, and these 
were seized by Swein and Earl Eriend. When Earl Harald 
came to the Orkneys he heard of the agreement of Earl Eogn- 
vald and Earl Eriend, that each of them should have one- 
half of the Islands ; and then he saw that no territorj'- was 
intended for him. He resolved to go over to Ness (Caith- 
ness) to Earl Eognvald before Earl Eriend and Swein came 
from the east. They were in Hjaltland, when they heard 
that Earl Harald had arrived in the Orkneys with five 
long-ships, and prepared to go thither immediately. In 
Dynrost^ they had strong currents and severe gales, and 
there they parted. Swein was driven back to Fridarey 
(Fair Isle), with twelve ships, and they thought the Earl 
had perished. From Fridarey they went to Sandey, where 
they found Earl Eriend with three ships. It was a joyful 
meeting for them. Then they went to Hrossey (Mainland), 
and inquired about Earl Harald's movements. 



CHAPTEE XCIV, 

PEACE IS TALKED OF. 

Now it is to be told that Earl Harald came to Th6rsa with 
six ships. Earl Eognvald was in Sutherland, at the wed- 
ding of his daughter Ingirid, whom he married to Eirlk Slag- 
brellir. He heard immediately that Earl Harald had arrived 

^ Off Sumburgh Head, now called Sumburgh Roost 



^w^P«iPi^aHH*Q^«ltl««a^*«P* 



swein's plans, 165 

at Th6rsa, and rode from Beruvlk * to Tli6rsa, attended by 
many men. Eirik was related to Earl Harald ; and with 
many others he tried to make peace between them, saying 
that it was absxird for them to be at enmity, because of 
their relationship, their up-bringing, and their long alliance. 
At last matters came so far that a meeting was appointed, 
and truce made. They should meet in a certain castle at 
Th6rsd,^ and talk together alone ; but an equal number of 
their men should be outside the castle. They talked a 
long time, and agreed very welL They had not seen each 
other since Eognvald returned. Late in the day informa- 
tion was given to Earl Eognvald that Earl Harald's men 
were coming there armed. Earl Harald said that no harm 
would be done. Then they heard heavy blows outside, and 
ran out. Thorbiom Klerk had arrived there with a large 
party, and attacked Eognvald's men immediately. The 
Earls called to them that they should not fight. Then the 
inhabitants of the town came running to the spot to separate 
them. Thirteen of Earl Eognvald's men were killed, and 
he himself was wounded in the face. 



CHAPTER XCV. 

SWEDES PLANS. 

After this their friends made an effort to establish peace 
between them, and the result was that thej^ made peace, 
which they confirmed by oaths. They renewed their alli- 
ance, pledging their faith and shaking hands ; and it was 
resolved that they should go that very night out to the 
Orkneys to attack Earl Erlend. They went out on the 
Pentland Firth with ten ships, taking the course to Rlnarsey.^ 

* Beravik, probably tbe inlet at the mouth of the Berriedale water, on 
the north side of the Ord of Caithness, where there is an old tower called 
Berriedale Castle. (See note at p. 18.) 

* This was probably the castle which was destroyed by King William the 
Lion in the end of the twelfth century, when he sent his troops against Earl 
Harald ** to Turseha,*' and destroyed the EarVs residence there. 

* This is evidently a mistake in the text for Rognvaldsey, or South Ronald- 
say. In the MS. the contraction R.ey is used both for Rinarsey and Rogn- 
valdsey. 



166 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

They landed in Vidivag/ and went on shore. Erlend and 
his men lay on board their ships in Bardvik/ and fix^m 
there they saw a crowd on Eognvaldsey, and sent out spies. 
When they heard of the reconciliation of the Earls, it was 
also said that Earl Erlend would not be permitted to plunder 
on shore, or to obtain provisions in any other way ; and 
their intention was to prevent them from getting any food 
in the island. Earl Erlend held a meeting and consulted 
his men, and they agreed to leave it to Swein to say what 
should be done. Swein replied that they should sail that 
very night over to Caithness, saying that they had no 
strength to contend with both the Earls there in the 
Islands. He gave out that they intended to go to the 
Sudreyar (Hebrides), and winter there. 

It was Michaelmas-eve when they sailed out on the 
Firth, but when they came over to Ness (Caithness), they 
ran up into the country, and drove down a great number of 
cattle, which they brought on board their ships. There 
were strong currents and bad weather, so that the Firth was 
frequently impassable ; but when favourable weather came, 
Swein sent a inan in a boat from Ness, to give information 
that Earl Erlend had made a great strand-hewing^ in 
Caithness, and was ready to sail to the Sudreyar when there 
was a favourable wind. "When this came to the ears of 
Earl Bognvald, he called his men together and made a 
speech to them, telling them to be on their guard, to be 
wary, and sleep every night on board their ships ; " For 
now," he said, " Swein may be expected every hour in the 
Islands; the more certainly the more he talks of going 
away." 

Early in the winter Earl Erlend and Swein left Th6rsa, 
and took their course by the west of Scotland. They had 
six large long-ships, aU well manned. They had to row, 
and when they had gone some distance from Caithness, Earl 
Eognvald's spies went out to the Islands, and told him the 

^ Vidivag, the voe or creek of the beacon ; now Widewall, in South 
Ronaldsay. 

' .Bardyik, the bay beside Barth Head ; now Bnrswick, in South Ronaldaay. 

' Strandhogg, strand-hewing, or Tictualling the ships of a yiking squadron, 
by driving cattle to the shore, and killing them there. 



^^^^^^mm^^^^r^/^^^^ff^m^^tmmmmm^m^mmmmmmammmmm 



BATTLE BETWEEN THE THREE EABLS. 167 

news. Then the Earls moved their ships to Skalpeid 
(Scapa), and Earl Eognvald wished them to stay a while on 
board. 

When Swein and Erlend came west oflf Stanr/ the 
former said that they should not distress themselves by 
rowing any farther, and asked his men to put the ships 
about and set the sails. This action on the part of Swein 
was thought foolish, yet his men did as he desired them. 
When they had been sailing for a while the ships b^an 
to speed, because there was a fine breeze, and nothing is said 
of their voyage until they came to Vagaland,* in Orkney. 
There they heard that the Earls were lying at Skalpeid, 
oflf Knarrarstadir,* with thirteen ships. There were Erlend 
Ungi, Eirik SlagbreUir, and many other men of note. Thor- 
biom Klerk had gone out to Papuley,* to Hdkon Karl, 
his brother-in-law. It was four nights before Simon's-mas 
when Swein, Asleif 's son, decided to attack the Earls during 
the night, but it was thought rather hazardous, as their 
followers were so much more numerous. Yet Swein in- 
sisted on having his own way ; and so he did, because the 
Earl wished to follow his advice. 



CHAPTER XCVI. 

BATTLE BETWEEN THE THREE EARLS. 

During the night there fell a shower of sleet, and Earl 
Rognvald left his ship with six men, intending to go to his 
residence at J6rfiara (Orphir), because he expected no danger. 
During the shower they came to Knarrarstadir. An Ice- 
lander, by name B6t61f Beglti, an excellent skald, lived there. 
He pressed Earl Rognvald with many invitations to stay 
there during the night E«ffl Rognvald and his men entered 
the house; their clothes were pulled oflf them, and they 

^ Ra Stoer in Assynt, on the west coast of Sutherlandsliire. 

* Walls, in the Island of Hoy, Orkney. 

* Knareton, at Scapa, in the Mainland of Orkney. (See note at p. 113.) 

* Paplay, in Mainland, where Hdkon Karl, the brother of Earl Magnus 
the Holy, had his residence. (See p. 96.) 



168 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

went to sleep ; but B6t61f was to keep watch. This same 
night Earl Erlend and Swein attacked Earl Harald and his 
men, and took them by surprise, and they knew of nothing 
till they heard the battle-cry. They flew to arms, and 
defended themselves bravely. Many were killed, and the 
attack ended in this way — that Earl Harald leaped on shore 
when there were only five men left in his ship. Bjami, 
brother of Erlend Ungi, a noble man, fell there, and a hun- 
dred men with him; and a great number were wounded. 
All the E6a*rs men jumped from the ships to reach the 
shore, and fled. Few of Earl Erlend*s men were killed, and 
they took fourteen ships belonging to the Earls, with aU 
the valuables they contained. When the most part of their 
work was done, they heard that Earl Kognvald had left his 
ship the evening before, and walked first to Knarrarstadir, 
and thither they went. Bondi B6t61f was outside the door 
when they came, and greeted them welL They asked 
whether Earl Eognvald was there. B6t61f said he had been 
there during the night. They became very violent, and 
demanded where the E£U*1 was then, saying that he no 
doubt knew where he was. He pointed with his hand 
behind the farm-yard, and sang : 

This way went the Prince a-fowling ; 
Skilful are his men with arrows. 
Now is many a heathcock meeting 
Death beside the verdant hillocks, 
Where the elmbow of the hunter, 
Keenly bent, as if by magic, 
Makes the moorfowl quickly perish. 
The Prince's sword the land defendeth. 

The Earl's men ran away from the homestead, and he 
who could run fastest considered himself luckiest, as he 
would be the first to catch Earl Eognvald. B(St61f went into 
the house, awoke the Earl, and told him what had happened 
during the night, and also what the EarFs men were doing. 
Eognvald and his men started up instantly, and put on 
their clothes ; then they went away to the Earl's residence at 
J6rfiara ; and when they came there they foimd Earl Harald 
in hiding. The Earls [Harald and Eognvald] went imme- 



nBVWHl«B«ap«BHBBHlMHB*W^VPi^Hi«V^ie«i«iH*H^naa«M^^^mWFVXlMWiW 



» 



EARL ERLEND's DEATH. 169 

diately over to Ness each in a separate boat ; one had two 
men, the other three. All their men went over to Ness, 
wherever they could get a boat. 

Earl Erlend and Swein took the ships belonging to the 
Earl, and a great quantity of other property. Swein took 
for his share all Earl Eognvald's treasures that were in his 
ship, and sent them to him over to Ness. Swein advised 
Earl Erlend to move his ships out to Vagaland (Walls), and 
to lie in the Firth, where they could see ships coming from 
Ness, Bs he thought it would be convenient to nm out upon 
them if there was opportunity. But Earl Erlend yielded to 
the persuasions of his men that they should go north to 
Daminsey (Damsey), and in a large castle there they drank 
all day, but fastened the ships together every night, and 
slept on board. Thus time passed on till the Yule-feast. 



CHAPTER XCVII. 

EARL ERLEND'S DEATH. 

Five nights before Christmas, Swein, Asleif *s son, went east 
to Sandvlk,^ to his kinswoman Sigrid, because he had to 
make peace between her and her neighbour by name Bjom. 
Before he went away he told Earl Erlend to sleep on board 
by night, and not to be less on his guard that he himself 
W81S absent. Swein spent one night with his kinswoman 
Sigrfd. A tenant and dear friend of Sigrld's, by name Gisl, 
asked Swein to stay with him, as he had been brewing ale, 
and wished to entertain him. When they came to Gisl 
they were told that E6a*l Erlend had not gone on board that 
night ; and as soon as Swein heard it, he sent Margad, 
Grim's son, and two other men to the Earl, and asked him 
to pay heed to his advice, although he had not done so the 
preceding night, and then he added : " I suspect that I shall 
not have long to provide for this EarL" 

Margad and his companions found Earl Erlend, and 
told him Swein's words. The Earl's men said : " He is a 
strange man; sometimes he is afraid of nothing, at other 

* Sandwick, in Deerness. 



170 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

tiines he is so frightened that he does not know where to 
look for shelter to himself or others." They said they 
would sleep quietly on shore, and not go on board. The 
Earl said they should do as Swein advised them, and he 
went on board with four-and-twenty men ; the others slept 
at a housa Margad went to another creek, not far away. 
This very night the Earls Kognvald and Harald surprised 
Earl Erlend, and neither the watchmen who kept guard on 
the island nor those on board the ship perceived them until 
they were climbing on board. A man named Orm and 
another Ufi were in the forepart of the Earl's ship. Ufi 
jumped up and tried to rouse the Earl, but could not, for 
he was dead-drunk. Then he took him in his arms, and 
jumped overboard with him into a boat alongside the ship, 
and Orm jumped overboard on the other side, and escaped 
on shore. There Earl Erlend was slain, and most of those 
on board. Margad and his men were awakened during the 
night by the battle-cry, and took to their oars, and rowed 
round the headland. It was clear moonlight, and they saw 
when the Earls went away; and they felt sure that fate 
had decided between them. They rowed away first to 
Bennadal (Bendale), and sent men to Swein, AsleiTs son, to 
tell him what they had seen. E«ffl Harald wished to give 
Earl Erlend's men peace, but Earl Eognvald wished to wait, 
in order to know whether the Earl's body would be found 
or not The body was found two nights before Yule. A 
spear was seen standing in a heap of seaweed ; and that 
spear was fast in Earl Erlend's body.^ Then it was brought 
to church, and peace was given to the Earl's men, as wdl 
as to four of Swein's men who had been taken. 

A man named J6n Yoeng was a sister's son of that Jon 
Voeng who was mentioned before.^ He had been with 
Hdkon Karl, and had a child by his sister ; then he ran 
away, and was with Anakol on piratical expeditions ; but 
now he was with Erlend, yet he was not in the battle. All 
Erlend's men went to Kirkiuvag, and took refuge in St 
Magnus's church. The Earls went there, and a meeting for 
peace-making was held in the church. The Earls would not 
pardon J6n until he promised to marry the woman. All 

* The Iceland Annals place the fall of Earl Erlend in a.d. 1154. « See p. 74. 



■•i 



SWEIN SLAYS EKLBND. I7l 

the men swore oaths of fealty to the Earls, and J6n Vceng 
became Earl Harald's steward. 



CHAPTER XCVIIL 

SWEIN SLAYS ERLEND. 

After Earl Erlend's death Swein, Asleif's son, went to 
Bennadal (Rendale), and there he saw Margad, who was 
able to give him all the tidings of what happened in Dam- 
insey. Then Swein went to Hr61fsey (Rousay), and arrived 
there at high-water. He and his men brought all the 
tackle of the ships on shore, and placed it in safety. They 
divided themselves among the farms, and kept watch on 
the movements of the Earls and other chiefs. Swein, 
Asleif's son, mounted the hill with five men, and went 
down to the sea on the other side ; they hid themselves at 
the homestead in the darkness, and heard a great taUdng. 
There were Thorfinn, his son Ogmund, and their brother-in- 
law Erlend.^ He boasted of having given Earl Erlend the 
death-blow, and all of them were declaring they had done 
right welL When Swein heard this, he and his companions 
went in upon them. Swein was quickest, and immediately 
dealt Erlend a death-blow. They took Thorfinn prisoner, 
and brought him away; but Ogmtind was woimded. Swein 
went to Thingavoll,^ to his father's brother Helgi ; and there 
they spent the first days of Yule in hiding. Earl Rogn- 
vald went to Daminsey, but Earl Harald was at Elirkiuvag 
during Yule-tide. Earl Rognvald sent men to Thingavoll, 
to Helgi, and asked him to teU his kinsman Swein, if he 
knew anything of his whereabouts, that Earl Rognvald in- 
vited him to spend the Yule with him, and he would try to 
make peace between him and Earl Harald. When Swein 
received this message, he went to Earl Rognvald, and re- 
mained with him during the rest of the Yule-tide, and was 
well treated. 

^ None of these men are again mentioned in the Saga. 

" In the " Coppie of my Lord Sinclaire's Bentale, that deit at Flowdin," 
dating between 1497 and 1508, there is a Tyngwale in Bendale, set to John 
Sclatter. The name still remains, bnt there is no other trace of an Orkney 
thing-stead in the Islands. (See p. 61 .) 



172 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTEE XCIX. 

OF EAEL HARALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 

After Christmas a meeting was appointed to make peace 
between the Earls and Swein, when they should finally settle 
all matters about which reconciliation had been made. When 
they met, Earl Eognvald took great pains to make peace be- 
tween them. Others, however, who were not Swein's friends 
or kinsmen, spoke against him, saying that he would always 
be causing disturbances if he were not expelled from the 
Islands. At last, however, they agreed upon this — that 
Swein should pay a mark of gold to each of the Earls, and 
should keep one-half of his estates and a good long-ship. 

When Swein heard the award, he replied : " Our agree- 
ment will be good only in case I am not oppressed." 

Earl Eognvald would not accept the payment from 
Swein, saying that he would in no way oppress him, as he 
considered his faithfulness and friendship worth more than 
money. 

After the peace-meeting. Earl Harald went to Gareksey, 
and used Swein*s com and other property rather wastefiilly. 
When Swein heard this he complained of his loss to Earl 
Eognvald, and said, that " this was a breach of their agree- 
ment, and that he would go home to look after his pro- 
perty." 

Earl Eognvald said : " Stay with me, Swein : I shall 
send a message to Earl Harald, for he will be more than a 
match for you to deal with, strong and brave as you are." 

Swein was not to be dissuaded, and went with ten men 
in a boat to Gareksey, and arrived there late in the evening. 
They went behind the houses, and Swein wished to set fire 
to the haU, and bum down the homestead, and the Earl 
within it A man named Swein, Blakari's son, the most 
notable of Swein's companions, dissuaded him from doing 
so, saying that the Earl was not perhaps in the homestead ; 
and if he was there,> he would neither permit Swein*s wife 
nor his daughter to go out, and it was never to be thought 
of to bum them. Then they went up to the door, and into 
the entry. Those who were inside the hall jimiped up and 



wmmm 



^^ 



OF EARL HARALD AND SWEIN, ASLEIF's SON. 1 73 



closed the door, and then Swein and his men became aware 
that the Earl was not in the house. Those who were 
within soon ceased resisting, surrendered their weapons to 
Swein, and went out unarmed. Swein gave quarter to all 
Earl Harald's men. He poured out aU his beer, and took 
away his wife and daughter. He asked his wife Ingirid 
where Earl Harald was, but fehe would not tell him. He 
then said : " Say nothing then, but point to where he is." 
She would not do that either, because she was related to 
the EarL Swein gave up some of the arms, when they 
came on board the ships. But the effect of this was that 
their agreement of peace was at an end. 

Earl Harald had gone out to a certain island to hunt 
hares.^ Swein went to HeUisey.^ It rises abruptly from 
the sea, and there is a large cave in the clifls, the mouth of 
which is flooded at high-water. When the EarVs men got 
their weapons from Swein, they went to Earl Harald and 
informed him of these doings of Swein's. The Earl had his 
ship set afloat, and ordered his men to row after him. He 
said : " This time our meeting with Swein shall be decisive." 
Then they rowed in pursuit of him, and soon they saw and 
recognised each other. 

When Swein saw that they gained on him, he said: 
"We must devise some scheme, because I do not care to 
meet the Earl with so great odds against me as I suspect 
there are. Let us go to the cave and see how we fare." 

When Swein came to the cave it was ebb tida They 
hauled up the boat into the cave, which ran into the cliff, 
and the water rose before the mouth of the cave. During 
the day Earl Harald and his men searched for Swein 
throughout the island, and did not find him, neither did they 
see any boat leave the island. They wondered very much 
at this, as they thought it unlikely that Swein's boat had 
gone down. They rowed roimd the island in search of the 
boat, but did not find it. Then they concluded that he must 

^ Mackaile and Sir Robert Sibbald both notice the existence of white hares 
in the hill of Hoy. Low, in his "Fauna Orcadensis," states that they did 
not exist in his day ; and he adds, *'nor is there a hare of any kind to be 
found in the Orkneys." 

^ Cave Isle — ^now Eller Holm, a small island between Shapinsay and the 
Mainland of Orkney. 



174 ORKNBYINGA SAGA. 

have gone to some of the other islands, and they went where 
they thought it most likely. It so happened that, when the 
Earl rowed away, the tide was back from the mouth of the 
cave. Swein had overheard the talk between the Earl and 
his men. He left his own boat in the cave, and took a small 
boat which the monks* had, and went to Sandey. There they 
landed, and pushed off the small boat, which drifted about 
till it was wrecked. They came to a homestead called 
Voluness,^ where a man lived by name Bdrd, who was Swein's 
kinsman. They made themselves known to him secretly, 
and Swein said he wished to stay there. Bdrd said he 
might do as he liked, but that he dared not keep him here 
unless in hiding. They went in, and sat by themselves in 
a part of the house separated from the other inmates by a 
partition-wall. There was a secret door to it, filled up with 
loose stones. That evening J<Sn Voeng, Earl Harald's 
steward, arrived there with six men, and Bird received them 
well. Large fires were made, at which they warmed them- 
selves. J6n was excited, and spoke of the dealings of Swein 
and the Earls. He blamed Swein very much, said he was a 
truce-breaker, and faithful to no one. He had lately made 
peace with Earl Harald, and yet he went to attack him and 
bum him in the house, adding that there would never be 
peace in the land till Swein was banished from it. Bard 
and J6n's companions put in some words in Swein's defence. 
Then J6n began to blame Earl Erlend, saying there was no 
loss in his death, as he was a violent man, and nobody could 
live in safety for him. "When Swein heard this, he could 
not restrain himself, but seized his weapons, and ran to the 
secret door. He pushed the stones down, thus making a 
great noisa Swein's design was to leap before the hall-door. 
J6n was sitting in his shirt and linen breeches, and when he 
heard Swein coming he tied on his shoes and sprang out 
from the fire and away &om the house. The night was pitch 

^ This seems to indicate that there was an ecclesiastical settlement on EUer 
Holm. Possibly it may have been the "isle Elon " referred to in the stanza 
made by Earl R5gnyald on the occasion of the ftingnlftr apparition of the six- 
teen shaven crowns described in cap. Izvi. It is suggestiye of this that Fordnn 
gives the name of this island as Helene-holm instead of Eller Holm. (See 
note, chap. Ixvi) 

* Ybluness has not been identified. 



OP ROGNVALD AND SWEIN. 175 

dark, and it was hard frost. During the night he came to 
another farm. His feet were very much frost-bitten, and 
some of his toes fell off. Through the intercession of Bdrd, 
Swein gave peace to J6n*s companions. He remained there 
during the night, but in the morning he and his men went 
away in a boat belonging to Bdrd, which he gave to him. 
They went south to Bardsvik,^ and stayed in a certain cave. 
Sometimes Swein took his meals at a house during the day, 
but slept during the night down by his boat, and thus he 
guarded himself against his enemies. 



CHAPTEE C. 

OF EOGNVALD AND SWEIN. 

One morning early Swein and his men saw a large long-ship 
coming from Hrolfsey (Hrossey ?) to Eognvaldsey,^ and Swein 
recognised it inmiediately as Earl Bognvald's ship, which he 
used to command himself. They put in at Eognvaldsey, 
where Swein's boat was lying, and five of them went on 
shore. Swein and his men were on a certain headland, and 
threw stones at the Earl's men. When those on board saw 
this, they drew forth their arms ; and when that was seen 
by Swein, they ran down to the beach, and pushed their boat 
afloat, and jumped into it The long-ship stuck fast on the 
beach. When they rowed past it, Swein was standing up 
with a spear in his hand. When Earl Eognvald perceived 
it, he took a shield and held it before him, but Swein did 
not throw the spear. When the Earl saw that they would 
get away from them, he ordered a truce-shield to be held 
aloft, and asked Swein to go on shore. When Swein saw 
this, he told his men to put to land, saying that it was his 
greatest satisfaction to be at peace with Earl Eognvald. 

^ This most be Barswick, near Barthhead, in Sonth Bonaldsay, as it is 
afterwards stated that from this headland Bognvald and Swein saw Earl 
Harald's ship coming across the Firth from Caithness to Walls. 

* In the text it is " Hrolfsey to R(inans)e7 " — Ronsay to North Bonaldsay, 
but Mmich's reading of the passage seems to be the true one. (See the next 
chapter.) 



176 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER CI. 

OF EARL H^OIALD AND SWEIN. 

Then Earl Rognvald and Swein went on shore, and had a 
long conversation by themselves, and agreed very weU. 
While they were talking, they saw Earl Harald sailing from 
Caithness to Vagaland (Walls), and when the ship approached 
the island, Swein asked what was to be done. The Earl 
said Swein should go over to Ness immediately. This was 
during Lent. They left Rognvaldsey at the same time. 
The Earl went to Hrossey,^ but Swein went west to Straum- 
sey (Stroma). Earl Harald saw the boat, and thought he 
recognised it as Swein's, and went immediately into the 
Firth in pursuit. When Swein saw the pursuit, they left 
the boat, and hid themselves. When Earl Harald came to 
Straimisey (Stroma) he saw the boat, and suspected that the 
men were somewhere near, and would not therefore go on 
shore. A man named Amundi, the son of Hnefi, who was 
Earl Harald*s friend, and father's brother to Swein, Asleif 's 
son's stepchildren, went between them, and succeeded so far 
that they agreed to keep the agreement of peace which they 
had made the previous winter. A gale arose, and they were 
both obliged to remain there during the night, and Amimdi 
put Earl Harald and Swein in the same bed, and many of 
their men slept in the same house. 

After this Swein went over to Ness (Caithness), and Earl 
Harald to the Orkneys. Swein heard that the Earl had said 
that their agreement to be at peace had been rather loosa 
He paid little heed to this, however, and went south to 
Dalir, and spent the Easter there with his friend Sumarlidi ; 
but Earl Harald went north to Hjaltland^ and was there a 
long time during the spring. 

After Easter Swein went from the south, and met on his 
way two of J6n Voeng's brothers — one was called Bunu-P6tr, 
the other Blan. Swein and his men seized them, and took 
from them all their goods, and brought them to land. A 

^ The Mainland of Orkney. This shows that in aU likelihood it is Hrossey 
that is meant where the text has Hrolfsey at the beginning of the previous 
chapter. 



OP EAKL ROGNVALD. 177 

gallows was erected for them, and when everything was ready 
Swein said they should be allowed to run up the country, 
adding that they were greater shame to their brother J6n 
alive than dead. They were a long time out on the hills, 
and when they came to some habitations they were very 
much frost-bitten. 

From thence Swein went to Li6dhiis, in the Sudreyar, 
and stayed there some time. When J6n Vceng heard that 
Swein had taken his brothers prisoners, and not knowing 
what he had done with them, he went to Eyin Helga (Enhal- 
low), and took Olaf, the son of Swein, Asleif s son, and 
Kolbein Hniga's foster-son, and brought him to Westrey. 
They met Earl Eognvald at Hreppisnes,^ and when he saw 
Olaf, he said : "Why are you here, Olaf? " 

He said : " It is the work of J6n Vceng." 

The Earl looked to J6n, and said : " Why did you bring 
Olaf here ? " 

He replied : " Swein took my brothers, and I don't know 
but he may have killed them." 

The Earl said : " Take him back again as quickly as you 
can, and do not dare to do him any harm, whatever may 
have become of your brothers, for if you do, you will not be 
safe in the Islands from either Swein or Kolbein. 



CHAPTEE CII. 

OP EARL ROGNVALD. 

After Easter Swein commenced a journey to the Sudreyea*, 
taking with him sixty men. He went to the Orkneys, and 
landed first in Hr61fsey (Eousay). There they took a man, 
by name Hdkon KarV who had been with Earl Harald when 
Earl Erlend was slain. Hdkon ransomed himself with three 
marks of gold, and thus saved himself from Swein. In 
Hr61fsey Swein found the ship which the Earls had taken 
from him, and two of the planks were cut, which had been 

^ Probably Rapness, in the south-east of the island of Westray. 
' It does not appear whether this is the H&kon Karl who lived at Papnli 
or not. 

N 



178 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

done by Earl Eognvald's order, because Swein had refused 
to buy it or to accept it as a gift from the Earls. Swein 
went from there to Hrossey, and met Earl Eognvald at Bir- 
gish^rad (Birsay). The Earl received him well, and Swein 
spent the spring with him. Earl Eognvald said that he had 
ordered the planks of the ship to be cut, because he did not 
wish him to row about rashly among the Islands when he 
came from the Sudreyar. Earl Harald came from Hjaltland 
in the spring during the Whitsuntide, and when he came to 
the Orkneys Earl Eognvald sent men to him to say that he 
wished the compact of peace between him and Swein to be 
renewed, and a peace meeting was appointed in St. Magnus's 
church on Friday during the holy week. Earl Eognvald 
carried a broad axe to the meeting, and Swein went with 
him. Then the peace compact which had been made in the 
winter was confirmed. 



CHAPTEE cm. 

OF SWEIN, ASLEIF'S SON. 

Then Earl Eognvald gave Earl Harald the ship which had 
belonged to Swein, but all other things which had been 
awarded him from Swein he retiimed to him. Earl Eogn- 
vald and Swein were standing at the church-door while the 
sail, which had been lying in St. Magnus's church, was car- 
ried out, and Swein looked rather gloomy. The following 
Saturday, after noontide service, Earl Harald's men came to 
Swein, Asleif 's son, and said the Earl wished him to come 
to speak with him. Swein consulted Earl Eognvald, but he 
did not say much in favour of his going, and added that one 
did not know whom to trust. Swein went, nevertheless, 
with five men. The Ead w£w sitting on a cross bench in a 
small room, and Thorbiom KLerk beside him. A few other 
men were with the Earl, and they sat for a while and drank. 
Then Thorbiom left the room, and Swein's companions said 
to him that they distrusted the Earl's conduct very much. 
Thorbiom returned shortly after, and presented Swein with a 
scarlet tunic and a cloak, saying that he did not know 



OF THE EARLS. 179 

whether he would call it a gift, because these tilings had 
been taken from Swein in the winter. Swein accepted the 
gifts. Earl Harald restored to him the long-ship which had 
belonged to him, and the half of his property and estates. 
He asked him to stay with him, and said their friendship 
should never be dissolved. Swein accepted all this gladly, 
and went immediately the same night and told Earl Eogn- 
vald how matters had turned out between him and Earl 
Harald. Earl Bognvald said he was much pleased with 
this, and told Swein to take care that they did not become 
enemies again. 



CHAPTER CIV. 

OF THE EARLS. 

A SHORT time after, the three chiefs — Swein, Thorbiom, and 
Eirik — went out on a plundering expedition. They went 
first to the Sudreyar, and all along the west to the Syllingar, 
where they gained a great victory in Marluhofn^ on Colum- 
ba*s-mas (9th June), and took much booty. Then they re- 
turned to the Orkneys. 

When the Earls Harald and Bognvald had made peace 
with Swein, Asleif 's son, they were always together, and Earl 
Eognvald governed, but they agreed very welL When they 
came home from the Syllingar, Thorbiom Klerk went to Earl 
Harald, and became his counsellor. Swein went home to 
Gdreksey, and resided there during the winter with many 
men, living upon his booty, and otiier stores which he pos- 
sessed there in the Islands. He was most attached to Earl 
Eognvald. Every sunmier he was out on marauding expe- 
ditiona It was said that Thorbiom did not improve the 
harmony between Earl Harald and Earl Bognvald. 

Th6rarinn KiTlinef was one of Earl Eognvald's men, a 
great Mend of his, and was always with the Earl. A man 
named Thorkell was one of Thorbiom Klerk's followers, and 
a friend of his. Th6rarinn and Thorkell quarrelled over 
their drink at Kirkiuvag, and Thorkell wounded Th6rarinn, 
and then escaped to Thorbiom. Th6rarinn'8 companions 

* St. Mary's, the largest of the Scilly Isles, caUed Syllingar in the Sagas. 



180 OEKNEYINGA SAGA. 

pursued Thorkell, but Thorbiom and his men defended 
themselves in a loft. The Earls were informed of this, and 
they went to part them. Thorbiom refused to leave the 
decision of this case to Earl Eognvald, as it was his men 
that were concerned in the pursuit. When Th6rarinn had 
recovered from his wounds, he slew Thorkell as he was going 
to church. He ran into the church, but Thorbiom and his 
men pursued him. Earl Eognvald was told what was 
happening, and he went there with his men, and asked 
Thorbiom whether he was going to break the church open. 
Thorbiom said the church ought not to shelter him who was 
within. Earl Eognvald said there should be no violation of 
the church at this time, and Thorbiom was pushed away 
from it. No agreement was come to about this case. 

Thorbiom went over to Caithness, and was there for a 
while. Then many things happened to estrange them, for 
Thorbiom was often guilty of violence to women, and of 
manslaying. He went secretly out to the Orkneys in a 
boat with thirty men, and landed at Skdlpeid, and walked to 
Kirkiuvag with three men. In the evening he went alone 
into an inn where Th6rarinn was drinking, and stmck him a 
death-blow immediately. Then he ran out into the darkness 
and far away. For this the Earl made him an outlaw in 
every part of his dominions. Thorbiom went over to Ness, 
and remained in hiding with his brother-in-law, Hosvir, who 
was called the strong. He had married Thorbiom's sister, 
EagnMld, and their son was Stefdn Eddgiafi (counsellor), 
Thorbiom's follower. Shortly afterwards Thorbiom went to 
Malcolm, King of Scots, and remained there a while, in high 
favour with the King. There was a man called Gillaodran 
with the King of Scots. He was of a great family, but a 
violent man. He had incurred the displeasure of the King 
of Scots for violent acts and manslaughters which he had 
committed in his kingdom. He fled to the Orkneys, and 
the Earls received him. Then he went to Caithness, and 
acted as a steward for the Earls. There was a noble Bondi 
in Caithness, by name Helgi, a friend of Earl Eognvald's. 
Gillaodran quarrelled with him about the stewardship, and 
Gillaodran attacked and killed him. After the slaughter he 
went west to Scotland's Fiord, and was received by a chief 



SWEIN SLAYS SUMARLIDI. 181 

named Sumarlidi Hold,^ who had possessions in Dalir, on 
Scotland's Fiord. His wife w£is Eagnhild, the daughter of 
Olaf Bitling (little bit), King of the Sudreyar. Their sons 
were King Dufgall, Eognvald, and Engull.^ They were called 
the Dalverja family. 

Earl Eognvald sent for Swein, Asleif 's son, before he 
went out on his expedition. When they met, Earl Eognvald 
asked him to have an eye on Gillaodran if he had an oppor- 
tunity. Swein said he did not know how far he might 
succeed. 



CHAPTEE CV. 

SWEIN SLAYS SUMAKLIDL 

Then Swein went on a marauding expedition, having five 
long-ships. When he came west to Scotland's Fiord, he 
heard that Sumarlidi Hold had gone on board a ship, and 
was about to set out on an expedition. He had seven ships, 
and Gillaodran commanded one. He had gone into the 
firths to bring up some troops that had not arrived. When 
Swein heard of Sumarlidi, he gave him battle, and it was a 
fierce fight. Sumarlidi Hold was killed in that fight, and 
many men with him. When Swein became aware that 
Gillaodran was not there, he went in search of him, and slew 
him in Myrkvifiord,^ and fifty men with him. Then he went 

^ This was the famous Somerled, styled by the Chronicle of Man "Regains 
Herergaidel ** — ^ruler of Argyle. This chronicle also adds the information that 
his marriage with Ragnhild was the cause of the ruin of the monarchy of the 
Isles. Although the Saga here makes Swein, Asleifs son, kill Somerled about 
the year A.D. 1159, we learn from the more trustworthy sources of Fordun and 
the Chron. de Mailros that Somerled was killed at Renfrew on the 1st January 
1164, having landed there with a fleet of 160 galleys in the attempt to make 
a conquest of Scotland. He had given his sister in marriage to Wimund, ex- 
bishop, alias Malcolm M'Heth, whom the Saga caUs Earl of Moray. After 
the unsuccessful termination of Malcolm M'Heth's attempt to gain possession 
of the crown of Scotland, his brother-in-law, Somerled, seems to have con- 
tinued the hostilities against King David, and to have joined the party against 
Malcolm IV. when the attempt was made to place the " Boy of Egremont " 
on the throne. (See Fordun Skene's ed.) II. 260, and Munch, Chrori, Mom, 
p. 80. 

* Dugald, Reginald, and Angus ; from Reginald sprang the Macrories, 
Macdougalls, and Macdonalds of tJie Isles. 

' This is the Firth of Forth in chapter Ixxvii. Here it evidently refers to 



182 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

on his expedition, and returned home in the autumn, as his 
custom was. He went to see Earl Eognvald soon after his 
return, and he was much pleased with these deeds. 



CHAPTER CVL 

OF EARL ROGNVALD AND EARL HARALD. 

Every summer the Earls were wont to go over to Caithness, 
and up into the forests to hunt the red-deer or the reindeer.^ 
Thorbiom Klerk was with the King of Scots, and sometimes 
he went to Caithness and stayed in hiding with his friends. 
He had three friends in Caithness whom he trusted most 
One was his brother-in-law, Hosvir ; the second, Li6tiilf, who 
lived in Th6rsdal ; and the third was Hallvard, Diifa's son, 
in Kilfadal (Calder), at a certain promontory off Th6rsdal. 
All these were his intimate friends. 

one of the sea-lochs on the west coa^t, and may probably be Loch Gleann 
Dubh, the inner portion of Kyle Scow. At least the Norse name "Daric 
Fiord," and the Gaelic ** Loch of the Dark Glen," are suggestively similar, and 
both equally descriptive of the upper part of the Kyle. 

^ In reference to this passage, Jonseus, in his edition of the Saga (Hafhis, 
1780), says, that what is of the greatest moment is the fact which it points 
out, that at this date (circa 1158) there were reindeer in Scotland. In his 
Latin version of the original he translates the phrase ^*(U veida rauddyri edr 
kreina '* as **fer(is rubras et raiigiferoa ven(M%" and has no doubt or hesitancy 
about the matter. It is established by geological evidence that the reindeer 
was widely distributed in Great Britain in post-glacial times, although the 
instances of its occurrence within the human period, and in association with 
the remains of man, have been comparatively rare. Recently, however, evi- 
dence has been supplied by excavations in the ruins of the brochs, or " Pictish 
towers," of the north of Scotland, which folly corroborates the statement of 
the Saga that the reindeer was actually hunted and eaten by the later occn- 
pants of these structures, their latest occupation on record being an occasional 
one by the Norsemen. In the refuse-heaps of several of these towers, the hoins 
of the reindeer have been found, in some instances cut and sawn as if to be 
utilised for artificial purposes ; while in other cases it is evident that the 
animals must have been killed when the horns were in the velvet. It is also 
significant that the reindeer moss (Cladonia raiigiferi'na) still grows abund- 
antly in Caithness. The question is very fully and ably discussed in a paper 
on "The Reindeer in Scotland," by Dr. J. A. Smith, in the eighth volume of 
the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 



nv ■ ^qr^^^*v^^™^^'^>^*^v«i^>w*«^v"w**"«">w«^Bav^*i^iV^9iBHVBMa^Ha^i«lVH^I^iVMiHHW^iMMHVHH^HMi^HC. 



THE SLAYING OP EARL ROGNVALD. 183 



CHAPTEE evil. 

THE SLAYING OF EARL ROGNVALD. 

When Earl Eognvald had been an Earl two-and-twenty 
winters from the time that Earl Paul was taken prisoner, the 
Earls went over to Caithness during the latter part of the 
summer as usual, and when they came to Th6rsd they heard 
a rumour to the effect that Thorbiom was there in hiding 
with not a few men, and that he intended to attack them if 
he had an opportunity. Then the Earls called men together, 
and went with a hundred men, twenty of whom were on 
horseback and the rest on foot In the evening they went 
up into the valley,^ and took up their quarters for the night 
When they were sitting by the fire in the evening. Earl 
Eognvald sneezed very much. Earl Harald said: " That was 
a loud sneeze, kinsman." In the morning they went along 
the valley. 

During the day Earl Eognvald rode always ahead of his 
men, and a man with him called As61f, and another by 
name J6mar, his kinsman. They rode five together along 
Kalfadal ; and when they came to the farm, farmer Hoskuld 
was on the top of a corn-stack piling up the com, which 
his servants brought to him. Earl Harald was some dis- 
tance behind. When Hoskuld recognised Earl Eognvald, 
he saluted him by name, and asked for news, speaking very 
loud, so that he could be heard far away. This was a short 
distance from the sitting-room of the house. The home- 

^ It is plain from the original that some words are here omitted from the 
text. One of the MS. copies of the Saga has had the additional words, which 
are thus rendered in the Danish translation preserved at Stockholm, ** Der 
aom vaar noget erg, dei kalde vi setter, ** etc ** There were there some shielings 
(erg), which we call setter ; and there they took up their quarters for the 
night" What is remarkable about this passage is that the Gaelic word for a 
shieling, Airidh, given phonetically by the old Norse saga-writer as "erg," is 
glossed in the Danish ti-anslation by the word "setter"— summer pasturing- 
place, where rude huts were erected for temporary occupation. The word 
setter, which is common in the place-names of Caithness and the Northern 
Isles, is to this day understood by the inhabitants in the same sense, although 
the custom of sending the cattle to the hill-pastures in summer, and living 
in ** shielings," has now ceased, on the mainland at least. (See also the note 
on "Asgrim's «rgin," p. 187.) 



184 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

stead stood on an eminence, and one had to go throngh 
naiTow and very steep peissages up to it. Thorbiom was at 
this farm, and was sitting indoors drinking. The passages 
led to the end of the house close to the gable, which had a 
door filled loosely with stones. Thorbiom and his men, 
hearing the words of Hoskuld when he saluted Earl Eogn- 
vald, seized their weapons, pushed the stones from the con- 
cealed door, and ran out. Thorbiom ran round the gable, 
and on to the wall of the passage. The Earl was then 
close to the door. Thorbiom struck at him, and As61f 
warded off the blow with his hand, and it was cut off ; and 
then the sword touched the Earl's chin, inflicting a great 
wound. 

On receiving the blow As(51f said : " Let them serve the 
Earl better who have to thank him for greater gifts." He 
was then eighteen winters old, and had lately entered the 
Earl's service. 

Earl Eognvald was going to jump off his horse, and his 
foot stuck fast in the stirmp. At that moment Stefan 
arrived and stabbed him with a spear ; and Thorbiom 
wounded him again ; but J6mar stabbed Thorbiom in the 
thigh, the spear entering the bowels. Then Thorbiom and 
his men ran behind the homestead, and down a steep bank, 
into a wet morass. Then Earl Harald and his men arrived 
and met Thorbiom. They recognised each other, and the 
Earl's men, when they knew his intentions, advised to pursue 
him ; but Earl Harald dissuaded them from it, saying that 
he wished to wait for Earl Eognvald's opinion, " Because," 
said he, " I am very intimately connected with Thorbiom, 
as you know, both through relationship and other ties." 

Those who were with Earl Eognvald stood sorrowing 
over his dead body, and some time passed before Earl 
Harald heard the news. Thorbiom and his men had got 
out on the bog, and across the moss-hag running along it. 
But through the urgency of the Earl's followers, he and his 
men ran down to the bog, and they met at the moss-hag 
— the two parties standing one on either side. Thorbiom's 
party defended themselves from the bank, and his followers 
ran to his assistance from the neighbouring homesteads, 
imtil they were fifty in number. They defended themselves 



■!•»■ ■ *»Fpwer^Bww«^p»w»wi^Biw^«^iwi^i»^^^i^»«pw»w^»«^^p»^^p«^^p^,^^^^^^^^^"^ 



THE SLAYING OP EARL ROGNVALD. 185 

bravely, for they had a strong position. The moss-hag 
was both deep and broad, and the bog was soft; so they 
could only hurl spears at each other. Thorbiom told his 
men to throw none back ; and when the Earl's party had 
exhausted their missiles ihey spoke to each other, and 
Thorbiom called to Earl Harald, saying, "Kinsman! I 
wish to ask you to give me quarter, and I am willing 
to leave the decision of this case entirely in your hands. 
I will reserve nothing which may contribute to your honour. 
I ako think, kinsman, you must remember that there have 
been quarrels in which you would not have made such a 
difference between Earl Eognvald and me that you would 
have killed me for having done this deed, when he had you 
under his thimib, and left you no more power than if you 
had been his page ; but I gave you the best gifts, and 
endeavoured to further your honour in every way I could. 
The deed which I have committed is indeed a great crime, 
and weighs heavily upon me, but the whole of his dominions 
revert to you. You may ako know that Earl Rognvald 
intended for me the same fate which he met at my hands. 
And I suspect, kinsman, that if it had so happened that I 
were dead, and Earl Eognvald alive, you would not have 
quarrelled with him ; and yet you wish to take away my 
Ufa'' 

Thorbiom urged his case with many fair words, and 
many pleaded for him, and begged that quarter might be 
given him. And at last, when so many pleaded, the Earl 
began to listen to them. 

Then Magnus, the son of Gimni, Havard's son, a chief 
and a kinsman of the Earl's, and the noblest bom of Earl 
Harald's followers, took speech as follows : — " We are not 
able to coimsel you. Earl, after these great deeds, but I shall 
tell you what will be said if quarter is given to Thorbiom 
when he has done such a deed, and even dared to say to 
your face, almost in so many words, that he has done this 
wickedness in your interest, or for your honour; and it 
will be an everlasting shame and dishonour to you and to 
all the Earl's kinsmen if he is not avenged. I think Earl 
Eognvald's friends will believe it to be the tmth that for 
a long time you have been planning his death, and that it 



186 ORKNBYINOA SAGA. 

is your plan which has now been accomplished. Do you 
think he will acquit you from complicity in his guilt when 
he has to defend himself; since no one says a word for you 
when he tells you to your face that he has committed this 
crime in your interest ? And how can you better confirm 
this suspicion than by now granting him peace ? I have 
resolved, for my part, never to give him quarter, if any 
doughty men are willing to follow me, whether you like it 
or not" 

His brother Thorstein, and Hakon, and Swein, Hr6ald's 
son, spoke to the same effect. Then they left the Earl and 
went along by the moss-hag, trying to find a place where 
they might cross. 

When Thorbiom saw Magnus and his followers walk- 
ing along the moss-hag, he said : " Now, I suppose, they 
must have disagreed in their coimsels ; the Earl has wished 
to give me peace, and Magnus has spoken against it" 

While they were thus talking, Thorbiom and his men 
went farther away from the moss-hag. 

Harald*s party stood on the brink, and when he saw 
that no quarter would be given, he leapt across in full 
armour, though it was nine ells^ broad. BUs followers 
leapt after him, but none of them were able to leap so far ; 
and most of them caught the bank and crawled up out of 
the mud. 

Thorbiom's men urged him to advance against Ms^us 
and his men, and decide the matter with them; but he 
said : " I think the best plan is, that each of you do what 
he thinks likely to be best, but I shall go to Earl Harald." 

Most of his men dissuaded him from this, and b^ged 
him rather to flee to the woods and save himself. He did 
not, however, accept that advice. Then his followers left 
him, and tried to save themselves in various ways, and at 
last there were eight men only with Thorbiom. When he 
saw that Earl Harald had crossed the ditch, he went to 
him and fell on his knees, saying that he brought his head 
to him. Many of the Earl's men asked that peace might 

' A Norwegian ell is half a yard. The leap was thus four yards and a 
half. 



THE SLAYING OF EAKL ROGNVALD. 187 

be given him ; and the Earl said : " Save yourself, Thor- 
biom ; I have not the heart to kill jovl" 

While they were talking, they moved down the valley 
along Kilfadalsd,' and Magnus's party pursued them. When 
the Earl saw it, he said : " Save yourself, Thorbiom, I will 
not fight for you against my men/* Then Thorbiom and 
his men left the Earl's party, and went to some deserted 
shielings caned Asgrim's'^V Magnus's paxty pursued 
them, and set the buildings on fire immediately. Thorbiom 
and his men defended themselves bravely ; and when the 
buildings began to fall down with the burning, they went 
out and were attacked by the other party with their weapons, 
as soon aa they could reach them. They were already very 
much exhausted by the fire, and fell there all nina When 
Thorbiom's wounds were examined, it was found that the 
intestines protmded through the wound inflicted by J6mar. 
Earl Harald led his men down the vaUey, but those who 
were with Magnus went to Fors (Forss), wrapped up Earl 
Eognvald's body, and brought it down to Th6rsA. 

^ Kalfadalsd, the Kalfadal's stream, is the Bum of Colder, which, issuing 
from the Loch of Calder, falls into the Thnrso*water. The situation of Eal- 
fadal, a valley running up from the vaUey of the Thurso water towards Forss, 
is exactly that of the valley of Calder. 

• The word cargin is not Norse. It is, however, a Norse corruption of the 
Gaelic word for a shieling — airidh, plur. aridhean, which enters into the 
composition of many of the place-names in Caithness — e,g. Halsary, Dorrery, 
Shurrery, Blingery, etc Asgrim*s cergin ib stiU recognisable in the modem 
Askary or Assary, near the north end of the Loch of Calder. It is curious to 
find thus incidentally in the Saga an indication of the blending of the folk- 
speech of the time, and to find also in the modem names of Norn Calder and 
Scotscalder a record (preserved on the spot) of the time when one portion of 
the dale was possessed by the Norsemen and another by the natives. Passing 
from Calder towards the coast the place-names are mostly Norse ; and passing 
from Calder in the opposite direction towards the uplands, the place-names 
are almost entirely Gaelic 






«. V .• 



188 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER CVIII. 

THE REMOVAL OF EARL RoGNVALD'S BODY, 

Earl Rognvald Kali died five nights after the summer 
Marymas.^ Earl Harald brought the body with a splendid 
following to the Orkneys, and it was buried at the Magnus 
Kirk ; and there it rested until God manifested Rognvald's 
merits by many and great miracles. Then Bishop Bjami 
had his holy remains exhumed with the pennission of the 
Pope.^ Where the blood of the Earl fell on the stones 
when he died, it may be seen to this day as fresh as if it 
had just come from the wounds. 

Earl Eognvald's death was much lamented, because he 
was very popular in the Islands and in many other parts. 
He had been helpful to many, was liberal with his money, 
gentle, and a true friend, highly accomplished, and a good 
'v;- ^ scald. He left a daughter, Ingigerd, an only child, who 
was married to Eirik Slagbrellir. Their children were 
Harald Ungi, Magnus Mangi, Eognvald, Ingibiorg, Elln, and 
Eagnhild. 



CHAPTER CIX. 

OF HARALD AND SWEIN. 

After Earl Rognvald's death. Earl Harald took possession 
of the whole of the Islands, and became their sole ruler. 
He was a mighty chief, and a man of large stature and 
great strength. His wife was Afreka, and their children 
were — Heinrek, Hakon, Helena, and Margaret When 
Hakon was only a few winters old, Swein, Asleif 's son, 
offered to foster him, and when he was able to take his 
part with other men, Swein took him out on marauding 
expeditions every sunmier, and honoured him in every- 
thing. Swein used to reside at home in Gareksey, in 
winter, keeping there eighty men at his own expense. He 

^ The feast of the Assomption of St Mary, or the 15th August The 
Iceland Annals give 1158 as the year of Rognvald's death. 
^ Earl Rognvald was canonised a.d. 1192. 



1 



SWEIN GOES TO IRELAND. 189 

had such a large drinking-hall that there was none equal to 
it anywhere else in the Orkneys. In the spring he was 
very busy sowing a large breadth of seed, and he usually 
did a great part of the work himself. When this work 
was finished, he went every spring on marauding expedi- 
tions. He plundered in the Sudreyar and Ireland, and 
returned home after midsummer. This he called spring- 
viMng. Then he stayed at home till the fields were reaped 
and the corn brought in. Then he went out again, and did 
not return until one month of winter had passed. This he 
called autumn-viking. 



CHAPTEE ex. 

SWEIN GOES TO IRELAND. 

Once it happened that Swein went out on a spring expedi- 
tion, taking with him Hakon, the son of Earl Harald. They 
had five rowing ships, all large. They plundered in the 
Sudreyar. All the inhabitants were so afraid of him that 
they hid all their movable property in the ground or in 
heaps of loose stones. Swein went aU the way south to 
Man, and obtained very little booty. Then they went to 
Ireland and plundered there, but when they were 'approach- 
ing D^flin (Dublin) two merchant-ships came from England, 
laden with English cloth and other merchandise ; they were 
going to Dj^flin. Swein made for the vessels, and offered 
them battla There was little resistauce by the English, 
and Swein's party took every penny in the vessels, leaving 
to the Englishmen only what they stood in, and a small 
quantity of provisions. They sailed away in the vessels, 
but Swein's party went to the Sudreyar, and divided their 
booty. They sailed fix)m the west with great pomp. When 
they were lying in harbours, they covered their ships with 
the English cloth, to make a show ; and when they sailed 
to the Orkneys, they sewed the cloth upon their sails, and 
then it looked as if the sails were made entirely of the fine 
stufis. This they named the Skrud-viking.^ 

^ Skrad, a general term for fine cloth and costly stuffs. 



190 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Swein went home to his estate in G^xeksey. He had 
taken a large quantity of wine and English mead fix)m the 
vessels. When he had been at home a short time he invited 
Earl Harald, and prepared a splendid feast for him. When 
Earl Harald was at the feast a great deal was said of Swein's 
magnificence. The Earl said : " I wish, Swein, you would 
now leave off your marauding expeditions ; it is good now 
to drive home a whole waggon. You know that your plun- 
dering has fed you and your men a long time, but to most 
men of violence it happens that they perish in their raiding, 
if they do not leave it off in time." 

Swein looked to the Earl and said, smiling : " This is 
well said, my Lord ; you have spoken like a Mend, and it 
is good to take sound advice from you ; but some complain 
that you are not an over just man yourself." 

The Earl replied : " I must be responsible for my own 
acts, but I spoke as it occurred to me." 

Swein replied : " Your intention is no doubt good, my 
Lord ; and it shall be so, that I wiU discontinue my maraud- 
ing expeditions, for I am getting old, and my strength is 
wasting away in the wet work and the fighting. I am now 
going to make an autumn expedition, and I wish it to be 
not less glorious than the spring ona Then I shall leave 
off war-going." 

The Earl replied : " It is difl&cult to know, comrade, 
which comes first — death or lasting fama" 

Then their conversation ceased. When Earl Harald 
left the feast honourable gifts were presented to him, and 
he and Swein parted very good friends. 



CHAPTER CXL 

SWEIN, ASLErfS SON'S (LAST) EXPEDITION. 

Shortly after this Swein prepared to go on a marauding ex- 
pedition with seven long-ships, aU of them large. Hdkon, 
the son of Earl Harald, went with him. They went first to 
the Sudreyar, and found there little booty. Then they went 
to Ireland, and plundered there in many places. They 



SWEIN, ASLEIF's son's FALL. 191 

went all the way south to Dyflin (Dublin), and took the 
inhabitants by surprise, so that they did not know till they 
were in the town. They took a great deal of plunder, and 
took captive the rulers of the city, and their negotiations 
ended in the surrender of the town to Swein, and they pro- 
mised to pay as much money aa he might levy on them. 
He was to quarter his men on the town, and have the com- 
mand of it, and the Dj^flin men confirmed this arrangement 
with oaths. Swein and his men went down to their ships 
in the evening, but in the morning they were to come into 
the town and receive hostages from the inhabitants. 

Now it is to be told what was going on in the town 
during the night The rulers of the town had a meeting, 
and considered the difficulties in which they were placed. 
They thought it a grievous hardship that they should have 
to surrender their town to the Orkneymen, especially to him 
whom they knew to be the most exacting man in the whole 
West; and they came to the determination to play him 
false if they could. They resolved to dig large pits inside 
of the city gates, and in many other places between the 
houses, where it was intended that Swein's men should 
come in, and armed men were hidden in the houses close 
by. They placed such coverings over the pits as were sure 
to fall in when the weight of the men came upon them. 
Then they covered aU over with straw, so that the pits 
could not be seen, and waited till morning. 



CHAPTEE CXII. 

SWEIN, ASLEIF's SON'S FALL. 

Next morning Swein and his men arose and armed them- 
selves, and went to the town; and when they came near the 
gates the Dj^flin men ranged themselves on both sides from 
the gates along by the pits. Swein and his men, not being 
on their guard, fell into them. Some of the townsmen ran 
immediately to the gates, and others to the pits, and attacked 
Swein's men with weapons. It was difificult for them to 
defend themselves, and Swein perished there in the pit, 



192 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

with all those who had entered the town. It was said that 
Swein was the last man who died there, and that he spake 
these words before his fall : " Know aU men, whether I die 
to-day or not, that I am the holy Earl Eognvald's henchman, 
and my confidence is where he is with Gk)d." Swein's sur- 
viving followers went then to their ships, and put out to sea; 
and nothing is said of their voyage until they came to the 
Orkneys. Here is the end of Swein's history ; and it has 
been said that he was the greatest man in the Western 
lands, either in old times or at the present day, of those who 
had not a higher title than he had. After his death his sons 
Olaf and Andres divided their patrimony. The next summer 
after his death they raised the end walls of the large drinking- 
hall which he had in Gareksey. Andr^, the son of Swein, 
married Frida, the daughter of Kolbein Hniga, and sister to 
Bishop Bjami. 



CHAPTER CXIII. 

OF EARL HARALD AND HIS SONS. 

Now Earl Harald ruled the Orkneys, and was a great chief. 
Afterwards^ he married Hvarflod,^ the daughter of Earl 
Malcolm,^ of Maerhaefi (Moray). Their children were 
Thorfinn,* David, J6n, Gunnhild, Herborga, and Langlif. 

^ After the death of his first wife Afreka. (See chap, cix.) 

' The Celtic form of her name is Gormlath. 

* This "Malcolm, Earl of Moray," has a carious history. He appears 
first as Wimund, a monk of Savigny, and priest in the Isle of Skye. After- 
wards he hecame Bishop of Man, and subsequently appeared in the character 
of a pretender to the Scottish crown, giving himself out to be Malcolm Mac- 
Heth, son of that Angus MacHeth who was defeated by King David, and 
slain at Strickathro a.d. 1180. Assisted by Somerled of Argyle and by this 
alliance with the £arl of Orkney, he ravaged the western coasts of Scotland, 
until he was captured by King David, and confined in the Castle of Roxburgh 
in 1184. He was released by Malcolm the Maiden after the death of King 
David, and received from the young king the sovereignty of a portion of the 
ancient kingdom of Cumbria. His tyranny was such that his subjects re- 
volted, took him prisoner, put out his eyes, and confined him in the monas- 
tery of Bellaland (Byland), in Yorkshire. (Munch, Chron, M<m, p. 80.) 

^ Thorfinn, the son of Earl Harald, appears on record about the year A.D. 
1165. In the Chartulary of Scone there is a document by "Harald, Earl of 



OF EARL HAEALD AND HIS SONS. 193 

When Bishop William the Second was dead, Bjami, the 
son of Kolbein Hniga, was made bishop after him. He was 
a very great man, and a dear friend of Earl Harald. Bishop 
Bjami had a large party of kinsmen in the Islands. The 
sons of Eirlk Slagbrellir were Harald TJngi, Magnus Mangi, 
and Eognvald. The brothers went east to Norway to see 
King Magnus, Erling's son, and he gave Harald the title of 
Earl, and one half of the Islands, which had belonged to 
the holy Earl Eognvald, his mother's father. Earl Harald 
Ungi went to the west, and with him Sigurd Murt, the son 
of Ivar GaUL The mother of Ivar, who fell at Akr with 
Erling Skakki, was the daughter of Havard, Gunni's son. 
Sigurd Murt was young, handsome, and a great dandy. 
Magnus Mangi remained with the King, and fell with him 
in Sogn, 

Harald (Ungi) and his followers came first to Hjaltland. 
Then they went over to Caithness, and then into Scotland, to 
William, King of Scots.^ Earl Harald requested King Wil- 
liam to give him the half of Caithness which Earl Eognvald 
had held. The King granted him this; and Earl Harald 
went then down to Caithness, and gathered troops. Then 
Ltf61f Skalli, his brother-in-law, came to him. He had many 
noble kinsmen there. Iif61f had married Eagnhild, the sister 
of Earl Harald. He was called Earl Harald Ungi (the 
younger) ; but Harald, Maddad's son, the elder. Iif61f had 
the command of the Earl's troops. They sent men to the 
Orkneys, to Earl Harald the elder, requesting him to give up 
one half of the Islands, since the King had given them to 
Eaxl Harald Ungi When the Earl received this message, 
he refused absolutely to divide his dominions on any condi- 
tion. Iif61f Skalli was the messenger, and the Earl upbraided 
him greatly before he left After this. Earl Harald the elder 
collected troops, and obtained a great many. Earl Harald 
Ungi*s party were in Caithness, and had some gathering too. 
When they heard that Harald the elder was collecting troops, 

Orkney, Hetland, and Cataness,'* granting to the monks of Scone a mark of 
silver to be paid annually by himself, his son Torphin, and their heirs. — Lib. 
Ecdes. de Scorn, p. 87. Thorfinn died in prison in Roxburgh Castle, after 
being mutilated by King William the Lion, to whom he had been given as a 
hostage for his father. 
* William the Lion. 





194 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

they sent Iif61f a second time across the Fentland Firth 
to gather information about the enemy's forces. He landed 
east in Eognvaldsey, and ascended a hill, where he found 
three of Harald's watchmen. Two of them he killed, and 
one of them he took with him for information. Then Iif61f 
saw the EarFs fleet, which consisted of many ships, most 
of them large. Then he went down from the hiU to his 
boat, and told his companions what he had ascertained. He 
said Earl Harald had so large an army that it was quite 
hopeless for them to fight with him. " I would advise," said 
Lif61f, " that we should go to-day to Th6rsa, and there many 
troops will come to us at once. If you wish to oflTer battle 
to Earl Harald now, it is most imprudent, whatever the result 
may be." 

Then said Sigurd Murt : " HI has the Earl's brother-in- 
law fared across the Pentland Firth if he has left his heart 
behind him ;" adding, further, that their prospects were not 
bright if all should lose heart when they saw Earl Harald's 
army. 

Ltf61f replied : '* It is difl&cult to see, Sigurd, where each 
one carries his heart when courage is required ; and I believe 
you men of mark will think it a serious matter to remain 
behind when I run from Harald Ungi." 

They did not go to Th6rsa ; but shortly after they saw 
Earl Harald's fleet coming from Eognvaldsey, and then they 
prepared for battle. Earl Harald went on shore, and placed 
his men in battle array. They far exceeded the others 
in number. Sigurd Murt and Ltf61f arranged the troops 
of Earl Ungi. The former was dressed in a scarlet tunic, 
and tucked the skirt under his belt. Some said that the 
same should be done behind, but he told them not to do 
it, " for," said he, " I shall not go backwards to-day." Lffolf 
and Sigurd led one wing each, and when they had arrayed 
their men the battle began with great fury. Among the 
troops of Earl Harald the elder there were many hardy, 
fierce, and well-armed men, the Bishop's kinsmen, and 
many others of the Earl's champions. When the battle had 
lasted for a while, Sigurd Murt feU, having borne himself 
well and bravely. Ufolf behaved the most valiantly of them 
all. The Caithnessmen say he broke three times through 



OP THE ORKNEYMEN. 195 

the ranks of Earl Harald's men, yet he fell in this fight, after 
having earned great fame. When both were dead — ^Llf61f 
and Sigurd Murt — ^Earl Ungi's men fled. Earl Harald Ungi 
fell at some turf-pits,^ and that very night a great light was 
seen where his blood fell on the ground. People S£dd he 
was truly a saint, «uid there is now a church where he felL 
He is buried in Ness (Caithness). Innumerable miracles 
are by God granted through his merits, which testify that 
he wished to go to Orkney to his kinsmen Earl Magnus 
and Earl Eognvald. After the battle Earl Harald subdued 
the whole of Caithness, and went back triumphant to the 
Orkneys. 



CHAPTER CXIV. 

OF THE ORKNEYMEN. 

William, King of Scots, heard that Earl Harald (Ungi) had 
been killed, and also that Earl Harald, Maddad's son, had 
subdued the whole of Caithness without asking his leave. 
He became enraged at this, and sent men to the Sudreyar to 
Eognvald, Gudrod's son, the King of the Sudreyar. Gud- 
rod's mother was Ingibiorg, daughter of Earl Hdkon, Paul's 
son. King Eognvald was the greatest warrior then in the 
western lands. Three winters he had been out in war-ships 
without coming under a sooty rafter. When this message 
came to Eognvald, he collected an army from all the king- 
dom of the Sudreyar and from Satiri (Kintyre). He had 
also a large army from Ireland. Then he went north to 

1 The '^Fagrekiima" haa (p. 148) "er feU i Vik"— he feU at Wick ; hut^ 
there is nothing to fix the locality of this battle more definitely. The tradi^ 
tion of the district points to Clairdon Hill, between Murkle and Thurso, 
as the scene of the encounter. The church which is here said to have been 
erected on the spot where Harald fell, and which is spoken of as standing 
there when the Saga was written, is not now in existence. The ruins of a 
chapel, which was traditionally believed to mark the spot, were removed when 
the ground was brought under cultivation by the late Sir John Sinclair, A 
remonstrance by the late Rev. Mr. Pope, of Reay, seems to have had the effect 
of causing the erection of an edifice (now used as the tomb of the Sinclair 
family) over the place where an old chapel stood. It is now known locally 
as "Harold's Tower." Large quantities of human bones, and several of the 
peculiarly-shaped Norse swords which Mr. Pope describes as *'odd machines 
resembling ploughshares, all iron," have been dug up in the neighbourhood. 



196 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

Caithness, took possession of the whole of the territory, and 
remained there some time. Earl Harald kept in the Ork- 
neys, and took no heed of the King's movements. Towards 
winter Kiug Eognvald prepared to go home to his dominions 
in the Sudreyar. He left three stewards (syslumenn) over 
Caithness. One was Mani, Olaf 's son ; the second Eafii, the 
lawman ; and the third, HUf61f AUi Some time after. King 
Eognvald returned to the Sudreyar. Earl Harald sent a man 
over to Ness (Caithness), saying that he would consider his 
journey a lucky one if he could kill any of the stewards or all 
of them. This man was brought across the Pentland Firth, 
and he went on till he came to Lawman Eafn. Rafn asked 
him where he was going, and he had little to say in reply. 
Eafn said : " I can see in you that Earl Harald has sent you 
over here for some evil purpose, but I have not the heart to 
slay you, because you are my kinsman." Thus they parted, 
and he went away to HHf61f, and their intercourse ended 
in H1ff61f's murder. Then he fled to the Orkneys to Earl 
Harald, and told him what he had done. 



CHAPTEE CXV. 

HARALD TORTURES THE BISHOP. 

Now Earl Harald prepared to leave the Orkneys, and 
when he was quite ready he went first to Th6r8a, and landed 
from his ships there. The Bishop was in the borg at Skdra- 
b61stad (Scrabster). When the Caithnessmen saw Earl 
Harald's army, they perceived it was so numerous that they 
had no chance to withstand them. They were told also that 
the Earl was in such an evil temper that there was no know- 
ing what he might do. Then the Bishop took speech, and 
said: ''If our dealings turn out well, he will give you 
peace." ^ They did as the Bishop told them. The Earl's 
men rushed from the ships up to the borg. The Bishop 
went to meet the Earl, and saluted him with bland words, 
but their dealing turned out in this way, that Earl Harald 

^ The Bishop adyised the people to allow him first to speak with the Eari, 
in the hope that he would be able to mollify him. 



IW 



HARAL1> TORTURES THE BISHOP. 197 

had the Bishop seized, his tongue cut out, and then he caused 
a knife to be thrust into his eyes, and blinded him. Bishop 
J6n prayed to the holy virgin TroUh^na during his torture, 
and then he went on a certain bank, when they let him 
go. There was a woman on the bank, and the Bishop 
asked her to help him. She saw that blood was flowing 
from his face, and said : " Be silent, my lord, and I shall 
willingly help you." The Bishop was brought to the resting- 
place of the holy Trollhsena,^ and there he recovered both 
his speech «uid sight. 

Earl Harald went up to the borg, and it was immediately 
surrendered to him.* He proceeded at once to punish the 
inhabitants severely, and imposed heavy fines on those whom 
he considered most guilty of treachery to him ; and he made 
aU the Caithnessmen acknowledge him by oath as their lord, 
whether they liked it or not. Then he took possession of all 
the property belonging to the stewards, who had fled to the 
King of Scots. Then Earl Harald resided in Caithness with 
many men. 

^ This seems to imply that it was at the grave of the holy TroUhsena that 
the Bishop received his sight. TroUhsena seems to be the Celtic St. Tridnana 
or St. Tredwell, who, according to her legendary history, came from Achaia 
with St. Regains in the fonrth centnry. Being of extraordinary beauty, she 
was solicited by a Gallic prince, and to put an end to his solicitations she cut 
out both her eyes, and sent them to him skewered on a twig. Sir David 
Lindsay allndes to this : — 

** Sanct Tredwall, als, there may be sene, 
Quhilk on ane prick hes baith her ene." 

She died at Restalrig, near Edinburgh, and her tomb there continued, so late 
as Lindsay's time, to be a resort of pilgrims who came to " mend their ene." 
There is a chapel dedicated to St Tredwell in the island of Papa Westray, 
which Munch considers likely to have been erected by Celtic ecclesiastics pre- 
vious to the Norse invasion. There was another chapel dedicated to her at 
Rintradwell, in Sutherlandshire, where she is known as St. Trullen ; but there 
is now no trace of a St. Tredwell's cha{>el in Caithness. 

• The letter of Pope Innocent to the Bishop of Orkney, prescribing the 
penance to be performed by the man Lomberd, who cut out the Bishop's 
tongue, gives the additional information that when the EarPs men took the 
"borg" they killed almost all that were in it. (See the Introduction.) The 
"borg," or castle, at Scrabster, may have been an earlier building on the site 
of the ** Bishop's Castle," an old fortalice on the cliflf near the present hamlet 
of Scrabster, or it may have been the ruins of one of the still older Pictish 
towers, not far off, which the Caithnessmen may have occupied for the occa- 
sion as a defensible position. 



I 



198 OKKNEYINGA SAGA. 



CHAPTER CXVI. 

OF THE STEWARDS. 

Now it is to be told of the stewards (sj^slumenn) that they 
went six together to Scotland, and saw the King during 
Advent They were able to give particular intelligence of 
everything that had happened in Caithness during Earl 
Harald's stay there. The King was highly enraged at 
hearing the news, but he said he would pay back double to 
those who had lost their own. The first day they stayed 
with the King twenty-five ells of cloth and an English mark 
in ready money was given to each of them. They spent 
the Yule-tide with the King, and were well treated. 

After Yule-tide the King sent word to all the chiefs in 
his kingdom, and collected a large anny throughout the 
country, and with all these troops he went down to Caithness 
against Earl Harald. With this great army he pursued his 
journey tUl he came to Eysteinsdal,^ where Caithness and 
Sutherland meet. The camp of the King of Scots stretched 
far along the valleys. 

Earl Harald was in Caithness when he heard the news, 
and he drew troops together immediately. It is said he ob- 
tained six thousand men, and yet he had no chance to with- 
stand the King of Scots. Then he sent men to him to sue 
for peace. When this request was brought before the King, 
he said it was no use asking for peace imless he had every 
fourth penny that was to be found in all the land of Caithness. 

When the Earl received this message, he called together 
the inhabitants and chiefs, and consulted with them. As, 
however, they had no means of resisting, it was agreed that 
the Caithnessmen should pay one-fourth of all their property 
to the King of Scots, except those men who had gone to see 
the King in winter. Earl Harald went out to the Orkneys, 
and was to have Caithness as he had it before it was given 
to Earl Harald Ungi by the King of Scots. Thorfinn, the son 
of Earl Harald, who was a hostage with the King of Scots, 
was blinded during these hostilities. 

When peace had been made, the King returned to Scot- 

' -Eysteinsdal is not now represented in the topography of the dutrict 



iWPW^— ^Wlg— l»^i^^glB"SSLI!,' iJJBiJH^ !■ 



OF THE STEWARDS. 199 

land. Earl Harald was now the sole ruler of the Orkneys. 
In the later part of the days of Earl Harald, his brother-in- 
law, Olaf, and J6n, Hallkell's son, raised a party in the 
Orkneys, and went east to Norway against King Sverrir. 
They made Sigurd, the son of King Magnus, Erling's son, 
their King. Many men of noble birth in the Orkneys 
joined this party, and it was very strong. They were for a 
while called Eyjarskeggjar (Islanders) or Gullbeinir (golden- 
legs). They fought with King Sverrir in F16ruvogar, and 
were beaten.^ Both J6n and Olaf were killed, as also their 
King, and most of their men. After this King Sverrir 
became a great enemy of Earl Harald, laying it to his charge 
that he was the cause of the party being raised. At last 
Earl Harald went from the west, and Bishop Bjami went 
along with him. The Earl left his case without reservation 
to the decision of King Sverrir. Then King Sverrir took aU 
Hjaltland from Earl Harald, with its taxes (scat) and dues, as 
a fine ; and the Earls of Orkney have never had it since,^ 

Earl Harald was five winters old when he was made 
Earl, and for twenty winters he and Earl Eognvald were 
together Earls of Orkney. After Earl Eognvald's death, he 
was forty-eight winters Earl of Orkney, and he died in the 
second year of the reign of King Ingi, Bard's son.^ Earl 
Harald's sons, J6n and David, succeeded him ; and Heinrek, 
his son, had Eoss in Scotland. 

The following have been the most powerful of the Earls 
of Orkney, according to the relation of those who have made 
histories of them :— Sigurd, Eystein's son; Earl Thorfinn, 
Sigurd's son ; and Earl Harald, Maddad's son. 

The brothers J6n and David ruled the land after their 
father, until David died from disease, the same year as 
Hdkon Galinn died in Norway.* After that J6n took the 
title of Earl of all the Orkneys. 

^ The battle of Floravogar took place in 1194, according to the Iceland 
Annals appended to the FlateyjarlxSk. 

Shetland then passed into the immediate possession of the Crown of 
Norway. Its revenues were granted by King Hakon Magnusson, in 1812-19, 
to the Mary-kirk in Osloe (Christiania) for the completion of the fabric, with 
the proviso that then they should revert to the crown. 

' According to the Iceland Annals of the FlateyjarlxSk, King Ingi Bardson 
"took the kingdom" in 1204, and Harald Maddadson died in 1206. 

* The death of Hakon Galinn took place in the year 1214, according to the 
Annals appended to the Flateyjarb&k. 



200 ORKNEYINGA. SAGA. 



CHAPTER CXVII. 

THE BURNING OF BISHOP ADAM. 

When Bishop J6n, he who was maimed by the order of Earl 
Haxald^ died in Caithness, a man who was called Adam was 
made Bishop in his stead. None knew his family, because 
when a child he was found at the door of a certain church. 
The Caithnessmen found him rather exacting in his office, and 
blamed a certain monk who was with him chiefly for that. 
It was an ancient custom that the Bishop should receive a 
spann^ of butter of every twenty cows. Every Bondi in 
Caithness had to pay this — ^he more who had more cows, and 
he who had fewer less, and so in proportion. Bishop Adam 
wished to increase the impost, and demanded a spann of every 
fifteen cows ; and when that was obtained, he demanded it 
of twelve ; and when this too was conceded, he demanded it 
of ten. But this was thought by all men most unreasonable. 

Then the Caithnessmen went to see Earl J6n, who was 
then in Caithness, and they complained of this before the 
EarL He said he would have nothing to do with it, adding 
that the ewe was not a difficult one. There were two alter- 
natives : this was not to be endured, yet he would not say 
what the other might be. 

Bishop Adam was at Ha Kirkia,' in Thorsdal, and Earl 
J6n was a short distance oS. The Caithnessmen held a 
meeting on a hill above the village where the Bishop was. 
Lawman Eafn was with the Bishop, and begged him to spare 
the inhabitants, sajdng that otherwise he feared the conse- 
quences. The Bishop asked him to be of good cheer, saying 
that the Boendr (farmers) would become quiet of their own 
accord. Then a man was sent to Earl J6n, requesting him 
to make peace between them and the Bishop. But the 
Earl would not meddle with the matter at all. Then the 
Boendr ran down from the hill in great excitement, and 
when Lawman Eafn saw it he warned the Bishop to take 
care of himself. The Bishop and his friends were drinking 
in a loft there, and when the Boendr arrived the monk went 

' A spann = 24 marks, or 12 Ibe. Scottish. — Bdl four's OtlaJ Ri^his^ p. 99. 

^ Halkirk, in the Thui-so valley. 



r*""w^^^^^P""^ 



THE BURNING OF BISHOP ADAM. 201 

to the door, and he was immediately hewn across the face, 
and fell back into the room dead. When the Bishop heard 
it, he said: "This did not happen sooner than. might have 
been expected, for his interference in our transactions has 
generally been imfortunate." Then Eafn asked the Bishop 
to tell the Boendr that he was willing to come to an agree- 
ment with them ; and when they heard it, all the wiser men 
among them were very glad. TTien the Bishop went out to 
make an arrangement with them ; but when he was seen by 
the more wicked ones, who were most furious, they seized 
the Bishop, brought him into a small house, and set fire to 
it, and the house burnt so quickly that those who wished to 
save the Bishop could not do anything. Bishop Adam 
perished there.^ His body was not much burnt when it 
was found. Then the body was buried suitably and honour- 
ably ; but those who had been the best friends of the Bishop 
sent men to the King of Scots. Alexander, son of the holy 
King William, was then King of Scotland. When he heard 
the tidings, he became so enraged that the punishments 
inflicted by him for the burning of the Bishop, by mutila- 
tion and death, confiscation and outlawry from the land, axe 
still in fresh memory. 

And now we cannot relate more distinctly than we have 
here done the events concerning the Earls of Orkney. 

^ The Icelandic Annals place the burning of Bishop Adam in the year 
1222, and add that the King bf Scots caused the hands and feet to be hewn 
off eighty men who had been concerned in the Bishop's burning. Among the 
documents found in the King's treasury at Edinburgh in 1282 (and subse- 
quently lost) was one entitled : **A quit-claiming of the lands of the Bondi of 
Caithness for the slaughter of the Bishop." A bull of Pope Honorius, dated 
23d January 1223, and addressed to the Bishops of St. Andrews, Glasgow, 
Dunkeld, and Dunblane, speaks in terms of high commendation of King 
Alexander's zealous desire to avenge such an unheard-of crime as the burning 
of a bishop, and thoroughly corroborates the Saga account of the manner of 
Adam's death, stating that these ** wolves" and "demons," having stripped 
their Bishop of his garments, stoned him, mortally wounded him with an axe, 
and finally burned him in his own kitchen. (Theiner's Vetera Monum&nta, 
p. 21.) 



APPENDIX- 



SAGA OF OLAF, TEYGGVrS SON. 
{From the FlateyjarUk) 

The Domikionb of King Habald and Earl Bognvald. 

179. Earl Rognvald assisted Handd Harfagri (fair-haired) to 
conquer the country (Norway), and he gave him the revenues of 
both MsBri and RaumsdaL Bognvald had married Ragnhild, the 
daughter of Hr61f Nefia (nose). They had a son named Hr61f, who 
conquered Normandy. Hr61f was so big that no horse could carry 
him, and he was therefore called Gonguhr61f (Hr61f the walker). From 
him the Earls of Riida (Rouen) and the Kings of England are de- 
scended. They had two other sons, Ivar and Earl Th6rir Thegiandi 
(the silent). Rognvald had also sons by his concubines. They were 
Hallad, Hrollaug, and Einar, who was the youngest. One summer 
Handd Harfagri went to the 'west across the sea to punish the Vikings, 
as he was weary of their devastations. They plundered in Norway 
during the summer, and spent the winters in Hjaltland or the Orkneys. 
Handd subdued Qjaltland, the Orkneys, and the Sudreyar (Hebrides). 
He went west as far as the Isle of Man, and destroyed all the dwellings 
in Man. He fought many battles there, and extended his dominion 
so far to the west that none of the Kings of Norway since his time 
has had wider dominions. In one of these battles, Ivar, the son of Earl 
Rognvald, fell. So when King Harald sailed from the west he gave 
^jaltland and the Orkneys to Earl Rognvald as a compensation for 
[the loss of] his son; but Earl Rognvald gave the Islands to his 
brother Sigurd, who was King Harald's forecastleman ; and the King 
gave him the title of Earl before he left the west Sigurd remained 
out in the west. 

Eabl Melbrigd slain by Sigurd. 

180. Earl Sigurd became a great chief. He formed an alliance 
with Thorstein the Red, son of Olaf the White, and Aud Djiipaudga 



204 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

(the very wealthy), and together they conquered all Caithness and 
much more of Scotland — ^Mserheefui (Moray) and Ross. He built a 
borg on the southern border of Mserhaefid. Melbrigd Tonn (tooth), 
an Earl of the Scots, and Earl Sigurd, made an arrangement to meet 
in a certain place, with forty men each, in order to come to an agree- 
ment concerning their differences. When the appointed day arrived 
Earl Sigurd was suspicious of treache^ry on the part of the Scots. 
He therefore caused eighty men to be mounted on forty horses. 
When Earl Melbrigd saw this, he said to his men : — " Now we have 
been treacherously dealt with by Earl Sigurd, for I see two men's 
legs on one side of each horse, and the men, I believe, are thus twice 
as many as the beasts. But let us be brave, and kill each his man 
before we die." Then they made themselves ready. When Sigurd 
saw it, he also decided on his plan, and said to his men : — '' Now, let 
one-half of our number dismount and attack them from behind, when 
the troops meet, while we shall ride at them with all our speed to 
break their battle array. There was hard fighting inmiediately, and 
it was not long till Earl Melbri^ feU, and all his men with him. 
Earl Sigurd and his men fastened the heads [of the slain] to their 
saddle^traps, in bravado, and so they rode home triumphing in their 
victory. As they were proceeding. Earl Sigurd, intending to kick at 
his horse with his foot, struck the calf of his leg against a tooth 
protruding from Earl Melbrigd's head, which scratched him slightly ; 
but it soon became swollen and painful, and he died of it. Sigurd 
the powerful was buried in a mound at Ekkialsbakkl^ 

Sigurd's son was named Guthorm. He reigned one winter, and 
died childless. 

When Earl Rognvald heard of the death of Earl Sigurd and his 
son, he sent his son Hallad out to the west, and King Harald 'gave 
him the title of Earl. Hallad came out to the west, and took up his 
residence in Hrossey,* but Vikings went prowling about the islands 
and outlying headlands, slaying men and seizing booty. The Boendr 
complained of their losses to Earl Hallad, but they thought he did 
not get them much redress for their wrongs. Then Hallad grew 
tired of the dignity, and resigned the earldom, took up his odal 
rights, and returned to Norway, and his journey was regarded as a 
very ignominious one. 

EiNAR COMES TO THE ISLANDS. 

181. Two Banish Vikings took up their quarters in the Islands ; 
one of them was called Th6rir Tr^kegg (wooden beard), the other 
Kdlf Skurfa (scurf). When Earl Rognvald heard this he became 

1 See note at p. 107. * The Mainland of Orkney. 



^^^^^m^mmmammmmmammmmmmmmmmmmmm 



APPENDIX. 205 

very angry, and called his sons Th6rir and Hrollaug. Hr61f waa 
at that time on a war expedition. Rognvald asked which of them 
would go to the Islands. Th6rir said he would follow his advice. 

The Earl replied : " I foresee that your power will be greatest 
here ; and your ways do not lead from home." 

Hrollaug said : " Father, would you like me to go 1 " 

The Earl replied : " It will never be your fortune to become an 
EarL Your way lies towards Iceland. There you will increase your 
family, and it ^rill be a noble one." 

Then Einar, his youngest son, came forward and said : '^ Would 
you like me to go to the Islands ? One thing I will promise, which 
will be very acceptable to you — ^viz. that I shall never more come 
into your presence ; little honour do I eigoy at home, and it is hardly 
likely that my success will be less elsewhere than it is here." 

The Earl said : '^ You are not likely to become a chief, on account 
of your birth, for all your kin on the mother's side are thrall-bom ; 
but it is true that the sooner you go and the longer you stay the 
more agreeable it will be to me." Earl Bognvald gave him a fully- 
equipped vessel, with twenty benches, and King Harald gave him the 
title of EarL 

The Vikings slain. 

182. Einar sailed to Hjaltland, and there many men gathered 
round hiuL Then he went to the Orkneys to meet E&lf Skurfa and 
Th6rir Tr^kegg. There was a great battle, and both the Vikings 
were killed. This was said about it : 

Tr^-skegg gave he to the Trows : 
Skurfa fell before Torf-Einar. 

Then Einar took possession of the lands, and soon became a great 
chief. He was the man who first cut turf (peat) from the ground for 
fuel at Tor&es in Scotland, for fiiel was scarce in the Islands. Einar 
was a tall man, ugly, and with one eye, yet he was very keen-sighted. 

Battle between Earl Einab and Peincb Halfdan. 

183. When the sons of Harald Harfegri grew up they became men 
of great violence and turbulence, as has been told before. The sons 
of Sncefrld, Hdlfddn H41egg (high legs) and Gudrod Liomi (splen- 
dour) killed Rognvald, Earl of Maerl King Harald became very 
angry at this, and H^fddn had to flee over seas to the west, but 
Gudrod became reconciled to his father. When H^din H^egg 
came to the Orkneys, Earl Einar fled from the Islands to Scotland, 
and Hdlfd^ became King over the Islands. Earl Einar came back 



206 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

during the same year, and when they met there was a great battle, 

in which Einar had the victory, and Hdlfddn fled away. Einar sang 

this song : 

Why are not the spear-shafts flying, 
From the hands of Hr&lf and Hrollaug, 
Thickly 'gainst the press of warriors ? 
Now, my father ! I avenge thee. 
While we here are closed in battle, 
Sits Earl Thorir all the evening, 
Silent o'er his cheerless drink. 

Next morning they found H^lfddn Hdlegg on Kinar*s HilL The 
Earl made a blood eagle be cut on his back with the sword, and had 
his ribs severed from the back-bone, and his lungs pulled out. Thus 
he gave him to Odinn as an offering for victory, and sang this song : 

Oft it is that bearded men 

Are guilty deemed for taking sheep ; 

But my offence is that I slew 

The young son of the Islands' king. 

Men may say that danger waits me 

From the great king's speedy vengeance ; 

But his wrath shall never daunt me, 

In whose shield I've made a dint. 

Then he had a cairn raised over him, and sang this song : 

Vengeance for my father's death 
I have ta'en for my fourth share. 
In him the people's champion fell ; 
But it was the Noms* decree. 
Heap we now a cairn o'er High-leg, 
Thus the hard skatt we shall pay him 
Which as victors we are due him. 
Let the wise to me now listen. 

When this was heard in Norway his brothers became greatly en- 
raged, and threatened an expedition to the Islands to avenge him but 
Harald delayed their journey. When Earl Einar heard of their threats, 
he sang: 

Men of no ignoble birth 

Are they who, from my native land, 

Seek my life for vengeance* sake ; 

But the truth is, that they know not, 

Till their swords have surely slain me, 

Whom the eagles* claws shaJl rend. 

Some time afterwards King Harald set out for the western seas 
and came to the Islands. Einar fled from the Islands to Caithness. 



APPENDIX. 207 

Then men went between them, and they made peace. King Harald 
imposed a fine upon the Islands, adjudging them to pay sixty marks 
of gold. Earl Einar offered [to the Boendr] to pay the money himself, 
on condition that he should become proprietor of all their freeholds. 
The Bcendr accepted this, because the wealthy men thought they 
might redeem their freeholds, and the poorer men had no money. 
Einar paid the whole sum, and for a long time afterwards the Earls 
held all the odal lands, until Earl Sigurd gave back their odal posses- 
sions to the Orkneymen. King Harald went back to Norway, but 
Earl Einar ruled over the Orkneys a long time, and died on a sick- 
bed. He had three sons : one was named Amkell, the second Erlend, 
and the third Thorfinn Hausakliiif (skull-splitter). 

When Harald Harfagri died, Eirik B16dox (bloody-axe) was King 
for two winters. Then Hakon, Athelstan's foster son, came to the 
land, and Eirik fled. Amkell and Erlend, the sons of Torf Einar, 
fell with Eirik B16ddx in England. Gunnhild and her sons then 
went to the Orkneys, and took possession of them, and stayed there 
for a time. From thence they went to Denmark, but before they 
went avray they married Ragnhild, the daughter of Gunnhild and 
Eirik, to Amfinn, the son of Earl Thorfinn [Hausaklitlf], and Earl 
Thorfinn took up his residence in the Islands : he was a great and 
warlike chief. He died on a sick-bed, and was buried in a mound on 
Hauga Heath,^ in Bognvaldsey, and was considered to have been a 
great man. 

The Mubdeb op Havabd. 

184. Thorfinn had five sons. One was named Hayard Aisseli 
(blessed with good seasons), the second Hlodver, the third Li6t, the 
fourth Skiili, and the fifth Amfinn. Ragnhild, the daughter of Eirik, 
killed her husband Amfinn at Myrkhol (Murkle), in Caithness, and 
then she married Hdvard Arsseli, his brother. He became Earl, and 
was a good chief, and blessed with good seasons. There was a man 
named Einar Kilning (buttered bread), the son of Hdvard's sister. 
He was a great chief, and had many men, and went usually on war 
expeditions during the summer. He accepted an invitation from 
Hdvard, and at that feast he and Ragnhild talked much together. 
She said that it was more suitable that such a man as he should be 

^ Hangaheith, now Hoxa, a peninsnla on the north-west side of South 
Ronaldsay, on which there are still several ancient grave-mounds, and one mound 
larger than the rest, which has been ascertained to cover the ruins of a Pictish 
tower. The grave-mound of £arl Thorfinn has not been identified, but Low 
mentions that in his time there was a tradition that the son of a King of 
Norway had been buried in the How {haug) of Hoxa (ffauj^hheiih). 



208 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. 

chief and Earl tl\ian Hdvard his kinsman, adding that the woman was 
well married who had him for a husband. Einar told her not to 
speak of such things, saying that Hdvard was the noblest man in the 
Islands, and that -she was well matched. Ragnhild replied : ^* Havard 
and I shall not be long together after this. But it is true that men 
will be found in the Islands who will not 8tic]|: at trifles if you grudge 
me the dignity." By her persuasion Einar was moved to covetousness 
and treachery against his kinsman. They agreed that he should kill 
the Earl, and that she should many him. Some time after Einar pre- 
pared to take out his men, but a certain spaeman who was with him 
said : " Do not engage in this business to-day ; wait till to-morrow, or 
else family murders will be frequent in your family.^ Einar pretended 
not to hear this. At this time Havard was at Steinsness,^ in Hrossey. 
There they met, and there was hard fighting, and it was not long till 
the Earl fell. The place is now called Havard*s teigar.* When this 
became known, Einar was considered a great nithing ' for the deed. 
Ragnhild would have nothing to do with him, saying it was a mere lie 
that she had given him any promises. Then she sent for Einar Hard- 
kiopt (hard mouth), who was the son of another sister of Hdvard. 
And when they met, she said it was a great shame to Hdvard's kins- 
men that they did not avenge him, adding that she would do anything 
that the Earl might be avenged. " It is evident,'' she said, '' that he 
who avenges the Earl will be most esteemed by good people, and will 
most deserve his dominions." Einar replied : '' It is said that yoa 
sometimes speak differently from what you think. But he who does 
this deed will expect in return that you will help him to the dominions, 
as well as to other things which he will consider not less important** 
This was the end of their talk. After this Einar Hardkiopt went to 
Einar Elining and killed him. But Ragnhild sent for their brother 
Li6t, and married him. Li6t became Earl, and was a great chieC 
Now Einar Hardkiopt had killed his kinsman, and was not any nearer 
the earldom than before. He was highly dissatisfied, and wished to 
collect men together and subdue the Islands by force. He had great 
difficulty in getting men, for the Orkneymen wished to serve the sons 
of Thorfinn Hausakliiif. Some time afterwards the Earl had Einar 
Hardkiopt slain. 

^ Steinsness, in Hrossey, is the "ness" or promontory at the Loch of 
Stennis on the Mainland of Orkney, now so well known as the site of the 
"standing stones of Stennis." The Norsemen evidently named it Steinsness 
from the stone circles and monoliths which stood on it when they first knew 
it. (See the Introduction, under "Stennis.") 

' There is a place at Stennis called Havard's-teigr by the country people 
to the present day ; teigr meaning an individual's share of the tun-land. 

' Nithing — cowardly miscreant. 



•^W^^W^^^fT- 



APPENDIX. 209 

Battle between Liot and Seitll 

185. Ski!iliy the brother of Li6t, went to Scotland, and had an 
Earl's title given him by the King of Scots. Then he went down to 
Caithness, and collected forces together; from thence he went to 
the Islands, and fought with his brother for the dominion of them. 
Li6t collected a numerous army, and went against Skiili. When 
they met, Skiili would nothing but fight. There was a severely con- 
tested battle. Li6t gained the victory, and Skiili fled over to Ness 
(Caithness). Li6t pursued him, stayed there for a while, and got 
many men together. Then Skiili came down from Scotland with a 
large army, and met Li6t at Dalir (Dale), in Caithness, and a great 
battle ensued. Skiili had a large army given him by the King of 
Scots and Earl Magbi6d.^ In the beginning of the battle the Scots 
fought hotly. Earl Li6t told his men to act on the defensive, and to 
stand firm ; and when the Scots could not make any impression on 
them, Li6t incited his men, and fought very fiercely himself. When 
this had been going on for some time, the array of the Scots was 
broken, and then they fled ; but Skiili continued the battle, and was 
ultimately killed. Li6t took possession of Caithness, and he and the 
Scots were at ¥rar, because they were vexed at their defeat. When 
Earl Li6t was in Caithness, Earl Magbi6d came down from Scotland 
with a large army, and they met at Skida-mire (Skitten), in Caithness. 
Although Earl Li6t*s forces were not equal to those of the Scots, he 
fought so bravely that the Scots gave way, and the battle had not 
continued long when those of the Scots who were left alive fled, and 
many of them were wounded. Li6t returned from the pursuit vic- 
torious, but with many men wounded, and he himself had received 
wounds, of which he died. 

Battle. 

186. Hlodver was Earl after Li6t, and became a great chief. He 
married Audna, the daughter of Kiarval, the King of the Ivar.' Their 
son was Sigurd the stout. Hlodver died on a sick-bed, and was buried 
at Hofii (Huna), in Caithness. His son Sigurd succeeded him, and 
became a great chief, with extensive possessions. He kept Caithness 

^ The name Magbi6d is suggestive of Macbeth, bat the date is too early for 
Macbeth Mac-Finlay. 

• Audna is probably the Irish name EUhne. Kiarval, her father, is the 
Cearbhal or Carrol of the Irish Annals, who was King of Dublin 872-887. He 
is mentioned in the opening chapter of the Landnamab6k as King of Dublin 
when Harald Harfagri ruled in Norway and Sigurd was Earl of the Orkneys. 
The two branches of the Hy Ivar, Kings of Dublin and Limerick, were the 
descendants of Ivar the Boneless, son of Ragnar Lodbrok. (See War of the 
Gaedhil with the GaUl, App. pp. 271, 299.) 

P 



210 ORKNEYINGA SAGA. . 

by main force from the Scots, and went every smnmer on war expedi- 
tions to the Sudreyar (Hebrides), Scotland, and Ireland. One smnmer 
Finnleik, an Earl of the Scots, challenged Sigmrd to meet him at Skida- 
mire on a certain day ; but Sigmxi went to consult his mother, who 
waB a wise woman. The Earl told her that the difference in numbers 
would not be less than seven to one. She replied : '' I should have 
reared thee up long in my wool-bag if I had known that thou wouldst 
wish to live for ever. It is fate that rules life, and not the place 
where a man may go. It is better to die with honour than live with 
shame. Take thou here this banner which I' have made with all my 
skill, and I ween that it will bring victory to him before whom it is 
borne, but death to its bearer." The banner was wrought with cun- 
ningly executed handiwork and elaborate art. It was made in the 
shape of a raven, and when floating in the wind it resembled the 
raven flying. Earl Sigurd was very wroth at his mother's words. He 
restored their odal rights to the Orkneymen to induce them to assist 
him, and went to meet Earl Fionleik at Skida-mire, where they both 
placed their men in battle array. When the forces met. Earl Sigurd's 
standard-bearer was killed by an arrow. The Earl ordered another to 
bear the banner, and when they had fought for a while he also fell. 
Three standard-bearers were killed, but the Earl gained the victory, 
and the Orkneymen regained their freeholds. 

Meeting between Olaf (Tryggvi's Son) and the Eabl. 

187. Olaf, Tryggvi's son, sailed west to the Orkneys, as has been 
mentioned before. But as the Pentland Firth was not to be passed 
at the time, he moored his ships in Asmundarvag (Osmondwall) oppo- 
site Rognvaldsey. Earl Sigurd, Hlodver*s son, was there before him 
with three ships, for he was going on a war expedition. When King 
Olaf became aware that the Earl was there, he called him into his 
presence. But when the Earl came to the King's ship, the King 
spoke as follows : — 

" You know. Earl Sigurd, that Harald Harfegri came here to the 
west with an army when he had obtained possession of all Norway. 
King Harald conquered the Orkneys and Bjaltland, and many other 
lands here in the west. The King gave the Islands to Rognvald the 
Powerful as a compensation for his son, but Rognvald gave them to 
his brother Sigurd, and he became the Earl of King Harald^ King 
Harald went a second time against Earl Einar with a large army ; but 
well-disposed men mediated between them, and they agreed to the 
following terms : — The King claimed all the Orkneys and Hjaltland 
as his own ; and the result of their negotiations was that the Earl paid 



APPENDIX. 211 

the King sixty marks of gold for the murder of his son, Halfdan Hal^gg, 
and Earl Einar then held the lands from King Harald. Shortly after- 
wards, King Eirik, Harald's son, came from Norway. Then a]30 the 
Earls, the sons of Torfeinar, were his vassals. This appears from the 
fact that they gave him many men for his war expeditions. When 
King Eirik came to the Islands a second time, he took away with him 
the two Earls, Amkell and Erlend, and appointed their brother Thorfinn 
to rule over the land. They were both killed in England with King 
Eirik. Then the sons of Eirlk came from England and ruled over the 
Islands, and when they departed they appointed Amfinn, their brother- 
in-law, ruler of the Islands. Havard first succeeded his brother (Am- 
finn), then Li6t, and lastly your father, Hlodver. Now you, Sigurd, 
are Earl over these lands which I claim as my possessions, with aU 
other lands possessed by Harald Harfagri and his kinsmen, and 
descending from them to me by inheritance from generation to gene- 
ration. You know that most of the sons of Euik and Gunnhild have 
now been killed. And although their sister Ragnhild is still alive, 
it seems to me that she has been guilty of such wickedness in the 
Orkneys that she ought not to have dignity or power anywhere; 
indeed, my view is that she has completely forfeited both property 
and life if it be true that she has done all the shameful deeds that are 
reported of her, and generally believed. Now, since it has so hap- 
pened, Earl Sigurd, that you have come into my power, you have to 
choose between two very unequal alternatives. One is, that you 
embrace the true faith; become my man, and be baptized with all your 
subjects. In that case you may have certain hope of honour from me. 
You shall hold in full liberty as my subject, and with the dignity of 
an Earl, all the dominions which you have had before. And besides, 
you will gain what is much more importanl^namely, to reign in 
eternal joy in the kingdom of Heaven with the Almighty Qod. Of 
this you may be sure if you keep his commandments. The other alter- 
native is a very hard one, and quite unlike the former — ^viz. that you 
shall be slain on the spot, and after your death I will send fire and 
sword throughout the Orkneys, burning homesteads and men, unless 
this people is willing to accept immunity by believing in the true Grod. 
And if you and your subjects choose the latter alternative, you and 
they, who put your trust in idols, shall speedily die, and shall thereafter 
be tormented in hell-fire, with wicked devils, without end." 

When Earl Sigurd had listened to King Olaf 's long and eloquent 
harangue, he hardened his mind against him, and said : " I will tell 
you, King Olaf, that I have absolutely resolved that I will not, and I 
dare not, renounce the faith which my kinsmen and forefathers had 
before me, because I do not know better counsels than they, and I do 



•^ 



212 ORKNEYINOA SAGA. 

not know that the Mth which you preach is better than that which 
we have had and have held all our lives." 

When the King saw that the Earl persisted obstinately in his 
error, he caught hold of his young son, ^o was with him, and who 
had been brought up in the Islands. The King carried this son of 
the Earl to the forepart of the ship. There he drew his sword, and 
made ready to hew the boy down, saying at the same time : '' Now I 
will show you, Earl Sigurd, that I shall spare no man who will not 
serve Almighty God, or listen to my preaching of the blessed message. 
Therefore I shall kill your son before your eyes this instant, with the 
sword now in my hand, unless you and your men will serve my God. 
For I shall not leave these Islands until I have completely fulfilled his 
blessed commission, and you have been baptized along with this son 
of yours whom I now hold." 

And because the Earl was situated as he was, he chose the better 
alternative of doing as the King desired, and so he embraced the true 
faith. Then the Earl was lMq)tized, and so were all the people of the 
Orkneys. Then Earl Sigurd became the Earl of King Olaf according 
to this world's dignity, and held from him lands and dominions, and 
gave him as a hostage his son who has already been mentioned. His 
name was Hvelp or Hundi (whelp or hound). King Olaf had him 
baptized by the name of Hlodver, and took him with him to Norway. 
Earl Sigurd confirmed all their agreement with oaths. After this 
King Olaf sailed from the Orkneys, leaving priests to instruct the 
people in the holy faith. King Olaf and Eax 1 Sigurd parted fri^ds. 
Hlodver lived but a short time, and after his death Earl Sigurd paid 
no homage to King Olaf. Then he married the daughter of Mdk61f, 
the King of Scots, and their son was Thorfinn. 



i 



^mumi^i^m^ 



•mm 



^WB 



INDEX. 



Abebbbothock, liy. 
Aberdeen (Apardion), 155. 
Acre (Akursborg), 147. 
Adalbert^ Arclibisliopy IxziL 

„ Bishop, IxxlL 
Adalbrekty Priest, 70. 
Adam, Bishop of Caithness, xliy, 

Ixxxi, IxxxiiL 
Adam of Bremen, IxxiL 
Adamnan, x, xilL 
Adriatic, 150. 
Aedan, King, xL 
.^B^ean Sea, 149. 
.^^isness, 149. 
Mg^y 149. 
Afreka, xlii, 188. 
Agdir, in Norway, 57, 58, 75, 82, 

97, 140. 
Akursborg (Acre), 147. 
Alabprg (Aalborg in Jutland), 43. 
Alan, Biidiop of Caithness, Ixxxiv, 

Ixxxvi. 
Alasund (Yell Sound, Shetland), 86. 
Albania, 150. 
Aldeiguborg (Ladoga), 24. 
Alexander L, King of Scots, 108. 
n., „ 201. 

Bishop of Caithness, 
Ixxxvii 
Alvidra, 78. 
Amundi, 5, 6. 

„ son of Enefi, 176. 
Anakol, 154, 156, 160, 162. 
Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, Ixxxv. 
Andreas, Swein's son, 155, 191. 
Anglesea Sound, 54, 58. 
Angus, Earls of, xlvi 
Anselm, Archbishop, Ixxiii 
Apardion (Aberdeen), 155. 



» 



n 



Archibald, Bishop of Caithness, 

Ixxxiii. 
Apulia (PuU, Puglia), 150. 
Ard, Alexander de, lix. 
„ Matilda de, IviL 
„ Wayland de, IviL 
An Prodi, xiii, xx. 
Aigyle, XL 
Armagh, xxL 

Armod, Skald, 130, 131, 134, 146. 
Amfinn, 211. 
Ami, Ba&i's son, 157. 

„ Spitulegg, 133, 134. 
ArnkeU, Einar^s son. Earl, xxv, 2, 
207,211. 
„ of Scapa, 92. 
Amor Jarlaskald, 17, 19, 20, 22, 

28,30, 33-35,44, 107. 
Arran, xlviii. 

Asbiorn, son of Qrim of Swiney, 
74, 91, 92. 
„ Skerablesi, xxii 
Asgrim's sergin, 187. 
Ask, 84, 85. 

Askary, in Caithness, 187. 
Aslak, Erlend's son, 98, 105, 128, 
134, 139, 144. 
Kolbein Hroga's son, 126. 



n 



Asleif, 91. 

Asmund the White, xxix. 

Asmundarvag (Osmondwall), xxvii, 

3, 8, 210. 
Asolf, 183, 184. 
Assary ; see Askary. 
Assynt, Sutherlandshire, 167. 
Athole (Atjoklar), 86, 105, 107, 

113,115. 
Atjoklisbakki, 107. 
Aud the Wealthy, xxii, 203. 



214 



INDEX. 



Audfinn, Bishop of Beigen, li, liii, 

IxxviL 
Audna, Ejarval's daughter, xxvi, 

xxix, 209. 
Audun Bandi, 144, 146. 
Aulver Dlteit, xlvi 
Aunidafioid (Bay of Frith, Orkney), 

92, 95. 
Austragdir, 76. 

Baefiobd, xxxi, 21. 

Baldwin, Abbot, 1 24. 

BaUiol, Edward, Ivii. 

Bardsvik, 166, 175. 

Barthhead, 175. 

Beaufort Castle, 31. 

Beanly Firth, 21. 

Beaumont, Henry de, Ivii. 

Bellaland, 192. 

Benedict, 159, 160. 

Beorhtric, King, xxi. 

Berg, Borgar, 47, 74, 110. 

Beigen (Biorgvin), 57, 76, 77, 85, 

98, 127, 131. 
Beigliot, 47. 

Beravik (Berriedale in Caithness), 
XXX, 18, 165. 

„ (Berwick-on-Tweed), 161, 
162. 
Bharruick, Caistal a, 18. 
Biadmonia, 57, 58. 
Biigisheiad (Birsay), 43, 44, 68, 

178. 
Birsay, Brough of, church at, xcviii 
Bishops of Caithness, list of, Ixxix. 

„ of Orkney, „ bod. 

Bjami, €himkell*s son, 131. 

„ Skald, Bishop of Orkney, 
xxxix, IxxY, Ixxx, 126, 
188, 191, 193, 199. 
Bjom Bryi\julfson, cxL 
Blan, Thorstein's son, 74, 92. 
BUngery, in Caithness, 187. 
Blyhobnar, 162. 
Bolgaraland, 150. 
Borgar, 47, 74, 110. 
Boigarfiord, 60, 115. 
Botolf Begla, 167, 168. 
Boyamuud de Vitia, Ixxxiv. 



Bracadale, Loch, 27. 

Breidafiord (Moray Firth), 20, 21, 

107, 125, 161. 
Brekasettr, 60. 
BrekkuT, 74, 105. 
Bressay (Brusey), xv. 

„ sculptured stone at, xv, 
xvi, xvii. 

„ Sound, xlvii 
Bretland (Wales), 7, 54, 66, 117. 
Brian Borumha, King, xxviii, 4,57. 
Brian's battle (Clontarf ), xxviii, 4^ 
Britons, 30, 113. 
Brogar, standing stones of, cvi. 
Bruce, Isabel, IL 

„ Robert, li, lii, liv. 
Bruide Mac Bile, King, xL 

„ Mac Meilcon, x. 
Brusi, Thorfinn*s son. Earl, xxix, 3, 

4, 7, 10, 12, 15, 16, 23, 26, 34. 
Brynjolf, Paul's son, 46. 

„ Sigurd's son, 46, 73, 110. 
„ Ulfaldi, 46. 
Brynjulf, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 99. 
BuchoUy Castle, 122. 
Burghead, 115. 
Burial customs of the Northmen, 

cxvii. 
Burra Firth (Borgar Fiord) in Shet- 
land, 60. 
Burrian, in N. Bonaldsay, xiv, xv. 
Burswick, 166. 
Bute (Bot), xlviii. 

CiBSAB, 113. 

Caithness (Nes, Eatanes), 2, 4, 8, 
16, 18, 21, 23, 28, 29, 31-33, 
35, 37, 70, 72, 73, 86, 87, 91, 
116, 121, 122, 134, 152, 154, 
155, 158, 160, 161, 164, 166, 
169, 176, 180, 182, 193, 195, 
196-200, 204, 206, 207, 209. 

Calder (Ealfadal) in Caithness, 182, 
187. 
„ Bum of, 187. 
„ Loch of, 187. 

Canisbay (Conansbee), 3. 

Canterbury, Ixxii, IxxiiL 

Canute (Knut) the Great, King, 16. 






^mr 



^^n 



^P^ 



^^^^Sfl^m 



INDEX. 



215 



Careston, 157. 
Carisness, Carness, 157. 
Cecilia, Erlend*s daughter, 47. 
Chester, Hugh, Earl of, 54. 
Cholmogori (Holmgard, Novgorod), 

24. 
Christ's Kirk in Birsay, xxxiii, 

Ixxi, xciii, xcv, 43, 44, 67, 112. 
Churches, ancient, of Orkney, 
Izxzvii. 
„ round, of Britain, xciii. 
„ towered, of Shetland, cL 
Cleveland (Klifland), 47. 
dontarf, battle of, zxvii, xxviii, 

xciii, 4. 
Cobbie Row (Kolbein Hruga), Ixxv, 

126. 
Conchobhar (Konufogr),King,xxx, 7. 
Connaught (Eunnaktir), 57, 58. 
Constantinople (Mikligard), 24, 1 27, 

148, 149, 150, 163. 
Cormac, x, xiii 
ComwaU, xv. 
Cragy, James of, Ixiii 
Crete (Ejit), 146, 147. 
Cufic coins, 127. 
Culbinsbrugh, Shetland, xv. 
Culen InduflOson, King, 17. 
Cullen, in Banffshire, Iv. 
Cumbria, 192. 
Cyder Hall (Siwardhoch), Suther- 

landshire, 107. 

Dag, Elif 's son, 54. 

Dagfinn, Hlodver's son, 74, 97, 100. 

Dal, in Caithness, 69. 

Dalir, in Caithness, 209. 
„ (Argyle), 176, 181. 

Dalriad Scots, xL 

Dalverja family, 181. 

Daminsey, Damisey (Damsay), Ork- 
ney, 92, 96, 169, 171. 

Dardanelles, 149. 

David I., King of Scots, lxxx,'70, 
80, 108, 124, 125, 153. 
„ IL, Ix. 

„ son of Harald Maddadson, 
Earl, xUv, 192, 199. 

David, Bishop of Caithness, Ixxxvi. 



Deer, Book of, Ixxx. 
Deemess (Dymes), Orkney, 5, 9, 
19, 88, 156. 
„ Brough of, and chapel at, 

xeix. 
„ Parish Church of, c. 
Denmark, 29, 40, 42, 85, 98, 150. 
Dicuil, xi. 

Dolgfinn, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxvi. 
Doll*s Cave, 77. 
Donald Bane, xxxiii, 56. 
Dornoch, Ixxix, Ixxxii, IxYyiii. 
Dornoch Firth, 21, 107. 
Dorrery, in Caithness, 187. 
Doune Castle, Ixxi 
Dromund, 142-146. 
Drontheim (Nidaros), 25, 57. 
Drummond, John de, Ixvii. 
Dublin (Dyflin), xxi, xxiii, xxvii, 

44, 189, 190, 199. 
Dufeyrar (Duffus, Morayshire), 114, 

123. 
Dufgall (Dugald) of the Isles, 181. 
Dufiiiall, 73. 

„ Havaid's son, 120, 122. 
Duncan (Dungal), Earl of Dim- 
cansbsB, xxiii, 2. 
Earl of Fife, xlii. 
Crinan*s son. King .of 

Scots, 17. 
son of Malcolm Canmore, 
King of Scots, xxxiii, 
46. 
Duncansbay (Dungalsbse), xxiii, 
xxvi, 2, 18, 73, 91, 92, 116, 
121, 122. 
Dunfermline, Ixxx. 
Dungad, Dungal ; see Duncan. 
Dunkeld, Ixxx. 
Dunnet Head, 33. 
Dunrossness, xiv. 
Durazzo, 150. 
Durness (Dymess), Sutherlandshire, 

xlviii, IxTxin. 
Dyflin ; see Dublin. 
Dynrost, 164. 
Dymess (Deemess), in Orkney, 5, 

9, 19, 88, 156. 
Dyrachium (Dyrakaboi^), 150. 






216 



INDEX. 



Eadburh, xxi. 

EbisBa, X. 

Edgar, King of Scots, xxxiv, 56. 

Edinburgh (Eidinaborg), xli, 163. 

Edward L, King of England, Ixxziv. 

EfjuBund (Evie Soond), Orkney, 

106. 
Egill Skalagrimson, cxi. 
i^ilaey, 61, 63, 109, 113. 

„ churcli of, xci, xdii, 63. 
Eilif, Archbisliop of Nidaroe (Dron- 

theim), Ixxvii 
Einai of Qulberwick, 130. 

„ Hardkiopt, 208. 

„ Klining, xxv, 207. 

„ Kognvald's eon, Earl ; ue 
Torf Einar. 

„ Skeif, 162, 163. 

„ Thorfinn's son (Rangmath), 
Earl, xxix, 3, 4, 7, 9, 30, 
31. 

„ Thambarskelfir, 24. 

„ Yorsakrak, 46. 
Eindridi Ungi, xxxvi, 126, 127, 

133, 134, 137, 142, 157. 
Eirik Blodoxe, King, xxy, 2, 11, 
207, 211. 

„ Eymuni, King, 49, 85. 

„ the Icelander, 116. 

„ SlagbreUir, xxxviii, 70, 73, 
164, 167, 179, 193. 

„ Spaki, King, 49. 

„ Streota, 70. 
Ekkial (Oikel river), 21, 22, 107. 
Ekkialsbakki, xxiii, Ixxix, cxii, 

cxvii, 21, 107, 115,204. 
Elgin, chanoniy church of, Ixxxvi 
Eller Holm (Hellisey), 103, 173, 

174. 
Elon, Isle, 103. 
Ellisif, Queen, 47. 
Elwick Bay, xlvii 
England, 28, 47, 56, 75, 98, 134, 

135, 189. 
EnguU (Angus of the Isles), 181. 
EnhaUow (Eyin Helga), Orkney, 

XX, 177. 
Erlend, Einar's son. Earl, xxv, 2, 

207, 211. 



Erlend, Harald's son (Ungi), Earl, 
xxxvii, cxi, 106, 151, 
154, 156, 158-160, 164, 
166-168, 170, 171. 
„ Thorfinn's son. Earl, Trriii, 
30, 43, 47, 52, 54. 
Erling Erkidiakn, 47. 

„ Erlend's son, 47, 48, 54, 58. 
„ Kyrpinga Orm's son, 80, 1 27 . 
„ SkakM, 134, 139, 144, 
145, 149-151, 163, 193. 
„ Yidkunnson, Iv. 
Emgid Suneson, Earl of Orkney, 

Iviii, Ixii. 
Evie Sound (EQusund), Orkney, 

106. 
Eyarskeggjar, xxxix, 199. 
Eyin Helga ; see Enhallow. 
Eyrar Thing, 25. 
Eystein Glumia, 1. 

„ Harald Gilli's son, 126, 

151-153, 157, 168. 
„ Magnus* son, King, xxxvii, 

Ixxiii, 58, 59, 66. 
„ Orri, 47, 4a 
Eysteinsdal, xliv, 198. 
Eyvind, Maelbrigdi's son, 88, 92, 
93, 94, 95. 
„ Olnbogi, 54. 

Urarhom, 7, 14, 26. 



» 



Fair Isle (Fridarey), xxxv, 74, 91, 

97, 99-101, 164. 
Faroe Isles, xii, cxiiL 
Ferquhard, Bishop of Caithnees, 

Ixxxvi. 
Feme, Abbey of^ Ixxxvi 
Fiia, 128, 129. 
Fife (Fifi), 22. 
Finn Arnason, 30. 
Finnleik, Earl, xxv, 210. 
Frith (Fiord), in Orkney, 92, 159. 
Flettuness (Glettuness), in Orkney, 

74, 131. 
Floruvagar, in Norway, 85, 199. 
Fluguness, in Orkney, 74, 92. 
Flydruness, in Orkney, 74, 92. 
Foula, cxiii. 
Fiakork, Maddan's daughter, xxxv, 



T»" 



"•' — f 



IKDEX. 



217 



69-72, 86-88, 106, 110, 114- 

116, 166. 
Freswick (Thraswick), in Caithness, 

164, 160. 
Frida, Eolbein Hrnga's daughter, 

126, 191. 
Fridarey ; tee Fair Isle. 
Frisic sea, z. 

Fugl, liotolfs son, 164, 166, 166. 
Fyrileif, in Norway, 84, 86. 

Gaddosdlab, 28. 

Gairsay (Gareksey), 73, 119, 134, 

168, 169, 172, 179, 188, 189, 

191. 
Galicialand, 136, 140. 
Gallgael, 28. 
Gallipoli, 149. 
Galloway, 28. 
Gardariki (Russia), 24. 
Gareksey ; see Gaiisey. 
Gkitnip, near Scapa, Orkney, 74, 

110. 
Gauti of Skeggbjamarstadir, 166. 
Gautland, 68. 
Gefidsness, in Orkney, 74. 
(Mrbiom, 136. 
Geitaberg, 74, 100. 
Gerard, Archbishop of York, IxxiiL 
Gibraltar, Straits of (Njorfasund), 

141. 
Gigha (Gndey), island of, zlviiL 
Gilbert, Bishop of Hamar, xlviii. 

„ Bishop of Caithness, IzxxLi. 
Gilbride, Earl of Angus, xlvi 

„ Earl of Orkney, xlviL 
Gillaodian, 180, 181. 
Gilli, Earl, xzviii 
GiUichrist, 76, 76. 
Glaitness (Glettuness), 74, 131. 
Glumdrapa, 2. 
Goi, 98. 

Gorm the Old, King, cv. 
Gormlath (Hyarflod), xxzviii, xlii, 

192. 
Graemsay (Grimsey), 107, 169. 
Gregorius Dagson, 161. 
Grelaug, xxiv, xxv, 2. . 
Grim Kamban, xiL 



Grim of Swiney, 91, 92. 

„ Ormson, IxxviL 
Grimkell of Glettuness,' 74, 131. 
Grimsby (Grimsbaa), 76, 76. 
Grimsey ; ue Graemsay. 
Groa, xxiv, 2. 
Groeningiasund, 78. 
Gudifrey, 138, 142. 
Gudrod, King of Man and the Isles, 

64. 
Gudrun, Fiakork's daughter, 69, 

114. 
Gulberwick in Shetland (Gulberu- 

vik), xxxvi, 127. 
Gullbeinir, 199. 

GunhUd, Friend's daughter, 67, 68, 
83. 
„ wife of Eirik Blodoxe, 
207, 211. 
Gunnar Lambi's son, xzviii. 
Gunni,01afs8on,73,91, 163, 164. 
Guthrod, son of Harald Harfogri, 

xxiv, 206. 
Guttorm, Sigurd's son, Earl, xxiv, 
1, 204. 
„ Mol, 1 28. 
„ Sperra, lix, Ixv, IxvL 
Gyrid, Dag's daughter, 46. 

HiBRETHA-LAND, XXJ. 

Haey ; see Hoy. 

Hafiidi, Thorkel's son, 106, 120, 
122. 

„ Steinson, priest, liv. 
Ha&arvag, 169. 
Hafursfiord, xxi 
Hdkirkia (Halkirk in Caithness), 

xliv, Ixxix, 200. 
Hakon Athelstan's foster-son, 207. 

„ Bam, 126. 

„ Brynjulfson, 46. 

„ Gallin, 200. 

„ Hakonson, King, xlvii, xc. 

„ Harald's son, 188, 189. 

„ Herdabreid, 161. 

„ Ivar's son, 46, 48, 60. 

„ Karl, 69,73, 96,111, 170, 
177. 

„ Klo, 47, 70, 73, 110. 



218 



INDEX. 



99 
99 



Hakon Magnnsson, King, xl, IL 
the Norw^an, 49. 
Panl's Bon, ■ Earl, xxxiii, 
xxxVy IxTi'ii, xcY, 46, 48, 
50-54, 58^60. 
„ Pik, 46, 73. 
Haldor Brynjulfson, 46. 
Halfdan Halegg, xxiv, 1, 205, 206, 

211. 
Halibarton, Janet, IxiiL 

„ Walter, IxiiL 

Halkel Huk, 84. 

Halkirk,inCaitline88,xliv,lxxix,2 00. 
HaU of Sida, 47. 

„ Thorarinn's son, 119. 
Hallad, Earl, xxiv, 203, 204. 
Halland, 85, 124. 
HaUvard, 9, 79, 80, 81. 
„ Dufa's eon, 182. 
Halogaland, 55. 
Halsaiy, in Caithness, 187. 
Hanef Ungi, xlv. 
Harald of Boigarfioid, 60. 

„ GiUichrist, King, 75, 83-85, 
98, 126. 
Godwinson, King, xxxiii, 

47, 48. 
Harfagri, xiii, xxi, 1, 2, 11, 
53, 112, 203, 205, 207, 
210, 211. 
son of Earl John, xlv. 
MaddadsoD, Earl, xxxy-lxvi, 
lxxx,cxi, 108, 134,151, 
153,154,157-159,163- 
165,168,170-179,182- 
199. 
„ Sigordson (Hardradi), King, 
xxxii, 23, 40, 43, 44, 47, 
48, 153. 
Slettmali, Earl, xxxv, 49, 

63, 69, 71, 72. 
Ungi, Earl, idii, 188, 193- 
195, 198. 
Hardieannte, xxxi, 29. 
Hanga Thing, 83. 
Hanga Heath in Rognvaldsey, 207. 
Havard, 77-79. 

Earl, XXV, cvi, cviii, 2, 207, 
208,211. 



» 



» 



>» 



99 



» 



» 



M 



Havard Gonnarson, 47, 49, 62, 

73, 120, 131. 
Havardsteigar, 208. 
Hebrides (Sudreyar), 26, 27, 29, 

31, 32, 35, 37, 44, 53, 56, 64, 

75, 86, 95, 97, 105, 115, 120, 

121, 153, 166, 177, 179, 189, 

190, 195, 196. 
Hebnsta, Holm oi, Shetland, 60. 
Hedin, cxiiL 
Heinrek, Emperor, 43. 
Helga, Harek's daughter, 69, 71, 

72. 
Helgi of Westrey, 74, 192. 
Helene Holm, Orkney, 103. 
Hellisey, 173. 

Hebnsdale (Hialmundal), 115. 
Henry, Bishop of Orkney, xlviii, 
IxxvL 

„ n., Bishc^ ^of Orkney, 
IxxxviiL 

„ of Nottingan in Caithnees, 
Ixxxiv. 
Herbiorg, F&nl's daughter, 46, 73, 
126. 
„ Sigrid's daughter, 46, 
126. 
Herdis, Thorvald's daughter, Ixvi. 
Hemnr, 98. 
Hilnge, cxiv. 
Hildina, cxiv. 
Hjalp, 128, 129. 
Hjalmondal ; see Hdmsdale. 
Hjaltland ; see Shetland. 
Hjaltlanders, 99, 100, 130. 
Hlifolf, 65. 

„ Alii, 196. 
Hlodver, Thorfinn's son. Earl, xxvi, 

2, 3, 209, 211. 
Hofo, in Westray (Pierowall), 102. 

„ in Caithness (Huna), xxvi, 
209. 
Hofimess, 156. 
Hogboy (Haogbni), cL 
Hogni, cxiiL 
Holdbodi, Hundi's son, 64, 95, 96, 

116, 118,120,121. 
Holdemess (HallarBess), 47. 
Holm of Houston, 159. 



INDEX. 



219 



Holmgard (Novgorod), 24, 25. 
Hordaland (Hroretha-land), xxi, 48, 

80, 161. 
Hoskuld, 183, 184. 
Hoy (Haey), cxiii, 3, 74, 91, 106, 

107. 
Hoxa, How of, in S. Bonaldsay, 207. 
Hrafh the Red, zxix. 
Hrafiiseyri (Ravensere), 48. 
Hreppisnees (Rapness) in Westray, 

177. 
Hroald, 122. 
Hrodbjart, 116. 
Hrolf, priest, 113. 

„ Nefia, 203. 

„ Rognyald's son (Gongohrolf), 
203, 205, 206. 
Hrolffley (Rousay), 73, 88, 106, 

106, 107, 171, 177. 
Hrollaug, 203, 205, 206. 
Hrossey (the Mainland), Orkney, 

xxviil,:5, 36, 49, 60, 67, 74, 89, 

102, 104, 106, 106, 107, 169, 

164, 175, 178. 
Hugh the Bold, Earl of Montgo- 
mery, xxziy, 64. 

„ the Stout, Earl of Chester, 
xxziy, 64. 

„ Earl of Boss, Ivi 
Huipness, 166. 
Hundi, Earl, xxvL 

„ Sigurd's son, 3, 212. 
Hvarflod (Gormlath), xxxviii, xlii, 

192. 
Hvera (the Wear), 134. 

Ibn Fozlan's nanatiye, cxyiiL 

Iceland, xiL 

Icelander, 117. 

n ; see Isla. 

Imbolum, 148, 149. 

Inganess, Orkney, xlvii 

Ingelram, Archbishop of Dunkeld, 

Ixxxyi 
Ingi, Bard*s son. King, 199. 

Harold, Qilli's son, King, 126, 
127, 161. 

Steinkel'sson, King,49, 60,52. 
Ingibiorg, Benedikfs daughter, 46. 



» 



» 



» 

99 



Ingibioig, EarPs mother, xxxi, 
xxxiii, 30, 43, 45, 48. 
Erling's daughter, li, liii. 
Eirik's daughter, cy. 
Hakon*s daughter, 195. 
Maddan*s daughter, 69. 
„ Ragna, 46, 70, 73. 
Ingigerd, Queen, 25. 

„ Harald's daughter, 47. 
„ Olafs daughter, 73, 156. 
„ Rognyald*8 daughter, cv, 
188. 
Ingilbert Lyning, Ixxyii. 
Ingimar, Swein's son, 83, 84. 
Ingirid, Kol's daughter, 68, 83. 
„ Olaf's daughter, 114, 121. 
„ Paul's daughter, 46. 
„ Thorkel's daughter, 156. 
Ingulf, xii. 
Inispatrick, xxi. 
Inyemaim, xli. 
lona, xiii^ xxi. 
Ireland O^rlaiicl), 4, 7, 21, 27, 29, 

44,53,107,189,195,210. 
Islendingabok, xiiL 
Istambo^ 148. 
IvarQalli, 193. 
„ son of Rognyald, Earl of Moeri, 



lyist (Uist), xxxiy. 

Jala (Tell), in Shetland, 86. 
James L, King of Scotland, Ixi 

f> "•> »> >, 1x1. 

„ ill., „ „ Ixx. 

Jamtaland, 23, 25. 
Jarizleif, King, 24, 25. 
Jatyor, 47, 74, 110. 
Jellinge in Denmark, cy. 
Jerusalem (Jorsalaheim), 59, 68, 

71, 128, 130, 134, 147, 164. 
Jofreyr, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxy. 
John, Bishop of Athole, 113. 
„ „ of Caithness, xliii, 

Ixxx, 196, 197, 
200. 
„ „ of Orkney, IxxyiiL 

„ Earl of Orkney, xlix, Iv. 
„ of Courcy, xlii. 



220 



INDEX. 



John ComnenuB, Emperor^ 150. 
„ Hallkell's son, 199. 
,, son of Harald Maddadson, 

Earl, xliv, 199. 
„ Earl of Sutherland, IxxxiiL 
„ Petrsson (F6t), 76-83, 98, 
105, 128, 131, 139, 144, 
149. 
„ Voeng, 74, 105, 170, 174, 
176, 177. 
Jorfiara ; see Orfiara. 
Jordan, 68, 147, 148. 
JoTsala-farers, xzxvi, dii, cy. 
Jorsalaheim ; see Jerusalem. 
Jorsalaland (Palestine), 147, 148. 
Jutland, 40. 

Kalf Abnason, 24, 30, 32, 33, 34, 
42. 
„ Skurfa, 204, 205. 
Ealfadal in Caithness (Calder), 182, 

183. 
Kalfadalsd (Calder Water), 187. 
Kali, KoFs son (Earl Ro^vald XL), 
XXXV, 58, 75-79, 83. 

„ Hundason ; see EarL 

„ SnsBbiom's son, 54, 55, 57. 
Kari, xxviiL 

Karl Hundason, xzz, 17, 18. 
Karston, 157. 
Katanes ; see Caithness. 
Katharina, Countess of Caithness,ly. 
Ketil Flatnef, xxii 
Kiarval, King of Dublin, xxvi, 209. 
Kintradwell, Sutherlandshire, 197. 
Kintyre (Satiri), xxxiv, cxii, 21,56, 

195. 
KirkiboU, Sutherlandshire, 18. 
Kirkiuvag ; see KirkwalL 
Kirk o' Taing, Caithness, 33. 
Kirkwall (Kirkiuvag), Ixxxvii, 

Ixxxix, 37, 39, 41, 99, 110, 
• 155, 157, 158, 163, 170, 171, 

179. 
Kjarekstadir, 157, 160. 
Kjolen Moiintains, 23, 25. 
Klifland, 47. 
Kol of Halland, 128. 
„ Isak's son, 47. 



Kol, Kali's son, xxxv, Ixxzviii, 57, 
58, 75, 79, 80, 83, 85, 86, 90, 
98, 100, 111. 
Kolbein Hruga, Ixxv, xcvii, cxxiii, 
46, 126, 177. 
„ Kar^ 126. 
Konufogr (Conchobhar), King, 7. 
Kormak, Archdeacon of Sodteyar, 

IxxvL 
Knut (Canute) the Great, King, 16. 

„ the Wealthy, 161. 
Kristin, Sigurd^s daughter, 151. 
Kugi of Westrey, 73, 91, 96, 101, 

102-104. 
Kunnaktir (Connaught), 57, 58. 
Kyle Scow, Sutherlandshire, 182. 
„ of Sutherland (Ekkialsbakki), 
xxiii, Ixxix, cxii, 21, 107, 
115. 
„ of Tongue, 18. 
Kyrpinga Orm, 80. 

Ladoga (Aldeigiuborg^, 24. 

Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, Ixxii. 

Largs, battle of, xlviii. 

Lame, Lough (Ulfreksfiord), 7. 

Lambaboig, 122, 125, 155, 159, 
160. 

LaufEtndaness, 5. 

Laurentius, priest, xlii. 

„ Bishop of Hole, IxzviL 

Leif , xiL 

Lewis (Liodhus), xxxiv, 54, 118, 
154, 155, 177. 

Lifolf Skalli, 193, 194. 

Liodhus ; see Lewis. 

Liot, Earl, xxv, 209, 211. 
„ Niding, 69, 70. 

Liotolf, 106, 154, 159. 

Lingrow, 74. 

Linlithgow, palace of, Ixxi 

Lisbon, 140. 

Lochloy, xli. 

Lodbrok, cvL 

Logierait, xxxvi 

Logman Qudrodson, 54. 

Lodver ; see Hlodver. 

Lomberd, xliii. 



INDEX. 



221 



Lopness, in Sanday, 5. 
Lundy island, 117, 118. 
Lybster, in Caithness, 91. ' 

„ in Reay, Caithness, chnrch 
of, xcviL 
Lnbeck, liL 

Macbeth, xxv, 43, 209. 
Macgarvey, battle of, xxxix. 
Maddad, Earl of Athole, zxxvi, cxi, 

86, 106,108,113,115,163. 
Maddan, 69. 

„ Eindiidi, 69. 
Maeshow, ci, cv, 169. 
Maeyar (Isle of May), 123. 
Magbiod, xxy, 209. 
Magnus Barelegs, King, xzziii, 62- 
56, 58, 66, 75. 
„ Erlend's son. Earl (St 
Magnus), xxiv, 47, 48, 
52, 24, 56, 68,-59-66, 
71,83,96,99,106. 
„ Erlingson, King, xxxix, 
151, 193, 199. 
Eyvind's son, 95. 
Qilbride's son. Earl, xlvi, 
xlvii, xlix. 
„ Harald's son. King, 48. 
„ Havaid's son, 47, 73, 91, 

131, 134, 185. 
„ John's son, Earl, liv. 
„ Magnusson, Earl, xlix. 
„ Mangi, 188, 193. 
„ Olafs son, King (the Good), 
xxxi, 24-26, 30-32, 34- 
36, 39-41, 43, 48. 
„ Orfi, 72. 
„ Onn, 69. 

„ Sigurd's son, £[ing (the 
Blind, 83, 84. 
Mainland (Meginland) of Orkney 
(HrosseyX xxviii, 6, 36, 49, 60, 
67, 74, 89,102, 104, 106, 106, 
107, 169, 164,176, 178. 
Malbrigd, xxiii, 107, 203, 204. 
Malcolm, Bishop of Caithness, 
Ixxxyi. 
Scottish Earl, xxviL 
IL (Melkolf), King of 



» 



» 



» 



n 



» 



i> 



Scots, xxix, xxxiii, 3, 
16, 44, 212. 
Malcolm Canmore (Langhak), 46, 
55, 71, 86. 
the Maiden, 108, 153, 
164, 155, 180, 181, 
192. 
M'Heth, Earl of Moray, 
xxxyiii,xlii, 181, 192. 
Malise, Earl of Stratheme, Iv. 
„ the Younger, Ivi 
„ Sperra, Ix. 
Malvoisin, Bishop of St Andrews, 

Ixxii. 
Man, Isle of, 116, 118, 203. 
Mani, Olaf's son, 196. 
Manuel L, Emperor, 150. 
Margad, Grim's son, 74, 91, 92, 

122, 124, 126, 169, 170. 
Margaret, Hakon's daughter, xxxvii, 
cxi, 72, 86, 106, 108, 
109, 153, 164, 161. 
„ Maddan's daughter, 69. 
„ the Maiden of Norway, 

xlix, 1, xcL 
„ the false Maiden of Nor- 
way, 1, lil 
Maria, Harald's daughter, 47. 
Mariuhofn, 179. 
Marseilles (Marselia), 142. 
Maurice de Moravia, IviL 
May, Isle of, 123, 124, 163. 

„ Monastery of^ 1 24. 
Medalland'shofii (Midland harbour), 

in Orkney, 159. 
Melbrigd ; see Malbrigd. 
Melkolf; «^e Malcolm. 
Melsnati, xxvL 
Menelaus, Emperor, 160. 
Menteith, Johanna de, Ivii 
„ Sir John de, Ivii. 
Menzies, Sir David, IxvilL 
Mikligard (Constantinople), 24, 127, 

148-150, 163. 
Moddan, 17, 20. 
Montgomery, Hugh, Earl of, 64. 
Moors, 140. 

Moravia, Maurice de, Ivii. 
„ Sir John de, Ivii 



222 



INDEX. 



Moray (MsBitefi), 21, 204. 

„ Firth (Breidafiord), 20, 21. 
Morukari (Morkere), 47. 
MoseyarboTg ; see Mousa. 
Moslems, 141. 

Moulhead of Deemess, 88, 156. 
Moosa, Borg of (Moseyarboig), cix, 

cxi, 113, 161. 
Mowat of BuchoUy, 122. 
Murcadh, son of Brian Borumlia, 

xxyiiL 
Muirceartach, xxxiv. 
Murdoch, Duke of Albany, Ixz. 
Munkalif, monastery of, Ixxv. 
Myrkhol (Murkle), in Caithness, 

XXV, 195, 207. 
Myrkiartan, 56. 
Myrkvifioid, 124, 181. 

Navidale, xiv. 
Nennins, x. 

Ness (Caithness), 8, 37, 87, 116, 
121, 122, 165, 168, 160, 
164, 166, 169, 180, 196, 
209. 

„ river, x. 
Nicolas, Abbot of Scone, IxxxiiL 

„ Bishop of Caithness, Ixxxvi. 
Nidaros (Drontheim), 26, 57. 
Njal's burning, xxviii 
Njorfasund (Straits of Qibraltar), 

141, 142. 
Norfolk, round-towered churches 

of, xciii 
Normandy, Ixxxix, 203. 
Northumberland (Nordymbraland), 

134. 
Norway, 2, 3, 8, 12, 16, 26, 32, 

36, 42, 47-49, 52, 64, 68, 76, 

86, 86, 90, 106, 126, 127, 131, 

133, 150-152, 161, 164. 
Novgorod (Hobngard), 24, 26. 
Nottingan, in Caithness, Ixxxiv. 

OCHTHA, X. 

Oddi Litli, 130, 131, 147. 
Odin, xiii, cxiv, cxvii, 206. 
Offa, King, 21. 
Ogmund Dreng, 161. I 



Ogmund, Eyrpinga Orm*8 son, 80, 
127. 
„ Thorfinn's son, 161. 
Olaf Bitling, King of Sudreyar, 
181. 

„ Haraldson, King (the Holy), 
XXX, 8, 11, 14-16, 26, 38. 

„ Kyrri, King, 48, 49, 93. 

„ Magnusson, King, 68. 

„ the Stout, 60. 

„ Rolf's son, 74, 88, 89, 91, 
92, 94. 

„ Swein's son, 177, 192. 

V Tryggvi's son. King, xxvii, 
xcu, 3, 4, 11, 117, 210, 
211, 212. 

„ the White, xxi, xxiii, 203. 
Olvir Rosta, 69, 72, 85, 86, 87, 88, 

89,92, 110, 114-116. 
Onund, King, 23. 
Ord of Caithness, 116, 166. 
OrQara (Orphir), 71, 92, 95, 159, 

167, 168. . 
Orkahaug, ci, cv, 169. 
Orkhill, 169. 
Orkneys (Orkneyar), 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 

11, 14-16, 23, 26, 28, 29, 32, 

36, 42, 47, 48, 52, 66, 68, 62, 

64, 66, 68, 69, 72, 76, 85, 86, 

98-100, 106, 106, 109, 114, 

116, 121, 126, 126, 131, 132, 

134, 140, 147, 151, 162, 156, 

167, 163, 164, 178, 188, 189, 

196,203, 206, 207,210. 
Orkneymen (Orkneyingar), 2, 69, 

112, 124, 132, 133, 134, 139, 

191, 207. 
Orm, 170. 
Orphir (OrQara, Jorfiara), 71, 92, 

96, 169, 167, 168. 
Osloe (now Christiania), 83. 
Osmondwall (Asmundarvag), xxvii, 

3, a 
Otter, Earl, 72, 106, 163, 167. 

„ Svarti, 16. 

Papas, xiL 
Papey, xii, xx, 96. 

„ Meiri (P&pa Westray), 38, 39. 



INDEX. 



223 



Papey Mmni(Papa Stronsay),xxxiiy 

38. 
Papuli (Papley), xii, xx, 38, 68, 69, 

73, 95, 167. 
Patrick, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxviii. 
Paris, Uidversity of, 131. 
Paul Hakonsson (Umalgi) Earl, 
XXXV, xcv, 69, 71-73, 83, 86- 
98, 104-111, 183. 
„ Tliorfinnson, Earl, xxxiii, 
Ixxii, 30, 43, 44, 62, 54. 
Pentland Firth (Petlandsfiord), 18, 
33, 34, 74, 86, 88, 
92, 106, 113,162, 166, 
166, 193, 194, 196. 
„ Skerries (Petlandsker), Iv. 
Peter, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxvi. 
Pictish Towers, cix, cxxii, cxxiii, 33, 

113, 161. 
Pierowall (Hofii), in Westray, cxxii, 

102. 
Pull, Puglia (Apulia), 160. 

Rapn, Lawman, 196, 200, 201. 
Bagna of Rinausey, 73, 96, 97, 

119, 120. 
Ragnhild, Eirik's daughter, xxv, 
193, 207, 208, 211. 

„ Hrolfs daughter, 203. 

„ Ingimar's daughter, 154. 

„ PftuFs daughter, 46. 

„ Simon's daughter, 60. 
Balph, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxii. 
Rapness, 74, 177. 
Rattar Brough (Raudabioig), 33. 

„ Bum of, 33. 
Raudabiorg, xxxi, 33, 46. 
Ravenscraig, IxxL 
Ravensere (Hrafiiseyri), 48. 
Reginald, Bishop of Rosemarkie, 
xlii, Ixxx, 

„ of the Isles, xlii, xliv. 
Reindeer in Scotland, 182. 
Rekavik, 69. 
Renfrew, 181. 

Rendale (Rennadal), 170, 171. 
Reppisness, 74. 
Restalrig, 197. 
Richard L, King, 142. 



M 



» 



Rikgard of Brekkur, 74, 106. 

„ priest, 78. 

„ Thorleifs son, 120. 
Rinansey, Rinarsey (N. Ronaldsay), 

XV, cxvii, 1, 73,91, 96,97, 100, 

119, 162, 165. 
Rinar's Hill, 206. 
Robert, Bishop of Caithness, Ixxxvii. 
Roger, Bishop of St. Andrews, xliii. 

„ Bishop of Orkney, IxxiiL 
Rognvald Brusi's son. Earl, xxxi, 
Ixxiv, 7, 11, 16, 23, 

24-26,28,30,31-39, 
44. 
Eirikson, 183. 
(KaH) KoVs son. Earl, 
xxxv-xxxvii, Ixxxviii, 
xc, 68,76-79,83-91, 
96, 97, 100,^ 102, 
104, 106, 108-114, 
118-154, 168, 163, 
165-172, 175-184, 
188, 192, 193, 199. 
Earl of Moeri, xxiv, 1, 

203, 204, 210. 
(Reginald) of the Isles, 
xlii, xliv, Ixxx, 181, 
196. 
Rognvaldsey (S. Ronaldsay), 89, 91, 

165, 166, 176, 176, 194. 
Ronaldsay, North ; see Rinansey. 
Rognvaldsvoe, xlvii 
Rome (Romaborg), xxxii, xxxv, 

xxxvii, Ixxi, 43, 63, 68, 150. 
Rorvag, 3. 
Ross, 18, 21, 199. 
„ Hugh de, bd. 
„ Hugh, Earl of, Ivi, Ixi 
„ John of, Ixx. 
„ William, Earl of, Ivi, Ixi. 
Rouen (Ruda), 203. 
Rousey (Hrolfsey), 73, 88, 91, 105, 

106, 107, 171, 177. 
Roxbuigh Qistle, xliv, 192. 
Runic inscriptions, ciii, cxv, cxvi. 
Rurik, King, 24. 
Russia (Gardariki), 24. 

St. Adamnan, xx. 



n 



99 



224 



INDEX. 






St Anscliar, IzxiiL 
St Brigld, xiv. 
St Columba, x, xiii, xiv, 82. 
St Clair, Alexander, IxL 
David, IxviL 
Elisabeth, Ixvii 
Henry, balliyos of King 
Robert Bruce, Iv, IxL 
Heniy, Earl, xl, Ix. 
Isabella, Ixii, Ixvii. 
John, IxviiL 
Lucia, IxL 
Thomas, IxL 
„ William, Earl, Ixi, bdx. 
St. Kilda, cxxL 
St Lawrence, xv. 

St Magnus, xv, Ixxu, Ixxxix, xc, 

xciiL xcv, cxv, 99. 
„ church of,xxxv,lxxiv, 

Ixxxviii, 112, 173, 
178, 188. 
St Mary's, in the Scilly Isles, 179. 
St Ninian, xiv, xx. 
St Olaf, XV. 

„ church of, Kirkwall, Ixxxix. 
St Oran's chapel, lona, xxxiv. 
St Patrick's church, Down, xxxiv. 
St Peter, xv. 
St Petei^s church, S. Ronaldsay, 

• • • 

XVUL 

„ „ Brough of Birsay, 

xcviiL 
„ „ Weir, xcvii 
St Rq^us, 197. 
St Sunniva, Ixxvit 
St Triduana (Tredwell), xiv, 197. 
St Vigeans, xx. 
Sanday, 5, 104, 174. 
Sandwick (Sandvik), in Deemess, 

Orkney, xxx, 6, 9, 169. 
Saracens, 144. 
Sardinia, 142. 

Satiri (Kintyre), 21, 66, 195. 
Saxi, 81. 
Saxland, 43. 
Saverough, xiv. 
Savigny, 192. 
Scapa (Scalpeid), xlviii,74,92, 110, 

165,166, 180. 



Scarborough (Skaidaboig), 47. 
Scrabster (Skarabolstadr), xliii^ 

Ixxxiii, 196. 
Scilly Islands (Syllingar), 117, 179. 
Scone, Ixxii, 108, 192. 
Scotland (Skotland), 2, 17, 21-23, 

28-31, 53, 60, 64, 70, 72, 75, 

86, 105, 109, 114, 118, 152, 

161, 210. 
Scotland's Firth (Skotlandsfiord), 

27, 56, 115, 180. 
Sculptured stones of Scotland, 

symbols of^ xix. 
ScytheboUe (Skibo), 107. 
Sekkr, 15L 
Seley, 40. 
Sepulchre, church of the Holy, 

xciiL 
Serk, 54, 76. 
Serkland, 142, 146. 
Serlo, monk of Newbottle^ xliv, 

Ixxxi 
Setr, 76. 
Shetland (Hjaltland), 14, 16, 22, 

32, 35, 36, 47, 60, 67, 86-89, 

91, 97, 99, 102, 130, 133, 155, 

161, 164, 176, 178, 203, 205, 

210. 
Shurrery, in Caithness, 187. 
Siddera, Sutherlandshire, 107. 
SigsBum, promontory of, 149. 
Sigmund Brestisson, 88, 89. 

„ Ongul, 139, 147, 148. 
Sigtrygg, Ki^, xxviL 
Sigurd, Andrew's son, 116. 

„ Archbishop of Drontheim, 
IxxvL 

„ Amkell's son, 92. 

„ Eystein's son. Earl, xxiii, 
cxvii, 1, 107, 199, 204. 

„ Harald Gilli's son, 151. 

„ Havard Hold's son, 151. 

„ Hlodver's son. Earl, xxv, 
xxvi, 3, 4,11,112,209, 
210, 211, 212. 

„ Hrani's son, 54. 

„ Klaufi, 155. 

„ Magnusson (the Joisala- 
farer). King, xxxiv, Ixxii'i, 






INDEX. 



225 



64, 66, 68, 69, 66, 76, 


Stratheme, Euphemia de, IxL 


78, 82, 83, 147, 149. 


„ Malise, Earl of, Iv-lx. 


Siguid Murt, xli, 193, 194. 


„ Marjory de, IviiL 


„ Slembir, 70, 71. 


„ Matilda de, IviiL 


„ Sneis, 67, 76. 


Strickathro, 192. 


„ Syr, King, 6. 


Stroma (Straumsey), 91, 96, 176. 


„ of Gloucester, 127. 


Stromness, 167. 


„ of Papuli, 69, 73. 


Stronsay (Stiomsey), 166. 


„ of WestnefiB, 46, 70, 87, 91, 


Studla, 80, 81. 


109, 110, 111. 


Sudreyar (Hebrides), xxii, 26, 27, 


Sigordliaiig ^iwardhoch), czvli, 


29, 31, 32, 36, 37, 44, 63, 66, 


107. 


64, 76, 86, 96, 97, 106, 116, 


Sinclair ; see St Clair. 


120, 121, 163, 166, 177, 179, 


SVaill, 33. 


189, 190, 196, 196, 203, 210. 


Skalpeid(Scapa),xlviii, 74,92, 110, 


Sudreyarmen, 116, 118. 


.166, 166, 180. 


SumarUdi Hold, 176, 180, 181, 


Skanej, 42. 


192. 


Skapti, 64. 


„ Kolbein Hruga's son, 


Skarabolstadr (Scrabeter), near 


126. 


Thurso, zliii, boudii, 196. 


„ Thorfinn's son, Earl, 


Skebro Head, 166. 


xxix, 3, 4. 


Skeggbjamailiofdi, 166. 


Sumburgh, 74. 


Sk^gbjamarstadir, 166. 


„ Head, 164. 


Skida Myre (Skitten), in Caithness, 


„ Boost (Dynrost), 164. 


xxvi, 112, 209,^210. 


Sutherland (Sudrland), 4, 17, 18, 


Skinnet, church of, in Caithness, 


21,70, 115, 116, 123, 164. 


1 *• 

IIZTII. 


Svelgr ; see Swelkie. 


Skuli, Earl, xxv, 2, 209, 211. 


Sverrir, King, xxxix, xli, 199. 


Skye (Skidh), xxxiv, 27, 28, 192. 


Svoldr, 4. 


Sninfiida, 206. 


Swefney ; see Swona. 


SnsBkoU Qunnason, xItI, 126. 


Swein Asleifson, xxxvi, xc, 6, 73, 


Snorri Sturluson, 68.' 


91-96, 97, 106, 106, 


Sogn, 64, 76, 80. 


108-110, 113-126, 133, 


Sohnund, 76, 77-82, 84, 86, 98, 


161,166,166,168,164- 


106, 140. 


166, 168-181, 188-190. 


Spain (Sp^nland), 140, 141. 


„ Blakari's son, 172. 


gitamford Bridge, xzxiii, 40. 


„ Briostreip, 87, 89, 93-96, 


Staur(Ru Steer), 167. 


97, 111. 


Stefan Badgafi, 180. 


„ Harald's son, 119. 


Steigar Thorir, 98. 


„ Hroald's son, 131, 134, 


Steinsnes (Stennis), in Orkney, 


186. 


XXV, cvii, cviii, 61, 167, 169, 


„ Ulfs son, long, xxxii, 39, 


208. 


42, 43. 


SteiuTor the Stout, 69, 72. 


Swelkie of Stroma (Svelgr), xlviii, 


Stewart, Alan, IxL 


107. 


„ David, Ix. 


Sweden, 23, 49. 


„ Walter, Ixi. 


Swona (Swefaey, Swiney), 74, 91, 


Stiklastadir, 23,38, 118. 


92. 


Stratheme, ElizabeUi de, Ixiii. 


Swynbrocht, 74. 



Q 



226 



INDEX. 



» 



>> 



Syllingar (SciUy Isles), 117, 179. 
Sytheraw,' 107. 

TAiiKSRNBSS (Taimskarunes), 88* 
Tarbatness (Torfnes), 2L 
ThiMbi, King, 57. 
Thing, 6, 61, 73, 83, 110, 112, 

136, 158. 
Thingstead, Thingvoll, 61, 171. 
Thiostolf, Ali*s son, 83, 84, 85. 
Thomas, Archbishop of York, 
Ixxiii 
de Fingask, Bishop of 

Caithness, IxrxvL 
Tnlloch, Bishop of 
Orkney, xlvi, Ixviii, 
Ixxviii 
Thony, Robert de, IviiL * 

Thora, Paul's daughter, 46. 

„ SumarUdi's daughter, 47, 
73. 
Thorarinn Breidmagi, 119. 

„ KUlinef, 179. 

Thorberg Svarti, 131. 
Thorbiom of Borgarfiord, 60. 
„ Homklofi, 2. 
„ Klerk, xxxviii, 69, 72, 
114, 118, 119, 120- 
123, 125, 156, 159, 
165, 167-180, 183- 
185. 
„ Svarti, 147. 
Thordis, Hall's daughter, 47. 
Thore Hakonson, 11, liii 
Thorir Thegiandi (the Silent), 203, 
206. 
„ Treskegg, 204, 205. 
Thorfinn Bessason, 156, 157. 

Haiald's son, xliv, 192, 

198. 
Hausakliuf, Earl, xxiv, 

XXV, 2, 8, 207, 208. 
Sigurd's son. Earl, xxix^ 
xTTJii, Ixxii, xdii, xev, 
4-9, 12, 14, 15, 18, 
19, 26, 28, 29-45, 
67, 179, 212. 
Thoigeir SkotakoU, 131. 
Thorhall, Asgrim's son, 152. 



» 



i> 



n 



99 



» 



» 



Thorkell Flettir, 74, 88, 96, 120. 
„ Fostn, Amundi's son, 
XXX, 5-9, 13, 18, 19, 
20, 22, 38. 
„ Sumarlidi's son, 71. 
Thorleif ; see Frakork. 

„ Spaki, 54. 
Thorliot, 69. 
Thorolf, Bishop, Ixxii. 
Thorsa, Thorsey ; see Thurso. 
Thorsdal, 182. 
Thorstein of Fluguness, 74, 92. 

Havard's son, 47, 73, 91, 

104, 186. 
Hold, 69,72,114,118, 

126. 
Krokauga, 74, 131. 
„ Ragna'sson,73, 100,101, 

104, 119, 160. 
„ son of Hall of Sida, xxix. 
„ the Red, xxiii, 2, 203. 
Thorvald Thoresson, 60. 
Thrasness, 136. 
Thraswick (Freswick), in Caithnftit, 

154. 
Thule, XL 

Thurso (Thorsa), 20, 73, 106, 152, 
158, 159, 164, 165, 183, 194. 
Thussasker, 44. 
Tingwall, in Rendal, 61. 
Tiree (lyrvist), xxxiv, 95. 
Torf Einar, Ea^l, xxiv, cxvii, 1, 2, 

112, 203, 205, 207, 211. 
Torfitiess, 21, 22, 152, 205. 
TroUhsana, 197. 
Tunsberg, 75, 83, 84. 
Turgot, Bishop of St Andxevi, 

IxxiiL 
Tyrvist ; m^ Tiree. 

UiOT (Ivist), xxxhr. 
Uladstir ; see Ulster. 
Ulfreksfiord, xxx, 7. 
XJlli, Strath, 115. 
Ulbster, in Caithness, xx. 
Ulster (Uladstir), xxxiv, 58. 
Uni, 80, 81, 99-102. 
Unn, 76, 77. 
Uppland, in Hoy, 74, 105. 



*%.' 



• • 



* • • * « 

Jo * • 

• • • • • 

• • -. 






1^1*1 l^^i^iy"^^ n»^ ■" ^w ^"^ -**< * 



• • • 
• • • • 









' • • • - • , 

• i • • • • 

•• • • ••• 

• o • • • 

• • • • •• 



INDEX. 



227 



Upsala, 120. 

V^RIKGS, 127, 160. 

Vagaland (Walls), in Hoy, 167, 

169, 176. 
Valdimar, King, 151. 
Yalland, 136. 
Valkyiiar, xxvii 
Valthiof, Earl, 47, 126, 126. 

„ Olafson, 73, 91, 93, 96, 
114. 
Varangians, 127, 160. 
Veradal, 26. 

Verbon (Nerbon), 135, 146. 
Vidivag (WidewaU), 166. 
Vidkxinn Jonsson, 64. 
Vigr (Weir), island of, 126. 
Vik, in Norway, 40, 78, 86, 151. 

„ inCaithne88(Wick),118, 122, 
164, 166. 
Vikings, zxii, xziv, xxzvi, czzi, 1, 

25, 29, 33, 36, 59, 113. 
Volga, cTTiii, cxxiii. 
Voluness, 174. 

Walls (Vagaland), in Hoy, 167, 

169, 176. 
Walter, Bishop of Caithness, IxxziiL 
Wales (Bretland), xv, 7, 64, 66, 117. 
Warrenne, John de, Eaj'l of Surrey, 

Ivi 
Wear (Hvera), river, 134. 
Weir (Vigr), island of; 126. 



Weir, church o^ xcvi 

„ castle of, cxxiii, 126, 
Westness, in Bousay, 46, 70, 73, 

91, 101, 109. 
Westray, cxvii, cxxii, 74, 91, 96, 

102, 177. 
Wick (Vik), in Caithness, 1 1 8, 1 22, 

154, 156. 
William the Old, Bishop of Orkney, 
xxxvi,lxxii,lYxiv,lxxyix, 
xcv, 68, 95-97, 105, 
109,111,113,131,134, 
137, 143, 144, 150. 
XL, Bishop of Orkney, Ixxv, 

193. 
in. „ „ Ixxvi. 
rV. „ „ Ixxvii 
V. „ „ Ixxviii. 
Tulloch, Ixxix. 
Bishop of Caithness, Ixxxiii. 
Earl of Ross, Ivi. 
Fitz Duncan, 46. 
Freskyn,xlvi 
of Egremont, xxxviii, 46, 

181. 
the Lion, King of Scots, 
xxxix, xl, hooi, 193, 195. 
Wimund, Bishop, xxxvii, 181, 192. 
Wulstan, Bishop, Ixxii 

York (Torvik), 47. 

Yell (Jala), 86. 

Yell Sound (Alasund), 86. 



9} 
99 

19 



ERRATA. 

Page bmx.— -Por " Hd Kirkiii," read " Hd Kirkia." 

Page 44. — Jbr " She was married to Kolbein Hruga," read * * She was the mother 
of Hakon Bam and of Herboi^g, who was married to Kolbein Hruga. " 
Page 186.— yt/ter "Verbon," read "(Nerbon)." 
Page 157.— -For **Ck)me88," read "Camess." 
Page 192.— For "death," in Note 1, read "divorce." 



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I. 
The Instructive Picture Book. A few Attractive Lessons from the Natural 
History of Animala By ADAM WHITE, late Assistant, Zoological Department, 



12 



EDMONSTON AUD DOUGLAS, 



BxitlBh Miuenm. With 64 folio odoored Fktes. Sightib Bditkm, oonUiniBg mmnj 
new mnstaitioiis bj Mib. Blackbubv, J. Stkitabt, Goubiut Sxsnx^ and othen. 

n. 

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ra. 

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IV. 
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V. 

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The History of Soottiflh Poetry, 

From the Iflddle Ages to the Close of the Bef ente e n th Oentory. By the late 
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and Qlossaiy. Demy 8vo, 16s. 

Johnny Gibb of OuBhetneiLk* ISmo, oname&tal boards, ptioe 9b. 
Sermons by the Bev. John Ker» D J>^ OlMgow. 

Ninth Edition. Crown 8vo, price 6s. 

'*This is a rery remarkable volnme of seimonc And it is no donbt a most 
fkTOurable symptom of the heslthincss of Christisn thooj^t among ns, that we 
are so often able to begin a notice with these words. 

" We cannot help wishing that snch notice more fluently introduced to our 
readers a volume of Church of England sermons StUl, looking beyond our pale, 
we rqjoice notwithstanding. 

** Mr. Ker has dug boldly and diligently into the vein which Bobeitson opened ; 
•but the result, as compared with that of the flrrt miner, is as the product of skilled 
machinery set against that of the vigorous unaided arm. There is no roughneas, 
no sense of labour ; all comes smoothly and r^^ularly on the page— one tboufl^t 
evolced out of another. As Robertson strikes the rook with l^ tool, nnlooked- 
for sparkles tempt him on ; the workman exults in his diseovery ; behind eadi 
beantifti], strange thought, there is yet another more strange and beantiftil still. 
Whereas, in this work, every beantif^ thou^t has its way prepared, and every 
strange thouc^ loses its power of starting by the esqnisito harmony of its 
setting. Robertson's is the glittor of the ore on tiie bank ; Ker's is the uniform 
sliining of the wrought metal. We have not seen a volume of sermons for many a 
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And not the least merit of these sermons is, that they are eminently suggesttve.**— 
Omttmporary Review. 

** The sermons before us are indeed of no common order ; among a host of eom- 
petitors they occupy a high class— we were about to say the highest 
whether viewed in point of composition, or thought, or trestment. 



88 PBINCES STREET, EDINBTmGH. 



13 



" He has gone down in the dlTing-bell of a eoimd Christian pUIoaoiAf, to the 
very depth <^ his theme, and has bfoo^t np treaanres of the lidieet and most 
reehereU character, praotieallj showing the trath of his own remarks in the prefiace, 
' that there is no department of thought or aetion which cannot be tonohed by that 
gospel wliich is the manifold wisdom of Qod.' These saljects he has exhibited in 
a style corresponding to their brilliancy and prof oondnees— terse and telling, 
elegant and captiyating, yet totally nnUke the tinsel omamenta laid npom the sub- 
ject by an elaborate process of manipnlatlom— a style which is the outcome of the 
sentiment and feelings within, shaping itself in impropriate di^ery.*'— JBrMsik and 
Foreigm Evamgdical Revitw, 

Studies fbr Sunday Evening; or» Baadings in Holy WHti 

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Faith's Jewels. 

Presented in Verse, with other derout Verses. By Lobo KINLOOH. Bz. fcap. 
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Time's Treasure; 

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Devout Momenta 

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14 



EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS, 



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** An who love the byways of history should read this life of a loyal Corenantar. ** 

LismorOy Book of the Dean ot 

Specimens of Ancient Oaelic Poetry, collected between the yean 151S and 15S9 
by the Rsr. JAMBS M*QREOOR» Dean of Usmor»--{llastratiTe of the Ltngoage 
and Literatore of the Scottish Highlands prior to the Sixteenth Centnry. Edited, 
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Wasbdi. Second 



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With 6 ninstiations by Wabwiok Bbookb. Sq[aare 18mo, price Is. 

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By JAMBS MACDONBLL, M. A. Ex. fcap. 8vo, price te. 

** The anthor has sncceeded in prodacing a book which if almost as ea«y read- 
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"Mr MacdoneU's book, entitled <A Survey of PoUtical Economy/ establishea 
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Ten Tears Korth of the Orange Biver. 

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88 PEmCaES STREET, EDINBURGH. 15 

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Biographical Annals of the Parish of Colinton. 

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16 EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS, 

History Besoned, in Answer to ^ History Vindioatod," beingr 

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raiaing the lid, she discovers thai it contsins six whole and separate vohunes, and 
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8. Essays by an Old Man. 9. Wayside Thoughts— Part 8. 

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14. The Stonnontfidkl Experiments. 15. A Tnot fbr the Timee. 
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18. Correlation of Forces. 19. ' BibliomaDia.' 

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Caatioosly snd temperately written."— Sfpsstaior. 



<« I 



88 PRINCES STREET, EDINBURGH. 17 



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Kidnappixig in the South Seas. 

Being a Nanative of a Three Months' Oniise of H. M. Ship Rosario. Bj Captai^ 
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Quixstar. 

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Foreign Evangelieal Btviem. 

Beminisoences of Scottish Iiife and Character. 

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\* The original Edition in 3 vols., with Introductions, price ISs. ; and the 
Popular Edition, price 3s., are still on sale. 



18 



EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS, 



"Tliat ▼enenble Dean, who is an abeolnte impenoiutiim of the 'reminiseeiices ' 
of all the ScottiBh Churches, who in his Uigeness of heart embnces them all, 
and in his steadCut fdendship, his generous championship of forgotten truths and 
of unpopular causes, ^rores himself to be in erery sense the inheritor <tf the noble 
Scottish name which he so worthily bears.**— Z>0a» SkmUiti LtOmu o» As CkmrA 
€(fScoUamd. 

Dean Bamsay's BaminiBoenoes. 

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diny or stopld headache, in every page ol this Tolume will find some poignant 
anecdote or trait which will last them a good half4iour fbr after-laasliter : oneof 
the pleasantest of human s en sati ons . **—w^ tt < agMi > 

BftTT ftOff Studies. 

Edited by Sot ALBXAIIDEB GRANT, Barl,LL.D. STO,prieeUR. 

Bights of Iiaboi]r» and the Hine Hours' Movement. 

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Art Bambles in Shetland. 

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The Toahadi and the Thane. 



88 PBIMCES STREET, EOINBOBGa 



19 



Chaptbrs or Bmoush Histort bktorv ths Cohqucvt.— 1. Tlie King's Wife. 
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Rons. 

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20 



EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS, 



' Cakes, Iioeks, Puddings, and Potatoes.* 

A Lecture on the Nationilities of the United Kingdom. By GEORGE SETON, 
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The Shores of Fife; or the Forth and Tay. 

Comprising Inland Scenery in Fife, Perth, Clackmannan, Kinross, and Stiriing : 
with ftontiflpieoe—*' Queen Margaret expounding the Scriptures to Malcolm Can- 
more," presented by Bib, Noel Paton, BCnight RS.A., Her MjO^^s Limner fbr 
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containino — 

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