an historical re-enactment society, recreating the iron age Celts since
1990. We are based around Portsmouth in Hampshire in the south of
Since1990 we have
regularly travelled around the UK and Europe performing public displays
of combat and living history for fairs, museums, schools, local
councils and national heritage organizations. Brigantia
has also done schools weeks and appeared many times on TV and in documentaries.
We are not a big
organisation and usually field up to a dozen of our members at a
show. At Celtica 2001 near Aosta in North West Italy we fielded a
record 31 of our members!
Slightly Ancient History
first meeting to launch the new society was held at Lambeth House in
Portsmouth on June first 1990. Our founder members had a couple of
years experience in another iron age Celtic re-enactment group, and
We begin every year with
training sessions held on Sundays in March or April on the playing
fields of a helpful local school called Boundary Oak, in preparation
for our first show of the year. This is usually at Beltayne over the
Mayday bank holiday weekend and is sometimes at Danebury Ring, an iron
age ring fort
near Stockbridge in Hampshire, organised with the local council.
At the end of the Summer over the first weekend in August we always
field our Celtic warriors at The Battle Of Camlann at Tintagel, ever
since the first one held there in 1992.
We train both for
single-combat, such as one-on-one championship fights, and for big
battles. We perform combat shows just with members of our own group,
and also with members of other re-enactment societies, both iron age
and later. At non-authentic multi-period shows such as the mythical
Arthurian Battle Of Camlann (which is still re-enacted at Tintagel each
year on the first weekend of August)
we take the field against groups which re-enact periods as late as The
Wars Of The Roses.
Combat displays are usually performed at large outdoor
locations, such as Iron age hillforts or fairgrounds. Our hosts are
national organisations like English Heritage, or local councils, or
anyone who organises an open-air show, big or small.
try to show the audience
what the Celts looked like, how they fought and what their characters
were like: the last true tribal society in Britain. We field chiefs,
champions and warriors (both male and female), equipped with metal
swords, spears, javelins, and shields. The chiefs would be showing off
their fine clothes, chainmail armour and helms, and the warriors would
be ready for battle in warpaint (woad), their hair stiffened with
limewash (or a non-corrosive substitute). The show sometimes takes the
a roughly scripted story, usually based (very loosely) on a story from
Celtic myth, in which the druid tells the tale to the audience while
the re-enactors act it out as violently as possible. Sometimes the show
will be more historical, an illustration of the way in which Celtic
society was structured and their combat techniques and hero feats.
A combat shows usually lasts about 20 minutes, and there might be up
in a day, depending on the host's schedule. Very often the host
willhave also hired a Roman re-enactment group who do their show after
Between combat shows the
fighters rest or stand by the small living history area that we set
where we talk to the public and show them our armour and weapons at
We tend to organise our own
shows because not many other people do the Iron age Celtic period, but
if anyone else is prepared to let iron age Celtic warriors onto their
battle field we enjoyed being the guests of other societies. We have
provided support at shows at Tintagel, the Vectis show on the Isle of
Wight, Ethendune (near Warminster) and St Fagans Folk Museum near
||After doing Cuchullain, Rick became Vercingetorix for Terry Jones' Barbarian Lives
on the BBC.
fight scenes (in sillouhette again) for episode 3 of the 4 part
historical series Pagans on channel 4, written and presented by
Devil - an hour long Burning Gold production about the parts played
by various animals in myth. For the section on ravens we
enacted great scenes from The Tain - starring Rick as a very
credible Cuchullain. Well, he scared me.
not seen in Boudicca
- an ambitious co-production between British ITV and American WGBH
network, written by Andrew Davies and directed by Bill Anderson. It was
made by Box Films in the Czech republic and the crowd scenes sounded
wrong, so we spent a day in a London sound studio recording chants,
battle cries and sword fight noises till we were hoarse.
Ages of Britain - a seven episode series produced by Wildfire
for Channel 4 introduced by Bettany Hughes. Episode 2 is about the iron
age, and this author (Lugodoc himself) was the only person they could
find to demonstrate a sling shot from the ramparts of Danebury Ring
iron age hill fort in Hampshire. My finest minute.
Lugodoc are interviewed for seven minutes on Portsmouth Televsion
on August 14th.
February we did a gruelling three-day shoot to recreate the deaths of
several iron age persons in
bogs for a documentary on bog bodies made by Brighton Films for The
Discovery Channel. We used real bogs.
neolithic and bronze age sky burial and cremation scenes (mostly in
sillouhette) at Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire for the Bones of
Contention episode of Cannibal - a four part documentary on cannibalism made by 3BM for Channel
4. This series was released to coincide with the release of Hannibal
(starring Anthony Hopkins) at the cinema.
like loonies in the night in the Forest of Bere in Hampshire recreating
The Siege of Anglesey in AD 60 for Welsh TV.
Produced by Telegraffiti.
on Channel 4 - added life to a roundhouse built on the site of an
original excavation on the Bisley Farm iron age site in Kent. Conaan
wowed us all when he spectacularly wielded a sword reconstructed from a
grave find, and sliced a melon in half with great aplomb.
Of The Living Dead
made by Electric Sky for Channel 4 - we re-enact the death of an iron
age warrior stabbed in the collar bone. This was the most fake blood we
ever had to deal with.
Myths 4 - Sex & Society
made by Electric Sky for Welsh TV, featuring Professor Ronald Hutton.
We supplied the young lovers for the short scenes illustrating The
If? - Boudicca
for BBC Bristol. A half-hour documentary asking - what if Boudicca had
defeated the Romans? This time the heroine is played by the wonderfully
named Imogen Slaughter.
whole episode of Time Tourists
for Meridian TV, filmed at New Barn near Dorchester in Dorset. A
builder and a cake maker are transported back to the 1st century B.C.
We nearly built a whole smithy in less than a day, but we finished the
small segment of Hope And Beauty at Danebury Ring for Black Inc
Productions- a documentary on cosmetics to be shown on The Discovery
||Take part with several other
Celtic groups in filming Boudicca
for Castle Video to be released by W.H. Smith. Andrea Mason (later to
appear on the popular cop show The Bill) has the title role.
with several other Celtic groups in filming the iron age Celtic episode
of Ancient Warriors to be released on The Discovery Channel.
|On February 12th we appear for 8 minutes on London Weekend Television's flagship Saturday
night TV show Barrymore,
along with some Romans.
Celtic Fury - directed
by a mad Italian but never finished or shown, this documentary would
have depicted events around the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43.
Champion fights, feasts, deer hunts and water sacrifices were all
filmed (real film, not video) over 3 days at Castell Henllys in South
West Wales, with other Celtic groups including the Prytani and the
Silures tribes. If anyone reading this knows what happened to the
footage, please get in touch.