Friday, 7 December 2012

Saint Sigfrid, Unaman, Sunaman and Vinaman.

Saint Sigfrid, Unaman, Sunaman and Vinaman.

Yeah does are historical names.
The legends tells of Sigfrid a Benedictine missionary bishop from Glastinbury in England sent to Norway and Sweden to Christianized the heathens…

Most of the somewhat contemporary accounts that are from that time are written by Adam of Bremen. 

But most of the legends of Sigfrid was written down during the 13th century.
This legend tells of an English archbishop of York sent to Sweden by the English king Mildred (no other sources of this kings existence are to be found that I know about).

Sigfrid and his nephews Unaman (a priest), Sunaman (a diacon), Vinaman (a subdiacon) arrived to Värend by Denmark and by a place “chosen by God” by the lake of Växjösjön built a church.

Map of Värend

By the time Sigfrid was in Västergötland to baptize Olof Skötkonung (980-1022) in Husaby (the first Swedish king to remain Christian until his death, all before him returned to their heathen ways..) his nephews was robbed and murdered by pagan raiders under the command of Gunnar Gröpe.

Gunnar Gröpe (more of him later…) was famous for being particularly cruel.
He is acclaimed of beheaded a troll and is a forefather to the Swedish noble family of Trolle that has a beheaded troll in their coat of arms. 
As you see I must include him in this project…

When Sigfrid returned to Värend he found the heads of his nephews in an basket floating in Växjösjön singing to him.

The legends are skeptic and full of contradictions, another source (Saxo Grammaticus) claims that it was another English missionary by the name of Bernhard that baptized Olof Skötkonung. 

Saint Sigfrid were never canonized by a pope or a bishop that were the customs of that time. One source claims he was canonized by pope Hadrianus IV but no such letter remains today. 

The legend of Saint Sigfrid draws a picture of the Diocese of Växjö as one of the oldest in Sweden but the truth is that it’s one of the youngest.
Yeah I know we are all heathens here in deep forest of Småland…

Some historians have questions if Sigfrid even existed.

But it contains lots of stuff that could be incorporated into my project of a mythological Scandinavia. Hope you enjoyed all the reading.

Oh and another fun thing, during a restoration of the Cathedral of Växjö in 1813 a runestone was found under the plaster inside one of the walls.
The inscriptions read:
"Tóki, Tóki the Viking, raised the stone in memory of Gunnarr, Grímr's son. May God help his soul!"
I dont think this is the same Gunnar as in Gunnar Gröpe but it could be... "May God help his soul!", Im guessing he needs it.

Sigfrid seen here with white hair and a book with his nephews walking into a trollforest i my Treemoss fantasy project.
The miniatures are from Gripping beast.


  1. Stunning, cool with the historical background. And Trolle is a must, he´s in my 15th centery project to:)

    Best regards Michael

  2. Lovely work as all your stuff is. Gives me something to aspire to. Like you I love the history behind the models as much as the little chaps themselves. Studied the Sagas at university. Fantastic points of reference.

  3. Now that is one cool coat-of-arms! Great story and more great painting. This is without a doubt one of my favourite projects!