At Kevin's request I have taken up an ongoing "Diary" which will, I hope, show what goes through the mind of a newcomer to the world of Regia Anglorum.
First, however, a brief word about myself. My name's Alan Tidy. I'm thirty, a Civil Servant for all of my working life and am happily married. I heard
about Regia on the internet. What prompted me to join up is a complicated business, but I'll do the best I can to explain. I'm no too sure of the reasons
myself, so pardon me if I'm a bit hazy.
I come from a history of role playing - table-top mainly - but recently have crossed over into re-enactment territory, and with a friend have co-written
and run two "LARP Freeforms". These events could be best described as an occasion where a number of persons (generally in costume) are each given a
"Character" to become. They then act as these persona would within a predefined (but unknown to them) story. The last one I helped write 'most of'
was for forty players and consisted over fifty thousand words of Characterisations. It goes without saying that with this amount of effort required
we only run one a year! Anyhow, these freeforms were based around the Arthurian mythos. That is, set in the fifth century (when the 'real' Arthur
was supposed to exist) and 'based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's texts as well as other reference works.
My interest in the Anglo-Saxon period evolved from the desire to increase the freeform's sense of authenticity, I decided to acquire a better grasp on
the "real world aspects" and history of the era. I then began to research into the Dark Ages era (AD 400 to AD 500's approx.). I wasn't surprised to find
that most of the info was vague and based on a multitude of hypothesise with regard to people and events - so I turned to a better known age, that of pre
Norman conquest - I felt that I could extrapolate the information in a backwards sense and get what information I needed that way.
However, not all my motivation to join Regia Anglorum, is based on research for a game. Participating in the combat side, does hold some animal fascination
for me. It also provides me with a useful hobby that I can develop. Reading up on history, was never my forte before, but I have quite happily accumulated a
couple of heavy weight history books, both of which I am wading through, so I can get the background. I refuse to limit my research to one hundred years
before the Battle of Hastings. That seems too narrow minded. In my humble opinion and this might seem bold coming from an outsider, you must have some
knowledge of the background to any topic you are to research to have any conviction to your teaching. But I may be proven wrong.
The research also, of course provides you with a talking point with strangers when coming into any circle of friends.
But enough about ' Why' , I suppose everyone has their own personal reasons for joining the society, and in the end, I doubt as though it makes much
difference, it seems to be a social group with a common interests, and as such, its sole purpose is to 'have fun'.
Over the following months my interest grew. The freeform came and went, and I finally went along to the History in Action
event ran by
at Kirby Hall. During that time a friend of mine had joined a medieval reenactment group, and it sounded an enjoyable (but potentially
expensive) pastime. However my interest lay in earlier times. Anglo-Saxon to be precise.
So I went. I saw. And I liked. I was given a leaflet by a Regia representative, and a few internet "surfs" later I got into contact with Kevin Cowley,
the leader [Thegn (pronounced 'Thane')] of my "local" group of Regia members [Sceaftesige (pronounced 'shafts-see') Garrison].
Before long, myself and my wife went around his house for a preliminary chat. I had already decided to join, but it always pays to see the people who you're
going to socialise with. They maybe a bunch of weirdoes and loons, smokin' dope, etc. etc. Well, they were perfectly normal, friendly and very approachable.
Quite a relief! We talked about what gear I' d need to get and how much it' d cost (it ain't cheap) and what I could expect during one of the events. I
expressed my desire to know more and was cordially invited to the next weapons practise 'held locally' and went along dressed in thick, old clothing; well
prepared for a rough and dirty time.
My first battle practise was good fun. There were five members there, and for the next three or so hours I was led through the basics of using a spear.
Regia operate an 'advancement' scheme, which effectively means that the more you put into the pasttime, the more you get out of it.
Practically, this has two aspects
- Regular practise means that you are allowed to use other 'more glamorous and more dangerous' weapons -like axes or swords- during 'National' events.
You effectively have to prove your competence with a weapon before you move onto weapons which require more skill.A sound idea in my opinion, though I
felt a bit hard done-by at the time, about not being taught to use a sword. However I had no problems using the spear, and had a great time using it
against the more experienced members. Apparently I'm not too bad. At least I'm not dangerous with it, which is quite reassuring.
- The more research/devotion put into costume and generally learning as much as you can, seems the surefire way of progressing up a hierarchical system
of promotion within the society. You aren't going to become a "commander" if you do not dress like one.
The other members present at the practise were pleasant and quite talkative, which was a welcome relief. Its always hard coming in cold into another social
group. No problems here. I'm even going along to a roleplaying session in Windsor that some of the members go to, which should be fun!
As an addendum, I went to Kevin' s house earlier this week, and finally paid my dues to make me a full member of the society. I received a thick book
of reference material 'produced by Regia', which was unexpected but welcome.
All I have to do now is make my shield, get a shaft for my spear, and persuade my wife -who will become a member when she' s given birth to our first child
next year- to make my clothing for me, and think of a 'character' name. Then it' s all systems go.
With my shield and spear grasped, total immersion into 10th Century Anglo-Saxon England begins.
Alan Tidy - The latest Saxon to be living in Blackwater, Camberley