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These stone circles belong simply to low graves encircled by stones, like those so frequently found in Norway, and whose date is of the latest period of heathenism, or what is called the iron age. Skeletons have been found in several similar graves in Shetland ; and at different times urns containing burnt bones and ashes have also been discovered, together with other distinct traces of their having been burial-places. For the rest, barrows or tumuli, bauta stones, runic inscriptions, and similar monuments and antiquities of the heathen times, are by no means frequently to be met with; the reason of which must naturally be sought in the short duration of heathenism in these islands. The remains of only a single insignificant runic stone, and that of the Christian æra, have been discovered near Crosskirk, in the north of Mainland. The numerous round towers, or castles, of loose flagstones laid together, which are often built on islands in lakes, and are called by many “ Danish burghs," are, as before stated, of Pictish or Celtic origin. They have no resemblance whatever to the old fortresses in the Scandinavian North; whilst, on the other hand, buildings entirely corresponding with them are to be found in the Celtic Highlands of Scotland, and on the coasts of Ireland. The most that can be said is that the Norwegians availed themselves of these buildings after their conquests and settlements in these districts. Thus the remains of a tower are to be seen on a holm in Burra Firth (Borgarfjörðr, or Borgfjord, i. e. Castle fiord), in the west of Mainland, which may have been inhabited in the beginning of the twelfth century by the chief Thorbjörn, whom the Earls Magnus and Hakon attacked and killed in “ Borgarfjörðr.” The ground-plan of the ruin (after Hibbert) shows how the chambers were disposed in the thick stone wall.

Another ancient Celtic tower, which tradition decidedly states to have been occupied by Norwegians, and which, on that account, has a particular interest for a Scandinavian, lies on the little island of Mousa (the ancient “ Mösey "), close to the sound that separates the island from the southeastern coast of Mainland. The tower is, fortunately, the best preserved one of the kind in the British Islands. It rises to the height of between forty and fifty feet, like an immense and perfectly round stone pillar, but bulging out towards the middle. Its appearance from without is quite plain, and no other opening can be perceived in the wall than the entrance-door, which even originally was so low that it was necessary to creep through it. To attack the tower, even when the door stood open, was not easy, and the bulging of the wall in the middle rendered the scaling of it almost impossible. The entire tower is about fifty feet in diameter, and consists of two concentric stone walls, the innermost of which encloses an open space of about twenty feet wide. The two concentric walls are each five feet thick, and stand at a distance of five feet from each other. The small space between them formed the habitable part of the tower. From the open yard we ascend a stone staircase, and, before we reach the top, seven divisions or stories are passed, separated by large flag-stones, which form a ceiling for one story and a floor for the next. In the different compartments, which quite encircle the tower,

are small square openings, or air holes, one above the other, and looking out into the inner yard. The annexed drawings and sections (taken from Hibbert's description of Shetland), which represent the tower in its evidently original state, will serve to explain still more clearly the nature of this simple, yet remarkable, building.

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This tower appears to have stood deserted as early as the tenth century. Whilst Harald Haarfager reigned in Norway, a distinguished Norwegian Viking and merchant, Björn Brynjulfsön, carried off his beloved Thora Roaldsdatter (Roalds-daughter) from the fiords. He brought her first to his father's house ; but, as his father would not permit him to celebrate his marriage there, he fled with her in the spring, on board his ship, and sailed westwards. After suffering much from storms and heavy seas, the couple landed at last on Mösey, and took up their temporary abode in the castle there, whither they brought the whole of the sbip's cargo. In “ Möseyjarborg,” Björn celebrated his marriage with Thora, and dwelt there through the winter. But next spring he learned that King Harald, at the entreaty of Thora's friends, had exiled him from Norway; and that commands had even been sent by Harald to the jarls and chiefs in the Orkneys, the Hebrides, and in Ireland, to put him to death. He therefore again put to sea, and landed safely with his Thora in Iceland.

A few centuries later, the chief Erlend Junge fled from the Orkneys with Margaret, mother of the Jarl Harald Maddadsön, who was as much celebrated for her beauty as for her wantonness, and shut himself up with her in “Möseyjarborg." The Jarl Harald, who had opposed their marriage, set out in pursuit of them, and blockaded the

his marriage next spring jends, had

castle for a long time, in order, if possible, to cut off their supply of provisions, and thus compel them to surrender; for, by force, says the Saga, the castle could scarcely be taken. But Harald at last became weary of the siege, and concluded an agreement with Erlend that he should have Margaret to wife on condition of swearing fealty to him as jarl.

This old and venerable tower has, therefore, not only been the scene of sanguinary battles and deeds of cruelty, but its strong walls have also afforded a secure asylum to sincere and all-sacrificing love.

SECTION VII.

The Orkneys.—"pingavöllr.”—Monuments of the Olden Time.

Kirkwall.–St. Magnus Church. THE Orkneys, on account of their greater fertility, and of their lying nearer to Scotland, were in ancient times, as indeed they are at present, of much more importnnce than the distant Shetland Isles. As the chief seat of the Norwegian jarls, they formed the central point of the Norwegian power in the north of Scotland. According to the Sagas, most of the many Danes and Norwegians who settled on the islands to the north of Scotland, resorted to the Orkneys; by which means, the jarls who governed them were enabled easily to assemble large fleets, and to man them with picked Scandinavian warriors. It was chiefly, therefore, Norwegians from the Orkneys, who, under the command of the jarls of Orkney, made such extensive conquests in the territories of the Scottish kings. .

Jarl Sigurd the Stout (Dan., Digre), who, as before mentioned, was married to a daughter of the Scotch king, Malcolm the Second, and Jarl Thorfin, his son by King Malcolm's daughter, pre-eminently distinguished themselves by bold Viking expeditions into the neighbouring countries, and particularly by their conquests on the Scotch coast. They extended these as far south as Moray; nay it is even

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