The Saxons are coming to Wildwood!
Wildwood is getting ready to face a Saxon invasion when Regia Anglorum, one of Britain's best Saxon re-enactment groups will be at the park on the 9th & 10th of June for their annual Saxon re-enactment weekend.
Visitors will be able to step back in time and visit Wychurst, the group's authentic Saxon Burgh (village) nestled in the depths of the forest at Wildwood and experience how our Saxon ancestors lived circa 1000AD.
Wychurst - literally meaning "the village in the wood" - is a Saxon Manorial Burgh, reconstructed by Regia Anglorum according to the best available evidence. The group have spared no trouble or expense to ensure that the site and its environs are as close to the original as possible. The Burgh features a spectacular Longhall along with other buildings and is exactly the kind of place to which local people would have retreated when the Vikings sacked the city of Canterbury over a thousand years ago.
And it's about to happen again!
The site will be open to visitors from on 9th & 10 June from 10.30am to 4.30pm. During the day, there will be a range of crafts on display both inside the Longhall and in the various artisan's tents inside and outside of the Burgh. You will be able to see warriors at training during the morning before the big event at 3pm when the Vikings will raid the Burgh! The Viking raid is a competitive open ended battle and either side might win!
Entry to Whychurst will be £3.50 for 15yrs and over (under 15yrs free). Wildwood entry fees or membership must also be paid to be allowed access to the event.
What is Regia Anglorum?
You might say, That's a funny name.
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 Mediæval chroniclers to refer to the English state, just as we might say "Great 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 across the Atlantic, having members in Florida, California, Oregon, Ohio and Maryland. We are a group of people from all walks of life who share a common interest in the period that used to be called The Dark Ages, but is now more accurately known as 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, Cymru, Viking raiders and even some Normans. 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 democratic monarchy, only to be brought up short one day in October 1066. But that, as they say, is another story...
Alone of all re-enactment societies, Regia Anglorum owns a permanent site. Situated about sixty miles from central London and in a patch of secluded woodland near Canterbury in Kent, We are constructing a fortified manor house from the Late Anglo-Saxon period.
Wychurst is a fortified English manor – properly, a Manorial Burgh. The ditch-and-bank encloses an acre, at the heart of which is our Longhall that dominates the tree-girt enclosure and the sheer scale of the building just takes your breath away. It is the only building of its kind in Britain.
An Ongoing Project
The site was cleared in 2001 and work on the Longhall commenced at Easter the following year. At the end of 2004, the main structure of this 20m × 10m × 10m building was completed and before the onset of winter, we had clad most of the roof with softwood sarking boards, awaiting the first 10,000 hand-cleft oak shingles for delivery in 2005. That year saw the completion of the porches and the commencement of the huge task of nailing on the shingles. Walling advanced well, too. In 2006, the front roof was completed and shingling advanced about a third of the way up the back roof. The walls were completely infilled, doors and hinges were fitted and our hall was secure for the first time. 2007 saw the completion of shingling, some 18,000 eventually finding their way onto the roof.
It is an impressive sight and is certainly the largest reconstructed early medieval building in private hands in Europe. Built entirely of English oak, all of which has been harvested from trees growing in Kent, (many within a couple of miles of the site), the site in general and the Longhall in particular, has been conceived, planned, purchased, designed and constructed by our members. What you see is the result of many long hours of research, discussion and the practical application of skills with which our ancestors would have felt at home.
Tel 01227 712 111