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

The Third Year

May Day Celebration
April 27, 1969

Held at the Airplane Field, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California. The first attempts at tilting at quintains occurred.

“I'm assuming this was a local event (I may have even helped autocrat it) done because so many people didn't want to make the trip to Modesto for the Coronation. Also, I believe there had been a problem with using the Modesto land in question on the May Day weekend, and the Coronation was postponed a couple of weeks. Yeah, I remember the circumstances better as I speak. That's exactly the situation. A lot of people (myself included) thought that the idea of an overnight event would never catch on. And actually, I never much enjoyed camping out...
     “I believe the horses being ridden at this event included Leanne's horse and the horses of a couple of young women who had joined Henrik's household. One was a lady named Allison Clough (whose SCA name escapes me--I have known too many Allisons--though I think she may have gone with Allisande something--de Rohan?) and the other her sister, whose name totally escapes both my lady and my memories, even though she figured in a tempest in a teapot a couple of years later.
     “Leanne's horse was named Schoen (which we think means "Sweetheart" in German) and Leanne had had her for many years. She is a central figure in another story, which I will save for the discussion of the Modesto Coronation...” – Stefan de Lorraine, whose brains are getting bloody from all the cudgelling of them he had to do for these comments

“Yes, this was a private – not Kingdom event with everyone being invited.
     “She (Schön) may have been there – John Edgerton may remember because his truck was used to trailer Leanne’s horse to Oakdale and may have been used for the Maying trip also.
     “Allisande was the autocrat. Sister’s name was Meredith.”
     (Re: translation of horse’s name: Schoen or Schön) “Beautiful not sweetheart!” – Henrik of Havn
“Patience, my lad, patience. Headlesse House didn't appear (burst onto the scene?) until October Crown V, a year and a half later. Which isn't long . . . except compared to the then-age of the Society.
     “It just seems like we've been here forever.” – William the Lucky, who actually has been paying attention but waiting for time to catch up to him.
“Right, I realized that after I sent the original message -- note the comment about bloody brains. My use of the term Great Houses is probably out of place timewise as well, since it started up after various squires and men at arms (in my case Houri and Jon The Lean--then Andrew of Riga) became armigerous but stayed affiliated and other fighters and armigers affiliated themselves. At the time we are talking about, we were just House Lorraine.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“Alisande de Rohan, indeed, as I well remember, having dated her briefly in 1971. Her sister was Meredith and I think it was just Meredith, a young lady with exceptional looks and a fair amount of good sense.” – Steven MacEanruig

“I don't remember this being a tourney at all, and surely not a substitute for the first ever overnight tourney in late May, which most of us were eagerly looking forward to and building pavilions in anticipation of. This event, as I recall, was more like a picnic with equestrian activities, organized by Alisande de Rohan (Allison Clough), who (together with her younger sister, Meredith) owned a horse. (I cannot, I fear, recall the horse's name; do you remember, Henrik?) Henrik's Lady, Duchess Leanne, also had a horse, Schoen (German for "beautiful"), but I can't remember if she was at this event, but certainly at the 1st overnight. Alisande had built a quintain and Henrik & I (and I don't recall who else) took turns galloping at it with couched lance until one of my blows knocked it into pieces. (A bit later Henrik engineered a quintain so tough that none of us has ever been able to really hurt it.) The 2 horses mentioned here were the ones Henrik & I rode the next month for our mounted mace & small shield combat, probably the only horseback combat ever within the lists of an SCA tourney. They also took part in the horseback abduction at that event. (You can see that on film when that project happens.) Henrik's Norman Helm: Sometime in AS III, in a melee at a practice of the "Association for Medieval Combat" (approx. name), a group of adult fighters who got together to promote better fighting standards & to practice technique, 2 of us double-teamed Henrik & I landed a 2-handed swing of a 5' maul (heavy roll of carpet on a pole) right on top of his helm, straight down. It sort of dazed him briefly, and we stopped to discuss it, but he didn't object to use of such a blow. His helm did indeed seem to act like a second, outer, skull, spreading the force to his entire head, neck & even body, rather than to a particular spot.” – Robert of Dunharrow

“Thor comes to mind, but that may have been Suzanne of Raven Hill's horse, which preceded Alberic.” – Henrik of Havn

“Would someone remember who was involved in the tilting? I would assume it was Henrik, but who else and how did it go? I would like this information for the SCA Equestrians as most of them are new and don’t know the history of riding in the SCA. We do quintain now-a-days but I’m sure it’s a far cry from what it was then.” – Jerald of Galloway (you’re getting close to AS IV and then I get to jump in here)

“The autocrat of the “Maying” was one of my household members Alisand de Rohan, whom I had been introduced to by my squire, Count Stephan Blackeagle when he was but a 17 year old San Rafael high school student. He had seen her on her horse at the first Ren Faire and had run to get me to introduce me to his “new love” and asked me as I looked up at her on her horse, if she could be in our household. Feeling compelled to not respond in the negative, I hesitatingly agreed – a decision I never regretted.” – Henrik of Havn
“I didn’t want to say yes to someone that I didn’t know, but I also would have felt embarrassed to say no to someone’s face.” – Henrik of Havn
“She organized the first specifically equestrian event. She provided a quintain – and I think she had it devised with finishing nails on part of the right arm (or extension) to hold rings for spearing. Having little understanding of the forces of a tilting lance can deliver at “full tilt”, she constructed the quintain out of light weight materials – 3/4" water pipe or 1 1/4" dowel vertical support/pivot with a 1/4" to 3/8" thick plywood target (shield shaped, I think) with something akin to 16 penny nails hammered into the edge of the target and bent round the vertical pipe/dowel to pivot on. Light strokes would swing it around ok, but heavy ones would definitely damage it. Alisande provided her horse (I think it’s name was Thor) for the competitors to use, and I believe at least one other horse was also there. Sir Robert of Dunharrow competed and has described some of his recollections earlier in this discussion. Several of the other ladies in my household were horse owners including my lady Leanne, and Ladies Aurelia de la Licorn (sp?) And Irene of the Marsh. Any of them may have been there with a horse also.”
     “I brought an 11 foot ash lance made from a tapered 1 1/2" dowel. I borrowed a claw foot off of my mother’s piano stool and removed the glass ball from it’s grasp. I mounted this on the top of my lance in lieu of a coronal. Since I expected the quintain to have only a brief life expectancy I chose to be last to charge it. Sir Robert “softened it up” for me when he broke it. We managed a makeshift repair and then I took my turn. I struck it at a gallop and sent the pieces flying into the air. That’s what really turned me on to doing equestrian things in the SCA.
     “For the Equestrian record – not long before the Oakdale overnight tournament (I don’t remember what year or month - but it was before Fulk stopped attending events) - I conspired with Ken (Fulk) to try mounted combat to see how it would work. I was a student at San Francisco State then and had done some riding of rental horses at two nearby rental stables along the beach just at the San Francisco/Daly City border (these were Mar Vista Riding Academy and Palo Mar Stables). The areas available to ride (unsupervised in those days for $3.50 an hour) included all of the beach from Daly City up to the Cliff House/Playland and even into Golden Gate Park.
     “The trail down from the stables (which were located on Olympic Way next to Skyline Blvd.) To the beach below the cliff/bluff they were situated upon wound through a sand dune like area which bordered on the west side of the Olympic Country Club golf course. A large culvert/tunnel about 15 feet high and 20 feet wide ran under Skyline Blvd in this area to the Olympic Country Club property and wasn’t fenced off on the Ocean/dune side. A flat sandy area about 50 feet across lay at the ocean end of this culvert surrounded by sandy hillocks about 8 to 10' high – a good visual barrier from the occasional passing rider. You could even ride into the culvert and had lots of room to maneuver inside.
     “On the appointed day, Ken and I brought our gear (2 helms, 2 shields, 2 maces) in a duffle bag and stashed it out of sight near the culvert. Then we went to the stable (Mar Vista I think - since they had better horses) and rented 2 horses. Then we casually rode to our secret spot, donned our gear and tried a few passes at each other. We both managed a few hits, but found the horses VERY!!! reluctant to get close enough for much contact between Ken and me and so gave up after about 1/2 hour. We then rode for a bit and that ended that experiment. When Sir Robert and I fought on horse back (it was a demo not real combat) at Oakdale we had similar results using mace and shield again – Leanne’s horse and Alisande’s horse ridden by me and Robert respectively didn’t like the commotion either.” – 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).

[Back to Year III]     [Main Page for the History]     [Who's Who]

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