Wychwood Warriors
The Wychwood Host gathered in York.

The Wychwood Warriors are the Oxford University Historical Re-enactment Society. They mainly re-enact the Viking Age, because costumes for that period are cheap and easy compared to full Roman kit or Knights in Shining Armour! They are extremely friendly and quite small, generally up to a few dozen students and ex-students (known affectionately as "Old Gits"). They have a packed calendar of events, normally doing at least three events a week during term and travelling to shows during holidays.

Battle Practices - Kit Making - Feasts & Fires - Shows & Trips - Want to know more?

Battle Practice
The pile of the dead grows...

Every Sunday during term, the peace of Oxford University Parks is rent apart by battlecries, the clang of swords hitting swords and the thuds of spears hitting shields. That's Wychwood's weekly Battle Practice.
New members start off learning the basic moves with wooden sticks. They then move onto metal weapons, swords and spears. And can then experiment with more exotic and fearsome weapons, like axes and daneaxes. As well as one-on-one training Wychwood practices fighting and moving in a shieldwall, free-for-all skirmishes, and so on.
Battle practices are quite laid-back. In between bouts, Wychwooders chat to the public who inevitably gather to watch, or just relax whilst guarding the kit.

Battle Practices - Kit Making - Feasts & Fires - Shows & Trips - Want to know more?

Kit Making
Sighfridh demonstrating his skill at tablet weaving

One evening a week during termtime Wychwood holds a kit making, where members gather to sew costume, making chainmail, practice crafts, or just chill. These are very useful places to get hints and tips from members- new members find it especially useful to be shown how to sew and what pattern to make tunics in!
Craft days happen less frequently, generally a couple of year. At these, Wychwooders can work on bigger projects requiring specialised tools- making shields or helmets, cleaning weaponry, all that sort of thing.

Battle Practices - Kit Making - Feasts & Fires - Shows & Trips - Want to know more?

Feasts & Fires
Hauk and pals gathered around a fire

Once or twice a term Wychwood has a really big party in costume. These are either feasts or fires. Feasts take place at indoors venues with kitchens, and are elaborate multi-course banquets. Much food is eaten, drink is quaffed, and tests of skill & strength are enjoyed. And lots of very rude songs are sung.
Fires take place outdoors, and are similar events except normally with less food and more alcohol... A dangerous combination!

Battle Practices - Kit Making - Feasts & Fires - Shows & Trips - Want to know more?

Shows & Trips
The host arriving at Hastings- be afraid, be very afraid!

Wychwood does it's kit making and battle practices for a reason: to prepare for shows. Wychwood does all sorts of shows in Oxford- they appear in books, videos and plays, perform at balls, visit local schools, and help out at museums.
Wychwood also sometimes travels further afield for shows. It's becoming a tradition that at Easter they live for a week in Murton Park in York, a recreated Viking village. At Summer they often visit large battles where many different societies come together for a big display- events like Hastings 2006 (which had 2000 people fighting!) or the Arthurian battle at Tintagel in 2007-2009.

Of course, this isn't all that Wychwooders do. There are also video evenings, mead tasting sessions, visits to re-enactment markets (to buy weapons, jewellery and cloth), tours of historic sites, pub invasions (like pub crawls but in costume), trips to other societies (e.g. DAS), and just generally socialising in pubs or restaurants. It's a small society, everyone tends to be good friends.

Battle Practices - Kit Making - Feasts & Fires - Shows & Trips - Want to know more?

Want to know more?

Check out the Wychwood website: users.ox.ac.uk/~wychwood/, the Wychwood wiki: wychwood.wikidot.com or email me to chat: haukragnarsson@googlemail.com.

If you want to come along, for your first event there are no membership fees. After that, you have to pay an annual membership fee of 15.

Made by Hauk, DAS Secretary & Wychwood Old Git - Main page: www.haukr.co.uk - Email: haukragnarsson@googlemail.com