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

The Eleventh Year

Beltane Coronation Festival and Decennial Celebration
May 1-2, 1976

From The Page (July, 1976):

From Duke Richard of Montreal and Sir Steven MacEanruig

My Lords and Ladies,

At the May Coronation Festival an ancient tradition was broken and a strangely ironic precedent set.

By the Laws of the Society and long tradition in this Kingdom, no admission has been charged for attending a tourney. The only requirement has been wearing of appropriate costume and behavior proper to a Lord or Lady.

At this May Tourney, the tenth anniversary of our medievalist organization, a head tax of one dollar a person was charged; a mandatory tax. In short, an admission fee. An ironic precedent indeed in this year 1976. Now, the reason for this tax, or at least for needing the money brought in by the tax, was a good one. We must have overnight tourney sites, and the Big Trees Campground is the best for our purposes we have found. But the "tax" for its use has gone up drastically, to a minimum of $125 a weekend. More money is definitely needed, and the Royal Pig has not been fed sufficiently in the past by voluntary contributions. But must a tax be leveled where none was needed before?

One of the requirements for membership in the nobility is a chivalric attitude. This includes the concept of largesse. Cannot the nobility of this Kingdom, either together or singly, find the money to keep our tourneys free? If no one else will step forward to take the burden upon himself or to help us bear it, we, Richard of Montreal and Steven MacEanruig, will pay for the site of the June Crown Tourney so that the populace will not have to pay. Is there no household or Great House, such as Chaos, Bufo, or Random, which cannot find the amount among its many members; cannot Rieseling, Golden Rivers, St. David, Shasta, Southern Shores, or any other province, either individually or together, find the money to support the August Coronation and the September Crown Tourney?

One further point. To efficiently gather taxes, one must have tax collectors. Must we further impose on our constables, or create a whole new bureaucracy, to implement this plan?

My Lords and Ladies, the future of our "Free Society" rests on you.

           Steven MacEanruig
           Richard of Montreal

The preceding letter is an expression of the feelings of two of the founding members of the West Kingdom, and as such carries great weight. It also contains what we feel to be some misconceptions.

The head tax levied at this year's Beltane was not the first of its kind. Last year, a tax was imposed at September Crown, again out of necessity. The tax in May was not, then, setting or breaking any precedent.

We have also been unable to find in the By-laws, the Corpora, or the Laws of the Kingdom of the West any prohibition against such a tax, although many people seem to think there is one.

The tone of the letter is such that it raises some questions. When our noble counterparts in Medieval Europe were alive, nobility and wealth went more or less in hand. Such wealth was often the result of very (by our standards, today) immoral, oppressive, and even illegal measures. We have eliminated this aspect of nobility as part of our creative anachronism. And the economy has eliminated to a large degree the wealth of us all.

It seems for more equitable to ask a small tax from all than to imply that lack of wealth may be somehow synonymous with lack of nobility.

We welcome the comments of the nobility and the populace at large on this matter.

          James Cameron [Kingdom Chronicler]

From The Page (August, 1976):

Last issue, we asked our readers for their comments on the open letter to the populace from Duke Ricahrd of Montreal and Sir Steven MacEanruig. Here are those we received:

Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on the letter about "taxes".

This practice has been in effect through several tournaments now; no one, previously, had complained. But it has not been a "tax". As the guards at the gate are accustomed to explain (and they have to be there anyway, so it really does not add a burden to the job of the constabulary), they are asking for a per person contribution toward the cost of the site. As I believe they also explain (and did explain to Duke Montreal), persons who find this contribution to be a financial hardship have only to say so and they will be allowed to enter without contributing (it's really not "Pay or die!").

It is doubtless true that, as Duke Montreal and Sir MacEanruig suggest, those with large households or with titles could manage to carry this entire burden for the Kingdom without help from untitled persons or those with small households. I am not at all sure, though, why they are advocating such an odd arrangement. Surely they do not believe that large househoulds or titles imply twentieth century wealth? Or that those with small households or who are untitled are not desirous of contributing to the welfare and continuance of the Kingdom? But if not, why would they suggest this peculiar method of raising the funds for tournament sites?

For that matter, the purpose of the entire letter is somewhat difficult for me to understand. If the desire were to help, why the apparent attempt to criticize and shame other titled nobles and large households? Could not an example have been set and an invitation issued without this tone of moral superiority? I confess myself to be bewildered.

Personally, I believe that all the Kingdom's citizens are likely to wish to contribute to this as they do to the other needs of the Kingdom. I suspect that many would even resent an attempt to assign this burden only to titled nobles or those with large households. I will not try to presure or to shame anyone else into believing or behaving as I do, but I hope that if anyone is to contribute more money to this or any other expense of the Kingdom that it will be those who can afford to contribute more money, rather than those who happen to have titles or to head households.


Sumer Redmaene

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Dear Jamie,

You asked for comments, so, here goes.

It is noble to give. Richard is noble in giving, Steven is noble in giving, you are noble in giving, I am noble in giving. We give of what we have -- money, time, talents. We give as much as we can -- freely. And it does not matter if someone else gives more or less than we do. We aren't in a silly competition, nor do I think Richard and Steven were encouraging us to enter into any such silliness. They would be the last to say that someone is less noble now than he was ten years ago just because he has less time to give to the Society these days. Similarly, they would be the last to say that Baron A is less noble than Baron B because Baron B has a mundane job that enables him to give great gobs of cash to the Royal Pig, while Baron A has no job and barely enough gas money to make it to the field. All Richard and Steven have done is to suggest that if the Baron B's among us get their act together, they can help us pay for the Baron A's among us, as well as for the casual passersby who are attracted to our events but who are unlikely to come up with several dollars just to hang around and find out if they really like those funny people hitting each other with sticks.

What it all comes down to is stewardship. If the people who are enamored of paying the head tax feel unhappy about having the site paid for, they can always stick their share of the head tax into the ever-hungry Royal Pig. Or they can give it to the Land Fund. It would be great if everybody who could afford to did just that -- we'd be well on our way to having a site of our own.

Stewardship: Bless me, I wonder what they do teach them at these schools ...

Rima of Rockridge

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To The PAGE:

In answer to the Open Letter from Duke Richard of Montreal and Sir Steven MacEanruig in the July, 1976, PAGE:

To us their logic seems somewhat peccable; if the park fees which are necessary for a particular locale are picked up by one single person, one household, or a combination of the above, isn't this just as much "taxation" as if the charges are levied on the populace as a whole?

How does being Great necessarily make any Household wealthy enough to cough up $125 or more per event? Speaking as Lord and Lady of Griffin Freehold (which holds no mean reputation in the Principality of Caid for being active), we can state that we have few members who would be either willing or able to have their own hard-earned funds go to pay for a site which could be more easily paid for in smaller increments by all who attend a particular event. Not only would this place a heavy burden on the working members of the Household, but the members who are currently out of work would have an extra load of guilt to carry because there were not able to take on their share of a whopping $125 taxation on one household!

We have to pay out a goodly amount of money (to say nothing about the time involved!) just to get to a tourney or event in the Mists, yet we pay our way (and cheefully) to obtain a nice camping area at Big Trees, or help pay the Park Service for whatever grounds have been obtained. In small amounts, like $1 per person, it have never been an extra handicap to our making the trip. We fail to see why it should be such a terrible thing for the local people to be charged on an individual basis to pay for grounds which -- however noble our group may be -- must be mundanely paid for before we can enjoy them.

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!" It is our opinion that we have been more than tolerant towards the people who can afford $70 for a costume, but who then show up at an event to beg lunch off others, and tell everyone who will listen how poor they are!

We have been around the Society nearly as long as the gentlemen who wrote the letter, and we've seen far too many "smellfeasts" live off our "Free Society", without doing a thing to contribute to the betterment of the SCA. Is it too much to ask them to pay a mere $1 to attend an event, without all this fuss about "taxation" and "tax collectors" when we pass the helm at most events, anyway? What, pray tell, is that? Some of us put in more than our share, and those who do not (or cannot) put in nothing; how does this ruin our chivalric attitudes, or add bureaucracy?

We're not particularly disposed to support the perrenial "smellfeasts"; let those who are simple say so, and take care of these fees on a personal, one-to-one basis, without all this fuss.


Lord John ap Griffin     Mistress Bjo of Griffin

From the History (by Wilhelm):

Held in Big Trees Camp, Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, California. King William and Queen Donna held morning court. Court was begun in a most impressive manner with Their Majesties riding in on horseback along with their retinue. A flight of pigeons was released at the end of the procession. Lady Luise of Woodshome, Ambassadress from Atenveldt, presented her credentials. Numerous beautiful scrolls were handed out. King William gave Awards of Arms to Benjamin von Armentrodt, Brian the Reticent, Colleen Elizabeth de Cassis, Su of the Silver Horn, James Cameron, Karl of Clan Colin, Mary of Uffington, Morimoto Koryü, Nicole du Havre des Chouettes, Roderick dhu MacRae, Sean a’Claidheamn, Serena, Suzanne Justine of King’s Harbour, and Wilowen of Stuarts. King William then admitted Cristòbal degli Glicine che Mangia Uome, Alison von Markheim, Douglas Longshanks, Jessica Llyrindi of Northmarch, Leon de Asturias, Liam of the Barque, and Lorna of Leeds and Serena to the Order of the Leaf of Merit. King William gave a Grant of Arms to Fiona Gregorovna (Natalya de Foix) and admitted Ellen Cross Quills to the Order of the Pelican. Mistress Ellen had made a beautiful maypole for use that afternoon, an example of the reasons for which she was admitted to the Order. Queen Donna admitted Beverly Hodghead, Adrienne de Toledo, Ellen Cross Quills, and Olaf the Maedi-Ogre to the Queen’s Order of Grace and gave her Queen’s Cypher to Duchess Verena of Laurelin. Duke Aonghais Dubh MacTarbh, newly arrived from the East, swore allegiance to King William, announcing his residency in the West. Among the numerous presentations to their Majesties was a corduroy gage (glove) thrown at Their Majesties’ feet by Lady Beagle de la Souris Folle as a challenge to the Kingdom to match the $100 contribution inside to the Land Fund.

Following court were challenge matches, equestrian competitions, a Wardlord individual melee, and the first part of the Great Deccenial Quest. The winner of the Wardlord melee was Mary of Uffington. These were followed by the Coronation. Prince Paul and Princess Carol rode up on horseback. Just as the procession came to a halt Duke Henrik stepped forward and begged leave to present Their Majesties a gift to end the first ten years of the Kingdom and begin the next. He then unveiled two beautifully crafted cast silver crowns, the Queen’s ornamented with roses, the King’s with oak leaves, each containing a piece of the Ancient Crowns as part of the metal. The Ancient Crowns were given to the Royal Archives as a historical treasure of the kingdom. Then, using the new Royal Crowns, William and Donna crowned Paul and Carol King and Queen of the West. Numerous presentations were made to Their Majesties. King Paul gave an Award of Arms to Ealasaid NicChlurain. Then Count William of Hoghton and Countess Donna of Rollingwood (Donna of Willowwood) came forward and King Paul and Queen Carol named them Duke and Duchess of the West. Queen Carol reinstated the Queen’s Guard, appointing Bergen von Rauch, Brian Dritar an Con, Christopher of Hoghton, Craig of the Chambers, Karl of Clan Colin, Lodbrog Houndstooth, Lorin Sur la Roche, Mary of Uffington, Olaf the Maedi-Ogre, Richard of Havn, Cadwalladyr Stone of Stonecroft, Theodulf of Borogrove, Trude Lacklandia, and William Allen. Following court was the Royal Potluck, served in reverse order of precedence, the May wine competition for the Arts Pentathalon, the Order of the Wooden Spoon competition for seafood dishes, the second half of the Great Deccenial Quest, and a bardic circle. The ladies of the Kingdom assembled after court to choose the Philanderer of the Year. At morning court the next day it was announced that Duke William of Hoghton had won, beating out Duke Aonghais, who was told by Queen Carol to try harder for next time. Their Majesties accepted the presentations from the populace and announced the activities for the day. A live chess game was held, won by white. The wards of the kingdom danced around the maypole, held by Mary of Uffington, the new Wardlord. Archery and equestrian competitions were held. The gurning and dancing competitions of the arts pentathlon were held. Challenge matches were fought. At final court Queen Carol named Heinrich Palantine Queen’s Champion for his performance in the chess game. Morven of Carrick awarded the Old Battered Helm to Bergen von Rauch for his performance in the chess game. Gray of Ravenshold announced the winners of the Order of the Wooden Spoon competition to be Baron Sir Kevin Peregrynne and Baroness Patrice du Couer Fidel. Neil of Gyr won the standard, timed, and high point contests in the Archery competitions. Mark von dem Falkensfenn won the wand contest and Henrik of Havn won the tilting and jousting contests. Countess Patrice d’Cilla and Duke Andrew of Riga won the Squire Rescue Race. Susanne of Ravenhill and Irene of the Marsh won the the Damsel in Distress contest. Duke Andrew was the high point winner. Jeanette La Rue Du Cheval won the costume contest. Queen Carol created the positions of Queen’s Advisor for the Arts and for the Sciences, and named Cristina Giuliana dell’Onda to the Science post and Theodosia Arcadiana to the Arts position. Sir Kevin Peregrynne announced that Sir Ian of Cawdor would be his successor as Earl Marshall after a training period. Duke James Greyhelm announced that the populace had more than met Lady Beagle’s challenge, contributing $150. Amanda of Cawdor was presented with her Award of Arms scroll and a laurel medallion made by Master Beverly Hodghead. Master Beverly also presented the kingdom with a laurel medallion to be used in future ceremonies. At last, to the cheers of the populace, Their Majesties gave the populace leave to depart and go home to rest after a very busy tourney.

The winners of the Quest were Bevin Fraser of Sterling, Morven of Carrick, and Gwydion. Queen Carol’s ladies in waiting were Suzanne Justine of King’s Harbour, Gabrielle NicChlucain, Fiona MacGregor (Natalya de Foix), and Virginia of Enso.

Paul of Bellatrix
Sable, on a bend Or three
compass stars palewise gules.
Carol of Bellatrix
Per bend argent and vert, six
octofoils in bend three and
three counterchanged, all
pierced Or.
Arms drawn by Nicholas Bawcock of Petersfield, used with permission

See photos from this event

[Among the numerous presentations to their Majesties ...] “Also, the very first Earl Marshall's Pandybat melee competition was announced at court, to be held at the next (Purgatorio) Coronation.” – Kevin Peregrynne

“Just an editorial note, the Pandybat contest announcement had no Connection to the gauge challenge ... I simple announced it at court as a routine heads-up to go with the written announcement in the Page.” – Kevin Peregrynne
[He then unveiled two beautifully crafted cast silver crowns, the Queen’s ornamented with roses, the King’s with oak leaves, each containing a piece of the Ancient Crowns as part of the metal.] “Henrik had gotten much of the silver for the (oak leaf, rose and acorn) castings from Patrice and I at the Bemews housewarming the preceding spring (his funds and time had been running short {though he did not tell us then what he wanted it for}), in exchange he was to re-mount a katana blade I had obtained years before (I hadn't begun fighting yet when I got it) in exchange. To Henrik's credit (and to add to his legend) he delivered the sword on the occasion of Patrice and my Silver anniversary. (i.e. > 15 years later) In the short term Richard of Havn's 16 mm movies of my face during the presentation was prima-facie evidence of high treason (I swear I was only thinking "So that's where the silver went!" honest, really, don't you believe meee....)
     [Gray of Ravenshold announced the winners of the Order of the Wooden Spoon competition to be Baron Sir Kevin Peregrynne and Baroness Patrice du Couer Fidel.] “Chiaopino - secret ingredient - fresh abalone. (It helped that my parent's house was only 20 minutes was FRESH)
     [Sir Kevin Peregrynne announced that Sir Ian of Cawdor would be his successor as Earl Marshall after a training period.] “My printers had told me that the Fighters' handbook would be ready by then, I'd been Earl Marshal for nearly four years and I couldn't see much else that needed doing. (I didn't know it was loaded, honest).” – Kevin Peregrynne

“I’d like to give a few particulars here, which may be of interest. First, I don’t think the term “cast silver crowns” is correctly applied, since they are not entirely cast. “Solid silver crowns” would be much more accurate.
     “The idea for the crowns came simply from the realization that after nine years of learning and growing in knowledge and skill in the SCA, more sophisticated projects should be tried. I took a jewelry class at the College of Marin and learned the basics of the lost wax casting process and additional techniques of metal forming and fabrication that my earlier Engineering and Materials classes hadn’t covered.
     “I was also inspired by the gift of a large and small Tudor rose pendant that a friend had brought back from Europe. The idea of translating a wreath of roses into a metal form finally was do-able. Although laurel and ivy wreathes were most frequently given to the winning fighter, oak leaf wreaths were used a few times also in the West. Laurel seemed too typical of Ancient Greece and ivy is certainly not as regal as oak, so oak leaves were chosen for the King’s crown.
     “The oak leaves on the King’s crown were created using the lost wax casting process. Real leaves were carefully selected for size and shape and were picked off an oak tree which grew on the side of the hill in San Anselmo, Marin County (Caldarium), overlooking and in direct view of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, where several of our early crown tournaments were held. A thin layer of wax was then carefully applied to the backs of these leaves in order to bind them together in their cluster format and to stiffen them so they would not curl as they dried, and to give them sufficient thickness so that the silver leaves they would become would not bend or break easily when dropped or otherwise be stressed. Also the extra thickness would allow for soldering breaks together again if necessary.
     “A sliver of the first copper King’s crown [“The Ancient and Honorables” – Hirsch] was then embedded in the wax of one of the clusters. The clusters were then encased in their respective molds. The molds were then baked at around 1000 degrees to melt and turn into fine ash any parts of the wax and leaves in the mold. (The copper did not melt.) This left leaf cluster shaped cavities in each mold, into which molten silver (a mixture of 40% coin silver, 50% casting silver and 10% sterling silver scrap) was then poured. The molten metal filled the cavities and when cooled were removed from the molds and became the leaf clusters for the King’s crown. All the surface features of the real oak leaves were preserved in the outward surfaces of the silver castings. Similarly real acorns were used to create the silver acorns for the crown.
     “The bands of both crowns are made from 16 gage sterling silver bands where were double edge fluted by hand on a 2 piece fluting tool that I designed and made.
     “The roses for the Queen’s crown were made individually of wax and were then cast using the same procedure mentioned previously. One of the roses has a sliver of the first copper Queen’s crown [again, the “Ancient and Honorables” – H] in it. Final assembly consisted of making special rivets – partly copper, with silver head covers, and riveting all the pieces to the bands. The King’s crown weighs about 1 1/2 pounds, the Queen’s crown weighs about 1 pound. The lining materials are extra weight and allow for adjustment to different head size. The Queen’s crown will fit up to about 7 1/2 hat size. The King’s crown will fit up to about 8 1/2 hat size (as I recall).” – Henrik of Havn

“Some of that silver was leftover from a casting project that Henrik did for me. I was happy to contribute something to the worthy cause, and SCA historians may be amused to know that incorporated into the silver crown with the fragment of the first crown, was silver which came from the sterling electrical plugs of a WWII era, portable X-Ray machine. How I came by them is another tale ...” – Brian Dritar an Con (Who was variously known as Brian Dritar an Con, Brian the Unpronounceable, Brian of the Hounds, Brian Dripping Oil Can)

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).