Rein Abbey

I am Sigrid Bårdsdatter, the first abbess of Rein Abbey.

My half-brother was Duke Skule. Under the reign of the child King Håkon Håkonsson, the Duke was the most powerful man in the Kingdom. In the Year of our Lord 1226, Skule fell ill. In his prayers he vowed that if he survived, he would build a stone church and a monastery on his Rein estate. The Duke lived, and he kept his promise.

The abbey was built near the old farm, on a plateau overlooking the fjord and landscape below. Skilled craftsmen who had worked on the Nidaros Cathedral were brought to Rein to assist the construction. Stonemasons carved their personal marks on the stones: This is our work.

Many of the nuns here at Rein Abbey came from distinguished families. Queen Margrete, the widow of King Håkon Håkonsson, spent her last years here with me at the monastery.

As an abbess, I reported to the Archbishop. My rank equalled that of the bishops. I served the Lord at Rein Abbey until my death in 1245. I was buried in the church choir, side by side with Queen Margrete.

Three hundred years after my time came the Reformation. A new church regime was established, and Rein Abbey was closed down. Only the ruins remain, telling the story of a powerful monastery with close ties to the Norwegian royal lineage.