Raising the longhouse
Photo by Catella of Cilicia
by Catella of Cilicia, Reporter
For the second year in a row, an enormous house-like structure stands tall in the heart of the Bog on E23. House Hedgehog’s Longhouse has made another appearance with another grand impression on members of the Pennsic community.
Architectural assembly of House Hedgehog’s Longhouse requires a team of eight people (household members and campers) and approximately 12 hours of labor. Once assembled, the pine Longhouse with red oak staining stands just under 16 feet tall and around 23 feet long. The building features two floors: the lofts create a second floor that is housed directly beneath the canvas roof and a ground floor that is a wide and open common space.
The second floor lofts are at either end of the building can be entered by ladder and feature rugs, small tables and pillows. The lofts are an ideal lounge space, used to host musicians, for comfortable chatting or simply observing entertaining activities taking place on the first floor. The ground floor is composed of natural ground and is home to a handmade long wooden table with handmade benches for seating. Most often, the ground floor is used for group activities such as hosting guests, eating meals, and housing group entertainment such as games and celebrations. Incidentally, household members can also found napping on the ground floor during the hottest hours of the day as the shade and use of natural ground provide a much cooler atmosphere than possible with even the coolest tent.
The dream of a longhouse began as the brainchild of Lord Volkhard Rovan, the head of House Hedgehog, in early 2015. In his mundane life as the co-founder and co-owner of a private club of history and gaming in Maryland, he often provides hands-on lessons for SCA relevant topics that widely vary from woodworking to smithing to sewing and more. With a multitude of utilities and skills at his disposal, Lord Volkhard began planning a structure that could better accommodate his beloved Household at Pennsic. Looking for the best manifestation of his ideas, he also reached out to longtime friend and Household member Síoda o Craobháin.
Síoda’s 38 years of expertise in set and lighting design for theatre proved to be the final key to unlocking the legacy Lord Volkhard had envisioned. With designs flowing excitedly between Lord Volkhard and Síoda, the two also began the process of better researching period Viking longhouses. The design that emerged provided for the needs of the Household, was appropriate for the Pennsic environment but also featured documentable aspects of Viking longhouses. After designs were mostly finalized, five people worked continually with countless assistive hands. Five months later, and with great enthusiasm, the Longhouse proudly entered existence.
When House Hedgehog’s camp is open (see the sign in front of camp) and when they are available, Lord Volkhard and Síoda happily answer questsions and Household members and campers proudly give brief tours of their incredible structure.