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The First Year

The First Tournament
May 1, 1966

At twelve noon Diana and three others were standing around in costume, one of Diana’s roommates was still sewing on hers, and Diana was wondering what to do with four people in costume, other than admiring the outfits. Then it was 2:30pm and there were people in medieval costume all over her yard. (Thus the precedent was set for Official Society Time: about two hours late.) Dr. Elizabeth Pope, head of the Mills College English Department, was the Official Judge. The Second Judge and official archbishop was Jon Studebaker, under the name of Sir Jon de Cles. These two judges would determine the winners of each fight on a modified fencing basis, where one counted a “killing” blow instead of a touch. They sat on red covered thrones in front of a purple hanging. Beside them, on a purple cushion, rested the crown, to be awarded to the Champion’s lady (there were no kings at this time). A triumphal march was heard (the Processional from the Play of Herod - 13th Century) and around the corner came a procession of knights and ladies. Two by two they came forward, bowing to the judges and parting to circle round and join again. As they came up they were announced. There were Astrid Anderson (Countess Astrid of Hawk Ridge) as Queen Lucy of Narnia, in a red dress with a bird on her arm, and her knight, David Bradley as David the Herald (Sir Ardral Argo verKaeysc), Ken de Maiffe as Sir Kenneth (Duke Fulk de Wyvern) with his lady Mary (Duchess Mary of Tamar) who was wearing a flowing leopard print, with high dressed hair and a monkey, and was something which Sir Kenneth had found while on the Crusades. Diana’s roommate, Molly Titcomb (Mariana Silversea), wore turquoise satin, with Suzanne as a princess in blue and Benjy, in a russet cloak, as a hobbit. Jerry Jacks (Israel ben Jacob) was Lord Mediocrates of Hellas, Richard Barnhart (Sir Aegineous, aka Duke Richard the Short, later Richard of Mont Real) was Sir Aeginius, Frederick Hollander was Sir Frederick of Holland (Duke Frederick of Holland), Steve Henderson (Sir Steven MacEanruig) was Sir Henderson, Henrik Olsgaard (Duke Henrik of Havn) was Sir Henrik the Dane, Paul Wolfgangel, a graduate from Cal in linguistics, from Germany, was Sir Deutsche Bursenschaft, Marion Breen (Mistress Elfrida of Greenwalls) was Dona Ximena (wife of El Cid) while Walter Breen (Walter of Greenwalls) was a “hairy hermit wild,” or friar of the Chaucerian sort, complete with wineskin. Also present were Nathan Retarius (who fought with net and trident), Edwin Bersark, Beverly Hodghead and Ellen Hodghead with David Hodghead (David of Ilwheirlane) and Marynel Hodghead (Duchess Marynel of Darkhaven).

After all had been announced there was the long note of a horn, and David the Herald announced the blessings of the swords. At this the archbishop, Jon de Cles, rose and let the sonorous Latin roll forth, “Ecce Eduardus ursus scalis nunc tump-tump-tump occipite gradus pulsante, post Christophorum Robinum descendens ...”, and the assembly chorused “Amen.” The first combat was announced between Sir Siegfried von Hoflichskeit and Sir Kenneth, with mace, and then Sir Aeginius versus Nathan the Retarius (with net and trident). There was a pause as singers sang “Sumer is i-cumen in” and then two more combats followed by four dancers doing a pavanne. Then combat resumed. As the other fighters were all styled as knights, and as David the Herald was fighting well, Sir Siegfried von Hoflichskeit, with the consent of the rest of the fighters, called David forth to kneel and, in the manner of the medieval order of chivalry, dubbed him knight. This was the first knighting in the Society, giving David (now Ardral Argo verKaeysc) the title of First Knight. The strength of the shields that Siegfried and Fulk had made was proven when the father of one of the singers (Beverley Hodghead) left and returned with crossbow and long bow. An arrow from the longbow merely chipped paint off the shield, leaving the broad arrowhead curled up from the impact . The finalists were Sir Aeginius and Sir Deutsche Bursenschaft. Sir Aeginius was fighting with spear and shield. Sir Deutsche Bursenschaft was wearing a fencer’s outfit with fencing mask and using a wooden lathe sword in the fencing manner. Sir Aeginius dealt a blow which broke the sword and mashed the hand holding it, causing Sir Deutsche to fight with one hand behind his back and a mace in the other. Sir Aeginius thrust with his spear and Sir Deutsche Bursenschaft dodged, they circled, Sir Deutsche caught Sir Aeginius between the neck and shoulder, thereby “killing” him and winning the first lists. He placed the crown on the head of his lady, a “simple peasant maid.” Marynel of Darkhaven filmed the tourney with her movie camera. Subsequently Sir Deutsche Bursenschaft returned to Germany and was never heard from again. The participants so enjoyed themselves that they decided to do it again at Midsummer’s Day. After the tourney twenty-four of the participants formed into another procession and processed all the way up Telegraph Avenue to the campus and back again, protesting the Twentieth Century. About a dozen people stayed, procured some food, built a fire, and sat around eating roast chicken and singing and dancing in the firelight. And thus the first revel occurred, with the revelers staying past midnight reliving the bright moments, singing, drinking wine, and enjoying the fire.

Some time later, When Marynel’s films were developed, it was discovered that Sir Aeginius, now Sir Richard the Short, had struck a killing blow that the judges had missed. Richard was declared the true winner and Marynel of Darkhaven was deemed his lady and Queen of the day.

Editor Note: Please see below about the use of the title "Sir" from Henrik ...

Richard of Mont Royal
Sable, in saltire a double-bitted
axe and a Celtic cross Or.
Marynel of Darkhaven
Purpure, a dragon salient Or,
its neck embowed about an
edelweiss proper.
Arms by Nicholas Bawcock of Petersfield, used with permission,
Richard's Arms colored by Aja du Jardin,
Marynel's Arms colored by Beatrix zum Dunklenturm

Click here to see flier for the First Tournament
See photos of this event

Kingdom Historian Note: Having received permission from Mistress Diana Listmaker, here is her account of this tournament from her article The Last Tournament, first published in NIEKAS 16, a science fiction magazine shortly after the event.

Rumor: The big rumor that has been running rampant for years is that this was a birthday party. It was not. Please do not spread this rumor. This was deliberately and specifically planned as a Tournament as explained in Diana's description "The Last Tournament". Thanks.

[List of attendees ...] “Notably missing in this description, and particularly in this spot, is Felice Rolfe (now Maxam, SCA: Felice of Mayhem House), the mother of Suzanne and Benjy. The mistake is probably caused by this account being taken from the account in her fanzine, Niekas, in which she was describing the tourney from her point of view. The later Mistress of Mayhem House came as a "Lady of Galadriel’s Court." While "Mayhem House" became part of her SCA name, it was actually her name for her abode for many years before.” – Stefan de Lorraine

“I cannot remember whether Astrid of Hawk Ridge was present with her mother, Karina of the Far West (Karen Anderson) or not. I have a memory of Karen acting as a herald, but that may be memory overflow from another tourney. Coming late to the party were Sir Bela of East March (Poul Anderson) to pick up his daughter (and wife?) and Harold Breakstone (Clint Bigglestone) who had had to work and came late. Definitely present was Janet Dottery (later Bigglestone, then Winter) whose first tourney identity slips from my mind.” – Stefan de Lorraine

[... and the assembly chorused “Amen.”] “An extract from Winnie the Pooh in Latin, if anyone’s wondering. It sounded very authentic to me as I kneeled in my costume of the inner lining of my raincoat and leggings of ace bandages holding a fencing saber.“ – Stefan de Lorraine

“Specifically, "Winnie the Pooh went thump! thump! thump! down the stairs after Christopher Robin."” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit

[... leaving the broad arrowhead curled up from the impact.] “On the other hand, the crossbow bolt put an actual dent in Siegfried’s shield which he carefully preserved with enamel. As I said before, the shield’s fittings were burned away in The Fire, no idea if the shield face is still around.” – Stefan de Lorraine

“The shield face was unfortunately useless after the fire, and although I do not remember making a decision to part with it, I no longer have it. I don't even remember for sure if it survived at all. My original helm survived -- as a burnt-out shell -- and James Greyhelm much later relined it with leather, but the wings (made out of aircraft aluminum in point of fact) didn't make it through the fire.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit

[Sir Aeginius was fighting with spear and shield.] “Actually, I don’t think Sir Deutsche had any kind of sword. The lath swords had all broken by this time. Rattan swords were still months in the future. Essentially Deutsche had gotten to this point in the tourney through fencing, while Richard had fought his way up using whatever weapons hadn’t broken yet. He started with a hardwood short sword that broke relatively early. In the finals, he was using a Spear which had been the shaft of the Retiarius’s trident. For the finals to be fair, each combatant had to use a weapon he had not used before, which is why Richard had the "spear" and Deutsche was using a mace. Seeing a mace used in fencing style is instructive…” – Stefan de Lorraine

“He [Deutsche] used Richard’s 3/4" thick oak short sword for awhile, later a mace.” – Henrik of Havn
“I recall Richard’s 3/4" sword as a bit of a brute. It was even carved down to a blunt point.” – Steven MacEanruig

[And thus, the first revel ...] “The parade was interesting, since this was a period when parades of all kinds up and down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley were rather common. We were invited to a Workers Day party, but we decided to stick with a medieval theme for the day. We tried to sing period songs, but the only thing all of us had any clue about was Greensleeves, which got old fairly quick.” – Stefan de Lorraine

[Richard was declared the true winner ...] “One wonders what would have happened if Sir Deutsche had stuck around and been active. I do know that an attempt to reverse the result of a tourney because of movies taken a couple of years later was roundly shouted down because the participants were regular participants in the tourneys. And, of course, it wouldn’t have been important at all if people weren’t totaling up tourneys won to determine who should be a duke when the office was created.” – Stefan de Lorraine

[Marion and Walter Breen came up with the name of the Society for Creative Anachronism ...] “Actually, the original name was the Berkeley Society for Creative Anachronism. I kept suggesting that the group use Society for Creative Anachronism in Berkeley, but people didn’t like the acronym. Can’t think why…“ – Stefan de Lorraine

“Further Note that may duplicate one given by another participant on this list:
   “Steve Henderson fought his first combat that day, a long duel with Edwin Bersark which he eventually lost. As he came off the field, Felice looked at his sweaty face and battered body and asked, "Steve, are you all right?" Steve answered, "I’ve never had so much fun in my life." Felice, "I’ll never understand men."” – Stefan de Lorraine

“Mariana Silversea ... asked me to tell you that she wore white nylon at the first event, she was dressed as Eowyn of Rohan (from The Lord of the Rings).” – Glenna (For Mariana)

“Astrid's dress was a red-purple taffeta that I found at a Goodwill. I think it had once been a sort of dressing-gown, since it had a zipper down the front. I altered it to be more like the Pauline Baines drawing of Queen Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, adding heavy silver cord couched in a pomegranate and scroll motif. Did she have a live bird? Was it the parakeet she had about then? I don't think I had my parrot yet.
   “I was absent from the first tourney because I was on the East Coast -- not by choice. The first event I made it to was the one in the park. At the time I was involved in the Hyborean Legion, a Conan fan group, with the office of Lion Queen of Arms. Hence the tabard I wore: sable a lion rampant Or, the arms of Conan's kingdom of Aquilonia. "Karina of the Far West" was my Hyborean name. George Scithers was publishing Amra in those days, and a number of its readers were primed for the Return of the Middle Ages.
   “I can't recall whether I announced the combats that time, but I did keep track of matches and their outcomes. There were five or maybe six fighters, and each fought each of the others. My photos show some of the combats; some arms and armor; the Consortium Antiquum as a group; a group of archers; the autocrats, Elfrida and Walter; myself, with my then-long hair in braids to my waist over a rainbow lamé gown and the Hyborean tabard; Fulke de Wyvern and Mary of Tamar, crowned with laurel.
   “My gown, and a rainbow rhinestone tiara I wore with it, were from my Worldcon costume of the year before. Mary wore a sari. Beverly Hodghead wore an Arab robe with headcloth and agal. The Consortium, of course, had period garb already, and most fighters wore tabards or jerkins. There are about nine shields in the photo, mostly stacked, and all are flat wood except one that began life as a garbage-can lid. As for head protection, there are two fencing masks and Sir Bela's augmented motorcycle helmet. (The spoofing arms he refers to in his recollections feature gilded lilies, multiple bars, tuxedo-clad drunks as supporters and the motto Dum Vivo Bibo.) His work gloves are there, and a right-hand gauntlet appears in one combat, but otherwise hands seem to have been uncovered.
   “Other gear included folding chairs, a camp stool, and a card table. (The Consortium brought at least one music stand.) There was a red fabric draped over something I can't make out, to make a seat of pretense; there was also a cushion, with what looks like an embroidered cover, that lay on the seat. A rope strung from one tree to another, high up behind the seats, supported a green shield with a gold Irish harp and, at intervals, some narrow streamers. The archery butt was two haybales to pin a target on.
   “Most of us must have been thinking by the end of the day that we could do it better next time.
   “Of which, more later!" – Karina of the Far West

“My recollection is that I wore a dark red velvet converted dressing gown at this event. The dark red taffeta (which began life as a prom-type dress) with couched pomegranates was at a somewhat later event -- 2nd or 3rd Tourney. It's the one in the photo with my father & George Scithers (who was wearing the "Uncle Ole " shirt.). The bird must have been a small stuffed one -- I recall it as having a yellow breast and long striped tail feathers. I didn't take my parakeet to any tourneys, and no, the parrot wasn't around yet.
   "Dr. Elizabeth Pope commented that she was wearing the most authentic outfit there, being her doctoral robes and soft cap.” – Astrid of Hawk Ridge

[He placed the crown on the head of his lady ...] “No! Pearl on chain necklace.” – Henrik of Havn
(In a face-to-face discussion with him, Henrik stated that this is what he remembers from that event – there was no crown, or wreath of any sort, instead Sir Deutsche was given a small [“not large -- 20" perhaps” -- Henrik of Havn] chain with a very small pearl on it to place around the neck of the Queen of Love and Beauty. -- Hirsch)

“As I recall, I was too busy having fun to notice. I certainly don’t recall a crown, however.” – Steven MacEanruig
“First Tourney: I remember that there was a crown, the prettiest one for quite some time, formed of wire curliques with semi-precious stones. Perhaps Diana made it? Perhaps I dreamed it? The movie should show whatever it was, necklace or crown.” – Astrid of Hawk Ridge

“The ‘roast chicken’ eaten by those who stayed into the evening: ‘Market Rotiserie Cooked Chicken’” – Henrik of Havn

[The Procession ...] “Curiously, Diana actually left out my name and the name of the lady who came with me (and I blush to say that I can't remember) from the procession but of course I was there.” – Siegfried von Hoflichskeit

“I joined in Oct II, at First Northern Ren Faire, a week after 7th tourney, but I extensively questioned everyone about the previous 1 1/2 years of known history. I paid my $1.50 to join on Sunday, practiced fighting with shortsword & buckler and/or helped make weapons every evening Mon. to Fri., was Queen's Bishop's Pawn in the Live Chess Game on Saturday, then on Sunday -the 8th day of my SCA life- they found that I had a pickup truck. I brought it to the SCA booth. Steve Perrin said,(approximately) "Oh, great! Now the Society has a truck!" They loaded everything the SCA owned (weapons, shields, 6 saber masks, 2 steel helms newly made by Fulk, ropes, stakes, etc. - hardly anyone owned their own equipment) into said truck. So I asked, "Where do I take it all?" A chorus of all present answered, "Home. You bring it to events." "Oh," I said. So I immediately was part of the small core group of people making it all happen. Naturally, I also had to keep repairing all this stuff, but Master Beverly helped fix the helms.)
   “Many years ago Diana told me she had some trouble convincing Dave & Ken that anyone else might actually want to do such an odd thing as fight with sword & shield. Later I asked Dave if it was Diana who persuaded them that anyone else might be interested and he said that "That is essentially true." I believe (and I said this at the 30yr SCA Origins symposium led by Diana, Henrik, Flieg, and Marianna) that Diana made 2 key decisions in organizing the First Tourney. One was requiring some attempt at period garb. This made it an all-participant event, no one was a spectator, the way it is at Ren Faire and the like. The second was arranging for period music and dance, including a broader cultural element, setting the course for a recreation of a whole culture, not a mere martial arts club. Even though Diana had meant it as a one-time event, the way she did it set the pattern. When Diana was away and Marion organized the 2nd tourney, things continued in the direction begun in May.
   “I don't think the tourney dates related to Cal quarters. They were traditional times, May Day, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox, Twelfth Night. (Diana lamented to me a few years ago being unable to attend many SCA events because they conflicted with Pagan events, but said it was her own fault because she chose those dates originally for SCA events before she was involved in Pagan religious organizations.)
   “Also, Diana was not a medieval history major, as I remember, she got an A.B. in English from Mills, then her M.A. in comparative literature - emphasizing medieval literature, I think - at Cal. (But ask her, to keep the record straight.)
   “Finally, Joaquin Miller Park is an Oakland city park, not in Berkeley nor part of Tilden, nor of the East Bay Regional Park District.
   “Cragmont (3rd tourney) is a Berkeley city park. Before long, the greater room found in Tilden and other EB Regional Parks became usual, although tourneys were held on the Mills Campus, at the Seminary in Marin that Richard attended, and a city park in SF. Sorry to be so lengthy.” – Robert of Dunharrow

From Henrik of Havn, October 24, 2014, in response to the History being created for 50 Year
"The title of Knight was first used at this event" ..."most fighters called themselves Sir". No I don't believe this is true. I sure didn't ever call myself a Knight or assume any sort of title until after it had been formally granted within the formal SCA structure, and I don't recall anyone else doing so either, though I may have missed it being done once or twice at the time. The only document I've seen that does so is an account by Diana Paxon that she wrote for a Fanzine about the Tournament in her backyard, shortly after the Tournament occurred. In it she applies the designation "Sir" to the various attendees, me included, who fought that day. Since almost all of us, except David Bradly AKA Sir Ardral Argo ver Kaeysc, had not developed our later formal SCA names yet, it's unlikely that many if anyone else did call themself Sir. I think saying they all did is wrong and at best some may possibly have, but I don't think they did.

When Tournaments Illuminated and later The Known World Hand Book were published 2 and 5(?) years later, Diana rewrote her version of what happened at the first Tournament, and I believe based her new versions on this original report, with modifications to allow then current names of the individuals being mentioned. Basing the historical account on hers or others accounts is fraught with the inaccuracies any record can contain. I just know what I did and didn't do and one is calling myslef anything not earned within the SCA. I was HENRIK at the first Tournament, HENRIK THE DANE at the second thru beginnning of the fourth tournament and SIR HENRIK OF HAVN at my knighting and subsequent Coronation as KING HENRIK, at the fourth Tournament. I don't recall ever hearing Fulk call himself by any title, much less SIR, ever! Neither do I recall Sigfried calling himself SIR, and certainly not Steven of the Ashenlands (AKA MacEnruig) nor Stephan De Lorainne, before they were made Knights at the second 12th night. Nor do I remember Richard the Short calling himself Sir before "Master" was devised ( just for him, which Edwin quickly latched on to also by the 2nd 12th night mass knighting). -- Henrik of Havn

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).

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