The 2019 Abbey Medieval Festival will showcase the efforts and talents of many dark age and early middle age re-enactment groups. Learn a little more about these groups who deliver immersive encampments, educational demonstrations and exciting combat displays.
Blackpool Vikings portrays the life of Scandinavian peoples during 850CE to 950CE, both at war and at home. The group is historically based around the lives of the inhabitants of Viking Dyflin, modern day Dublin.
Blackpool Vikings strive to achieve a historically accurate depiction of life in a Scandinavian settlement through the application of experimental archaeology, exploring the areas of domestic crafts, food, trade, society and martial combat.
Be sure to visit Blackpool in the Dark Ages and see their presentations on Viking grooming and wedding preparation, Viking trade display and food display showcasing how they preserved and prepared food.
Forn Vegr meaning ‘ancient ways’ in old Norse is a Viking living history group portraying various traders. The group relive the ‘ancient ways’ of the Vikings who lived, worked and traded in the major trading port of Hedeby between 900CE to 1000CE, a period of time where Hedeby was a booming trade centre.
Forn Vegr is a family-focused group portraying domestic life of the Vikings, showcasing the value of family life with all members participating in daily chores, playing games and working together, forging strong bonds of loyalty.
Visit Forn Vegr to learn about crafts such as weaving, spinning, wool combing and nailbinding, domestic chores including cooking and washing, and the important family tradition of Viking games.
Follow Forn Vegr on Facebook to see what they have in store for patrons of the Abbey Medieval Festival.
Jorth Gar – New Varangian Guard
The Jorth Gar branch of the New Varangian Guard concentrates its living history re-enactment primarily on the earlier Varangian Guardsmen of Viking origin, and their many exploits and accomplishments. Those that were given to Emperor Basil II in recognition of his military treaty with the Rus, by Prince Vladimir of Kiev.
They also re-enact warriors that returned back to their homelands after active service in the Guard, and the camp followers and craftsmen that accompanied them. They have a strong civilian and family base within the group as a result and are renowned craftsmen. They are currently the largest New Varangian Guard Branch in Australia.
The mighty force of Jorth Gar will be on display at the Castle Arena on Sunday. Their encampment will also be a hive of activity over the Festival weekend with cooking and craft displays, blacksmithing, and game demonstrations.
Visit Jorth Gar’s website for more information on the group, and their event Viking Culture Day.
The New England Medieval Arts Society (NEMAS) is a historical re-enactment group that represents Vikings and Saxons from 8th to 10th centuries.
NEMAS specialises in duelling and mass combat battle displays with a variety of steel weapons. They also have members who have rediscovered forgotten arts and crafts which are on display at the Abbey Medieval Festival, including woodworking, spinning, weaving, arms and armour construction and much more.
The Norviks is a re-enactment group portraying the domestic life of Danish Vikings around the beginning of the 11th century. They specialise in sea travel, trading and family life.
As a true Viking re-enactment group, the Norviks have their own replica Viking ship, ‘Fafnir’ lovingly handmade by members using tradition methods. For many years Fafnir sailed on Bramble Bay off Woody Point, Redcliffe.
As well as displaying Fafnir, the group will also display and demonstrate Viking weaponry, tools, blacksmithing, jewellery making, weaving, rune writing and children’s games.
Reafan is a family-oriented re-enactment group which is dedicated to recreating the experience of living in 11th to 12th centuries.
Their members showcase a diverse range of skills including making and decorating clothing, armour, jewellery, musical instruments, metal casting, handicraft and cooking.
Reafan will be fully immersed in the period all weekend; patrons can enjoy demonstrations on food preparation including plucking chickens, and engage in handicrafts including metal casting, rune writing and musical instruments.
The banner of Rognvald’s Lith is inspired by a mid-11th century runic inscription from Ed, Uppsala linked to Rognvald Ingvarson. Rognvald was a Swede who served with the Varangian Guard in Constantinople and died circa 1043 serving the Rus princes.
The Lith recreates arms, armour, fighting techniques and other lost arts of Dark Age Europe between 900CE to 1100CE.
Visit the Rognvald’s Lith website for more information about the group.
Saga Vikings are an education re-enactment group that researches and recreates all aspects of the Viking Age between 793CE to 1066CE. The group focuses on the clothing Vikings wore, how they went about their daily lives, and the crafts of the age.
Saga Vikings will have displays of cooking and crafts of the Viking period, as well as a display of fishnet making.
Follow Saga Vikings on Facebook to learn more about the group.
Staraya Ladoga, or The Stray Dogs is a Viking re-enactment group portraying the Rus Vikings of Staraya Ladoga, Russia in the late 900s.
The Rus Vikings from Staraya Ladoga offer the opportunity to observe the aspects of life of a bygone era, and demonstrate influences gained through trade and the exploration of their surroundings.
Their campsite displays traditional Rus Viking style tents, cooking hearth with period equipment, wood-worked items including seating and chests made from patterns in archaeological Viking finds.
Their campsite also showcases traditional Viking activities including blacksmith forge, tanning of hides using traditional natural tanning methods, cooking and craft activities.
Traders of Frojel
The Traders of Frojel are Vikings from the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Traders of the Sword are superb negotiators with the peoples of conquered lands—trade with us or be killed!
The group is skilled in all the trades needed to exist in the period of 950CE to 1050CE. The write in runes, make textiles, enjoy mead and games, blacksmith and woodwork, pillaging and plundering.
Traders of Frojel will have a wealth of activities in their encampment for Festival patrons to enjoy—try your hand at rune writing, learn about Vikings toys and games from some of the group’s younger members, try embroidery on a wooden frame and other various crafts including tablet weaving, whittling, naalbinding and spinning wool on a spindle whorl.