Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to get started. Everyone starts somewhere, and we’re happy to help you get involved.
What kind of activities does the group do? Do I need to have skills and knowledge to join in?
We explore lots of crafts and pastimes in workshops and classes, usually led by knowledgeable members of the group. These have included sewing, weaving, dancing, heraldry, music and calligraphy. You can read about our armoured combat, rapier fencing and archery activities elsewhere on this website.
Complete beginners at all activities are always welcome.
There is also eating and drinking! We’ve tried out all kinds of interesting historical dishes and home brewed drinks at our revels and bigger events often involve an impressive feast of several courses.
I see you’re all dressed in historical clothing. Are you re-enactors?
Unlike re-enactment groups, most of our activities are intended to be joined in by everyone present, rather than being a performance to watch. We also don’t recreate a specific date or culture, so you can become a Viking or a 14th century Italian or whatever interests you most. Some people create a detailed “persona” – with a name and life story to match meticulously researched handmade clothing, but you needn’t do so in order to join in.
A simple tunic is all that’s necessary to get started (and if you get in touch, we can usually lend something for your first event). Historical clothing is referred to as “garb” within the society, so if an event is described as “not in garb” wear your usual clothing.
When and where do you do all this interesting stuff?
We have revels on a Saturday about once a month. These are held in garb and involve an afternoon of themed activities followed by a potluck feast to which everyone brings a contribution. The venue is usually a community hall, such as Hargrave Hall in Archway or Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall, see individual revels in the calendar to check.
In addition, there is combat practice, minstrel practice and crafting afternoons are frequently organised. Monthly shire meetings are held in a pub to socialise and plot future activities. Outings to museums, historical pubs or music performances are sometimes organised.
We also host a weekend-long event at a London scout camp in September, including tournaments and many other activities. And, as part of the wider SCA, we visit other shires when they host similar events, sometimes held in castles or historic houses.
I wear glasses/a visible hearing aid/use a modern mobility aid. Can I play?
Absolutely, yes, many of us do. Being able to join in is far more important to us than achieving a perfect medieval look.
Do I have to match my persona/garb to my own appearance, gender or cultural/ethnic heritage?
You can do if that’s what interests you, but you don’t have to. You can explore any pre-1600 culture.
Lady? King? Mistress? What’s with all these titles and crowns?
Titles and pointy hats are given to people for their service to our society and to recognise their expertise and achievements in various areas. The royal roles of King/Queen and Prince/Princess are won in tournaments and the victors then have the honour and pleasure of presiding over court ceremonies at SCA events for the next several months. Don’t worry about getting titles exactly right – you won’t go wrong if you address everyone as “my lord/lady” at first.
What should I bring to my first revel?
Bring garb if you have any, or get in touch with an idea of your size so that we can try to find someone to bring appropriate spare clothing. You will also need “feast kit” – meaning a mug or tankard to drink from, a plate or dish to eat from and a set of cutlery. Until you find/make something perfect for your persona, rustic pottery or wood can look nice and medieval. There will be an opportunity to pop to nearby shops for a contribution to the feast, but you can bring along a dish you have made. We normally ask for a contribution towards hall hire costs, but your first time is free.
We hope to see you at an event soon!