About Us

Manaraefan Herred was founded in 1994 as part of The Vikings which was itself founded in 1971. 

Manaraefan is dedicated to recreating life in the Viking age and having fun.  Manaraefan Herred puts on public displays of Viking life which range from a single Viking visiting a school as part of Key Stage Two education to small battles with 20 to 30 warriors. 

As part of The Vikings Manaraefan Herred can also present battles with 100 or more warriors. 

All battle displays are supported by a camp where more peaceful activities are displayed.

Below are a selection of Manaraefan Herred’s displays:

School Visits

When a member of Manaraefan visits a school a small camp is set up and the children are invited to see it.  They will get to handle many of the items brought along and take part as characters in the stories they are told.  All aspects of Viking life are covered but if there is a specific part of the topic the teaching staff wish to be covered we will be happy to comply.

“Thank you for such a fabulous day, it was amazing!  We learnt so much about the Vikings.  It was funny when you blew your horn and you jumped into the class room and scared the teachers!”  Jamie, Year 6.

If you wish to book Manaraefan for  a school visit please do so through The Vikings website at www.vikingsonline.org.uk and ask for a visitor from Manaraefan Herred or contact Hrothgar


Manaraefan Herred will always set up a small camp of one, two or three tents.  Here people will be able to talk to us and ask questions about many aspects of Viking life.  You will be able to smell the history as well as see and touch it. 

Many of our members specialize in different aspects of Viking life and will happily talk for hours on the chosen topic if you let them! 

Given time and space it is sometimes possible to set up some spectacular displays.  Here Mo Swinhosson and Kormak are working at their forge smelting bronze for a sword fitting.

Both are highly competent early medieval technicians and can fix almost anything, especially if you can hit it with a hammer!

Go to Making Bellows for Kormak’s account of their construction.

Kiddie Vike

All our performances are aimed at a family audience and one of our most popular displays is called Kiddie Vike.  We lend children a wooden swords and shields and then give them some training, when we are satisfied that the children understand the rules we let them loose on some very brave Vikings!  Most of our arena displays are 30 minutes long and we try to let as many children as possible have a go but we can only allow a limited number at a time, usually no more that 20.  If you are at one of our displays with your children make sure you get to the arena early as the children always love Kiddie Vike.


What most people want to see is the Viking battle.  These can be large or small.  For large battles with hundreds of warriors you should visit The Vikings website for more details: www.vikingsonline.org.uk.

For smaller battles Manaraefan provides a quality few can compete with.

The warriors of Manaraefan have many years of experience and understand the use of all the weapons used by the Vikings.  Pairs of warriors will demonstrate the use of the sword, axe, spear or bow while one of our experts will explain to the audience their use.

It is important to understand that our weapons are blunt and that we work to modern standards of health and safety, not being allowed to chop your enemy’s arm off limits what a warrior  can do!

Sometimes space is limited and we are unable to display all the weapons used by the Vikings.  This is particularly true of bows.  For safety reasons we need plenty of room if we are to allow our archers loose on the enemy.

Manaraefan takes a full and active part in all the shows and battles run by The Vikings and this can effect our availability for smaller events. 

Here Hrothgar is leading the English Army as King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.


Here on the left Red Orm the Aged (red tunic) has stepped forward of the English line, he stepped back just in time to avoid being ridden down by the Norman knights.


On the left Manaraefan and others waiting for battle to start. The Raven Banner flying proudly above their heads.

Reconstructed Buildings

 Sometimes Manaraefan Herred has the chance to occupy reconstructed buildings, often for a week to ten days.  Once we have brought all our weapons, clothes and domestic items into these buildings they begin to have a very real lived in feeling. 

To the left and below is another temporary long house built by the people of Peel on the Isle of Man for their Viking festival.  Manaraefan and other Vikings occupied the building and brought it to life.

Vikings for all occasions, no journey too long

Manaraefan Herred

On the right a special team of Manaraefan warriors fight a mounted knight and are about to un-horse him.

Comments on this site should be sent to Roger Barry

Hrothgar and Mo Swinhosson teach school children about the VikingsMo Swinhosson and Korkmak the Carter cast bronze at the Ancient Technology Centre, Cranborne, DorsetChildren with wooden swords and shields attack Viking warriorsManaraefan shieldwall at Old SarumRagnar Haroldsson and Kormak the Carter look for targets to shoot with their bows at Corfe CastleHrothgar as King Harold at HastingsNorman Knights attack the English shieldwall at HastingsManaraefan and friends waiting for the battle to start at Old SarumWarriors watching their breakfast being cooked in the long house at Old SarumInside the Peel long houseInside the Peel long houseKormak and Goose of Ousekjar with actress on set of Millenium

West Stow is a reconstructed Saxon village built primarily for research but also open to the public. To the left is a scene taken during filming for a Channel 4 documentary at West Stow.

Tailefer about to be dragged from his horse by English infantry at HastingsHrothgar as King Harold at HastingsWarriors clash on Isle of MannFighting warriors on Isle of Mann, Hrothgar carries the Manaraefan BannerHrothgar's kirtle made by Iduna

Iduna’s Crafts

Some members of Manaraefan are skilled in crafts.  Iduna is one of these and you can see some of her work on her page on this site.

Manaraefan resting in camp at Battle AbbeyInside the long house at ATC CranborneInside the long house at ATC Cranborne

The reconstructed Long House at the Ancient Technology Centre, Cranborne, Dorset.  The ATC has buildings from several periods and is both a research site and an educational resource.

Pig in sty at ATC CranborneInside the long house at ATC CranborneInside the long house at ATC CranborneWinter view of long house and round house at the Ancient Technology Centre, Cranborne

This is a wonderful place for Manaraefan to have banquets with loads of atmosphere provided by a nice smoky fire!  As the night draws on the Manaraefan sit around the fire telling tales of their deeds as well as recounting the sagas.

The best place to sleep is near the fire for the extra warmth.  Once the food is eaten and the story telling over the Manaraefan  lean back from their seats and they are on their beds!

All the food is cooked over the central fire which adds to atmosphere and allows everyone to help! 

And extra bacon is close at hand! This handsome fellow has been named Odin by the staff of the ATC, perhaps his successor should be called Sahrimnir, the cosmic boar that is killed and cooked every night for the Einherjar to eat in Valhalla.  Learn more about Norse mythology on the pages about The Gods.

Some of Manaraefan outside the long house at Old SarumLong house on Peel beach

Nothing brings these buildings to life better than having a group of enthusiastic people living in them.

The building to the left and above is a temporary structure set up at Old Sarum which can be booked through The Vikings.

With banners, weapons, shields and helmets hung around the hall the illusion of being in the past is almost complete.