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Panorama picture from Valle Municipality in Norway




TVEITENTUNET

In 1969 Setesdal Museum took over the farm Nordigard Tveiten, later called Tveitetunet, with buildings and 2.5 acres of farmland. As a museum the farm was opened to the public in 1977. In 1974 the museum purchased an old barn with stable and cowshed from the farm Heimigard Røysland in Valle. It was moved to Tveitetunet, and erected on an original barn site there. The year 1775 is marked on the building. Earlier the barn stood directly on the ground, making it possible to stand on the ground and throw the hay in. Later on cowshed and stable were placed underneath in the "modern" way, with a bridge on to the barn. The cowshed housed both cattle and sheep.

In 1987 the Setesdal Museum bought back a mill which formerly had belonged to the farm. Now restored, it stands where it belongs by the brook "Gryte" (Kettle). The name of the brook is derived from the fact that it frequently overflows. After being threshed in the barn and dried in the sauna, the grain was ground to flour in the mill, which was used till shortly after the Second World War.

The Tveiten farm is probably around 1,000 years old. The original farm was divided into three separate units in the 1600s, and Nordigard Tveiten was allotted 30 acres of farmland, of which only three acres were machinable. The property also comprised 125 acres of forest and large mountain areas, partly held by ownership in common. The process of splitting up the ownership into separate holdings started in 1868.

In 1865 there were 1 horse., 11 cows, 27 sheep, 10 goats and 1 pig on the farm. The same year 4 barrels (139 litres each) of barley and 3 barrels of potatoes were sown. In former days it was common to move into the mountains with the cattle in the summer and stay at small mountain farms called "seter". Nordigard Tveiten had two such "seter", and in the middle of June they moved to the one nearest to the valley, only one hours walk away. At midsummer they took off to the next one, which was located about 4-5 hours walk from Tveiten. Then around 15 - 20 August they returned to the first "seter", where they remained till the beginning of September when they descended to the valley. The use of the "seter" was terminated before 1950. The farmers cut grass in the mountains, and brought home 30-40 loads every year, and they also caught fish and mountain grouse.

Prior to the 1840's, when a new postal road was built, the main road went up from Kveste (south of Valle) through Tveitetunet and continued further north. With its central location, Tveitetunet was well suited as place for the thing, the old law court or public assembly.

The owners of the farm at the end of the 1600's and beginning of the 1700's were members of the High Court jury and churchwardens. Olav Knutsson Tveiten was sheriff from 1785 till he died in 1837. He was a man of great renown and very hospitable. Nobody, whether stranger of friend, left Tveiten without a souvenir of his visit. Olav Knutsson had plenty of money which he often lent to people.

But the sheriff Olav Knutsson lived at time when disputes were settled by the force of the fist. The saying goes that when the local District Court judge once turned his nose up at the food he was served, Olav Knutsson asked him how much he took for a fist blow. The judge named a sum, and the sheriff put the money on the table and hit him so hard below the ear that he fainted. Olav Knutsson was involved in many fights.

There are several stories about this sheriff, but he must have been a respected man, when considering the fact that he was chosen to speak for the valley at the constituent assembly at Eidsvoll in 1814. He was very concerned with the idea of Norway becoming an independent state. The people of Setesdal have erected a memorial of Olav Knutsson Tveiten by Valle church with the following inseription on the back side. "By Heritage, the Farmer Holds the Rightful Title to the Land".

His son Bjørn succeeded him as sheriff. In the 1870's there was a shop at the farm, and sheriffs have resided there also in our century. Over the years several changes and additions have been made to the farmhouse at Tveitetunet. The year 1596 is carved on a log in the oldest section. The room on the ground floor facing east was used as a court room. At that time it had an open hearth in the middle of the floor with an opening in the ceiling above. Soothed logs can still be seen in the building. Another storey was added to the house when Olav Knutsson returned from Eidsvoll in 1814. He is said to have built the fanciest guest room in the valley on his first floor, and the judge slept there when he came to Valle for court proceedings, which were held in the room below. With the new storey added, the rooms downstairs were fitted with regular fireplaces and chimneys, as well as a stove at the side, instead of an open hearth. The livingroom faced west.

The year 1645 is carved on the storage house. The ground floor of this building was used for storing foodstuffs, such as grain, flour, produce of milk and meat, and the first floor for putting away clothes and other valuables. The pillory in the farmyard may date back to the Middle Ages, possibly to the 1200's, thus making evident that the things were held at Tveitetunet long back in history. People disturbing public order were tied to the pillory, or horses were tethered to it. West of the larch tree in the farmyard is the old prison house, which in recent years was used for cooking and baking. This prison served as motif for Carl Sundt-Hansen's painting titled "In the Sheriff's Prison" from 1875. The original is in the National Gallery in Oslo, but a copy by M. Gardin hangs in the farmhouse livingroom at Tveitetunet.

Until the beginning of this century there was a forge with stone walls near the entrance gates, where the sauna now stands. Originally the sauna was placed on the slope north of the yard. The prinsipal use of the sauna was to dry grain before grinding at the farm mill. After slaughtering in the autumn, meat was dried and smoked in the sauna. In order to obtain the best flavour, juniper wood was chosen for the fire.