Monday, 14 September 2015

Visit to the location of Hannah Kent's Icelandic book Burial Rites

On the drive from Blonduos to Borganes in NW Iceland we stopped at the roadside for a break and a short walk through a field full of horses to a small hill.  What our guide was showing us was the place where Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person in the country to be publicly executed, was beheaded. The execution took place on January 12, 1830. 

Magnusdottir was the subject of Hannah Kent's excellent novel Burial Rites.   The axe that did the deed, and the wooden block, were actually kept in the local capital of Blonduos for 60 years before being shipped to Denmark, the then governing state of Iceland. 

Once Denmark began to lose its influence over the region, these objects were returned to Iceland where they are now exhibited in the National Museum, in Reykjavik.

A sad place.
The carving states this was the location of last public execution in Iceland.
There's little other sign of habitation here other than a few farm buildings off in the distance and the ever-present mountains in the background.

1 comment:

  1. Yes and wie think beheading is some middle ages rituals