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Kinsarvik has probably been a centre for the inner Hardanger districts back in prehistory. History tells us that in medieval times there was a marketing place, a “kaupang”, here; a connecting point in the communications between east and west. There were supposedly around 300 residents here but the place was likely wiped out in a great fire.
Lurekalven is an unpopulated island of heather moor which is a part of the wilderness belonging to the five farms on Ytre Lygra. Between the two islands there is only a small sound. As late as the 1920s, milking cows were rowed over the sound from Lygra in summer – a form of farming that was adapted to the coastal landscape.
B.E.Bendixen, who has written about “The Churches in Søndre Bergenhus Amt”, believed even around 1900 that there was evidence at Tyssøy of the church or the chapel of the Holy Ludvig (Louis). Two large stone blocks had lain in the western wall of the church’s nave, and this wall showed a length of 16 meters in the terrain.
A letter from the Pope Eugenius 3 in 1146 mentions St. Nikolaus church at Herdla. This church belonged under Munkeliv monastery, which was founded in Bergen by Øystein around 1110. The Herdla Church may stem from this time.