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In Memoriam

Duke Sir William of Hoghton, KSCA, OP, OAL, QOG, Knight Bannerette, Order of Valor


Per bend sinister sable and
Or, in bend two towers
palewise counterchanged.

William Rolls passed away today (October 16, 2013).

William of Hoghton served as King of the West twice, Prince of the Mists in his own right once, and Prince Consort of the Mists once, served on the Board of Directors for four years, was Kingdom Earl Marshal, Principality of the Mists Earl Marshal ... Duke, Count, Viscount, Knight, member of the Order of the Pelican, member of the Order of the Ash Leaf, member of the Queen's Order of Grace, Knight Bannerette, member of the Order of Valor, and more.


The following was posted on SCA-West today (10/16/2013):

I just got the call from Kaiser.  Bill (Duke Sir William of Hoghton) passed between 4 and 5 am this morning.  I was with him yesterday for a few hours, but we were going to have to decide on surgery or a nursing home today.  He went fast, too fast for me to come down there.  I’m still sort of in shock, even though sooner or later, this was expected.
Maythen [Gervaise]


Some Reminisces:
I recall William of Houghton as one of a kind – he began his SCA fighting career at an age when most fighters would have been retired (in his 50’s as I recall). But Chronos had no grip on him, he gathered, strength, skill and cunning with the rapidity of a youth and soon was knighted and in short order a Duke.

Most fighters held him in awe, especially on the War field. He played a key role in creating our reputation in other Principalities and Kingdoms for ferocity and effectiveness in battle. To this day, many war bands will suddenly remember an appointment to be somewhere else on the field when they find themselves facing the West.

William was involved in the ‘foot cavalry’ flanking charge at Pennsic (VII, I think) and the ‘Oreo sandwich’ charge into the rear of the Caid army at the third rebellion. Both involved rapid ground-covering maneuvers to strike, with overwhelming power momentum and skill, a vulnerable enemy target far from the Western starting position. Bill was a ‘point man’ in both attacks – in the first instance catching the mid-realm troops by surprise, scattering them at the point of impact and throwing them into disarray. In the 'Oreo sandwich', the Western ‘strike group’ (a dozen Dukes and Counts) charged the Caidan left, turning that flank, proceeding onward into their rear to crush Caid’s reserves and command group, then finally swinging around to attack their right flank from behind… all without breaking stride; when the dust cleared, the remnants of Caid's army were sandwiched between Western troops fore and aft. The SCA form of ‘shock and awe’ if you will.

Bill used his ‘aged’ status as a departure point for humor – When he was being King, his fighting incognito name was Rogar Grey Wolf, referring to his steely locks. He entered the second Pandybat tournament - fighting Florentine with crutch and cane; he was much too effective with them to win the prize.

It is an obscure fact that William was also the originator of a tradition that still is observed in the West. When attaining the finals undefeated in the first ever double-elimination Crown Tourney in the Kingdom, he was asked whether he felt that prior losses should carry forward into the finals or the slate should be washed clean, Bill said immediately that the finals should be two-out-of-three so that the two best fighters on the day would compete fairly with no handicap to either of them to start. We still do our finals that way.

Since I was the winner of the other semi-final that day and had already been defeated by William earlier, I felt it to be a remarkable, but no means unusual decision of grace and honor on William’s part. The finals went to the full three rounds and William won only the second.

Rima of Rockridge wrote a death poem for Duke William for that tourney (a tradition that has fallen by the wayside over the decades):

To the tune of Go Tell It On The Mountain:
“Go tell Duke William,
Go tell Duke William,
Go tell Duke William –
The Old Grey Wolf is dead.”  

Sadly, today it is true. -- Kevin Perigrynne


Kevin's entry reminds me of one of those early sca moments for me...I don't remember exactly when (I was probably 13 or 14), but my dad was fighting in the crown list finals, and he had his opponent on his knees. The person standing next to me pointed out that William had purposely reversed his fighting position (without any fuss or mention of it)  so that the other fighter wouldn't have to be looking up into the setting sun.  I have no idea who won the fight, but I will always remember that tiny moment of quiet chivalry.

Allison de Saint-Loup (William's daughter)


The strongest single memory I retain of William comes from the period when he and I were both serving on the Board of Directors.  At one point when discussing whether the Board should actually put something in Corpora about a current situation, William observed "Show me the Bylaws of any organization, and I will read you its history in reverse". 

Absolutely true, and it's remained with me ever since; I have had reason to quote him on occasion as well.  

Siegfried von Hoflichkeit


I chose him to be my first fight in my first Crown List. I hold that as a point of pride to this day.

Sir Vincenzo di Calabria, KSCA West, tribe


Christopher, Allison and Maythen…… you all have my sympathies. Duke William was a good man with a sense of humor, courteous, helpful and served the SCA for years with not only fighter practice in the front yard on Thursdays, it included gatherings of people, potlucks, Thanksgiving Day feast potlucks and fun for those who had no family in the area!

My observations were he helped any fighter desiring to learn SCA sword fighting and people learned by observing him how to have attributes of a Knight and more.

One of the funniest things I recall was when William was ‘consort’ to Maythen as Mist’s Princess in her own right (or was she called ‘Prince?’) – was at an event when he had on a veil. It was quite hilarious! Seems to me he wore quite the outfit and I recall a ‘fan’ was involved. It was long ago and far away. A true showing of his great sense of humor.

I was pleased when he received his Pelican for years of service. I always liked William and he was a pleasure to be around. Godspeed, William, Godspeed.

As ever, ~ Countess Dierdriana of the Misty Isles


My memories of eventing as a child aren't the best, but I always remember when I met new adults at events I was introduced quite often as "Duke William's granddaughter" and it never occurred to me until adulthood what a reputation like that just be for people to instantly know exactly who you're referring to when you say it. I wish I had gotten to see him fight, but he was fairly retired by the time I was old enough to enjoy watching the matches. I definitely retain membership as an adult in the Society partly due to family tradition, and it seems I will have to win myself a coronet to ensure we carry that on as well.

Signora Francesca Morosini
Barony of Dragon's Mist, Kingdom of An Tir
William's Granddaughter


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Photos:
People (Andrew of Riga's page)
Purgatorio Coronation (July 28-29, 1973, AS VIII)
Overnight May Revel -- Golden Rivers (May 18-19, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 3-4, 1974, AS IX)
Two-Day Revel -- Golden Rivers (May 17-18, 1975, AS X)
June Crown Tournament (June 21, 1975, AS X)
June Crown Tournament (June 21, 1975, AS X)
Beltane Coronation Festival (May 1-2, 1976, AS XI)
Beltane Coronation Festival (May 1-2, 1976, AS XI)
Autumn Crown Tournament (September 18-19, 1976, AS XI)
April Coronation (April 23-24, 1978, AS XII)
Beltane Coronation (April 29-30, 1978, AS XII)
Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (December 1, 1979, AS XIV)
Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (December 1, 1979, AS XIV)
Mists Spring Coronet (April 26, 1980, AS XIV)
Purgatorio Coronation (August 22-23, 1981, AS XVI)
Land Fund Revel (July 30, 1983, AS XVIII)
Twelfth Night Coronation (January 7, 1984, AS XVIII)
Ducal Prize Tournament (September 1-4, 1989, AS XXIV)
Mists Fall Coronet (September 15-17, 1989, AS XXIV)
October Crown Tournament (October 7-8, 1989, AS XXIV)
Collegium Occidentalis (March 6-7, 1993, AS XXVII)
Spring Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (May 10, 2003, AS XXXVIII)
Spring Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (May 10, 2003, AS XXXVIII)
Spring Investiture -- Principality of the Mists (May 10, 2003, AS XXXVIII)


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