The Battle of Mästerby

On Thursday, August 8th, 2013, we will recreate the 1361 Battle of Mästerby.

Background/history

Sources discussing the fighting at Mästerby, 1361 –

Several sources from approximately the same time discuss three battles on the island of Gotland 1361.
Among these sources are:

– Sjællandske Krønike, circa 1365

– Libellus de Magno Erici Rege, written sometime between 1365 and 1371

These sources do not mention the location of these battles, except the one outside of the city of Visby. The first source to specifically name Mästerby is:

– Cronica Guthilandorum, by H.N. Strelow, 1633

Strelow’s account is written long after the events of 1361, but it is possible that he had access to older sources, which were destroyed in 1735 in a fire in the vicarage where they were kept. He writes that there were two battles at Fjäle Myr in Mästerby, over the course of two days, and that the Danish king had a stone cross raised at Grens gård. It is not very likely, however, that Atterdag himself had the cross raised – a more likely story is that the Gotlanders themselves did this a few years later.

Other things that indicate battles at Mästerby are, aside from the sources, tales and oral tradition, as well as various archaeological finds. Among these are:

– Two rondel daggers

– Crossbow bolts

– Stirrups

– Spurs

– Lance heads

– Parts of maces

– Battle knives

– Parts of armor, such as lamellae, buckles and fittings

– Parts of chainmail

The area has yielded many archaeological finds, particularly in recent years. Several excavations have been conducted in the area.

All in all, sources, tales, findings and oral traditions provide us with unambiguous proof that there were battles between the Danish and the Gotlanders of the Mästerby parish, only days before the battle outside the walls of Visby.

The battle as reenacted in 2011

Mästerby 2011

Sources:

Mästerby 1361, Slagfältsarkeologi i Valdemar Atterdags fotspår

Link to the archaeological investigation at Mästerby (Swedish only):

http://www.masterby1361.se

http://www.slagfalt.se