Jon Ingesson Kuvlung was a pretender to the crown of Norway. He claimed to be a son of king Inge the Hunchback, though Sverris saga claims this to have been false. Jon was a young cleric when he was set up to the task of figurehead. The name Kuvlung derives from Old Norse name for monk cloak, kuvl. Jon Kuvlung ruled in the region of Viken as rival king until killed by Birkebeiners in Bergen in 1188.
Since 1130 there had been several interlocked civil wars of varying scale and intensity. The background for these conflicts were the unclear Norwegian succession laws, social conditions and the struggle between Church and King. In 1184 king Sverre Sigurdsson and his party the Birkebeiners defeated Magnus Erlingsson and the Heklungs at the Battle of Fimreite. In this battle Magnus was killed, and Sverre could rule as uncontested King of Norway for some time.
Autumn 1185 the Kuvlungs rose in Viken. They chose Jon Kuvlung as their leader. He was then living as a monk on Hovedøya outside Oslo. This group was in many ways the direct successor of the Heklungs. Although the Church did not openly support the Kuvlungs, it at least gave its silent approval. The Church never spoke up against Jon leaving his monastery, while his opponent Sverre was heavily criticised for abandoning his duties as a priest on the Faroes. The Kuvlungs soon gained control of eastern and western Norway, the old Heklung strongholds.
In autumn 1186, the Kuvlungs attacked Nidaros. This offensive took Sverre by surprise; he took refuge in the recently constructed stone castle Sion. The Kuvlungs, unable to take the castle, were forced to retreat. In 1188 Sverre sailed south with a large fleet. They first met at Tønsberg, but neither side dared to offer battle. The Kuvlungs slipped away to Bergen. Sverre attacked Bergen just before Christmas. Here Jon Kuvlung was killed and thus ending the Kuvlung rising.
Magnus Erlingsson (King of Norway)
|Viken-party pretender to the Norwegian throne||Succeeded by