Sources about the monastic church and library at Þingeyrar

  • Gottskálk Jensson


The Benedictine Abbey of Þingeyrar in North-West Iceland was the earliest monastic house in Iceland, established in the early 12th century. Today, it is mainly famous for its literary production and for manuscripts, some of whom are still preserved. All remnants of the monastic buildings have now vanished from the face of earth, but we have fairly precise descriptions of these buildings in official appraisals from 1684 and 1704, which are found in the Collection of the Procurators at the National Archive of Iceland. Further, current archeological research at Þingeyrar has added considerable new knowledge about Þingeyrar, e.g. the location of the monastic church. The appraisals of Þingeyrar Abbey can be compared to other known documents, medieval annals and charters, to construct a more complete picture of the monastic buildings and their interiors, primarily of the church where the monks had their library. This study forms an introduction to the first publication of the appraisals and it attempts to tell the history of the Church of Þingeyrar Abbey, which as it turns out seems to have survived more or less intact until 1695, when the Danish official Lauritz Gottrup had it torn down and a new one built.