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

The Third Year

Summer Coronation and Crown Tourney

June 23, 1968 AS III

Click here to see flier for this event

Held in Mills College, Oakland, California. Richard and La Rana were crowned by Siegfried and Marynel. King Richard admitted Diana Listmaker to the Order of the Laurel. Crown Lists were held. Duke Henrik of Havn defeated Sir Caradoc ap Cador. Leanne of Maywood was Duke Henrik’s lady. Sir Caradoc ap Cador gave the MGC to Sir Siegfried von Hoflichskeit (and thus it returned to its maker).

Richard of Mont Royal
Sable, in saltire a double-bitted
axe and a Celtic cross Or.
La Rana
Vert, on a cushion Or
a frog sejant affronty
vert, crowned Or.
Arms drawn by Nicholas Bawcock of Petersfield, used with permission
Arms colored by Aja du Jardin

Coppermine Photo Album

The following article was originally published in the Oakland Tribune, who hold the copyright to the article. The story was written by Monte Monteagle, and published in the Tribune on July 14, 1968. This article is being made available here with permission of the Oakland Tribune's librarian. Unfortunately, there were several photos that are protected by U.S. Copyright law, and we do not have permission to reproduce them (pity, some of them are quite good). A photocopy of the original typed manuscript for the article along with copies of the photos were given to my sister-in-law who got them to me, as she knows I have been documenting the history of the West Kingdom. I scanned it using OCR software, and cleaned up the little glitches that occur. Any misspellings or odd wording is the original author's at this point. Enjoy, Hirsch von Henford

Yoicks! The Age of Chivalry Returns

East Bay Regional Park District
11500 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland
{Monte Monteagle - <phone number removed>}

July 2, 1968


In the East Bay, there's an organization with the improbable name of "The Society for Creative Anachronism." Its members are fascinated by the medieval era and stage tournaments in which the combatants wield swords, maces and battle axes, usually to an exclamatory end. They have fought twice before on the Tilden Regional Park "field of honor" (usually reserved for model airplane flying) and they'll be at it again soon.

In a recent tournament there were such medieval attractions as a belly dancer, the kidnaping of a Duke's lady, two coronations, 16th century dances, javelin throwing and archery. As an incidental, there was a limber squire who danced the Russian kazatsky to Scottish strains from a bagpipe.

This medieval confraternity of knights, dukes and yeomen are, to be sure, clad reassuringly in metal helms, fashioned variously from football helmets or baseball umpire’s masks and steel and prodigously padded, usually with mattress covers or sleeping bags.

And their "weaponry" is fashioned from light rattan; the 30-inch mauls and 60-inch maces are amply padded and usually built up of leather-covered rubber, The battle axes (not to be confused with mothers-in-law) are also leather and rubber confections.

The precautions are an urgent necessity. The combatants strike blows with uninhibited abandon and the harvest of broken knuckles, concussions, bloody noses and bruises which, in the post-tourney period are productive of limping and patches of black, blue, orange and purple skin, would congeal the marrow of the uninitiated. Usually, an unofficial Red Cross attendant is on duty to administer to the more sanguinary cases.

While, superficially, the SCA may appear to be a group explicitly dedicated to swashbuckling medieval hoorah, many of the members are serious students of the medieval scene and, more particularly, the medieval tournament.

Curiously, the group seems to draw its aficionados largely from the ranks of science-fiction writers (who, admittedly are an imaginative lot), computer programmers and students.

"Our aims are to have fun and to achieve the total medieval environment as closely as possible," according to Jon de Cles, who rejoices in the title of High Seneschal (a sort of royal major domo) and writes science-fiction. "We attempt to recreate the spirit of Medieval reality with all its color, beauty, glory and chivalry. Our tournaments are exhibitions of skill, strength, prowess and pageantry."

de Cles, who lives at <address removed>, Berkeley, is known in the medieval court as "The Red Baron" and sports a raffish mustache with loops at the extremities. They quiver when he senses some intrigue against the King.

Final winner of the "crown matches" (which are preceded by round-robbin challenge fights), automatically dons the king’s ermine. And since there are several tourneys a year, this becomes a sort of royal revolving door with "long live the King" overtones.

At the last tournament, his Majesty, Siegfried von Hoeflichskeit, surrendered his crown to pipe-smoking Richard the Short, who answers to the name of Richard Barnhart in Fairfax. And at the conclusion of the tourney, Richard the Short, in turn, officiated at the laurel crowning of Duke Henrik of Havn, also of Marin county. He's a Duke by virtue of the fact he’s been king twice before. Royalty is old stuff to him, but he’s shy about his true identity.

All were firm in their insistence that anyone inside the tournament "lists" had to be attired in full pre-1650 regalia. No sweat shirts or Nehru jackets among the Grail seekers.

The "Red Baron" recalls with a shudder that there was a regrettable incident in the formative years of the Society when some intrusive female type insisted on donning helm and buckler and fighting with the big boys. She was rendered more or less hors de combat when Duke Henrik jammed her shield into her ribs. There has never been a repetition of this chivalric apostasy.

Watching the matches requires considerable expertise. If, for instance, you receipt for a sword or mace blow on the right leg, henceforward, you become a one-legged knight, either dropping to your knee or hopping about on your left leg (which lacks dignity). Should you be unfortunate or inept enough to be struck on the left leg too, you become a sort of paraplegic in armor. Get struck in the left arm and you toss away your shield and fight on with the right. But a solid blow to your right arm finishes you off. You are literally "disarmed". And a good solid blow to the helmet or torso is considered lethal. The combatants are the sole judges of the gravity of the blows they receive; when they receive the "coup de grace", they roll over, fall or stagger into an attitude of death or near-death, according to their histrionic talents.

Occasionally, there is a "double kill" in which both combatants do each other in simultaneously. Often, the Ladies of the Court, for the most part attired in flowing gowns and robes, vaguely reminiscent of the Lohengrin march down the middle aisle, cheer the vanquished more vociferously than the victor. This underlines the chivalry and gallantry of the whole affair. A good loser may never be king but he makes lots of points with the ladies. Besides, there are Crown prizes for medieval poetry and song.

The matter of challenges and throwing down the gage of battle would bemuse Mars himself. A melee developed after two knights stepped forward to defend the honor of William Shakespeare which, they contended, had been impugned when others questioned his right to designate King Richard III, as a coward and murderer.

Three other knights immediately joined them, one remarking that he felt constrained to defend the Bard’s memory “since I have a BA in English.”

Von Hoeflichskeit and three others defended the long-dead king. They won.

The Queen and her court cut romantic figures what with "ermine"-trimmed robes, crown and jewels, and, indeed, the royal,court has done very well in the romance department. There have been three weddings involving Society members this year and five since the tourneys began. The weddings are all orthodox in that an "arch of swords" is de rigueur; however, the last couple wrote their own ceremony along Viking lines. It was Pagan.

Armor is always a subject of animated discussion at the tournaments as the knights exchange notes. For instance, Wijade the Wondrous - true name, Bill Denholm of Santa Clara - wears an effulgent multi-colored suit of mail fashioned from 11,000 plastic links which took him a week to run up, working eight or 10 hours a day.

Probably more serviceable is Duke Henrik's. He took metal coat hangers, straightened them out and tempered them; wound them around a one-half inch rod; then slit them into open rings; arid, finally, painstakingly welded them all together. It's composed of 10,200 rings and weighs 40 pounds - a bit heavy, admittedly, but :very impregnable. It required 150 man hours to make. The Duke, who is very thorough about such things, also made metal "elbow caps" to avoid "funny bone" injuries, "vambraces" which are hinged metal cuffs and ran up a 10-foot pavilion out of six bed sheets dyed green and a beach umbrella.

One of the more colorful knights is bespectacled Caradoc ap Cador of Berkeley who wears his hair in braids and surrounds his true identity in an aura deep mystery.

Sir Caradoc was carrying the "Mucking Big Clubbe" which is "awarded to the fighter who displays outstanding ferocity on the field." Fashioned of elm with a 12-inch spike through the end, it evokes memories of the club carried by “Hairless Joe" in the Li’l Abner comic strip.

There seems little doubt that Sir Caradoc is ferocious. In one of his fights, his opponent, soundly thrashed, was heard to mutter aggrievedly "you killed me at least 10 times." Sir Siegfried is the current holder of the Clubbe.

To the average American, such things as apple pie, the cotton boll weevil and where the "A's" and the Giants are in the standings, are probably of cosmic importance.

But to members of the Society, the talk inevitably veers around to such matters of continental import as plots against the Crown, breastplates, cuirass, habergeon, rerebrace, greaves and sollerets.

Anyone for a tournament in the East Bay Regional Parks?

“Lot happened at this tourney. Jon de Cles came as a jester because Richard told him that he had no need of a Seneschal. Jon used the "a jester unemployed is nobody's fool" line a lot.”
     “Frank Herbert and a photographer showed up at this tourney to get pictures, but failed to get any they could use, so they organized the feast discussed below. It was an excellent article on the SCA, it helped that Frank was a close personal friend of several members.”
     “Siegfried won the MGC because he got really hurt and continued to fight on. I think his knee was badly whacked, but I'm not sure, I remember Richard telling him that he should run around the tourney field to "run it off." Diana's Laurel was the scheme of Richard and La Rana, Henrik and Leanne, and my lady and myself. We felt that women were getting a short shrift in the SCA and it was time that Diana's contributions were recognized, both for the sake of those contributions and to set a precedent.“
     “Richard was rather frustrated at having to be on the throne instead of fighting, and further frustrated because he managed to badly burn himself doing some blacksmithing a day or so before the tourney. The shield rim he was working on slipped off the forge and he caught it in his hand. Bad idea. So his left hand (his sword hand) was well wrapped in bandages.” – Stefan de Lorraine

“We (Richard and I) were trying to curve some galvanized steel straps (14 ga, 1 1/2" wide by several feet long) for shield face edging. Richard picked up a piece which was still too hot and burned his hand.” – Henrik of Havn
“To dull the frustration and pain, he drank a lot of wine. When a belly dancer showed up, he stopped the lists to watch the belly dancer. There were some other distractions as well.”
     “Notably, there was an abduction (I'm afraid I've forgotten who was abducted--likely Leanne) led by Edwin, Caradoc and Siegfried and a couple of squires. As I approached the bridge they had taken their victim across (I dunno if that bridge still exists on the Mills campus, they may have torn it down and/or replaced it) Siegfried was attacked by Hap Butler (can't remember Hap's medieval name) and went out of my field of view. I crossed the bridge with others, and we killed Caradoc and his squire (Herbert? I forget exactly). Edwin went down against a half dozen attackers (which were about as many helmets as were available at the time). Then those of us who were about to bring the lady back to the field heard a hush fall on the onlookers. We turned to find Siegfried approaching (my wife, Luise, has a great black and white she did of this scene taken from a photograph by Jon the Lean). He killed me, he killed Jamie Oakenshield, he killed Henrik (or was Henrik killed earlier – I forget). People where dragging helmets off the fallen and putting them on and going in to fight Siegfried, and dying. Richard dragged a shield over his bandaged arm (which was actually his sword hand) and went in, and died.” – Stefan de Lorraine
[I'm afraid I've forgotten who was abducted – likely Leanne] “Yes, it was she.” – Henrik of Havn
“Jamie Oakenshield's young (15? 16?)squire, Earl of Morris, was watching. He had always admired Dave/Siegfried and was just enjoying the show. Jamie rose up from his death place (those of us who had died had a great view of the show) and said "Earl, take that helmet (pointing to his own) and that sword (a zwiehander, about which more in a bit) and kill him." Earl, with great reluctance, put on the helmet, took up the sword, and faked Siegfried out of his boots.”
     “Johnny Chambers, the Little Green Dinosaur, did a great cartoon of Marynel leading Earl away saying "Come along dear, we mustn't be here when Uncle Dave wakes up..."”
     “The zwiehander was a very long hilted two-hander with very long quillons that could be moved around with the speed of a quarterstaff. Earl was one of the major talents with the weapon, which was later banned for being too light for the (very real) damage it could do.
     “What with the distractions and all, that tourney became known as the first "Long Day's Tourney Into Night."” – Stefan de Lorraine

The cartoon below provided by Earl of Morris, is a “Little Green Dragon” cartoon (mentioned in Stefan's notes above). Earl notes: “I was the squire of Sir Jamie Oakenshield, the father of the Zweihander. It could very well have been the tourney where I was dubbed ‘the Fierce’ by Diana, but it is so long ago I just don't remember.”

The caption reads "Come along dear, you don't want to be here when Uncle Dave wakes up ..." (Uncle Dave is a reference to David Thewlis, aka Siegfried von Hoflichskeit.)

Commentary on the Oakland Tribune article cited above, started April 23, 2012 in email:

"I wouldn't call it amusing, but certainly entertaining. Except for some poetic license on the author's part and even more inaccuracies, due, no doubt in part, to faulty notes and memory, the article relates details rather well. For instance the reference to axe blades made of rubber and leather is quite right. Here is a photo of mine that I made over a year before. See: The details of Wijades mail lacked one additional note. Back in the 1960's, chicken farmers ( of which Petaluma was the then world capital of growers) used plastic rings of various colors on each chicken's legs, to label them as to origin, and vital statistics. As a result plastic rings which were about 5/8 inches ID in diameter were readily available for bulk purchase, while steel rings were not ( as they are today since the mail making market has expanded from no one to thousands of hobbiests). I had just finished making  my hauberk by March 1967 and when I began wearing it several others began making mail too. Thomas O'Conair did so and then wrote the first article for TI describing how to make chainmail.   Not long after that, Wijade made his from the plastic rings, which he didn't have to make as Tom and I had done with our steel rings. Wijade's mail was very colorful, all the primary colors and then some. But as practical armor in the growing martial field, it was soon abandoned and I don't recall what ever happened to it. A colorful flash in the pan of armor development, if you will. My hauberk, on the other hand took 250 hours , not 159 and is still going strong after over 45 years. It is heavy, but for mounted combat it is still fine and I have worn it within the past couple of years in reenactment events as has Count Stephen Blackeagle, the last time.

The other detail which is the first public mention that I know of, is my first pavillion, which made it's debut on March 25 1967 in it's undyed state and then again at subsequent tournaments including the June 1968 tournament described as well as being the Society's first Booth structure at the first Northern California Renaissance Faire in September 1968. The fabric ( yes it was made from 6 bed sheets my Mother gave me) burned up in a house fire not long after that, but I still have the great sword that I made out of the remaining large rattan centerpole. The detail the author missed, is the support framework was not a beach umbrella, but a large garden umbrella with 8 steel radiating stays that formed a 6 foot diameter conical top, from which an expanding fabric wall hung, forming a circular base 10 feet in diameter, and with an overall height of over 10 feet. The fabric was dyed in my household colors of overall green with a black dagged base attached to a green conical top, draping 12 inches or so, down over the top edge of the side wall . All ( nylon) guy lines were sewn inside the flat felled sidewall seams, running from the top sidewall edge straight down to the ground, where they were secured to ground stakes. The top edge of the sidewall was laced to a split rattan ring which sat on the perimeter of the umbrella stays with centering cords running in to the center pole on which it all sat and was fastened in place. I had cut the center pole from a big rattan pole with reduced diameter steps carved in it, descending down from the top, so everything could not slide below their designated heights above the ground. The pole I cut in two  (six feet up from the ground) with a steel thinwall pipe sleeve to assemble it for use, but also so it and all the rest of the pavillion, could be disassembled to fold and curl up and fit inside my Mother's 1968 VW Beetle. It worked well and saw a fair amount of use till the fabric and split rattan ring burned up in the fire. I wish I had a photo of it when it was set up. Does anyone? Let me know." -- Henrik of Havn

"Interesting bits of history.

"One correction I'd like to make to Henrik's notes.  The first Northern Calif Ren Faire was in 1967, not 1968.  We were part of the group that took part in manning the booth at that event, and Bjo/Flavia was given the task of selling memberships/subscriptions (for the first time) in the group at that faire (the first one was sold to Bob Order (Sir Robert of Dunharrow).  We'd moved back to Southern Calif by early '68." -- John apGriffin

"Actually, the first Northern RenFaire was held on the first two weekends of October, 1967.  The SCA was about a year & a half old and had held 7 tourneys, a war, and a 12th Night revel. The first 2 issues of TI had been sold at a single copy price.  It was at the Faire that subscriptions were first sold, with issue 3 on hand to pick up.  On the first Sunday, I came to the Faire, saw Henrik's pavilion & people in medieval garb, eagerly handed Bjo my $1.50 for an annual membership/subscription, and signed up as a standby pawn for the LiveChess game the next Saturday.  The next 5 evenings involved 3 fighting practices, 1 weapons making session, & a trip to lay out the field.  Due to my insane willingness to attack major pieces with shortsword & buckler in practice, I got promoted to Queen's Bishop's Pawn for the game.  On the final Sunday, after doing fighting demos on stage, I offered my pickup truck to haul the gear (helms, shields, weapons - all common property then, very few had personal gear - mostly Henrik & Siegfried)  and asked where to deliver it.  The answer was simple & obvious: "Take it home with you; bring it to all events; you have the truck !" 

"I didn't know I was the first person ever to pay to belong to the SCA until John told me that at 20 Year. I had always assumed that the 50 or so people already active had paid already, but apparently none of them, even Bjo & John, had gotten around to it.  So my member number ought to be 1, instead of 1245, but I guess numbers were assigned, probably alphabetically, when there were 2,000 or so members." -- Robert of Dunharrow

"Possible.... I'm #1491. Anyone know?" -- Hilary of Serendip
"I don't recall when I paid my membership for the first time, but I do have a copy of all the early TI's with my Nane and address printed on them directly or on glued on lables, depending on the particular issue mailed out. When member numbers began to be assigned, seems to me to have been several years later, since my original number was a bit larger than I think the roster would have been when I first subscribed. Now ( with brief lapses due to delays in processing renewals, since it had to be done each year and several months in advance of the end date or else processing would delay the commencement of the renewal) my member number is 9218, a far cry from the order in which I first paid my dues." -- Henrik of Havn

"Ah, the memories, the memories.... when we all had waistlines and hair...

Was I the first female Laurel? This would have been just before feminism began to hit big-time, and I wouldn't have noticed. The remark about women fighters also seems old-fashioned given the many remarkable female knights we have had." -- Diana Listmaker

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).