Nothing is made up, only remembered differently – David Southwell, Hookland
I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, a series of short tales centred around the last British pagan and Isle of Wight king, Arwald. This enigmatic ruler of our little island is often forgotten and his place in history over-looked. People have simply never heard of Arwald and the title of last pagan king is oft' touted as Penda of Mercia. This is more than likely due to the fact that Mercia was one of the great Saxon powers of the time and the Wiht (Isle of Wight) was a minor Jutish territory that was more than likely a client kingdom of Mercia itself.
This however, does not diminish the validity of our kingdom and the title of Last Pagan King or diminish the importance of Arwald who was the Wihtwalda (King of Wight).
In recent years, there is a small but growing community that are showing a renewed interest in Arwald and the burgeoning magical identity of the Island. This identity is inextricably linked to the late Wihtwalda as it should be and is something that I hope to foster in these tales over the coming weeks / months.
I cannot claim that any of the tales are accurate or if they are anything more than the wonderings of my own imagination. What I can say is that each one of these was revealed to me during meditation and dreams over the course of the last few years. I feel that these accounts are stories that need to be told and even if they are nothing more than fictional notions they are intended to tell stories of devotion and inspiration. The ultimate aim is to continue the memory of a man we know so little about but has had a huge impact on the independent nature of the Island.
The Isle of Wight has always claimed to be separate and distinct from the rest of Britain, it clings to its past in more ways than one. If you ask anyone about the Island they will tell you two things, coming here is like going back in time 50 years and that there is no place they would rather be. The fact that we refer to it as the "Island" should speak volumes, we say it like there is no other island in the world but this one.
Clinging onto our past for an Islander is like breathing but some cling onto it even to their own detriment. These stories are not for those people, these stories are not for the people who cling to a rose-tinted view of empire, these tales are not for those that believe in Vectis Insular. These tales are for the open and free, the people who wish to explore the re-enchantment of this place, the people who look to the past to help find a path to the future.
So I invite you to join me as I explore the world of the Wihtlore and in this, explore our last Wihtwalda, Arwald.