This Coven was formed at Yule 2002 by a group of like-minded Pagan friends. We had decided to form our own Coven as it was very difficult to find other practising groups that were open to new members. It was our intention to begin holding rituals in Circle straightaway because we wanted to learn through experience.
We had recently moved house to an area amongst the ancient Tumuli of Martlesham. The new garden already had a potential circle ‘in situ’ in a secluded situation, so a suitable venue was available. Learning as we progressed we started with seven keen recruits, celebrating eight Sabbats of the year: Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Oestre, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnasadh and Mabon. A more experienced ‘Wiccan’ who wanted to write rituals for a group of her own was our Celebrant; she was already a member of an established Ritual Group and so brought to us their style of working; thirteen attended at Lughnasadh 2003.
We progressed in this manner becoming more knowledgeable and gaining more experience; the present High Priestess & Host Priest started contributing to the writing and adding ideas to the proceedings and we collected, made and purchased our own robes and tools etc. Various members have come and gone over the years bringing with them the many ideas that have helped to shape the Coven and its workings into its present successful state.
At Beltaine 2004 we decided to put a permanent Circle in place in the garden and this was laid in paving stones by a pagan friend who occasionally attends Rituals; the Outer Ring, with coloured Quarter marking stones was especially made for us.
Samhain 2004 saw our Celebrant wanting to form her own group too and some members left to join her. A second hive-off occurred at Yule 2007 with our Maid of five years and two more members leaving to follow their own path. In line with Coven tradition she was presented with the Ritual Besom and a new besom was created and consecrated for the new Maid under the Wolf moon. The Coven Maid was helped to settle in to this important role by the Carlin; an important elder member of the group.
In 2007 we established another Ritual site in a private wooded setting on the banks of the River Deben. This site was so perfect for Summer Sabbats that we held four of our Celebrations there: Beltaine, Mid-Summer, Lammas and Samhain, plus occasional Esbats
2007 also saw the launch of the Carlford Coven Newsletter, an idea put forward by our webmaster at that time, which quickly gained popularity and was a 24 page colour booklet also available on-line in pdf format. Once again the workload was shared by Jasper taking on the Editorship of the Newsletter.
Our Crone of many years retired during the Summer of 2009 and this position was appointed to the acting Officer of the North who was officially ‘enthroned’ during the Samhain ritual of that year. At the same time the role of Thurifer was created so that the workload was evenly distributed. Each member had a role to play within the structure of our Rituals. Our Coven hierarchy, Witch, Carlin, Crone and Queen, was drawn from the words of ‘The Witches Reel’, a song which was apparently taken down from Gelie Duncan at her trial in 1590.
Our Coven continued to grow in knowledge and experience and we became more eclectic in nature, traditional in execution and diverse in membership. All our Rituals are unique and written by the Coven Queen.
A set of Coven Cords was introduced in 2009, to the members of the Inner Circle, otherwise known as the Scarlet Dusk Hedgewitch Triangle.
The group's Summoner, a highly experienced Witch, continues to run a successful Moot at Kirton White Horse and our popular Chant Group, which meets in The Welcome Hall, Trimley St Mary, is often asked to perform at Pagan events.
2010 – the Craft Table ‘Carlford Coven Crafts’ was introduced at the PF Conference Leaping Hare where many items were on sale – including Wands, Wandbags, Pyrographed Boxes, Robes, Fabric Bags & Pouches, Greeting Cards, Polished Stones, & framed Pictures (all made by Coven members) along with some hand-made pottery by Vicky Goodluck.
2011 saw a third hive-off with six members leaving to do their own thing. This coincided with new sites becoming available to us for Open Rituals - the gardens of The White Horse, Kirton and The Newbourne Fox .
2012 – an exciting year with the formation of Bards of the Heath - a musical group specialising in the Celtic/Bardic tradition & often perform at ‘Mind, Body & Soul’ events locally.
See where the Bards are perfomimg - www.johngoodluck.webs.com
Also a group of Gastronomes regularly meet for meals and socialising. These are proving to be popular and enjoyable networking events, bonding friendships that last.
2013 - The Bards of the Heath played all over East Anglia with our distinct brand of Pagan-folk.
We joined forces with Kingswood Coven, linked up with StourWitches and held some memorable Celebrations at our Sites at Martlesham Creek and the Kirton White Horse, ending the year with a super Yule meal at the Newbourne Fox.
Our Moot continues to attract top Speakers on all subjects and our Chant evening still gives us pleasure and good health with its monthly meetings at the Welcome Hall.
Some wonderful genuine people have joined us over the past year.
2014 - What a year - The Handfasting in perfect location & weather with 70+ people enjoying an unforgettable day, Bards of the Heath produced their debut CD 'Moonpathways' and played their specialist music all over East Anglia. We welcomed the Summer in a Druidic style & celebrated Yule in an Anglo-Saxon feast at the Coach & Horses. Once again worked in unison with Kingswood Coven & the Stourwitches. We discovered more about our locale & Initiated some new exciting Witches into the Coven.
2015 - A mixture of activities & locations for the Coven & Bards of the Heath; beginning the year with some Alchemy & the Ritual Purification of Imbolc. A more private Beltane at the Covenstead brought new friends to our Circle. Some Sabbats were held at our new Site – The Grove – a walk through the trees into a grassy glade, a Circle surrounded by tall trees where the Sunset can be enjoyed to the full. Performances at Mind,Body,Spirit Fayres & Mini Festivals through the sunny Summer days kept the Bards busy; despite this many new songs were written. Stangs proved to be our most sought after product this year. As Autumn deepened a visit to Hecate at the Crossroads prepared the way for Winter. A walk across the moonlit Heath on Solstice Eve and a return to the Wren Day at Middleton rounded off the 13 moons.
2016— The Bards of the Heath continued to expand, entertaining many with our mix of Magical Ballads and music. A second CD was recorded at the Barn and in the Parlour of the Covenstead. We enjoyed an end of the year Solstice Meal at the Newbourne Fox with 16 Bards and WAGS celebrating a highly successful 12 months. Sabbats were held at the Grove throughout the year although MidSummer Solstice was abandoned due to heavy rain. The Chant Group was brought to a close in October after many years. The Wicklaw Thing Moot continues to be a source of entertainment and information as we meet and discover local experts in many fields.
2017 - This year saw the Initiation of two new Inner Circle members whilst two experienced Witches were raised to Second Degree - our Court is complete again. Our longtime Coven Familiar 'Teazel' the cat passed away in the Spring aged 21 years and was buried at East of the Garden Circle with due ceremony. The Garden Circle was covered with a dome tent which is proving to be a worth while protection for our magical space. A new fire-pit was purchased in the Summer. The Second CD of Bards of the Heath called 'Mix't Blessings' was launched in March. The Coven joined with the Green Man Grove to celebrate Ostara in Tunstall Forest whilst our Beltane was held in the Creek Grove. We tied Clouties in May and we walked on Westleton Heath after lunch at the Flora Tea Room to view the red deer rut in October. We continue to honour the Lunantishee on their special day in November and finished the year off with a Solstice meal in the Douglas Bader with Coven and friends, joined once again by our original Crone. The Wicklaw Thing moot has become more of a musical evening of late and we have welcomed some superb musicians to our midst.
2018 – A Blue Moon coincided with our Imbolc gathering whilst another followed at Ostara when we took the opportunity to make a batch of Thunderwater. A smaller Beltane gathering was held in the Covenstead garden . A very hot summer meant that we were out and about visiting our favourite places of power. Some redecoration work in our lounge meant things were on hold for a while. In October we resumed our Rituals with an Anubis Rite at Samhain. We finished the year off by collecting more Spring Water and honouring the Lunantishee, ending with a Yule Meal for 18 in a local pub – we were glad to see our original Crone once again.