Kingdom Arms by Robin of Thornwood Calligraphy by Robin of Thornwood Populous Badge by Robin of Thornwood

Branch Histories

Principality of the Mists

Prince of the Mists
Argent, a crown within a laurel
wreath vert, all within a bordure
engrailed azure.
Princess of the Mists
Argent, a crown within a rose
leaf wreath vert, all within a
bordure engrailed azure, semé of
roses argent.
Arms by Khevron Oktavii Tikhikovich Vorotnikov

Note: The following history was written around AS XIII, before the Principality of the Mists starting having its own Principality Tournaments to determine a Prince and Princess ... -- there is more history further down this web page taken from old issues of The Page ...

In the beginning of the Society there was only one kingdom, based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. It was referred to alternately as the Kingdom of the Mists, or the Kingdom of the West. When the Kingdom of the East was founded in 1968 the use of Mists was dropped and the West Coast was known as the Kingdom of the West. The San Francisco Bay Area, the capital area and the place of origin, continued to be referred to as the Mists. This area came to be the Principality of the Mists, although it was never a working entity, but more like a name for an area. When Caradoc set up the present tournament system in the West in 1969 he decreed that the Kingdom Tournaments - the Crown Tourneys and Coronations - should occur within the Principality of the Mists, which is the first official use of the title. The Principality of the Mists includes those counties of California which border on the San Francisco Bay, namely the Counties of Sonoma, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco. There was no separate Prince of the Mists. In January 1972 the Board of Directors granted this title to the King. Later it became traditional to confer the title of Prince and Princess of the Mists upon the Crown Prince and Princess upon the completion of the Crown Lists. From time to time there have been Principality officers appointed by the Kingdom officers to coordinate matters in the Principality, but never on a consistent basis. Many of the offices were handled by the chief kingdom officer, who was usually resident in the Mists.

There are four Provinces that make up the Principality of the Mists. They are the Province of the Mists (the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa), the Province of Southern Shores (Santa Clara County), the Province of St. Andrew’s (the counties of San Mateo and San Francisco), and the Province of Ceantyre (Marin and Sonoma Counties). The Province of the Mists is the capital province of the Principality and the Kingdom. Most of the Kingdom and Society officers have resided there and the Society headquarters is located there. The Province of the Mists is also the birthplace of the Society.

During the early years the principality offices and the provincial offices were handled by the kingdom officer. In 1971 the Provinces began to organize as independent entities with officers of their own. Samuel de Basset became Seneschal of St. Andrew’s in January, and in the fall Andrei de Sevastopol became Seneschal of the Province of the Mists and Paul of Bellatrix became Seneschal of the Province of Southern Shores. Gregory of Drakesland had been Seneschal since May of 1970, but nothing much had happened. Henrik of Havn was the first Seneschal for Ceantyre, which didn’t really organize until the fall of 1974, although Henrik had been holding his annual island wars since 1967. In March of 1972 Sir Steven MacEanruig took over as Seneschal for the Province of St. Andrew’s, which then took its name and became properly organized. The first Principality officer was Caradoc, who was appointed Knight Marshal by Edwin Bersark, then Earl Marshal, in February, 1970.

On September 24, 1977, AS XII, King Paul decreed that the Principality of the Mists was to include all of Northern California above Caid, plus Hawaii. Thus the Kingdom was divided into three principalities. King Paul decreed that the Principality of the Mists would become fully functional, with officers and a Prince and Princess. Maythen of Elfhaven (Maythen Gervaise) was designated Principality Seneschal. Leon de Asturias, Greencloak Herald, became the Principality Herald. Roderick dubh MacRae became the Principality Master of Sciences.

End of original "history" from the Annotated History of the West. Since this time, the Principality of the Mists became a full-fledged Principality, with Coronet Tournaments/Investitures every six months or so, and other events occuring as required. The first Coronet Tourney was May 14, 1978 (AS XIII). The original version of this, by Wilhelm von Schlüssel can be found (scanned to PDF) here: Principality of the Mists.

See the Roll of Arms for the Princes and Princesses of The Mists.

A full and accurate listing of Mists Royalty can be found at the West Kingdom Awards List: Royalty of the Principality of The Mists.

Location: Parts of Northern California, the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and areas extending outward from there.

The Principality's history is fairly complex. Looking back 30 years later, it's really surprising how complex. The following is all taken from back issues of The Page, and details (in GREAT detail in some cases) the tortuous turns and back and forth letter writing and such that occurred before the Principality actually went "live". -- Hirsch von Henford

From the March, 1973 issue of The Page, a note from the Calendar, regarding an event scheduled for the Province of the Mists:

"So officially named by the Corporation. We will just have to learn to distinguish between the Province of the Mists, in the Counties of Alameda and Contra Cost, and the Principality of the Mists, also known as the Bay Area."

(The Principality of the Mists was referenced in several issues of The Page in this way, but never as its own entity, until a Law Change was published in the November, 1977 issue of The Page, by King Paul [of Bellatrix]:

sec. 8: The Principality of the Mists will exist as a separate political entity, with its own governmental offices, and ruled by the Prince, who will reign for approximately 6 months. The Princes of the Mists will be chosen in Coronet Lists, to be held twice yearly.
     The provinces and other territories surrounding the Great Bay of St. Francis shall be known as the Central Provinces, to further distinguish them from the remaining political entities in the Principality.

[This caused some further outcry in later issues of The Page, letters and such were written, and rebutted, and ... these will be included as they are found.]

From An Insert in The Page (January, 1978):

From the Seneschal of the
Principality of the Mists
I herewith announce that the first Coronet Tourney of the Principality of the Mists shall be held on Saturday, 20 May, 1978, with an Investiture to be held on Saturday, 15 July, 1978.

The following Coronet Tourney will be held on 21 October, 1978, with the Investiture to be held on 9 December, 1978.

I am in the process of contacting everyone whom I can think of who might be involved with the Seneschal's office. Please, however, feel welcome to contact me if you wish to contribute ideas or information from your area. Write or phone Maythen of Elfhaven (contact info omitted).

I fully recognize the tuggings back and forth concerning the entire concept of this Principality. However, I share King Paul's desire to use the principality level as an arena of growth and renewal, and I pledge myself to him, to the Kingdom, and to the Society to this aim.

          (signed) Maythen of Elfhaven

From The Page (March, 1978):


His Majesty has repealed the law specifying the Principality of the Mists. He has done so in order to remove any constraints or restrictions in regard to that Principality. The Principality Tourney (on May 14 -- note change of date. - Ed.) will take place as scheduled. Anyone having opinions regarding the Principality should attend, and express those opinions to His Majesty and to the Principality Seneschal. All Principality Officers who have been appointed will continue to bear their titles, and to perform such duties as are required of them by their Kingdom Superiors.

From The Page (April, 1978):


THE PRINCIPALITY OF THE MISTS, says the Bod, was listed in a Steward's Report to the BoD, done in April of 1976, as a branch "existing prior to 1973 and still showing signs of life". It was listed as being composed of the four Bay provinces: Mists, St. Andrew's, Southern Shores, and Ceantyre. Therefore, says the BoD, that's where it is. (Naturally, the Colleges within those borders (St. Hildegard, St. Katherine, and St. David) are also within the Principality.) Any branches outside those borders may, of course, petition via the proper paperwork to be included within the Principality borders: this should be taken up with the Kingdom Seneschal first, and then with the Steward.

From The Page (May, 1978):


Maythen of Elfhaven, to the Populace of the West Kingdom, sends greetings and salutations:

I am privileged to have a letter from the Crown Prince and Princess concerning the Principality of the Mists, of which I am Seneschal. With their permission, I am requesting that The PAGE print this letter in its entirety, so that the populace may have the benefit of Their thoughts on this matter. This letter contains a solution to the current debate concerning the Principality -- a solution I personally fully endorse. The letter is as follows:

Gregory and Bevin, Crown Prince and Princess of the West and Prince and Princess of the Mists, to (a long list of people and) Maythen of Elfhaven, Seneschal of the Mists

Most Cordial Greetings!

In beginning to familiarize ourselves with the responsibilities we will shortly be assuming, we have been made aware that a certain confusion exists in the minds of many of our future subjects concerning the status of the Principality of the Mists. To wit, though the Principality of the Mists was created a separate political entity during the last reign of King Paul and Queen Carol, and a Coronet Tourney decreed, this creation was revoked by King Terrence and Queen Allisandra. In the meantime, officers are being warranted for the Principality and plans appear to be going forward for a Coronet Tourney on May 14.

There are several excellent reasons for making the Mists a political reality instead of a mere name. One of the most important is the vast number of new civil service positions which would be created by the addition of an extra layer of bureaucracy. The proliferation of offices is not always a good thing; however, because of the density of population in the area around the Bay of St. Francis, there are many more willing workers than jobs for them to do. Creation of a Principality hierarchy would make several dozen new positions available to people who want to work for the Society but cannot hold office without ousting present officers.

However, once the Kingdom of Caid is created in June, we feel that the authority of any Prince of the Mists would be badly undercut by the close proximity of the King of the West, the West being so greatly reduced in size. It is our suspicion that the Bay Area is not big enough for a King and a Prince to work together in, without each seriously hampering the other, especially to the detriment of the Prince. Such a Prince would be a mere figurehead, with no real authority of his own, since the real power of a Territorial Prince stems from making of policy in his own local area without the direct supervision of the King and in his absence.

On the other hand, we recognize that there may exist a need for some ceremonial personage to stand in for the King in the Bay Area, especially since the King obviously cannot attend every event in every province and shire and retain his sanity, not to mention his health.

We therefore suggest the following approach, which we offer for your comment: Suppose that the Principality is re-created as a political entity. The Principality officers stay; the new jobs are created, enabling more people to hold office and participate directly in thbe running and organization of the area. Instead of a Coronet Tourney, a Warlord Tourney is held twice or three times a year, the winner to be named Viceroy for the Mists, to sit ceremonially in the King's stead in that area, at events which the King and/or Queen cannot attend. Such Warlord Lists might be limited to those fighters who have never won a Crown Tournament or a Coronet Tourney, thereby giving more people the experience of presiding, if not ruling. Thus, the Viceroy-Warlord would function in much the same manner as a Landed Baron, in that he would officiate at state functions in the King's name. The title of Prince would then be reserved as a territorial title for the Crown Prince of the West until his Coronation, at which time the title would go into abeyance until the next Crown Prince was chosen. The viceroy could be invested at the end of the day on which he won his title, thereby adding a total of only two major events per year to an already crowded Kingdom calendar.

We feel that the above proposal is in the spirit of what was intended by the original creation of the Mists as a separate Principality. We feel that it is workable and that it would answer many of the needs of the people in the affected area. In fairness to those people, we believe that some clarification of the situation must be made, and made soon.

We invite and entreat your comments on the above proposal, for it is entirely possible that we have overlooked some major factor which should be considered. However, time is of the essence. If we do not hear from you within a week of receipt of this letter, we will assume that you either agree with us or that you do not wish to be involved, and we shall proceed as appropriate to ensure that the needs of the people of the area are met.

My Lords and Ladies, we await your response.

In the service of the West,
           Gregory of York and Bevin Fraser of Sterling
           Crown Prince and Crown Princess of the West
           Prince and Princess of the Mists

(This letter is dated March 20. Although We realize that the time has long since passed for those addressed to respond, We trust that those interested and involved in the question will make their wishes known to Their (incipient) Majesties, IN WRITING, as soon as possible. -- Ed.)

(What follows is a letter handed to the members of the Board on March 28, for consideration at the April meeting. It was given to Us so that We might print it (together with the response from the Chairman of the BoD) as soon as possible, so that the BoD might get written opinion on the subject from the populace with all due speed. We, too, have opinions ont he subject: those opinions will follow the comments from Mr. Rolls. We WILL print, in the June issue, whatever action the Bod took in regard to this at the April meeting. For those too eager to wait, The PAGE will have information on the outcome, if any, after April 12, and may be phoned (between 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM ONLY -- We simply won't discuss the SCA at any other hour!). -- Ed.)

To: The Board of Directors, SCA, Inc.
From: Sir William Gordon of York, OL
Subject: The Proposed Principality of the Mists

Sirs and Madame:

I should like to discuss the following points concerning the proposed Principality:

1. The BoD has voted that such a Principality exists, and is comprised of the four Bay Area provinces. The reason for this decision is apparently that the BoD approved such a branch when it accepted the Steward's Report on Locations in the SCA some time ago. I should like to point out that even if a branch was so created, it must have immediately lapsed, due to three failures: 1) failure to meet or continue to meet the Corpora's minimum requirements for such a branch, including such things as a full set of officers, events, etc. 2) failure to file a Domesday Report with the Kingdom Seneschalate, and 3) failure to file a report with the Exchequer's Office, which really would have killed it.

2. Since the branch approved originally by the BoD has obviously lapsed, what is the status of the Proposed Principality? It was proposed by King Paul as being all of Northern California. Since nobody else in Northern California wanted to become part of it, it has been reduced from that to merely the four Bay Provinces. This reduction was NOT passed by the Crown of the West; in fact, the current King (King Terrence) has been trying with notable lack of scucess to cancel the entire branch. It seems ot me that when the BoD radically changes something like a branch application, it should seek the concurrance of the Crown involved: that this has not been done seems improper. Furthermore, the populace of the Province of the Mists is not enthused by the prospect of a Principality to complicate their lives; attached is a petition containing twenty-eight signatures of members of the Province of the Mists. Many other folk from other provinces made known similar feelings, and we have considered circulating a Kingdom wide petition: but there is not time.

3. No papers have been received or processed by the Steward's Office on this branch; even if the BoD created this branch a year ago by accepting an overall report, this still seems a necessary formality ...

I have heard many of the arguments advanced in favor of the proposed Principality. Few of them seem to have any merit to me. Specifically:
A) "The current Provincial Officers are not allowing eager new members to serve as they wish. Officers of assistance are being ignored, and thus a source of new members is being discouraged." This may be a valid complaint: in fact, I'm almost certain of it. I do not believe, however, that the best solution is to create an entire new level of offices and bureaucracy - if we did that every time an existing layer ceased to function, we would fairly rapidly be buried under the resulting read tape. The most elegant solution is to REPLACE THOSE OFFICERS NOT PERFORMING THEIR DUTIES SATISFACTORILY (these are Sir William Gordon's capitals). This is undoubtedly more difficult in the short run: but in the long run it is the ONLY solution that will cure the situation.
B)"The Principality is needed to revitalize the stagnant Bay Area." Again, we agree that a problem exists: we disagree as to its cause. The major part of the Bay Area's problems with local administration is due not to lack of interest, but to the high burn-out rate among those who tend, living in this center of SCA and Kingdom activity, to serve the Society and Kingdom rather than the immediate area. Our most capable people tend to gravitate into these areas, since they are usually the largest and most urget tastks extent. In the Society's case, there is no viable way to spread them out beyond the immediate area. Since our major problem, as I see it, is not a lack of offices, but rather a LACK OF PEOPLE TO FILL OUR CURRENT LOCAL OFFICES COMPETENTLY (these, too are Sir WG's capitals -- as are the rest within his letter), I strongly question the idea of the Principality as a cure-all to this problem. As an example, the only offices currently filled in the Province of the Mists are those of Seneschal, Herald, and Constable. If the Principality finally is approved, it seems extremely likely that the Provincial Herald will wind up filling the Principality post, thus leaving another slot open at the local level ...
C) "The Principality will create new offices and allow more people to serve the group." See my comments above. Further, why is the Principality Master of Sciences from Golden Rivers (Sacramento) if there is such eagerness to serve in this area? I repeat, WE DO NOT NEED MORE OFFICES TO FILL: WE NEED MORE PEOPLE WILLING TO WORK IN THE OFFICES WE ALREADY HAVE. Our local manpower is severely depleted by the drain imposed by the extremely urgent Kingdom and Society offices and tasks.
D) "The provinces need someone to go to with their problems." This is the responsibility of the Kingdom Sneschal, whom I think is doing a good job. This argument was produced by the Seneschal of the Proposed Principality: when I told her that this was Stone's job, she said (and I quote), "Stone's not doing anything." (Don't Shoot! I have a witness!) Again, if she can find support for this argument, the correct solution is to replace the officer not doing his job.

Finally some less obvious consequences of the Principality concern me. The original Principality as proposed by Paul included everythign but An Tir and Caid. I was mildly opposed to such a Principality, primarily because I felt that Paul should have consulted the populace before decreeting it, and secondarily because I felt it to be an unnecessary complication.

However, the present prospect of a Principality comprising only the Bay Area fills me with concern, for it raises the spectre of a further division of California into three Kingdoms! If this Principality comes into existence, the only assumption required for the following chain of events is the supposition that Golden Rivers (for example) wishes to become a Kingdom of its own. (I submit this is a high-order probability.) The chain of events is like this:
I) The Principality of the Mists comes into existence after Coronetting its first Prince and Princess.
II) GOlden Rivers (or another branch/group of branches), having counted heads and reached fifty, applies to become a similar Principality. With the precedent set by the Mists, this would be almost impossible to refuse.
III) After several years as a Principality, and having counted heads and reaching 200, the Principality of Golden Rivers applies to become a Kingdom. I submit that at this point, the BoD and the Kingdom Seneschal, as well as the King, would be under EXTREME pressure to grant the petition. It wouldn't be IMPOSSIBLE to refuse -- exactly ...

I would like to make it clear that I do not fault this ambition of Golden Rivers, since it has gained them much, and they may expect more in the future. They have been doing a really fine job as a Barony. I SIMPLY DO NOT THINK THAT THERE IS ROOM IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOR TWO KINGDOMS.

It is my opinion that the time to prvent this situation occuring is now. Allowing the Principality to die will set no precedent in favor of anyone becoming a Principality in Northern California.

On the basis of these facts, opinions, and arguments, I desire the Board of Directors to consider the following proposal:

"The Board of Directors recognizes that the Branch labeled Principality of the Mists which it approved as part of the Steward's report of Locations in the SCA has Labpsed. Although no papers have been processed by the Steward's Office, petition has been made to the Board of Directors to create such a Branch, complete with a functioning set of Officers and an elected Prince and Princses; however, in view of the opposition of the current King of the Wets (this refers to King Terrence), and many distinguished citizens of the area affected, the Board of Directors does hereby deny said petition, and declares that the "Principality of the Mists" does not exist as an administrative subdivision of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc."

My Lords and Lady, I remain your ob't servant and the Society's
           Sir William Gordon of York, OL

Enclosure: copy of petition and typed data on those signing.

(Here follows a copy of the paper attached to Mr. Monson's letter.)
HRM Sir Terrence of Halliday, King of the West, KSCA
Aklyn Samildanach, OLM
Mistress Michaela de Neuville, OL, OLM, current Seneschal, Province of the Mists
Sir William Gordon of York, OL, OLM, etc.
Rachel of Bon Repos
Duke James Greyhelm, KSCA
Duchess Verena of Laurelin, OR, QOG
Baron Sir Steven MacEanruig, KSCA, OLM, QOG
Sir David Westerville, KSCA
Karen, Duchess de Wyvern
Master JHM Simon von Wernigerode, OL, OLM
Mistress Aurelia de la Licorne, OL, OLM
Mistress Rima of Rockridge, OL, OLM, past Kingdom Mistress of Arts, current SCA Mistress of Arts
Sir William the Lucky, KSCA, OL, OLM, etc. past Kingdom Seneschal, past Steward of the SCA
Duncan Greencastle
Leon de Asturias, Grant of Arms, current Greencloak Herald, KoW, prospective herald of the prospective Principality of the Mists
Duchess Marynell of Darkhaven, OR, OL, QOG
Dorothea the Unsure
Baroness Ellen Cross-quills, OLM
Linda of Collins
Baron Beverly Hodghead, OL
Sir Jon Fitz-Rolf, KSCA, OL, OP, past Kingdom Master of Sciences
Anthony Ravenscroft
Anders Swenson (Andre de Sevastopol), former Kingdom Seneschal, OL, GA
Karl of Clan Colin
Mistress Gormflait ni Cuallachta de Sevastopol, OL
Countess Jennet of Twominds
Countess Luise of the Phoenix, OL



(Here follows a letter from the Chairman of the BoD, William Rolls, to his fellow BoD members, concerning the above letter.)

Concerning the letter to the BoD from Gordon Monson, undated, but concerning the "Proposed" (?) Principality of the MIsts, there are a few points I wish to raise in response.

1. His contention that the branch has lapsed appears to be based on three points, none of which have any validity in terms of stated Corpora Articles. No provision exists for "lapsed" branches. It has been presumed that a branch exists until the BoD says it does not. See BoD Minutes of 10 August 76, formally dissolving the Canton of Failte upon the recommendation of the Steward. In fact, in his recommendation, the then Steward, William Jouris, says "This case has made clear the need for a routine procedure for periodic review of active branches, or at least a better method of determining when a branch is no longer active." No BoD action to formulate such a procedure was undertaken. Nor did the Steward recommend then or later that the Principality be dissolved. Indeed, such action would presumably have forced the Kingdom to give up investing the title of Prince of the Mists on its Crown Prince. The continuation of use of the title suggests the existence, in fact, of the Principality. Failure to file reports by Principality Officers might be traced to the unwillingness of Kingdom Officers to warrant such (a matter which it may be best not to go into), but hardly to a failure of the Principality and those people who were trying to bring it up to Corpora standards.

2. It is his next contention that the BoD has acted improperly and reduced the original size of the Principality from all of Northern California to the four Bay Area Provinces. In point of fact, the BoD simply reaffirmed that the original establishment of the branch was cofined to these Provinces. The only reduction of size was carried out by King Terrence (see the March PAGE), which contradict's Mr. Monson's next statement that the CROWN of the West did not pass on it. The charge that the BoD changed a branch application is unworthy of further reply.

3. The next charge, and the only one to find fault with the Principality (outside of the spectre that somehow it will encourage another Kingdom to form somewhere else, about which I will say more later), is that somehow this Principality will complicate the lives of some of the members of the Province of the Mists. Nowhere does Corpora or Kingdom law state that having a branch forces any of the residents of the area affected to attend events, meetings, or in any way acknowledge its existence if they do not care to.

4. No papers have been received by the Steward, according to Mr. Monson. This ignores the fact that papers, as requested by the Steward (and signed by the Kingdom Seneschal in at least one set), were handed to the then Steward (again William Jouris) not just once, but twice -- both times at meetings of the BoD (the second time after Mr. Jouris had admitted losing the first set). One of these sets, in fact, is in the Steward's files, as turned over to Katherine Kurtz, the new Steward. This set of papers is NOT an application for a new branch, but paperwork requested by the BoD to make de jure paperwork for this de factor old branch.

5. Next he discusses three reasons for the Principality, which he has stated to his own liking, and of which "few ... seem to have any merit" to him. However, he then says of these that are valid complaints, and he agrees that a problem exists.

It is true that one purpose of the Principality is to find new people with talents and abilities, and to encourage them to find areas in which they may be of service to the Kingdom of the SCA, to their own growth. If it is also true, as Mr. Monson says, that "Provincial Officers are now allowing eager new members to serve as they wish," that is a serious charge, and deserves further investigation.

As for other recognized problems, here, too, he seems to be promoting a "do nothing and the problems will straighten themselves out" attitude. He discussed the thought that "the Principality is needed to revitalize the stagnant Bay Area." He seems to agree that there is apathy and do-nothing-ness, and proposes no other solution -- but is still opposed to the potential solution provided by the existence of the Principality.

Actually, of course, no "Principality" of itself can revitalize anything. That can only be accomplished by people of good will, eager to be of service, and activity that provides fun and education: a place to interact in this game of "Current Middle Ages". Activity and enthusiasm breed activity and enthusiasm. Apathy breeds apathy. And there are many active and enthusiastic people in the Bay Area. Some are new; some have moved here from other parts of the Kingdom or from other Kingdoms. Unfortunately, few of them are in positions to be able to imporat those vital qualities to others. Many have even been discouraged from trying to help. The high burn-out rate exists among those who have been around a long time, and have honors and titles galore. If we look no farther than this group, then of course "good people are hard to find."

One of the most important activities a Principality could serve is to provide a ready pool of new people, trained at lower positions, observed by their superiors to be ready and able to step up, and still eager and enthusiastic to do their best.

That was once availble when the Seneschal's Council met monthly in the area. When the Kingdom Seneschalate moved away, that kind of intercommunication among the provinces and offices was lost. That activity also provided exactly the kind of vehicle required to bring in new blood to the Seneschalate. I myself came in just that way, was allowed to observe the workings of the Civil Service, and eventually to take my place within it. With the loss of communication came other problems: that group provided the autocratting of major Kingdom events -- something of a problem recently. Autocrats having to come from 400 miles away, or all the work falling on the Kingdom Seneschal, has resulted.

At any rate, the Society has grown by leaps and bounds recently, but Mr. Monson insists the problem is a LACK OF PEOPLE -- something not noticeable at recent tournies. Then he cites the Province of the Mists as having only 3 officers. Here I am somewhat confused, as he seems to be saying (according sentiments expressed earlier in his letter) that the Seneschal here is not doing her job, and should be replaced. Nor need he fear the Provincial Herald being drafted: there are several willing volunteers, of proven worth, available for service on the Principality level, and not currently employed anywhere else in the SCA.

6. "Why is the Principality Master of Sciences from Sacramento?" This, I fear, is representative of his understanding (or, rather, misunderstanding) of and confusion over the whole issue. The office is filled (and has been for several years) by Roderick dhu McCrae, who lives in St. Andrews (San Francisco), and has been living there right along. It is possible that Mr. Monson is thnking of Rodrigo de Cerdana, who lives in Golden Rivers, and is the Seneschal of that Barony: Mr. Monson again has his "facts" wrong.

7. Mr. Monson then says that problems are the "responsibility of the Kingdom Seneschal." Of course this is true: it's always "the Seneschal's fault". And the Seneschal needs all the help he can get. That is why he has deputies. It is ridiculous to suggest that he must be everywhere himself. It is the JOB of any Principality Seneschal to be the Kingdom Seneschal's deputy: to handle on a local level matters that need not be handled personally by the Kingdom officer. That is what staff command -- delegation of responsibility -- is all about. It is, in fact, part of the job of the Kingdom Seneschal NOT to try to "do it all himself", but to train his subordinates to act in a responsible manner, in the areas of their responsibility. The Seneschal of the Principality of the Mists, being just such a subordinate, has taken care of several purely local problems in the last few months, having had the advantage of being on the spot and aware of the situations. She has been doing her job; she has been helping the Kingdom Seneschal do his. Any quotations out of context, without reference to the above facts, do not require reply.

8. At least we come to the problem of "NO ROOM IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA". First Mr. Monson says "If this Principality comes into existence ...". The Principality IS in existence: it has had a Prince for years. (As stated earlier: the Crown Prince of the West is also, always, the Prince of the Mists.) Then he says that Golden Rivers "probably" wants to be a Kingdom. Maybe so. If true, I doubt the destruction of the Principal of the Mists will stop them from trying for such status. Should they apply for Principality status, Mr. Monson says, it would be almost impossible to refuse. A BoD that would destroy the Principality of the Mists would hardly balk at refusing Golden Rivers -- so why put down Mists? And if the BoD had no object to a Principality of Golden Rivers, that still would not prevent them from refusing Kingdom status. After all, the BoD makes the corporate laws. Let each area stand on its own merits.

In addition, the chain of events he imagines coming into existence has as its first step the Coronetting of the Principality's first separate Prince and Princess. Their Highnesses Gregory and Bevin, currently Prince and Princess of the Mists, have suggested a solution to avoid just that -- a solution I applaud wholeheartedly -- that involves a Champion/Viceroy. This elegant solution avoids the loss of the tradition of a "Prince of the Mists" title being awarded the new Crown Prince and Princess, and provides for young and otherwise unrewarded fighters, who will one day almost certainly be Rulers, to gain practice and experience in that role, at last at the pleasure of the King.

9. I do not know why these people who are trying so strongly to disrupt the organization of the Principality are so motivated, for I perceive it not as a threat, but rather a promise that when the SCA grows out of its motherland, as it inevitably must, there will be a structure here to sustain us, and allow the dream to contniue.

         William Rolls
         Chairman, Board of Directors, SCA, Inc.

(Our turn again. And We have a few things to say.

Mr. Monson has strongly stated that there is "NO ROOM IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOR TWO KINGDOMS". Since Mr. Rolls has chosen not to speak directly to this (there were, after all, many other points for him to answer), we feel we must say something on the subject. No room? Why on earth not? How better to have both smaller Kingdom tourneys, and wonderful, short-travel-time interKingdom wars? With the exception of those who see the possibility of some sort of higher "power" available with larger areas (ah come on, fellas, this is a game ...), We cannot begn to see why, should we all last that long, there can't be 2 -- or 5 -- or 10 Kingdoms in Northern California. My God -- if that many people really want to join the SCA ,maybe we can elect a Royalist Governer in the REAL world! (Now that's power!) If you find such a spectre ludicrous, please let Us be quick to point out that We do, too -- just as ludicrous as the "no room" theory. We just said all that to provoke thought. (While we're on the subject, however, let us tell you of a journey We took through an Alamnac; it is interesting to note that, within the borders of the State of California, one could comfortably fit the following countries (seven of them Monarchies to this day): Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Albania, plus Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino. One would even have 20,000 square miles left over. Once you get beyond North American ethocentrism ...)

Seriously: people have been heard to complain that West Kingdom events are "too large" these days -- i.e., there are too many people in attendance. We have even heard it proposed that membership in the SCA should be shomehow limited: close the dream to "outsiders", and return to things "as they used to be", when the Kingdom of the West was 80 or so people. A much better solution seems to Us to be the warm welcoming of new dreamers -- new residents in the Current Middle Ages, eager to find gentle and glorious refuge from the depersonalized 20th Century, delighted to discover a splendid game to play with good companions. How much better to encourage the formation of new branches, new Principalities, new Kingdoms -- which would, by simple physical limitations, make each Principality and Kingdom geographically smaller -- and, therefore, make each Principality or Kingdom event (even those of the illustrious Kingdom of the West) smaller, friendlier, and more closely-knit.

Indeed, We feel that such a solution is, in the long run, the ONLY pragmatic one: people WILL continue to hear of us, and want to play, too. We have the game and the ideal: the splendour, the pageantry, the gallantry, the beauty. We are a nonprofit educational corporation -- so we CANNOT close our doors. And we are, by our own Articles of Incorporation, our Corpora, our ByLaws, and our Kingdom laws, a group to be joined, not watched. (Wy else insist on "period" dress for visitors and newcomers?) We learn as we play -- the "education" is of US, and is clothed in enjoyment.

Let us, therefore, relax and enjoy the game -- and the players, old and new. -- Ed.)

[Note: The "-- Ed." is the Editor, or Chronicler of The Page, at the time all this was happening, Francesca the Bemused.]

From The Page (June, 1978):


To The PAGE:

The letter from William Rolls in the May issue of The PAGE (pp 18-21) attributes a number of actions to me concerning the Principality of the Mists which are not precisely how I remember the events in question, and implies opinions on my part which are not mine. I would like to take this opportunity to put words into my own mouth.

First, from time to time throughout the history of the SCA, branches have faded out of existence. In one instance (referred to by Mr. Rolls), the people in the area formally asked to have the branch disbanded. Usually, the people have drifted away and the groups ceased to exist through lack of population and activity. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this has occurred in Montana: the Barony of Montforet was established and recognized, but never really got off the ground. After a couple of years it faded away, without any formal action by the Board. Then the Shire of Dun Trailigil was established in exactly the same spot and with even some of the same people, and formally recognized. It, too, has faded away without any formal action; note that it does not exist in the list of branches in the May PAGE.

At the time that Failte asked to be disbanded, I did suggest that a more business-like procedure for the disestablishment of groups might be in order. However, neither I nor the Board produced such a policy, and we have continued with our informal methodology: a group ceases to exist when it has a) no Seneschal, b) no events, c) submitted no annual reports, and d) submitted no Exchequer reports. A new group starting up in the same area does not latch onto the ruins of the old, if any; they start over.

Second, which (while?) the disappearance of a branch has remained informal, the setting up on a branch has developed into a consistant, regular procedure:

  1. The people in the area meet and decide that they want to start a branch.
  2. Someone among them fills out a New Branch Application Form and sends it to the Kingdom Seneschal.
  3. The Kingdom Seneschal indicates his approval (or disapproval, with the reasons why he disapproves).
  4. In the case of a new Barony, Principality, or Kingdom, the King and Queen indicate Their formal approval (or disapproval, together with the reasons They disapprove).
  5. The whole mass (whether the Seneschal, King and Queen approve or disapprove) gets forwarded to the Steward.
  6. The Steward verifies with the Registry that the proposed branch has the required number of members.
  7. The Stward recommends to the Board of Directors that they either approve or disapprove the proposed branch.
This procedure has been followed by all of the Baronies formed in the last two years, by the Principalities of Atlantia, Meridies, Ansteorra, An Tir, Caid, and the Outlands, and by the Kingdoms of Meridies and Caid. The Principality of the Sun may have neglected part of this procedure, due to negligence on my part; or may not -- I did not notice and nobody seemed distressed enough to write the Steward or the Board and point out the oversight.

The setting up of the Principality of the Mists presents a few contrasts. There does not appear to have been any functioning branch prior to last Fall. At that time, the King announced the new branch. In November, I asked the Seneschale to gather a New Branch Application Form and the various concurrences. I got the form with no indication of popular support, the Kingdom Seneschal's approval, or the King and Queen's approval; I understood that these would follow.

Apparently I misunderstood. In January, when I inquired after the missing paperwork, I was asked, "Didn't you send the form to Stone for approval?" So we took it again from the top. This time I specifically asked that, at minimum, written statements be gathered from the Provincial Seneschals indicating support. This seemed the closest, readily available approximation to the petitions of popular support such as would be expected (and had routinely been received) from Principalities being formed elsewhere. In due course I received a New Branch Application with the Kingdom Seneschal's concurrence, with a letter from one of the Provincial Seneschal's indicating an intention to cooperate with the Principality, and a note saying that two of the other three Provincial Seneschals had verbally given their support. Still not so much as a postcard from the King and Queen (either pair), or from three of the Provincial Seneschals.

This is where matters stood when I turned the Steward's files over to my successor. The rest of the promised paperwork may drift in some day. At that point the Steward may recommend some action to the Board.

         William Jouris
         William the Lucky
         Steward (Ret.)

To the readers of The PAGE, greetings.

In order to make my own position clear in the matter of my two letters published in The PAGE, I feel I must make the following two points known:

1) My letters were addressed to the BoD. No copy was given or addressed to The PAGE.

2) Both letters were published without my knowledge or consent.

I feel that this action was a grave discourtesy on the part of those responsible.

         William Gordon of York
         aka Gordon Monson

To the readers of The PAGE, regarding the publication of Gordon Monson's two letters in the May issue of The PAGE:

The business of the Society is not secret from the members of the Society.

         William Rolls
         Chairman of the BoD
         SCA, Inc.

Under the section titled "OYEZ" (formerly "Announcements"):


(skipping to the bit about the Mists):

The entire matter of the Principality of the Mists was referred to the Steward: she will poll the populace at the April Coronation, and will report back to the BoD at the May meeting.

(Skip to the next page (11):


Their Majesties placed a stack of questionnaires about the Principality of the Mists on the Lists table at April Coronation. Of the many responses tabulated, 85% were in favor of the existence of a Principality in one form or another. In addition, 35% of the total responses (the largest single block) were in favor of the Principality being in the Bay Provinces, ceremonially governed by a Warlord/Viceroy.

Their Majesties, well minded that this is, indeed, a monarchy, not a democracy, still were very interested in this indication of the opinions of the populace. A decision as to the future of the Principality of the Mists will have been made by the first Principality Tourney, scheduled for May 14; a statement from Their Majesties will be made at that time. That formal statement will also appear in the July issue of The PAGE.

[Reading the July issue, the June meeting of the BoD postponed most of the important discussion because one member couldn't be there ... this included the Principality issue, indeed the Chronicler office changed hands, and the promised "formal statement" from Their Majesties did not appear either. Reading the August issue, there appeared to be no discussion about the status of the Mists there, either. However, the Chronicle of the first Principality Tournament explains some of what happened, and is found (rather than duplicate it here) at: First Principality Tournament -- Principality of The Mists

From this point until the first Coronet list in the Principality, the Principality had Warlords ... a curious fact I bet most members of the populace do not know! Indeed, the first Warlord was actually three different people (Sir Lorin Sur la Roche, Sir William the Lucky, and Sir Steven MacEanruig, and the first Lady of the Mists was Lady Hilary of Serendip!). Read the chronicles of events in the main part of the history from here on to learn more.]

Description of the history of this branch, © 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.

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).