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For more than 350 years Engesund has been a place for hostelries and trading in the Fitjar islands. The place is centrally placed in the shipping lane, with a sheltered harbour close to the exposed Selbjørnsfjorden. Engesund was once part of the great network of historical stopover places on the coast.
The old trading post lies at the sound between Stord and Færøy in Langenuen. There was a country store and steamship forwarding agent up to 1964. The trade was then moved over to the new ferry harbour of Sandvikvåg.
Årskog farm is situated in a typical coastal landscape in a gentle terrain that slopes down from the outlying heaths down towards the fjord. The farm steading exists as it was in the 1800s. In 1980 the two brothers, Lars and Olai Årskog donated the farm with all its contents of tools and interior decoration, for museum purposes.
The old “recorder residence” at Helleland has been both residence for the district recorder and officer’s residence. The main building, which came under protection in 1924, was built in 1764 by the curate Christian Heiberg. When he was appointed parish priest in Jølster, he sold the farm to the state employee Geelmuyden, who resold the farm to Hans De Knagenhielm in 1774. He was the head of “Søndre Hardangerske kompani” (a local army division).
Hesthamar, some kilometres north of Utne, is one of the oldest residences for a district recorder in the country. In 1637, barely 50 years after the office of the district recorder was established in 1591, the local people bought this residence from the bailiff Lauritz Johnsen on Torsnes. From 1659 the district recorders lived here, intermittently, up to 1790. This is when Helleland at Lofthus became a “recorder” farm.
The farm Huse is situated on a broad terrace in the valley above the church and the commons ground in Kinsarvik. Huse is one of the largest farms in Kinsarvik. The house from the Middle Ages, still standing at Huse today, probably from the middle of 1200, is joined on to a house in the Swiss style from around 1890. This house, with a smoke-vent in the roof, bears witness of a grand old farm and of the chieftain’s power in early medieval times.
When sergeant Peder Larsen Børsem from Strandebarm was “demobilised” in 1721, following the large Nordic War, he married the Bergen lady Elisabeth Schrøder and settled as innkeeper at Utne with a letter of privilege from the county governor dated 29 October 1722.