Thorgils Skarthi

Thorgils Skarthi (the hare-lipped)[1] (correctly Þorgils Skarði) was a Viking raider and poet who, in about 966, founded Scarborough, England, which was then known as Skarðaborg.

The new settlement was burned to the ground by Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Falsgrave and Lord of the Manor of Hougun. Tostig had been deprived for cruelly causing insurrection among the Northumbrians. He returned with the King of Norway, Harald Hardrada. They fired fire bales from the hill into Scarborough. The community was left abandoned, those who remained were slain and all their belongings seized. The community was later rebuilt and became known as Scarborough.[2]

Thorgils Skarthi is described in the Kormáks saga which is principally about Kormak Ogmundsson (Old Norse: Kormákr Ǫgmundarson). Robert Mannyng of Brunne in his book Story of Inglande (1338) quoted from two lost romances about Þorgils Skarði, including that he had a brother called Fleyn. If so, this Kormak may have had the nickname Fleinn, and if so may have founded Flamborough (from Old Norse Fleinaborg). Thorgils and Kormak came to England not long after Harald Greyhide's expedition to Bjarmaland, today the area of Arkhangelsk in northern Russia.[3]


  1. ^ Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England, Richard Fletcher
  2. ^ Scarborough History (Yorkshire Coast)
  3. ^ Bjarmeland (Store norske leksikon)