Lillesand is a municipality and a town in Agder. The municipality
borders in the west towards Kristiansand, in the north towards
Birkenes, and in the northeast towards Grimstad. There are 10,700
people living in Lillesand municipality, but the population is
increasing sharply in summer. The municipality's center is the old
charging station Lillesand, now a town and town, and most of the
municipality's inhabitants live here. The town has 7,966 inhabitants
as of 1 January 2020. The municipality is characterized by growth
due to, as well as its reputation as a southern idyll and holiday
resort. Blindleia runs through large parts of the municipality.
Today's municipality has its history from 1962, when the former municipalities Vestre Moland and Høvåg and the charging station Lillesand were merged.
Vestre Moland parish
Steinkirken by Møglestu was the center of Vestre Moland parish, and the building is probably from the end of the 12th century. It has since been added; only the wall part is original. The parish is first mentioned in a medieval letter from 13 December 1347. The parish of Modgulandar is mentioned.
Vestre Moland belonged together with Høvåg and Lillesand together in one parish until Høvåg became its own parish by royal resolution 25.02.1860. The farms Vatne, Ådnevig, Eftevåg, Grønnevoll and Romstøl remained at res. of 31.08.1861 transferred from Høvåg parish to Randesund parish in Oddernes parish. By royal resolution on 18 December 1886, Lillesand also became its own parish. The scheme came into force in 1889 when Lillesand got its own church. By royal resolution on 27.06.1975, Høvåg was again placed under Vestre Moland parish.
On 1 January 1962, Høvåg parish, Vestre Moland parish and Gitmark farms in Eide were merged with Lillesand parish.
The cemetery has previously had two tombstones or coffin lids from the Middle Ages, but one was destroyed in the interwar period. The other is still to be found by the south wall, and is shield-shaped with a cross in relief on. The stone belongs to the Romanesque style.
In medieval letters, Sand's shipwreck on Agder is mentioned; shipyard was a geographical area that had a duty to equip one lead ship in times of unrest. Place names such as Vardåsen and Vardeheia testify to the presence of the management scheme. Probably Sand's shipyard consisted of the parishes Vestre Moland, Høvåg, Birkenes and Eide, cf. letter in Diplomatarium Norvegicum and younger sources.
On the farm Møglestus land, the beach resort Sanden grew up in the early 17th century as a shipping place for timber. The first inhabitant mentioned in written sources is Jens smith, who in 1610 is mentioned in a tax list. Before Kristiansand was founded, the beach resort was called Sanden. This was due to the location of the charging station at the Sandsbekken outlet; the whole of Lillesand lies on sand. The current name was introduced to distinguish between these two neighbors.
The city grew slowly through the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was in the 19th century that the growth took off in earnest.
By law in 1821, Lillesand was granted status as a charging station. In 1830, the boundaries that separated Lillesand from the surrounding Vestre Moland were crossed, and some of the boundary bolts can still be seen in the terrain.
The ports were the municipality's oldest communication centers. Ship traffic in the Skagerrak and along the coast has for centuries used the ports for accommodation and a port of refuge or to wait for a legal voyage for further sailing. Here foreign merchants and local farmers met to buy timber. The best known ports are Brekkestø on Justøy and Ulvøysund.
In the summer of 2011, marine archeological investigations were carried out on a wreck find in Ulvøysund in Høvåg, just west of the municipality. C14 dating of a cut reindeer antler found under a stack of millstones shows that this has been a merchant ship from the period 1020-1030. This clearly shows that the trade route along the coast has passed Blindleia, even in very ancient times. Bishop Håkon Erlingsson of Bergen was weatherproof in Ulvøysund from 24 August 1339, he wrote in a letter to the country's most powerful and richest nobleman, Mr. Erling Vidkunsson on 28 August the same year. The bishop and his entourage were on their way to King Magnus Eriksson in Eastern Norway. Since the bishop sent a letter to Mr. Erling and asked for advice regarding further travel, it is probable that the bishop's entourage was in Ulvøysund for several days.
In the same area there are several compass roses carved into the rock, the oldest from the 15th century. Ulvøysund is also mentioned on old Dutch maps from the second half of the 16th century, then in the form Wolfsondt. On the same maps are i.a. Olde Hil Sont, known to us as Gamle Hellesund.
The farms from the Middle Ages
Most farm names in Lillesand municipality are from the Middle Ages or before, and among those mentioned in medieval sources are Moland (now just called Prestegården), Flørenes, and Eigeland in Vestre Moland parish, as well as the hay farms Kvannes and Høvåg. In 1962, Lillesand and the neighboring municipalities of Høvåg and Vestre Moland were merged.
Apart from tourism, the city is best known for its rich maritime history. In the 18th century, sailing ships began to be built here, but it was not until the 19th century that it really took off. The timber trade was a very important factor, and there were several shipping companies and many shipyards in the city and the surrounding area. The City and Maritime Museum is an old shipyard, which at one time belonged to the shipowner Carl Knudsen.
Between Lillesand and Flakksvann in Birkenes municipality, a privately operated, narrow-gauge railway, the Lillesand – Flaksvand line, was built in 1895 with two steam locomotives, three passenger cars and 34 freight cars (see also Railway in Norway). This track had four manned stations (from the south and north: Lillesand, Tveide, Birkeland and Flakksvann) and transported mainly timber, peat litter from Myhre peat straw factory on Tveide and other goods. The track ran a deficit for most years, and was finally closed in 1953. All the stations except Birkeland are still standing.
During the German invasion of Norway in 1940, the German troop transport ship "Rio de Janeiro" was torpedoed off Lillesand. This happened on April 8, the day before the invasion itself. The ship was sunk by the Polish submarine Orzel, which was later sunk by German planes. Local fishermen helped save German soldiers and crew.
The Germans built a troop camp at Møglestu, where the upper secondary school is today. A coastal fort was also built on Justøya, and in 1944 they also moved a coastal fort from Marivold near Grimstad to Vestre Moland vicarage. Around the center of Lillesand there are still a number of smaller positions and Hitler teeth.
After motorized shipping, first with steam and then internal combustion engine, took over the market, Lillesand lost much of the wealth that had been accumulated. The growth stopped, and the place remained as it was. What was to speed up Lillesand again was the Norton factory, which produced silicon carbide. This factory is still in operation, now under the name Fiven.
Large parts of Lillesand city center are covered by the NB! Register, a list of urban environments in Norway that have a national cultural-historical conservation interest.