Different Branches, Shared Roots: Historical origins and continuities in British woodcraft groups

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


A 20-minute conference presentation, co-written and delivered with Mick Tutt (Pelican) of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, for the 2024 International Woodcraft Gathering, Prague.
In the twenty-first century, woodcraft organisations thrive in locations worldwide. Many share common origins in the practices of Ernest Thompson Seton, but there are also differences in culture and belief, developed through local and national conditions and differences in group leadership and constitution.
In Britain, the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry was the first to develop a Seton-inspired organisation in 1916. Other woodcraft groups followed, including Kibbo Kift: The Woodcraft Kindred (est. 1920) and Woodcraft Folk (est. 1925). Each garnered independent memberships, even as they overlapped with other pacifist experimental endeavours, including alternative education, from Forest School to Steiner). Their differing trajectories have led to differing outcomes as some groups foundered and some flourished. Today, their differences may seem more prominent than commonalities; indeed, some present-day organisations are unaware of – or uninterested in - their intersections.
This presentation examines British woodcraft’s founding principles to locate shared identities. We ask: What were the core premises of the woodcraft movement in Britain? What were the points of division? Which practices endure and which beliefs might benefit from being revisited anew?
Period8 Jun 2024
Degree of RecognitionInternational