Holmbyggjar

The HolmbyggjarThe HolmbyggjarThe Holmbyggjar

The Hólmbyggjar are an extended family group with numerous friends and allies. A modern person would call them Vikings: they consider themselves to be men and women of Ranrike, Jutland and so on.

Ulrik Sinfjotlison is the head of the family. He comes from Ranrike, on the westernmost border of Sweden. He moved to England with his sons Valgard and Skarf, and his fosterson Ubbi, with the intention of setting up a trading post. They have taken land on Osea Island in the Blackwater estuary, Essex. This is ideally situated for both trade and farming, and the settlement has prospered. Ulrik’s ship is called the Svart-svín or “Black Pig”.

Mead FairyUlrik has now returned to Ranrike, and passed ownership of the land on to his son Valgard. Valgard in turn spends much of his time travelling and trading in the East, so the settlement of Hólmr is administered by Bossi, Ulrik’s styrsman and trusted lieutenant. His wife Halla of course wields the real power. Their children are also fine warriors.

As pagans, the Hólmbyggjar venerate many supernatural entities, and the family’s special guardian is the Mead Fairy. The great banquet hall of the Hólmbyggja is occasionally visited by a powerful Dís, or female spirit. She takes the form of a beautiful winged woman, haloed with honeybees and bearing a jug. All rejoice at her coming, for it means that no man or woman’s horn will fail to flow with mead that night. For some reason she is also associated with headaches.

The picture shows a silver pendant representing the Mead Fairy which was sand-cast by Alf Silversmith.

Lands of the Holmbyggjar

Members of the Holmbyggjar

A feared fighter with the double-handed spear. As the wife of Bosi, the styrsman of the Svart-svín, Halla wields the true power in the Holmbyggjar.
I am Morag Sunnadottir. Although my father is a Celt (this is why my first name has Celtic origins), my mother Sunna (called after the Sun Goddess) is a powerful Völva, a traditional staff carrier, a traveling priestess and she has trained me accordingly. I am therefore happy to talk about the wisdom of the old Religion and the Goddesses in our Pantheon, to oracle,  give healing or weave some magic into your life…
A dependable warrior of the Holmbyggjar, a good man to have by your side in a fight or a feast.
The long-suffering wife of Finn.
A jovial Viking, famed for his enjoyment of mead.
My father's a Viking from Norway. My mother's a maiden from Kent.
Dagrun is mother to Finn, daughter to Ingibjorg and Halldor, and sister to Arinbjorn. She is a maker of many things on account of her delightfully fickle nature. Dagrun's Story
A Viking much given to raiding the Frankish kingdoms.
Ingibjorg is a crafty widow who has come from Jutland to settle in East Anglia, on the island held by her mother's brother, Ulrik. She enjoys tablet weaving, sewing socks, and feasting. Ingibjorg's Story

Notes on Names

Hólmr means “islet” or “knoll” in Old Norse: the Hólm-ganga or “island-going” was a duel fought in a space which had been marked off to form an artificial “island”. Byggjar is an archaic Old Norse term meaning “settlers” or “inhabitants”, and so the Hólmbyggjar are the settlers on the island. Old Norse is an inflected language, meaning that the words change depending on their grammatical role. Hólmbyggjar is the nominative plural, hence “The Hólmbyggjar are”, but you would say “the Saga of the Hólmbyggja”, and “one Hólmbyggi is walking towards me”.

Although the island is called Osea by the locals, the Viking settlers have pragmatically named their settlement Hólmr, “the islet”, which is a common place-name in Scandinavia.