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Grandsherred was created in 1860 by the merger of the parishes Hovin in Tinn and Gransherad in Hjartdal. On January 1, 1886 Hovin was separated from Gransherad to form a municipality of its own. The split left Gransherad with a population of 1,393.
Composer Klaus Egge was born in Gransherad.
The Old Norse form of the name was Grandalsherað. The first element is the genitive case of a name Grandalr, the last element is herað n 'rural district'. The name Grandalr is a compound of gran f 'spruce', and dalr m 'dale, valley'.
Until 1867 the name was written "Gransherred", in the period 1867-1888 "Grandsherred", in the period 1889-1917 (again) "Gransherred", from 1918 on "Gransherad".
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