The following questions were asked to the gentles in the mailing list either by members of the list asking for clarification, or in some cases, by members of the West Kingdom who post in a mailing list called “SCA-West” and forwarded to the history discussion.
The list below is specific questions that are linked to that section of this page which has gotten rather long. This may help you find the specific discussion you're looking for ...
Chivalry On The Field For Finals
Current Tournament Fight Litany and Consorts Included in the Salutes
Heralds being the Voice of the King
Bowing to the Empty Thrones
SCA Cutoff Date
First Award Scrolls
The An Tir Rebellion
Queen Carol’s Guide
Naming of Events
Throne Herald/Other Officer Queries
Invocation / 'Herb of Virtue'??
Wooden Spoon Questions
Chaos Condottiere/House Chaos
SCA Knights and the Knights of Malta?
“Where did the belt and chain come from?
“This is just a point-blank-fact-finding type question, really. Why a white belt? Why an open link chain? “Who's idea was it? When did it get instituted?”
“I have no idea who came up with the idea of the belt and chain.
How they were made and what they were made of strikes me as [Beverly]
Hodghead work, but I could be mistaken. I know that for awhile, when
Chaos seemed to be sprouting knights every other event, we took
to purchasing a particular decorated form of lamp chain to make us
distinctive, but it was too popular a model and many other people without
Chaos ties ended up wearing them because they were decorative.
“I'm sure part of the inspiration of the belts came from various members' interest in the martial arts, probably with the idea of going against the Oriental tradition by making the white belt the significant belt. The chains, as others and I have said before, were probably based on the various chains of office worn by Medieval and Renaissance court officers (and still are to this day, as I recall). I think someone said that chains were given because all Knights became knights of the court and therefore officers. This strikes me as an afterthought, with the "officer of the court" pun a typical SCA fillip.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who has already made his comments about his own belts and chains ...
“White belts and gold chains came from exactly the same place the
"think tank" operation which came up with the ceremonies to fire
off the SCA at Twelfth Night, AS II. My recollection is that we found
descriptions of knighting ceremonies involving a knight's belt, and
descriptions of gold collars (typically of office, admittedly) and went up
on our lines from there. But we had a context for a symbol of fealty
and a symbol of rank (hence the gold chain = gold collar of office,
and the white belt versus white baldric).
“The original white belts were made as I recall of very heavy cotton or some such material, the buckles were simple brass rings from the hardware store, and the gold chains were standard lamp chain. After all it's the symbol that counts, and we had no money at all to do this. Hence we avoided knight's spurs.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
Chivalry on the Field for the Finals
“This one is "for the record" as well. It's been a long standing tradition that the Chivalry is "invited to watch the finals on the field".
“Where did this tradition come from, and why? And why has it lasted this long?”
“I really can't recall if it appeared in the first year or not. I do vaguely seem to that it was in place when I returned from the air force. If I had to guess why I would say it was to ensure no hassles took place between the contestants.” – Steven MacEanruig
“As far as I can remember, the tradition of the chivalry gathering on
the field to watch the finals started when I was active, but not
immediately, by any means. For instance, in that tourney at
Coyote Creek, I don't think it was happening. I think it started
somewhere around Year seven, but I'm guessing.
“The reason had to do with a feeling that some folks were getting iron-hided again and perhaps, if all the chivalry were watching, they would be less inclined to shrug off blows. It may even have worked, though I remember a final during the last days of my activity (it may well have been the last tourney I attended) in which I and several people on my side of the circle were convinced that one of the combatants had ignored a blow to the arm and folks on the other side of the circle were sure that the other combatant had ignored a fatal blow. People on each side were talking Court of Chivalry until it became obvious that there was absolutely no agreement as to what really happened.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who fears that such situations will be with the SCA forever.
“The Chivalry being 'invited' onto the field for the finals was already entrenched tradition when I joined. My gut feeling is that the invitation was a polite fiction invented by the Heralds to mask the fact that the Chivalry WOULD be there in any case. In the days before the Marshallate got organized they constituted the 'judges' in the finals and, in ones and twos, of the other rounds.” – Kevin Peregrynne
Current Tournament Fight Litany and Consorts Included in the Salutes
“When and how was the current tourney fight litany developed? When were consorts first included in the salutes? Why?”
“We had a lot of different ways of saying en garde in the early days. Saluting your ladies (which is what I assume you mean by consorts) was actually pretty early on, and was observed off and on until, I guess, the present day.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“Saluting one's lady (in the pre Trude era it was NOT "The one whose favour you bear") was common but not universal by the time I attended my first tourney (March II). It continued on the basis of the individual fighter's style at least past the time of my one reign without being formally invoked by the heralds. Sorry I can't pinpoint when it became a formal part of the pre-bout ceremony better than that.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“I joined the SCA in the second half of 1969, but my first event
was March Crown 1970. At that event, saluting the King (nowadays it
is Crown) and your opponent was firmly entrenched. On occasion,
there was still some confusion as to who should be saluted; the
Royal Presence, or the Royal Person. But for the most part, the
Presence was acknowledged.
“Regarding consorts, that is a little different. Typically if any salute or acknowledgment was given, it was done so in a private way between the individuals involved. For example, once a fighter had donned his helm, shield, and weapon, he might step out of the pavilion, or a few feet onto the field, turn, and salute his lady. He then stepped forward to his assigned match. The herald then began the prescribed litany. For a fighter to interrupt the herald by saluting his lady was simply not done. Such a thing was not in the script. However, I suspect it became institutionalized because of me.
“One particular Crown Tourney I was again fighting for Patrice. My foggy recollection is we already had at least one reign together, and we had not as yet had our second (I could be wrong on that point). It was one of those events where we entered with high hopes, but as the list progressed, I realized I was not going to win the day. For whatever reason, I was becoming more and more drained of psychic and/or physical energy. About half way through the list, between fights, Patrice and I were sitting alone and I looked at her with a rather disappointed expression on my face and told her I was not going to make it all the way, and that I was sorry. Being her typically wonderful self, she smiled, put her arm through mine, and said, "That's okay. I really did not want this particular reign." She always was remarkable. The next fight, and I cannot remember who my opponent was, between the herald saying, "Salute His Majesty the King," and "Salute you each your worthy opponent," I looked over my shoulder to find Patrice standing at the perimeter of the list. I turned, and slowly saluted her. The quiet smile she gave me was worth gold. I turned to face my opponent who, not to be outdone, turned to find his lady, and he saluted her. The fight commenced, and if memory serves, I won. In the next round, if I recall correctly, I fought Duke Richard the Short. I did the same thing, and Richard also turned to salute his lady. I do not recall who won that particular fight.
“At this point, the same thing had happened twice. In the SCA, once is a fluke, but twice is a tradition. It immediately caught on. The heralds would deliberately pause to allow time for the fighters to salute their ladies. Very shortly thereafter, saluting one's lady was institutionalized in the litany.
“Also, note I am using the phrases, "Salute the King," versus "Salute the Crown," and fighters "saluting their ladies," versus "saluting their consorts." Back then, we did not have gender neutral verbiage, as we had only a small number (two? three?) of women fighters. Also, we used the phrase "The King's word is law," versus nowadays' "The Crown's word is law." The gender neutral stuff was either beginning to come into vogue, or would soon be on its way. I cannot recall the timeline.
“Anyway, as referred to earlier, I was running out of steam, and eventually I was knocked out of the tourney. Too bad I did not win – it would have made a better story.” – Andrew of Riga
Heralds being the Voice of the King
“When and how was it determined that the heralds were the King's voice and protected as such (especially from getting hit with shoes for bad puns)?”
“This was actually promulgated at a meeting I attended shortly after I
was knighted. Harold Breakstone invited me because I "was a knight,
now," though it turned out that a lot of knights were not invited.
Randall of Hightower was there, already starting his insinuation into
prominence, and Siegfried and Jon de Cles, and Karina, and no doubt some
people I am leaving out. This was when Siegfried and Marynel were still married
and it took place in their then-habitat, which they shared with Jon de
Cles. This was pre-Greyhaven and pre-Rivendell. Edwin was probably there,
but I am not certain. Oh yes, Henrik and Leanne were there. Neither
Richard nor Fulk were there, to the best of my memory.
“Apparently Karina and Harold were having trouble getting people to shut up so they could make announcements and it was one of the concerns voiced. Jon and Siegfried, backed by Randal, said that they were the voice of the King and they should be heard, and that policy started there and continued to the present day. This was also the meeting that pretty much established Jon DeCles as Seneschal. I believe it took place while William the Silent was still on the throne, but he and Cheryl were not at the meeting.” – Stefan de Lorraine
Bowing to the Empty Thrones
“When did we start bowing to the royal presence in the form of the empty thrones? Why?”
“My earliest recollection of saluting the empty thrones was during one of Henrik's early reigns (the third or fourth) when he preferred to be riding a horse to sitting on the throne. When the fighters complained that it was hard to locate him to salute at the beginning of each fight, he placed the crown on the throne and told them to salute that ... he was going riding. The populace semi-mockingly got into the spirit of the ruse - bowing/curtseying if they happened to pass in front of "The Royal Presence". The fiction was so useful that it quickly became custom then formally part of the pre-combat litany shortly thereafter.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Of course, there is also a Horde song called "The Empty Throne" as I'm sure you are aware. But your original question was "bowing to the royal presence" (ie the throne, when passing in front of the royal pavilion, whether or not saluting prior to a fight) as opposed to saluting per se. I think that started to happen almost as soon as we had Kings on the thrones; I'm pretty sure it was institutionalized by about AS III.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
“The way I am reading descriptions of the Crown tournaments at least up until the period we are currently covering, is that they were done rather differently than they are now.
“If I read this correctly, each fighter fought a set of fights, some challenges (all?). One question I have is, was the winner of the tournament the one who won the most fights?
“And then I guess there's another question -- when did we go to double-elimination tournaments?”
“As far as I recall challenges and melees were a form of recreational combat
and warm-up prior to (and often during pauses) the Crown Lists elimination
competition, at least from all accounts they were always separate and had
no bearing on the Crown Lists victory decision at all.
“The first double elimination Crown Lists in the West kingdom (I have vague memories of non-crown competitions and Crown/Coronet lists elsewhere that were double-elim earlier) was the one in which I won the finals best two out of three against William of Houghton (lucky thing for me he had defeated me in the quarter finals earlier).” – Kevin Peregrynne
“Sorry, there has been a mis-communication here. The tournaments had
two kinds of fights. We would start off with challenges, which were
between people who wanted to fight one another for whatever reason.
“After several of these took place, the crown tourney would switch over to the crown lists, which were fought single elimination for the first few years until Paul re-ordered things during one of his reigns and we liked it so much that we kept the double elimination.
“The challenges had nothing to do with the lists, they were just people fighting for whatever reason, including the chance to try new styles and weapons or to settle matters such as MacEanruig and my fight to determine the champion of Mayhem House.
“There were also challenges "Because Steven MacEanruig did spurn Frederic of Holland with his foot" and "Because my lady can beat your lady." Any reason for a fight was sufficient.
“As I understand things now, the lists are so long that no other fighting takes place? Pity.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who was challenged for Lorraine, and lost. But I challenged back for it and got it back ...
“Nope. Challenge fights were fought before and, sometimes, during the crown lists. The lists were straight single elimination with only the finals being fought two out of three. For instance, the first crown I was ever in the finals in, against Paul, I fought four rounds to the finals. 32 in the first round, 16 in the second, 8 in the third, 4 in the fourth, leaving Paul and I in the finals.” – James Greyhelm
[Double Elimination] “I don't remember the exact date, but Paul mandated it in either his second or third reign. I think it was in the third. In 1979 spring crown, I held what I believe was the last single elimination crown tournament in the West. Even that wasn't perfect. At the end, there were 3 people and like a dummy I opted to go for a round robin. It developed that Steingrim could beat Radnor, Radnor could beat Christopher of Hoghton, and Christopher could beat Steingrim. In the end, after several rounds of this, the finals were continued the next morning (also, I think, a first and hopefully a last. Steingrim finally won, the first fighter from An Tir to win the Crown of the West.)” – Steven MacEanruig
“In AS II, III, etc., each fighter was allowed 5 challenge fights before
the Crown Lists were begun. Since these were the only tourneys there
were then, this guaranteed everyone a chance to fight a reasonable amount.
“Only one fight at a time, of course; we only had 2 helms (except a few personal ones, and the 6 saber masks, which were used only for melees after Fulk made the first 2 great helms for the Chess Game at No.RenFaire I (oct. '67)
“That's why a single-elimination crown tourney with 16 fighters could run until after dark. I also remember March II (1968) crown being finished indoors at the seminary in San Anselmo. I vaguely remember a crown final (I think) by lantern light (Coleman lanterns?)” – Robert of Dunharrow
“I believe that was the second June Tournament at Mills College, ASIII (I think), which happened very soon after the San Anselmo tournament. There was a May tournament in between which was the only "crown" May tournament, and which Richard had won--beating me. I think Henrik won this June tournament, defeating ??. Steven MacEanruig made copious lists about that time, and may have written down who the loser was in this one.
“This was also the tourney in which Earl first killed Siegfried (and was immortalized by Dinosaur the Green) during the abduction of Leanne by Siegfried and company. I made an extensive description of that which is somewhere in this archive. Besides the lack of helmets (there were about ten operational helmets, including four or five that could only be worn by their makers), this was a tourney in which the king decided he must be present at all functions and every function must happen in its turn. That's why a field of 16 fighters went into darkness with a single-elimination tournament.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who still remembers Jamie Oakenshield saying "Take that helmet and that zweihander and kill him," to Earl of Morris“I'm glad Stefan remembers how I killed Siegfried on the bridge at Mills, because I sure don't. I've got the Little Green Dinosaur's cartoon to "prove" that it happened, and I have a vague recollection of it, but that's it. I REALLY remember the 2nd (and final) time at Baycon though (I'm pretty sure the Zweihander was banned not too long after that), and in the LGD cartoon "immortalizing" that event, I am, at least, a little bit older than the toddler depicted in the first cartoon.
“BTW, I also have a vague recollection of someone at one time or another (cannot remember who or when) taking mild issue, from a procedural point of view, over the fact that I was knighted by Richard the Short, who, while King, was not a Knight but a Master and therefore, strictly speaking, not really properly capable of knighting anybody (only a knight can make another knight, etc., a phrase which was, needless to say, the source of the coarsest of SCA jokes). The insinuation was that my knighthood was not completely kosher, so to speak. This happened long after the fact and it did not appear that the person, whoever it was, was really taking issue with it but was just raising a pedantic point. I therefore didn't bother to challenge him. Still, I'm curious. (I assume that Richard's status as King took precedence over his lack of knightly status.)” – Earl of Morris“This ‘only a knight can make a knight’ thing (I hadn't even heard the coarse jokes but they probably make sense) came about somewhere around the time I got back from the air force (June of 1971). I thought then, and still think, that it's kind of silly. When Bill and I did the list of knights and masters we opted to assume that knighthood came from the crown. In some cases this got a bit weird since there are cases in the SCA where someone knighted someone who later knighted them in return. The earliest being when Fulk knighted Henrik who knighted William the Silent who knighted Fulk. Earl is in fact listed on our list as having been knighted by Richard.” – Steven MacEanruig“The "joke" was just Jon DeCles saying, with his most lascivious leer, "only a knight can make another knight". Considering the source, I think little imagination is needed to get the drift.” – Earl of Morris
SCA Cutoff Date
This is from a topic in the SCA-West mailing list, although I don’t have the beginnings of the thread, here’s what I do have ...
“The waffling about the cutoff date is eons old. One might remember that the fighting standards are pre 1450, or at least that’s the way I learnt it. It is a screwy mix for sure, and making sense of it has defied better minds than mine.” – Artimas Maximus
“Yes, and the late Randall Garrett (Lord Randall of Hightower) told me that he had fixed the heraldry to 1485, so as to keep it consistent. The 1650-1600 confusion reigned all through the early days-at least when I joined in AS 2.25. The original articles of Incorporation fix it at 12/31/1600- pe 17th century- as has been reported here and elsewhere.” – James Greyhelm“The reason they gave me (not at the time, I don't think I was paying attention at the time) was that they wanted a cutoff date of 1650 so that Edwin Bersark could wear the kilt he already had and was wearing anyway.” – Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin
“According to the Berserk, at least, the 1650 cut-off date was most definitely instituted to allow the Hibernian/Caledonian and generally Celtic-minded types to wear kilts. I remember asking the Berserk this question as a newbie, wondering what in the Sam Hill 1650 had to do with shields and broadswords, and that is the answer I received.” – Earl of Morris“One might remember that the fighting standards are pre 1450, or at least that;’s the way I learnt it.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“No it was 1650 – look at early posters!” – Henrik of Havn“I believe I noted this at the time, but it certainly wasn't me wanting 1650 to wear cavalier -- I've never worn cavalier dress and am a firm supporter of "pre-17th century". Personally I think it was just original sloppiness rather than a plan, although Dorothea's observation might have some merit. The flyer for the first tournament never mentioned a date; about a year later things were saying "pre-1650" on flyers. The Articles of Incorporation say "pre-17th Century". But Queen Carol's Guide said "pre-1650" when it came out, and that's what spread around the Known World, leaving the pre-1600ers forever trying to catch up ...” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“Apples and Oranges. The common statement was that the FIGHTING was 1450 and before even though the dress and other aspects were 1650 and before. Probably never an official statement of policy, just the attitude.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“During our first reign, Diana Listmaker made one of her rare appearances at that time to an event. I believe it was she who told me that the 1650 date was a typo. She had wanted 1150, but somehow it came out 1650. Certainly others who were in from the beginning would have better knowledge than I. BTY I was at a Pennsic when Duchess Seinad (Duke Michael Of Bedford’s lady here in Atlantia) was explaining to some newbies that if you have been in the SCA for over 5 years, you are older than dirt; if over 10 years, you are from when rocks were soft. I asked what the hell that made Douglas & myself. Without skipping a beat she declared that we must be part of the "Big Bang". I liked it. We weren't at the beginning but not very far after, so I now declare that we were near the "Big Bang".” – Lorna of Leeds
"A pamphlet was printed to take to Baycon in 1968 (I think) called "A Handbook of the Current Middle Ages". Right inside the front cover in the definition and description of what the SCA was, the date given was "pre 1650". That booklet was around and given out to newcomers for several years. By the time they needed to print more they had decided to change the date. I understood that it was the heralds who chose the cutoff date because after that you got into quarterings and other divisions of arms, but that may have happened at another time (or even be apocryphal) On the other end, there never was a start date until Queen Carol's Guide (I believe) that chose the date 1000 for some reason, maybe it was just a nice round number." -- Patrice du Coeur Fidel (March, 2007, SCA-West Thread on this topic again)
“There is a question that doesn't seem to have been adequately resolved regarding Fulk's "reigns". He is listed as being a Duke, but the question was never resolved during discussions we've had, about his actually sitting the throne of the West ...
“Some folk seem to recall his having actually sat the throne. Some seem to recall his having won "non-Crown Tournaments" and somehow being granted the title of Duke even though he never sat the throne.
At least one person remembers the autocrats of the second event he won the tourney for sitting the thrones (making for some interesting discussions ...).”
“There was no royalty at the early events in AS I and II, as the SCA began more as a series of parties and then events. The idea of a King was started with Henrik's win at the end of the 1967 tourney season. When the idea of Duke was created, it was for those who had won the Crown lists twice and therefore Fulk's two wins qualified. Richard's dukedom came from counting him the winner of the first tourney. Thereafter, of course, anyone who won two Crown lists also served twice as King and that then became the normal qualification.” – Wilhelm von Schlüssel
“Fulk never actually reigned. He won the second tourney, before the
concept of kings was considered. However, as Henrik has said in
these pages, he did sit on the thrones at either the first 12th
Night or the first Spring Tourney to crown Henrik. He also had a
lot to do with the first early organization of the SCA when we were
all flailing away trying to create something. He also won the fifth
tourney, which was designated a non-crown tourney. However, by
the second 12th Night, when the first official knights were created and
the concept of Duke was introduced, it was understood that Fulk had
better be a Duke, if only to acknowledge his superiority as a fighter.
Keep in mind that Richard's Duchy also depended on his having won
a "non-Crown" event, the first tourney, and this was one that he
was considered to have lost at the time of the tourney itself. Giving
Richard an honor that was not given to Fulk, even though he had
fulfilled the criteria to the best of his ability given the situation,
was enough to make most of the rest of us duck and cower. The rivalry
between the two established several of the early traditions of the SCA,
including the "fighter counts the blows that hit him" concept that is
so much a part of the SCA to this day.
“So at the time of the creation of the Dukes, only one of the three recipients could actually be said to have been "King" twice, Henrik. But no one thought that Richard and Fulk didn't deserve the title.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who didn't really understand how much dislike there was between Richard and Ken [Fulk] until he hosted both at a party and saw them carefully sitting at opposite ends of the living room for the entire affair...
“Fulk won the second tournament. He was given the accolade and his lady Mary of Tamar was given the title of Queen of Love and Beauty. No one was proclaimed King at that time. It wasn’t till the 3rd Tournament – Sept. 1966 that the victor (me) was given a scroll of proclamation (which I showed a copy of to you at Purgatorio) proclaiming him (me) King. I was, however, not treated as King until my formal coronation at the next tournament which was in March, 1967. At that time the choreography of my coronation ceremony had Fulk wearing my crown as he stood (I never saw him sitting on the throne – I was busy charging around the field in armour on a borrowed horse until reluctantly I had to stop, dismount, and march up to get crowned) before the throne and I marched up to face him, he then knighted me as I knelt, I then rose, he removed the crown from his head and placed it on mine and proclaimed me King. The next tourney he won was May 1967. Again he was not proclaimed King and his lady Mary of Tamar was proclaimed Queen of Love and Beauty. They both received Laurel wreaths to wear. He won no other times. He never reigned nor was he called King.” – Henrik of Havn
First Award Scrolls
This question was posted on SCA-West:
“Are there some very old old-timers on the list who can remember when the practice of giving scrolls with awards started in the West?
“I can remember some from around 5 or 6, but it didn't seem to be a new practice then.” – Elaina
“My scroll for my patent of arms was, as I recall, mailed to me while I was in either Germany or Kansas and I believe it was while I was in Germany. That would have been in year 3 or 4.” – Steven MacEanruig
“The first scrolls for SCA members were done by my lady, Luise of the Phoenix, for presentation at the 3rd 12th Night, which would be AS 3. At that time the initial conventions for what the shape of the shields would be, what colors were allowed, the differences between Awards, Grants, and Patents, and what sort of crests could be affixed were already determined by Randal of Hightower, though some of them (such as ladies-only-get-lozenges) have since been overturned.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who spent several long nights in our one-bedroom apartment watching Luise working away on those puppies...
The An Tir Rebellion
“What was the controversy around An Tir becoming a kingdom? I got involved in the SCA in 77, and was getting newsletters shortly after for both An Tir and the West. I remember reading "hints" and "things" but no facts ...”
“As I recall, the basic controversy surrounding An Tir becoming a kingdom was primarily bureaucratic - there was considerable doubt as to the degree of cooperation and coordination that would exist between the various baronies without a more experienced, sophisticated and forceful civil service than they had exhibited up until then. There was also a fair degree of belief in some circles that Three Mountains would dominate the kingdom to the detriment of the other chapters. And lastly I recall worries that the disparity in belted fighter populations would enhance Three Mountains' domination (having the majority of Crown contenders). There is undoubtedly more, perhaps the other participants can spark my memory.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“I was Seneschal of the West when An Tir became a Kingdom, and my
memory -- doubtless warped and obscured by the rivers of blood
that have metaphorically spilled across my rugs since then -- runneth thus:
“The kingdom administration was enthusiastic about the transition. We wanted to see it happen as soon as possible, ASAP being defined by the following specific steps:
“* Prepare a draft kingdom law.
“* Set up The Crier to run on the corporate stipend, with additional fundraising from local sources if needed or desired.
“There may have been some others, but I don't recall problems with things like staffing the great offices of state; those two were the biggies. The Principality Seneschal resolutely ignored the former and the Principality Chronicler equally resolutely maintained that The Crier was special and should get more money from the SCA than the regular stipend.
“Meanwhile the portion of An Tir that made itself heard in the Known World in general sang and wrote and proclaimed that the evil West was trying to keep them in bondage forever.
“It was very, very frustrating. "Let us go! Let us go!" vs. "Settle down and get ready to go!" gets old in a hurry. All that's left is the flavor; I can't recall details of the resolution, except for the Principality Seneschal handing me the law on the day of the first Coronation ...” – Hilary of Serendip
“This is my recollection also. I wasn't involved when they actually became a kingdom, just in the much earlier idiocy when they were going to proclaim themselves a kingdom and crown Edward as king instead of prince.“The second time I met Paul of Bellatrix, I was at Renfield’s house in December of 1980; playing chess, eating chicken soup, and drinking Apple Juice. [Renfield was sick, and what else do you bring to a sick friend?] He mentioned Paul Porter was coming over, and as I did not know Paul's mundane name, I did not find out who he was until he showed up and Renfield introduced him.
“Believe me, wanting to keep An Tir "in bondage" was about as far from the actual state of affairs as you can get. I remember Duchess Rowena saying, while she was seneschal, that when An Tir became a kingdom, her efforts towards accomplishing it would be her gift to the West.
“Except for Lions Gate, and when Baroness Amanda invites me to Ithra events, I don't go to An Tir any more.” – Paul of Bellatrix
“We were on the throne during part of the An Tir rebellion. I recall once when Douglas called Edwin who was seneschal of An Tir at the time, only to have him answer the phone "rebellion central". Doug responded "This is your King". I think that it is very natural for a principality to feel frustrated when they think they are ready to become a kingdom and the kingdom does not agree. We experienced some of the same hostilities from CAID.” – Lorna of Leeds
Where and why did cloved lemons appear?
“Cloved lemons did not originate in the West, they were imported from the East via such frequent fliers as Tamera Fitz Gloster and Aonghais dubdh MacTarbdh. Caid was the first to adopt the custom which quickly spread throughout the Kingdom, as well as mutating into such oddities as cloved watermelons etc. If I were to make a ballpark guess, I would say about AS IX or X.” – Kevin Peregrynne
Queen Carol’s Guide
“When did the first "Queen Carol's Guide" show up?”
“Queen Carol's Guide first came out after our fourth reign (1975), I think. It was originally titled the "Current Middle Ages Handbook." I may have to check with Bjo Trimble. It was Bjo who renamed it to QCG. She and John along with Diane Studebaker, Michael of Moria and a whole bunch of other folks contributed to first, second, and third printings. I gave QCG to the SCA and the booklet was carried by the stock clerk for a number of years. If anyone out there has a better memory (I have sometimers disease), feel free to comment.” – Carol of Bellatrix
“I don't think I was the one who changed titles on this booklet, but it could have happened. I do remember it being a nice little booklet with loads of handy hints for entering the SCA and getting along in the organization. I also remember redoing the layout for it, and seeing it printed in our basement on the Crown Prints offset press.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani“In this discussion of Queen Carol's Guide, we should really mention its predecessor, which was created by Leanne of Maywood sometime around AS III. It was a charming introduction, but refused to take things like Heralds and most of Leanne's political opponents very seriously, and many people thought it was a bit snide.“It really seems to me like I read a copy of Queen Carol's Guide when I first joined the SCA in September of 1974. I think it was mimeographed, I know the Page was at this time. I remember helping move the press into the Trimble's basement (it was the heaviest thing I had ever moved) while I was living next door in Dragonkeep. I lived in Dragonskeep from the summer of 1976 until September of1978, when I got married. I think the Trimbles bought the press when Randolph the Devious got out of the printing business, probably in 1977, so the printing of Queen Carol's Guide probably occurred in late 1977 or early 1978. If someone can tell us when Paul and Carol were on the throne, we should be able to pin this down.” – Robear du Bois“Actually, we got the Crown Prints press from a non-fan who ran a small menu-printing business in his garage, not from Randolph, whose dad's presses were *MUCH* larger than we could have fit in the basement. That really doesn't help set any dates on the booklet, but clears up one small point, anyway.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani“I seem to remember the QCG already existed when I joined the SCA which would be before Carol's last reign.” – Martin the Temperate“I'm glad Martin recalls there being a Queen Carol's Guide when he joined, because I was fairly sure it existed when I joined, which was after Martin. The version done in the Trimble's basement was a reprint, although it might have been expanded at this point. John Trimble recalls this as occurring during her last reign, which would be between August 1977 and December 1977. Carol thought the first edition came out in her fourth reign (January 1975 to May 1975), but I think it may have been her third reign (May 1973 to August 1973). This is before I joined the SCA, and I think it is before Martin joined. Considering the growth rate of the Society in this period, I suspect Queen Carol's Guide had been reprinted several times before it was printed by the Trimbles. I was aware that the Trimble's press did not come from Randolph, but I thought that the loss of access to those professional units was the event that precipitated the acquisition of the press. Wasn't the press originally jointly owned by the Trimbles and the Crown Prints? I think a few of the first issues of The Complete Anachronist were also printed on this press.” – Robear du Bois“It was a revision, where we added illos, changed the layout entirely, and did some minor editing as well.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani“... it had been out of print for a couple of years by that time. There were a few badly photo-copied copies around, which is what caused me to talk to Carol about a new update.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani[Press ...] “Sorry, misunderstood you. When Randolph stopped working at his dad's printing company, to follow his real love of doing chain-link crafts for Renaissance Faires, the Crown Prints lost a very cheap printing source. This loss started a search for a press we had more control over. Since we had a basement large enough for it, and our house was centrally located, we proposed to buy a press and house it in our basement. Randolph helped us locate an A.B. Dick offset press and looked it over for us. We also found a professional-sized copy camera at a decent price, and set up our own darkroom in the basement. The Trimbles bought this, because Caid didn't have any funds for it at that time. We sold it to Caid during Adrian and Elisaide's reign (and despite their vigorous opposition). The SCA BoD was persuaded to loan the Caid Chronicler's office the funds to purchase the press from us.” – Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani“Not Complete Anachronists -- they were always published by someone else. I think Robear remembers that one of the "catch-up" issues of T.I. was printed on the Crown Prince press. John thinks it was issue #50, but he wouldn't guarantee that.” - Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani
“What do you think about the Ducal Prerogative (a Duke may enter the Crown Lists and fight until they feel like dropping out, without having to swear that they intend to win the lists during the Invocation of the Lists ceremony ...)?
“What started the Ducal Prerogative in the first place? Was there a particular event, time, etc. that was the cause of it? Was it ever used? (In the last 20+ years I have never heard of it actually being used by a Duke ...)”
[Editor’s note: this question came up in AS XXXIV (1999), when the King at the time wanted to re-institute (or so he thought), Ducal Prerogative – the discussion below describes what the real Ducal Prerogative was – the King was talked to before actually instituting his version and it ended up not happening ... Hirsch]
“The Ducal Prerogative to participate in Crown until they decide to
retire from the fighting prior to the finals, has been around
as far as I know as long as there have been Dukes. The origin
was two-fold, it was supposedly one of several prerogatives that set Dukes
apart from other peers - among which were also the right to approach
and address the King without being bidden and to counsel the Crown
on any matters where the Duke felt the Crown was in need of
guidance (sort of Great Lords of State without portfolio). The other
origin was a practical matter - in the early years the only tourneys
were Crown Tournies so the prerogative was created to "allow Dukes the
fun of fighting competitively without having to take the crown (and
thus miss all the fighting at the next tourney)."
“In terms of Realpolitik it allowed Dukes the power to affect the outcome of the Crown competition without having to win the event themselves. At least one Duke on this list exercised the prerogative more than once in the first half dozen or so years of the Kingdom, and it was an open secret that he remained in the lists only until a certain other fighter had been eliminated. I don't recall any other invocations of the prerogative by other Dukes, but then it was never an issue for me.
“The practice fell into disuse toward the second half of the decade and was only mentioned as a possible source of controversy should it be exercised in one of the higher rounds (e.g., stepping out of the competition just before the semis would effectively 'select' one of the finalists as well as giving him the rest from a bye) or used to give a friend or protege a bye in any round.
“It is this kind of abuse of power subtext to the prerogative that would lead me to advise the Crown to think twice before dusting it off and bringing it back into practice.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“The Ducal Prerogative was established on Twelfth Night II when we
established the SCA and created the first Knights, Dukes, Laurels, etc.
“Originally the Ducal Prerogative was to NOT ENTER THE CROWN LISTS. This was based on the Knightly Prerogative, which was entering the Crown Lists BY RIGHT -- which was therefore presumed to be an obligation to do so if the Knight was present and in good health -- as opposed to by invitation.
“Since Dukes had already been King twice, the Ducal Prerogative was established to get them out of HAVING to enter the lists (in fact Dukes were invented in part for this reason).
“At the same time the right to advise the Crown was built in -- because of the Duke's presumed great knowledge having been King at least three times in the past.
“The Ducal Prerogative was subsequently modified to be the right to DEPART the Crown Lists at the Duke's pleasure. This modification was never part of custom or law in the Kingdom of the West; it originated in Atenveldt back when Atenveldt was one of just four kingdoms if I remember correctly -- and was prevalent custom in Ansteorra, the Outlands and Atenveldt but I'm not sure if it really was used anywhere else. I had a long discussion with a couple of Atenveldt Dukes about how the Ducal Prerogative had mutated there, and was told quite frankly their perspective was that the Ducal Prerogative was "anything they could get away with" and in fact in the late 70s/early 80s Atenveldt custom paid a lot more respect/courtesy/"grovelling" and so forth to Dukes than it did to the current Monarch. Remember however that this was the Denis/Deaton era.
“Henrik and I had a talk about this at 25 ear because he remember the D.P. as being the right to withdraw and I am quite certain I have it right, because I helped write the original ceremonies creating the SCA. I don't know whether Henrik was persuaded but I'm sure he remembers the conversation!” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
“I do remember the discussion, my only persuasion is that I remember withdrawing from a Western Crown List – where I hadn’t lost any combats, and I remember that occurred before the West had any contact with the fledgling Barony of Atenveldt. It is quite possible that I had misunderstood the official definition of Ducal Prerogative, but no one called me on it if I had, and so I did in my mind exercise my Ducal Prerogative so that I wouldn’t have to be King, but still got to fight in the tournament.” – Henrik of Havn“P.S. I forgot to mention that a "nifty extension" to the D.P. in a couple of places was to allow the Duke to ENTER the Crown Lists at any time, speaking of Kevin's observation about Realpolitk!” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
“I think Siegfried's memories may have faded a bit. As far as I can recall there was never any other interpretation of the prerogative other than the one Henrik applied. His comments about being excused from the obligation to enter the lists ring true with my own recollections which date back the era of the original three Dukes (prior to Siegfried's second victory and subsequent elevation to Duke). “ – Kevin Peregrynne“Here are the words from the original ceremony of Twelfthnight 1968.” – Andrew of Riga“True, I became a Duke upon stepping down the second time, you became a Duke upon the moment of your successor being crowned, NOT when the ceremony of Duking happened. That is because (a) one becomes a Duke because of having been King twice, not because of being created one, and (b) therefore the original Dukings were recognitions of fact. (The only 'grandfather' in this was Fulk who had won at least twice but never actually sat as King by the time we created Dukes at 12th Night AS II.)” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“Another point where his recollection varies from mine is of the 'founding'. Twelfth Night II (January 1968) marked the original mass knighting and the creation of the Laurel, but Dukes were already around and had been at least since the previous summer when I first started hanging around the group (Dukes Richard, Fulk and Henrik were the objects of much hero-worship among the high school aged crowd).” – Kevin Peregrynne“They may have been objects of hero-worship but they weren't called Dukes. We chose Duke specifically because it was the only English noble title which could be demonstrated to not always have been connected with land (albeit after our period) -- we were being very careful to try and avoid titles which suggested landedness since we didn't have any land.
“Folks weren't called "Knights" either. There was a loose group of the better fighters who wore a very thin red baldric and for the life of me I can't remember what we called the group. But you can see the baldrics very clearly in a couple of the early home movies from the second year of the Society.
“Up to Twelfth Night II in January of 1968 there was a lot of looseness about what the group was and what it was doing -- we oscillated a lot between medieval, fantasy, and so forth (several of the Tolkeinish names go way back as you can imagine). I think the final selection of medieval titles and all that started to settle things. The obvious exception was King, and nobody who saw one of the early three on the throne had much doubt about the right term to use anyhow.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“Dave is right that the Dukes were made official at 12th Night II. There may have been mention of the term earlier, but Richard and I (I don’t recall that Ken was there) each received then a strip of 16 or 18 gauge by about 1 1/8" wide copper, bent into a circle with the unfastened ends overlapping (24" long?) And about head size. These were our Ducal “coronets”. I don’t recall if we were “crowned” with these at the time. I made copper strawberry leaf clusters and riveted them on mine and sized it to fit me. Richard never did wear his.” – Henrik of Havn“As far as the proposal to allow Dukes to both enter and depart the Crown Lists at will goes...frankly it sucks - both politically due to the probability of abuse, chivalrically since it completely destroys any pretense of fair play and equal competition, and administratively since it would totally foul up the seeding and arrangement of the order of the fights.” – Kevin Peregrynne“Boy did it ever suck. There was no 'probability' of abuse in the Kindgoms that used this one either. It was quite explicitly a tool that either the Duke in person or the reigning monarch used to control the outcome of the lists, and accepted as such.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“Does the proposal allow the Duke to pick his opponent in the round he enters too?” – Kevin Peregrynne“Yup, or the monarch.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“Whoever thought this up at the very least did not think it through, at the worst he/they are the blackest villians in SCA history.” – Kevin Peregrynne“Well, maybe not the blackest, but the whole Ducal Prerogative thing was very heavily misused in the SW part of the country in my opinion.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
“Wow, so much for being "sure" -- Kevin was right, I'm getting hazy in my old age. Lead me away gently, boys ...“When I was up and coming, I never liked the idea of the Ducal Prerogative (to enter with the intent to drop out later.) Though it emulates the concept of warring factions, and may therefore perhaps be very medieval, I always felt the crown tournament held a more "Arthurian" flavor, and fair play, chivalry, etc. were more important factors.
“I remembered the intent but forgot the context. At that time (and this is only about 20 months from the beginning) there was really the one group and the events pretty much all followed the same patter of grand march, lists, acknowledging the winner and his lady. In essence the only "lists" other than some startup bouts were the elimination lists for winning, and the only winning was to be the next King and Queen (remember at this point there had been approximately seven or eight of these, plus a war and a few other things).
“What we were after was to say that the Dukes could fight but didn't have to be fighting for the Crown but for sport, in which case the win/lose of the fights they fought didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the Crown Lists even if happening at the same time and perhaps having people who were also competing for the Crown fighting those fights with the Dukes (remember all fights were in front of "the populace and the Crown").
“Notice that they were to put aside Ducal rank when competing for the Crown, by the way, and were not to wear their coronets while engaged in the competition -- I don't know if that clause was ever honored, or even if the distinction that somehow they "weren't Dukes" while competing for the Crown was ever bothered with even in the very early days -- certainly the first helm with a Ducal coronet on it showed up relatively soon.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit“I don’t recall this text from the original ceremony ever was published or otherwise widely disseminated amongst the populous – so mis-remembrance is most likely just what happened. As King, I got to see it and read it at my leisure, but still I don’t recall “taking home” a copy to keep and refer to from time to time. If Andrew and/or others have copies of original text, that should be included here as part of the History.” – Henrik of Havn“Having mis-remembered exactly how the original phrasing ran (to my embarrassment) and having therefore reread the phrasing that Andy sent -- it seems clear that there was never any intent to allow the Ducal Prerogative to be entering the Crown Lists and then dropping out later. Either the Duke entered the lists to win in the first place, or he could have fights which weren't being counted as part of the lists. It is also apparent how a misreading or misremembering of what was said could have led to the original mutation. I first encountered the "right to withdraw" version in Atenveldt somewhere between 1975 and 1980, and have always believed it originally gained currency there -- but after this one I'm not going to claim accuracy for my memory, either.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
[What do you think about the Ducal Prerogative?] “Personally, I think it's stupid. At the same time, I tended, if memory serves me right, to support it in the old days as being traditional.” – Steven MacEanruig
[What started the Ducal Prerogative in the first place? Was there
a particular event, time, etc. that was the cause of it?] “It sort
of goes back, with much confusion, to allowing the few really
good fighters of the early days to fight at tournaments while still
allowing the other fighters a chance to win. There was no particular
event that I recall that kicked it off. I tend to think of it as
an amorphous tradition. To my memory, the last person to use it was
Paul in the crown that I won. Afterwards there was considerable debate about
it publicly and the decision was made to pretty much eliminate it.
“At this point I'd have to say that bringing it back strikes me as a very bad idea. There are enough good fighters around that the crown is not dominated by any very small group any more. My feeling is that it rather cheapens the honor of winning the crown. I'd have to think about it more, however, before making my mind up solidly.” – Steven MacEanruig
“I should mention one other Ducal Prerogative that Duke Richard was adamant about retaining while he was still active. This was the right of Dukes (and their ladies) to march at the very end of the Grand March. Unlike the prerogative under consideration, which I think should be left in abeyance, there was no problem with the end-of-march prerogative.” – Wilhelm von Schlüssel
“I think Richard tends to want this as a personal prerogative. His explanation to me was that no one should have to feel that they are the least important person, marching last, in the grand march. Therefore, he, as the senior duke decided that he would always march last himself.” – Steven MacEanruig“A few comments regarding ducal Prerogative in Atenveldt“Actually Richard and I at one time or another when we both were active, traded off on who would be last, one tourney it was his turn, the next it was mine, etc. My reasons were the same, others in line who may not have had any seniority should not feel less welcome or important than those with ... That also was why I always had Grand Marches that included all those present (not just peers) – in spite of numerous objections – claims of insufficient time, etc. – during my reigns.” – Henrik of Havn
[Ducal Prerogative] “Not Good Idea
“No need for it today other than personal selfishness.
“Does not benefit Kingdom or populace.
“Currently outlawed by edict of King Jean when laws of West were codified – and it was omitted as were many other previous laws and proclamations.
“Original reasons for its institutions no longer are applicable:
“a - There are plenty of opportunities to fight in the SCA and/or West Kingdom, where the Crown is not won by the Victor.
“b - In the early years when the SCA, much less the Kingdom of the West, was trying to define itself in all aspects socially, politically, historically, legally, re-creationally, etc., the power of an individual to significantly affect the direction each of these aspects might evolve through misuse of the office of King was of concern to many. The King was the ultimate power in the Kingdom, since all Great Officers were “his representative” and so ultimately were answerable to the Crown. Before incorporation (in 1968) there was no higher authority!
“Body Blocking” (the prevention of an undesirable tourney entrant from winning or preventing a good fighter from eliminating a desirable entrant from reaching the finals - by fighting in the competition for the crown until the “bad” competitor was out of the running or the “good” competitor had a clear shot at winning, and then (the Duke) dropping out of the competition) was a way that the “Ducal Prerogative” could be applied to influence the outcome of the competition. Keep in mind, however, that all of this still had a strong element of chance involved, since the pairing of fighters was out of the control of all the fighters as was the determination of the victor in each combat. Skill at fighting might “stack the deck” in a Duke’s favor, but was no guarantee of a predicted outcome.
“There are no new reasons for it to be revived, that can be justified in terms of need or good conscience.” – Henrik of Havn
“Henrik made a very good point (that had never occurred to me) that the "Ducal Prerogative" was automatically abolished as a matter of law in the West when it was not included in the Code of Laws proclaimed at the very end of King Jean's reign.“I wasn't around in the first couple of years, when the "Ducal Prerogative" was being used. However, I was told by the oldtimers (i.e. people who were around for the first couple of years) that the prerogative was to be able to fight at a Crown Tourney without having to ENTER the Crown Lists. I was told that there were so few fighters, and so few tourneys, that the rule had been "If you do any fighting at a Crown Tourney, you have to enter the Crown Lists". The Ducal Prerogative allowed the Dukes to still fight at the event, but not have to enter the Lists - since they had already proven their ability to win.” – Verena of Laurelin
“To make one thing clear, first of all, Siegfried was the first King to make written law in the SCA, which was published in the Page (or whatever it was then). It began dramatically with "The King's Word is Law," and was very well written. However, it didn't replace all the oral proclamations of every other King, but simply co-existed with them. The arguments over different peoples remembered versions (usually involving Edwin &/or Caradoc citing unwritten law to support actions they took as marshals) were rather annoying to myself and many others. Therefore, when Jean won the Crown (first of my household to do so), I asked him if he would mind if I wrote an exclusive Kingdom Code of Laws. He said OK. Due to my usual procrastination, I barely finished it in time for the end of his reign. He glanced at it for a moment and had the Herald read it aloud. (Then it was published for all to have.)
“I incorporated most everything of Siegfried's and added whatever seemed appropriate, useful, and generally how we were doing it anyway, but at the end, I added "all proclamations of previous reigns (save appointments of officers) not herein included are hereby rescinded" and further stated that all future changes of Kingdom Law were to be in the form of amendments to this Code. All Monarchs since have honored this. I don't think I left "Ducal Prerogatives" out on purpose, but just by accident, but Henrik is right, after that it was merely custom, not law. Incidentally, Don & Diana objected to my putting Courts of Chivalry in Kingdom Law, saying they were corporate level law. I asked Don just where the hell corporate law existed outside of his head and he responded by inventing the Corpora (the first written law at SCA corporate level, outside of mundane articles of incorporation & by-laws) Now we have stacks of written laws at all levels in the SCA and I guess it's my fault, but oral tradition works well only in small groups, I'm afraid.” – Robert of Dunharrow
“Close, but not quite. Basically it was that the Knights and Masters who attended/fought were required to fight in the crown lists. The theory, as I recall it, was that having been King twice was enough to try anyone's interest in the group and they should be allowed to not have to do it again if they didn't want to.” – Steven MacEanruig“Now, here's my opinion. Please don't get riled up if you don't agree with me I strongly disagree with the interpretation currently being used of the "Prerogative" and disagreed when Dukes did this before. I feel it is extremely unchivalrous for any fighter to enter the Crown Lists without the intention of winning. To me, he/she is dishonoring their consort by not valuing them enough to want to fight all the way for them. For any fighter who loses to a Duke who later withdraws, it is a much more terrible and hurtful loss than it would already be. Think back to your early events and how you would feel if you entered the Lists thinking you were too new/unskilled/whatever to actually win but that you were going to try your best--and then get eliminated by someone who quit the Lists because he/she wasn't interested in winning at all! All Royal Peers should set an example of chivalry and courtesy even more than other peers in my opinion, and this is setting a very BAD one. Some of the fighters say that the Crown Lists are the only place where they get the best fighting, where everyone is at their peak. While this may have been true at some point in the past, it hasn't been true for years. Go to events where other honors or prizes can be won if you think it takes a lists to get in your best fighting (I don't think it should). I know that the prize tourney at Egil's, for example, has been a much harder and more exciting lists for decades than most Crown Lists -- and has more Royal Peers per square foot than I've seen anywhere (except at Estrella or the SCA Anniversary events). Great fighting and you win a really great prize!
Naming of Events
“One thing I have always wanted to know is when and where were the events designated by horrific weather conditions? You know, FREEZE IN THE TREES, BAKE AT THE LAKE, etc.”
“Well, I don't know if it is even still remembered, but at least the first "Long Day's Tourney Into Night" was the Crown Lists at the San Anselmo Theological Academy in March 1968; we had to have a delay to move the fighting indoors at about the quarter finals because we couldn't see each other any more. The Marsh Crown Tourney was in Alameda in 1975 and accurately named for the conditions, to say nothing of the webfooted fighters.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
“I see that Siegfried beat me to "Long Day's Tourney into Night"
and "Eric". Someone else will have to do "Freeze in the Trees".
“Marsh Crown has been gone over in detail here, held at Coyote
Creek (around AS VI I think, the earlier discussions should pin-point
it). March Drown was at Alameda Seashore a year or so later.
“The "Bake by/at the Lake" was Paul and Rowena's Purgatorio Coronation at Lake Berryessa in August of 1982 - the temperature was in the 100's the whole time with little shade and the majority of the populace spent most of their time in the lake.
“A couple of other SCA-isms... "Lords in Lurking" is the male cognate for Ladies in Waiting and was coined by the predominantly Rieslinger contingent of Douglas' attendants during his first reign. "Laddies in Waiting" was coined for William of Houghton's attendants when he was Maythen's consort during her reign as Princess of the Mists.” – Kevin Peregrynne
“‘Freeze in the Trees’ was the March Crown held up in the mountains, March of 87 ... it snowed, it was a cold, wet snow, and most people in attendance weren’t really prepared for the weather despite all kinds of advance notice of what it was likely to be like ...” – Hirsch von Henford
Throne Herald/Other Officer Queries
“Someone asked about "Throne Herald" and "Throne Seneschal" and where they came from, what their purpose is, and I suppose why they no longer exist ...?”
“Throne Seneschal is an office I initiated (I believe), either by doing
as Jon DeCles deputy or instituting it when I took over as the
second Seneschal of the Kingdom. Essentially, the throne Seneschal was
the Seneschal on duty to the King and essentially the voice of the
Seneschalate in most matters unless a real Representative-of-the-Board-of-Directors/Corporation
decision was needed. And, of course, if I happened to be Throne Seneschal at
the time, which I often was, then it was all combined in one.
“It was also a designation of my chief deputies. If someone was a Throne Seneschal, then you knew I had enough faith in the person to at least come get me if something looked squirrelly. When folks like William the Lucky and Andre de Sevastopol were on Throne duty, they pretty much operated independently because I knew they could do it.
“I don't recall whether we copied the practice from the Heralds or they took it from us. Throne Herald, to the best of my knowledge, was on duty to be the immediate Voice of the King.
“As for why the offices have lapsed ... Beats me. maybe too many kings who liked to roam too far from the Thrones?” – Stefan de Lorraine, who has an interesting picture from about AS IV showing himself and the current Throne Herald looking terminally bored while the then King and Queen studiously ignored each other (not a good match).
“As I recall, in early days the King was supposed to sit in the Royal Pavilion more or less nonstop, so that when the fighters were asked to "salute the Crown" they'd know where it was.
“This got fairly boring for the King, so the Throne Seneschal was somebody for him to talk to.
“When Hal and I made the redwood thrones in AS I-forget-what, we put the arms of the King and Queen on the back of their respective thrones, positioned so that while they were seated, you would see the wreath of laurel or roses around their heads.
“And when they were not on the thrones, you could see the crowns carven and gilded on the wood, and the fighters had something to salute.
“And then the King could wander about if he felt like it and that function of the Throne Seneschal was no longer necessary.” – Dorothea of Caer-Myrdynn
“I remember them being gentles who took on the duties of herald and seneschal to the crown, on a rotating basis, during the day at an event. They stood beside the throne in case the King or Queen needed their services. They were never really used in An Tir, except when the Crown of the West would travel up here. I think perhaps that the first time I remember hearing the term was when we were preparing for the first Coronet Tourney that Lions Gate ever hosted for An Tir, when Kevin Perigrynne and Patrice de Couer Fidel were coming up as King and Queen of the West. I can't recall them being used after that either.” – Melissa Kendal of Westmoreland
“Throne Seneschal - similar to "officer on duty", usually performed in 2
hour stints through out the day and early evenings of major events. The
person stood guard, with a marshallate staff, near to His Majesty.
The person ran errands, provided information and advice, and any
other service requested by His Majesty.
“Roving Mistress of Arts - deputy position to The Mistress of Arts. Performed some of the following duties - collected and arranged for performers at events to perform for Their Majesties, provided instruction, guidance and inspiration to local areas who did not have an Arts Minister, arranged and/or conducted classes whenever and where-ever.” – Sabrina de la Bere
Invocation / 'Herb of Virtue'?
Originally posted on Facebook, April 6, 2016, in response to a query about the standard West Kingdom Invocation oath, and the line about banning magical charms from the lists. Posted by Hirsch von Henford, trimmed just a little here, but not much (also note that there are some comments, mostly at the end, that change this story a bit):
In the Invocation of the Lists for the Crown and the Principalities of the West, you hear this line:
"Then upon pain of expulsion from these Lists, let none here present enter these lists bearing any stone, charm, or herb of virtue, by which they hope to gain advantage over their opponent."
Before getting into the explanation, note that I had been asked privately about this about a year ago (give or take a few months) as the discussion had come up on the "Unbelted Fighters List". I happen to have contact with many of the old timers who are still with us through an email list, and posed the question about the line in the Invocation given above.
Many have speculated this was a reference to marijuana (herb of virtue), etc. This is not actually the case ... although apparently there were situations later on related to that particular herb ... I didn't get a really clear answer at the time, and I basically told the individual who asked me that it was "probably about Marijuana". Turns out I was wrong.
A few months after I had posted the question to the "old timers" list, "Anonymous Duke" came up to me at an event, and we wandered off and he explained things as he recalled them. This is my re-telling of the tale.
Come gather 'round children while Uncle Hirsch tells a tale of magic and freaking out our own out so badly that the King had to step in and deal with it.
Back in the single-digit years of the SCA, as the group was getting founded, traditions were getting started, and Flieg was young, many very high ideals were held based on such books as Le Morte d'Artur, and The Once and Future King (and the musical Camelot was huge at the time -- partially because of JFK). We're all at least somewhat familiar with the Arthurian mythos, and the wizard Merlin.
In the SCA there was a person going by "Isaac the Unlikely" who had organized a magicians guild. This guild was based on the idea that magic was real, and that they could actually have an effect on things, such as the weather. There is a section of commentary about 12th Night, A.S. VI (http://history.westkingdom.org/Year6/TwelfthNight.htm) where some "fu" regarding weather occurred. That's an interesting read on its own. (Note: Isaac was mundanely Isaac Bonewits, and I was told that he had earned a degree in Magic from Cal Berkeley, because in the 60s you could design your own degree program ... I wasn't involved, didn't know the people at the time, and cannot verify this beyond what I have been told, so ... take it as you will. He did publish some books on magic, as I understand it. He passed away in 2010.)
Our story has to do with Tournaments, and fighters, and ... magic. This is a summary of what I was told by "Anonymous Duke" (leaving out some names):
As the story goes, a fighter was doing well in the lists that Isaac the Unlikely did not approve of. It was the understanding that in order to keep him from winning the lists, Isaac performed a spell. Call it a hex, call it a curse, call it black magic, call it ... whatever. This was designed to keep this fighter from having a good day in the tournament.
Apparently some folk in the early days of the SCA believed that this might have a real effect on things, and were not pleased.
A few ladies "of note" (high ranking ladies) were so concerned by this, that they created a "White Magic" group to counter it. Over a tourney or two Isaac and his guild started doing this to various people (hexing/cursing/whatever-ing). And the White Magic group tried to counter ... oddly enough one way of doing that was to have someone carry a charm, or wear an "herb of virtue", or ... And things escalated a bit at a time. Over a period of a few months, it reached the point where everyone was aware it was happening, whether or not they believed in magic at all, and it really upset a lot of folk. (Remember that the Kingdom was much smaller, and nearly everyone knew nearly everyone else.)
This came to the attention of the King, who I am told was Paul of Bellatrix. Anyone who knows His Grace knows that he is not one to put up with a lot of what appeared to be idiocy (whether or not YOU believe in magic, he didn't, and this was causing a lot of stress). So, His Majesty told everyone in court to knock it off!
I was recently corrected privately -- apparently Paul did (and does) believe in magic and mysticism, but is a bit of a skeptic as well. Mostly he was not amused by the antics going on, and wanted to put a stop to them. Correction from his son Brion of Bellatrix
Oddly enough, they did. And within a short amount of time the wording given above (or something similar) was added to the Invocation oath for Crown Tournaments, and over the years added to the Principality Invocations as well. ("Anonymous Duke" told me he did not remember a specific command that this happen, but it did ...)
It was pointed out to me by "Anonymous Duke" that very few people could have had that effect at that time -- with just a simple "Stop doing that!", it stopped. And the Invocation oath has carried that wording ever since. A while later Isaac departed from the SCA (to some, a big sigh of relief), and he went off to do other things.
End of story. I hope this helps explain why the Invocation Oath has that specific line in it. Now drink your hot chocolate (or whatever is in those cups), get tucked into bed, and sleep well ...
And some Commentary:
It is a nice story, but that's not how I remember things. I will admit that my memory for such things is not the best.
As I recall, that line was in the oath at the time that I joined the Society in late 1970. I didn't fight in a Crown Lists until 1971.
Isaac's degree was in "Magic", but it was actually a degree in sociology, studying "magic" and it's place in and effects on society. He did make a big thing about it.
The only problem I recall with Isaac is that he kept lobbying for more recognition and respect for his guild of "magicians". At one time, I thought the best tactic was to make him Kingdom Magician, but with no duties or powers, but with encouragement to keep on with his "weather and healing magic". This worked, to a degree, but eventually he and his group came up in court, at one 12th Night, and demanded more respect and perogatives. However, this just after I had stepped down, and James was now on the throne. James chewed him out and sent them packing. I don't remember any other problems after that. Maybe we can discuss it at Golden Beltane. There should be a number of people there who predate me in the Society.
One amusing incident was a time, after I had appointed him Kingdom Magician, that I got a call at about 1:30am from someone in San Diego who was complaining that a person in Los Angeles was launching psychic attacks at her, and wanted me to make them stop. I gave her Isaac's phone number, and told her to call him.
Just to clarify, Brion is correct that I do believe in magic and mysticism, but you have to demonstrate it in the manner of an experiment in the physical sciences for me to agree that a particular instance was indeed magic. And I'm pretty hard to convince. I haven't come across anything yet that I would call "magic". I do use what I refer to as "chi" in my fighting and some other instances, but I am careful not to define it. "Chi" is just an easy name to use when talking about whatever it is. And I can demonstrate its use - still not magic, just something we don't understand.
Paul of Bellatrix
Interesting. I remember it referring to someone else entirely, but can't give you enough details to refute the story. I won't name names either. I'm still friends with some of them. I do know that Issac was thought of as a crackpot by most everyone, and I never heard of him having an opinion about who was fighting, but he was not above letting someone egg him on. Be that as it may, there were some rumors about "amulets" or little leather bags worn around some people's necks containing various substances. I do agree that it wasn't originally referring to marijuana.
Patrice di Coeur Fidel
It's easier than that -- the invocation is stole from Dorothy Dunnet's Lymond Chronicles, I believe from the first volume. Page 413 of Game of Kings (found in Google books: It does look as if we just stole the line, not the whole thing). The whole thing we may quite possible blame on Randall of Hightower or possibly Dorothea (since she helped a lot with ceremony in the early days)."... you must swear that ... no stone or herb of virtue, no charm, experiment or other enchantment by whose power you believe you may the easier overcome your adversary ..."
Frederick of Holland
Wooden Spoon Questions
“I'm trying to get some history on the Wooden Spoon. When was it started, what was its intent, when did it get changed from being a Lesser Office, and anything else you can think of.”
(The following event copy was posted to the History List, and ... the following responses came back ...)
May 29, 1971 AS VI -- First Queen’s Tea
Held in Ruth’s honor in Redwood Bowl, Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, California. The Order of the Wooden Spoon was created, and the first competition, for Medieval Confections, was won by Rima of Rockridge.
“Certainly not the first Queen's Tea. Both Queen Amy of Exeter
and Queen Ellen (?) had held Tea's for the ladies of the Kingdom.
“It may be the first time the Wooden Spoon was competed for, though. I imagine Geraldine invented it. I have some vague memory of her doing so and having events in Redwood Bowl was one of her favorite occupations. And Hagen and Ruth were members of Toad Hall/Dunharrow.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who never even got to judge a Wooden Spoon ...
“Stephen is correct. The ladies were having informal competitions for creation of best dishes, my lady among them. Lady Geri produced a wooden spoon and announce a formalization of the competition at this tournament. The most active participants for the competition were Geri, Karina of Eastmark (Karen Anderson) and Janice of Illwheirlane. Among the fabulous dishes were Geri's salads, Karen's Haggis' (little hedghogs) and Janice's squirrel and coney pie.” – David of Illwheirlane
“I can't tell you much about the very early times. Geraldine of Toad Hall, Linda of Collinswood and others ran the WS before my time. We had a competition at each tournament, with points given for taste, presentation, authenticity and documentation. Judges for each competition were selected by the Mistress of the Wooden Spoon and were normally members of the Order Wooden Spoon and the Queen if she wished to participate. I've copied Rima (Sharon Green) since she won that first competition, I'm sure she could provide much more history than I can. Dorothea of Caer Myrddin (Dorothy Heydt) won a couple times in the early days and is still in the area. She also might have information if someone can locate her. Hope this helps.” – Annette of Faire Monte
“The Kingdom cooking competition was King Hagen's idea. He and Ruth
were talented cooks. I think they were sitting in our living
room with Geri & me when the idea was brought up. I believe Geri
came up with the big wooden spoon for the award (one that passed
along, like the MGC) and that gave the Order of the Wooden
Spoon its name. Geraldine ran it for several years, choosing
categories, recruiting judges, etc. The original spoon passed along until
one time the judges awarded a first-place tie. Standing before court, with
the two winners called forth, Geri dramatically broke the spoon in
twain, giving half to each winner. Mistress Annette (newly on
the list) later ran the Wooden Spoon and could probably tell more about
the order's history.
“I now wonder if my comments about 3 crown & 3 coronation events got through. I think it was Siegfried's idea (ask him directly?), implemented by then King Caradoc at then Crown Prince Siegfried's request at a Curia (or meeting of some sort) shortly after March Crown III. I think that was also the time I became the first West Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, appointed by Caradoc at Siegfried's recommendation. Anyway, the first overnight of May IV was the first time I began twisting arms to extort cash from the populace. The Kingdom had not a penny of its own before that.” – Robert Dunharrow
Chaos Condottiere/House Chaos
“Last week, while driving past the Chaos Crags at Mount Lassen, I found myself thinking about the Chaos Condottiere. Before the First Caid Rebellion, some fighters in Caid were predicting that we would be eaten alive in a matter of seconds by the Chaos Condottiere, but they apparently did not show up. I heard no more about them, so I assume the group was in the process of dissolution by late AS IX. Are they mentioned somewhere in the history? Who made up the group, and when was it active as a group? Who led them and who did they fight? Those of us who missed being wiped out by them would like to know more.” – Robear du Bois
“As I recall, the Chaos Condottiere was sort of the unofficial
name for the fighters in Chaos. We tended to refer to ourselves more
as the Company of Chaos. By the first CAID rebellion the members would have
been something like Paul of Bellatrix, Stefan de Lorraine, myself
(Steven MacEanruig), Warren the Strange, and a number of others of
whom William the Lucky was one. William was in Headless House,
not Chaos. Hilary either hadn't arrived or hadn't started fighting yet.
“None of the members of Chaos (basically the household of Stefan de Lorraine (Stephen Perrin) were involved in the creation of the Chaosium game company although Steve, Warren and I were three of the four authors of their first major product, RuneQuest, and Steve later worked there for several years.
“Fear of the Chaos Condottiere may stem back to one tournament in Caid where Paul, Steve, William and I challenged the barony and won three times in a row at something like thirteen to four odds.” – Steven MacEanruig
“Other members of the Company or Condottierie (when we were being mercenaries) were Houri the Savage, Andrew of Riga, Miles of the Shamrock, Eliazar Ben David, Jon the Lean, Robert of Westmarch, Cormac (MacEanruig's squire, the rest of whose name I forget), and two or three others who had careers of various lengths with the company. Not all of the above fought at the same time, but when a group of the above were on their game and working together, we were a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, my various attempts at organization and tactics never really worked. When we won, it was generally because we were just plain better than the people we were fighting.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who formed the Company because my squires and men at arms kept getting knighted and we wanted a reason to stick together.
“One part of the early Chronicles that keeps getting mentioned but never explained is the manuscript of the Tijuana Vikings.
“This was a book conceived by Jon DeCles and Dave Thewlis (just whose original idea it was they will have to explain) based on the very 1960s premise that if someone looked enough out of their period, and acted enough out of their period, they would be essentially invisible to the "mundane" world. I believe the book came before the SCA, but I could be wrong about that. I was at one reading of the manuscript as it then existed and was quite amused by the clever and exuberant writing. Part of the appreciation of it no doubt involved the obvious use of members of the "band of brothers," Dave, Jon, Ken, Paul and, later, Jamie Baker, as the protagonists.
“Of course, as anyone who has been clothed in totally authentic knightly gear and talked to the curious police/tourists/hells angels can testify, the premise was completely wrong, but it was interesting and I think some of the attitudes and concepts in the manuscript helped form the basic ideas of the SCA.
“The book was actually finished after many years by Jon DeCles, but I don't know if it ever found a publisher. Did it ever get published in any form? I would like to see the final result, myself.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who likes a groaner of a pun at the end of every chapter...
“Okay, I guess I'd better step up to this one.
“The Tijuana Vikings was originally conceived well before the SCA. I originally met Paul Zimmer (Edwin) in 1961 on the east coast, and met Don Studebaker (Jon) in 1963 at Paul's place in Albany NY (I was stationed in Berlin in the Air Force but was back in the U.S. on leave, and went to visit them). The Tijuana Vikings was conceived then, and the first draft of the first few chapters were written between then and 1966 by mailing them back and forth, if I remember correctly.
“The "protagonist" of the book was named James A Baker, who was a commuter living in NYC, and the "plot line" was him stumbling across the original TJV (who in garb were "invisible" - see Steve's comments below) who had convinced some film company to build a replica of a viking ship at Martha's Vineyard. When it was finished they hijacked it and sailed around the horn to sack Tijuana on the theory, that it would be an event that *couldn't* be ignored and would help wake the world up to possibilities other than drab conformism (you can see about when the original plotline was conceived, huh?)
“In 1966 about midyear James O. Baker (Jaimie) came to work at Kaiser where I worked and the chance coincidence of names was amusing. I *think* chapter three and four might have been written in the summer of 1966, but they might have come earlier. Then in the fall of 1966 I was seized with a sudden rush of creative whatever and sat down and finished the first draft in about three days, and the type font and paper changes beginning with chapter five in the first draft. I then went back and wrote the second draft. So the book was finished and the second draft written across the summer and fall of the first year of the SCA, and it would be hard to say whether it reflected the basic attitudes and concepts of the SCA or vice versa.
“For some reason we had an agreement that Don would do the final draft (I think he convinced us on the grounds that he was the "professional writer" based on a regular column in a science fiction fanzine, but I don't remember for sure), so the second draft was turned over to him for final rewriting (the only copy). By 1972 or 1973 we still didn't have a final, but I heard from others that Don was doing things like cutting pages apart, stripping up, etc. which was in effect destroying the second draft. So I had one of the Rivendell/Greyhaven folk "borrow" the manuscript as it existed and copied the whole thing; I managed to salvage all but two chapters. I don't think Don ever knew we'd done that.
“In 1974 my house burned down just after New Year's and the pirate copy of the second draft perished in the flames. I still have the original draft.
“I don't know if Don ever actually finished his version, but as far as I know it was never published, and frankly I don't know if it would have been publishable. It started to evolve into an inside joke as you can imagine (actually it STARTED as an inside joke, there was just more of an inside by the time it got finished!). The writing was exuberant all right, but not necessarily all that good, and of course trying to resurrect it would (at least) call for a completely different story basis and plot line at this point. Except perhaps as a real period piece!” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
SCA Knights and the Knights of Malta?
November 10, 2005
"According to what I remember, at one point after the first couple of knights were made, someone brought a knight of Malta in to re-knight everyone, supposedly so that there would be an unbroken line between historical knights and SCA knights." -- Gaius Marcellus Liberius Auklandus
"It looks like a variant on the old story that somebody was a real knight so all SCA knights are real
knights. The core of that I tink was that Don Studebaker (Jon de Cles) was allegedly knighted (this was
before the SCA) by a friend (who might have been a Knight of Malta I suppose) and since he was supposed to
have knighted Ken and I at some point then.... Don made a reference to this in a note I saw not too long ago.
NB the irony of it is that if it WERE true then by SCA rules all the knights would either have to disown their "real" knighthoods or their SCA ones, along with the arms, etc., since you can't use your real identity or titles in the SCA!" -- Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
"The only Knight of Malta I know who was active in the SCA is Scott MacMillen, Bevin Frazier of Sterling's Lord. But I think he was only active in the early 1980's (AS 15 or so). This sounds like it might have happened in AS 2 or 3, so it is before his time. But Bevin might ask him if he ever heard any of the Knights of Malta speak of it." --Robear du Bois
"I had heard these rumors, for many years after I joined in A.S. VI. I do know that Sarkanyi was/is a Knight of St. John, and possibly he had also received a knighthood from King Peter of Yugoslavia; there are many out there (not necessarily our folk) who have accumulated various knighthoods in what is sometimes referred to as the "Twilight World of Chivalry." (And there are many honorary knights out in the real world, of various persuasions; depends on whether one is convinced that only the Sovereign of Great Britain can make a "real" knight--which, of course, is not true.)
"The main variation I had heard re SCA knights is that it was Siegfried who supposedly had received some real-world knighthood (St. John?--of which there are at least half a dozen varieties, including Knights of Malta. St. Lazarus? Knights Templar?--not the Masonic Templars, but one of the fifty-eleven other Templar orders that claim kinship with the historic knights) and had passed on his "apostolic succession" of knighthood to 1-3 others of the early knights, who in turn passed it on to everyone else they knighted--so that, in theory, all SCA knights do possess this link to real-world knights.
"[Just for the record, my husband is not a Knight of Malta (for which one must be Roman Catholic), but he does hold several other honorary knighthoods from various royal houses in Europe--though this has all happened since we moved to Ireland in 1986. And of course, he was never a knight in the SCA.]
"My understanding, however, re real-world titles of any sort, is that they simply don't carry over to the SCA; all SCA titles must be earned within our context, and there is no "checkbook chivalry" such as exists in the real world. (I remember a fellow in the Bay Area, around AS VIIIish, who claimed to be a real-world Italian count of some sort--can't remember his name, but Don Carlo Minetti comes to mind--but of course he was not allowed to use this rank. And in continental chivalry, Italy in particular, and I think France as well, all children of a count take the title of count or countess in the first generation, though only the senior male carries forward the ability for his children to be counts and countesses.)
"Not sure this realy resolves anything, but I was certainly aware of talk about the subject during my early years. But if Siegfried says he didn't do it, then I'm sure he didn't do it! " -- Bevin Fraser of Sterling
"Closest I can get to this was a guy in Sacramento about AS X-ish who was theoretically a "real" knight -- but he was never a knight in the SCA." -- Eilis O'Boirne
"Are you sure you're not thinking of the herald in Sac (Golden Rivers) who was theoretically a "real" herald? The gent was Donald Calavan, Lord MacCailavaghn of Macrae, about the same period. In 1979, von Schlussel uncovered some doubts about his official status, and removed him from office. http://www.sca.org/heraldry/loar/1979/10/cvr.html -- Edward of South-haven
"Absolutely no clue on this one. The closest thing to that that I can remember is that Edwin the
Bearsarks' original dress sword was a Knights of Columbus sword.
"Somehow, I don't think that's what you're looking for." -- Earl of Morris
"I never heard this story at the time- in fact this is the first that I have ever heard of it. There was
the round-about knighting- Henrik knighting fighters, and then getting knighted himself at the 12th night
mass knighting, but that was the only sort of thing that rings a bell. There was also some sort of story
involving Siegfried being a 'real' knight, but that was apocryphal- right Dave?
"Anyway, I may have an explanation for this. Some 3 or 4 years after the founding of the SCA, a story reached the West out the East Kingdom, that two East Kingdom subjects- I believe that one of them was sir Rakarai of Kamakura- had done a good turn to King Peter of Yugoslavia, and he made then Knights of a Yugoslavian order. I do not know if the story is true, or if I even remember it correctly. I may remember discussing this with Tom Conroy, and maybe David Bradley- Earl, do you remember this incident? Anyway, the general tone of the discussion as that while it was pretty cool, it did not matter for the SCA." -- James Greyhelm
"I really think this is a variant of the "real knights" story involving Ken and myself, vis Don - see my earlier post. Some form of that story has been around for virtually all of the SCA's existence - well, all of it with knights, anyhow. As I mentioned before, the irony is that, if true, every knight in the SCA would have to renounce his or her knightly status, arms and titles -- or somehow renounce the "real" status (if they could figure out what it was) since the SCA very explicitly says that real world titles, arms, etc. aren't transferable.
"I don't recall hearing the east kingdom story you recount at all." -- Siegfried von Hoflichskeit
"I think that Sharkanyi Gero, who was the herald for Angels under Baron Pwyl, claimed to be a Knight of some obscure order (perhaps something Spanish; they were selling people knighthoods during the Franco period). However, he was fading out of the picture about the time that Caid began to have more knights than Christian & Hugh, so I doubt that he was the source of this rumor (as if any Caidan knights would have paid any attention to him in any case)." -- John ap Griffin
"If I may intrude in the conversation of my betters:
"When I first started in the SCA, I was in correspondence with Fr. Hal Stockert, a Byzantine Catholic Priest who lives in what was then the East Kingdom. He was [and still is] a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria; and his father was a Grand duke of Russia. He has a number of Knighthoods mundanely.
"When I told Fr. Hal of the SCA, he was interested, and so I got him in touch with the then royalty of the Eastern Kingdom., who evidently thought he was full of bovine excrement. I asked if he could use his own registered arms, etc., and the then Queen blew him off, quite rudely. Fr. Hal decided from this incident that the SCA was not for him.
"As this happened around AS X or so, I doubt that this was the incident that you all were referring to, but I may be wrong." -- Roger of Belden Abbey
"What I remember being told when I joined in AS II (and I quickly got to know everyone & asked everyone lots of questions) was that the knighting of Sir Ardral (David Bradley) at the first tourney (which Diana intended as a one-time event) came about because he had come (at age 16) as his Uncle Paul's squire, while the older fighters (over 18 was "older" back then) more or less assumed the role of knight. When David bested his uncle in a combat, there arose a cry from the populace to knight him, which was done. (I'm not sure now who did it; Siegfried must know.) As the group grew & held more events & started to develop some actual organizational structure, apparently some consensus evolved that not all adult fighters were knights. I believe it was Fulk (Ken) who in his second reign decided the King should be a knight and thus formally knighted his successor, Henrik (for his 2nd reign). The week before I joined, William the Silent won the 7th tourney (Fall II) and was knighted by Henrik. About 3 months later, at 12th Night II, the Order of Chivalry was created, reaffirming 3 already knighted & adding 7 more knights & 2 masters of arms. (Dukedom for the 3 winners of 2 each of the first 6 tourneys, and the first 2 members of the Order of the Laurel were also created.) A year & a half later, I became the 17th member of the Western Chivalry (18th of the entire SCA) and have now been a knight for exactly half of my 72 years. I have never doubted the reality or seriousness of my knighthood anymore than I have doubted the reality of the Kings of the West. Kings of any sort are such because they are recognized as such, so it is with ours. Traditionally kings (though not solely kings in some contexts) can create knights. If anyone doubts that, it's their problem, not mine." -- Robert of Dunharrow
"As far as I remember nothing like the event asked about by Gaius ever happened. I believe this to be a mutation of
the "all SCA knights are real knights because somewhere at the beginning *Dave* or *Ken* or *both* or *?* were
knighted by someone *Don* *?* with a real world knightly tradition." This one's been around since at least SCA II
in many forms. The parallel "our heraldry is real because someone is a *real* herald and therefore" played out
differently, but probably had some of the same urge to somehow establish a "real world" validation for what we do.
"And as I and others including Bevin have noted, if the "real knights" story WERE true, the irony is that it would either be irrelevant to, or invalidate, all SCA knightings and titles by SCA rules. So we'd have to ignore it anyhow.
"As far as "reality" I agree with Robert of Dunharrow: I have never doubted the reality of our Knights or the members of other orders, nor of the reality of the Crown. Had I done so I (and many others) probably wouldn't have spent so much effort in the beginning trying to be sure that what we built, while it might be an alternate reality, was nonetheless a reality within itself and for its participants. (I'm not saying we knew where we were going; I am claiming that we had some hold on the archetypes and validity of the concepts, and wouldn't settle for less.) I think the results speak for themselves, however sometimes dimished by circumstances. Our Knights, our Kings and Queens, our royalty and nobility, our cultures and in particular our ideals, are definitive.
Sir Robert, thanks for your comments. Mistress Karina, hello and greetings from afar, and my greetings to Laird Jerome.
"Reality is what you make of it: we've made quite a bit." -- Siegfried von Höflichkeit
"You're so right on the mark here (as usual). We have built a culture in the Society & by and large it is a good one." -- John ap Griffin
Description of this event,
© Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:
Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.
Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).
The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).