2013 SMUHA Guizer Jarl - Dale Smith
Rognvald “The Wise” Eysteinsson
Although Rognvald was Harold Finehair’s
cousin he was banished by the King for raiding
in a prohibited area, earning himself another
nickname, “Wolf” meaning outlaw. The King
needed to control his fighting men and
maintain his leadership over this loose
federation of Jarls. Harald would one day die in
battle at sea but, for now, the Sea King would
exert his authority by banishing one of his
With his banishment finally rescinded, the
strong-willed, yet diplomatic Rognvald was the
obvious choice for Harald to command his
raiders heading west on expeditions to
Scotland, Ireland and the Orcadian
archipelago. On one of these expeditions
Rognvald’s son Ivarr was killed so, to
recompense, Harald granted the Jarldom of
Orkney and Shetland to Rognvald.
Jarl Rognvald chose to leave the Northern Isles
to his brother Sigurd and returned to Norway,
taking up the position of Counsellor to Harald
who by then had become the first king of a
united Norway. This prompted a change in
Harald’s nickname to Fairhair as Rognvald
reminded him of his earlier vow not to have his
hair cut until he became ruler of all Norway.
Harald knew better than to argue and allowed
Rognvald to cut his hair.
The Guizer Jarl Dale Smith represented his great (x35) grandfather (according to some genealogy websites) Rognvald “The Wise”
Eysteinsson, Jarl of More who was born around 830 in the small township of Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway.
Little is known of his early days but, as the son of Jarl Eystein Ivarsson, he would have been brought up in the ways of the warrior
learning how to command in battle and acquire great proficiency in the weaponry of the time. He grew into a strong, imposing
figure readily earning the respect of his troops who would willingly give their all in his honour.
With his raiding days behind him Rognvald and his wife then settled to enjoy a peaceful life in Stjøve – close to the port of
Husvik where fishing and whale hunting was usually well rewarded. He planned to spend his retirement visiting friends in places
like Hamar and Gjøvik as well as coaching young warriors in the ways of battle, even asking Tomas, his most favoured
carpenter to produce replica wooden axes for the young warriors to practise with. Tomas produced axes of great beauty for the
youngsters which pleased Rognvald greatly.
His two surviving sons set out to make their own way in the world – Einar in Orkney and Hrólfr who followed in his father’s
footsteps by being banished by the king, eventually ending up in northern France. Rognvald’s desire for a quiet life was
short-lived, unfortunately, as Harald’s son Halfdan surprised him in his great hall and burnt the hall to the ground, killing all those
Einar, now known as Turf-Einar on account of his expertise in using peat as a fuel, avenged his father’s death by killing Halfdan
and taking over the earldom of Orkney.
Hrólfr prospered in northern France eventually acquiring the dukedom of Normandy and numbering amongst his descendants
William the Conqueror and subsequent Scottish and English monarchs.