About the English Companions

Founded in 1966, Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) is pronounced “tha ehnglishan yuhseethas”, which is Old English for “The English Companions”. We aim to bring together all those with an interest in the history, language and culture of Early England CE 400-1100. All aspects of the foundations and growth of English culture are covered, including language and literature, archaeology, anthropology, architecture, art, religion, mythology, folklore and material culture. The period itself spans the years following the departure of the Roman administration, around CE 400-450, until the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and the impact of the early years of Norman rule.

Though we try to stimulate interest and debate on relevant subjects through the pages of our magazine and on-line, The English Companions does not follow any particular interpretation of history, and maintains a strictly neutral line on modern political and religious matters.

The society includes a wide range of individuals, from academics to armchair enthusiasts, with an even wider range of interests. Members are encouraged to share their enthusiasm through their local groups, magazine articles or even at public events, if they wish, as well as participate in members’ trips and activities.

Some of our members are able to offer talks and activities to interested social or community groups or to primary schools for KS2 children; please contact us for more information if you are interested in finding out more.

Children writing in Old English
Children writing in Old English
Children writing in Old English
Children writing in Old English
Anglo-Saxon belt making activity

Benefits of membership

For our members:

image of the cover of the Withowinde magazine
Magazine cover

We publish a quarterly magazine, Withowinde.  This is available either as a full colour printed magazine or electronically as a PDF file.

image of a selection of back issues available
Back issues are available
  • Members can also purchase a full set of electronic copies of Withowinde along with an index to allow them to read every article published. Here is an example of the range of articles included in our index.

  • Members have the opportunity to sign up to an Old English correspondence course which teaches both the written and spoken language, allowing participants to follow in the footsteps of Tolkien or to read the poetry, charters, sermons or histories of the Anglo-Saxons in their original language.
  • Our local groups of members, organised on a geographical basis, arrange their own meetings and attend lectures, exhibitions and events; these provide an opportunity to meet other people who share an interest in this fascinating historical period.
Members at the Symbel Feast
Members at the Symbel Feast
Members on a walking tour of York
Members on a walking tour of York

We also usually arrange an annual Symbel (Feast) for our AGM which includes a meal and lecture on a topic of interest, as well as the chance to meet other members from the wider membership socially.

Costs of Membership

Individual Adult Annual Membership:

  • £25 (UK)
  • £36 (Europe)
  • £40 (Rest of world)
    For a single additional payment of £1.50 annually members can include any number of additional named individuals, whether adult or children, living at the same address.

To join, click on the Membership Application form from the options at the top of the page. The form includes details on how to pay and where to send the completed form.  If you have any questions about membership, please send us a message.