King Sverre "the Priest" Sigurdsson
- Born: 1150, Faroe Islands (Færøyene)
- Marriage (1): Astrid Roesdatter
- Marriage (2): Margareta Of Sweden about 1185 in Norway
- Died: 9 Mar 1202, Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway at age 52
Sverre was the 24th great-grandfather of Eric & Evan Obrock.
Sverre Sigurdsson, or Sverrir, king of Norway (1177-1202) and one of the best-known figures in medieval Norwegian history. By expanding the power of the monarchy and limiting the privileges of the church, he provoked civil uprisings that were not quelled until 1217.
The son of Gunnhild, a Norwegian woman married to a Faroe Islands man (Unas Kambrare or comb-maker), Sverrir was ordained priest at an unusually early age. After his mother told him that he was actually the son of the former Norwegian king Sigurd II, however, he left for Norway (1174) to claim the throne. By 1177 he had become leader of the Birchebeiner, or Birchlegs, rivals of the incumbent ruler Magnus V, the Baglers.
A skillful military leader, Sverrir was proclaimed king in the Trondheim region and soundly defeated the forces of Magnus in 1179. He became sole king of Norway in 1184 after his troops defeated and killed Magnus. Sverrir made peace with the exiled archbishop Eystein Erlendsson, a supporter of Magnus V, after Eystein's return to Norway in 1183.
Sverrir's assertion of royal power to elect bishops and his demand for a reduction in the archbishop's personal armed forces, however, alienated Eystein's successor, Erik Ivarsson, who refused to crown Sverrir and fled to Denmark with many of the nation's bishops in 1190. The remaining bishops crowned Sverrir in 1194 but were later excommunicated along with the king by Pope Innocent III. To the denunciations of the pope and the interdict under which he had been placed Sverrir responded with his "Speech Against the Bishop," the clearest argument of the time in favour of secular paramountcy over the church.
In 1196 the dissident bishop of Oslo, Nicholas Arnesson, joined forces with the exiled archbishop Erik Ivarsson and returned to Norway with a fleet, precipitating the Crosier War, a rebellion of the Crosiers, a group headed by religious and secular leaders opposed to Sverrir's ecclesiastical and administrative reforms. Nicholas gained control of much of eastern Norway, won the support of the labouring classes, and threatened to advance on the inland territory held by Sverrir before suffering serious reverses in 1199. By 1202 Sverrir had defeated the Crosier opposition, but civil war continued after his death.
He was succeeded by his son Haakon III, who made peace with the church but died in 1204, only two years after assuming office. An account of Sverrir's life is given in the Icelandic narrative Sverris saga.
From Encyclopedia Brittanica: Sverre claimed to be the illegitimate son of King Sigurd; the question of his paternity is still disputed. He spent his childhood in the Faeroe Islands, was educated for the priesthood, and went to Norway in 1176. The Birkebeiner faction, which opposed Erling Skakke and his son, the puppet king Magnus, adopted the cause of Sverre. The party took (1177) Trondheim, and a bitter civil war began. Sverre secured control of Norway in 1178, but Magnus with foreign aid continued to attack Sverre until Magnus's death in battle (1184). Civil war continued. From 1196 to 1201 the Baglar, an aristocratic and clerical faction, fought vigorously against the Birkebeiners, but it was defeated. The victory of the faction of the common people led to the destruction of aristocratic power and increased royal control. Sverre quarreled with the Archbishop of Trondheim, who refused to crown him and fled (1190) the country. As a result the king was excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. Sverre was succeeded by his son Haakon III. See biography by G. M. Gathorne-Hardy (1956).
Sverre was the son of Sigurd Munn and grew up on the Faeroe Islands, most likely in a monastery. It is said that he even was educated as a priest.
Already in 1176 Sverre went to Norway and demanded to be king as he was the son of Sigurd Munn.
Erling Skakke denied him to be king and favoured his own son Magnus Erlingsson.
In 1177 he became king and started his war against Magnus by defeating Magnus men at Trondheim. Later, Sverre was himself defeated, but he managed to come back a year later and than he managed to stick to the power and held Nidaros (Trondheim) all winter.
In 1179, he defeated Erling Skakke and in 1184, he was victorious in the Battle of Fimreite, where Magnus Erlingsson fell. Much of his success is due to the fact that Sverre did have a good knowledge. He was the first to build fortresses of stone, and he used to have the best equipped men in his army.
However, his time was unsteady and not very peaceful. Sverre is not well like by his people and has no real influence and power as king except for the Trondheim area, where he was residing. Especially in Viken (Oslo area) opposition was strong.
Sverre died in 1202 in Bergen.
Sverre married Astrid Roesdatter, daughter of Bishop Roe and Unknown. (Astrid Roesdatter was born about 1160 in Faroe Islands (Færøyene).)
Sverre next married Margareta Of Sweden, daughter of King Eric IX 'the Saint' Jedvardsson of Sweden and Queen Christina Bjornsdatter of Sweden, about 1185 in Norway. (Margareta Of Sweden was born about 1160 in Sweden and died in 1209.)