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Norse Earls of Orkney

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  • Thorfinn 'Skull-Splitter', Jarl of Orkney (890 - c.976)
    Thorfinn Hausakljuv Son of Torf-Einar og hans ukjente frille. c) EINAR "Turf-Einar” . Orkneyinga Saga names “ Hallad , Hrollaug and the youngest Einar ” 797]. Snorre names "Hallad, the seco...
  • Jarl Paul Thorfinnsson, av Orknøyene (c.1049 - 1099)
    Possibly a twin, as he and his brother were joint rulers and always mentioned together. Paul Thorfinnsson, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Thorfinn & his wife had [three or more] children: 1. Jar...
  • Sigurd "the Stout" Hlodvesson, earl of Orkney (960 - 1014)
    Sigurd 'Digri' Hlodvisson Orkneyjarl Parents: Hlodve Orkneyjarl and his wife Spouse: Olith ingen Mael Coluim meic Cinaeda or Donada [Med Lands' explanation for the 'daughter of Malcolm not li...
  • Brusi Sigurdsson, earl of Orkney (987 - c.1031)
    Brusi Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney Jarl på Orknøy, sønn av Sigurd II Digre. Earl of Orkney Islands. På norrønt Brusi Sigurdsson, fornavnet i moderne tid fornorsket til Bruse. Brusi Sigurdsson (di...
  • Einarr "Turf" Rognvaldsson, Orkneyjarl (852 - 910)
    Torv-Einar Ragnvaldsson (Torf-Einarr Rǫgnvaldsson) Torf-Einarr Rǫgnvaldsson Tilnavn / fordanskning: Tørve-Einar Jarl Lokalitet: Orkneyøerne Relationer: Havde datteren Tordis Kilder: Landnamabogen: 20...

The Earl of Orkney was originally a Norse jarl ruling Orkney, Shetland and parts of Caithness and Sutherland. The Earls were periodically subject to the kings of Norway for the Northern Isles, and later also to the kings of Alba for those parts of their territory in mainland Scotland (i.e. Caithness and Sutherland). The Earl's status as a Norwegian vassal was formalised in 1195. In 1232 a Scottish dynasty descended from the Mormaers of Angus replaced the previous family descended from the Mormaers of Atholl, although it remained formally subject to Norway.

The first known Earl of Orkney was Ragnvald Eysteinsson (Rognvald, Earl of Møre), who died around 890. Subsequent Earls, with one exception, were descended from Rognvald or his brother Sigurd until 1232.

The Norse Earldom was frequently under joint rule. The possessions of the Earldom included the Mormaerdom of Caithness and, until 1194, the Shetland Islands.

List of all the Earls

  • Ragnvald Eysteinsson, Earl of Møre, 9th century
  • Sigurd Eysteinsson (Sigurd the Mighty), brother of Ragnvald, 9th century
  • Guthorm Sigurdsson, c. 890
  • Hallad Rognvaldsson, c. 891–c. 893
  • Torf-Einar Ragnvaldsson (Turf-Einar), c. 893–c. 946
  • Arnkel Turf-Einarsson, 946–954 (died at the same battle as Eric Bloodaxe)
  • Erlend Turf-Einarsson, (d. 954) (died at the same battle as Eric Bloodaxe)
  • Thorfinn Turf-Einarsson (Thorfinn Skull-Splitter), c. 963–c. 976
  • Arnfinn Thorfinnsson, with Havard, Ljot and Hlodvir, c. 976–c. 991
  • Havard Thorfinnsson, with Arnfinn, Ljot and Hlodvir, c. 976–c. 991
  • Ljot Thorfinnsson, with Arnfinn, Havard and Hlodvir, c. 976–c. 991
  • Hlodvir Thorfinnsson, with Arnfinn, Havard and Ljot, c. 980–c. 991
  • Sigurd Hlodvirsson (Sigurd the Stout), 991–1014
  • Brusi Sigurdsson, with Einar, Sumarlidi and Thorfinn, 1014–1030
  • Einar Sigurdsson (Einar Wry-mouth), with Brusi and Sumarlidi, 1014–1020
  • Sumarlidi Sigurdsson, with Brusi and Einar, 1014–1015
  • Thorfinn Sigurdsson (Thorfinn the Mighty), with Brusi and Rognvald, 1020–1064
  • Ragnvald Brusasson, with Thorfinn, c. 1037–c. 1045
  • Paul and Erlend Thorfinnsson, 1064–1098
  • Sigurd Magnusson (Sigurd the Jerusalem-farer), later King of Norway, son of King Magnus Bareleg, 1098–1103
  • Haakon Paulsson, son of Paul Thorfinsson, with Magnus, 1103–1123
  • Magnus Erlendsson (Saint Magnus), with Haakon, 1108–1117
  • Harald Haakonsson, with Paul, 1122–1127
  • Paul Haakonsson, with Harald, 1122–1137
  • Rognvald Kali Kolsson (Saint Rognvald), with Harald Maddadsson and Erlend, 1136–1158
  • Harald Maddadsson, with Rognvald, Erlend and Harald Eiriksson, 1134–1206
  • Erlend Haraldsson, son of Harald Haakonsson, with Harald Maddadsson, 1151–1154
  • Harald Eiriksson, in Caithness, grandson of Rognvald Kali, with Harald, 1191–1194
  • David Haraldsson, with Heinrik and Jon, 1206–1214
  • Heinrik Haraldsson, in Caithness, with David and Jon, 1206–before 1231
  • Jon Haraldsson, with David and Heinrik, 1206–1231


  • The Orkney Saga
  • Medieval Lands database by Charles Cawley