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

The First Year

The Second Tournament

June 25, 1966 AS I

The enthusiastic turnout for the first tournament had proved that a roomier site was needed for the proposed second tournament. It was proposed to hold the tourney in the Joaquin Miller Park to the east of Berkeley. However, in order to reserve a site in Tilden the band of medievalists had to apply to the Park Service as an organization, for which a name was needed. Marion and Walter Breen (Elfrida and Walter of Greenwalls) came up with the name of the Society for Creation Anachronism, because the group was trying to recreate the ways of the middle ages as it could have been, which would certainly be considered an anachronism in twentieth century Berkeley, and the goal was creativity. This name was accepted and so the Society for Creative Anachronism was formed. The Breens were autocrats for the second tourney.

The second tourney was held in Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, California, on June 25, 1966. Once again lists were held. Fulk de Wyvern defeated Edwin Bersark in the finals, winning the right to crown his lady, Mary of Tamar, Queen of Love and Beauty. It was decided to keep on having tournaments. At this event it was found that aluminum pipes made flat were not good swords as they bent. That summer, at a “1066 Party”, Siegfried von Hoflichskeit and Marynel of Darkhaven were married in the first Society wedding, with all in medievals. (At the second tourney Alfonso de Castile showed up with the Consortium Antiguum to perform.)

Fulk de Wyvern
Azure, a fess Or between
three wiverns argent.
Mary of Tamar
Or, two levriers rampant
addorsed, tails couped, sable.
Arms drawn by Nicholas Bawcock of Petersfield, used with permission,
Arms colored by Beatrix zum Dunklenturm

See video of this tournament

“Of course, this is the early tourney I missed. Seems they had some silly rule about having to have a costume ...
     “I was, however, under the impression that Fulk fought Karl vom Acht (Owen Hannifen) in the finals. Perhaps I am remembering it badly and Owen was in the semi-finals. I heard the story from him, after all, and it was his first event. However, he did well enough that when the first knights' list came up, he was on it. Not too bad for a (then) Angeleno who could only come up every few months or so.
     “I understood, too, that the aluminum pipe swords left a heckuva welt when they hit. Of course, everyone was still wearing costumes, not padding.
     “It was probably around this time that the UC Berkeley fencing department began to be wary of SCAers. Seems a bunch of their saber helmets went missing ...” – Stefan de Loraine

“For years afterward they still had a problem about that ... Was it our guys who took them???” – James Greyhelm
“No idea, as I was not part of the Berkeley Mafia at the time. The fencing department certainly blamed the SCA. Perhaps some of their people attended an event, saw the helmets, and assumed they had been taken from UCB. I seem to recall that some of them had UCB markings on them. Long after we had homemade steel helmets, fencing students were being warned to look out for SCAers trying to take UCB fencing helmets.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who fought in a combination army helmet liner and catcher's mask and padded the back of his neck JUST before getting hit there very hard ...
“Hey, I made the damned thing. I was vastly proud of it at the time. All you had to do was avoid getting hit on the side of the head at the ear level or below or on the back of the head or neck. Sends chills down my spine thinking of wearing it in combat now.” – Steven McEanruig
“The warnings to guard against getting your saber helmet stolen were still current at U.C. Berkeley as late as AS VII when I was taking saber there. As a newly minted knight I felt it necessary to set the department straight. I met with the two primary instructors and explained that saber masks had not been legal for SCA combat for years and offered to demonstrate what was currently being used. On the last day of the quarter I and another SCAer from the epee class brought our gear to school, suited up and proceeded to whale and whack upon each other with a great deal of gusto and a variety of weapons. The warnings ceased as far as I know from that day on.” – Kevin Peregrynne

“To my great regret, because of having a deadline to meet, I couldn't be at the very first tourney, but was only able to take Astrid there and afterward bring her home. What I saw and heard was enough to show me this was going to be a lot of fun and the whole family would want to join in.
     “So I started preparing for the second event. At Karen's suggestion, I bought an old wool sweater at the Goodwill and sprayed it with aluminum paint to look sort of like a mail shirt. My helmet from long-gone days motorcycling around overseas was to cover my head. I fitted a sheet metal faceplate to it and draped a metallic-looking cloth behind to hide the leather [this was an old design of brainbucket -- KA] and be a coif. The helmet itself I padded to protect the spoofing arms painted on it. Even so, there's a dent on top that must have been acquired that day. Spray-painted work gloves served for gauntlets. A shield cut from plywood was green with a raven thereon; the principles of heraldry weren't yet being applied, and I liked the idea of a raven on Tower green. A light wooden ax, wielded one-handed, seems to have been my only weapon, though here a snapshot must do for memory. Hiking boots were and remained my footwear.
     “I got thoroughly trounced, and the poor three-ply shield ended in splinters, but the tourney was nevertheless a grand occasion and, like probably everybody else, I sought to do better thereafter.
     “The third was at Cragmont Park in Berkeley. After a while I noticed a couple of police officers. They stayed for half an hour or so, but since there didn't seem to be anything the matter, my household gave them no particular attention. We only learned the full story later.
     “In those days Berkeley was a cauldron of what called itself protest. A sheet styled the Berkeley Barb was among its raucous voices. Word of what had been seen came to the editors, who eagerly started to write a feature piece on how a few poor medievalists couldn't enjoy their innocent sport without being harassed by the brutal cops. Somebody who had been there explained that, actually, the officers had stopped by to warn that several cars were illegally parked and had better be moved if the owners didn't want tickets. They got so fascinated that they lingered as long as they could just to watch. The black member of the team, especially, made critical remarks about the handling of various weapons. That was all. So the Barb ran a headline:
     (Although, naturally, a number of our younger members counted themselves among the rebellious, our relationship with police was always cordial. There was even some talk about giving them some shields and instruction, because none of us condoned mob violence, but evidently nothing came of it.)
     “About that time or before, members were asked to choose medieval names. I settled on Bela of Eastmarch. The place name came from the fact that at that time our house was farther east than anyone else's, in Orinda. This in turn suggested an Eastern European cognomen, and "Bela" was, in a way, my small tribute to the Hungarian Revolution ten years earlier. The persona was thus more or less a rural Magyar knight who'd heard tales of these here new-fangled tournament things and come northwest to see what they were all about. (SCA knighthood wasn't instituted till later.) However, I made no special effort to act it out. My lady became Karina of the Far West and our daughter was Astrid of Hawk Ridge, the street above ours [running along a ridge - KA] being El Gavilan.
     “In my forties, with most opponents ten or more years younger, I generally lost my battles. Then classes and practice sessions began in Berkeley. I attended pretty faithfully and improved until I was winning enough to be among the first who were knighted in the Society. My lady took a special role as a herald, since she has a strong voice and theatrical experience had taught her how to make it carry. This led her to research in the general field of heraldry, in which she'd long been interested, and she became a leading member of the College and eventually chief herald of the West. [Actually, of the Known World, when it consisted of four kingdoms plus dependencies in Outremer. - KA] In time the work load grew too heavy, but she left the office in good hands.
     “She was also an excellent artificer, designed our pavilion, and tailored the covering. I believe it was the first to be relatively easy to set up, take down, and transport, its core being a collapsible aluminum frame strung with clotheslines. Of course, still better models appeared later, but we stayed with this. We carried the whole works in a long gray bag on top of our car, where it resembled a gun so much that we dubbed it the Gray Mauser. The car sported the vanity plate WYVERN, reflecting her arms. My own arms, which she also created, were canting -- Azure, a saltire (aka cross of St. Andrew) argent, between two suns or in pale.
     “For my part, I was the woodworker, among other things making the folding table on which we set forth our viands. My new shield, five-ply and metal-bordered, proved durable, if a bit heavy. I made a number of swords, at first from oak and fairly realistic in appearance -- some so much so as to be strictly for show -- then from rattan shen that became regulation. I also turned another motorcycle helmet, bought second hand, into what I think was the first helmet in which a man could safely fight wearing glasses. It wasn't much for looks, a sort of truncated pig-faced basinet, but it too served me for as long as I joined combat.” – Bela of Eastmarch (via Karina)

[That summer, at a “1066 Party” ...] "Separate event – not wedding!" – Henrik of Havn

“I missed the second tournament due to summer camp from Air Force ROTC. I did get several letters about it from Stefan and Felice of Mayhem House, both of which letters helped me get through the camp, where I was not precisely the most eager military type around.” – Steven MacEanruig

From an EMail by Henrik of Havn, October 24, 2014, in response to the History Document for the Year 50 event:

The second Tournament was not held iin a part of Tilden Park, but iin a part of the East Bay Regional Park System called Juaquin Miller Park, in Oakland. It was the Es=ast bay regional Parks district office that Marrian Zimmer  Bradley went to to register the SCA for use of Juaquin Miller Park, for the second Tournament. {David Bradley ( AKA Sir Ardral) , her son, went with  her and Walter Breen to form the East kingdom, as you later relate.}  

Re; Flattened Aluminum Pipe Swords -  That was my idea and except for that they hurt hitting unarmored fingers and one of the fighters kept hitting with the flat of the blades and making them bend, they lasted a lot longer than plywood or oak wood lath blades did, which all broke over shield rim with virtually the first stout blow. The fighter who bent his aluminum blades did so because he didn't use good edge presentation which cutting tests show is critical with real sharp swords, or else they too bend and sometimes break as well. The subsequent discovery of rattan by Fulk, shortly thereafter relegated metal blades in any form as defunct. Had modern metal WMA swords been available, we would surely have adopted them instead of rattan and the SCA would doubtless have traveled a different path, perhaps in the direction of Battle of the Nations.  -- 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).