As Rome fell into despair and the legions had left the shores of Britannia unguarded, a great era of change began
By the 5th Century the Roman empire was in decline with the legions recalled from Britain over time to deal with the ever increasing civil wars and encroachment by northern tribes into roman territories on the continent. The Romano Britons had it good for a while, with no taxes going to Rome but soon things turned sour when the Picts and other tribes began to rain and incur upon their lands. In a last ditch to stem this flow the story goes that a Kentish king Vortigen invited a tribe of Saxons over to guard their land in exchange for lands of their own. But realising that these fertile lands were ripe for the talking soon more and more came, The Migration period had begun.
By the 7th Century the Anglo Saxons has conquered much of what we now call England (though a unified state did not exist for many hundreds of years yet) The land was divided into a number of small kingdoms Bernicia and Derica in the north (Known collectively as Northumbria) East Anglia, Lindsey, The lands of the East, West and South Saxons, the Jutes of Kent and White and of course the middle kingdom of Mercia. Each of these Kingdoms was itself divided into smaller territories and tribal areas who submitted to their king or Aeldorman of that area.
At the start of the century Mercia was a petty Kingdom but under a new king named Penda, of the line of the Icinglas (Angles or eventually the English) in 625. It grew to become the greatest of kingdoms swallowing up many lands in the south, west, east, and north and subjugating many of those kingdoms to his will as their overlord. And although he is not listed as a Bretwalda (Wide ruler) in Northumbrian texts there is no doubt that is only because of political bias and in his time, Penda was not only the greatest of the Saxon Kings but also the most warlike. He is the epitome of a warrior King of the dark ages having killed 5 other kings in battles during his reign. Brave, bold and not suffering fools lightly he carved out a base for Mercia to become the greatest Kingdom in Britannia in the 7th to 8th centuries before the coming of the Vikings in the 9th century.
Learn more about King Penda here
We can also cover the Viking Age check that out here
At our shows we portray an encampment of high-status warriors and a mixture of civilians and camp followers. The personal guard of one of Primarily Penda 626 to 655 CE .
During these times the kings and their retinues would travel around their kingdoms either fighting in the various wars that typified the era or putting down rebellions or just ensuring that their rule was adhered to whilst collecting taxes and distributing justice.
The camp consist of the King, his household guard of high-status warriors (or the Werod), plus the experienced warriors of the warband the "Dugurd" and the new warriors who need to prove their skills at arms the Geogud. There are also high-status women and a mixture civilians who are part of the encampment. They are travelling across Mercia (or to other lands if at war) with a show of wealth and power. Collecting taxes and crushing rebellions wherever they go. Sometimes they skirmish with other tribes or kingdoms such as Wessex or Northumbria or across the borders to wales and the Romano Britain's (Celts) dependent upon the event scenario. Whatever the setting we recreate life in this age, with crafts, skills, fighting and character role-play to immerse you in that timeline.