The Northern Way


Part 3

Page 7

Settlements of Bard of the Peak. Settlements of Kamp-Grim from the Orkneys and his descendants. Settlements of Heidan and Hoskuld, sons of the Giant.

Chapter XVIII. Bard, the son of Heyjang-Bjorn, brought his ship to the mouth of Skjalfandafljot and settled all Bard-dale up from Calf Burgh river and Isle-dale river, and dwelt at Lund-brink (107) for a time; then he observed from the winds that the land breezes were more genial than the sea breezes, and therefore he concluded that there must be better lands to the south of the heath. He sent his sons south about the middle of the month Goi, (108) there he found goibeytla, i.e. equisetum vernum hyemele i.e. horsetail, and other vegetation, and in the next spring after, Bard made a sledge for every creature that could walk, and let each drag its own fodder and some chattels; he went by Hope-pass (vonarskard) which afterwards was called Bardargata (109) i.e. the road of Bard; he afterwards settled Fljotshverfi and dwelt at Peaks (Gnupar) and was thence called Peaks-Bard (110) (Gnúpa-Barðr). He had many children; his son was Sigmund, the father of Thorstein, who married Æsa, the daughter of Hrolf Redbeard, their daughter was Thorun, whom Thorkel Loaf (Leifr) had for wife, and their son was Thorgeir, the godi of Lightwater. Another son of Bard was Thorstein, the father of Thorir, who was at Fitjar with Hakon the King, and cut a rift in the hide of an ox and used it for a shield, therefore he was nicknamed Leather Neck, (111) he married Fjorleif, the daughter of Eyvind, their sons were Havard in Fell Mull, Herjolf at Midgewater, Ketill at Housewick, Vemund Kogr, who had for wife Halldora, the daughter of Thorkel the Black, and Askel and Hals, he dwelt at Helgistead.

Kampr-Grimr went from the Hebrides to Iceland, he was tossed about upon the sea for the whole summer and wrecked his ship at the mouth of the Skjalfanda-fleet; he settled Cold-chine a second time and afterwards sold to sundry people portions thereof; his daughter was Arnbjorg, whom Asolf of Hofdi had in marriage.

There was a man named Thorfin Moon, the son of Askel Turfy, he settled land below the Isle-dale river to the Londsmot and some also about Lightwater Pass, and dwelt at Ox-river. Thorir, the son of Grim Grayfell-muzzle (grafeldarmuli) from Rogaland, settled about Lightwater Pass, his son was Thorkell Loaf the High (leifr enn háfi) the father of Thorgeir godi. Thorgeir first had to wife Gudrid, the daughter of Thorkell the Swart, their sons were Thorkell Flake and Hoskuld, Tjorfi, Kolgrim, Thorstein, and Thorvard, and a daughter, Sigrid. After that he married Alfgerd, the daughter of Arngeir the Eastman or Norwegian; Thorgeir also had for wife Thorkatla, the daughter of Dales-Koll; his sons with these wives were the following: Thorgrim, Thorgils, Ottar, these were bastard born: Thorgrim and Finn the Dreamwise, his mother was named Lecny, of foreign kindred.

Hedin and Hoskuld, sons of Thorstein the Giant, went to Iceland and settled above Tongue-heath (Tunguheidi). Hedin dwelt at Hedin's Hofdi and married Gudrun; their daughter was Arnrid, whom Ketill, the son of Fjorleif, had to wife; their daughter was Gudrun, whom Hrolf had for wife. Hoskuld settled all the land to the south of the Lax river and dwelt in Skard-wick; from him Hoskuld's water takes its name, because he was drowned there. In their landtake is Housewick where Gardar had his abode for one winter. (112) The son of Hoskuld was Hroald, who had for wife Ægileif, the daughter of Hrolf, the son of Helgi.

Settlements of Vestman, Ulf, Eyvind, Grenjad. Shipwreck and settlement of Bodolf. Foretelling the weather by means of ship's beaks. Grettis verses concerning Thorir.

Chapter XIX. Vestman and Ulf being foster brothers, went in one ship to Iceland, they settled all Reek-dale to the west of Lax river up to Vestman's water. Vestman had for wife Gudlaug. Ulf abode under Scratch-fell; (113) his son was Geirolf, who had for wife Vigdis, the daughter of Konal, the widow of Thorgrim; their son was Hall. There was a man named Thorstein Head, he was a Hersir from Hordaland, his sons were Eyvind and Ketil the Hordlander; Eyvind took the fancy to go to Iceland after the death of his father, and Ketil asked him to take land for them both in case he should make up his mind to go afterwards. Eyvind brought his ship into Housewick and settled Reek-dale up from Vestman's water, he dwelt at Helgastead and there was laid in howe. Nattfari, who had gone out with Gardar, had before this possessed himself of Reek-dale, and had put his marks upon the trees, but Eyvind drove him off and only allowed him Nattfari's-wick.

Ketil went out at the word sending of Eyvind; he dwelt at Einarstead; his sons were Konal and Thorstein, the father of Einar, who resided there afterwards. The son of Eyvind was Askel, the godi, who had for wife the daughter of Grenjad; their sons were Thorstein and Fight-Skuta; the daughter of Eyvind was Fjorleif. Konal had for wife Oddny, the daughter of Einar, and sister of Eyjolf, the son of Valgerd; their children were Einar, who had six sons, and a daughter Thorey, who was the wife of Steinolf the son of Mar, and another daughter they had named Eydis, who was the wife of Thorstein, the godi from Asbjorn's-wick. Thord, the son of Konal, was the father of Sokki at Broadmire, who was the father of Konal. A daughter of Konal was Vigdis, who was the wife of Thorgrim, the son of Thorbjorn Skagi, and their son was Thorleif, the stepson of Geirolf.

There was a man named Grenjad, the son of Hrapp, the brother of Geirleif; he settled Hushed-dale (Theigjandadale) and Lavaheath (Hraunaheidi) or Thorgerd's fell and Laxriver-dale the lower; he dwelt at Grejad's-stead; he married Thorgerd, the daughter of Helgi Horse; their son was Thorgil's Vormuli, the father of Onund, the father of Hallbera, the mother of Haldora, the mother of Thorgerd, the mother of Hall, the Abbot, and of Hallbera whom Hrein, the son of Styrmir, had for wife.

There was a man named Bodolf, the son of Grim, the son of Grimolf from Agdir; Bodolf was the brother of Bodmod; he had for wife Thorun, the daughter of Thorolf Deep-in-love; their son was Skeggi. They all went to Iceland and wrecked their ship at Fjornes, and were at Audolfstead the first winter; he settled all Fjornes between the Tongue-river and Os. Botolf had for wife afterwards Thorbjorg Holme-sun, the daughter of Helgi the Lean; their daughter was Thorgerd, who Asmund, the son of Ondott had for wife; their son was Thorleif, the father of Thurid, whom Valla-Ljot had for wife.

Skeggi, the son of Bodolf, settled Kelduhverfi up to Kelduness, and dwelt at Micklegarth; he had for wife Helga, the daughter of Thorgeir of Fishbrook; their son was Thorir the Seafarer; he caused a ship to be built in Sogn; Bishop Sigurd consecrated it; from this ship were the ships' beaks (114) used for weather spaeing (or weather foretelling) before the door at Micklegarth.

Grettir has composed concerning Thoris the following:

In no wise shall I ride out

Against those stems (115) shield-heeding!

Alone shall I depart hence,

This thane (116) is in for trouble.

I will not have a meeting

With Vidrir's tempest-makers; (117)

I shall abide my chances,

Though brave ye may not deem me.


I keep away where Thorir's,

Great crowds are coming onwards;

To me 'tis nowise handy

To join in with their thronging.

I shun the famed men's meeting,

I take me to the woodland,

And save my life; I needs must

Heed well the sword (118) of Heimdal.

The son of Thoris was named An, the father of Orn, the father of Ingibjorg, the mother of Skum, the father of Thorkel the Abbot.

Mani from Halogaland settles between Fljots and Raudaskridu (Red Screes). Einar, Vestman, and Vemund from the Orkneys consecrate to themselves by place names, Axfrith, Eagle's hummock and Cross ridge. Ketill Thistle settles Thistle Firth.

Chapter XX. There was a man named Mani, he was brought up at Omd in Halogaland, he went to Iceland and wrecked his ship upon Tjorsness and dwelt at Mani's river for several winters. Afterwards Bodolf drove him from thence, and then he settled down below Kalfburg river between Fljot and Red Screes (Raudaskrida) and dwelt at Mani's-fell; his son was Ketill, who had for wife Valdis, the daughter of Thorbrand, who bought Red Screes lands from Mani; his daughter was Dalla, the sister of Thorgeir, the son of Galti, her Thorvald, the son of Hjalti, had for wife.

There was a man named Ljot the Unwashed, who settled Helduhverfi up away from Keldunes, his son was Gris, the father of Galti in As, he was a wise man and much given to manslaughters. Onund settled Kelduhverfi from Kelduness and dwelt in As, he was the son of Blæing, the son of Soti; Onund was the brother of Balki in Ramfirth. The daughter of Onund was Thorbjorg, whom Hallgils, the son of Thorbrand from Red Screes had for wife.

Thorstein, the son of Sigmund, the son of Gnup Peaks'-Bard, dwelt first at (Myvatn) Midgewater, his son was Thorgrim, the father of Arnor in Reykjahlid, who married Thorkatla, the daughter of Bodvar, the son of Hrolf from Peakfell; a son of theirs was called Bodvar. Thorkell the High came when young to Iceland, and dwelt first at Greenwater, which branches out from Midgewater. His son was named Sigmund, and had for wife Vigdis, the daughter of Thorir from Aspknott; him Glum slew in the field. The daughter of Thorkel was Arndis, whom Vigfus the brother of Fight-Glum had for wife. Thorkel had a son in his old age, who was called Day, he was the father of Thorarin, who had for wife Yngvild, the daughter of Hall o' Side, then a widow after Eyjolf the Halt. There was a Norwegian named Geiri, who first of men dwelt at the south of Midgewater in Geirstead, his sons were Glum and Thorkel. Father and sons fought with Thorberg Cutcheek, and slew Thorstein his son, and for those manslaughters they were outlawed from the countrysides in the north. Geiri remained for one winter at Geristead upon Hunawater, and afterwards they went to Breidaford and dwelt at Geridale in Kroksfirth. Glum married Ingun, the daughter of Thorolf, the son of Veleif, their children were Thord, who married Gudrun, the daughter of Osvif, and Thorgerd, whom Thorarin, the son of Ingjald had to wife, their son was Helga-Steinar.

Earl Turf-Einar (of Orkney) had a daughter in his youth, she was called Thordis. Earl Rognvald brought her up and gave her in marriage to Thorgeir Klaufi, their son was Einar, he went to Orkney to see his kinsmen; they would not own him for a kinsman; then Einar bought a ship in partnership with two brothers, Vestman and Vemund, and they went to Iceland and sailed round the land by the north and west about Stetta into the firth; they set an Ax in Reistargnup, and called it (Oxarfjord) Axfirth; they placed up an Eagle on the west of it and called the place (Arnarthufu) Eagle's-hummock, and in the third place they set up a Cross and they named the spot Crossridge; thus they hallowed to themselves all Axfirth. (119)

The children of Einar were these: Eyjolf, whom Galti the son of Grisar slew, and Ljot, the mother of Hroi the Sharp, who avenged Eyjolf and slew Galti. The sons of Gliru-Halli, Brand and Berg, were the sons of a daughter of Ljot, they fell in Bodvarsdale. Reist, the son of Bearisle-Ketil and of Hild, the sister of Ketil Thistle, was father of Arnstein the godi. Reist settled land between Reistgnup and Redgnup, and dwelt at Miryhaven.

There was a man named Arngeir, who settled all Sletta between Havor's-lagoon and Sveinung-wick; his children were Thorgils and Odd and Thurid, whom Steinolf in Steer's river-dale had for wife. Arngeir and Thorgils went from home in a snowstorm to search for sheep, and came not home again. Odd went to seek them and found them both dead; a white bear had killed them and lay sucking the blood from one of the corpses when Odd came upon him. Odd slew the bear and conveyed him home, and men said that he ate the whole of it and maintained he had wrought blood revenge for his father when he killed the bear, and for his brother when he ate it.

Odd was afterwards evil and troublesome to deal with, and was seized with such a fit of frenzy that he went from home, from Lavahaven, one evening and came in the morning after to Steer's river-dale, to the aid of his sister, whom the men of Steer's river-dale were on the point of stoning to death for sorcery and witchcraft.

Sveinung settled Sveinung's-wick, and Kolli settled Kolli's-wick, and each abode afterwards at the place named after him. Ketil Thistle settled Thistle-firth between Hound's-ness and Sheepness, his son was Sigmund, the father of Einar of Bath-brink (Laugarbrekka).

Now have been written down the landtakes in the Northlanders' Quarter; and these are there the most renowned settlers: Audun Skokul, Ingimund, Ævar, Sæmund, Eirek in Goddales, Hofda (o' Head) Thord, Helgi the Lean, Eyvind the son of Thorstein Hofdi (Head), and thee were 1440 husbandmen (bondi) in that quarter when their census was taken. (120) Bondi = Husbandmen who owned the land which they tilled.


107. Lundarbrekka, "the slope of the wood." [Back]

108. The month Goi had thirty days, from the middle of February to the middle of March. [Back]

109. Gate for way is often found in Cumberland, Westmorland, and the Lake District, e.g. Rickergate, Caldewgate, Botchergate, in Carlisle; Highgate, Stricklandgate, in Kendal; Outgate, Clappersgate, Soutergate, &c. [Back]

110. Compare "Peveril of the Peak" in Scott. [Back]

111. I have heard a man nicknamed Ledder Neck in Cumberland. [Back]

112. Cf. Pt. I, ch. 1. [Back]

113. Skratti is in Iceland the name of a monster or hobgoblin, and Skrattaskér is in Iceland the name of a rock where wizards were appointed to die. Skratta is the name of a demon or hobgoblin in the North of England. [Back]

114. The Icelandic word is "brandar," used always in plural of ships' beaks or figureheads used as ornaments over the chief door of dwellings. They are mentioned also in Grettis Saga (116) where it can be seen that the "brandar" were two one on each side of the door. [Back]

115. Shield-heeding stems = warriors or men. [Back]

116. This man, i.e. "I," Grettir himself. [Back]

117. Makers of Vidrir's tempest. Vidrir = Odin, his tempest = a battle, makers thereof = warriors or men. [Back]

118. Sword of Heimdal = the head, i.e. the speaker's own head. The head is called the sword of Heimdal because it is said that he was smitten through with the head of a man. See Snorris Edda. [Back]

119. Sva helguðu þeir sér allan Oxarfjord = so they hallowed to themselves all Axfirth. This is an evidence that the Norsemen regarded giving place names to their settlements as a solemn religious ceremony, by which they consecrated or hallowed the land to their own use. See Oxarfjord on Map. [Back]

120. This refers to the census taken by the second Bishop of Skalholt, Gizur (1080-1118) about 1097, of all householders whose duty it was to pay the so-called "Þing fararkaup" or tax for paying those who met yearly at the Althing their travelling expenses; when it was found that in the Eastfirthers' Quarter there were 700 = 840, in the Southlanders' Quarter 1000 = 1200, in the Westfirthers' Quarter 900 = 1080, and in the Northlanders' Quarter 1200 = 1440, in the land altogether therefore 4560 such householders. Hungrvaka ch. vi, Biskupasögur i, 69. [Back]

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