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Why Wayland?

Wayland (Old English: Wēland; Old Norse: Völundr, Velent; Old Frisian: Wela(n)du; German: Wieland der Schmied; Old High German: Wiolant; Galans (Galant) in Old French; Proto-Germanic: *Wēlandaz from *Wilą-ndz, lit. "crafting one") was a mythical character known for his ability to make marvellous treasures. His story was once well known across the Northern World but slowly he became a footnote mostly recorded in place names and a few fragmentary stories.

While working on 9th - 10th century living history projects I acquired the nickname because of a fortunate ability to turn my hand to a wide variety of crafts, metal working amongst them.

Wayland's Work - Image copyrighted © Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

It was a little later that someone noticed the connection between my family name, Waidson (Wadeson in earlier spellings.),  and that of the legendary smith.

In Žišreks saga, Wayland is described as the son of another legendary figure, the giant Wade (Old Norse; Vadi) which would have effectively made his full name Wayland Wadeson.

Once that detail became common knowledge, the name stuck to the degree that I am now known more widely as Wayland than by my given name of Gary. (Which I never much liked anyway.)

It is now the name I use on many of the online forums I use and it is widely used on my web sites too. Certainly most of my friends use it and it is also the name that thousands of school children recognise from my living history presentations.

Given the root translation of the Proto-Germanic word which literally means “Crafting One” I feel the name is a much more appropriate and comfortable fit for me.

Wayland the Smith

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