Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2002
|Up Helly Aa Fact File|
|Date:||29th January 2002|
| Bruce Leask|
Harald Gilli Magnusson
|Galley Name:||Vest Maenir|
|Jarl's Squad Members:||45|
|Number of Squads:||45|
|Number carrying torches:||807|
The Jarl's Squad
The squad wore kirtles of black, with banding around the hem. The breastplates were gold in colour and consisted of small panels decorated with knotwork. The squad's cloaks were white animal skins with black and gold brooches, and their belts were black with a gold coloured buckle. The squad also wore black furry boots. The squad's helmets were rounded and black in colour, with no feathers or horns attached. Instead their defining feature was a set of eyeguards, coloured predominantly black, with gold decoration of interlace terminating with wild looking dog or wolf heads.
They carried long handled axes, with a very distinctive head, formed from a band of interlace. The shield was pointed and black, and decorated with the same golden interlace device as the eyeguards of the helmet. Both of these features of the squad's suit are taken in reference to the Jarl's saga below.
The Jarl wore a lighter coloured tunic, and white boots. He also wore a dark cloak so was very distinct from the other members of the squad.
About the Jarl's Guizer name
Harald Gilli, (or Gille), Magnusson, son of Magnus Barfot, (Barelegs), was king in Norway from 1130 to 1136.
He co-ruled with his half-brother Magnus Sigurdsson before becoming sole king of Norway. Harald's place of birth is not recorded, nor is his mother's name, but it is likely he was born in either Ireland or the Hebrides, both areas which were under Norse influence at the time.
Harald, using the name og Gillikrist (servant of Christ), travelled extensively around Britain and, while on a trip to Shetland, met and befriended Kali Kolson, later Earl Rognvald Kali Kolson of Orkney. Harald revealed to Kali his real name, and that he was a son of King Magnus Barelegs of Norway. Kali counselled Harald that he would receive a warm welcome in Norway from his half-brother King Sigurd. Kali gifted Harald a unique long-handled battle-axe and a pointed shield decorated with gold. They then parted, swearing lifelong friendship.
Harald later travelled on to Norway to claim his birthright. He was welcomed by King Sigurd but was asked to prove his parentage by ordeal and also to forswear any claim to the Norwegian throne whilst King Sigurd and his son Magnus were alive. According to Heimskringla, the Saga of Kings, Harald walked over nine glowing ploughshares in his bare feet, led by two bishops, and his feet were unharmed. He was then formally recognised by Sigurd as a son of Magnus Barelegs.
However, Sigurd's son Magnus was very unfriendly towards Harald. Once, Harald mentioned that there were some men in Ireland who could outrun a horse whereupon Magnus called him a liar and challenged him to a race against a horse. Harald, on foot, had to race against Magnus on his horse but he still beat him three times, being a swift runner. After Sigurd's death, Magnus initially became the sole King of Norway. However, he was not well liked in contrast to Harald, whom the Saga describes as merry, friendly, humble and generous, and who had many friends. Harald met with his friends in the town of Haugar where a Ting was held which declared him King over half of Norway. Magnus was ill pleased at this but as he had fewer troops at that time, he was forced to share Norway with Harald.
Relative peace reigned for three years, but during the spring of the fourth year, Magnus raised an army of 7200 men and marched to attack Harald. Harald, supported by Kali Kolson and his father Kol, but was only able to muster 1800 men and, in the subsequent battle at Farlev, was defeated. Harald fled to Denmark where his friend, the Danish King Erik, provided him with lands to support him and eight longships.
After recuperating in Denmark, Harald raised an army and sailed north into Oslofjord. He met no resistance as Magnus had sent his men back to their farms and had gone to Bergen. Many more men then joined Harald and he sailed his fleet around Norway until he came to Askoy, west of Bergen. In the meantime, Magnus had been advised either to make peace with Harald or to flee to Trondheim. However, he spurned this advice and set about fortifying Bergen with chains closing off the harbour, a large catapult and various man traps. After the festival of Yule, Harald attacked Bergen. He manoeuvered his longships around Bergen Fjord, forcing Magnus to march his army to and fro along the shores of the fjord, trying to anticipate Harald's landing. Many of Magnus' men deserted during this, so when Harald eventually landed he met little resistance. Magnus tried to flee but was hindered by the chains he himseld had laid and was captured. Harald spared his life, but had him maimed, blinded, gelded and cut off one of his feet.
As sole king of Norway, Harald was a very generous man. He rewarded his friend Kali Kolson with a fully manned longship to help him take the the half share in the Earldom of Orkney, promised to him by King Sigurd. Also, when Magnus Einarson came from Iceland to be consecrated as a bishop, Harald gave him his own drinking cup and the fine embroidered cushion his Queen sat on as a parting gift. The cup was later used as a communion cup at Skalholt in Iceland.
During this time, when Harald was king in Norway, a man called Sigurd Slembi presented himself to the king, claiming to be another son of Magnus Barelegs. The King's counsellors, concerned that Sigurd would try and claim a share of the throne, advised the King to charge him with some sort of crime so that he could be killed. Sigurd Slembi was charged with aiding the murder of a friend of Harald's, named Thorkel, and was sentenced to death. Sigurd managed to escape, and hid in Bergen, hoping to avenge himseld of King Harald. On the night of the feast of St Lucia, he conspired with some of Harald's counsellors, men who had previously supported Magnus, to discover with whom the King was sleeping. Later that night, Sigurd Slembi and several men went to the chamber of Thora, Harald's mistress, where this King was sleeping. They first killed the watchmen, broke down the door and attacked the king. Although the King had gone to bed drunk and slept soundly, he awoke at the first blow but was unable to defend himself and was killed. King Harald Gilli was buried in the old wooden Christ Church in Bergen.
The Galley's name was Vest Maenir. She was painted white, gradually fading to dark blue moving down the planks. The gunwhale was white and decorated with a black and gold dogs head device as featured on the squad's shields and helmets. The head and tail were silver and black and she was fitted with a ram at her bow, but no anchor.