The Vikings (reenactment)

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The Vikings!
Founded 1971
Location United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Italy
Period Early Middle Ages

Speciality Combat reenactment, Living History, Special Effects, Educational Visits, Filming, Museum Displays, Event Management
Number of members 1,500 + [1]

Member groups 45 +

"The Vikings" is a British-based society of re-enactors, dedicated to the study and re-enactment of the culture of the Viking Age (790 – 1066) and the display of authentic Dark Ages living history and combat.


The Vikings, previously known as the Norse Film and Pageant Society (NFPS), which was founded in 1971 by Peter Seymour and Alan Jeffery, initially as an extension to their 'Central Focus' WWII film club, with the purpose of bringing an awareness of the Norse Myths and the Viking culture to the public through dramatic entertainment. They are the oldest and largest Dark Ages society in the UK.[2][3] They are a founding member of the National Association of Re-enactment Societies. In its N.F.P.S days, the society consisted of some thirty core members, including the 'Odin Guard' an elite combat group maintaining Norse Heathen religious practices and values, but which eventually left the society during the leadership of Gerry East, whose recruitment tactics eventually took the membership into the three hundred plus bracket. The Society now has over 1100 members throughout Britain, Europe and North America. While the Society concentrates mainly on the 10th Century, events are often set in the wider period from 790 to 1066, with the appropriate modifications to dress and equipment used.

Despite the 'Vikings!' title of the Society, the groups within it portray Saxon,[4] Norman, Celtic, and Viking cultures.


The Vikings' goal is to provide an accurate and educational portrayal of the Viking period, with equal emphasis on the daily life of the period and on the more warlike aspects of life in what was a formative period in European history. Events staged by The Vikings aim for a high standard of presentation, historical accuracy and attention to detail. For combat displays, which combine public entertainment with a historical background, the battle organisers strive to recreate an event local to the area. Aside from the combat, at each event there are extensive living history displays which present a cross-section of life in the tenth century.

Local Groups

The Vikings has local groups in the UK, mainland Europe and Northern America, each group usually numbers between 5 and 50 members depending on the region. The groups are each led by a Sturaesman (or woman) or Jarl, who deals with the administrative and organisational aspects, and when at large events each will usually fight as one unit.

Educational Visits

Aside from the main events, in many regions of the UK the society offers school visits by experienced and knowledgeable personnel in full period dress and equipment. These visits include a variety of activities based around the UK National Curriculum framework of Key Stage Two's “Invaders and Settlers” topic.

The Society also provides resources for schools, including a teacher's resource book for KS2. In some cases, clothing and equipment can be loaned to schools for short periods to assist in classroom work.

All visitors hold either a CRB disclosure to a minimum of standard level, or one from Disclosure Scotland.


Full membership of The Vikings is open to anyone over the age of 18. In the UK, children aged 16 and 17 are allowed to train and participate in the combat displays when accompanied by an adult. Due to safety regulations, children under 16 years old may not take part in combat displays, although correctly dressed and equipped 13-15 year olds are used as battlefield runners and/or waterbearers.

Battle of Hastings reenactments

Since 1995, The Vikings has been the primary organiser for the combat and living history portions of the Battle of Hastings reenactment events.[5]

See also


  1. "The Vikings Canada Membership". Retrieved 2009-01-31. ...Membership varies throughout the year, normally peaking at around 1,500 members worldwide, mainly based in the UK...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. BBC News: "Normans fight Saxons... and the rain". "Most of the re-enactment participants are part of Britain's largest Dark Age re-enactment society, The Vikings."
  3. King Harold and William Square Up, BBC News, October 14, 2006
  4. Richards. "Members of a group called The Vikings...posing as Saxons were raising money for the British Heart Foundation."
  5. Re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings "coordinated by The Vikings re-enactment society," Goliath, October 1, 2006