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:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.