Ad Gefrin’s new seasonal events calendar

Ad Gefrin’s new seasonal events calendar celebrates the Anglo-Saxon traditions of Midsomer, Lammas and Yule

24th June 2024

Drawing on the ancient traditions that followed nature’s rhythm, Ad Gefrin will celebrate Midsomer, Lammas and Yule with a tapestry of activities offering an immersive, unforgettable experience of Anglo-Saxon culture and heritage: much of which also heralds the power and influence of women in the 7th Century Anglo Saxon Royal Court: an Early Medieval crucible of power.

Whether you're a history buff, music fan, whisky lover, or just looking to make memories with the family – there’s something on offer for everyone. Explore the Golden Age of the Anglo- Saxons and the richness of Northumberland’s traditions through fresh, innovative storytelling and watch the seasons change amidst the rolling hills of Glendale, Northumberland.

Midsomer (2nd April – 31st July 2024)
Make the most of the summer solstice with Ad Gefrin’s celebration of the season of joy, light and abundance.

Alongside the events programme the Bistro will be serving seasonal salads and the Bar, an array of specially-created cocktails such as the Midsomer alongside the Tacnbora Hiball, Whisky Buck, Bramble and Negroni – all crafted from Ad Gefrin’s own spirits.

22nd – 23rd June: Midsomer - Meet the Anglo Saxons (free event)

This historical reenactment and immersive Anglo-Saxon experience focuses on the feast day of St John the Baptist, herald of Christ and the story of two salient Anglo-Saxon women,

Wulfthryth and Saethryth who straddle the Pagan and Christan faiths that co-existed side- by-side in Anglo-Saxon society.

Exactly six months on from Christmas - in which Christ is seen as the light of the rising sun – St John was the light that waned with the shortening days. Linking the power of St John with Midsumor was his seminal role in medicinal recipes and healing. Herbs and plants were thought to be most potent during Midsumor and so were blessed by St John before being used in numerous Anglo-Saxon remedies.

Join characters Wulfthryth (Anglo-Saxon healer, Christian and former lady-in-waiting to Edwin’s Queen) and Saethryth (widowed twice, mother of three, clinging on to her Pagan ways) for a weekend of plants, herbs, healing, and courtly gossip.

5th July; 7 - 9pm: Summer Concert with Andy and Margaret Watchorn

A lively and informal evening of traditional tunes, songs and stories from Northumberland and beyond. Featuring Northumbrian smallpipes, fiddle, hummelchen, guitar and voice, alongside Swedish bagpipes and nyckelharpa, this will be an evening of toe-tapping jigs, evocative slow airs and hearty singing by all.

The Bistro and Bar will be open for cocktails before the concert and during the short interval.

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Lammas (1st August – 10th November 2024)

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Lammas is the Anglo-Saxon term for harvest: a time of thanksgiving and communal feasting. The first grains were gathered – primarily barley and rye, which were the main staples of the Royal Court - ensuring sustenance and prosperity for the months ahead. These crops were also cut for straw, which was stored for the upcoming Yule celebrations and the all-important straw Goats! 

Alongside the events programme the Bistro will be serving seasonal dishes and the Bar, an array of specially-created cocktails such as the Lammas-themed Bremelberie alongside the Tacnbora Hiball, Whisky Buck, Bramble and Negroni – all crafted from Ad Gefrin’s own spirits.

25th – 26th August: Celebrating the Story of St Aebba (free event)

Celebrate an extraordinary legacy: from Northumbrian princess to the venerated St Aebba. This historical reenactment and immersive experience draws on the story of St Aebba, one of the most significant women of the Anglo-Saxon period. As a woman of learning - and sister to two Northumbrian kings – she founded monasteries at Ebchester and Coldingham. Leading Coldingham until her death she - alongside St Hild – was highly influential in the Christian story of Northumbria.

For centuries, St Aebba’s legacy has been marked with a feast on this day and - this year - Ad Gefrin will be at The Glendale Show, a bustling community event celebrating Northumberland agriculture and rural life. Acle reenactment group will up a small Ad Gefrin encampment at the show recreating an Anglo-Saxon take on Lammas.

21st – 22nd September: Harvest - Meet the Anglo Saxons (free event)
Our prominent Anglo Saxon women, Wulfthryth and Saethryth will once again lead Ad Gefrin’s seasonal celebrations marking Lammas (or harvest): the most important time of year in the Anglo-Saxon calendar. Join this historical reenactment celebrating the riches of the land and enjoy the seasonally-inspired harvest in the Bistro.

 

Yule (11th November 2024 – 5th January 2025)

For the second year running Ad Gefrin challenges perceptions of a traditional Dickensian Christmas by rekindling the ancient festival of Yule. For thousands of years, this festival focused on nature bringing people together during the deep winter to feast and celebrate the persistence of life and light, even during the darkest and coldest months. the only UK cultural destination to celebrate Yule, Ad Gefrin will bring together the local community of Wooler, Northumberland for a celebration across the town which – year on year – seeks to become the UK’s leading celebration of Yule.

11th November - Martinmas begins

Marking the end of Lammas and the start of the winter season, Martinmas was the time when meats and other harvest produce was prepared and stored for the cold months ahead. Those foods that could not be stored formed the basis of a vast community feast, enjoyed by all: a scene which will be recreated in the Ad Gefrin Bistro with special events and seasonal menus.

21st December - Mother’s Night

This date traditionally marked the high point of the Anglo-Saxon Yule celebrations, bringing together the Nativity and Christmas in a Midwinter celebration that dates back some 1400 years. Mother's Night was originally a night dedicated to female deities and ancestral mothers and Ad Gefrin will be marking the occasion with the Lighting of the Yule Log, oath-taking and the tossing of straw goats onto the burner.

31st December, - Old Year’s Night

Ad Gefrin will once gather and celebrate Old Year’s Night in true Northumbrian style with New Year Oaths and a special dinner that brings 2024 to a close.

5th January - Twelfth Night

The Yule season will draw to a close.

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