Unlike most other Théodish fellowships today, the Ealdríce is neither an offshoot of the Wínland Ríce (1990-2002) nor a sprout sprung from one of its outlawed lords. By the late 1990’s the Wínland Ríce had begun to weaken due to infighting and intrigue. Lest Théodism be lost should the Wínland Ríce ever fall, in 2000 Gárman Lord wrote Way of the Heathen: A Handbook of Greater Théodism. It was his hope that the root of Théodish thew could thereby “escape the back garden, into the wild” where others, unchoked by the weeds that had grown up with the Wínland Ríce, might worth themselves as true Théodsmen.
At Yule of 2000, our own founder, Þórbeorht (then known as Érmund) first founded the Sahsisk Théod, one of the few Greater Théodish fellowship’s that took root and thrived. In 2002, following Gárman’s outlawing of the Normannii Thiud’s lord and the apparent end of the Wínland Ríce, Gárman formed the Wisdom Roundtable, inviting Þórbeorht to be a member. The charge set by Gárman before the Wisdom Roundtable was to rethink Théodism entirely, particularly the form of its fellowships, so that it might uncover whatever inherent flaw had lead Théoddóm to wither and, most importantly, to discover its cure.
Without answering that riddle, the Wisdom Roundtable disbanded. Years went by yet its charge still weighed heavily on Þórbeorht. At Midsummer of 2008, Þórbeorht disbanded his own théod, withdrew from public Heathendom, and set himself to completing the work of the Wisdom Roundtable. In Éastre of 2010 Þórbeorht re-emerged “from the woods” with what he hoped was a worthy answer, having founded the Ealdríce in the form of an Anglo-Saxon hæþengyld (religious guild) rather than as a Wínland Ríce style comitatus (warband). Yet it was not until 2014, after seeing to it that the hæþengyld form of fellowship worked and was indeed stable that, with Gárman’s blessing, Þórbeorht, finally agreed to call it a Théodish fellowship. Since that time, the Ealdríce has branched out with its own offshoot, fostering Æppeldor Friþstowe in Tasmania for Australian Théodsmen.
To onlookers, the Ealdríce may well seem like something of an odd fellow amid the sundry comitatus that have come and gone since the Wínland Ríce’s era ended. Like its forefellowship, the Sahsisk Théod, which sprang up in the “wild” that grew beyond the Wínland Ríce’s garden, the Ealdríce could well be thought of as a gathering of Théodish “Green Men.” Yet, unlike the Sahsisk Théod, the Ealdríce was founded not as a comitatus but rather as a hæþengyld, in answer to the charge given by Gárman to the Wisdom Roundtable.
From Gárman’s foresight to sow the seeds of Greater Théodism to Þórbeorht’s founding of the Sahsisk Théod to Gárman’s seating of the Théodish Wisdom Roundtable to Þórbeorht’s discovery of the Anglo-Saxon guild form of fellowship, the Théodish lineage of the Ealdríce is an ivy that wholly wends its way around the ruins of the Wínland Ríce’s unhappy history yet does not pass through nor spring forth from them. More alike in wód (spirit, inspiration) to Théoddóm’s first fellowship, the Witan (1976-1989), the Ealdríce may well represent a rewilding of the Théodish wisdom tradition; a guild of woodwose as it were.