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Hrafnsdale at Whitby


Hrafnsdale (rough translation 'Valley of the Raven'. Formerly Rochdale Sveiter) is a long standing Herred group within The Vikings society. Based in Rochdale, Lancashire, (though with some members further afield) Hrafnsdale is one of the largest groups within the society focusing on both combat and living history. We mainly focus on the portrayal of Vikings and Saxons between 793 and 1066 with a lot of members owning kit allowing portrayal of up to the 12th century for later period shows, such as the battle of Rhuddlan and the battle of Chirk. A second family to many members, we pride ourselves on our camaraderie and dedication to the group and its members, as well as our willingness to help others within the society. The group is made up of 50+ members (and growing) with people of all ages.


the standard group shield (left) and the later period kite shield (right

Hrafnsdale Herred boasts many accomplishments in combat,the most recent being presented with the award for Best Combat Group 2019 aswell as individual members winning socety awards of Konungrs Champion etc. As part of The Vikings, Hrafnsdale trains for combat using the rules and weapon regulations set out by the society. Under these rules we teach individuals to fight with shield, sword, hand axe and spear. We also provide training in missile weapons of archery, javelin and sling. We have multiple training officers (including RTTs (combat),RTTMs (Missiles) and RATs (acting)) and warriors specializing in advanced weaponry of long axe, long spear and great spear. Several of our group members have been inducted into both of the societys hearthtroops based on their skill level, though Hrafnsdale remains their first priority.The group colours are black and yellow with the standard round shields painted with 6 black and yellow anticlockwise spirals. The Design for kite shields for later shows is a black curved cross on a yellow field.

We train every Thursday night at Smalley Memorial Hall near Castleton from 8pm to 10ish and one saturday a month (the date mutually decided amongst the members as the date most free to the majority)

Living History

Although originally mainly focused on combat, throughout the years the group has slowly built up their living history encampment with multiple members using their wide range of knowledge in authenticity, camp life, historical crafts etc. With some tents owned by the group, and others owned by individual members, the group is capable of establishing a small encampment to portray the day to day life of a group of travelling Vikings and Saxons. we also have a number of skilled craftsmen and women to help teach the public about the other side of life in an encampment of an army on the march such as what food was eaten, passing time with authentic games such as hnefatafl and nine mens morris,and other skills such as woodworking and sewing.

Group Officers

Group Leader and Group Archery Officer: Josh Moore

Group 2IC and Group Secretary: Siobhan Griffiths

RTTC and Head of Training: Michael 'Varg' Buckley

RTTM,Co- Group Authenticity Officer and Co- Group LHE Officer: Steff 'Erik' Holbrook

Co-Group Authenticity Officer and Co- Group LHE Officer: Luke Holbrook

RTT: Peter 'Camie' Campbell

Group Training Officer: James 'Squeak' Hartwell

Quartermaster: Gavin Albiston

Safeguarding Officer: Nicola O'Neill


Winner of The George Hay Trophy

  • 1986 - as Rochdale Sveiter
  • 1987 - as Rochdale Sveiter
  • 1990 - as Rochdale Sveiter
  • 1993
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2006

Winner of the Best Group LHE award

  • 1997