This painting most probably does not present a realistic picture of what happened at Kringen.
Much points to the fact that firearms and choice of strategy decided the outcome of the Battle.
More about that later on this page.


Translation into English by
Norman Henderson


 Web: Geir Neverdal (lektor/cand.philol) - Sel Historical Society


The Battle at Kringen
26th. August 1612


Background - The Battle - Myths?Significance - Objects - Literature - Scotland - Programme2012


Contents of this page:


Tuesday 25th. August - What did the farmers do?
Tuesday 25th. and Wednesday 26th. August - What did the Scots do?
Wednesday 26th. August - The Battle at Kringen
Thursday 27th. August - What happened at Kvam the day after the Battle?
What part did the killings at the town "Nya Lödöse" play?
What part did Per Klungnes play?
How much was a human life worth?

When did the Battle take place?
The Julian Calendar
The Gregorian Calendar
Did the point in time have any significance for what happened afterwards?
Which weapons were used in the Battle?
What was the result of the Kalmar War?

Tuesday 25th. August - What did the farmers do?

The farmers gathered at Høg-Kringom during the 25th. of August. According to Angell (p.54) they came from Lesja, Dovre, Vågå, Ringebu and Fron together with some from Lom. He maintains that there was a total of 490 men altogether. They were basically unorganized and without anyone with a military background.
Those who distinguished themselves as leaders were the Sheriff of Dovre Lars Hågå, Per Randkleiv (Sheriff at Ringebu), and Arne Gunnstad, also from Ringebu. Berdon Sejelstad from Ringebu is also mentioned as one of those in command.

They had a great deal to do during that day and the night leading to the 26th. of August. A plan of battle had to be decided upon, men put in position and set to work, in addition to being given instructions.

Angell, as an Officer, finds it remarkable that the farmers, completely lacking in any form of military training or experience of war, were able to conceive and implement such a well thought out and precisely executed plan of battle.

“It demonstrates an excellent understanding of the importance of the use of the terrain, a correct assessment of the enemy’s and own strength, the commencement of fighting through a diversionary attack, the completion of it by a surprise offensive and finally, a visual order and reporting system which can do nothing but awaken our admiration” (p.55).

  In 1838 Krag writes as follows - and quotes the old ballad about the Battle of Kringen - older than Edvard Storm’s “Zinklarvise” (p.18):


“The Farmers near Kringlen waited for them; They had, at suitable Places above the Road, built up great Constructions, a type of unstable mass of Stones and Timber*). this was built on “Runners” bound together by Rope and underpinned by Supports so that, when the Ropes were cut and the supports removed, Timber and Rocks would pour down the Mountainside. The purpose was to let this Avalanche shoot down when the Enemy was underneath, and afterwards to attack the Survivors with Hand Weapons. The whole Rock and timber Construction, as well as the Farmers, who took Position behind this Barricade, was hidden by Branches of Fir trees so that it looked like a small wood.

*)Author’s note: More recently, considerable doubt has been cast by Bondevik and others, on the authenticity of the idea that an avalanche of logs was tipped down the valley side.
The use of so-called “
Spanske ryttere” (see below) is regarded by many, including Angell, as being more likely.

A “Spansk rytter” (Spanish rider) is a wooden construction consisting of one log, laid horizontally, through which holes are made close to, and at right angles to, each other. Through these holes lances or poles approximately two meters in length and sharpened at both ends were driven, making an “X” shape along the log’s length, when looked at from the end. In more recent times steel versions of these were used in a variety of ways during WWII, often on beaches to prevent the landing of amphibious vehicles, tanks, etc.

A small group of Farmers went into Hiding a little Way to the North and, when they heard the Noise of Battle, should move down onto the Road, preventing the enemy from retreating. The Farmers also cut down large Trees and constructed “Spanske ryttere” to tumble in front of and behind the Enemy on his narrow path, effectively containing him and preventing him from moving either forwards or backwards.

An old song, without doubt written by someone from Gudbrandsdalen, and which is older than Edvard Storm’s, and of which several incorrect copies have been made, tells about the Farmers’ Position.”



(In Norwegian:)

”Der ligger en Klev i Gudbrandsdal

Der monne man Kringlen kalde

Der lagde de Døler sig paa Tal

Henved femhundrede Alle.

De skandsede for sig og gjorde Mur

Og reiste Stener mange

De laage der som Katten paa Luur

Naar den vil Musen fange.”



A version of the ballad was written down by Kr. P. Åsmundstad and printed in the “The Dalesmen’s Year Book for 1932”. You can read it here (in Norwegian). Åsmundstad found the song - more than 20 verses - in a handwritten notebook on a farm in North Fron several years earlier. He comments on this version as follows:

“The handwriting was Gothic, beautifully penned and by a practised hand but, as one can see, very inconsistent in spelling and approved language form, in rhyme and rythm. The song has several verses; and so Andr. Austlid copied at least two for use in ‘Sinklarsoga’ ”.

Tuesday 25th. and Wednesday 26th. August - What did the Scots do?
  Krag writes the following (p. 16):  


These (the Scots - Author’s note) had however, as has already been said, taken to the mountains in order to avoid Rosten and had come down to Horgenlien in North Sell and taken Shelter there for the Night, after the Farmers had left there in the Morning. Sinclair slept at Romundgaard, and this Building which he used is still in existence and now used as a Barn. The Farmers in Northern Sell had tethered Oxen to the Fences, to prevent the Enemy from burning their Farms. Some say that the Scots stayed at Sell for a Day before moving on. “Now is the Start of Prosperity” Sinclair is reported to have said to his Men, “out on Hedemarken it will be even better”. In the morning before they left Sell, some hours before the Battle of Kringlen took place, it is said that he set off Gunpowder in his Hand to ensure that the March would be successful. When the Smoke reached his Chest he is reported to have said; “Today my People will suffer. - How much, remains to be seen”.




Sinclair was accompanied by a “Veirløber” or “Støver”; Others call him “Veirkalv”, Others a “Vildtyrk” or Tryntyrk”, which had the Characteristic, that he “as a Hunting dog could detect the Enemy”. He had Veir (Lugt) the smell they say of “Christian Blood”. Moreover it is said about him, that the heavy (muscular) part of his Leg was cut away so that he could run with even greater Ease.
This “Veirløber” was shot that same Morning on the Ødegaarden Farm. An elderly male Servant had in fact stayed behind to see what the Enemy would do and had hidden himself with his “Hornkreik” (Staalbue/steel bow) in a field of Hemp, and another man who had also stayed behind had taken up position by a Stovepipe to give the Archer a Signal. The “Veirløber” came after having drunk sour Milk in a Dairy. Both the sour Milk and the Smell of the Hemp now hindered the “Veirløberen’s” nose from discovering the man who was Hidden, whose accurate Shot felled him to the Ground, so that the sour Milk “spurted out of him”.

Read more about bloodhounds and “sleuth hounds” blodhunder og "sleuth hounds" i.e. dogs used to find people in Scotland at that time.
(The picture is on loan from Wikipedia).


A similar “Vildtyrk” was, as has already been said, previously shot in Romsdalen. It was, according to the Saga Positive for the Farmers, that these “Vildtyrker” were shot, as they were dangerous Scouts. In all probability these “Veirløbere” were nothing other than Sinclar’s Tracker dogs, which one must suppose, from both the Description and what has been told about the one that was shot on the Ødegaarden farm, because it ran about the Field and barked”.

The Scots broke camp at Sell. It was the 26th. of August 1612*) a day which has become very memorable in Gudbrandsdalen’s History. It was a Wednesday. The whole Scottish army marched Southwards to Military music.

*) In his commentary Kruse states the 26th. August, which is also the day written in the text on the old Monument at Kringlen which was destroyed by the flood in 1789, and which is replaced by the existing Monument, where the text is wrongly inscribed as the 24th. August”.

  Thomas Michell (Her Majesty's Consul General for Norway) writes in his book  (1886):  


"... he (Lars Hågå/Lauritz Hage forf. anm.) advanced in front (of the Scots) along the road until he saw his advantage at a fjeld called Kringelen, situated in Vaage parish, which they were obliged to pass. Thus he hemmed them in between the rock on one side and a large river close by on the other side, in which advantageous position he quietly encamped in the woods, and there lay with his men until the foreign soldiers arrived there, without, however, supposing or knowing aught but that the Norwegian troops were still withdrawing along the road before them."


Wednesday 26th. August - The Battle of Kringen


Georg Strømdal’s (1856 - 1914) painting from 1897
The painting is to be found today in The Scottish March Collection (Sinclair Inn) at Kvam in Gudbrandsdalen.

  Krag (1838) describes it in this way:  

“In order to keep themselves informed as to how far the Scots had come, and thereby estimate approximately when they could expect them, they sent out a Farmer called Audon Skjenna from Sell, to scout. He came to the Skjenna Farm where he saw Sinclar on the other side of the River, gathering his Men; and when he saw them cross the Laur bridge, a Bridge which spanned the Laagen immediately North of the Ulen River, he returned quickly. However the Scots saw him and supposedly shouted “Look at the Farmer riding on a Horse”. It was vital for the Farmers to distract the Enemy’s Attention from their Ambush and to get to know when the Enemy’s Main Force was below them; that then was the Time to begin the Battle. In order to achieve This the responsibility was given to one of the Farmers who would be on an island called Storøen in the Laagen and there, riding a white horse beyond the Enemy’s range of fire, keep pace with the enemy’s main force or its spearhead, and when they had reached an agreed Place, indicate this by suddenly turning back. To further distract the Enemy’s Attention he should, according to some, have sat backwards on the Horse, others say that in this Respect he had tied a large red Shawl around the Neck and down the Chest of the white Horse. Other Preparations were also made to distract the Attention of the Scots. After Advice given by Arne Nedre Gunstad from Ringebu the less skillful of those who were present were positioned on the aforementioned Storøen, so that they could deceive the Enemy with a diversionary Attack, thereby taking his Attention away from the Place where the real Farmers’ Army lay”.



This photograph of Mette-Marit and Håkon at the Pillarguri statue was taken
during the Royal Visit to Otta on the 19th. of June 2006.


Krag 1838 (continued):

Furthermore they let a Girl, with the Name Guri, commonly called Pillarguri, who could blow a Stut or Horn well, take up position on a Mountain Peak, Selsjordskampen, on the west Side of Laagen, from where she could clearly see the surrounding landscape and the advancing enemy.

When the main body of the Enemy had arrived at a place near the Farmers’ agreed Position, she should sound the Horn to attract the Enemy’s Attention to where she was, which was in the opposite direction to that of the Farmers’ army, and give an early warning signal to the Farmers, who from their Ambush position could not see the Enemy, about how far they had come. It is also told that she moreover, in Agreement with the Farmers, held a long white Towel which hung down, which she should wind several Times round her Arm, and in this way shorten it, showing how the Enemy drew closer.

Now come the Scots. Their Advance Guard of 60, some say 100 Men, marching a little way ahead, passed unhindered. The girl on the Mountain top didn’t blow her lur but waited for the main body of the marchers. It is decidedly odd that the advance guard did not notice the Farmers. Then followed the Scots’ main contingent, but the Farmers still remained quiet, each one ready at his Post. Among them was also Berdon, or Bardum, Sejelstad from Ringebo
*), and in addition there were two other capable riflemen who had been chosen by one of the leaders to make Sinclar himself their target. Berdon had given the order that nobody should open fire before he did. The Scots, who assumed that the Farmers’ army was somewhere ahead of them and didn’t expect an attack here, came unsuspectingly closer and were “in good humour”. When they were close enough they heard the Girl on the Mountain top play. The Scots stopped and listened to the unusual and melancholy Sound. Sinclar’s Musicians answered her by playing a March. The Girl played the same Notes again and the Scots answered her once more**). Then the Attack started from Øen.

*) Hjorthøy as well as the Saga refers to him as Berdon; in Grams Census the Name is spelt Berdum and in Christian IV’s Gift letter Bardum, which indicates that these differences in spelling are the result of a corruption of the original historical name, Baard or Bárd, due to the passage of time and the development of the language.

**) Both what the Girl played and the Scots’ March are still in the hands of the Parish’s Players, although the latter is probably corrupted. Both items are arranged for piano and are available printed in lithography and accompanied by descriptive material. It is possible that in Sinclar’s March the basic tones are to be found for the real March and that it is also possible that the original Sinclar March can be found, since it is to be expected that it was Clan Sinclar’s Pipe Music. Colonel Sinclar used and ... it is well known that the North of Scotland is full of pipers who all knew the old melodies and passed them on from Generation to Generation.

Several Shots were fired but no Bullet reached its target. Another Salvo was fired, followed by several more, with the same Result and the Scots laughed at this, which they believed to be a cowardly Attack, and they raised their Bonnets after each Salvo in derision. But suddenly the Signal was given to the hidden Farmers and the Scene abruptly changed. Rocks and Tree trunks poured down the hillside, at the same time as Sinclar fell to the first Shot. Berdon Sejelstad had taken up position behind some trees and had him in his sights, and since Sinclar was regarded as a great and brave Warrior who could survive being shot, Berdon, sure in his belief of this Capacity, took the Silver button which held his shirt closed at the throat and chewed it into a bullet, with which he loaded his Rifle*). Some say that he missed the first time. The shot is said to have hit Sinclar in the Forehead just above the left Eye. As he fell he is reported to have shouted : “This is Berdon Sejelstads Hage”**). The spot where he fell is still to be seen and is called “ Sinclarsdokken”. Immediately the Colonel fell, the others were attacked, and the Farmers stormed forward with Courage and Speed, Bellowing and bringing Death by shooting their Rifles and hacking with their Axes. The Scots were in a highly unfortunate Situation in the narrow Pass, where they were crowded together, not organized in a Fighting Formation and hemmed in by the Steep Mountain. From the North, South and above the Farmers assaulted them. The aforementioned song says:

“They were surrounded in the South
and North etc.:

”De vare omringede sønder og nord
Det monne de mest fortryde.
Der skeede paa dem et ynkeligt Mord
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -”

*) The Superstition that exceptionally Brave people could not be hit by bullets and that it was pointless to use Lead bullets against them, but that Silver ones were needed, is still occasionally found and is or has been prevalent in many other Countries.

**) I.e. Rifle. Hage or Hagebøsse ( in German Haken or Hakenrohr) was actually the first firearm, which replaced the Bow or Crossbow.

They ran up the Mountain side to reform but were pushed back down. “Those who were not shot, threw themselves into the River to save themselves and some drowned, while those who managed to cross the river alive, were immediately cut down by the Farmers on that Side”(Kruse).

The Dølevisen recounts the following about the Battle (in Norwegian):

”Der Oberste red i forreste Led
Han holdt sig saare prægtig.
Han blev først skudt af Hesten ned
Og blev strax ganske afmægtig,
Han døde og der strax paa Stand
Med flere paa de Tide.
Georgius Sinclar hedte han,
Som da blev lagt i Lige. 

Der tumled mange stolter Helt
Og dandsed mod deres Villie,
Hest og Mand til Jorden blev fældt,
Saa bøde dem Dølen til Gilde.
De Kugler tykke som Hagl fløi;
Mand maatte der holde og bie,
Der hørtes mangen Vraal og Støi,
Ja værkede mangen Side.
Der svedtes mangen blodig Sved,
De blev i Kinderne hvide.

De gave sig strax ad Klippen op
Død vil de Norske bringe.
Men blev nedkjørte med Steen og Stok
og maatte for Klippen springe.
Hart hos den Klippe rinder en Aae
De Strømme rinde saa strive,
Enhver som ikke kan Landet naa,
Han monne for Strømmen drive.

De svømmede baade hid og did
Paa Ryggen som de og kunde.
Den Konst de havde lært med Flid,
Dog maatte de gaae til Bunde.
De skjøde paa dem ret skarpelig
At Vandet stod dem om Øre,
De maatte blive paa det Sted
Og naaede ei det Tørre.” 




This photograph shows Pillarguritoppen/Selsjordkampen with the Pillarguri figure made of slate.
It has been taken, using a telefoto lens from down in the valley, just as the slate figure
reflects the sun’s rays. That is the reason for the white/shiny look the figure has.


“The Girl up on the Mountain top stayed there playing during the Battle, until she saw the Laagen stained with blood. Then she threw her Horn over her head and exchanged her Song for Tears. It is also said by some that Sinclar’s wife and child were killed during the Battle. According to the Saga, Kjel Fjerdingreen of Hedalen Annex to Vaage was persuaded by his Partner, who had a premonition of Disaster, to stay at home while the others went to Fight. But when she heard that Sinclair had his Wife and her newly born Child with him, she became anxious about that and, as much as she had begged him to stay at home, she now begged him just as much to go along, not to join in the Battle’s Bloodbath, but to save the child if possible. “You won’t have me Kjel, before you have saved the Child”, she is supposed to have said. Therefore he went. Kjel fought his way through the tumult of battle to fulfil his lover’s earnest Prayer. The child had just been hit by a bullet. Kjel found Mrs. Sinclair, who was completely distraught with sorrow, on horseback, wiping the blood from the Child. Others say that, in her fear, she had let it fall out of her hands and that Kjel caught it and offered it back to her - she thought that he should harm the child and, driven by Fear and Mother’s instinct, stuck a Dagger (Flus/Dolk) which she had in her hand, into her Benefactor’s Chest. Others say that she stabbed him in the back with the dagger as he bent down to pick up the Child. One of Kjel’s men then shot the lady off the horse and her body was supposedly seen later in the river Laagen. Yet others say that the Farmers threw her in the Laagen because they thought her to be a witch, and she sat there wiping the blood from her Child and the river carried her a long way before she died. When the Child was killed, and before she disappeared in the river, she is supposed to have sung a wild song in desperation ... . That place, where she for a short time held herself on the surface of the water, is said to be immediately outside the Northernmost Slope in Kringlen. Others say that she was among the prisoners and that her life was spared. It is recorded in the Vaage Book of Records that she kept her Life.

From just North of this Slope to a place to the South of the highest point of Kringlen, where the Wooden Tablet is located, is the area in which the Battle probably took place.
According to Kruse the fighting lasted for  an Hour and a Half. When the fighting ceased and the Victory was won, the Farmers took up the chase of the Advance Guard which they had allowed to pass unhindered. This Troop had fled when it sensed the defeat of the others, but was caught on a plain near the Solhjem Farm, South of Kringlen. When the Farmers came charging towards them shouting “Forward, forward, there are more of them who will flee”, the Scots sent their men towards them saying that they would surrender. They laid down their Weapons but when they saw that the Farmers were fewer than they at first thought, picked them up again and prepared to fight. The Guide Peder Klognæs was with the advance guard and almost shared the same fate as the Scots, but because of his shout “I am Peder Klognæs, I am Peder Klognæs and am of Your own People”, he avoided the same fate and could happily return to his Home in Romsdalen.

The size of the Farmers’ Army, which fought at Kringlen, was around 400 to 500
*) men strong, of whom 6 were killed and a few wounded, according what is reported in Dølavisen:

”Der Dølene havde dette gjort
Og lagt saa Fienden øde,
Jeg haver det for Sanding spurgt
At sex er bleven døde
I Slaget som stod ved den Klev
Og da blev lagt i Lige
Foruden de som saaret blev
Som er faa at sige.”

*) Kruse (1612) writes in his Report that the army was “”firehundrede og fems”? Men strong. In Dølavisen it says 500 Men, and it seems therefore wrong that the Farmers’ Army is recorded as 300 Men in the inscription on the Monument on Sinclar’s Grave.


  Thomas Michell (Her Majesty's Consul General for Norway) writes in his book (1886):  


"... The above-mentioned Lauritz Hage, having made his arrangements and perceived his advantage, attacked, together with another lensmand, Peter Rankleff of Ringeboe, and with all their men together they fired upon the foreign troops and shot them to death during an hour and a half. Those who were not shot jumped into the river to save themselves, but were there drowned ; and those of them who got alive over the river were quickly killed by the Bonder on that side ; all of which happened and occurred on the 26th of August last. From the Bonder who were themselves present at the battle, and who buried and counted the dead and the defeated, we learn that the foreign soldiers must no doubt have numbered at the least 550 men, although the Scots who remained alive, and of whom there are altogether 18, will not admit that they were more than 350 men strong at the utmost. On the day the battle took place 134 Scots were taken prisoners, who were straightway the next day killed and shot by the Bonder, with the exception of the above-mentioned 18, the Bonder saying to each other that His Majesty had enough to feed in those same 18."


  Thursday 27th August - What happened at Kvam the day after the Battle?  
  Krag (1838):  

“The Farmers immediately left there (Kringen) with the prisoners and went to Kvam, Annex to Froen. After the honourable act which they had newly carried out, the next day the Farmers perpetrated a Bloody Act which the valley’s inhabitants recounted with disgust and a wish that it had never happened. - “ The most senior of them who were present” wanted that the prisoners, who had been imprisoned in a barn on the Klomstad Farm - should all be sent to Akershus;

”Men behagede Dølerne ei
At de saa skulde drage
Gjennem den lange og trange Vei
Og gjøre Landet Umage.”

The Crowd, who were very Angry, shouted that they all should be Killed, whereupon the prisoners were taken out of the Barn*) One by One they were shot until 18 were left alive. Five or Six who survived being Shot “in a mysterious way”, were stabbed to death with Spears. In the Dølevisen it says:

”De agted ei Lod eller Krud
Det tørred i deres Pander
Saa haard var deres Kjød og Hud
Det kunde ei gjennem dem gange.

Formedelst List og Troldomskonst
Den havde de lært til Prikke.
Hvad man dem gjorde var omsonst
De monne ei derved hikke

Saa toge de til de skarpe Spjud
Og monne til dennem rende
Da revnede baade Kjød og Hud
Og gjorde med dem en Ende.

Dog af de Fangne beholdne blev
Jeg ved paa en nær tyve
Blandt dennem to Capitainer gik
Jeg vil det ikke lyve.
Den ene Capitain Brynts ved Navn
Den anden Capitain Ramse.”

*) The Barn still stands (1838) some Way North of Sinclar’s Grave near Kongeveien.
(The barn was destroyed (fire) during the heavy fighting in Kvam in 1940 - WWII)

Kruse (1612) writes about the Prisoners: “While on the day of the Battle 134 Scots were taken prisoner, they were immediately taken out the next day and all beaten to death and shot except for 18, saying to each other that the King had enough to do to feed the 18, despite the fact that Some of them were wounded and Some still had bullets in their bodies when they arrived (at Akershus Castle). Of the aforementioned 18 soldiers we now send ((i.e. to Denmark) the three most Senior who are a Captain Alexander Ramsy (Ramsey) and his Lieutenant, named Jacob Mannerpange, who had previously been in both Denmark and Sweden and now on this March had been used as an interpreter: the third is called Henrich Bryssz, who had been used because of his reputation as a Soldier in Holland, Spain and Hungary. With regard to the other 15, some took employment with the good people of the country, some I have immediately sent to Elfsborg (near Gothenburg in today's Sweden) and who will willingly serve the King in Jørgen Lunge’s Regiment*). In the Dølevisen it says about them:

”De blev omsider til Slottet ført
 De lysted ei her at blive
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
”De kunde ei lide den Kost saa haard
Som Gudbrandsdølen mon give.
Her vanker ei mange Høns og Faar,
Men Lod og Krud udi Live.”

*)  i.e. enter Danish Military Service. Jørgen Lunge was a Danish Nobleman who was at that time Commandant of Bahuus Castle.

That at least 18 survived can be seen from Kruse’s account (1612), and that several even remained in the valley is told in the Saga; Storm sings that none of the Scots ever saw their homeland again; there is nevertheless an account of one who did reach home*).
The Place in Kvam near Laden, where the dead Scots were buried, is to be seen North of Laden and is called Skothaugen.

The Farmers’ conduct towards the Scots can in no way be justified, but as long as there is much which speaks for excusing the behaviour, one should be careful about making a categorical judgement. According to the Saga, there was anger caused by the treatment of Peder Klognæs, who had witnessed so many of the gruesome deeds perpetrated by the Scots during the March and who himself had suffered from them. It is possible to see that the connection might have been as follows: The Farmers, tired after several days’ march and the Battle, arrived at Kvam with the prisoners, and had begun to be bored with the thought of taking them further, added to which it was the busy harvest time and food was perhaps short. Some of them might have been drunk, as they had been previously in Sell and, influenced by the alcohol and tales of the Scots’ supposed attrocities, believed that they deserved to die and immediately set about killing them, without the leaders attempting to stop them. Perhaps the prisoners themselves, during their transport, gave reason for added exasperation. Such an assumption is within the bounds of possibility because it seems extraordinary that the Farmers, after the occurrance at Solhjem, didn’t immediately do away with the prisoners given that their anger was so great the following day, but that they took them about 10 kilometres on the road to Akershus. Special circumstances, about which we no longer know, could have been contributing factors to the deed. Before one passes final judgement on the whole occurrance and the Farmers from Gudbrandsdalen, it should be remembered that war at that time, and the Kalmar War in particular, brought with it considerable cruelty in addition to turning the clock back in terms of the spirit of the times, and it should not be forgotten that more than two centuries have passed since then. Despite the fact that present times exhibit a higher cultural level, similar acts of Barbarism are still committed. One readily remembers what has been told of the cruelty of the Duke of Cumberland after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 in Scotland, the murder of General Torrejos and his 60 unfortunte troops on the plains outside Malaga by General Morenos in 1832, General Minas’ cruelty in Lacarotz in 1835 and the attrocities committed against the English prisoners by the Carlites near Tolosa in 1837.

*) Slange tells that they “All were shot or cut down, except twenty”; but deserves less credibility in this connection than Kruse or the Legends. Slange also maintains “that one of the prisoners was a skilled glass craftsman who settled in Norway and died here and that another was sent to Scotland. This is recounted in legend, but that the last man was sent home “so that he could tell his countrymen what had happened” is probably Slange’s own addition. As examples of how several later historians have described the occurrance, Fred Snedorff’s lectures about Fædrelandets Historie 2 B, p.106 and later even Werlauff in his own publication of the 4th. printing of Munthe’s Levnedsbeskrivelser (Munthe’s Biography) p.191, has distorted his narrative about Slange, that the Scot who settled here as a skilled glass craftsman - established a glassworks in Norway.

“The saga tells that One of the surviving Scots, when he saw the Rifle pointed at him, ran to Ingebrigt Valde from Vaage*) and with Beseeching Gestures, begged for his Life and Rescue, and sought Shelter under his Horse, whereupon Ingebrigt raised his Axe in his Protection with the Threat that he would cut down whoever killed him. This Scot was reportedly a Master glass worker and later settled in the Country and to Prove his Gratitude sent several Windows to Ingebrigt Valde, whom in his Letters he always referred to as his “Lifefather”. Of these same Windows, one is still shown on Valde, in which some decorations with etched work on a Rough Shape, which represents a Shield, on which can be seen a Mark like a Signet (perhaps Ingebrigt Valde’s) and an Angel which appear to hold its hands in a protective manner over it”.

*) Hjorthøy calls him Ingebrikt Sørvold; in Grams Mandtal (Grams Census) neither this name or Ingebrikt Valdes is to be found. On the other hand the tenant farmers Oluff and Knud Valde are both named.

Krag 1838

  What part did the killings at the town "Nya Lödöse" play?  

In the winter of 1612 the Danish/Norwegian forces had occupied the town of Nya Lödöse near Gothenburg. A troop of 1000 men (700 German mercenaries and 300 Norwegian farmers) remained in the town while the remainder marched on.

At the end of February however, the Swedes recaptured the town and the 700 soldiers surrendered based on the assurance that they could go free. The 300 Norwegian farmers who, according to information handed down, had sought refuge in a church, were brutally executed. There were supposedly farmers from Gudbrandsdalen among them, according to Angell.

  On the “Gustav II Adolfs Fotfänika i Göteborg” net pages, the story is told in this way:  

“On the 26th of February Jesper Matsson arrived at Nya Lödöse with a troop of soldiers. During the night siege preparations were made and three cannon were brought from Älvsborgs Castle. Early in the morning the Swedes opened fire, whereupon the complement of 700 soldiers surrendered against free passage. Some 200 of them entered Swedish service. The 300 Norwegian farmers who were in the town were not included in the surrender, so they were killed”.
(Read more: The fighting in 1612 and the Älvsborgs Castle surrender - in Swedish: )


It is assumed that the killings in Nya Lödöse were known about in Gudbrandsdalen - and can have been a contributing factor to what happened at Kvam the day after the Battle of Kringen.

Lonbakken is of the opinion that what happened at Nya Lödöse also acted as motivation before the actual battle.

Read more about the fighting around Gothenberg in 1612 on the net pages
"Gustav II Adolfs Fotfänika i Göteborg" (in Swedish)

Click for a large version of the map of Nya Lödöse
(Map: Wikipedia.

  What part did Per Klungnes play?  
  (Coming later  
  How much was a human life worth?  
  Per Steffensson  

“In 1628 ( sixteen years after the battle) Per Steffensson had been drunk and blasphemed against God” (i.e. he had sworn) Ivar Teigum recounts in “The Parish Record Book for Sel and Vågå” (volume 2, p.34).
The Clerk of the Court and Jury sentenced him therefore to hanging.
Punishment was later reduced to expulsion - and then to a fine of 20 daler for swearing.
However, 20 daler corresponded to approximately half of what it cost to build a new church in Sel the same year.

Draconian punishment for lapses which we today almost ignore - a person’s life was worth little.

A result of that attitude to the worth of a human life can be seen in what happened at Kvam the day after the Battle.


  When did the Battle take place?
Did the point in time have any significance for what happened afterwards?


The Battle took place on the calendar date the 26th. August 1612, BUT... that time the Julian Calendar was still in use in, amongst other countries, Denmark/Norway and Sweden. As it was in England and Scotland.

The Roman Catholic countries in Europe had already started to use the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. It took however many years for some of the Protestant countries to follow suit.

Denmark/Norway started to use the Julian Calendar in 1700, almost 90 years after the Battle of Kringen, and Sweden followed later in 1753.

  The Julian Calendar    
  The Julian Calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar from the year 46 BC.

“The calendar was based on the Egyptian calendar and during its development Caesar had the help of the astronomer Sosigenes from Alexandria.
The new calendar follows the sun’s year and the average length of the year is 365.25 days; of four years three have 365 days, and the fourth year, (a Leap Year), 366. The months were given their present lengths, but two have since changed their names, July and August...
The calendar was adjusted back to its proper place in the sun’s year when, in 46 BC, three months totalling 90 days were inserted ((Confusion’s Year). Because of a mistake, each third year up to 8 BC was given 366 days. Keiser Augustus corrected this by removing every Leap Year between 8 BC and 8 AD. The calendar was later used unchanged until it was reformed in 1582”.

Julius Caesar (100-44 BC)
Photo: Wikipedia

  The Gregorian Calendar

“At the large meeting of Churches in Nikaia in 325 AD a resolution was passed about the Festival of Easter which presumed that the Vernal Equinox should always fall on the 21st. March. The average year according to the Julian Calendar is however 0,0078 days longer than the tropical year, a difference which, after 128 years, amounts to a whole day. Consequently the Vernal Equinox, after 128 years, goes one date back in the calendar and in 1582 it was pushed back to the 11th. March. Pope Gregory the 13th. decreed the introduction of a revised calendar, the Gregorian Calendar. To bring the Vernal Equinox back to the 21st. March 10 days had to be “lost” in 1582 (the day after the 4th. Oct. was written as the 15th. Oct.). In Norway and Denmark the calendar was taken into use in 1700 by the day after the 18th. February being written as the 1st. March. (SNL)

Pave Gregor 13. (1502-1585)
Photo: Wikipedia


The Battle took place some 11 days later. According to our contemporary calendar it was around the 6th. September.
However, it will be an almost impossible task to recalculate calendar dates for historic events in the individual countries to the calendar we use today. As has been said above, different countries started to use the Gregorian calendar in different years.

Therefore, all calendar dates in the various countries which used the Julian Calendar will, from a short time after the birth of Christ and up to 1582, be displaced from by one to ten days - in relation to the sun’s year.
In countries which took the Gregorian Calendar into use after 1582 the difference will be equivalently greater.


It is therefore normal that calendar dates for earlier historical occurrances are related to the recorded time - and for the Battle of Kringen that is the 26th. August.


A list of countries from SNL showing when some countries started to use the Gregorian Calendar (our contemporary calendar):












Great Britain (incl. Scotland)


Soviet Union

















Read more about this: English Wikipedia and German. Wikipedia
  Did the point in time have any significance for what happened afterwards?
  Corn (i.e. barley) was the life saver  
Sjur Lonbakken points out that the types of corn used in the 1600s needed a longer time to ripen than those we cultivate today.

“It is therefore to be believed that the Battle at Kringen took place just before the major task of harvesting should begin...The binding and stacking of the corn was just around the corner, if it had not already started, and if the corn was to be saved, each and every farmer had to make sure it was done. The farmers were clear enough in their thinking as to have another explanation for doing what they did, and that was that they should prevent the King from being burdened by unnecessary expenses. But the farmers’ problem was surely that they themselves would have had the problem of feeding more than 100 men on the journey to Akershus. In fact they also acted this time to their own advantage, based on local interests and motives. Understandable, but what they did seems brutal. The 1600s were brutal times, and the farmers possibly feared that the Scots might overpower them. They were probably afraid for their own lives”. (Lonbakken p.91)

In order to keep control of 130 prisoners on such a long march as it was to Akershus, many of the farmers would have been required to make a journey lasting several weeks - from the 6th. September - to and from Oslo, in the middle of the most important harvest season.

(Tracks/roads did not follow the fastest route so, in comparison to the 550 km length of a round trip Kvam-Akershus on today’s E6 main road, their journey would have been considerably longer.
Lesja-Akershus-Lesja along today's roads is a distance of about 680 km.

How long was a day’s march?

Dr. phil. Fartein Valen-Sendstad explains in his article “Commerce in Oppland in the 1800s” that for many hundreds of years a good day’s journey was regarded as three Norwegian miles (30 km.) . On horseback, given good conditions, it could be up to 50 km. Journey time between Oslo and Vågå was normally regarded as being 10 days, one way, and often more. (“Oppland fra istid til nåtid” utgitt av Opplandsbanken i 1979 s.112 - “Oppland from the Ice Age to the present day”, published by Opplandsbanken in 1979 p.112)

  A marginal area for corn (i.e. barley) production

North Gudbrandsdalen has historically always been a marginal area for corn production, - and corn, “God’s gift”, was at that time a deciding factor in being able to survive throughout the year. Hunger, famine and resulting death were not unusual in the centuries before the potato came to Norway - if the corn harvest wasn’t brought in. (The potatoe first came to Norway in the latter half of the 1700s).

The farmers could have seen it as decisive for their own survival that they avoided that transport - a factor which could have contributed to what happened at Kvam the day after the Battle.

Barley in Vågå 2010

  The fear of losing control and being overpowered during such a long march, added to the fear of not being able to secure food supplies for their families for the coming year, can have had an effect on their actions.  
  Firearms - some history:

Proper handguns were developed during the 1300s, when gunpowder was first used.

“ The first hand-held firearms were handpipes which consisted of a barrel which was closed at the rear end with either a welded wedge or a screw, and was called a haker (Halfhaker, Singlehaker and Doublehaker) or hakebørse, because it was equipped with a support which was used to steady the weapon against something solid (e.g. the parapet) during the actual discharge and which absorbed the recoil. The barrel had a vent, and later a pan for priming” (

Hakebørse - illustration from Wikipedia



“Not until the fuse lock, fitted with a trigger which lead a burning fuse to the primer, was invented at the beginning of the 1400s, was it possible to aim during shooting and use both hands to handle the rifle. The fuse lock remained in use for almost 300 years. Arkebusen with a fuse lock was up to 2 metres in length, weighed approx. 8 kilograms and fired lead bullets which weighed from 36 to 66 grams. It could fire up to 10 shots an hour.” (SNL).

Fuse lock - illustration from Wikipedia


The wheel lock was invented at the beginning of the 1500s and worked in the same way as a modern cigarette lighter, where a toothed wheel made sparks by grinding against a stone. The weapon was gradually made lighter, renamed a musket, and was in use especially during the reign of Gustav 2. Adolf. It weighed 6-7 kilograms, had an 18-25 mm. calibre and shot ca. 50 gram projectiles approximately 200 metres. The stusser was developed about the same time. It had rifling in the bore, was shorter and lighter than the musket”. (SNL)


"Five rifles are mentioned in the Artillery Museum catalogue of 1904 : "Smoothbore rifles with wheel locks, long barrels.
Left behind by the Scots during the fighting in Gudbrandsdalen in 1612". Total length of the rifle: 205 cm (80.7 inches).
These five rifles are preserved - four are owned by the Ministry of Defence, the fifth is in the Scottish March Collection,
Kvam. That particular rifle had previously been given to the then, but now long since deceased, Head of the Air Force,
Generalløytnant Odd Bull"
(Scottish March Collection  Kvam)




“ The snaplock was invented during the 1500s and was improved around 1650 into the flintlock. In this construction the cock which held the flint was pulled forward by a spring. The flintlocks were in use for more than 150 years, from the Thirty Years War and throughout the Napoleonic Wars. The musket with flintlock and bayonet was called a bayonetflint, or rifle, and from the beginning of the 1700s was the Infantry’s weapon. The bayonet replaced the pike or spear and the long stabbing blade, used by Gustav 2. Adolf, and which was attached to the musket in a somewhat uncertain fashion”. (SNL)

Illustration of a Snaplock rifle. - Maihaugen


An old rifle from The Scottish March Collection at the Sinclair Inn at Kvam
From about 1650 onwards, (about 40 years after the Kringen battle) flintlocks were used.
  Which weapons were used in the Battle?  
  In 1604 Christian IV imposed stricter demands on farmers with regard to weapons, Sjur Lonbakken tells us in his Masters paper:

“Apart from other demands, every fullsize, halfsize and quartersize farm must possess at least one serviceable rifle to be available at any given time. A weapons court should be held and heavy fines imposed for non attendance, lack of weapons, or that weapons were not properly maintained”. (Lonbakken p.14)

It can therefore be deduced that many who were at Kringen carried rifles. Similarly, when one knows that the hunting of reindeer has been an important item in the food supply for those who lived here in the mountain communities, it is logical to assume that they could handle these weapons - also that they knew how to avoid detection, either by a hunted animal or an enemy which was drawing near.

A wheel lock
From The Scottish March Collection
 at the Sinclair inn in Kvam.

  70% of the farmers had a firearm
  Lonbakken writes:

"The majority of farmers in Gudbrandsdalen had farms which met the criteria for keeping a firearm on the farm.

According to the Tax List of 1612, of the 530 farmers in Lesja, Vågå, Fron and Ringebu, only 151 were either farmers on isolated farms or farmers “tied” to owners. That is to say approximately 72% of the farmers in the district were obliged to have a firearm”. (Lonbakken p.82)

  Halberd, spear, tessak and axe

Farmers on isolated farms and those who were “tied” to owners were required to have a halberd, tessak or axe. Even servants should have a spear and a tessak or an axe, according to whether they had full or half pay. (Lonbakken p.82).


“Tessaks were purchased by the Danish/Norwegian State at the end of the 1500s and additional purchases made between 1612 and 1628. Several hundred (m.u.) of these weapons are to be found at Maihaugen. Tessaks are the people’s weapon, while swords or rapiers were more likely to be associated with the upper classes such as officers, civil servants and city dwellers”
. (

  The Sinclair Hilt     

"The Sinclair Hilt was one of the earliest basket-hilt designs and was of south German origin. On average the blade of a Sinclair or "compound" hilt sword measured 38in.
It had long quillons and an oval leather-wrapped grip that was originally designed for falchion blades but was soon applied to the broadsword.[5] It had a large triangular plate very similar to the ones used on main gauche daggers and was decorated with pierced hearts and diamonds.
Hilts of this design were also used on other weapons including sabres, cutlasses, rapiers, backswords and civilian hunting hangers.

A similar weapon was the Pallasch which had the same hilt and straight blade but was single-edged. It was used until the mid-18th century by the Austrian army and inspired the British 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sabre." (Wikipedia - Eng.)

George Sinclair's forces land in Norway, 1612.
The soldier is armed with a Sinclair hilt broadsword
and wears a comb morion.

"It is believed that these swords were brought back to Scotland by George Sinclair's mercenaries who had served on the continent.

The Sinclair hilt broadsword influenced the development of the Scottish basket-hilted claymore, which was used by Highlanders in the 17th. and 18th. centuries. After the Jacobite Wars it became a symbol of Scotland”.


  How well armed were the Scots?    
  It has been argued that the Scots were lightly armed - and that they expected to be furnished with more weapons when they got to Sweden.

(More about this later)


Illustration: Halberd from The Scottish March collection at the Sinclair Inn in Kvam.

What was the result of the Kalmar War?

When peace was made in 1613, Sweden was required to abandon their claim on Finnmark and pay the sum of one million Riksdaler in compensation. Denmark/Norway emerged strengthened from the conflict,

There were no changes in borders as a result of the war.

Background - The Battle - Myths?Significance - Objects - Literature - Scotland - Programme2012


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Web: Geir Neverdal (Lektor/Cand.Philol.) - Sel Historielag