The parsonage Saurbaer is situated in the county Hvalfjordur Coast. During Catholic times, the churches were dedicated to John the Baptist. Saurbaer owes its renown to the pastor Hallgrimur Petursson (1614-1674), who served there during the period 1651-1669. He ranks among the most beloved poets of the country and left behind among other excellent poetry „The Passion Hymns” reciting the story of Christ’s passion and death. He abandoned the school at Holar as a young man without having finished his studies and worked his way through in Copenhagen as a forger among other things. Later he finished his studies in Copenhagen and was ordained when he came back to Iceland.
His wife, Gudridur Simonardottir, was among the 242 people, who were abducted from the Westman Islands in 1627 by Algerian buccaneers and sold on the slave market in Algeria. She was among the very few, who were bought back by the Danish king and brought back to Iceland. She was not so religious as her husband, whose name is well preserved by his work and some topographic names at Saurbaer.
He had to give up his service to the church in 1669, when he caught leprosy, and move to the farm Ferstikla nearby, where he dies five years later.
The church at Saurbaer was consecrated in 1957 and dedicated to Rev. Hallgrimur. A renowned painter, Sigurdur Guðmundsson, designed the church and more artists lent a hand in decorating it. The fresco altarpiece was painted by the Finnish artist Lennart Segerstraale and stained windowpanes by the Icelandic artist Gerdur Helgadottir. The other memorial church, dedicated to the same pastor, is the biggest one in the country, The Hallgrims Church in Reykjavik.