Audunborg Castle Ruins

Jølster, Norway

Audunborg or Hegrenes-borga castle was built in stone from 1276 to 1286 probably by English craftsmen from Bergen. The rectangular building was 22 by 13 metres and had three stories. There was a store room in the ground floor, living quarters on the next floor, and a feast hall in the top floor. It had large windows and arches. The building itself had water on three sides and was thus easy to defend. It is also thought that a moat or castle wall was part of the fortifications. Recent research claims that Audun himself spent little time in his castle as his activities kept him either in Bergen, in the east of the country or abroad. As a baron, Audun Hugleiksson was allowed to keep a hird (armed retinue) a right otherwise reserved for the king. This hird would defend him on his travels and when he was at home in Audunborg.

In Norway, only the King and the Church had the funds to build in stone and Audunborg along with Isegran by Glomma, built by Alv Erlingsson, are the only two known examples of private stone castles in Norway. Stories about Audun remain in local folklore and one story includes him burying all his money and sinking a silver table into the lake Jølstravatn before departing for his last trip to Bergen.

Today, only the ruins remain of the castle that stood at the tip of Hegreneset by Jølstravatn in Sunnfjord. It was first excavated in 1934 and is probably modeled after Håkonshallen in Bergen which was twice as long and twice as wide. A memorial to Audun, carved by Jørgen P. Solheimsnes from Jølster was erected on the site of the castle in 1960. Its motive is the baron's seal.

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Founded: 1276-1286
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Norway

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