Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Jelling kirke, Gorms grav
Jelling kirke, Gorms grav

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two sons of Harald Kesja

Bjørn Jernside (Ironside), --1134.,
~ Cathrine of Sweden

Oluf Haraldsen, --1143 (?)

Bjørn Jernside,(Ironside) --1134. Erik Ejegods nonmarital
son Harald Kesja had 12 sons; among the oldest was B.
During the unrests after Knud Lavard's murder he joined
his father's brother Erik, who wanted to revenge the
murdered, and whom the Zealanders (sjællændere) and
Skånings had elected king. He followed him on an
expedition to Jutland (1132), where Erik at Onsild
bridge close to the town Hobro suffered a defeat and
had been taken prisoner by king Niels' men, if not B.
and the historian Svend Aagesen's(Aggesen) father had
fought the enemies so Erik could get to his ships,
where they quickly joined him. Although B. had been
so brave at that point, he was a few years later (1134)
killed by Erik, because he was a rival to the throne.
Erik was at that time sole king after king Niels'
death. B. had - like the earlier son of Regner
Lodbrog Bjørn - also achieved the byname Ironside for
his courage. B. was married to the Swedish king Inge
I's daughter Cathrine, they had a daughter Christine,
who became the wife of the Swedish king Erik the Holy.

C Weeke.

Oluf (Haraldsen), --1143(?),counter-king, was a son
of Harald Kesja and Ragnhild. When Erik Emune
surprised Harald near Vejle and killed him (1135),
he let catch Harald's other sons, who were there and
let them kill; only Oluf , who was very young, got
away, dressed as a woman, and took flight to Norway.
In 1137 O. was in Gøtaelven (river) with a fleet
and was ready to claim the Danish throne; Sigurd
Slembe, who was on friendly terms with the Danish
government and who arrived on his ships from an
expedition in the Baltic Sea, took 3 of his ships
and chased him up into the country. O. later returned
to Denmark and demanded Erik Lam to give him his
family estate, but was rejected as the son of a
traitor. O. had to hide his anger, but he secretly
made a conspiracy and tried to attack Erik one night
at the farm Arne at Lund. Erik's guard prevented the
assassination, and O. had to take flight to Sweden.
He started a feud from here (probably 1140-43), one
of the bloodiest in Denmark's history; the legend
said that there were 3 battles in one day and 13
battles in one year. After Erik Lam had left Skåne,
O. attacked. Archbishop Eskil tried in vain to stop
him, but he was defeated and had to give up Lund to
O. He had to swear loyalty to O. and give him hostages.
Eskil took flight to Erik and forgot both oath and
hostages; but when the archbishop as a leader of
Erik's army tried to land in Skåne, he was unlucky
again. O. now found another archbishop, who also was
named Eskil. The victory made O. too self-confident,
he was suddenly surprised by Erik's attack, who let
his archbishop hang and brought him a terrible defeat
at Glugstorp. O. had to flee to Sweden again. O.
attacked soon after Bleking, but was again driven back.
In a quick expedition he killed many civilians in Lund
and attacked boldly North Zealand, but was defeated by
bishop Rike at Buddinge Å (river) between Gentofte and
Copenhagen), whereafter he took flight to Halland. In
a new attack he surprised the warrior bishop in Ramløse
at Arresø and put his house on fire; Rike asked for
peace, and O. gave him free passage, but killed him
anyway. But O. was then excommunicated by the pope,
and his luck now failed him. Erik pursued him into
Halland, and O. avoided an attempted murder, which
Erik's man Ingimar aimed at him, but then he was killed
together with many of his men in the battle at Tjuteå
in Skåne (probably in 1143). One of O.'s sons was
the later throne pretender Harald Skrænk.

Script, rer. Dan. I, 384 f.
Saxo, ed. Müller.

Hans Olrik

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann   ©copyright

Friday, August 27, 2010

Harald Kesja, --1135--, ~ Ragnhild, a daughter of Magnus Barfod

Harald Kesja, --1135--, prince, was a nonmarital son
of Erik Ejegod and born long before his father became
king. When Erik was about to begin his pilgrimage, he
appointed H. as regent (1102).H. was a strong warrior,
who used his «Kesje» with great skill, the heavy
broad-blade spear; thus he must have got his byname
like other warriors, who were named after their kesje,
spear or sword. But he showed himself at the same time
as a not noble person, who misused the power for
robbery and violence. Asser who had just become an
archbishop, had to be his co-regent, but he had no
influence on H.

H. was hated by people, and when the message came
that Erik Ejegod had died (1104),no one wanted him to
be king; his paternal uncle Niels was elected. H.'s
descent gave him however a prominent place among the
Danish magnates, and he married Ragnhild, a daughter
of the late Norwegian king Magnus Barfod and a
stepdaughter of the Danish queen Margrethe Fredkulla.
Like his younger brother Knud (Lavard) he took part
in Niels' unlucky expedition to the Wendic chief
Henrik; upon a shield he was carried badly wounded
out from the fight at Ljutka. What else is heard
about him during king Niels' weak rule is not very

He boldly continued his robberies. From the castle
Roskilde Havn (harbour), where he probably was the
king's chief, he plundered far and wide. He was
especially brutal towards the citizens of Roskilde,
until they in their indignation went against H. and
forced him to take flight. He was also ruthless and
arrogant to his own brother Erik (Emune). Under the
pretext that Erik was born in adultery, he denied
him any part of the ancestral estate; Erik then
harrassed his farms and brought the property to
Arnakke, probably close to the present town Nyborg,
but he soon had to flee from H.; H. feared however
a new attack from Erik and put parts of his property
which he couldn't bring with him, on fire. Their
brother Knud Lavard, who was Denmarks hertug (duke)
and most outstanding man, summoned both and judged
that Erik had the right to inherit his father.

H. was also know for his immorality; his wife had
to put up with his many mistresses and nonmarital
sons, who were considered a rising gang of robbers.
After Knud Lavard's murder (7. Jan. 1131) H.
actually went on the Thing as an accuser of Niels
and Magnus, but he did not use much power in order
to revenge his murdered brother. Erik on the other
hand became at once a leader of the revengers. He
denied the Danish crown for H.'s sake; but before
the year had gone, he let himself be paid tribute,
and H. was in rage when seeing himself neglected by
his younger brother.But he followed however,
together with his sons Bjørn Jernside(Ironside) and
Erik Diakon,in 1132 Erik on the expedition to Jutland
and took part in the lucky fight at Sejrø; but after
Erik's defeat at Onsild and his flight from Jutland
he joined Niels, although his two sons still were
among Erik's trusted men.In order to fight his
brother H. fortificated his castle at Roskilde; but
German workers from Roskilde made catapults for Erik,
and the stones crushed H.'s strong defence tower; H.
escaped with difficulty to Jutland, and the castle was
destroyed. At the castle site were later found a hidden
silver- and gold-treasure and a number of coins from
that period.

When king Niels after the battle at Værebro drove
Erik out of Danmark (1133), H. took a brutal revenge
towards the Germans in Roskilde; but the rumor about
their mutilation enraged the German emperor Lothar,
so Magnus Nielsen had to prevent the trouble by a
humiliating submission. H. took part in the last
battle of the civil war at Fodevig in Skåne. Here
Erik Emune killed Magnus og gave Niels a terrible
defeat (4. Juni 1134). H. lost his son Magnus in the
battle, but escaped with great riscs together with
king Niels. They went hastily west through the country.
On the way Niels appointed H. co-king, but his luck
was short. H. was wise enough not to follow the old
king to Schleswig, and after his kill he was paid
tribute by the Jutlanders and took up residence in
the area near the old royal castle in Jelling.
Unexpectedly Erik went in the beginning of 1135, in
spite of ice and frost, against him, surprised him in
Skiping (Skibet) at Vejle Å (river) and let his own
brother be decapitated. The year before he had
ignominiusly let H.'s oldest sons, Bjørn Jernside and
Erik Diakon drown in Slien, although they had not
joined H., but only advised their father to leave
Denmark. At Skibet Erik took H.'s other sons prisoner;
only Oluf got away and later returned as a throne
pretender, causing a new civil war.Erik now carried
through the extermination of H.s descenders.He brought
H.'s 8 sons east and sailed them to an island where
they were murdered and thrown into a hollow. Their
names were Sivard,Erik, Svend, Niels, Harald, Benedict,
Mistivint and Knud. Besides 12 sons H. had 3 others.
According to the legends Magnus, Oluf, Harald and Knud
were born in wedlock.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard. (translated from Hans Olriks Danish
text: grethe bachmann) 

Hans Olrik.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hakon Jyde, --1131--, ~ Ragnhild), a daughter of Erik Ejegod

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Hakon Jyde, --1131--, chief, a son of a Jutland
magnate and the Norwegian Sunniva, a daughter of
jarl Hakon Ivarsen and Ragnhild,who was a daughter
of Magnus the Good. From his mother, who was of
high nobility, he was also called H. Norseman or
Sunniva's son. He married a daughter of Erik Ejegod;
acc. to Knytlinga Saga her name was Ragnhild. Saxo
says that H. won his bride by revenging the murder
on Bjørn, Erik Ejegod's brother, and he possibly
already was jarl at the southern border at that time.
He is later mentioned, when he took part in the
conspiracy against Knud Lavard; he met with Magnus
Nielsen, Henrik Skadelår, Ubbe Jarl and his son Hakon
Skåning, and it might be to distinguish him from
Hakon Skåning that he is named Jyde or Norseman. What
made H. join the enemies of his brother-in-law, is not
known; probably he just wanted to weaken Knud's power.
However he left the conspirators, when he discovered
they wanted to murder Knud; but since he had sworn an
oath not to reveal the conspiracy he was not able to
warn Knud about the danger. After Knud Lavard was
murdered in Haraldsted Skov (7. Jan. 1131) H. left his
passive role; together with Skjalm Hvide's sons and
Peder Bodilsen he stirred up the Zealanders against
Magnus and thus started revenging the murder. From this
time he is not mentioned.He was the father of Erik Lam,
king 1137-46.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard.

Hans Olrik.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Henrik Skadelaar ~ Ingerid & their son Buris Henriksen

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg

Henrik Skadelaar, --1134, royal descendant,
was a son of Svend Estridsen's son Svend, who
in 1104 in a forced manner craved for becoming
king in Denmark, but died on his way to Viborg
Thing. This ambition was inherited by H. Envy
and hatred were ruling his ways when he saw he
was shadowed by others, and the handicap which
gave him his byname, might even more have urged
him to bitterness. King Niels' queen, Margrethe
Fredkulla, who by arranging various marriages in
the royal house tried to secure the peace, also
wanted to win H.; he married Margrethe's brother's
daughter Ingerid,and at the same time Knud Lavard
married her sister's daughter Ingeborg. The queen
attached much importance to these marriages and
gave each bride a fourth of her Swedish paternal
property.In this way H. achieved property in
Sweden, which was later the starting point of his
son Magnus' demand of the Swedish kingdom ; in
Denmark H. owned among other things - as seen
from his son's gift-letter to Tvis Kloster -
widespread property in the Holstebro-area.

H. is especially known for his violent hatred
against his cousin Knud Lavard, whose honour
and power caught his envious eyes. Various
events increased this enmity.Ingerid was fed up
with her husband and went away with a lover, and
H. had to travel far and wide  before he caught
her at Aalborg; strangely enough he blamed Knud
for this. He wanted Knud's death and he urged
the weak king Niels to summon Knud to a meeting
in Ribe in order to give an answer to the
accusations of having done harm to the Danish
king and his kingdom, but when Knud's proud
answer disarmed his enemies, H. tried once more
to urge Niels against Knud. H. was the real
originator of the conspiracy against Knud, and
he became the leader of the delibarations. H.
drove the more kind-hearted Magnus to
assassination; and when Hakong Jyde left the
conspirators, H. forced him to swear an oath not
to reveal anything.

H. followed Magnus to the bloody misdeed in
Haraldsted Forest; and as soon Magnus had taken
Knud by surprise and cleaved his head, H. came
to and threw his spear through him. (7. Jan. 1131).
When king Niels after this was forced by the
Zealand thing-men to send Magnus in exile, H.
and others made the old king call back his son
and thereby he provoced the most violent civil
war, which had ever been fought in Denmark.
During the sudden upheavals H. probably hoped
for the title as king; but in the final battle
at Fodevig (4. Juni 1134) both he and Magnus and
many of their followers were killed. H. left
several sons: Magnus and Regnald played for a
short time a role in Sweden, Knud and Buris were
both connected to Denmark's history.

H. Olrik, Knud Lavard.

Hans Olrik.

Ingerid, --1134--, a daughter of the Swedish king
Inge I's son Regnald, who was first married to Henrik
Skadelaar.Her paternal aunt Margrethe Fredkulla, who
arranged the marriage gave her a part of her Swedish
property as dowage. I. gave birth to several sons,
but caused by Henrik's unpleasant character and her
own loose morals the marriage was unhappy. Ingerid
took flight dressed as a man with one of the
housecarls, but Henrik persued them and found her in
Aalborg in a slave woman's clothes and brought her
back home. After his fall (1134) she married the
Norwegian king Harald Gille, with whom she had the
son Inge. When Harald was murdered (1136), she
succeeded in having her son Inge celebrated king in
the southern Norway, while his halfbrother Sigurd Mund
was celebrated in Trøndelagen (1137). After this she
married the mighty Ottar Birting; but he was
assassinated by one of king Sigurd's men, whereafter
she had a son Orm with a man named Iver Sneis; Orm
later became one of his halfbrother Inge's trusted
men.Finally she married for the fourth time Arne at
Stodreim, which was now called «Kongsmaag». They had
3 sons, Inge, Nicolaus, famous as bishop in Oslo and
a ruthless party leader, and Philip, and a daughter
Margrethe. I. was said to have participated in the
assassination of Sigurd Mund (1155), but had hardly
any great influence in general. With Erling Skakke
and her husband she fled after Inge's fall back to
Denmark (1161),but returned to Norway again and died

Munch,  Det norske Folks Hist. II.

Hans Olrik.

Buris (Henriksen), --1167(?), Prince. He was a son
of Henrik Skadelaar, and a son's son's son of
Svend Estridsen. Although his father had been one
of Knud Lavard's killers , he was on Valdemar I's
side in the civil wars and played an important
role in this. Valdemar appointed him hertug (duke)
of Sønderjylland. Later he took part in the
expeditions to the Wends with distinction.But the
king always had some suspicions about him, since he
as a member of the royal family might wish for the
royal power for himself or his descendants, and
this suspicion grew worse, when B. in 1166 was
unwilling to acknowledge Valdemar's son as heir to
the throne. At last he agreed in this, if his duchy
was made hereditary. The king also suspected that B.
was connected to his Norwegian enemies, with whom he
was related on his mother's side, and he let him
take prisoner for life in 1167. This is what Saxe
said; but German history writers tell that he was
terribly mauled and later killed. In the old folksongs
about his illegal relation to the king's sister
"liden Kirsten" it seems that he is mixed with a
brother of queen Sophie, Boleslaus or Burislaus. He
had founded Tvis kloster and been married to a daughter
of Erik Lam's widow in her third marriage with a Graf
of Winzeburg.

Saxo. Suhm, Hist. af Danmark VII.
Grundtvig, Danmarks gl. Folkeviser III, 82 f.

J. Kinch.

Dansk Biografisk Lexicon
Carl Fr. Bricka
Project Runeberg
translation grethe bachmann  ©copyright