Interactive living history displays for everyone!

What We Do

Who are Iron Shepherds?

Well, we are a non-for-profit living history group, established in 2012 in south Cumbria with the aim of showcasing life in the 12th Century.

Many of the early members had once been part of a heritage project when younger, which really developed their passion for history and, in turn, for re-enactment. This project came to an end in 2006 but many still met up to engage in Medieval sword fighting but all still had boxes of living history kit at home. Jump forward 6 years and it was decided to set up a new living history group! It seemed like the logical next step.

It was from then that Iron Shepherds was created, a group dedicated to educating while entertaining and providing memorable experiences for all!

What's in the name?

Iron Shepherds, what's that about? you may wonder. It's quite simple really. Iron was a major industry in our area of the world, Furness, for many many years so it seemed right to honor that some how. This created the first part of our name. 'What is another big historic industry in our area?' we thought. The wool trade! During the medieval period wool made places like Furness Abbey extremely wealthy. What was required for wool production? Shepherds. There was the second part of our name. The group had a title.

What do Iron Shepherds do?

This year we have made the move to class ourselves officially as a multi period group.

Our main focus is showcasing snapshots of life in the 12th Century with our tailor made Anglo Norman camp. The Norman period of British History is a fascinating one and the period we have chosen, the 1140s, is quite a troubled one.

At this time the Anarchy, a civil war between King Stephen and Princess Matilda, was raging on across the country. Cumbria had been given over to Scotland, possibly to keep them happy and avoid any attacks, but we had no real rule in the area. In Furness, where we are based, we had one Norman lord and a relatively new Norman Abbey trying to bring some law and order to the land.

Most living here were peasants of Anglo Saxon or Norse descent with not much to call their own, although very skilled. They also were all farmers, working the land to survive and pay their lords. All of this makes for a fascinating period to display!

Our other periods of interest are 13th Century and the Victorian era. Scoll down to find out more about what we do...

What We Offer

Anglo-Norman Life

We have a fully equipped Anglo Norman camp that we can set up at any venue with enough space to contain it. We pride ourselves on the layout of our camp, which is tailor made to offer maximum impact for the public as well as maintain a smooth flow of traffic. Visitors are able to move through our camp without obstruction but can easily view and enjoy our displays as well as freely talk to us about our crafts and period.

Victorian Life

Over the years we have dabbled in the Victorian era with our Room of Curio and attending a Victorian Fair but in 2016 we pushed forward with our Victorian living history and put on three events about the era. We created a Victorian Fun & Games event, a Victorian Social History event and a Victorian Yard. The first is to show the fun side of the time, a chance for the public to play with traditional games and enjoy a truly Victorian day out, it is also great fun for us! The second and third show the social aspects of the time, the different classes and the different jobs people would have.

Monastic Life

We have recently developed a Monks Life display where visitors can discover what life was like for Monks living in the 13th Century. The monks we portray are from the Cistercian order; this was the order that lived at and ran Furness Abbey from the late 1100s until the dissolution of the monasteries. A new display for us but one that is proving popular.

If you are interested in booking Iron Shepherds Living History for your event then please feel free to get in touch via email at or send us a message through our Facebook page here.

Iron Shepherds is an ever developing group with a real passion for what we do and we are excited to see what the future holds for us and for living history!
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