Name: Magnus Erlendsson
Birth: 1075 in Orkney, Orkney Islands, Scotland 1
Death: ABT 1115
Occupation: BET 1108 AND 1115 Earl of Orkney 1
Saint Magnus, Earl Magnus Erlendsson of Orkney, sometimes known as Magn us the Martyr, was the first Earl of Orkney to bear that name, and ruled f rom 1108 to about 1115. His story is told in two sagas, Magnus' saga the s horter and longer and one legend, Legenda de sancto Magno.
Magnus's grandparents Earl Thorfinn and his wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir h ad two sons, Erlend and Paul, who were twins. Through Ingibiorg's father F inn Arnesson and his wife, the family was related to the Norwegian Kings O lav II and Harald II.
Born in 1075, Magnus was the son of Erlend Thorfinnsson, Earl of Orkney, a nd he first served Magnus III of Norway as skutilsvein (approx. Chamberlai n), who took possession of the islands in 1098, deposing Erlend and his br other, Paul. Paul's son, Haakon Paulsson, then became regent on beha lf of the Norwegian prince, Sigurd, who made Haakon earl in 1105.
According to the Orkneyinga Saga, Magnus had a reputation for piety and ge ntleness, and was rejected by the Norwegians, refusing to fight in a Viki ng raid on Anglesey, Wales, because of his religious convictions, inste ad staying on board his ships during the Battle of Menai Strait, singing p salms. He was obliged to take refuge in Scotland, but returned to Orkn ey in 1105 and disputed the succession with his cousin Haakon.
Having failed to reach an agreement, he sought help from King Eyste in I of Norway, who granted him the earldom of Orkney and he ruled joint ly and amicably with Haakon until 1114.
Their followers fell out, and the two sides met at the Thing (assembl y) on the Orkney mainland, ready to do battle. Peace was negotiated and t he Earls arranged to meet each other on the island of Egilsay, each bringi ng only two ships. Magnus arrived with his two ships, but then Haakon trea cherously turned up with eight ships.
Magnus took refuge in the island's church overnight, but the following d ay he was captured and offered to go into exile or prison, but an assemb ly of chieftains insisted that one earl must die. Haakon's standard beare r, Ofeigr, refused to execute Magnus, and an angry Haakon made his cook Li folf kill Magnus by striking him on the head with an axe. It was said th at Magnus first prayed for the souls of his executioners.
According to the sagas, the martyrdom took place after Easter, on April 1 6. The year is often given as 1115, but this is impossible: 16 April fe ll before Easter that year.
Magnus was first buried on the spot he died. According to his legend, t he rocky area around his grave miraculously became a green field. Later Th ora, Magnus' mother asked Haakon allow her to bury him in a Church. Haak on gave his permission and Magnus was then buried at Christchurch at Birsa y.
There were numerous reports of miraculous happenings and healings. Willi am the Old, Bishop of Orkney, warned that it was "heresy to go about wi th such tales" and was then struck blind at his church but subsequently h ad his sight restored after praying at the grave of Magnus, not long aft er visiting Norway (and perhaps meeting Earl Rognvald Kolsson).
Magnus's nephew, Rognvald Kali Kolsson, laid claim to the Earldom of Orkne y, and was advised by his father Kol to promise the islanders to "bui ld a stone minster at Kirkwall" in memory of his uncle the Holy Earl, a nd this became St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall. When the cathedral beg un in 1137 was ready for consecration the relics of St Magnus were transfe rred, and in 1917 a hidden cavity was found in a column, containing a b ox with bones including a damaged skull. These are held without (much) dou bt to be the relics of St Magnus.
Father: *Erlend Thorfinnsson b: in Orkney, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Mother: Tjora Sumarlidisdatter
- Title: Wikipedia