Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
In the winter of 1849 the impoverished Fjell municipality was forced to put money into new burial places at Møvik and Bildøydalen, because of the raging cholera epidemic. On 28 March the municipal council decided on a resolution “to apply to His Majesty the King most subserviently to be granted a loan of 500 Speciedaler …”
The biggest collection of prehistoric burial relics in Stord is to be found in Hystadmarka. There are still 16 burial mounds and two stone rings visible here; finds that span from the Bronze Age to the Viking Age in time.
Ullensvang church, situated beside the vicarage, in idyllic surroundings on the headland just inside Lofthus municipality, is mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1309. At that time the present Gothic stone church must have been new. Judging by the style in the western portal and the eastern chancel windows, the church must have been built around 1300 or just before, probably by builders from Bergen influenced by the English Gothic style.