Taking part in the Living History Display

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Who can take part in the Village?

The Vikings impose a rule that no one is allowed on the battlefield unless they have passed a basic combat test ; this is in reality not a combat test but a safety test. The Society is ensuring that the combatants are not going to hurt themselves, each other, or most importantly, the audience.

In a similar vein and in a perfect world, no one would be allowed in the Village unless they had passed a Village test where the Society would check that the candidate was suitable to represent the Vikings to the public in terms of authenticity and historical accuracy (as well as safety where fires and craft tools are involved).

This however is impractical as it would be impossible to police and would in any case be counterproductive as village numbers would suffer. It can also be considered that whilst combatants can train without being authentic, you actually need a village to learn how to be a villager, so a catch 22 exists in respect of training.


Anyone is allowed into the Village providing they have an authentic costume which has been approved by their Group Authenticity Thegn or a Society Authenticity Officer.

Nevertheless, as with any organisation, the Society has an obligation to take reasonable measures to ensure that everyone participating in its activities understands what they are doing and undertakes all tasks competently and safely.

To ensure safety :-

* No one in the village should undertake any work or task that they are not competent to undertake ; this being especially relevant to work with sharp tools and/or open fires and which have specific requirements covered in other sections of this guide.

* Every person who participates in the LHE must not undertake risk tasks without supervision until such time as they have passed the Basic LHE Skills Test. Risk tasks being defined as anything involving fires, sharp knives or tools, food preparation and/or being left in charge of the camp.

* Every person who participates in the LHE must have been trained or be in the process of being trained towards passing the Basic LHE Skills Test. Every such person should aim to have passed the Basic LHE Skills Test within 3 months of commencing participation in the LHE and/or 3 major show attendances whichever is the shorter.

Group LHE Thegns are responsible for a) training and b) ensuring that their group members comply with these requirements.

In the past there has been a general misconception that warriors are not welcome in the village. This is untrue. Anyone in the Society is allowed in the village provided they are in proper kit and stay in character. There is a similar misconception that you must be displaying a craft or doing something significant in order to participate in living history. This is also untrue as simply being in the village in character means that you are participating in living history. This does however mean that….


Any re-enactor in the village, whether villager or combatant, and whether resident in camp, visiting someone else’s encampment, or merely passing through, are subject to the full rules and guidelines on safety and authenticity.

Note that in order to participate in the village a person need not actually own the costume they intend to wear, but that costume must have passed an authenticity check. (note that this is different to Fri-hals kit checks where the candidate must own the costume).

You should not borrow different parts of a costume from different sources unless you are sure that they can be worn together as a complete outfit as “mix and match” costumes from different ethnic and social backgrounds are not allowed.

Anyone who is unsure of how they could contribute to the village set up is encouraged to discuss matters with any of the LHE officers.

Booking into the Village at an event

Please remember that you are supposed to pre-book your LHE pitch at Society major shows with the Society LHE Co-ordinator at least 3 weeks before the show. This can be done by email (lhe[@]vikingsonline.org.uk), or post, or if absolutely necessary by telephone.

The co-ordinator needs to know:-

  • Who you are. Names and group.
  • How many tents and other structures you are bringing, and generally how big an area your camp will need.
  • How many of these tents are just sleeping accommodation. In case they can be positioned behind the ‘activity’ tents.
  • Will you have a fire. Do you need sand, turf, etc.
  • Info re any other kit you may have with you. This is especially relevant to special equipment such as forges which may need special siting re fire regulations.
  • Which end of the camp you prefer in respect of noise. i.e. Quiet or noisy end.
  • Some shows may be craft orientated and therefore an indication of which crafts will be demonstrated would also be helpful
  • Will you be trading or selling anything. Some shows have restrictions on trading and others impose a trading fee. The Society needs to know in order to ensure that our clients are not offended, or our terms of contract not breached.
  • When you intend to get to the show. In case there are special arrival times and conditions, and so that the LHE co-ordinator can assess whether you have not been able to make it – and can therefore give your proposed pitch to someone else if necessary.


If you do not supply all of this information your allocated camping position might not be entirely suitable. (although there is never any guarantee that it will be anyway – this is free camping and re-enactment after all).

Whilst the show LHE co-ordinator will no doubt try and accommodate unexpected participants everyone should be aware that :-

* It is fully within the show LHE co-ordinator’s jurisdiction to refuse admission to the LHE, or split up a group, or impose restrictions as he sees fit in order to make the LHE both safe for all, usable by the public, and comply with the terms of the show contract.

* At any show which has a limited number of LHE pitches precedence will be given to the contract requirements in respect of specific craft demonstrations or other LHE matters taking account of display quality. Where no special requirements apply or there is no discernable difference between applicants those who have pre-booked will take precedence. * Anyone turning up without a booking may be turned away by the LHE Co-ordinator without recourse.

You need to similarly pre-book medium and/or minor shows, however, these are usually by invitation only so the need to pre-book is sometimes not required. Medium and/or minor shows should be booked with the particular Herred that is running the show and not with the Society LHE Coordinator.

The Village Guide contains all the information you need to know to take part in the LHE display.