History--Micel Folcland NFP, Inc.

In 2004, at the inter-kingdom SCA event, Gulf Wars 13, The Danelaw, a branch of regia Anglorum, held a demonstration. Folo Watkins had been interested in finding a Viking-oriented living history group and was instantly enthralled with Regia. It reminded him in many ways of Revolutionary War and other living-history groups with whom he had experience. He later found that a long-time friend, George Johnson, was organizing Regia development in North America, and that cinched it. Only a few months after first encountering Regia, he announced the organization of a regia group in Illinois.

An organizational meeting was held in Champaign, Illinois in January of 2005. About half of the interested people did not continue to participate, but a small but dedicated crew was organized. On the weekend of 17 June, a Living history Exhibition (LHE) was held at Jubilee Old English Fair. It was in the SCA camp and not open to the public, but the fledgling group had a nice display and talked to a few interested people. More than anything else, this proved that we would not fall on our faces, and we decided what we needed to do better so that we could field a better display.

By popular vote we chose a name, Micel Folcland, a nod to a translation of Illinois (Land o the grat People). The name means "Great Folcland;" Folcland, itself, literally means “land of the folk” or, idiomatically (and quoting Anglo-Saxon language authority Steve Pollington) "a word meaning 'tribal land, land held in common by the folc'." Charles Wright, a professor at the University of Illinois specializing in Old English, notes that the latest research has shown this to be slightly outmoded, and offers the Wife's Lament as a poetic, non-legalistic use of the term as nation or homeland. Our thanks to Mister Pollinton and Professor Wright for their help! We also choe group colors, green & gray. These colors are to be used on shields, weapons and other objects to indicate the owner is a member of Micel Folcland.

In late 2005, we were given a land grant (Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois) by Regia in the UK, and we held several events the next year. Efforts to incorporate started in 2006, and in February 2007, Micel Folcland was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Four training officers from the UK—Ian & Hazel Uzzell and Jon & Jennifer Smith—came for a visit in April of 2007, and members of Regia from North America assembled in Urbana, Illinois, for training, lectures and discussion. In October, the society’s founder, J. Kim Siddorn, visited during a trip through North America and was taken to view the Viking, the first Gokstad reproduction that sailed to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (in whose preservation, the group has been an active participant).

Micel Folcland has grown in membership and in activities. At an early meeting, it was decided that the group would strive for quality, not quantity, and its relatively small number of members has been able to make fine displays in textile crafts, in cooking and in much else.

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