RECREATING BRITISH CULTURE FROM 950 TO 1066 CE

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Did you ever dream?

Did you ever day dream of days of yore, and wonder what life would be like in a simpler society. One where family and honour meant something. Perhaps you dreamt of taking arms against the oppressor, living like a Lord; or perhaps you wanted to try you hand as a craftsman in a Village. We did!

Fortunately we were able to do something about it. Regia Anglorum is a huge family of like minded people who enjoy this life; whether it's donning armour and fighting the good (or bad) fight, or the more peaceful existence of everyday folk.

Regia is not just about the violence and bloodshed of combat and the arena presentation. Regia Anglorum lives the history of the period. We have a large Living History Exhibit at most shows and here you can live the life. It is an area where the warriors relax; but also where the craftsmen (and craftswomen) show off their skills. Around the exhibit you will find small Wics; groups of members of Regia working together as an extended family much like the villages of 1000 years ago. It is constant bustle; the ladies cooking; Snorri weaving; Cuddy on the pole lathe; Oswiu preaching to the converted; Cynewulf showing off his latest wargear acquisition. A great place to be and a perfect place to pass our great knowledge to members and visitors alike.

We use tents as an alternative to carrying our own houses around - while these are not 100% authentic they give the feeling of the village and also somewhere for the LHE crew to sleep and relax. Many find that living on the LHE is one of the greatest benefits of working on the LHE - the sense of family in most wic's is immense.

Power does not come from nothing! The lords and ladies you will see around the society have risen through the ranks from a mere slave through to a mighty noble. In doing so you experience the fullness of what the society can offer while giving you ample time to develop your skills and costume; and more importantly to develop a well-rounded character.

Skills and Crafts

Whether you are an accomplished woodworker or a complete novice klutz then you are welcome on the LHE. Pass on your skills to those who want to learn; or pick up a skill from those who want to teach.

The LHE is the place to show off those skills - around a typical LHE you may see some of the following crafts being displayed:

Woodwork including pole lathing, carving
Textiles; weaving, spinning, embroidery
Leechcraft; medicine in the days before the AMA!
Basketry
Leatherwork including shoemaking
Smithying
Pottery

You will learn many skills during your membership of Regia and this is one place to show them off. However if that isn't for you then feel free to come on the LHE and play authentic games; man the armoury; tell war stories; help out in the 'kitchen' or even just show people round - enjoy the life of the LHE.

Authenticity

Our basic tenet is Authenticity. To this end we will not portray any image, support any ideal, or make any item of equipment which we cannot provenance from contemporary sources. From our experiences, we are certain that no other society from our period of interest takes this matter as seriously. All this authenticity may sound like a bind, but as long as members check with their group ĎAuthenticity Officerí before making or buying kit, it should not be a problem. From the newly joined peasant in his (or her) scratchy woollen tunic, to the top-class, mail-clad warrior, we are proud of our ability to get it right. If you already belong to another society, or have joined Regia after belonging to another society, it is recommended that you have your kit checked by your Local Authenticity Officer, or you talk to the National Authenticity Officer. This will ensure that you donít turn up to a show and then get told that canít use or wear something.

Basic kit and equipment is often available from your Local Group to help members get started, although you may wish to make your own. Your Group Leader, Local Authenticity Officer and either your own Training Officer or Civilian Co-ordinator will be able to help you with this. If you really donít want to make your own kit, you may be able to find people who are willing to make it for you at a reasonable price.

Obviously if you wish to rise through the ranks you will have to spend more eventually. A fully armoured warrior could cost anything from $400 to more than a thousand to equip, though again this kit is usually built up over many years.

As most of our shows are datelined, you will have to make sure that the kit you have covers the dateline of the show. The most basic kit of tunic/dress, trousers, shoes, cloak, waist tie, and head covering for women, will cover you for the whole period, so it is only when you start to make or purchase the more expensive and individual items that you will need to worry.

Please get advice before purchasing any cloth, jewellery, braid, leather etc. All colours, designs, and materials must be provenanced. We aim to portray what was Ďthe normí, rather than the unusual. Nobody likes being told, or having to tell someone, that an item they have spent money on will not be allowed on site. PLEASE CHECK FIRST!

Public Shows


The principal business of the society is to arrange and attend public events. It is by this means that we are able to pass on out knowledge and love of the period, meet each other in interesting places, be seen, and maintain our high public profile. Events may be either arranged as Local Events attended by members of the Local Group, Area Shows where the Local Group will host attendees from nearby towns or Major Events needing attendance by its members on a national basis.

Working in Film and TV

About four or five times a year, (in the UK) the Society gets asked to provide personnel for media work. The great majority of this work is for television, although our members have worked on major feature films like "The Lord of the Rings", "Gladiator" and "The 13th Warrior". To be honest, if you've noticed costumed bodies doing things in documentary TV programs concerning our period of interest at any time in the last fifteen years, the likelihood is that you've seen Regia members at work; whether it be atmosphere shots in 'Simon Schama's History of Britain' or informative cameos in 'Time Team'! We do not work for nothing and anyone taking part can expect to be paid, treated like a human being and get overnight accommodation and food and drink.

There is, of course, a downside. You must be able to be available at relatively short notice and be able to take time off work/college if necessary. Location work is often cold and damp or hot and dusty, necessarily in draughty castles or in the country far from modern buildings and amenities. There is a lot of standing about and waiting for the crew to set the next shot, then doing the same thing several times as they change the camera angles. But we never have any trouble finding intrepid souls willing to get their faces in the frame!

The Living History Exhibit

Our civilian projects are many and varied and we can offer our members a wide range of interesting things to be involved in, such as cooking, spinning, dyeing and weaving, smithing, leather and wood working etc. The "Living History Exhibit" (LHE) comprises a working village of large tents and workshelters (reconstructed from archaeological evidence and manuscript illustrations), which acts as a portable base for our on-site activities. It represents the variety of temporary structures you may have seen at a large cattle market for example a thousand years ago. If you are interested in the civilian side but are a novice to crafts, our "experts" will be only too pleased to pass on their knowledge. If you are already an expert, you will find in the LHE an atmospheric and friendly environment in which to demonstrate your skills.

However, the Exhibit is not only manned by craftsmen; you will find children at play, warriors relaxing and showing off their wargear at the armouries, even an active clergy of monks, nuns, priests and bishops caring for the spiritual well-being of their flock.

If you have no civilian skills but still wish to take part, then you will be very welcome. It won't be long before you find your niche and settle into a project. You may find yourself researching something that no one else has yet thought of.

If you belong to a Group that has no LHE of its own then contact the National LHE Co-ordinator. You will still be very welcome.

If you have an authentic dog, or other animal that you wish to take on site, then please contact the LHE Co-ordinator who will give you full details about whether or not this will be possible before you take it to a show.

What is expected of you at a show?

You will need to some basic items before attending a show:

When you join you will be provided with a basic clothing guide and a new members handbook. This will expand on the contents of this section and show you what you need to wear and how to go about making it.

Most shows have a similar structure, however some may require a greater input than others, depending on the type of client. The Living History Exhibit is usually open from around 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., or whatever times the client requires within reason.

It is imperative that all 20th century items are removed from sight by opening time. All civilians living on the LHE are expected to be on site for most of the day.

A Few Golden Rules

Whilst on or near the LHE and/or the battlefield, please:

Education

As well as major public shows, a number of our members do school visits and demonstrations are a very important part of the work of the Society. A typical visit would take up a full morning or afternoon session to a several day visit and includes a brief talk, followed by inter-reactive demonstrations using reconstructed artifacts. In fact for some members of the society this has become a profession.

Membership

You will find no downloadable membership form on any Regia site - that can only be obtained from (and submitted to) a Local Group Leader as we insist on meeting people before they become members! We have no "national" members.

We particularly welcome families with children. Most big events have around twenty children of all ages in costume on the Living History Exhibit.

To join Regia in your own right you must be at least eighteen - however - until you are eighteen you may join as a free family member alongside your parent(s), though you will be expected to be in the charge of your parents at events.

About 10% of our membership live in North America. If there is not already a group operating in your state then you could always form a new Regia local group along with a few friends.

The minimum age for combatants in Regia is sixteen, but we set stringent conditions which must be followed.

Everyone gets their own membership document, a passport-like booklet that carries a photo of the member plus all sorts of details about events they attend, skills they acquire and personal information.

What do I do now?

So I haven't put you off yet - good. The next bit is quite easy - you can contact us in one of three ways:

By email: Drop us a note at info@furderstrandi.org
By letter: Send a self addressed envelope to:
Anne Berdanier
3909 Creekway Trail
Dayton, OH 45440
At a show: Come along to an event - talk to us - and we can take it from there.

© 2012 Regia Anglorum/Furder Strandi

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