2015 SMUHA Guizer Jarl - Lesley Simpson
Auður djûpûðga (Aud or Unn the Deepminded)
Aud married the Norse king of
Dublin, Olaf the White, and they had
a son, Thorsteinn the Red.
Thorsteinn with Sigurd the Mighty
won half the lands of Scotland
through war but was treacherously
murdered in Caithness and Olaf was
killed in battle in Ireland.
Worried about what would happen to
her, Aud took matters into her own
hands and hatched a plan, gathered
her kin, slaves and friends, including
many men of high birth, and left
Ireland for Scotland where over the
winter, in a forest, they secretly built
a longship. Once ready she
gathered her wealth, family and
friends and set sail first of all for
Orkney. She stayed there awhile
and married off one of her many
granddaughters, Gro, from whom the
Jarls (Earls) of Orkney descend.
She seems to have skipped
Shetland for some unknown reason
and sailed straight to the Faroe Isles
where she married off another
granddaughter, Olof, from whom the
Gate-Beards are descended.
Aud left the Faroes in good weather
to travel finally for Iceland. After
overwintering with her brother Bjorn,
she set off to secure land throughout
the Breiðafjörður region of western
Iceland and had a great house built
there, called Hvamm. She gave
freedom and lands to those who had
stood by her and made the journey
to Iceland saying to them, "Now you
shall be rewarded for all your work,
for now I do not lack means with
which to pay each one of you for
your toil and good-will." She lived
well and was held in high esteem
with many seeking her advice
throughout her life.
As she approached old age, she decided that her grandson, Olaf "Feilan" the youngest of Thorstein's children, would be her
heir. He was strong and wise and Aud loved him dearly but thought it was time he settled down and got married. He took this
on board and Aud provided a lavish wedding feast and invited many guests from near and far. On the first day of the wedding,
she greeted her guests with great courtesy but retired early telling everyone to have a good spree and drink up! The next day
when Olaf went to wake her, he found her dead. The year was 900AD. Aud, with her treasure, was laid in a ship in a cairn: one
of the first and most important settlers of Iceland had passed into legend.
Aud may not have been a rampaging berserker but she was a leader of people, a settler of lands and a fair and dignified ruler,
certainly a historical figure featured in many of the sagas and one that left her mark in many lands of the Viking world.
When I first set out on this road in October 2010, I knew exactly who I would represent when the big day came. As news
got out, many people suggested to me that this admirable lady would be a suitable choice for me to portray. Aud was born
around 830AD in Raumsdal, Norway, to powerful military leader, Ketill Flatnefur (Flatnose) Bjarnarson and his wife, Yngvid
Ketilsdottir. Like many at the time, Ketill wasn't keen to stay and bend the knee to King Haraldr Finehair so while two of his
sons sailed for Iceland to settle there, Ketill and the rest of his house, including Aud, made for Scotland where he became
King of the Hebrides.