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Fjære Kirke - A thousand year old church in Southern Norway with Sinclair Connec

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 
Kolssønn who was born there in the year 1100.  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 Sæbjornssønn died of wounds received in fighting on the Isle of Skye for 
King Magnus "Barefoot".  His father, Kol Kalessønn, (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 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 Fjaere 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 "Bringsverd" 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 "Hersnes av 
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, Bringsverd historian and Gunnar Topland, a 
local farmer, and Alf-Martin Sandbeg, 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.
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