Svinehold pá Færøerne i ældre tid



Published Jan 1, 1970
E.A. Bjørk


The article is about keeping swine in the Faroes in old times. In his book about the place-names in the Norðuroyar Chr. Matras tells us, that the place-names show that hogs have been kept here from the oldest time up to the reformation. This is confirmed by the finding of bones of swine from old times at several places, and in the litterature swinekeeping is mentioned by Peder Clausen Friis (1592) and Jens Lauridsen Wolf (1651).

The about 50 place-names with relation to keeping of swine, which are mentioned in the article, are tetling us, that hogs have been kept both in the infield (often near the houses) and in the outfield (sometimes far away).

According to the legend of Snopprikkur from the 16th century food was carried out to the pigs in the outfield. It is also told here that in addition to remains from the housekeeping the hogs were fed with malt. The import of malt is mentioned in the Faroese court-book 1615—54, but only in little quantities, so it must have been impossible to feed many hogs with malt only. Clausen Friis tells that the pigs were fed with »tormentilla« (Potentila erecta). The Faroese name of this plant being bark it is probable that the author has meant svínabark (Ranunculus sp.). Besides plants hogs are eating slugs, insects and worms, and in some
other countries they often were fed with fish. Robert Cowie tells that so was with the Shetland hogs. At that time — about 1870 — there were ca. 5.000 hogs in Shetland.

Formerly the number was lesser owing to the damage tihat the hogs were making by rooting the ground, which is mentioned several times in the Shetland court-book 1602—04. It is possible that this damage made by pigs has caused the cessation of the swine-keeping in the Faroes. In the report from the Royal Commission of 1709—10 it is mentiones that hogs were not kept on account of their spoiling of the fields and meadows. Later on — in the 19th and 20th century — it has been tried to revive the keeping of swine in the Faroes, but there have never been many. During the last war the Britisih forces kept a good deal of hogs here, but to day there are no pigs in the Faroes.

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