Snaekollr Eiríksson

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Snaekollr Eiríksson

Also Known As: "Snaekollr Gunnason", "Snaekol"
Birthplace: Scotland
Death: after 1239
Immediate Family:

Son of Eirik "Stay-Brails" Eiriksson and Ingiríðr Ragnvaldsdóttir
Husband of N.N.
Father of Óttarr Snaekollson
Brother of Elin Eiriksdatter; Ingibiorg Eiriksdatter, of Caithness; Harald III Ungi, Earl of Orkney; Ragnhildr Staegbrellsdóttir; daughter of Slagbrilir or Gospartick Slagbrilir or Gospartick and 2 others

Occupation: 2nd Clan Chief of Clann Gunn
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Snaekollr Eiríksson

Snaekollr (c1175-after 1231). His given name means "White Head". Victorian clan histories claim him as 2nd Chief of Clan Gunn. He was said to have been the son of Gunni, the first chief, by Ragnhildr Staegbrellsdóttir, but seems to have been Ragnhildr’s brother rather than her son. He left no known descendants although he is often said to be father of Óttarr Snaekollson.

His patronymic is not given in primary sources. If he was a brother of Ragnhild, he was Snaekollr Eiríksson. If he was her son, he was Snaekollr Gunnason.

Snaekollr inherited estates in Caithness and Sutherland. He was among the rival heirs of the ancient jarls of Orkney. He came to represent one of two rival lines descended from þórfinnr Sigurdsson, Jarl of Orkney, who died in 1064. þórfinnr's elder son Páll þórfinnsson was ancestor of the later Jarls and ultimately of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness. His younger son Erlendr þórfinnsson founded a line that included Jarls Saint Magnús, Rögnvaldr Kali, and Haraldr Ungi. Snaekollr was a nephew of Haraldr Ungi.

He is said to have built Castle Gunn at Bruan, on the east coast of Caithness south of Wick. Only the foundations of that castle now remain. There is a tradition that Castle Gunn was destroyed by the King of Norway, whose daughter one of the Gunn chiefs had married, though he already had a wife at Castle Gunn. When the second wife sailed to Caithness to join her husband, the Gunn clan arranged for the beacon to be placed on a dangerous rock at Ulbster and so wrecked the ship and all aboard were drowned. The castle was destroyed in revenge and the Gunn chief and his retainers were slain.

Snaekollr's land claims involved him in many wars with his cousins. He murdered his cousin Jon Haraldsson, the last Norwegian jarl, in a dispute over lands. By that murder, he lost the war and any hope of gaining the title himself. After the murder, he fled to Kelben Hougas Castle on the Island of Weir.

In 1232 he went to Bergen to claim Earl Jon's inheritance and lived out the remainder of his life of his life there. In 1239 he was arrested by the king’s men as a rebel in the service of the rebel Duke Skule. He was probably executed. (Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar) There is no proof Snaekoll married, had a child or returned to Scotland.


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Snaekollr Eiríksson's Timeline

Age 64