Our names are Gunnar Orn Marteinsson and Kari Torkildsen, and we own and operate the Steinsholt firm. We cater for tourists in search of horseriding, lodging and hiking, amongst other things. We want you to feel at ease, you may expect good, personal service and a good time in general while you stay with us. Steinsholt is a small company by choice. Since size influences the quality of service given, we feel that “smaller is better” when it comes to catering for your needs.
We have been a horsemen for as long as we remember and a trainer of horses for many years. Our favorite pasttime is trekking by horse in Iceland. In our opinion, this is the best way to relate to nature, relax and center oneself. We, at Steinsholt, invite you to join us in this pasttime of ours and hope you will enjoy your stay with us.
Steinsholt is mentioned in the book of Landnama, the chronicle of Icelands settlement during the Middle Ages. Thorbjorn Laxakarl (man of salmons) claimed as his own all lands in the Thjorsa river valley and Gnupverja district (hreppur) east of the Kalfa river. When his brothers-in-law, Ofeigur-with-a-frown (grettir) and Thormodur-with-a-spear (skapti) arrived in Iceland, he gave them all of Gnupverja district.
Ofeigur made Ofeigsstadir near Steinsholt his home. The ruins of Ofeigsstadir are still visible, a short distance westwards of the present Steinsholt farm. Although the location of the homestead itself is unknown, what is believed to be the remains of the stables, the location of the dung-pit and the hay-trench are visible today. In the registry compiled by Arni Magnusson and Pall Vidalin in the early 18th century, Ofeigsstadir is mentioned as a dependent small farm of Steinsholt, devastated by the recent plage. The ruins visible today probably originate from that time.
A church was built in Steinsholt soon after the acceptance of christianity in Iceland, according to records from the late 12th or early 13th century. The last church was desacreted by order of the king on July 10th 1789. One of Steinsholts pastors, Dadi Halldorsson, became famous (notorious) for the fathering of the child of Ragnheidur, daughter of Brynjolfur, bishop of Skalholt, in the year of 1662. He was reprimanded for this and he (or his relatives) had to pay the bishop a hefty fine. Dadi was Steinsholt’s pastor for 30 years, around the turning of the 17th and 18th century. One of the present houses of Steinsholt is believed to be built on the foundations of the ancient church. It’s garden used to be the churchyard and pastor Dadi’s grave is still visible. A fence was built around this garden recently and a monument placed in memory of the church.
Not all farmers of Steinsholt have been known to have been gentlemen. In the early 19th century, Gottsvin Jonsson lived there for 18 years. He was known to be a sheepthief and a rougue. He was even accused of being the cause of death for a number of men, none of which he was convicted for. Many of his children were thought of as being wild and dangerous aquaintances. His son, Sigurdur was the leader of the Kamb’s robbery (1827), which was considered a serious case of the time. For his part in it he was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labour in Kopenhagen.
There he assaulted and killed a prison guard for which he was beheaded in 1834. Thereby he earned the dubious honor of being the last Icelander executed for his or her crimes. Another one of Steinsholt’s farmers, Thordur the rich, who lived there 1829 – 1876, became notorious for grazing his livestock on other people’s pasture. He was said to be a mizer, who didn’t feed his stock properly. A place in the vicinity of Steinsholt is named for this practice of Thordur’s.
Since Steinsholt was a church-farm and a rectory, many small farms and cottages depended on the farm. These places are now all in ruins (some visible) or independend farms. Steinsholt remained as church property until 1891, and was used to home and support widows of pastors. The family who bought Steinsholt from the church still lives there. Presently there are two farms run on the premises, one is a cattle farm and the other a horse farm providing farm accomodation to tourists. Steinsholt is the home of three generations, the present farmers and their children along with the now retired last generation of farmers. All in all 10 people.
Our best wishes to you, and thanks for dropping by.
We remain at your service
TEL 354 486 6069
GSM 354 847 7627