Category Archives: Social
It is hard to believe that it is well over a year since we updated the blog, but such is the case. When we last posted we had just started our 2015 season, and now we are just closing down our 2016 one, although in that time a lot of things have happened; all good I hasten to add!
As way of a catch up I’ll post a few images of the things we have got up to!
At the end of May in 2015, we held a small market event with some friends from Svartland Vikings. It was a great event and we forged some great friendships. This event was also the first full event of our newest members: Ulfrik and Leonor, with their little girl Inês.
We also had our usual run of living history events throughout the year, including our usual full week holiday in August. …. and our seeming endless feasts! In 2016, we began the year with a few preparatory weekends, but in May began our full living history events programme. Plenty more lamp lit feasts…
We also held a second May viking market with the Svartland Vikings, and guests, this year over 40 of us turned up, and in addition we were able to take advantage of some alterations to the field next to the village, to really integrate our living history displays, and our two groups! It was a fantastic event, and I am very excited for 2017s event!
I was also invited to attend the Viking World- Diversity and Change conference, which was a great event, filled with some stimulating lectures. I also had to opportunity to sell some of my reproduction items, which proved popular, as well as making some good friends and contacts! In general, the last 18 months have seen my small reproduction item business do quite well, so if you are interested please have a look over at blueaxereproductions.com or drop me an email at email@example.com. I hope to update the website with more of the items I have been working on over the winter 2016-17.
A couple of us also got the opportunity to attend the Heysham Viking festival (follow the hyperlink for Facebook pictures of the event), hosted by the Vikings reenactment society as guests. It was a fun event, with amazing weather, and we got the opportunity to demonstrate some of our crafts and trade with other reenactors and members of the public. The event is scheduled to run again in 2017, and we hope that we get the opportunity to attend again.
We spent our usual full week at Murton in August, as did our usual array of crafts, cooking, and a little weapons training, as it has been so long since many of us fought, that even the basics are getting rusty!
We also took the opportunity to take some portrait photographs of our viking characters whilst we were there. There are still some we need to take, but it was good fun, and we got a few nice images.
I was also invited to speak (with my archaeologist hat on), at an event at Largs, which was a Vikings training weekend, and a celebration of the Glasgow Vikings 40th anniversary. I gave a talk on the viking cemetery at Cumwhitton I was involved in publishing, and also some of the reproductions I made for Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.
That brings us up to date, with just one more end of year banquet, and a few social and craft events outside of living history. We hope to have a busy year next year, and this time we’ll make more effort to update the blog more regularly!
If the title of this post has induced horrendous visions of being stuck on a bus with Cliff Richard singing, have no fear, this is actually about something far less terrifying; a long hall full of armed and marauding vikings. At the beginning of August our society held its annual weeks holiday at Murton Park. The group has attempted to hold a week-long event there since the first one in July 2004, 10 years ago, and also during the event we had our 11 year anniversary as a society and celebrated it in our own unique way as you will see.
We stopped in another house this weekend, as our is still undergoing some work on the roof and daub, and with the kids along, it was much easier to simply stop elsewhere.This is a picture of the house we stopped in on the first holiday, and you can see how long ago it is, as there is a rare straw bale, the house didn’t have a porch yet, and most importantly, Anlaf still had hair!
Here is the same house now, which you can see has a convenient porch and deck outside, which is very useful with the kids.
We brought a lot of things to stop the full week, and set out the inside as best we could.
There is something quite satisfying about stopping in these places for a longer period, as you get the opportunity to slide into a more natural pattern of eating and sleeping and it becoming ‘normal’. The only problem is, as with most holidays, just as you are getting used to it, its time to come home again.
Either way the kids enjoyed the week in their usual fashion, Hakon spent a lot of time fighting and joking around.
Ragenleif… well she did her own thing as usual
We got on with a few jobs on the village, such as shingling the backside of our house, fitting the remaining shutter, and Al gave us a great hand by building out and trimming the eaves on the front of the house. Osric and Snorri also got a lot of daubing done inside Snorri’s house, and on the side and front of our house, Osric being watched here by Hakon and Ragenleif.
During the week Odin also got a bit of a haircut of salad leaves, like a larger version of an cress-haired egg-man!
We also get more opportunity to wear many of the different and elaborate outfits we have made over the years. Here is Katla in her Viking style strap dress and accessories with Ragenleif.
Here is Einar ad Hakon showing off their dress, Einar in a copy of the Viborg shirt, with linen trousers and winingas, with a belt and seax.
However, where the real beauty and mystery of the village comes to life is at night, by the light of the fire.
By firelight everything seems more enigmatic. One can put aside reality and be drawn a little into the atmosphere. The fire flickers, and shiny objects glitter and sparkle in the dark. The dark corners and shadows draw a veil over the dirt, dust, and any authenticity inaccuracies just like snow does, and the imagination and the senses seem much more alive in the dark.
It is a wonderful place to take photographs, though with the low light it can be quite tricky. Any attempt to artificially light the place looks awful, flash or any lighting of any other kind can easily destroy the wonderfull shadows and the yellow glow. Yet there is precious little light to capture images without graining and blurring, and often I resort to putting liquid wax or oil onto the fire to produce a bright flare for a few seconds to allow me to use a slightly faster shutter speed. If you notice anyone a little dazed looking on the photographs; now you know why!
We also tend to let the children stay up until they fall asleep, and often they will play viking and other ancient games, like Katla and Hakon here playing pick-up stones, a scene I can almost image all those years ago; a boy and his mum playing a game by firelight.
After the cooking is done, everyone gets together for the evening meal. The cooking and the meals are a great opportunity to use known viking ingredients and suggested recipes and attempt to investigate some of the possible tastes of the tenth century: Lamb and onions with leaf salad and beetroot, onion soup and bread, bacon, boar, and barley, vegetable stew amongst other treats.
Of course, in such an environment, it would be rude not to same some fine brewed ales and meads as well!
I’d like to pick up a final point I mentioned briefly earlier, and it is a point I have also heard echoed by Professor Neil Price in his Messenger lectures at Cornell University about firelight and shiny things, notably metalwork. You can see on this picture of me, the effect the brass, tin, and silver of my belt buckles, strap ends, seax sheath fittings, and arm rings have in a dark hall. You can also see how the tin sheet on the Tating ware jug, and the tinned studs on the iron-bound box glow. To people in the 10th century, this would seem as enticing and enchanting as it does to us, perhaps even more so.
I’d also like to introduce you to two new looks Einar and Snorri are trying, entitled ‘Blued Steel’
It was a shame to leave, but we had a good trip, with more progress on the house, some good feasts and chats, and even a sneaky trip into the Yorkshire museum and the Jorvik centre to check out some of the real stuff again. We will be back again in early September for a birthday celebration, and another great banquet!
June was one of our last normal weekend of the year, from here on in we have an Epic weekend where we hope to completely remove the roof of our house and replace it, with clipped point shingles, a full week long holiday, and a birthday celebration banquet. Mostly we just enjoyed the weather.
We did get a few tasks done. The edging board on Snorri house was rotten and had been removed, so we decided to paint up a new one as a repair.
Roarr also managed to get the rest of the Odin post at his shrine, carved and painted. unfortunately we only took pictures of the work inprogress, and didn’t get any finished pictures of the edge boards fitted, or the shrine painted up after carving, so we will have to take some next time.
It was a nice weekend, but I for one am getting excited to start some serious building work on our house. We have most things ready for the re-roofing in July now, and I shall add a post soon with everything we have ready, and some of the things I have been preparing at home ready, and a few ‘before’ pictures for reference!
These are a few pictures from the Bank Holiday weekend we had at York at the start of May, enjoying the Jorvik sunshine. It is a little late going up, but as we are off to York again this weekend, I have managed to get it posted before it is superseded by a new set of pictures!
Katla and Ragenleif outside our house
“Make it into a sickle,” we said. “@*%#,” he said.
Ragenleif and Hakon outside the long hall
The middle of the village, my favourite place
Hakon showing off his tunic
A wonderful Viking-age scene, until you realise what they are looking at… we have to lapse a little sometimes, we need a bit of quiet time, and they are still very young!
Magnus’s turn to bend metal
Furry hat time
It was a lovely sunny weekend, and the kids loved it. As I mentioned we shall be at Jorvik (based at the Murton Park Museum farming) this weekend 30-1st, though I’m not sure the weather will be quite so good, but nothing can suppress our fun! We will also be there on the weekends of June 14-15th and July 12-13th. You can see all the weekends we shall be there on the museums website here: http://www.murtonpark.co.uk/whats-on/
The last few post have been somewhat nostalgic, but that is primarily because I want to put some regular post up, and have been meaning to scan and post these pictures for some time, and figured now was as good a time as any. These ones were old print out from a 35mm camera, so once again some are a little fuzzy, and they are also quite old, though they have been kept in the dark and in an album, so haven’t faded too much. I haven’t cleaned them up with photoshop, as I haven’t had time, and it wasn’t really worth it, but they are quite fun none the less, particularly if you know the site, as there are a few small, but noticable differences, with most the buildings having been rebuilt, or so heavily modified or repaired they don’t look much like that any more.
I believe I was about 18 when I took these photos, which makes them about 17 years old, roughly, and it was my first ever reenactment event as part of the Dark Ages Society, the first group I joined.
This was where I slept, the platform in the house next to the longhall, before it was rebuilt
The second longhall door
The Hall side of the village, looking at the back of magnus’s house
The house next to the longhall
some of the smaller houses, near the longhall, most of these have not been changed and are still the same as they were then
What was to become Ulfar and Svanas, and finally Osrics house
The house next to the longhall and the town bell
The village from the road, I used to do odd collages like this with pictures to make panoramas
Another view of the village
The house next to the longhall
Inside the house next to the longhall
Looking down the village to the open area in front of the hall
The little village
Inside the longhall
Another view of the outside of the longhall
cooking in the longhall
Looking back towards the main part of the village
The gate and open area behind looking towards the hall
A finally me in my first borrowed viking gear!
Yesterdays post told a story of when and how the society started, but in todays, partly spurred on by some comments on facebook, I’ll put a few images of the more amusing things over that weekend. Firstly we should address my own claims that Jarl Ubbi and Einar’s army was all it was cracked up to be.
The famed banquet in beautifull surroundings, against a sunset backdrop also had its moments.
It struck me that this year is the eleventh year that Jorvikingi has existed, having formed from a small group of participants in an event at an event at Helmsley castle in August 2003.
Helmsley was a fun event, in a superb location, especially the after hours banquet, and for many of the participants from the Midlands and North, it seemed a good idea to try to set something up based more in the Midlands and North, rather than return to a largely southern centric reenactment circuit.
The final piece of the jigsaw was fitted that September at an event at a facility we had been visiting for a yearly event for many years: The Danelaw Village at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, offered many of us the opportunity to adopt houses there and use the facilities as a more semi-permanent site group. As this was by far one of the best events we all attended, and only a couple of hours from most of the members houses, we jumped at the chance, and Jorvikingi: literally the ‘People of Jorvik’ was born, largely from the Ostvikinga and Seavardreki warbands, led by Jarls Einar, Ubbi, and Anlaf.
Here are a few pics from that September 2003 event, some are a little faded.
From this point on the Society existed, and though some members have gone, and others come along, the group has maintained between 3 and 5 houses for the Danelaw village, built a forge, and help thatch and repair other structures. You only need to see the before and after images of Magnus’s house to see some of the improvements made.It is however, even after 11 years, a bit like painting the Forth Bridge, and there is always something to do, particularly roofs, and we have plenty of plans to keep the houses in good condition. This year we hope to get another house re-roofed, and complete some final daubing on Magnus’s house, alongside countless minor repairs and upgrades, and are planning some larger improvements to the paths around the houses. Like the real Vikings of the tenth century, our work is never done and there is never enough hours in the day!
Thanks for reading
Images 9, 10, 11, and 12 were originally taken by Ulfar Vigufson, now of Svartland Living History Society
This last weekend we spent another glorious weekend working hard on the houses and enjoying the village. Some temporary coverings were added to the rooves, and thedaubing down one side of Magnus’s house was finished off in preparation for winter. There is still a final side to complete, but the next pressing job will be new rooves for Einar and Osrics houses, which are in dire need of repair. The search for a supply of wood begins!
Einar had a tidy round of the shrine to keep it looking good whilst Roarr is away, and we also had some fun painting up some of the old carvings around the village, which have needed a little brightening up!
We were struck by how close to Magnus one of the carvings was by the time we had finished painting it!
We had a great time, and Einar and Katla managed to take 3 and a half year old Hakon and 9 month old Ragenlief, with success, who both had a fantastic time, and a welcome to the group for the first time for Ragenlief!
Magnus spent some time training Hakon in viking swordplay, though we are all looking forward to the day when Hakon manages to get a lucky hit in somewhere sensitive!
So this weekend was Roarr’s last weekend before he heads off overseas for a while, as we thought we’d send him off in style! We had an excellent feed and drink on the Saturday night, a special beer was brewed, venison was eaten, and arm rings given out as gifts.
The goal for the weekend was to try to get Magnus’s house a little closer to being finished, with some wood trimming, a new door, and some decorative panels around the door and front. Magnus started work on his new door, and Snorri and Einar began work on painting up the front boards. The carving and framing around the door was given a fresh coat of paint as it was now a few years old and starting to fade, and the old decorative lintel piece, repurposed inside the house. Then two boards were fitted to the front face, crossing the door way, depicting Sigurd fighting the dragon Fafnir. The design was a reworked version of a motif from a hogback fragment found in Workington, Cumbria, with a Borre style ring-chain motif for its tail, all picked out in Red, white, and black. Finally, a vertical board was added running up the gable end towards the roof ridge, painted with another dragon, mouth agape, and similar in style to those on the Gosforth cross in Cumbria, but with another Borre style ring-chain motif for the dragons body. There is still some daubing, and some dragon heads to fit to the roof, but this house is now nearing completion.
In addition, we planned to finish off, fit out, and decorate the extension to Osric’s house. The outside was finished off and trimmed out by Oric, and Einar and Osric worked on the internals afterwards. Snorri worked on decorating the door frame with a simple triangle and hatching motif, similar to that found as decorative borders on many viking age objects, and Einar painted a Jelling style dragon under the eaves on the gable end. This makes the extension now complete, with our next major upgrade being to make the rest of the house match it!
Roarr decided that we needed a shrine to the gods, and decided to utilise some of the space next to two of the houses. We don’t know much about religious practices and structures in the period, but he decided that a figure of Odin, with a small platform for figurines and offerings might be appropriate, and a small wattle enclosure around it. So far it looks quite good, and we are planning on carving and decorating it some more in the following months.
In amongst this, it was a reasonably busy weekend for Murton Park, with Minster FM broadcasting from the museum for four hours, and many members of the public enjoying the site, and talking to us and learning about the viking age, including demonstrations from Magnus of coin minting.
A great weekend was had by all, and we look forward to our next one!