Christen Bentsen Schaaning

Christen Bentsen Schaaning
A 1663 painting of Christen Bentsen Schaaning by Scottish painter Andrew Smith

Christen Bentsen Schaaning (or Skaaning) (c. 1616-1679) was a priest at Avaldsnes in Norway from 1635-1679. He was probably born in Scania which was then ruled by Denmark-Norway.

On the 1 July 1630, Christirnus Benedicti Scanus was taken up as a student. Before he came to Avaldsnes he was priest on a ship. Christen was reportedly a priest who earned the respect of the people, and he was present at many royal celebrations. One time, he asked the King for funds to repair his church which had gone into decline. To add to his income, he got involved with herring-trade, even though it was outlawed.


He had a large family of 10 children who settled around different villages in Karmøy, resulting in many further descendants. In his second marriage he was married to Kirsten Lauritsdatter of the noble Galtung-family, sister to famous admiral Lauritz Galtung. Christen's oldest son, Bernt, even became a priest after his father, however, he had "en slem Vane hengiven til Drik" ("a bad habit devoted to drinking"), which gave him a tarnished reputation.