Lore-and-Saga Living history services and resources for schools, museums and heritage sites. Viking and Roman in school sessions and craft demonstrations. teachers notes and worksheets. Vikings, Saxons, Romans, national curriculum, invaders and settlers, key stage 2, history, teachers information, living history interpreter, in school sessions, storytelling, Roman resources, educational presentations, Viking lore, runes, Roman lore, Viking saga, living history interpretation, Viking resources, Odin, Viking crafts demonstrations, Roman cookery display, Viking silverwork, Roman games, chronology, Viking games, Roman school visits, Viking runes, national curriculum history key stage two, Viking school visits
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What’s New

April 2020

This venerable old web site was built at the turn of the Millennium when the internet was a very different beast to what we are used to now. Most people that had access used desktop computers and modems that were incredibly slow compared to modern broadband.

Pictures needed to be small and quite low quality so they would load quickly and the idea of accessing it on the move with a hand held device were just a pipe dream for most people.

The reality now is that more people access the internet with a mobile phone than a computer and the old site was not really fit for purpose any more. It was looking tired and creaky. It was difficult to maintain and it was high time to retire it.

That doesn’t mean that it has been taken behind the barn and shot.    Oh no.

Like a faithful old horse it has just been put out to grass and will see out the rest of it’s days on this domain:  www.Lore-and-Saga.co.uk.

You will still be able to stroll down memory lane and access the information and pictures built up over two decades here but the new site will be leaner and fitter for the work it needs to do now.

The new format website will now reside on these newer domains:




The end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Making a treasure cover for Beowulf "Manuscript"- Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

Beowulf, A new treasure.

2018 - 2020 ( Ongoing )

Britain is now in the grip of the Corona Virus and my bookings have all vanished at the stroke of a minister’s pen. The schools have all closed, probably for the rest of the academic year. For me the timing could not have been worse, this is exactly the time of year that I need to make enough reserve funds to see us over the long summer break.

It is what it is and there is nothing to be done about it but try to weather the storm and hope that I am still in business when the new year begins.

It does however give me some time to catch up on  some of the craft projects I have had on the back boiler for a while though.

The first to be completed was the Hįrbaršr / Hrafn Casket and now this treasure cover for a new manuscript of Beowulf is sitting on my bench again.

You can read more about this project here.


The Hįrbaršr / Hrafn Casket

Summer 2019 / 2020

The Hedeby Sea Chest forms the basis of the Hįrbaršr Casket. - Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

When I am not out working in schools, I like to have at least one project on the go to keep me busy. This year I am spoilt for choice.

Design work is continuing on the Norse Cloak of Myth which is mainly Debbie’s project of course and when working on living history displays I have the Beowulf Manuscript to work on.

Neither of these take up much of my time at home so it leaves me time for another, the Hįrbaršr / Hrafn Casket, a carved chest similar to but less ambitious than the Wayland Kista.

You can read more about this project here.

The Norse Cloak of Myth

2014 - 2020 ( Ongoing )

The Norse Cloak of Myth Project. - Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

An update on an extraordinary project underway.

Heysham Viking Festival


Best Living History Award at Heysham Viking Festival. Lore

The Heysham Viking Festival is in my opinion one of the best “Viking Age” shows in Britain. It is community led, unlike many of the identikit shows run by the big heritage organisations and the support from the locals brings the very best out in the groups that provide the living history and battle re-enactments.

Working with independent groups as well as the big re-enactment societies gives them a flexible, progressive approach that allows me to demonstrate fine craft work while wearing my glasses which is a bonus.

It is therefore a matter of some personal pride that I was awarded “Best individual living history exhibit of 2018”, which was judged by a secret family group over the weekend.

Since I was wearing my glasses for most of that weekend I can only assume they were not considered an issue and in fact only one member of the public commented about them all weekend to say, “I hadn’t noticed you were wearing glasses”, when I took them off for a photograph to be taken.

Over the weekend, I was working on a treasure cover for a new manuscript of Beowulf which is a project that has been long in the planning. You can read more about that here.

Viking Camp at Night. Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

A Parting of the Ways.


It is a sad but unavoidable fact that we grow older. Someone once said to me “It is better than the alternative.” I am now of an age that it is very unlikely that many Vikings ever lived to see. As a craftsman that also means I now require visual support in the form of glasses when doing close work such as silver work.

In 2015 I wrote about how Debs and I had rejoined “The Vikings” society after a break of a few years. Well, my failing eyesight is now forcing us to leave again because, unlike most of the European and Scandinavian groups, the two largest Viking Age re-enactment groups in the UK refuse to allow their older members to wear glasses when needed.

Their argument is that the Vikings did not wear glasses so we should not wear them when recreating their lifestyle. I would have some sympathy with that point of view if they were actually accurate about every other thing they did but that is far from the truth.

For a start, most clients require a battle to attract the public and a living history display to keep them on the premises long enough to eat in the cafe and visit the shop to spend lots of their money.

A battle requires a huge amount of compromises to authenticity of course to reduce the risks of injury. This includes an amount of armour and helmets that is completely unrealistic. Armour was expensive and fairly rare in the Viking Age, certainly not worn by the majority of warriors on the battlefield as we see in typical re-enactment battles.

Armoured gloves are a complete fabrication that there is no evidence for at all and yet they are worn by every warrior in “The Vikings” for health and safety.

I would argue that not being able to see properly while moving around a camp or working with sharp tools is also a health and safety issue.

Dublin Style Ring Pins
Viking Working by lamplight. Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

Now, on to the Living History display. This is normally put on in a tented encampment near to the arena. That requires dozens of cotton canvas tents filled with people cooking on raised fires, demonstrating crafts and acting out little scenarios as if they were either Vikings or Saxons living on the edge of a battlefield.

How many things can you see wrong with that? For a start they did not use cotton but it’s cheap and the attitude is that public will never know. The fires are raised so that they will not damage the clients grass and people lived in houses and ran away from battles.

As for demonstrating crafts that is great but make sure it is something you can do without glasses on. That is why you will largely only see leather work, woodwork or static displays where nothing is actually happening.

Re-enactment is a relatively new pastime. It stared to become popular in the 1970s and most of the founders are either old now or they have embraced the alternative.

People like me that started in the 80s are of an age where they want to share the experience and skills they have learned over those years but are hindered by visual or hearing difficulties that are easily overcome with modern aids. For some people contact lenses are a solution but they do not suit everyone and I am one of those.

Unfortunately this is leading to a brain drain, where experienced craftspeople are moving from early re-enactment groups and joining later ones that have period eye-ware or leaving living history altogether which is a great shame.

For myself, I am fortunately able to be independent. I have my own insurance through my business and I can work as a guest with other, small groups who take the more progressive continental approach that interesting displays presented by experienced craftspeople are far more important than strict inflexible authenticity standards that are unevenly applied at best.

There are a few UK groups out there and many on the continent, that are keen for me to bring what I can to their shows so that will be the foreseeable future for me as far as events are concerned.

The school work carries on very successfully of course, I don’t need glasses for what I am doing there, but I have come now to a parting of the way between from “The Vikings” which is sad because it serves nobody well.

Viking Shrine. Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

Summer 2015

The Wayland Kista - Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

It’s not very often that I get enough free time to learn a major new skill these days but a quiet school summer holiday was a great opportunity this year to tackle a challenging new craft project.

Read more about the making of the Wayland Kista here.

(27th May 2015)

After a long absence due to concentrating on the schools education business, We have decided to rejoin “The Vikings” re-enactment society.

Wayland at Whitby

This encouraged us to dig out some of the larger living history equipment that doesn’t get used much in schools and get back into doing a bit of craft work for a recent show at Whitby Abbey.

In many ways, it was the craft work that got us interested in living history in the first place. I learned to work leather first followed by bone and then silver with the help of good friends that taught me ancient skills that were almost forgotten. Debs developed her interests in the decorative textile crafts of the period and this helped us to make our own equipment and improve some of the gear we traded for along the way.

The Whitby Brooch

I spent most of the show working on a recreation of a brooch from the British Museum. I say recreation because the original was a little crude in it’s execution and I wanted to make one as if the original craftsman had made a second one having learned from the mistakes of his first. The original is known as the Sutton Brooch after where it was found or sometimes Aedwyn’s Brooch after it’s original owner. I now call this one “The Whitby Brooch” after the event it was made at.

Wayland working by lamplight at Whitby

Now that the education work is running almost at full capacity we thought it was time to get back to these root skills that were so vital for life in the past.

Sadly Debs was unable to attend the Whitby show due to other commitments but it was a great chance to meet up with old friends and make new ones too.

We hope to make it to a couple more shows this year and many more in the future.

(1st August 2013)

This Site has evolved a great deal over the last decade or so but computer technology has evolved faster. I was contacted recently by a teacher, concerned that the website had not been updated for a few years. Mea Culpa, that is certainly true.

The fact of the matter is that the software originally used to build this site no longer works on my latest computer and the new version seems to have “lost” all of the pictures. The end result is that if I wish to update the site I will have to go back and rebuild all 60 odd pages from scratch. Reconstructing this page alone so that I could add this update has just taken 40 minutes, so you can tell it’s no small job.

I will do it when I have available time but with the growing success of my education work that will be intermittent. In the mean time it should continue to work as it has before. It’s certainly not going away any time soon, it’s far too popular for that.

The Black Bart Pirate Visits have been a great success and both the Viking and Roman school talks and workshops services continue to grow year on year. A huge thank you to the 350+ schools that regularly use the service over a one, two or occasionally three year rotation. It’s a huge privilege to work with such great pupils and teachers.

The booking information on this site is kept up to date and will continue to be but you can also find more information on my Viking Visits site should you need it.

For information on my other sites there are gateway portals at www.Wayland.me.uk  and www.Waidson.co.uk which link to some of my other interests such as Landscape Photography, Bushcraft or Arctic Travel so you can follow my progress there as well.

(8th March 2008)

A while ago my wife asked me if I could put a pirate together for the pupils of a school she was teaching at for their project on Treasure Island.

The results were so successful that we decided that there was a definite niche for a more character based service to link in to the literacy curriculum.

Link to Black Bart's Locker

That was the inspiration for Black Bart’s Locker, the new Pirate service for schools.

Black Bart still draws on accurate historical information and artefacts but also captures the romantic image depicted in stories and films about pirates.

Black Bart will be taking bookings from early 2008

(11th April 2007)

It’s been far too long since I added a note here but there have been some big changes that have taken a while to put together.

This website was getting a little unwieldy with well over a hundred pages so it has now been split into three parts. The living history is still here under the old domain name of www.lore-and-saga.co.uk and a new domain name of www.loreandsaga.co.uk for those of us that don’t like looking for the hyphen key.

My landscape photography now has a new home at www.waylandscape.co.uk the name being a play on words around an old nickname of mine that I am quite well known by.

The other corner of this trinity is a site about bushcraft at www.ravenlore.co.uk which fills the gap between my living history interests and my outdoor photography.

You will find links on the button bars to the right and in the links page. I hope you will enjoy these sites as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

The Lofotr page has grown and is set to grow more as this seems to have become a regular Summer trip for me. Who knows what this year will bring.

(6th March 2006)

2005 was a very busy year. Working with over 200 schools, lottery projects, museums and a return trip to Lofotr in Norway.

The latest addition to the website is a new Bushcraft section. This complements the updated Photography section. Bushcraft is an interest I have held even longer than my interest in Living History.  The thing I have always found intriguing is how many of the skills living history, bushcraft and wilderness camping hold in common. With the recent popular television programs by Ray Mears there is a much wider interest in the subject and I felt it was a good time to include some information here.

The Links page has also been updated and given a new format.

Tony Robinson begins a hair raising decent to collect eggs for the Channel 4 series:

“The worst jobs in history”

(16th August 2004)

It’s been a busy season this year, I’ve just returned from Lofotr, The Viking museum at Borg in Norway, more about that here. There are also some new landscapes of the area in the galleries

Some time ago I received an enquiry from a television researcher looking for ideas for a new series entitled “The worst jobs in history”. Little did I know, when I suggested the old Viking practice of collecting sea bird eggs, that I would end up stood at the top of a windswept Welsh cliff face, while Tony Robinson descended a vertical rock wall to collect a handful of substituted hens eggs from the ledges.

For a change I was not providing the props or wearing the costume, I was just there to provide the background information for the action.

The series is due to air on channel 4 from September 2004.

(29th February 2004)

I have been thrilled by your reactions to the photographic galleries since they were first posted so these are continuing to grow. As the new season progresses there is quite a bit more content planned so watch this space.

Out of curiosity I check up on you lot occasionally, just to see how many of you are visiting and what you are looking at so I am very pleased to say that you are not alone! During the last twelve months this site was viewed by just over 20000 different visitors. As a site that has been built out of my own passion for this subject, I can hardly believe how popular the site has become in the wider World. Thank you for your interest.

If you have a moment, do please drop a note into the Visitor Book and say Hello


(8th November 2003)

New pictures, new pages and new designs this month.

New pages include a page on Viking burial customs plus a bit about food and some new galleries in the photography section. All of these of course needed new photographs but the photography section needed a new design. I liked the old design for these pages but the navigation was just not clear enough so changes were made, I hope you like them.

It has been just over a year now since launching the new domain name

 ( www.lore-and-saga.co.uk )

I have been very pleased with the response and feed back. Remember this site needs your input too. Ideas for new pages are very welcome or you can leave your own comments in the guestbook.


(24th September 2003)

I am often asked  “What did you do before you got involved in Living history?”   Well my background is in photography which has been a passion of mine for many years. Most of the pictures in these pages are taken by me but recently I have had the time to revive my interest and also experiment with the new digital technology.

To give myself an outlet for this interest I have decided to add some Photographic Galleries to this site. You will find some Living History shots there but mostly it is landscape that interests me.

If you are interested in photography why not take a browse.


(5th August 2003)

The school holidays are here and that means maintenance time for me, clothing to make, new ideas to work on, sites to see and generally a bit of time spent on the things that don’t put bread on the table but are essential to the integrity of what I do.

It has also given me time to do some tidying up around the website. Lorraine Botting, an Iron age interpreter who is also pretty handy with a camera has just let me to add some of her shots to the site which has allowed me to retire some of the tired ones I was using on the Iron age page.

I have now added a guestbook so this gives you a great opportunity to let me know what you think of the site and anything you would like to see in the future. So sign in and lets see who you all are.


(1st June 2003)

Busy, busy times lately but I haven’t forgotten you so the Iron Age page has been rewritten and a Celtic art page has been added. There is a new page on Viking and Saxon buildings. a lot of you have been interested in Danelaw so there are new pages on the Viking and Roman programs on site and for those of you bringing schools from farther afield check out York Time Travel.

I started to build some Bronze Age kit recently and you can see what some of this involves here. It’s nice to see that visitor figures for the site have been climbing steadily month on month so I maybe I’m doing something right but if there is anything you would like to see on this site let me know by dropping me a line by e-mail.


(15th March 2003)

Some of you may have heard about the arson attack on the Danelaw Viking Village at Murton Park a little while ago, a lot has been said about it on the web lately. One comment, which came from a group that had been planning to build a longhouse for years, even said that it would be impossible to build a longhouse for £4000 in a few weeks. Well you might want to take a look here, and by the way how is your longhouse getting on?

The Danelaw team headed up by Dave Thirlwall are in my opinion some of the finest Living History educators in this country and it is a great shame that some other organisations do not take the effort to understand the good work being done at that site instead of just jealously criticising.

In between helping at Danelaw and other things I have also had a little time to work on the site navigation bars. I have placed them on the right so that those of you with smaller screens do not have to keep scrolling across for the pages but just when you want to go somewhere else. If you want to explore in other ways the rotating picture at the top of each page may link you to pages you didn’t know about. for all you “text-ies” out there I will try to make sure that there are multiple links from the body text to all pages as well.

New pages include a page on Viking Ships and Roman Soldiers Equipment.

More stuff is on the way so watch this space.


(20th February 2003)

I’ve been playing with a Digital camera this month so I should be able to add a lot more pictures to the site this year. The problem with recreating the past is that there were no cameras in it, so I have had to rely on pictures taken by other people up till now.

New pages this month include a Roman Soldiers Equipment page and a Viking Boneworking page both of which feature pics from the new toy.


(12th January 2003)

Yule has passed and a new year begun. New things here are a little less obvious for this week. I have been working on changes to the site architecture for a while. I hope you will hardly notice the change because it’s all supposed to be back room stuff to make it easier for me to update things. If you find something that doesn’t work as it should, please let me know as it all works on my machines, but it may be different for yours.

Someone asked me why the site was called Lore and Saga. If you click the Logo above you will now find the answer to that question.

Links to Revision dates and Copyright details can now be found at the bottom of most pages.

See you again soon I hope.


(18th December 2002)

Some of you had problems downloading the PDF files so I have changed them to a Zipped versions to help them transfer better.

New this week is a short section on Money looking at the its history in connection with the Romans, Saxons and Vikings.

So wishing you all a good Yule and next year there’s more to come.


(12th December 2002)

I’ve just finished adding a downloads page so from now on whenever you see the Floppy Disk icon it means you can download a PDF file of the information in that section. This means you can print it out as a properly formatted document for your own use. Please note Copyright restrictions apply to all commercial usage’s. To use PD. files you need a program such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. This program comes free with Internet Explorer or Nets cape Navigator versions 3.0 or later. If you do not have this program it is available to download free at Adobe.

You may have noticed the little IRA label at the bottom of the pages, That’s just to say that this web site is signed up with the Internet Content Rating Association. It should improve accessibility for computers using Internet content filters.

I’ve also added a shortcut navigation combo box at the bottom of each page to help you get where you want to go... providing of course you know were you want to go already!  Well that’s all for this week. TTFN.


(30th November 2002)

Well, this page is new for a start. With so much planned for this site I intend to update at least once a month. At the moment its more like once a week as things move on. This page will give you an idea of what’s happening and direct links to new sections.

I will also let you know what is planned for the next updates so by book marking this or the home page you can keep up with new developments.

Recent changes include of course the new domain name:


A bit less of a mouthful than the old one I hope.

I’ve added the new navigation bar that you used to get here I presume and changed the buttons for the secondary navigation bars because some of you said the old ones were difficult to read. You see I really do listen. If you have any more comments or suggestions click here and I’ll do what I can.

There is a now a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding booking an in school presentation, I will update this as time goes on.

The Resources section is starting to be developed now and this area should be the fastest growing area from now on. Added to the popular Chronology are four new pages on Runes aiming at simplifying the subject a little and a selection of Ancient Games that can be played at home, round a camp fire or in the classroom.


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Lore-and-Saga Living history services and resources for schools, museums and heritage sites. Viking and Roman in school sessions and craft demonstrations. teachers notes and worksheets. Vikings, Saxons, Romans, national curriculum, invaders and settlers, key stage 2, history, teachers information, living history interpreter, in school sessions, storytelling, Roman resources, educational presentations, Viking lore, runes, Roman lore, Viking saga, living history interpretation, Viking resources, Odin, Viking crafts demonstrations, Roman cookery display, Viking silverwork, Roman games, chronology, Viking games, Roman school visits, Viking runes, national curriculum history key stage two, Viking school visits
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