Friday, March 2, 2012

Roy Leask was the 2008 Guizer Jarl for the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, and represented Kol Kalison.
Roy is Operations Director of local building firm D.I.T.T. Construction Ltd.

The 73 strong Jarl's Squad, the youngest member of which was Roy's 19 month old grandson Euan, were dressed in full length chainmail over dark green pigskin kirtles. The chainmail of the Jarl's suit was silver and the other squad members suits were gold plated.

Paul Thorfinnsson (died after 1098) and Erlend Thorfinnsson (died after 1098) ruled together as Earls of Orkney.

Paul and Erlend Thorfinnsson were the sons of Thorfinn Sigurdsson and Ingibiorg Finnsdottir. Through Ingibiorg's father Finn Arnesson and his wife, the family was related to the Norwegian Kings Olav II and Harald II.

Their lives and times are recounted in the Orkneyinga Saga. The first mention of the brothers is when they accompanied the Norwegian king Harald Hardrade and Tostig Godwinson on the ill-fated expedition to England in 1066. Paul and Erlend were with Harald's son Olaf Kyrre, guarding the ships, when the battle of Stamford Bridge was fought. Along with Olaf they were allowed to leave by the English king Harold Godwinson. Olaf overwintered on Orkney with them and left on good terms with the Thorfinssons.

The saga says that Paul and Erlend were on good terms until their children grew to adulthood, after which the disputes between their sons led to a quarrel and open hostility between the brothers. As the disputes between the descendants of Paul and Erlend loomed large in the affairs of 12th century Orkney, the saga goes into some detail on their family relationships.

Paul was married to an unnamed daughter of Norwegian earl Hakon Ivarsson. Two sons and four daughters are named. Of these, Hakon played the greatest part in events.

Erlend married Thora, daughter of one Sumarlidi Ospaksson, and they had two sons and two daughters, while Erlend had a third, illegitimate daughter as well. Erlend's son Magnus appears in the saga as earl, martyr and saint. The troubles between the earls began with rivalry between Hakon Paulsson and Magnus's brother Erling. Both are described as quarrelsome, arrogant men, and talented too. Erland's daughter Gunnhild's was married to Kol Kalison and Rognvald Kali Kolsson was their son.

Magnus III of Norway took possession of the islands in 1098, deposing Erlend and Paul. Paul's son, Haakon Paulsson, then became regent on behalf of the Norwegian prince, the future King Sigurd I of Norway, who made Haakon earl in 1105.

So...lets see. Kol Kalison married Paulson's daughter Gunnhild.

Paul's father was Thorfin the Mighty, and his Grandma was Olith, who had married Sigurd the Stout.

Sigurd's Grandpa was "Thorfinn Skull Splitter", and Olith's dad was Malcolm II of Scotland, and HIS dad was the famous Kenneth II of Scotland.

With such, um, exciting lineage, it is no wonder this family went on to become kings of Norway.

The family tree is here....and its not so complicated, though the events they were involved in were VERY complex and profound. It involved the succession of the kings of Norway, and it makes for fascinating reading.

However, the descendents of Kol Kalison still live in the Shetlands, and hold a parade every spring. The "up helly" days are, up...becoming quite a tourist attraction.

As interesting as this is though, what do you think of Roy Leaske's gold plated chain mail with the alternating black rows? This has got to be some of the prettiest armour I have ever seen, and worth a closer examination. Please follow some of those links to see much more of the great Lerwick Up Helly-Aa event in the otherwise sleepy Shetlands.

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