THE GUARDSMEN’S HUT

THE GUARDSMEN’S HUT

This cog-joint hut from Lærdal is unique. It is a small guardsmen’s hut which originally was located on top of the mountain of Vetanosi between Lærdalsøyri and Fodnes, about 11oo meters above sea level.

The hut has a door in one of the end walls and big peepholes with a view in three directions. Along the walls there are fixed dirt benches.
There is an open fireplace in the middle of the room. However, this hut has no opening in the ceiling because they preferred to let out the smoke through the openings in the walls. The smoke could have led to misunderstandings if it was let out in a single column through the opening in the ceiling.

In times of war three men kept watch here, and close to the hut the beacon fire was ready to be lit. If the enemy was approaching they lit the bonfire to start mobilization. These beacon bonfires were introduced by king Haakon the Good as a warning system in times of war and unrest as early as in the 1oth century.
The bonfires were strategically located in such a way that you could see from one to the next when they were lit. In this way the message of impending war could be spread from one part of the country to the next in a matter of a few days.

This guardsmen’s hut at the museum formed part of a chain of signaling and look-out posts along the Sognefjord from the coast and across the mountain pass of Filefjell to the valley of Valdres.

This hut was probably built about 1710 and was last used during the Napoleonic Wars from 1807-1814. In 1855 it was moved down to the mountain farm of Fagerset and used both as a hut and a sheep-shed. As far as we know, this is the only preserved guardsmen’s hut of this kind
in the country.

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