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

The Fifth Year

Spring Crown Tourney
March 20, 1971

From The Page (February, 1971):

THE SPRING CROWN TOURNEY: March 20, 1971 at the San Anselmo. For a map and directions see the final page. The schedule of events is on the next page.

One note-- during past tournaments at this site a lot of pilfering has been done by unfriendly native children. For this reason, bring tourney chests into which valuables can be put, leave guards in your pavilion, keep your eyes open, and don't bring anything obviously valuable along. If you catch an attempted pilferer, take him/her/it to the lord Constable, David of Ilwhirlaine.

BY ORDER OF THE KING the schedule for the March Crown Tourney will be:

7:30 a.m. or earlier-- arrive and set up....

10:00 a.m. - Grand March-- all subjects of the Crown.. Precedence will be by household with unaffiliated folk coming afterward. The King has ordered that the March begin on time-- whether you are there or not, whether the lord high whatsit is there or not, etc.

10:30 a.m. - King's Court

11:00 a.m. - Melée, followed by challenges. Each person will have only one challenge match until all fighters have had a chance to fight, then the challenge lists will be thrown open to pairs of fighters presenting themselves, armed, before the throne, until 12:30.

11:00 a.m. - meanile, there will be dance instruction on the other side of the field.

11:00 a.m. - and also meanwhile, there will be a javelin throwing contest.

12:30 p.m. - deadline for fighters to register for the Crown Lists.

12:45 p.m. - dancing by the populace before the Crown.

1:30 p.m. - BEGINNING OF THE CROWN LISTS! (ON TIME!) Fighters are requested to be ready to fight when they are called to avoid delay.

At the close of the Crown lists the winner will be crowned with laurel and he and his lady will be proclaimed Crown Prince and Princess of the realm. Any other awards won that day will also be given at this time.

At some time during the afternoon Her Majesty the Queen will make her progress amongst the populace.

From the History (by Wilhelm):

Held in the San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California. Jean and Ellen reigned. King Jean admitted David of Ilwheirlane to the Order of the Laurel. Boncueur and Jacapo van der Jacs were given Awards of Arms. Crown Lists were held. Before the final round, Hagen the Strong was knighted. The winner was Sir Hagen, defeating Sir Houri the Savage. Ruth was his lady. William of York gave the MGC to Jerald of Galloway. Frederick of Holland was given the Bone of Fafnir to aid in the healing of a broken bone in his hand.

See photos from this event

“This was my first Crown event in the West. Let me tell you the tale.
     “Over the winter we had a new member come on the scene in 3 Mts. This man want to be known as Harold of Pleasure. His plan was to introduce a Ren fair to the Portland area so he wanted to find out what the SCA was all about and how we could help him. Harold owned his own plane, so Sir Fredrick suggested that we attend the Spring Crown which Harold agreed too. Fredrick and I shipped our gear down on the Gray Hound, the plane was a small one, and when the time came flew down to Oakland. I won’t swear to this but I think we stayed at Grayhaven, at any rate, it was in Berkeley. Now you need to understand that Fredrick was not real forthcoming with information about who was who and doing introductions, so I didn't have a clue as to whom I was talking to at times. I meet Houri that night and got ragged on as being a new fighter and what he was going to do to me the next day. My response was "we'll see". This is most important, as to my lack of knowing who was a Duke (I knew what a Duke was but not who was a Duke) or Knights nor anyone’s standing in the West Kingdom. To this day I think that lack helped me to no end. I also meet Boncour that night, we didn't hit it off at first but over time became good friends.
     “On the day of the tourney we got there early so I could qualify, even though I had done this in 3 Mts in front of and by Edwin. Edwin conducted the match and it was (remember, I know nothing) between Paul and myself. I don’t know if Paul will remember this or not but Edwin only qualified Paul to fight in melee's and challenge matches and I got fully qualified. I never understood that call as we were both fighting on par with each other on that day. Must have been something going on that I didn't know about not being in the area.
     “If you'll recall, I was training all winter with a 20 inch round. For this even Fredrick had me make a 24 inch round, that 4 inches made a difference. I also had a Morgenstern that was passed for use by Edwin at this event. When the first melee was call and sides chosen (I think I was last chosen, nobody knew me either, first event and all) it was 15 men to a side. So here I am, a newbie, fresh out of the bushes, and don’t know who's who. The first one I meet was Duke Henrik. How, I'll never know, but that’s what came about. He was using this table top (about a 32 inch round) and I wasn't having any luck getting around it. Of course Henrik knew how to fight against the Morgenstern as he had one of his own (not in this melee, thank you Lord). Somehow we got separated and I ended up fighting with Stephen Blackeagle, from one fire to another, but I didn't know that until later. This, to me, was just another fighter, big, but that’s no problem. I got that Morgenstern over the top of Stephen's shield (he was using a kite) and hit him in the back of the neck, killed him on the spot. The only problem was he got tangled up in the tip of his shield and fell over, face forward, and I ended up with my right arm and weapon under Stephen. Have you ever tried to get 250 lbs off your arm and get your weapon back when there's no help from the "dead" body? It took some doing, but I finally managed it. Chain is real hard to get hold of. When I got to my feet and looked around there were 8 men on their knees, not fighting with each other, so I assumed they were all on the other side. I'm not sure just what to do it this point except carry on with the melee. I went to the closest fighter, you got it, Duke Henrik again. I tried to use the reach of my weapon versus the reach of his sword. The only thing I did was snap the ball off of the Morgenstern over Henrik's shield rim. Here I stand with no weapon, now what? I looked around and found Fredrick (dead), walked over and took his sword. He and I used the same type of sword in those days so I was ok with it, nothing strange. I looked at Henrik and thought that I would go and try someone else for a start as I wasn't doing real well (up to that point) against him. So I went down to the other end of the "line" and started there. The first one I came against was Miles of the Shamrock. Now my shield work was spot on that day, that helped build my confidence to no end. Miles and I threw some blows, nothing getting thru and I had one of those flashes one sometimes gets. What would happen if I just faked a blow? Fredrick had never taught me anything of this nature so I was on my own with this. I did it. Miles shield went up and then it came down and I killed him. This was great, worked like a charm. I then proceeded to use the same fake on the next 6 fighters, never failed, they all fell for it. I couldn't believe it. This is something I noticed – when I made my way to Henrik (the last one) – there was dead quiet. I've never heard that again at an event – just that one time. Well, I walked up to Henrik, did my fake and nothing happened. To this day I swear he just sat there (he was on his knees) and grinned at me. This was the start of one of the monumental fights of that tourney. Henrik wasn't getting thru my shield work and I couldn't figure out how to get around that big shield of his. I swear to this day we fought for 10 or 15 minutes before he shield hooked me (for the 3rd time) smashed my thumb in the process and killed me (Fredrick later said the melee took around an hour to finish). But I almost got him once, about 1 inch too low, according to Henrik. Fredrick later said that he wanted to tell me to stay away from Henrik but he was dead by that time and couldn't tell me anything. Hell, I didn't care, I had nothing to lose at that event. It must have been somewhat of a shock to have this newbie show up and do that well. I have the photos from this melee, and the one of Paul and I that was used on the San Jose Mercury Sunday supplement's front page. That was a great melee.
     “By the end of the day (I acted as a marshal all day) my arm was so bad I couldn't hold a sword. Fredrick came over and told me that the Knights wanted me to join the lists. I tried but just couldn't swing a sword by that time. To this day I wonder how I might have done in that list. When the King called my name to receive the MGC, again I didn't quite know what to do. Thank you Fredrick. I was so green I didn't even have the sense to kneel to the King. I think it was OK, I do remember a lot of smiles in the crowd after the King gave me the Clubbe. What an event, I was hooked after that one. I even rubbed two cans of wax into the clubbe.”
     “Never did get to fight Houri but I'll bet it would have been interesting.” – Jerald of Galloway

“At this event, we attempted to have a council to determine who should compete in the Crown Lists. We ended up picking only one person to not compete, a young man who had actually heard about the SCA through contact with me because we had fought a few miniatures games on one side or another of a mutual friend's sand table. Barry of Judah (Barry Sandler(?)) had no people skills whatsoever, and lived in Sacramento, so he didn't have closeness to let him grow on people. Given the politics of the time, we were unable to agree on anyone else to eliminate.
     “When he heard he was the only one, he protested, and the King felt that he had a case. So we put him up against Jon the Lean in the first round, because Jon was not fighting for the crown. Jon won, and then various folks got upset because he was not continuing in the lists. I'm sure the procedure of having people qualify with the knight and earl marshal derived at least in part from this event.” – Stefan de Lorraine

“This was the tourney where Queen Ellen was abducted. She didn’t want to be abducted and protested quite strongly. My recollection was that as the rescuing forces first engaged us, the abductors, we devolved into a lack of resistance and ended the growing embarrassment.
     “At this site (either at this event or a subsequent one, I don’t remember which) a young man in his late teens came barefoot and shirtless, with a fiberglass recurve bow and wanted to use it as a club to fight me. He was told he could borrow gear to fight, but couldn’t fight as he was, using his bow.” – Henrik of Havn

“The AoA's mentioned were Boncueur, who in addition to being a herald, became the first SCA Registrar, and Jacopo van der Jacs, who was a member of Toad Hall. He was a physician (a psychiatrist, if I recall correctly) and I think he was a good friend of Queen Ellen's.
     “Some comments about the first 2 pairs of Toad Hall Royalty Neither Jean nor Hagen had any real interest (or even previous knowledge) of SCA politics. They were experts in other martial arts who learned fast and enjoyed SCA combat. Neither had any driving ambition to win the Crown; they just fought for the fun of it. For some time Jean used 2 shortswords and Hagen used only longsword in crown lists, no matter who they fought or what their opponents used. Both did quite well against sword & shield fighters, but could not beat the very best of them. I worked hard to convince them to try sword & shield in crown lists. They finally each (in succession) tried it once, won, reigned, and never entered another crown lists. I think they were both in our household because we invited them into our pavilion when they first showed up. Ruth was already married to Hagen, but Jean met Ellen in our household & then married her. Ellen was an old friend of mine from UC campus radical politics in the late 50's/early 60's and an old friend of Geri's through different Connections. Geri & I accidentally met her at the grocery store one day & she was amazed that 2 old friends from different worlds were now a couple. We told her about the SCA and she joined our household.
     “Anyway, since I was somewhat to blame for getting them into this, first Jean & Ellen, then Hagen & Ruth, sat with Geri & me in our living room at Toad Hall to discuss what they were supposed to do. In fact, they did quite a lot. Ellen invented the Leaf of Merit & physically made the first one, they elevated the founders of the College of Heralds to the peerage, and Jean let me expand Siegfried's written laws into an exclusive codification of Kingdom rules & procedures. Ruth invented the Queen's Order of Grace (& made the first 2, for just as Ellen was a talented jeweler, Ruth was a talented ceramicist.) She gave them to 2 young ladies (Crystal & Shima) who she felt exemplified quiet dignity & grace (while also being unobtrusively helpful.) Hagen (an expert cook) invented the Order of the Wooden Spoon and appointed Geri to run the contests. Hagen also raised 4 fighters to the Chivalry (James in May, Paul, Flieg, & Kevin in June) who have served a total of 19 reigns as King among them.
     “I must dispute a previous conjecture that Ruth didn't like the SCA much. She was a quiet person, rather reserved, but took her duties seriously and put a lot of effort into it. The reason we lost them soon after is that Hagen (aka Doug Nelson) finished his Ph.D. in Math at Stanford and they moved to Pittsburgh, PA for a job there. Doug took up bagpiping there, but we lost touch with them after a while. Both Jean & Hagen showed they knew how to be King on occasions when someone dared to affront or challenge the authority of The Crown. Both were easy to get along with but not anyone to be pushed around.” – Robert of Dunharrow

“I sit corrected. I never knew either of them very well.” – Stefan de Lorraine
“Meredith was indeed a lovely young lady. I used to enjoy dancing with her and Alisande & their friend Ann at the regular SCA dance classes at LeConte School in Berkeley. Once in a little war (in the hills in Tilden Park, I think) between essentially my household & yours (with some allies), I had actually managed to take your leg and was actively pressing my advantage when suddenly there was Meredith about 4 feet to my right excitedly informing me that she had just shot an arrow into my right armpit (as my sword arm was raised) from about 4 feet away. I hadn't noticed it (these 15" unfletched arrows with little rubber tips didn't travel far nor hit hard) but it was obvious she couldn't have missed and so I had to say "Oh, darn, I guess I'm dead" and trudged back down the hill. I think that was the war where the Shieldmaidens of the Eored first appeared as archers. (There were 6 - Geraldine, Verena, Patrice, Ellen, Sir Earl's sister Trudy, and I think Stephan of Seawood's lady, Aurelia) They wore matching green dresses, brown jerkins, and small roundshields slung on their backs. I should have had a couple of them guarding my back, but they went off hunting scattered opponents on their own.
     “Sir Hubert de Recoing's mundane first name was, I think, Pascal. He never was any kind of Robert I don't think. I believe I was the only Sir Robert in the central area of the West until Westmarch, Kinslayer, & Woodsend came along.” – Robert of Dunharrow

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).