An Abanning of Þórbeorht’s Cynehelmung

[The cynehelmung was held during the week of July 4-10, 2022 CE and was first abanned in the pages of Spellstów.]

Hwæt! Be it known unto all that, over the waxing moon of Æftera Líða MMXXII, the Théodsmen of the Wínland Ríce gathered first at Whitthenge Heall in Richmond, Virginia and then days later at Cyningesfeld in Copenhagen, New York to hold the cynehelmung of Þórbeorht Hláford cyning. Here are the deeds that were then done by the cyning and the folk of the Théodish Ríce and the deemings that were made at their mooting.

Upon the 5th morning of Æftera Líða, that being the 4th of July before sunset, folk from Æppeldor Heall in Tasmania, Brádléahweald Léode in Northern Virginia, and the Ealdríce Théod in Richmond stood with Þórbeorht Hláford at Whitthenge Heall as he gave the blót of an all-white bucca (buck) to Wóden. This was done to mark the 46th yearday (anniversary) since Gárman Hláford beheld the Eallfæder (All-Father) in 1976, a holytide which is known to Théodsmen as Ærest Gemetung, “First Meeting.” Well brooked was that blót with wonders beheld by all. Sped was Þórbeorht in this undertaking by Eþelwynn Hlǽfdiȝe’s steadfastness, Sǽfriþ Ides’s singing, Ælfgár Húsceorl’s hands, and Æðelwulf’s hearpswég (lyre playing). Greatly helped was he by Friðoric Þeȝn and Sigebrand Léodfruma’s butcher-work.

Thereafter, as ealdorblótere of the Wéofodþeȝn Gild, Þórbeorht galdored over rune scored lots — tines cut from an apple tree that grows at Géring Heall — and reddened them with hléot (ON hlaut). These he gave to Ælfgár, Sǽfriþ, and Friðoric that they might have luck with hléotung, the casting and reading the runes. Moreover, at this time Þórbeorht sought and was given rede from the gods by both the reading of the runes and by wíglung, the yore-old thew of haruspicy which he had rediscovered. As the day drew toward its end, a holy húsel was held.


Four days later, folk from Æppeldor Heall, Brádléahweald Léode, and the Ealdríce Théod made their way to Cyningesfeld (King’s Field) in Copenhagen, New York, where they were welcomed by Æþelwine Þeȝn of Géring Théod. Thereafter they all set to work, spending much of that afternoon and evening raising the meadhall and readying the grounds for the morrow’s mickle gathering.

Upon the 10th morning of Æftera Líða, that being the 9th of July before sunset, Æppeldor Heall, Brádléahweald Léode, and the Ealdríce Théod were joined by Gárman Hláford, founder of Anglo-Saxon Théodish Belief and the Wínland Ríce’s Ærest Cyning (first king), his þeȝn, Æþelwine, and also by Wordsmið Árȝesíþa of the Witan Théod, who was the second Théodsman. Þórbeorht then fained Wóden that the Ærest Gemetung might be held with the first Théodsmen, Gárman Hláford and Wordsmið Þeȝn who, with Ælfwynne, Æȝili, and Werwulf, established the Witan Théod as Théodish Belief’s first fellowship in 1976.


Following the faining, the folk gathered within the lodge where they watched two recordings made by Ælfric Hláford of Hræfnscír Théod in British Colombia. The first was a gift of gealdorcræft, a reworking of the Anglo-Saxon Síþ Galdor, which was made more fully heathen with help from his ceorl, Ealhwaru of Hælingstede Heall in Missouri. As given by Ælfric,

“As Théodish Belief embarks on this new leg of its journey, we wish for its journey to be protected. And so, I recite the Síþ Galdor and offer it as a galdor to the new cyning, to the old cyning Gárman Lord, and to all Théodsmen who are at the cynehelmung, and those who are not able to be there, that this new version of the Síþ Galdor might serve to ward and protect all of us on our journey, on our continued journey through Théodish Belief.”

Well was this gift brooked by Þórbeorht, by Gárman, and by all Théodsmen there at the cynehelmung and many were the words spoken then of Hræfnscír Théod, its Hláford, its Hlǽfdiȝe, and its folk, and of the great deeds they have often done and set within the Well.

Thereafter the second recording made by Ælfric was watched, a work of scópcræft called Þórbeorhtes Cyneword, which was shaped by the scóp for the occasion of the cynehelmung. Beginning with Wóden, it recalled the new cyning’s godsprung lineage to the ancient Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex through Ælfred’s daughter Ælfþryð. Ælfric in his cyneword then bid Þórbeorht as the ierfeweard ealdgestréones cynescipe hálige, þæt cystige gerýne, “warder of the inheritance, the ancient treasure of holy kingship, that virtuous mystery,” to be rihtwís ond éadig” just and prosperous” and to bring frið, spéd ond hæl, “frith, speed, and luck” to the Ríce. Greatly moved was Þórbeorht by the gift of this cyneword.


Not long after noon, the folk gathered outside around an apple tree whereat they had set up a wéofod. Upon this holy table was the very same boar-helm that was set upon Gárman Hláford’s head during his own cynehelmung at Þundersley Hall in Sandusky, Ohio twenty-seven years and a day before on the 8th of July 1995. Moreover, beside it was the very same shield upon which Gárman was then raised. There, beneath the shade of that tree, Gárman Hláford the Ærest Cyning sat upon the gift-stool and bid the horn to be winded that Þórbeorht might be beckoned. It was then that the hight-cyning, chosen by the Wínland Ríce’s Witan at Ærre Géol, was fetched by Eþelwynn Hlǽfdiȝe and brought before the Ærest Cyning and before the folk. There, Gárman Hláford did bid Þórbeorht to once more recall his line to the Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex to the god Wóden. Following this, Æðelwulf Gegilda recounted Þórbeorht’s worthy deeds to Gárman and to those there gathered.


It was then that the folk were bid to return to the hall so that two holy mootings might be held. With Eþelwynn Hlǽfdiȝe there to record their words, the Ærest Cyning and the new cyning held moot beneath the apple tree at which time Gárman gave rede to Þórbeorht and shared much wisdom. Also, during this time, members of the Wínland Ríce’s Witan withdrew to Witan Mound, a hill overlooking Cyningesfeld, to hold Witenaʒemót whereat they fathomed Þórbeorht’s deeds since he was hight cyning at Géol and the luck of his latest blót.


Once the Witenaʒemót was ended and Þórbeorht found fit to be cyning, Gárman again took to the gift-stool and bid for Þórbeorht to be brought forward. It was then that men of Géring Théod, the Ealdríce Théod, Æppeldor Heall, and Brádléahweald Léode, with the Witan Théod there to give witness, took up Gárman’s own cynehelmung-shield and raised Þórbeorht upon it, heavenward beneath the boughs of Cyningesfeld’s apple tree, that the æðeling and ierfeweard, their chosen cyning, might be beheld by the gods. Thereafter, Gárman stood from the gift-stool and bid Þórbeorht to sit, as he set his own boar-helm upon Þórbeorht’s head and abanned him as the new cyning saying,

Wínland Ríce céosað þé tó cyning.    Béaʒie cyning Wínland Ríces,

béod folc beorgan,     ond godas bréman,

riht dóm ʒiefan    ond úre drihten béoð.

Leofa láng     Þórbeorht Cyning Wínland Ríces!

The Wínland Ríce chooses thee as cyning.  I crown thee cyning of the Wínland Ríce,

bid thee to burg the folk and honor the gods,

right doom to give, and our Drighten to be.

Long live Þórbeorht Cyning of the Wínland Ríce!

Gárman Hláford crowning Þórbeorht Hláford as the new Cyning of the Wínland Ríce

Thus it was that Þórbeorht, until then the hight-cyning of the Wínland Ríce, became its helmed-cyning. Soon followed giddy horns, raised by the old cyning to the new, by the new cyning to the old, and by the folk to them both. Many wassails were drunk then that day.

Early that evening, well before the sun had set, symbel was held within the heargtræf (temple tent) which had by then been made into a meadhall. Although gift-giving is often held for the third round of symbel, when gielpas (brags), béot (boasts), áþas (oaths) are made, Þórbeorht began symbel with gifting so that his gifts might speed the folk in their symbeling. Moreover, he followed a thew once held by Magnus the Good and Harold Sigurdsson whereat they began a symbel by first giving gifts to those who warded the hall, gifting those of greater and greater árung thereafter until they finally gifted their fellow cyning.


To the fellowships of Brádléahweald Léode, the Witan Théod, and Æppeldor Heall, Þórbeorht Cyning gave banners. And to the folk of Brádléahweald he further gave ale cup bearing the likeness upon their léode’s banner. To Pati Ælfgár’s betrothed, Æðelwulf Gesíþa, and Æþelwíne Þeȝn he gave sundry sterling silver pendants. To Wordsmið Árgesíþa and Friðoric Þeȝn he gifted stamped silver arm rings wrought in England. Upon Ælfgár Þeȝn he bestowed a silver arm-ring of great weight, such as is fitting for a man of much worth, which was wrought in the Norse style and bore a runic inscription in the Younger Futhark which read Siþi Þór. Þór vigi þesi runar, “Thor protect. Thor bless these runes.” To Sǽfriþ Ides he gave a sterling silver likeness of the 8th century Anglo-Saxon Malton pin, bearing a Fuþorc inscription as well as two rare books, the lore of which will speed her in her holywork. To Eþelwynn Hlǽfdiȝe the cyning first gave a ring of white gold, recalling the wisdom from the Anglo-Saxon Maxims that a cyning must win his wife with rings. Thereafter he set upon her brow a circlet of sterling silver and hight her the Hlǽfdiȝe of the Ríce. Finally, to Gárman Hláford, the Ærest Cyning himself, Þórbeorht gifted a heavy healsbéag, that being a neck-ring, wrought from three strands of silver in the likeness of one that was found within a buried horde at Orkney. Such a gift, borne as it was over the gannet’s bath from England, recalled the kingly gift bestowed upon Béowulf by Hróðgár at Heorot Heall.


As is Théodish thew, cups and horns were then raised to the gods with Ing-Fréa, Wóden, Þunor, Fréa, Tiw, Fríȝe, Fosite, and Hama being amongst the gods then hailed. Between that symbel round and the next, Sæfriþ Ides sung the Old Saxon galdor, Uuôdenes Ríd, first written by Þórbeorht Cyning when he was Ealdorman of the Sahsisk Thiod (2002-2008) and then given tune by Ælfric Scóp at Géol 2019. Thereafter mynas (memory horns) were raised to the likes of Hengest and Horsa, Ælfred the Great, Wealhþéow Hlǽfdiȝe, Rædwald’s Cyning’s queen, Cerdic the first cyning of Wessex, Hereweard the Wake, Æþelflæd Myrcna Hlǽfdiȝe, and Béowulf of the Geats. ‘Twas then that Æðelwulf Gegilda took up the hearp and sang Cædmones Léoþ. Soon followed a third round of gielpas (brags), béot (boasts), and áþas (oaths). It was during this round that Þórbeorht again swore the oath that he had first given to the Ríce at Ærre Géol when he was chosen to be cyning.  It was also at this time that Friðoric Þeȝn of Æppeldor Heall, who had come all the way from Tasmania, set his head upon the cyning’s knee, set his hand upon the hilt of Þórbeorht’s sword, Þeȝnwyrhta (Thane-Maker), and re-swore the hold oath that he had first given by written word. To Friðoric Þeȝn, Þórbeorht then gave a true and worthy seax.


Following these three rounds of symbel, the folk gave gifts to their cyning and to their fellow Théodsmen. To Þórbeorht was given a wall-hanging by Gárman Hláford and Æscbéam Árȝesíþa which recalled the Wódensprung lines of the early Anglo-Saxon kings. Eþelwynn Hlǽfdiȝe bestowed upon him the fieldstones which had hereto been given at Midsummer to build the hearg at Whitthenge Heall. The Witan of the Wínland Ríce gave to the cyning a gilded likeness of the Minster Lovell jewel, a 9th century æstel much like the Ælfred Jewel. Æþelwine Þeȝn gave to Þórbeorht a cup to commemorate his cynehelmung. Ælfgár Húsceorl gave to his hláford a raven-headed arm ring. And Friðoric Þeȝn of Æppeldor gave to Þórbeorht a brass neck-ring which Friðoric has long worn at fainings. Many and more were the gifts that were given at that symbel.

On the morrow the Ríce gathered again for a faining to Ing-Fréa and to Þunor which was offered by Sǽfriþ and Friðoric. Well given was that faining as remarked upon by Þórbeorht, by Gárman, and by all there gathered. Good were the signs of its brooking by the gods. Thereafter, Þórbeorht as Ealdorblótere of the Wéofodþeȝn Gild took Sǽfriþ and Friðoric out beyond Witan Mound and, just beyond Cyning Ridge, sat with them in the shade and spoke to them of wéofodþeȝnscipe, of rune readings, and of other such deep lore. Whilst this was happening afar from Cyningesfeld, the folk gathered in the lodge about Gárman Hláford to hear stories of Théodish Belief’s beginning and of its early days.


That afternoon Þórbeorht Cyning called a folkmoot. There the new cyning, seated beside the Ærest Cyning, deemed upon sundry matters of great worth. Here are the deemings that where then made by Þórbeorht Cyning with his folk.

  • To the Witan was sat Ælfric Hláford as Heah Wita over Sǽfriþ Ides, Ælfgár Þeȝn, and Friðoric Þeȝn as witigan.
  •   As Stigweard, “steward,” was set Ælfgár Þeȝn Húsceorl.
  • To wéofodþeȝnscipe, Sǽfriþ Ides and Friðoric Þeȝn were hight, having well-fained before two Théodish cyningas.

Moreover, at this folkmoot the Théodish Ríce’s Dómesdægbóc was read and updated as needed. Also at this time the gafol (tribute) that had then been given to the cyning by Brádléahweald, a gafol-léod (tributary tribe), was tallied and reckoned.

The rest of the day was filled with merriment. Sigebrand and Hræfnflæd, with the aid of Æþelwulf performed Jagged Rhymes, a whimsical play written by Gárman Hláford and first performed many years ago by Ælfwynne and Wordsmið of the Witan Théod. Æþelwulf then donned the guise of Robin Goodfellow as Æþelwine Þeȝn slipped into the hide of the Fierce Dragon, Ælfgár Þeȝn the likeness of the Bold Knight, and Friðoric Þeȝn the kit of the Good Leech and they together put on a merry Mummer’s play. Bawdy song and blithe revelry lasted long into the night as the Théodish folk rejoiced at the Ríce’s renewal.

That Monday morning Æþelwine Þegn of Géring Théod returned to the lodge to see the Théodsmen of the Ealdríce, Æppeldor, and Bradléahweald off and to bid them godspeed. Thus it was that the cynehelmung came to a close and the folk, having said their goodbyes, took to the road and wended their way back to their homes.


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