Kalderhohdi Farm

In August, 1878, A. Heneage Cocks visited Iceland and got a pair of bone skates. Here’s the story as he told it to J. Romilly Allen:

I noticed the bone skates hanging up in Kalderhohdi Farm on the Log River SW Iceland when putting up there in August 1878. I remember carefully concealing my feeling of excitement when I saw what they were and the mutual satisfaction of the boy to whom they belonged and myself when they changed owners for the consideration of 20 ore (3d). (Allen 1896, 33–35)

I’ve already told you about bone skates. Today’s burning question is, “Where is Kalderhohdi Farm?”

I couldn’t find it. I think Cocks and Balfour, or perhaps the editor of the Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist, got it wrong. “Kalderhohdi” is pretty similar to “Kaldárhöfði”—similar enough that it might be what someone who doesn’t speak Icelandic heard. Plus, Kaldárhöfði Farm actually existed at the end of the nineteenth century! It’s even in the right area—southwestern Iceland—and close to a river, though the river is called Ölfusá; I haven’t figured the Log River out yet.

Frederick W. W. Howell visited Kaldárhöfði Farm in about 1900 and took a picture:

Kaldárhöfði Farm in about 1900. Photograph by Frederick W. W. Howell, courtesy of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

The original image, with full bibliographic information, is at the Cornell University Library. That little creek in the front yard looks like a fine place to skate!


J. Romilly Allen. 1896. “The Primitive Bone Skate.” The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist 2:33–36.