Iain Laird <INSLaird@cs.com> [prev][next] [index to photographs] [Clan Sinclair]

Fjære Kirke

From: INSLaird@cs.com
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 09:42:04 EDT

The Fjære Kirke, the stone knave of which was built in around 1150 by local farmers replaced a wooden church that had stood there from before 995, on an old pagan site, and was the church of the home farm at Bringsværd of Kale Kolssøn who was born there in the year 1100. more

He is better known as Jarl Ragnvald of Orkney and held the title from 1129 until his death in 1158. According to local historian, Kjetil Frogner, Jarl Ragnvald was a direct descendant of Ragnvald Jarl of Møre and Romsdal, known to us as Rogenvald the Mighty, and is therefore related to the Sinclairs. Ragnvald's grandfather, Kale Sbjornssønn died of wounds received in fighting on the Isle of Skye for King Magnus "Barefoot". His father, Kol Kalessøn, (born 1070) was made the King's representative at Bringsværd in reward for his father's service, and in further recognition married to Gunnhild, daughter of Erlend and sister of Magnus (St Magnus), joint Jarl of Orkney from 1103 until his murder in 1115. He was married to the daughter of a Scots Jarl, neither of whose names is recorded. Jarl Ragnvald began the construction of St
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 07:50:17 EST

I have since realised that "Calder Dale" is probably not far from the home of the secretary of our Caithness Clan Association Secretary, Kay Dunnett, at Loch Calder!

Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney in 1137. Jarl Ragnvald was killed by an outlaw in 1158, and the place is given as Calder Dale in Caithness. (I am not aware of such a place in Caithness, but there is a Calder Burn which runs into Loch Oich near Invergarry, north west of Fort William.) He was later canonised. On the 850th anniversary of the founding of St Magnus Cathedral, the Fjære Kirke, its distant cousin, sent a memorial plaque on St Ragnvald's day, 20th August 1987. A copy of the plaque is on display in the church. They also began sending a Christmas Tree, cut from the site of Jarl Ragnvald's home farm at the modern "Bringsværd" to St Magnus Cathedral. Fjære is the old name of the borough that now forms part of Grimstad Kommune. Kjetil Frogner says that Fjære was an old name for fjord, and that longboats were built at Bringsværd and dragged down to the fjord near the site of modern Grimstad, and will have sailed from there to Caithness. On a mound which overlooks the fjord, near to the modern church in Grimstad, they have uncovered a grave, dated to the year 950. They do not know its occupant, simply described as "Hersen på Bringsværd": Lord of Bringsværd. Perhaps an even closer relative of Jarl Ragnvald of Møre and Romsdal, our Rogenvald the Mighty? So, even in Southern Norway, we can find Sinclair connections.

We have some pictures of the Church and the 950 Grave which I will send by separate e-mail.

We are grateful to Kjetil Frogner, Bringsværd historian and Gunnar Topland, a local farmer, and Alf-Martin Sandberg, also a local historian from Tromoy for this information. Both Gunnar and Alf-Martin are colleagues at my work place, Assuranceforeningen Gard, a shipping liability mutual insurer.

Last changed: 00/01/31 09:52:02