Sceaftesige Garrison is the Berkshire & Buckinghamshire sub-group of the international living history organisation Regia Anglorum. We re-enact forgotten skirmishes and
famous battles from the time of the birth of Ænglaland, or England. But re-creating the lives of our early mediaeval ancestors isn't only about axe-on-shield action, the vast majority of their lives would be spent cooking, sewing, carving and other daily
tasks. As a living history group, many members choose to explore these less glamorous activities and uncover unknown talents.
Sceaftesige Garrison was formed as a group in 1991 by the merging of the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire
groups. The name "Sceaftesige" means Sceafa's Isle — now known as Sashes Isle which is on
the River Thames. Sceaftesige also referred to a medium-sized burh, which was built on Sashes Isle
in King Ælfred's time (associated with 1000 hides of land and therefore with a potential
garrison of 1000 men), although this burh was short-lived and was superseded by the nearby town of Cookham
by the end of the millennium (Domesday Book entry pictured).
The island may have been named after Sceafa — a legendary King in the early midst of English royal
Archaeological research on the history of the Sashes Island fort is ongoing, the University of London's
Extra-Mural Archaeological Society (EMAS) has an ongoing Sashes Island project
, which is seeking
to find out more about the real Sceaftesige. Information about this project can be found here
. Additionally the Minas Tirith Ltd Archaeological Survey
has produced a report on Saxon fortifications in the Cookham area (i.e.
the Sceaftesige fort)
which can be accessed here
. Sceaftesige's first leader, Dave Telford, also embarked on a little
research regarding the history of the fort, his article can be read here
Below is the reference to Sceaftesige in the Anglo-Saxon document listing many fortifications, the Burghal
Unlike the Latin Domesday Book, it is written in Anglo-Saxon English (or Ænglisc) and the Sceaftesige entry reads
and to Sceaftesige, 1000 hides of land
A few other resources for research can be found here:
The name Sceaftesige is a two-syllable word, pronounced Shyaft-see, which is better understood when you
realise that SC represented the SH sound in Ænglisc, that the EA is more
of a "YA" than an "EE", and that the letter G had a somewhat muted pronunciation, such as
the G in "night".
In the early days Sceaftesige was a purely military group, occasionally fielding as many warriors on the
field of battle as all other groups of Regia Anglorum combined. But in the first few years of the
-century, the group's evolution saw a predominant swing towards the civilian aspects of the