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.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).