Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson was born on his father's extensive estates in East Agðar, Norway, around 1100 - the exact year is not known. His mother inherited estates in Orkney and her brother ruled half the Orkney earldom before his martyrdom and subsequent canonisation as St. Magnús. When Kali, having adopted the name Rǫgnvaldr after a previous successful earl, assumed the earldom in 1135, he founded the cathedral at Kirkwall and dedicated it to his uncle's memory.
Rǫgnvaldr is best remembered for his building of the cathedral, for his adventurous exploits during a three year pilgrimage to Jerusalem, described in the thirteenth century Orkneyinga Saga, and for his magnificently skilful skaldic poetry. In 1158 he was killed in an ambush in Caithness by political opponents, and in 1192, following his own canonisation, his remains were translated to Kirkwall Cathedral.