Society steps back through time into ancient Europe | News

The Society of Creative Anachronism teaches community members about society in Europe from around 600-1600 AD through the arts, and its Tahlequah-based chapter is emerging from COVID-induced hibernation.

Canton of Wyldewode is the name of the local group of the international living history group, but it includes members from surrounding areas, like Stilwell, Pryor, and Sallisaw.

Because of the rise of the Omicron variant, their meeting at the Tahlequah Public Library was canceled on Jan. 22, but members of the society are optimism they will be able to gather for “wInterkingdom,” an arts and services event at the Creek County Fairgrounds in Kellysville on Feb. 5. It will be hosted by the Barony of Northkeep chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Both groups are members of the Kingdom of Ansteorra, which covers chapters in Oklahoma and Texas. In Kellysville, residents will learn about arts and sciences from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods.

“We are trying to re-enact history, not always as it was, but how we would have liked to be,” said Shirley Hackworth, who explained that the times of the Middle Ages, the Canton of Wyldewode embraces running water and eschews dark plagues. “There will be 30 classes in various parts of Creek County Fairgrounds.”

Hackworth said the purpose of the Canton of Wyldewode of the organization is to re-enact history, particularly from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth in Europe.

“We have everything they did in that period of history. We have sword-fighting with rattan swords,” said Hackworth. “We don’t do steel. It is not theatrical fighting. They give authentic blows while wearing armor. They wear helmets with face guards and padding.”

The organization offers different styles of sword-fighting, depending on the history its members are re-enacting.

“We do rapier combat. It’s like fencing. The difference is that fencing is slashing, and rapier is stabbing,” she said.

The organization also offers archery at the Joe Thornton range at the Cherokee Nation headquarters, as well as spear, axe, and knife-throwing.

For those interested in the arts, the organizations embraces weaving, embroidery, and sewing. Participants are expected to wear “garb” or attire from a period in time. Visitors and newcomers are welcome to try out “loaner garb” until they make or acquire their own clothing.

“We have leather workers, metal workers. We have people who run forgers to make armor that combatants use,” said Hackworth, who sews her own clothing.

Participants also create other art, such as glass and glass beads with rods, stained glass, and they learn how to make torches. They reproduce historical papers using calligraphy, with examples from specific periods.

Members have opportunities to win awards for their art. They are judged based on quality and authenticity. With each entry, they are expected to write about the art they created, what materials they used of the period, and what modern materials they used to supplement their art, with an explanation as to why they used them.

Currently, the Canton of Wyldewode has set up a display at the Tahlequah Public Library. Featured is an award-winning scroll one of the society’s members created.

“It was hand-painted and in the style of the 12th-13th century,” Hackworth said.

The society welcomes representation from all areas of Europe, from Scandinavia and the British Isles to Italy.

“In our group, we have a lot of people with Norse personas,” she said. “They have some pretty awesome clothing. One of our fighters is also Norse.”

Prior to the pandemic, the organization would eat feasts together, often in a tavern. Food is served using period recipes with authentic ingredients. At these parties, they also engage in Bardic storytelling.

“There are competitions for that,” said Hackworth.

You’re invited

At local meetings, they engage in group projects and recruit instructors to teach members how to perform a certain task or create a certain style of art. Anyone is welcome to attend. Those who are interested are encouraged to officially join. For more information, visit the Canton of Wyldewode Facebook page at


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