Ardenweard is a Dark Ages re-enactment group affiliated with The Vikings. Founded in 1971, The Vikings are the oldest and largest Dark Age re-enactment society in the UK, and probably the world. With over 700 members throughout Britain, and others in Europe and the US, The Vikings are the premier society presenting re-enactments of the Viking Age. While the Society concentrates mainly on the 10th Century, some events are set in the wider period from 790 to 1066, with the appropriate modifications to dress and equipment used. Our aim is to provide an accurate and educational portrayal of the Viking period, with an equal emphasis on the daily life of the period, and on the more warlike aspects of life in what was a formative period in European history.
We are based in the Warwickshire area of the Midlands but also have members from the NW of England and adopt a fun approach to our activities whilst maintaining the authenticity aspects. We hold regular training events as well as social activities so there is always something going on even over winter.
The area was originally thought to be derived from the ancient british word Ardu (in welsh Ardd) and the thickly forested area was known as the forest of Arden – which was unusual in that no roman roads ran through it.
It encompassed an area corresponding to the north-western half of the traditional county of Warwick, stretching from Stratford-on-Avon in the south to Tamworth (in Staffordshire) in the north, and included what are now the large cities of Birmingham and Coventry, in addition to areas that are still largely rural with numerous areas of woodland. The most important and largest settlement in the forest was the town Henley-in-Arden (in a valley of the River Alne, approximately 15 miles southeast of Birmingham), the site of an Iron Age hillfort. During the period we reenact the Arden was part of the kingdom of Mercia and in 878 large parts of the area were ceded to the Danes and became part of the Danelaw via King Alfreds treaty of Wedmore with Guthrum. Watling Street, on the north-eastern edge of Warwickshire, became the boundary between the Danelaw (the kingdom of the Danes) to the east and the much reduced Mercia to the west. There was also a boundary with the kingdom of Wessex to the south.
Owing to its location the Adren was settled by variety of people – primarily Danes and Saxons but trade with Dublin via the NW of England also saw traders and travellers from Norse and Cymric areas. This allows a wide variety of characters to be portrayed within the group.
The aim of the group is to educate and entertain by portraying characters, events and life from the dark ages. We partake in and host events that enable us to do this and this can take us all over the UK. Some members also undertake film or TV work as part of the Viking Societies Film and TV arm Action Warrior Solutions. What we do can normally be broken down into two parts:- Living History and Reenactment of Fighting.
This is the portrayal of life as we think it was in the period we are reenacting. It can take on many forms ranging from cooking (always popular with the warriors after a hard fight) through to storytelling and recreation of various crafts and activities. See the Living History page for more details. Its also a great place to relax and chill out after a fight or a good place to hide from the notorious “Kiddie Vike”.
This is where we hit each other… in a controlled and disciplined manner. The control and discipline though do not take the fun out of it they just make it safe. The weapons we use are blunted but even so an uncontrolled hit will still hurt – which is why we practice. For more details see the “hitting each other with swords and axes” page.
We come from all walks of life, teachers, artists, project managers, students and retired people. But we are all brought together by our interest in the period and our desire to learn more … and to hit each other with an axe or sword.
If you would like to know more about the group, what we do or to book us for an event please contact us or come and see us at one of the displays.