Society: How to Organise Term Activities

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: everything on this page is just advice, not compulsory. Committees that want to do interesting new things can be great, so don't feel constrained by "what's always happened". Sometimes the society has to change!

Previous termcards can be seen on the termcard page (click on the History link at the bottom). Remember to put each term's termcards up here. Termcards can be discussed on the forum in the events thread or via email.

General organisation

  • The committee should aim to organise three events per week: battle practice, kit making and one other event (see termly events below for ideas).
  • We run special freshers' events in Freshers' Week. See How to Organise Freshers' Events
  • If possible publish the termcard by the end of 0th week. In Michaelmas Term have it ready to hand out at Freshers' fair (see How to Organise Freshers' Events for a template).
  • Emails about events should be sent at least a few days in advance. It generally works best if one committee member takes over this duty (President or Secretary). In the past, sending weekly emails detailing all the events for the week has worked well.
  • Don't feel that you have to take everyone's wishes for event dates into account. The committee will work better if it makes firm decisions. Prioritising times that work best for current students is a good idea.

Weekly Events

Battle Practice

  • In battle practices we practice fighting. They generally last 2 hours or so, then we retire to a pub (traditionally the Lamb and Flag)
  • This has been on Sunday afternoons for a long time
  • Location largely depends on where kit is being stored
    • Recently it's been by the Keble Gate in Uni Parks as our kit is at St John's (it was also here when we kept kit in Keble or Norham Gardens);
    • Previously it's also been: at Parson's Pleasure in Uni Parks (when we were storing our kit in St Catz); at Angel & Greyhound Meadows (has a car park, but floods); and Kidney Meadows near the fire site (further from town).

Kit Making

  • Kit making is a chance to make costume, particularly softer kit like tunics. They generally last a whole evening.
  • This is normally a mid-week evening. Which day it's on has varied, but it's a good idea to not change it week by week. Choose a day and stick to it.
    • Recently it's been Thursdays, but it used to be Wednesdays and before that Tuesdays
    • A key factor will be when the host is free! It's good to find someone who can host it for a whole term, who lives centrally and has a large bedroom / access to a common area. Sorting this out can be one of the most difficult parts of organising Wychwood, so plan in advance.
  • In Trinity Term kit making sometimes becomes punting, or pub trips.

Termly Events

Other events we try to have up-to-1-per-term are:


  • Fires are big bonfires in the woods, with singing and booze, which generally last for a whole evening (and sometimes a whole night)
  • There are 4 Celtic Fire Festivals on the cross-quarter days: Beltane (1st May), Lughnasadh (1st August), Samhain (1st November) and Imbolc (1st February). Beltane, Samhain and Imbolc all fall within terms, so on one of the weekends nearby we have a fire in the woods.
    • This can be on Friday or Saturday. Saturdays tend to be better, as an important preliminary to a fire is wood-cutting. Wood-cutting takes all afternoon, and people tend to be busier on weekday afternoons. Remember to take into account when it gets dark, particularly in Michaelmas Term.
    • In Michaelmas term, it's best to have the fire the weekend before/on the 1st November not the weekend after- Tolkein Society has a fire Jackdaw Lane on the Saturday nearest the 5th November. Clashes cause arguments over who should use which fire site; however, there are several fire sites.
  • The fires tend to take place down Jackdaw Lane. They've been held in various locations in or around the woods there.
  • The key things to organise are wood, firelighters and matches.
    • To gather wood you need to have a wood-cutting. To have a wood-cutting you need saws and axes- Wychwood owns several of these. Also gloves and the first aid kit are recommended!
    • Some committees also organise food. Either buying lots of sausages to cook on the fire, or telling people to bring their own food. Marshmallows are also good for this!
    • In the past we've had fire-feasts (or "Fireasts") in Trinity Term where the fire and the feast are combined. See under Feasts for more detail.


  • Feasts are huge glorious banquets, with up to 8 courses and games and singing and much merriment
  • We normally try to keep at least a week between a fire and a feast, to avoid people being all partied out! Also they take some organising, so they're better later in term. The Mistress Of The Revels, along with many minions, generally takes charge of this event. The Mistress needs to:
    • Work out who's coming, what their dietary preferences are
    • Find volunteers to cook all the courses
    • Work out a budget. Normally members pay less than guests.
    • Tell the cooks not to go over budget!
  • Feasts normally happen on a Friday or Saturday. Saturday is generally better to give time for people to cook food.
  • Most years there have only been 2 feasts, Michaelmas and Hilary, and in Trinity we have a "Fireast" with more food at a fire. In 2010 we bucked this trend and had a proper feast in Trinity as well. This is cool, but means more work and possibly fewer attendees as people have exams.
  • There are lots of church halls and community centres around Oxford we have used. Traditionally booking a hall is the President's job and should be done as early in term as possible.
    • Marston Scout Hall is the current venue of choice, it is atmospheric and a good size, but is a bus journey away for most people.
    • West Oxford Community Centre has been used in the past. It does have a very small oven though, so isn't ideal. It's beyond the station, opposite St Frideswide's Church.
    • North Oxford Community Centre in Summertown has a lovely hall, but tried to take our deposit grr.
    • Asian Cultural Centre in Cowley has a bunch of rooms, some nicer than others. The oven didn't work one year though, which is a major problem!
    • Jericho Community Centre was nice but now you appear to need a food hygiene certificate to be allowed to use the kitchen.
    • St Giles Hall is very central, but hasn't been used for years. It's very popular so gets booked up early, and may not let us stay late?
    • St Margaret's Institute Community Centre is apparently nice. It's north of Jericho.

Craft Day

  • Craft days are chances for people to dedicate a full day to kit making, and to make bigger & more complex pieces of kit than normal kit making sessions (shoes, shields, tablet weaving, etc). They're good!
  • Craft days work well on Saturdays- it's a full day and doesn't clash with battle practice.
  • There are three big issues with craft days:
    • Getting a location. Ideally you want a big room, with power points, and possibly an outside area. Colleges sometimes have suitable spaces, or people who live out may have gardens you can take over.
    • Getting tools & equipment. Wychwood has some stuff, and so do some of the Old Gits. But you need to work out beforehand what you need- it's no good someone suddenly saying "Let's make shields!" if you don't have bosses, wood, canvas, paint, rawhide, rivets, tacks, tools…
    • Getting people. Poorly-attended craft days are a bit rubbish. People need lots of time in advance and make sure it doesn't clash with other things if possible.

Market Trips

  • Re-enactors' markets are the main source of materials used in re-enactment. As well as raw materials such as fabric, leather and wool, they are sources for finished goods like knives, helmets, swords, shoes, bowls, jewellery and other items we are less equipped to make.
  • There are 4 re-enactors' markets a year, two in Michaelmas and two in Hilary
  • Minibus trips to markets are good. You need to book a minibus and persuade one of our drivers in advance, though.
    • Alternatively, one year we hired a whole coach! That was awesome.
    • Or you could do a convoy of cars.

Mystery Trips

  • Mystery trips are Wychwood road-trips. You all get in cars or a minibus and drive round the countryside to standing stones, old churches, tithe barns and other interesting places.
  • This is another works-best-on-Saturday event, sadly.
  • You need to organise transport! Speak nicely to our drivers.
  • Also, you need to work out where we're going. This can normally be devolved to someone, if you speak to them nicely. Shelagh organises great ones, but if anyone else has ideas that's also good.

Pub Invasion

  • Pub invasions are pub crawls in kit. No weapons, mind!
  • Pub invasions tend to be on week nights, so you don't have tooooo many events consuming people's weekends.
  • Pub invasions need to have a schedule planned & circulated. And then you need to stick to it, as people may join in halfway through.

Video Evening

  • Video evenings are more relaxed events, just a social occasion where everyone gathers to watch some classic historical / fantasy films.
  • They again tend to be week nights, but have been combined with craft day in the past.
  • The Princess Bride, Highlander and Monty Python & the Holy Grail have all been favourites.
  • The key things to organise are a location (ideally city centre), some DVDs and something to watch them on!

Mead Evening

  • Mead evenings are a chance for everyone to compare a variety of meads.
  • Once again, week nights tend to be best.
  • The key things to organise are a location that lets you drink booze (ideally in the city centre), and some mead. Mead can be got at re-enactors markets, off the internet, or at re-enactment events.
  • Generally we charge for this event, but keep costs minimal to members.
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