Ten Things We Love About Living History

We love living history. That is likely obvious from our website and many events. But what are the things that we really love about it?

Let's take a look at just 10 of the things we truly adore about living history:

1. Putting on the Costume

It's one of the biggest parts of living history and, one could argue, the most important part!

We just love putting on our costumes and starting to feel like we are living in the past. The second you have a costume on you move differently, you feel different. It brings out a character that can help to give visitors a sense of the past, how people looked and lived. Without the costumes our living history just wouldn't work.

Plus, you know, we look so stylish in them!

2. Lighting a fire

Ah the lovely warm glow of the fire. The heat. The smell. Everything about it is heart warming and evocative.

We rarely have an event that doesn't utilise a fire in some way. A fire can form a focal point in any display and also helps to attract people in to see what's going on and what you're using the fire for.

Once we have lit a fire at an event we know we are ready!

3. The smells

There are so many wonderful smells in living history. From the smell of the aforementioned fire to the lovely scent of leather we just love it. Every smell gives a sense of the past and it's brilliant not only for us but for visitors.

Of course there are also, occasionally, smells that aren't so pleasant but we won't get into those here!

4. Bringing history to life

It's the obvious one really, the one that anyone involved in living history or re-enactment will doubtless say is a major factor in their reasons for doing it is bringing history to life. Showcasing a time long ago, bringing it to life in a vibrant and real way for audiences today is a real joy.

It really is the best thing about it.

5. The Crafts

Crafts, those everyday jobs and skills that people from the past once had, things that are now less used and have become known as 'crafts'.

As a group we are dedicated to displaying traditional crafts and skills at our events as we feel it is the most interesting part of the past. The jobs of the common folk are much more interesting, and relatable, compared to that of the rich or royalty.

Craft demonstrations, be that turning a bowl on a pole lather or knitting a net, are engaging to watch and form a tool to strike up conversations with those visiting.

6. Passing on Knowledge

Another aspect of our living history that we always strive to maintain is the passing on of information and knowledge that we have learnt to visitors. This can be done through simply talking to folk as they wander our camp or through the combination of displaying a craft and chatting or through a specially written talk or display (like our weapons display).

7. Cooking on an open fire

Thanks to Matilda, our resident cook and basket weaver, we are fortunate enough to have some most delightful meals cooked for us on a roaring open fire.

From vegetable pottage to roast small birds we've had it all at our events. Some of our favourite little treats are Matilda's wonderful custard tarts.

There certainly is something special about food cooked on an open fire; there is a smokey flavour that gives everything that extra something.

8. The social aspects

One of the biggest aspects of living history is the social side. As a group of around 10-15 members it is great to meet up and socialise not only at events but also outside of them.

We regularly meet up at a local pub to discuss coming events and plans but also just to catch up and enjoy each other's company.

This of course extends to events as we, when not chatting to visitors, chat to each other. We also chat with other re-enactors and professionals who we have met though our living history which adds a whole other social layer.

9. Being Outside

A big chunk of our time doing living history is spent in the great outdoors. Sure we have tents for some shelter but even then they are usually open to the outside.

It's a wonderful thing being outside and with many of us spending the week in an office for our day jobs it is fantastic to be outside of a weekend. The fresh air lifts the soul and on those quiet moments where you can just sit and listen to the birds, the rustling of leaves in the breeze or the bees buzzing around, it makes for something really special.

Of course being outside does have its risks and there have been occasions where we've had to soldier on in the pouring rain…

10. Getting people involved

This is something we always try to do at our events and displays. Getting people involved can be a great aid for learning and engaging.

We always talk to visitors wandering our camp so they can get involved in conversation and ask questions but we also like to get young people involved in our 'kids combat display'. Following our main weapons display we often invite youngsters from the audience to come into the arena, take up a sword (all be it a foam one), learns some basic commands and then attack us!

It's great fun for the kids and us … even if we do get beaten up on every occasion…

Written by Bertram

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