Regia Anglorum – New Members' Handbook

Introduction to the Society

Regia Anglorum is a nation-wide society whose aim is to recreate a cross section of life in the British Isles at around the beginning of the last millennium. As a living history society we not only enact battles, but recreate as much of the daily life of the period as we can.

Regia Anglorum is a network of local groups, and each member of Regia Anglorum is first and foremost a member of one local group - joining forces for local and national displays and activities. Our national activities are governed by the High Witan of group leaders and organised by the national officers and their staff.

Our combat displays are immediately regulated by the military co-ordinators, the Master-at-Arms (MaA) and National Military Training Officer (MTO), and our Living History by the Living History Exhibit Coordinator (LHEC). The authenticity of our displays is of paramount importance, and oversight of this is carried out by the Authenticity Officer (AO).

Introduction to the Period

Regia Anglorum means "The Kingdoms of the English". A name used by English writers of the time to denote the "Anglo-Saxon Kingdom". Our period (circa AD 850-1150) witnessed both the height of early mediaeval England's power and wealth and its conquest and (at least partial) destruction. Several key events occur in Britain in and around our period and their exploration takes up most of our public activity.

  • The Viking attacks and the settlement of large parts of Britain by the Northmen.
  • The unification of lowland Britain by the Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex.
  • The rise of Scotland as a power in the North.
  • The rise and fall of the Viking Kingdom of York.
  • Wales: Its internal and external struggles.
  • Reform in crises 955-980.
  • Æthelræd the Unready and the Danish invasions of 991-1016.
  • Cnut and the Danish rule of England from 1016 to 1042.
  • The Normans in England 1042 onwards: their arrival, the conquest and resistance to it.
  • 1066 - The year of three kings and three battles.
  • Anglo-Norman Britain and the early Crusades.
  • The Anarchy - Stephen and Mathilda and the first English Civil War 1135.
What is Living History and Re-enactment?

Re-enactment is not dressing up in funny clothes, hitting people and looking silly, it is, rather, a serious attempt to re-create and learn more about our period of interest.

Obviously we cannot re-create exactly the fatal nature of early medieval combat as we all have somewhere to go after the display. However, re-enactment combat is a careful balance between safety, authenticity, showmanship and sport. All warriors are trained before taking the field and Regia Anglorum has one of the best safety records in re-enactment. It is far safer than playing rugby or doing DIY.

For those of a more peaceful nature, we have the living history exhibit. This aspect of the hobby involves demonstrating the range of crafts and activities from the day-to-day tasks of survival through to the skills of the craftsmen and artisans, using authentic tools and materials. The society owns and runs a number of ship and boat replicas and is currently constructing a permanent Anglo-Saxon manor house in darkest Kent.

What this article is for?

This article is intended to introduce you to the wonderful world of Regia Anglorum and to give you some idea of the activities and opportunities that are available to you as a member. It will also help you to survive your first few months in the society by giving you some idea of what to expect and what is expected of you.

This is the first part of a larger handbook which will be published in parts when each section becomes available - in the meantime this book should tell you all you need to know to get you started.

Last updated on 3 Feb 2004.
© Regia Anglorum MCMLXXXVI – MMXVIII
Compiled by Regia Anglorum.