Halsnøy Abbey was a house of Augustinian Canons located on the island of Halsnøy. The monastery is believed to have been founded in 1163 or 1164 by the jarl Erling Skakke, as an inducement to Archbishop Øystein to crown Erling's seven-year-old son, Magnus Erlingsson, as King of Norway. The new foundation attracted many generous endowments and soon became one of the wealthiest in Norway.
The buildings were severely damaged in a fire about a hundred years later, and were rebuilt in Gothic style about 1300. The monastery was dissolved in 1536 during the Reformation and its lands and assets were confiscated by the Crown. For over 200 years it was administered as state property, but in 1758 the estate was bought by the chamberlain Andreas Juel, in whose family it remained until 1956. Lt. Andreas Juel, a descendant of the purchaser, demolished the remaining monastic buildings in about 1840 and built a new house from the stone in 1841.
In 1956 the site was bought by the Sunnhordland Museum, who have conserved the building remains. Halsnøy is very unusual among Norwegian monastic sites in that what survives is not the principal monastic buildings (church, chapter house and so on), but the smaller ancillary buildings. These survive on only two other pre-Reformation monastic sites in the country, Selje Abbey in the district of Nordfjord and Hovedøya Abbey in Oslo.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.