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What is Regia Anglorum?

You might say: “That's a funny name”.

Celebrating a triumph
Celebrating a triumph – © Rosemary Watson 2016

Pronounced with a hard 'G', as in gate, Regia Anglorum is vulgate Latin and means “The Kingdoms of the English”, a term used by early mediaeval chroniclers to refer to the English state, just as we might say “Britain” today. It implies no particular boundary, either geographically or spiritually.

Founded in 1986, Regia Anglorum is a society based in the UK but with a rapidly growing membership overseas. We are a group of people from all walks of life who share a common interest in the period often called the Dark Ages, or the early mediaeval period – roughly from the time of Alfred the Great to Richard the Lionheart – although much of our work aims to recreate a cross-section of British life around the turn of the first millennium. It was a time when Britain was host to many peoples – Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes, Norse, Picts, Cymru, Viking raiders, and even Normans, Frisians and Carolingians from the continent. Regia portrays all of these and more.

We are proud of our strong stance on authentic portrayal and have acquired a considerable academic reputation for accuracy. This we maintain and augment by seeing not only the wood, but the trees as well!

We feel that we do our ancestors no service at all if we portray them as mindlessly violent and their lives as nasty, brutish and short. England was the jewel of Europe; rich in gold and silver and self-sufficient in all aspects of life. Whilst life continued much as it had done for over a thousand years, politically the English state was moving towards a form of constitutional monarchy, only to be brought up short one day in October 1066. But that, as they say, is another story…

Regia Anglorum group photo
A group photo of Regia at the 2013 “Port Diorama” at Detling – © Alison Offer 2013
A warrior
A warrior – © Mike South 2017

The society's work deliberately has a strong educational slant and we consider that authenticity is of the highest importance. We prefer to work from found material where possible and are extremely cautious regarding such things as the interpretation of styles depicted in manuscript sources. A surprising number of our members are archaeologists or historians.

In general, the geographical location decides the “ethnic background” of any Local Group. For example, the Bristol group, Wessex, has an Anglo-Saxon identity, whereas a group from Wales, Gwerin Y Gŵyr, decided to recreate the lives of the native Welsh. However, everyone in Regia is encouraged to develop a secondary character of a different background, so you are by no means restricted. In fact, the society positively encourages character development and some members are known by their “authentic” name.

Limitless opportunities exist for interaction with people from “other lands” who have a quite different experience of life, especially around the Living History Exhibit.

Over the next few pages you will learn about the activities of the society; whether you just want to live the life, fight the fight or pick up period crafts and skills – or take it even further – and sail Viking ships, help reconstruct Saxon buildings or ride with the nobles. We will also show you the other benefits of joining and show you how to go about joining our society.

OK – so that was the basic sales pitch – but I'm sure you want to find out more about what we do – and more importantly what is was like to live as a Saxon, Viking or Norman. Follow me…

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