Dating back in 16’th century Miðvágur was a seat of local court for the island. Every spring trials were held, and there they settled matters of legal dispute. Between the 12th and 16th Century the court was held outside the villages, in Vagar it was at ‘Dómstólarnir á Tjørndalsegg’. In later days the court was moved in to the village and a place called ‘á Ryggi’ ( On the ridge ). Later in 1671 it moved in to the ‘Heima í Stovu’ ( Home in the lodge ). The court was held here until they were disestablish in 1896.
From mid 1500 Miðvágur had a rectory. At the time the Faroe Islands only had seven priests and one dean. The rectory in Miðvág was named ‘Jansagerð’, and the land belonging to the seat was named ‘á Dalinum’ ( On the valley ).
The sheep-pen belonging to the rectory is still found to this day, and the side of Miðvág where ‘Jansagerð’ was situated, is still called ‘Prestland’ ( Land of the Priest ). In 1839, when Jens Englested was the priest, the rectory burnt down suffering the loss of many valuable relics and church records. Now-a-days the rectory is ‘Inni í Húsi’ ( Inn the settlement ).
Stórihjallur ( Large Storeroom )
Stórihjallur was originally built as alms for the less fortunate villagers. Here the priest would hang up fish, dried meat and whale blubber, so that the poor could provide some food for their families. It was agreed that at every Grind, the largest whale would go to the priest, and he would divide it amongst the poor.
Churches have been an intricate part of Miðvágur since the early 16th century. How many churches there have been is impossible to say, but at least 7 or 8. The first documented Church was located close to where the memorial now stands.
The current church
Heini Joensen ( Bónd-Heini ) was in-charge of the construction. He did the drawings and handled the workforce both inside and out. Previously, he had built several churches in Norway.
If the plan, to build the church in 1930, had been a reality it would have cost 40.000 crowns. But when it was finished in 1952 the price rose to 180.000 crowns. The Church has a capacity of 400.
The relics in the church
The challis and the plate are more then 200 years old. The fountain dates from even earlier then Arabos priesthood. A man called Mouritz Joensen repaired the fountain when there was a hole in it. The church-bell cracked and was re-cast, they used the bronze from the old bell and added a bit to make it bigger.
On the alter in the church You will notice two candlesticks. One of them is missing a small piece. The story goes that Beinta, wife of the priest Arabo had an argument with her husband which resulted in the missing piece.
In 1836 a ship had hit some stormy weather west of 'Kvivikskor'. The crew called for help and men from Bø and Sørvág came to their assistance. The owner of the ship and its cargo was a man from Iceland called Benadiktsson, and was on board the ship. He stayed in Miðvág to recover from the ordeal, where he lived in the old rectory in Jansagerð. Benadiktsson donated the chandelier to the old church being constructed at the time.
The commanding officer for the area during the second world war, Col. Adamson, has also donated several items to the church. And two smaller candlesticks were carved out by an Italian prisoner of war.
From pagan times there was a henge ( Klingra ). According to stories it was used in sacrifice or more likely, people gathered there in pagan times in February to worship the spring sun ( Torrasól ). When the first Christians came to Miðvág they did not have a church so they used the henge for worship. The henge was adjacent to the sea. It was encircled by a turf barrier 35 meter in circumference. Unfortunately the henge no longer exists, since the creation of a road.
The ‘boulder by the sheep-pen’
Legend goes that the first christian-missionary who came to Miðvág came ashore by the boulder next to the sheep-pen. It is understood they would go where pagan shrines had been in olden times.
In the days before there was a church, or a designated house for worship, people would gather on a certain hill or mound and use it as a temple. In Miðvág it is called ‘Kyrjarheyggur’. Here they would gather to sing and give thanks to God. Nowadays it is just a field and the mound is all but vanished from plowing.
Kálvalíð, the alms-house
Upon the passing of a Priest, his widow would be given a house to live in, free of charge. That way they could provide for themselves. The house was turned in to a alms-house back in the 1650’s.