The Broby Stones
May 5, 2021
The Funbo Family’s Bridge Monument
The Broby group consists of five stones, four raised at Broby east of Uppsala by the stream Lillån (U 937, U 990, U 991 and U 992) and one at Åkerby (U 999) also by Lillån c. 1,5 km upstream north-west of Broby.
In older times, the main road from the centre of Rasbo going south to the Mälaren settlements passed through Örby, Frötuna, Gråmunkehöga and then directly through Broby down to Bärby and Arnevi, not far from Funbo church.
The bridge built at Broby, giving the settlement its name, Broby, literally translating to ‘bridge town’, would accommodate effortlessly crossing the otherwise difficult winding river, Lillån.
Similar to the Jarlabanke runestones, four stones were raised by the bridge at Broby, creating a so-called ‘bridge monument’ notably visible from the road.
Three of the stones at Broby and a fifth at Åkerby were raised by descendants of a man called Thegn. He was a prominent man of the Funbo area around the beginning of the 11th century, according to U 999, and probably owned or controlled the region. Three generations of his family can be traced across the inscriptions on the Broby stones, all raised within the span of c. 50 years.
The two Broby stones, U 937 and U 991 are very similar in design and feature the exact same runic text. They were probably initially placed opposite each other on each side of the road crossing the stream, Lillån, echoing the Jarlabanka pair U 164 and U 165. And like the two Jarlabanka stones, they are most likely also carved by the runemaster Fot.
Other similar designs by Fot are U 176 (now lost), U 255, U 267, U 268, U 269, U 955 and U 980.
Four of the five stones of the Broby group were raised by members of the Funbo family and can be chronologically ordered as follows:
U 999, Åkerby
Raised in memory of Thegn by his sons Haursi and Ketill.
U 990, Broby
Raised in memory of Haursi by his sons Veðr and Thegn.
U 937 and U 991, Broby
Raised in memory of Veðr by his brothers Haursi and Gunnarr.
The fifth stone of the Broby group, U 992, can not be placed into the chronology of the rest of the stones. It was placed in connection to the bridge but on the opposite side of the stream from the other stones. The wording and ornamental style of U 992 clearly mirrors that of U 990. Still, none of the people mentioned in the inscription can be connected to the known genealogy of the Funbo family.
U 992 (fragmentary)
Raised by a man (his name is missing) in memory of his father’s father Eysteinn, his father Guðríkr and his mother Gunna.
The Scandinavian Runic-text Data Base.