2014 SMUHA Guizer Jarl - Keith Lobban
Einar Eindridesson Thambarskelfir
Guizer Jarl Keith Lobban from Gulberwick represented one of the most feared archers of the Viking age, Einar Eindridesson
Born in 980 AD, Einar was the son of a rich and influential farmer at the political centre of Melhus. Most of his childhood was
spent on his father's farms where he practiced archery, hunting bears and wolves and becoming a master of the long bow. He
was soon known as the most skilled archer in Norway and was given the cognomen "Thambarskelfir", meaning "wobbly
bowstring". Einar became Jarl at Husaby and commanded an army of his own.
King Olaf Tryggvason persuaded
Thambarskelfir to fight alongside
him on board the Ormrinn Langi
(Long Serpent). At the battle of
Svolder it is said that whilst
shooting at the enemy, a stray
arrow struck Einar's bow as he was
drawing an arrow. The bow broke
with a loud crack and King Olaf,
standing nearby, shouted "what is
that that broke with such a noise?"
Einar replied, "Norway, King, from
thine hands" Olaf gave Einar his
own bow to shoot but Einar drew it
too easily and said "Thy bow is too
weak for that of a great King".
Throwing the bow aside, Einar drew
his sword and fought valiantly.
King Olaf was defeated, but Einar
survived and was given quarter by
Earl Eirik. He travelled extensively
as an archer and military
commander. He was well versed in
Law becoming a powerful political
figure, with influence in royal
circles, including that of King Cnut
While travelling, Einar found King
Olaf Haraldsson's illegitimate 11
year old son. Magnus had a
paternal claim to the throne of
Norway. Einar brought him back to
Norway where he brokered a deal
with Harthacnut, the son of King
Cnut, and Einar became the de
facto leader in Norway in the name
of Magnus. When Magnus "The
Good" grew older he continued to
seek advice from Einar who
remained influential in the reign of
the young King.
Magnus, against Einar's advice, allowed Harald Sigurdsson (Olaf Haraldsson's half brother) to share the throne. King Magnus
died within a year and although never proven, many believed Harald to be the cause. Einar was an outspoken critic of Harald.
He was however, loyal to his country and refused to be involved in foreign plots against the King.
Despite this, Harald regarded Einar as being too powerful and dangerous, even in his old age. When Thambarskelfir was
nearly 80 the King arranged to meet him at Husaby to negotiate a truce. Einar and his sons waited for the King but the King
brought his army intent on killing Einar and his kin. Although surrounded, Einar and his sons fought valiantly, first with their
bows and when they ran out of arrows they took up sword and shield. They charged the King's men knowing their fate had
already been written by the Norn and they would soon meet Ullr, the God of Winter and Archery, in Valhalla. Einar and his
sons died in the battle ending the blood line of the Lade Jarls.