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
of Kale Kolssøn who was born there in the year 1100.
better known as
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
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
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
(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
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
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.
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!
We have some pictures of the Church and the
950 Grave which I will send by
We are grateful to Kjetil Frogner,
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