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Keldur Church Farm

About Keldur

Keldur is a farm and a church site in the Rangarvellir County. Catholic churches there were dedicated to the apostle Paul. The present church was built in 1875. Where the old farm still stands in the shelter of the edge of the lava field, big cold springs, called Keldur, feed a stream.

The areas north of Keldur are almost totally barren, sanded lava areas, where there were fertile areas and prosperous farms in the past. The Keldur property is about 20 km long and 8 km wide and consists of the former properties of four farms and several outlying farms. This area consisted of large, well vegetated patches of land until 1880 and up to this date the ruins of 18 farmsteads have been discovered within the area.

During the first decades of the 20th century, the occupants of Keldur fought the devastating advance of travelling dunes and sandstorms rather successfully. The remaining defense constructions show great ingenuity, and no one had or has ever fought the natural forces as successfully as the people of Keldur.

According to the Njal’s Saga, the farmer Ingjaldur Holskuldsson occupied Keldur around the year 1000. Later the most powerful dynasty of the country, the so-called Oddaverjar, had one of their manors there. The father of this dynasty, Jon Loftsson, spent the last years of his life there, and founded a monastery, which did not last very long. The hall of the old farm is very ancient, the oldest hall of the country. The old farm is open for visitors.

A few years before the turn of the last century the houses of the old farm were repaired and renovated and archaeologist carried out excavations discovered new facts about a sub terrain walk from the farm down to the stream.

BURIAL GROUNDS on RIVER RANGA.
In the early 19th century, written sources mention two burial grounds about 2½ km east of Keldur in the Ranga County. Since then they have been researched and studied by scientists. They are on both sides of the present Middle Route road. One of the spots contained the earthly remains of many men and among the artefacts found with them were three spears, a horseshoe, a hoof nail, a snaffle-bit and a bronze decoration. The other grave spot revealed much less, only a carved piece of bone depicting two animals of the dear family nibbling on the leaves of a tree. Those graves might support the authenticity of the so-called Njal’s Saga. Gunnar of Hlidarendi and his brother Kolskeggur were attacked on the river and killed many of the attackers at the cost of Kolskeggur’s life.

Keldur is on the Saga trail for South Iceland.