Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Estrid Svendsdatter & Ulf Jarl/ from Dansk Biografisk Lexicon

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Estrid Svendsdatter, –1020–, Ulf Jarl's wife. E., who was also named Margrethe, was a daughter of Sweyn Forkbeard in his 2. marriage to Sigrid Storraade, Erik the Victorious' widow. She was married (probably bef. 1015) to Ulf, the son of Thorgils Sprakalegg, who took part in king Cnut's expedition to England in 1015 and was given high posts by him. He was - probably in Cnut's expedition to the Wends in 1022 - appointed chief of Jomsborg. Later Cnut installed his brother-in-law as governor in Denmark and guardian for his son. In this job Ulf seemingly was guilty of treacherous or suspicious relations to the Swedish king Anund Jacob. For the sake of his sister Cnut might have forgiven him, but during a gathering at Roskilde and caused by a dispute the old rage broke out and Cnut let Ulf kill by one of his men during the matins in St. Lucii Church (29 Sept. 1026). Cnut became reconciled with Estrid by giving her considerable estate, which she then gave to the church; E. also built a stone church instead of the old wooden church at Roskilde. Later E. was married to Robert (le Diable), duke (from 1028) of Normandy. He soon repudiated her and went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (where he died in 1035). From her first marriage E. had the sons Sweyn, Bjørn and Asbjørn. (Bjørn Jarl and Asbjørn Jarl). Sweyn - whose last name was after his mother because she was of higher rank than his father - became king of Denmark. The sources show however several uncertain details in Estrid and Ulf's history.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.
Ulf, –1026, Jarl, son of Thorgils Sprakalegg, joined king Sweyn Forkbeard on his expedition to England (1013-14); he had married Sweyn's and Sigrid Storraade's daughter Estrid. U. and his brother Eilif are mentioned as jarls (earls) in England in letters from Cnut the Great's period. On Cnut's expedition to the Wend (1023) U. was appointed governor of the Danish estate there, but some years later, when the governor in Denmark Thorkil the Tall had died, U. took over this post. Ulf soon contracted Cnut's anger however. He was the guardian of Cnut's and queen Emma's son Hardicanute, and when an attack from the Norwegian king Olaf and the Swedish king Anund Jacob was expected , he proclaimed - with a secret consent from queen Emma - Hardicanute king at Viborg Thing, which made Cnut furious. The Sagas describe the story in this way, but Saxo says that U. treacherously had excited the two kings to attack Denmark taking their side during Cnut's unlucky fight at Helgeå; but it was said that king Cnut quickly forgave his brother-in-law on his sister's intercession. U. and the king stayed late summer the same year at Roskilde, and one day it came to a feud between them about a move in a board-game; in his rage Cnut blamed U. his behaviour during the figth at Helgeå, while U. on the other hand reminded Cnut about his unluck. Next morning Cnut ordered one of his men to kill U. whereever he met him, and when he met him at matins in the Holy Trinity Church, he thrusted his sword through him. (29 Sept. 1026). Cnut gave his sister and the church large estate in order to atone for the kill. Estrid and Ulf had the sons Sweyn, Bjørn and Asbjørn.

Johannes C. H. R. Steenstrup.

translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright

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