Isaac Sharp and Asbjorn Kloster’s visit to the Faroe Islands (April-June 1862).

Letter of Introduction concerning Isaac Sharp given by Society of Friends


April 1862

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Journey to Faroes (19th April – 23rd April)

Left Middlesbro', accompanied by my friend Asbjorn Kloster, soon after nine on Saturday morning, April 19th, 1862. At Darlington a demand was made of 34s (£1.70) for overweight of luggage. The departure of the steamer having been announced to take place before the advertised time prevented any part of it being forwarded by the merchandise train. We reached Grangemouth about six in the evening, and secured beds at Wallace's Hotel, as the captain of the Arcturus kindly suggested we should be more comfortable there than amidst the bustle of a loading ship, intended to sail on the following evening. It felt a considerable disappointment not to be able to get to either Edinburgh or Glasgow, for a part of Sunday with our friends of either place. We sat down by ourselves in the forenoon, and were, I thankfully believe, enabled to wrestle for a blessing, and to renew our trust in the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord. The feeling was instructively present-


"Safe in His keeping on a bed of down,

Safe in His keeping on a stormy sea."


About six we embarked, and the vessel (Arcturus) shortly after left the quay. Among the passengers was C. W. Shepherd, who was one of our pleasant travelling companions on returning from Iceland last year. It was a calm, still evening, a lovely twilight was succeeded by a clear atmosphere and cloudless sky. Meteors were flashing, and the stars, in the absence of mist, shone out with brilliancy. We have an interesting gentleman on board, who with his wife are on their way, for the first time, from Copenhagen to Faroe; we have thus an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the Governor of these islands, he being on his way thither in that capacity. He is kind and courteous, and speaks English fluently. Before rising from supper the first chapter of Hebrews was read. A few remarks followed, which appeared to be well received, ten persons being present, and most of them understanding English. The night invited to remain on deck, and it was eleven ere some of us retired for the night.


April 21st-- Anchored off Peterhead about ten. We had a fine run of sixteen hours to this place from Grangemouth. Most of the passengers went on shore; the sun shone brightly, and it was very warm. Here I saw John Ritchie, who is an Icelandic trader, and has long felt a desire for the further circulation of the scriptures in Iceland. It was my privilege to be able to tell him of the intention of the Bible Society to print 10,000 copies of the New Testament and Psalms. Set sail again at three. In the interim a cold east wind had sprung up, which so far increased as to drive me off to bed at six.


April 22nd.-- A rolling sea, with a fair wind, accompanied by considerable tossing, in bed all day.


Arrival at Torshavn

April 23rd. -- The Faroe Isles were early in sight this morning. About eight we anchored off Torshavn, the capital. A salute was fired from the battery in recognition of the Governor's arrival, and several of the principal inhabitants came on board to meet him. Among them Hannes Finson, Deputy Governor, and H. C. Muller, the Sysselman*. To the house of the latter we were kindly invited, until we could procure lodgings, there being no hotel in the place. Towards evening we succeeded in obtaining very comfortable quarters at the house of a merchant named Hansen.

*The Sysselman had charge over a particular area in the Faroe Islands.

April 24th. -- Early this morning the Arcturus left for Iceland. We are very thoughtful as to a right procedure, and have many lessons to learn. In this peculiarly variable clime, weather, wind, and wave will often set aside arrangements, however carefully made. As a rule, where practicable, it appears to be preferred to go out and return the same day - instances of detention sometimes occur of a somewhat perplexing character. It has been said that a clergyman was once detained eighteen weeks on the Island of Fugloy, and that another who had gone in good weather to visit a sick person in Mykines, could not return home before the end of fourteen weeks. As in Iceland we are much dependent on circumstances over which we have no control, so that both faith and patience appear likely to be called into frequent exercise. Torshavn appeared to present, with some clearness, for a meeting on Sunday, if practicable, so we called on the Amptman or Governor. As before, the "Thurg House," or Hall of Justice, was very kindly granted for the purpose. Wishing if practicable to visit the most southerly island (Suderoy) before Sunday, inquiries were made for a boat and crew, and we were directed to Mekkel Parly Paulsen, as the most trustworthy and reliable man for our purpose, he having a good knowledge of the tidal currents, which sweep by with great rapidity.

We accordingly went in search of this individual, and found him on duty at the garrison, where he has to keep watch once a week. He is a fine, tall, well-proportioned man, and reminded us of our Icelandic guide last year. We now began to realize some of the difficulties of our position. This experienced man considers the danger would be unwarrantably great in attempting to visit Suderoy so early in the season, although within a few hours' sail, wind and weather permitting; so we agreed with him to be ready in the morning, with a boat and crew of eight, for Sandoy, the smallest number considered safe.


April 25th. -- Rain and snow fell during the night, and this morning there was a winter-like cover on the hills, from whence the air was chill. Started at 9.45 for Sandoy. Soon after passing the southern point of Streymoy, a sudden squall came on, the wind and waves rising simultaneously with almost inconceivable rapidity.  In two hours we landed at Skopun, and drew up to the largest house in this little hamlet. Some sweet milk and rusks were promptly set before us, after which we set off on foot for Sandur, about seven miles distant. We called at the house of the Sysselman, who was not in, so we next went forward to see the resident minister, who journeyed with us from Grangemouth to Faroe last year. He received us kindly, and expressed himself ready to promote our having a meeting, and went with us back to the Sysselman’s, at whose house it was agreed the people should be called together, and notice was promptly sent out accordingly.

The minister suggested that the people would like the meeting to commence with a psalm, it was what they were accustomed to. The Sysselman has a very good knowledge of English, and to him I explained that it was our custom to assemble in silence - that we brought nothing prepared beforehand, but trusted if it were right to speak, it would be given us what to say; with this he appeared satisfied, and the pastor said no more. About forty assembled, and the meeting held for an hour-and-a-half, commencing and ending agreeably, the people showing marked attention. The pastor, a man of great fluency of speech, acknowledged on the rising of the meeting, in his own name and that of the congregation, the visit of the two strangers who had come from far, and the goodness of the Lord in putting into their hearts by His Spirit to come among them for the good of souls.

A simple but ample repast was spread for us by the wife of our kind host, and a few words were spoken in love to those who sat round, before rising from the table. The parting words of the Sysselman, spoken in good English, and with evident feeling, were touchingly interesting, "God bless you for what you are doing in His name." It was near half-past seven when we left to retrace the morning's track of mountain and moor. The family had retired to rest before we arrived, but quickly rose and gave us a kind welcome.


April 26th. -- Rose at five, and at eight held a little meeting with the people of Skopun, twenty-five being present. Heavenly good, I trust, was near.


The morning was fine, and after a pleasant sail of two hours and a half, we landed on the Island of Nolsoy. Our chief boatman or guide proves a very satisfactory man. On leaving the boat he went with us to one of the principal men in this little community, who readily made way for a meeting in his house, which was very neat and clean. Refreshment was quickly provided for us, some nice fresh eggs, forming a part; domestic fowls are much more commonly kept in Faroe than Iceland, a small portion of grain is annually grown in the former, and none in the latter. Our kind host said, can you put off your meeting till two? some would come now, more then. Accordingly, at half-past two about forty met. Asbjorn Kloster had good service, and we left peacefully soon after four, the weather continuing favourable, and in about an hour, reached our comfortable quarters at Torshavn.


April 27th. -- Dublin Yearly Meeting: dear friends of that land and those in attendance from England are in lively remembrance. In the forenoon A. K. and myself sat down together, I trust it may be said to our refreshment and comfort; prayer and thanksgiving were uttered, under a precious sense that in condescending mercy, the great and good Master has brought us thus far on our way in safety and in peace. Of the 800 inhabitants of Torshavn more, I think, than one-third assembled at the “Thurg House" at six. The newly-appointed governor and his wife, and a considerable number of the principal inhabitants were there. The meeting lasted nearly two hours, during which Asbjorn Kloster and myself were both engaged at considerable length. The morning's prayer was, I thankfully believe, in mercy answered, that the Lord would be pleased to open the hearts of the people, to receive the message which He might give in charge. The language was revived, "Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled," "Give us this day our daily bread." In these gospel days, it is the privilege of the Christian to feed on Christ. In a healthy state of the body and in a healthy state of the soul, true hunger and true thirst will be alike felt-the one for the nourishment of the mortal frame-the other for the bread of life, &c. It was a good meeting.

Hosvik and Eidi

April 28th. --The steeping rain of yesterday is succeeded by a morning of sunshine and freshness. We left Torshavn, with our trusty crew, at half-past eight, and proceeding northward up the Fiord, held a little meeting between one and two at Hosvik, at which time about thirty assembled; again setting sail we reached Eidi in the northern part of the Island of Eysturoy, about five in the evening. The shyness with which we were met on first landing, was abundantly cancelled by the kindness which followed. We have much to be thankful for; our quarters are clean and very comfortable. There is a neatness and cleanliness about the Faroese, so far as we have yet seen, which far exceed my expectations, and the open manner in which, for the most part, we have been received, is quite remarkable. It is very interesting to find two persons in this place able to converse in English. Our sail along the Fiord to-day, though stern and sterile, bleak and brown, was by no means devoid of interest; waterfalls in great variety, flowing from the snowy heights above, were seen on the right hand and on the left; there was one of singular beauty. A snowy peak in the background was seen through an opening in the range of hills bounding the Fiord, through which the water descended in a double cascade, midway in its descent uniting in one, and then rushing over a rocky bed into the water below, the sun at the same time shining brightly on the spray, added greatly to the effect of the whole. Curiously situated, is this little town of Eidi on the margin of the Fiord, the houses are clustered in a remarkable manner, and so closely that the width of the main streets would not suffice for two wheelbarrows to pass each other. Arrangements are kindly made for a meeting in the new warehouse of Frederick R. Wendel, the resident factor here, who most kindly and willingly lends us his assistance -tomorrow at nine is spoken of as a suitable time. The wind, which began to rise before we landed, continues to increase; there is no harbour, and we had to scramble on shore as best we could.

In the evening I took a walk to the heights above; to the north was seen the expanse of ocean, to the south the Fiord along which we had recently sailed, with a waterfall on either hand-a sudden squall came on - the sun shone brightly through the rain, forming a bow of great beauty, beneath which was a line of crater-like snowy summits five in number, one end of the rainbow appearing to rest, greatly enlarged in width and with much brilliancy, on the precipice rising abruptly from the ocean below - the effect of the whole was sublime.

April 29th. -- It blew hard in the night, and the storm of wind and rain continues unabated this morning, entirely precluding our departure hence until the swell of the surging waves becomes less. At nine, the hour appointed, more than 100 assembled - the countenances of many evinced their serious attention. The people of this place are much cut off from the pastor, within whose parish they reside, as the distance precludes his being with them more than six times a year.


In the afternoon, although it continued to rain there was a change for the better, and a little before five we left for Hvalvik, and in about two hours landed in safety, and found lodgings at the house of a person who is accustomed to entertain merchants and others who may be passing by this way. The weather is far more winter-like than anything we met with in Iceland - the sheep have a very bare pasture, there being scarcely a trace of vegetation on the hillsides, except the sere and withered tufts, and the moss which grows among them - the little lambs are small and thin, and some of them may be seen on the margin of the fiords, with their mothers, learning their first lessons in the selection of the sea-weed growing on the rocks, most suitable to eke out their scanty sustenance. The butter is well made - clean and sweet, but about as pale as milk.

April 30th. -- The weather this morning is exceedingly dull, much rain has fallen in the night and it continues dark and dreary, wet and winter-like.  At eight o'clock from ninety to 100 assembled; it proved a good open time, the people being very attentive and still.


About noon we left for Kollafjordur, and on calling at the house of a serious, intelligent peasant, John C. T. Djurhuus, we were cordially welcomed; a room in the house was cheerfully granted in which to hold our meeting. The wife and daughter of our host quickly prepared for us an ample meal. At five o’clock from fifty to sixty assembled. At the close of the meeting a spontaneous "Tak Tak Tak" passed through the room, intended to convey an appreciation of our visit. A very sweet feeling was present, and considerable tenderness manifested, while Asbjorn Kloster, ere we parted from this interesting family, addressed a few words of lively Christian interest. The Scriptures, particularly of the Old Testament, are scarce in this district and in many other parts of Faroe. The wind and rain continued, but about half-past eight we were favoured to reach our comfortable quarters at Torshavn.

May 1862

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May 1st. -- A morning of bright sunshine! To-day the new governor of Faroe enters on his duties; the captain of our crew has to appear before him officially, so we conclude to go overland on foot, leaving the boat and men to follow by sea, as soon as may be. A capital roadway has been formed for a considerable distance out of Torshavn, to the end of which we pass and then take to the moor, ascending the high ridge which separates one part of the island from the other. In about three hours we reached Kirkjubour, where resides a rich peasant in a large well-furnished house; his son, who has travelled on the continent of Europe, and who speaks a little English, gave notice for a little meeting; about thirty soon came together, and before we parted our visit was agreeably acknowledged by both father and son; the latter showed us some curiously carved panelling, and an ancient throne or chair, apparently many hundred years old and of Romish origin, all of which are in the kirk in use at the present day.


There was a swelling current in the Fiord along which we sailed, between Vagar and Streymoy; the coast was rugged and grim, and toward evening it became bleak and chill. About seven we landed at Vestmanna, the merchant, at whose house we called, was from home, but his amiable wife received us courteously, and very willingly sent out to give notice of a meeting for the morrow.

May 2nd. -- The people at this season are very busy, some are spreading fish upon the rocks to dry, and others are planting potatoes. The morning was very bright and sunny. At nine o'clock, responding to the invitation, about forty-eight persons assembled, the ready and cheerful manner in which way is thus made for us is very striking, and striking also the solid deportment of those who meet; in all this I trust we are not insensible of the loving-kindness of the Lord.


At twelve we again set sail, and about one o'clock landed at Kvivik, where resides the minister of the parish, who saw the boat approaching and came out to meet us. Our time (owing to the tidal current) was very limited, and notice was promptly given for a meeting at his house at two. A. K. and myself sat in the entrance porch, behind us were some of the minister's household, including himself; and in the court-yard in front, of ample space, about fifty persons stood round the door, clustering like bees - the whole being to them both new and strange. Our mouths were opened in the love of the gospel, and ability, I trust, was given to tell of a change of heart, which nothing outward can give, and of the blessing of that union which is with Christ through the Spirit, &c., &c. At the close of the meeting our kind host shook hands with us cordially, and invited us to a simple repast, a pudding of dried cod-fish mixed with flour and raisins, sliced and fried, forming a part – a cup of excellent coffee for each being served up at the end. In this house, the study was well stored with books, the furniture was of a superior kind and arranged with much taste, while the plants in bloom on the window ledge, including the lily of the Nile, the rose and Cineraria, added greatly to the interest of the whole. At half-past three we left, the wind was considerable and the swell heavy, Hugging the coast for shelter, headland after headland was rounded. A stone from the boat would have reached the cliffs we were passing by, on which the dashing waves of crested blue, rose and fell, with a beauty and grandeur strangely blended, entering anon some ocean cave, to return with an echoing roar; nor could a single nook be traced wherein to run for shelter. About six we landed at Midvagur in Vagar, and after some search found lodgings for the night.


May 3rd. -- At this season of the year the people are very busily occupied with their little plots, in preparing the land, planting potatoes, and sowing seed, barley or big only being grown; the produce in good years is from ten to twelve fold. Sea-weed is much used as manure. Finding on inquiry last evening, an early hour would best suit the convenience of the people, our plans were arranged accordingly, and at seven this morning from 110 to 120 persons assembled at our lodgings. Our minds are often under much exercise, for the best welfare of the people among whom, for a little space, we dwell, and not the least for the inhabitants of this place. After the meeting we called for a short time on the minister and his wife, which appeared due, in Christian courtesy; they were quite agreeable, and we were informed he had intended being at the meeting, but was not quite well, and therefore gave it up. In answer to an inquiry made of our captain, we were informed that in the present state of the weather, it would be impossible to land either at Koltur or Hestur, both of which islands we were to pass on our way. The "Sornskriver," or magistrate, who is here on official business from Torshavn, prefers to remain a day or two, rather than encounter the Vagur Fiord in the present aspect of the sky. He was at meeting this morning, serious in deportment and respectful afterwards, kindly accompanying us to the water's edge. We left at ten, and after a tossing among the waves of the North Atlantic, not soon to be forgotten, we were favoured to reach Torshavn in safety at half-past two. After taking some refreshment and re-arranging our luggage, we embarked at six in the evening for Toftir in Eysturoy, arriving there after a pleasant sail at half-past seven, the weather having moderated since the morning. We were kindly received and cared for by Ole Michaelson and his wife, who during the day had been busily engaged on their little farm.


May 4th. -- Sunday morning-bright still, and sunny. Notice having been given for a meeting at ten, about sixty persons assembled, amongst whom my valued companion laboured in the love of the Gospel; in the family of our host he had some religious conversation the evening before, bearing on our religious profession: and during a little parting salutation, considerable tenderness was evinced.


At half-past one, we left for Soldarfjordur, on the same Fiord, and on landing at three, were welcomed to the house of an aged proprietor, who was born there, and who, at the age of seventy-five, is still vigorous. For twelve years of his life he was on the sea, a part of the time in the capacity of captain, during which period he was in South America, and many other parts -- two of his sons live near him -- he labours on his own land, and is still able to do a full day's work, he commencing at six in the morning.

Notice was sent to the neighbouring farms, and about forty persons assembled at five o'clock. The meeting felt to me to be less lively than some, but no doubt arose as to its having been rightly appointed -- one day may be expected to differ from another, and both faith and patience to be in frequent exercise. The evening was chill, and we retired early to rest.

Sydrugota and Nordragota

May 5th. -- Misty and cold, with drizzling rain. With our aged host as guide, we left Soldarfjordur at 9.45, and passing over the mountainous ridge which separates one Fiord from another, reached Sydrugota in about an hour and a half, where having arranged for a meeting we passed on to Nordragota, arriving there about twelve. The houses are curiously huddled together; reeking manure heaps, and remnants of fish, send up their exhalations in all directions -- striking is the contrast between the filth without and the cleanliness within – passing through the dirt, we were shown into a clean house, where a clean white cloth was soon spread, on a well-scoured table, near the window. At this place we were more than willingly received. The house of a neighbour contained a larger room than the one we were in; the use of it was cordially offered, and within an hour of our arrival, from 120 to 130 met together, about as closely packed, I think, as I remember to have seen at any time, It was a season of much openness, and the countenances of many bespoke their deeply serious attention. The situation of the thief upon the Cross was alluded to -- not he alone, but all have need of pardon, and like him, through faith, may find a Saviour, too, salvation being freely offered to us all, &c., &c.

When the meeting was over, our visit was gratefully acknowledged. We now returned to the house we had first entered, and partook of the provision kindly set before us, consisting of rye-bread and rusks with butter, dried mutton and uncooked sausages, -- a cup of coffee being brought in for each as usual. Sensible of the kindness with which two strangers had been entertained, we took leave, and proceeded to Sydrugota, where, at five, about forty assembled; After the meeting was over, our wonderful guide being still with us, we returned to Soldarfjordur to lodge, arriving there, very weary, about half-past seven, but not without a peaceful sense of the mercies of the day.


May 6th. -- Crossed the Fiord to Strendur -- there are many farms along the coast for a considerable distance, but in no part of Faroe have we met with so much indifference. In this part of Eysturoy, the Faroe language is so much spoken, that it was with some difficulty Asbjorn Kloster could keep up a conversation; and he is thoroughly satisfied our friend Robert Doeg, notwithstanding his excellent knowledge of the Danish, would scarcely understand a single sentence, however simple. The Norwegian language more nearly resembles that of Faroe, especially the mountain dialect, with which Asbjorn Kloster is familiar. There was quite a willingness to engage a boat for us to leave, but very little disposition to assemble for a meeting. Eventually some thirty to forty gathered together on a hillside in the open air, to whom a few words of entreaty and warning were spoken in Christian love. Reached Torshavn about half-past five for a little rest, and to prepare letters for the steamer.

May 10th, 1862. -- To-day the steamer arrived from Iceland, bringing interesting letters therefrom relative to the Scriptures, &c.


May 13th, -- Left Torshavn a little before one; the weather bright and sunny. On rounding the points of land to the south-east of Eysturoy, the currents were very rapid, and for a little space we were tossed exceedingly. The high and rugged mountain steeps, as we passed Klaksvik, reminded me more of Iceland than anything we have before seen in Faroe. We had a rapid sail up the Sound between Kunoy and Bordoy, and after a fine passage of five hours and a quarter, landed at Videreidi, the residence of the pastor within whose district the North East Isles lie. Our kind hostess of Torshavn embraced the opportunity offered by our voyage of going on a visit to Videreidi, and doubtless this little circumstance helped us considerably, as we found on landing, the pastor was from home, and his wife, in his absence, was busy with her maidens, who were in the midst of the "spring cleaning." The windows had been taken out of their frames, and the household furniture in general was much in the condition it is wont to be under such circumstances. Simultaneously, the girls ceased their work, and looked on the two foreigners with no little amazement. Our arrival was announced, and the mention of the foregoing will help to show how great was the kindness in giving a hearty welcome to the strangers who had so unexpectedly arrived. The pastor's wife speaks English fluently, having resided for some years in the West Indies. A bountiful repast was quickly prepared for us, and a bed for each. Striking was the contrast between the humble exterior of this dwelling and the elegance within. After tea I took a little walk up the hill side and enjoyed the view. Below was the ocean like a tranquil lake-mountains rose right and left, with a wonderfully rugged outline flecked with snow, the little valley lying between affording a larger extent of pasture ground than is often seen in Faroe.  The present pastor and his wife have resided at Videreidi about three years. The latter gave me an instance of the difficulties attendant on the isolation of these far-off islands. A marriage was about to take place, and a boat and crew came one stormy morning for the minister. The storm increased as, with a gaze of intense anxiety, his wife, after they had left, watched the frail bark, which repeatedly disappeared and then rose again, until at length it could be seen no more. Chilled by the storm, her heart sank within her, as from one to another the fear quickly spread that her husband had found a watery grave. Ordinarily, the journey was one of three hours; in the present case it was eventide before they were able to land, and three days before the pastor was able to return. It then became his lot to nurse his wife, who for a month was confined to her bed, and so ill as scarcely to afford a hope of her recovery; the nearest medical aid being at Torshavn, distant there and back a full day's journey.

Feeling my mind much drawn towards Fugloy, inquiries were made for a boat and the best time for starting. Our guide said, "I suppose you will not go if the weather is not fine?" "We will go when the crew and the boat can go," responded Asbjorn Kloster. "That is good," said the man. "But you must not go without your breakfast," said the mistress of the household, "and it shall be ready for you at seven in the morning."

May 14th. -- Left Videreidi at eight, after breakfast, and walked across the island to Eidsvik, thereby shortening the sea voyage considerably, and embarked at nine o'clock. The little inlet was rocky and steep, and the point of embarkation covered with weed. The boat rose and fell considerably, and it felt somewhat new and strange when one of the crew thoughtfully passed a rope under my arms to provide for any emergency. A few minutes sufficed, and the boat was pushed off from the rocky ledge. The mountains of Videreidi look fine from the sea. To the north is a commanding precipice, rising abruptly from the ocean with a tapering summit. The effect was greatly heightened by a dash of prismatic tint, blending with the green and grey with a softened glow of loveliness not often seen. We had not been long from land before the wind and waves arose with sudden violence; the current at the same time being very strong; and now and then came a lurch threatening to overwhelm. There were a few moments of deep thoughtfulness; I think it may be safely said they were moments both of the trial and renewal of faith, with ability to commit all as into the hands of a faithful Creator.


Kirkja and Hattervik

As we drew near to Fugloy, the current was less; but such a place for landing we had never seen before. From the heights above, the men came down and quickly gave us their greeting, "We are surprised to see you come here in such weather."  Now came the ascent of the rocks, in which a footstep was chiselled here and there, and soon we looked down on the waves below, and watched the contending waters in the middle of the fiord which separates Fugloy from the adjoining isle. We were kindly welcomed to the house of one of the peasants; and, notice having been given, about fifty persons assembled at twelve o'clock. All were respectful, civil, and attentive. Ability was granted to my valued companion and myself to plead with them concerning their soul's best welfare and the way of life and death. After partaking of some refreshment, we passed over the high land on foot, and descended the little valley to Hattarvik, a smaller hamlet than the one at which we landed. At six o'clock, about twenty-four assembled, to whom power was given us to preach the gospel of reconciliation through Christ Jesus.

On coming to this distant island, no impediment appeared to present in the knowledge that we might be detained by stress of weather, and in the morning the sky had a very storm-like appearance; the evening, on the contrary, was calm and still. Between 10 and 11 P.M., there were some remains of daylight, about which time the moon arose from the ocean's bed like a ball of fire, resembling the setting sun seen through a mist. The effect was very fine.


May 15th. -- Rose soon after six; a bright and sunny morning. From our bedroom window, a boat was seen going out to sea, a cheering indication that we, too, might get away. A little before nine, we went down to the landing ledges, along which the waves were beating with successive roar, intermingled with a strange booming sound. Precious and peaceful was the feeling with which, from our little bark, I gazed on Fugloy, and thought of her people and the little debt of love which had now been paid. Passing along under stately cliffs rising abruptly from the sea, we entered the bay, and, after being on the water pleasantly for a little more than two hours, landed on the island of Svinoy.

We were promptly invited to enter a room clean and comfortable, and looking very inviting for a night's lodging, had we been tarrying here. In the better houses in these Islands there is a good-sized room with an earthen floor, the cooking apartment, and the one in general use, round the walls of which, boxes and benches are not infrequently found. In such a room our meeting on Svinoy was held, about seventy being present, including the boat's crew who came with us from Fugloy. Asbjorn Kloster's Norwegian accent appears appreciated by many: the remark was made, in reference to it, after meeting, "It would be well if we could understand our Danish priest as well as you."

A bountiful repast was kindly spread for us consisting of well-made bread (of barley or rye) and good sweet butter, dried mutton and biscuits, a nice bowl of milk, and a cup of tea. Our host went with us, as one of the crew, to the next station. We left his house about half-past one, and, in little more than half an hour, crossed the Island in its narrowest part, and watched with interest the lowering and launching of the boat. On the tops of the grim and rugged steeps of Svinoy, the curling mist had gathered; higher up was the denser cloud; and beyond, the sun-lit blue.


This is the finest day we have had in Faroe. Of boldness and beauty there is a wondrous blending amid the sunshine of these northern isles. About four we reached Hvanna. This is one of the merchant stations, and, as usual, strong drink is doing its deadly work. A poor besotted, demented man followed us to our quarters-a sad spectacle, a wreck of humanity: his visage brought to mind the man who had his dwelling among the tombs.

About half-past seven, some fifty-four persons assembled, one third of the whole being, I believe, more or less tipsy, including the inebriate we met on landing. For most of an hour, while Asbjorn Kloster was addressing them with great plainness of speech (strengthened, I believe, to discharge his duty toward those assembled), and subsequently in that which fell to my lot to communicate, the quietness and attention were remarkable; and I believe the acknowledgment may be reverently made, that the power of Divine grace and truth was measurably in dominion. Probably much of what we saw to-day, and which saddened our hearts, was increased from the circumstance that a vessel had been discharging her cargo. At such times, as in our own land, strong drink is often taken in excess.

May 16th. -- Stormy, misty, and cold. There is cause for much thankfulness in having had so favourable an opportunity of visiting Fugloy and Svinoy. This being one of the "prayer-days" of the Lutheran Church, of rigid observance, it seems best to remain quietly in our quarters, to which, on the score of health, I have no objection, not being yet free from rheumatic pains; neither is A. Kloster quite well.


May 17th. -- A day of rest and quiet has been helpful to us both; but the time having come for our departure, we left Hvannasund about half-past nine, reaching Videreidi in an hour and a quarter, and were again welcomed at the house of the pastor, F. Feilberg, who was now at home, and who had been expecting us the whole of the day before. The land attached to the kirk here is considerable, and the minister owns between 500 and 600 sheep. The greatest part of the wool is spun and made into vests and other garments. More than 400 knit frocks or vests were thus made here last year by the female domestics of whom there are twelve in this family. Education appears to be much neglected. During the trade monopoly in these Islands, brandy was obtainable at Torshavn only, and its use was then much restricted. A small sum suffices now for the purchase of a license, and the sale is rapidly increasing. Simultaneously with an alteration in favour of free trade, the government was petitioned (as I understood) to cancel the compulsory payment of a very small educational rate. This was complied with, and the children suffer in consequence. "In Faroe," says F. Feilberg, "Brandy is up, and Education down." 

About half-past one our meeting was held: about eighty assembled, the minister and his wife being among them. The population of this hamlet is 120. The pastor, at the close of the meeting, acknowledged our visit agreeably, and warmly pressed us to prolong our stay.


We remained to dine with this hospitable family, and, a little before six, with a crew of eight, left for the merchant station of Klaksvik, at which place we landed, after a pleasant sail of nearly three hours along the fiord which separates Kunoy from Bordoy, Klaksvik being situated on the latter island.

On rising-ground, at the margin of the bay, stands to the house of J. C. Durhuus, who met us on landing with a kindly-spoken welcome. It may be well said of the Faroe people that they are not forgetful to entertain strangers. Without a line of introduction to the individuals whose hospitality we seek, the clever wife of our host makes no difficulty in having to prepare, between nine and ten on Saturday night, for a couple of travellers who have unexpectedly come in. The evening's repast is prepared with cheerfulness, and a comfortable lodging-room made ready for the night.


May 18th. -- J. C. Durhuus kindly went with me in his boat this morning to Harald, in Harald Sound or Kunoy, a small hamlet, four miles from Klaksvik. As we sailed along, four boats were seen all aiming for the same spot; and, about eleven, a little meeting was held with those isolated islanders; I trust, to their comfort.


In the evening, at five, a meeting was held in a warehouse kindly lent by our host. Thus, from time to time, we are helped on our way; often sensible of many blessings, we are sensible at seasons of privations too. Frequently our own insufficiency is before us; nor are the times wanting, in humble thankfulness, of feeling "our sufficiency" to be of God. I thought the love of our Heavenly Father was near to us at our evening meal, and the expression of a few words, ere the family rose from the table, was well received.


May 19th. -- Taking leave of our kind friends, we left Klaksvik about nine. Soon after starting, the wind began to blow, and it was very wild and stormy before we reached Kunoy, the place of our destination. Sixteen men of this little hamlet are out fishing, but expected to return this afternoon. At an humble dwelling of one of the inhabitants we were kindly cared for. After a time, the first boat landed in safety; but, as hour after hour passed by, no small anxiety was felt for the other, as the storm had been heavy in the night. It was touchingly interesting to see the poor women come to the edge of the cliff to catch the first glimpse of the homeward bound. Our hostess, a widow, told us, with tears, of the loss of one of her sons. At length, about five, after nine hours of hard rowing, the wind being contrary, the boat got back in safety. Now were seen the women with hasty steps descending the rocks, with milk and other needful supplies to refresh the weary ones on landing. At a quarter to seven in the evening, about sixty-eight persons assembled in the neat little kirk, built near the edge of a precipice, at the foot of which the waves were lashing. It was a comfort to believe we had not met in vain. The people appeared grateful for the visit, and peace was mercifully permitted us in the retrospect. Here we rested for the night, the poor men being too weary to leave home again without rest. The neighbouring island of Kalsoe is a mountainous range, with a perpendicular face to the sea.


May 20th. -- We left Kunoy this morning a little before nine, and looked back with interest to its noble amphitheatre of rock -- a fine specimen of Nature's architecture, of which there are many specimens in Faroe. In about an hour we reached Mikladalur, on the island of Kalsoy, often unapproachable from the lashing of the waves. The ascent to the little hamlet above was difficult and toilsome; in one part so steep as to require a short step-ladder. On reaching the hospitable dwelling of the chief proprietor, we found many of the people were away from home, engaged in fishing. Hence the importance of retaining our Kunoy crew; they hesitate, then confer together; again hesitate, and finally agree. About thirty-six persons assembled soon after ten o'clock, and I could thankfully believe our little meeting was mercifully owned by the Divine presence. Taking leave of our new acquaintances, who were very kind to us, we retraced our way to the water’s-edge, and were soon once more in our "little bark."

Gjogv and Funningur

Reaching Gjogv or Eysturoy early in the afternoon, a meeting was held there at four o'clock, and at six we passed on to Funningur, arriving there about half past seven. A very cool reception awaited us here. At the house to which we were recommended the husband was out, and his wife was in perplexity as to whether we were to shelter there or no, but asked us to come in. The husband soon followed, to whom Asbjorn Kloster explained our circumstances, and that, traveller-like, we wanted lodgings for the night. "So I see!" was the brief reply. Our quarters for present need having been granted, inquiry was next made as to a place for a meeting, and the best time. To this there was neither response nor sympathy. I remembered that, on landing, we passed by a small warehouse; and, on inquiring after it, we were pleasantly answered by a youth of seventeen (who had been at one of our meetings), and arrangements were soon made with the master of the premises for a meeting on the morrow.

May 21st. -- Friends assembling in London to-day, for the first sitting of the Yearly Meeting, were in frequent remembrance. At the hour of ten, about thirty-seven persons, responding to the invitation, assembled in the Funningur fish-store. They were seriously attentive: the kirkevegr, at whose house we lodged, was present, and spoke pleasantly to A. K. afterwards respecting the meeting.


At Elduvik, whither we next went, about sixty-two came together on a short notice; and at half-past six in the evening, a meeting was held in a large upper-room at the house of Clement Hogneson, by whom and his wife we were very kindly cared for.

Fuglafjordur and Husar

May 22nd. -- Left Oyndarfjordur this morning, and reached Fuglafjordur at half-past ten. A meeting there at twelve; thence by Leirvik to Husar on Kalsoy, where about half-past five from fifty to sixty assembled;  after which we returned to Leirvik to lodge.


May 23rd. --  A fine, calm, still morning, but no sunshine. In this latter respect the climate of Faroe reminds me of Shetland; in the former, the changes are, however, more rapid - sun, wind, and rain frequently following in quick succession. It was thought there were more than seventy present at Leirvik; the meeting lasted nearly two hours; there was deep attention and some tenderness of feeling manifested, and an answer of precious and peaceful calm left no room to doubt our being rightly led to these distant isles, where, from season to season, renewed ability has been received to speak in words of warning to the sinner, and to tell to all of the striving of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man, and the gathering love and mercy of our Heavenly Father through his dear Son, who suffered on the cross for all, a sacrifice for sin.


About noon we left Leirvik, and after crossing the tossing current running fiercely off Mjovanes, entered the still water of Lambavik, and held a little meeting in the interesting vale of Lambareidi; whence, about half-past six, we proceeded on foot to the next fiord, and there took a boat for Torshavn, which we reached after a favourable passage of two hours; the due prospect of a little rest at "head quarters," being very pleasant. 


May 25th. -- A meeting in the "Thing House" at Torshavn at six; about 166 persons present. It proved to be a time of heaviness, and one of the least satisfactory seasons we have had.

Skalavik and Husevik

May 26th. -- Between eight and nine this morning, we left our quarters for Skalavik on the island of Sandoy and arrived about eleven. At half-past twelve, a small meeting was held at the house of a peasant, and another at Husevik between three and four.


From this place we went on foot to Dalur, with a female as guide, the men being absent at the fishing. On calling at the house of one of the peasants we were invited in, where  sat the proprietor, an old man, busily employed in knitting a large vest with four heavy needles and two balls of spun wool of different colours. The valley of Dalur, with its sandy bay, looked bright and beautiful in the evening sun-light.

May 27th. -- A small meeting at half-past seven in the morning. A, K. was silent, but had a good deal of conversation with the son of our host, whose religious views appear to be of a very doubtful character. His mother acknowledged our visit very agreeably, and could scarcely be prevailed upon to take the money her son had named for our board and lodging. As regards accommodation, it was one of the poorest places we have met with, and forcibly reminded of us of last year's experience.

Stora Dimun

Shortly before nine, we left Dalur for Stora Dimun, having a good boat with ten men, the smallest number deemed safe for any place of exposure where the surf is heavy, and the current strong. Great was our privilege in having fine weather for this excursion. As we drew near to the island, the outline rugged and steep, and rising perpendicularly from the ocean, with a cloud resting on the summit from end to end, presented a formidable appearance, and the eye wandered to and fro in vain to discover the landing place. Passing on beneath the cliffs where the sea-birds were hovering by thousands, or perching on the ledges of the rock, we came at length to a little reef over which the billows were breaking so as to tax the boatman's ingenuity, even in fair weather, for securing the momentary lull during which to thrust forward their little bark to the weed-clad place of landing. The King of Denmark, when Crown Prince, once visited Faroe, came hither, saw the rocky ledges, and prudently turned back without attempting to reach the summit. In looking to this place, our guide had said the rope was not always there; and, without it, the ascent could scarcely be accomplished. For months together, this island is altogether unapproachable, and rarely is the water so still as to allow of landing as we did this morning. Thankfulness arose in my heart as I thought of the providential care which had brought us to this distant spot on a day so calm and still. We commenced the ascent of some 240 feet, a portion of it not very far from perpendicular: I felt that duty led way, and fear had little place. The captain of our crew had relatives on the island, and knew the way perfectly; strong and active, he gave me a helping hand at the most difficult points, which were thereby rendered comparatively easy. Rising from rock to rock, we came at length to a narrow, sloping shelf; passing along which, at a dizzy height, the remainder of the way lay through a precipitous cleft in the rock. Half-an-hour from starting brought us to the top, and very delightful it was once more to tread the soft, green sward of a level surface. We were soon invited to enter a clean and nicely-furnished room with open windows, and at noon held our little meeting with the inhabitants of this isolated portion of the Faroe Isles. Eighteen inhabitants reside here, who receive a visit twice a year from the pastor within whose district the island is situated. The land, sloping to the south, produces good crops of barley, and there is grass sufficient for 500 sheep, and 36 head of cattle: a few geese are also kept, as is common in Faroe. Sea- birds are captured in great numbers, and a tax of one-tenth is paid on 7,000 annually. We walked a short distance to another part of the island, to see the spot where the imports and exports are raised and lowered, the island being, in this part, perpendicular. There fell down and died the father of the wife of the present occupant; and there fell down and died one of his predecessors! The time had now come for our return, by the way we came. A rope, in the interim, had been kindly placed in the rocky steep, and aided our descent. On reaching the bottom, the boat was presently launched, and soon we were once more on the open sea, We left about three, and there was mercifully permitted me a peaceful discharge from a little debt of love which for weeks had abidingly rested on my mind.


We had a favourable passage, and in a little less than three hours, landed at Hvalba in the northern part of the island of Suderoy.

May 28th.-Left Qualboe (Hvalba) at 7.40 this morning, and, after about four hours' exposure to continuous rain in an open boat, landed at Ogre (Akrar), near Lobro (Lopra); thence with a mountain guide (the rain continuing) over the rocky ridge on foot, reaching Suniboe (Sumba) soon after two. This is the southernmost hamlet of the southernmost island of the Faroes. We had one or two glimpses of the bold and rugged character of the mountainous coast-line near this spot, and commenced descending after attaining an elevation of about 1,400 to 1,500 feet.


On looking down from the heights, we saw the ocean current sweeping by, which at the extremity of these islands rushes with great force. South of Sumba is a rock called the "Monk," which has so much the appearance of a vessel with its sails spread, that I did not doubt, at first sight, its being a ship at sea. A kind welcome awaited us here at the house of the "kirkevegr." The people were quickly summoned; about sixty assembled, and some renewal of best help was mercifully granted to my companion and myself according to our need; and our little labour of love appeared to be well received. After a frugal meal, we retraced our steps, the weather being now fine, and reached our quarters for the night at Porkere (Porkeri), about half-past nine. It was eleven before we had finished our evening meal, but enough of daylight still remained to see the pointers of a watch.


May 29th. -- A "prayer-day" of the Lutherans; no opening for us till the afternoon. Meeting at three, in the open air, fifty or sixty being present.  A. K. had some enlargement, but we both felt it a heavy time.


After this we walked across the ridge to Hov. About eighteen assembled, but not a female among them. I felt oppressed, but left with them what arose at the time. A. K. was silent. We afterwards learnt that on a "prayer-day" the women did not like to come in their daily dress, and, the notice being somewhat short, they kept away altogether. I felt unwell, and walked slowly back across the rocky moor, through drenching rain. We were both wet to the skin, and were glad to reach our comfortable quarters for the night between seven and eight.


May 30th. -- Left Porkere (Porkeri) this morning about half-past nine, and in about an hour reached Vagur. At this place, and in many parts of Faroe, diphtheria appears to have been very prevalent and often fatal. At half-past eleven, nearly sixty persons assembled. It felt to me an open time, and though feeling faint and feeble as to health, help was mercifully granted, with strength, to tell of the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father to poor fallen sinners, through his dear Son, and of the robe of righteousness to be obtained through Him.


At a quarter-past two, we left Vagur, and, crossing a narrow neck of land, reached the opposite or western side of Suderoy. Here a boat was lowered down a wondrous pile of rocks, some 30 or 40 feet, at such an angle as boats rarely travel, and probably few but Faroe men would attempt. An hour-and-a-half brought us to Famjin (midway between north and south of Suderoy), a little mountainous valley with a fine cascade and a rugged Icelandic-like outline of peaks and pinnacles. The little hamlet is close to the shore, consisting of a few scattered houses and their outbuildings, and the little kirk. On inquiring for a lodging, the mistress of the house was heard to say, "Oh no! we do not know what sort of people they are: besides, we have only one spare bed." But her husband, a man of pleasing deportment, overrules; so we were invited in, and gladly entered, it being too wet to proceed tonight on foot for a two hours' mountain tramp, except in absolute necessity. At eight in the evening, a little company of twenty-one assembled.


May 31st. -- Breakfasted at seven, and left Famjin about 8.20, with four baggage-bearers, who mounted the rocky slopes with wonderful agility, and in about an hour reached, and rested for a few minutes at, the summit level, whence there was a fine view of the quiet bay of Trongisvagur which lay before us. We now descended to Oravik, where we were kindly welcomed. Arrangements were speedily made for a meeting. Meanwhile a cloth, beautifully clean and white, was spread on the table, foreshadowing the hospitality about to follow, of which we partook to our refreshment. Soon after eleven, about forty came together, and a nice open meeting it proved, in which A. K. had much freedom.


From hence we proceeded to Frodba, crossing the bay in a boat. Too many of the people were away to allow of our holding a meeting; so we passed on to Tvoroyri, and met a remarkably cool reception. After some delay, we were shown an uninhabited house of the better sort, where we were told a meeting might be held if we went no further than a small kitchen, as it would not be convenient to have the other rooms made dirty. So we passed on, and soon found a merchant ready and willing to give us his assistance, and whose wife promptly prepared some refreshment for us. Tvoroyri is a poor spot, as merchant stations in Faroe are apt to be, from the prevalent use of intoxicating drink. We feared for the meeting greatly, as there were several who had been evidently drinking, near the house. At the hour appointed, very few came, but in a little time one after another drew together, until a company of forty or more had assembled; to whom the words of warning and entreaty were freely spoken, under some sense of the love of God, and the tender compassion which, in sparing mercy, was near to gather them. From Tvoroyri we proceeded in a little boat to Trongisvagur, and went thence on foot overland, rising for about an hour ere we reached the summit of a mountain ridge. The evening was fine, and the air refreshing. We descended at length by a mountain pass singularly steep and rugged, and, about half-past nine, reached our quarters at Hvalba, whence we had started on Wednesday, the 28th.

June 1862

 S  M Tu  W Th  F  S
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30



June 1st. -- A meeting at three this afternoon at Hvalba. About eighty present, including the pastor C. F. Neilson. A. K. and myself were each engaged at some length. In the hour of need we were not forsaken, but, in condescending goodness were, I believe, helped and owned while endeavouring to set forth the spiritual character of true religion. The people, though much crowded, were very quiet and attentive.


June 2nd. -- Left Hvalba between six and seven, and, after a favourable passage of about three hours, landed on the island of Skuvoy. A considerable number of men are absent, having gone in quest of birds and eggs; and are not expected to return before tomorrow. A little company of twenty assembled at the house of one of the peasants. We left this island in a boat about three, and went on foot across the island of Sandoy to Skopun, and took a boat from thence to Hestur, arriving there about eight in the evening; and on this island rested for the night.

Hestur and Koltur

June 3rd. -- Considerable indifference was manifested here, but a small meeting was held soon after seven this morning, and, about half-past nine, we reached the neighbouring island of Koltur, where a much more comfortable feeling prevailed. After the meeting, there was a sweet and peaceful feeling, much in contrast with that experienced on the island we had previously left. Our tarriance at Koltur was necessarily brief, but we were kindly and hospitably cared for by a peasant and his nice, thoughtful wife. Warned by the state of the ocean current to depart, we left Koltur about eleven, and reached Midvagur or Vagar about one o'clock, proceeding thence on foot to Sorvagur, and arriving there soon after five. Not feeling equal to a meeting, either in mind or body, I took a walk along the margin of the Fiord, and saw a man busily engaged in planting potatoes. The season appeared late, but he expected to take the crop in September. The bay is sandy, and appears to grow barley and potatoes well.


June 4th. -- Rose at five, and, soon after six, left Sorvagur with a, crew of ten. The morning was fine, and the bay beautiful. The sun shone brightly on its bold headlands and sea-girt cliffs. The weather continued favourable the whole clay, which was occupied in a visit to Mykines, the last of the seventeen inhabited islands of the Faroe group, and the most difficult and dangerous of all. About eight in the evening, we were privileged to return to Sorvagur, grateful and glad of heart in remembrance of the multiplied mercies of the day.


June 5th. -- A meeting at Sorvagur this morning about half-past nine. My mind turned wistfully towards the north of Streymoy, but no way opened for our going thither. A little before eleven, we left  Sorvagur on foot. I soon felt satisfied we were in the right direction. About half-past six in the evening, we reached our comfortable head-quarters at Torshavn once more, both of us feeling very sensibly the need of rest.

June 13th. -- A few days have been quietly spent in resting, writing, making inquiries as to the sale and distribution of the Scriptures, and in preliminary preparation for departure. The little schooner Johannes is in the bay, but her destination is not yet fixed. Meanwhile the captain of a Shetland fishing boat has called, and expects to sail next week. It was interesting to hear him say, "I once went with some of your Society to Fair Isle." Having never heard of more than one religious visit from any members of our Society to that spot of peculiar isolation, circumstances still fresh in the pages of memory left no doubt that our late beloved friend, Barnard Dickinson, was one of the company. The weather continues cold and stormy. This morning about six, the Arcturus arrived, bringing with it loving evidence that, though absent, we are not forgotten. But very, very touching are the incidents of bereavement contained in some of the letters. One letter was for A. Kloster, posted too late to reach him in England - anonymously written, but containing an expression of sympathy, cordial and comforting. Saksun, Haldarsvik and Tjornuvik, in the north of Streymoy, continue to press on my mind; so a boat and crew of eight are to be ready in the morning.

Haldarsvik and Saksun

June 14th. -- Left soon after eight. The sky was storm-like and the sea heavy; wind and tide were against us, and it was very cold. Although so near the longest day, our feet were quite painful. For seven long hours continuously, our brave men plied their oars, and at length landed us in safety at Haldarsvik, where arrangements were promptly made for a meeting on the morrow. An aged female, brisk and lively at eighty-one, civilly showed us into her best apartment, and speedily prepared some refreshment for us. Our stay was short; procuring a guide and baggage-bearer, we set off on foot for Saksun, a valley containing four little farms, and having a curious fissure-like outlet through the mountain range to the sea.  Saksun is one of the most singular places we have visited.

June 15th. -- For many days my mind has turned toward this place. About twenty six responded to the invitation. We were entertained with great kindness and hospitality, and, shortly after the meeting, retraced our steps to Haldarsvik, where a meeting was held in the afternoon. More than 100 were present, including those who came from Tjornuvik. It was a time of considerable openness, and my companion had good service among them. We returned to Torshavn to lodge, reaching our quarters about eleven.


June 16th. -- A meeting was appointed for seven this evening in the "Thing House." About seventy were present, and it felt like a peaceful conclusion to our engagement, in the course of which we have been received with much openness, and have largely partaken of the providential care and lovingkindness of the Lord.

Homeward journey (June 17th- 27th)

June 17th. -- Set sail in the Johannes, on our homeward way, and early on Saturday morning reached Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Isles; spent Sunday quietly there, and after a pleasant passage in the steamer plying weekly between Shetland and Granton, (near Leith,) arrived at Middlesbro' on the evening of the 25th; from whence, on the following day, my valued friend Asbjorn Kloster departed for Hull, and sailed in the Ganger Rolf, for Christiania, on Friday, the 27th.


Narrative concerning the mission in the Faroe Islands written by Isaac Sharp on June 30, 1862 after his return home to Middlesbro