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The Ninth Year

St. Patrick’s Day Tourney -- Barony of Calafia
March 15, 1975

Held at Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. Janay d’Aquitaine, Katherine of Sheppy, and Olivia de Montmarsh were the autocrats. The revel was at the home of Janay d’Aquitaine. There were lists, Scandinavian team fighting (one swordsman and one shield man on each side), and games.

“The team fighting was called "Holmgang" (sp) which purportedly was a tournament style where we were fighting on a boat. So four men, two, each with a weapon and two, each with a shield faced off against each other in a relatively small enclosed space. Each contest was decided by first blood, (the weapon man need only "cut" either opponent) or to force an opponent off of the boat. Teams were picked at random. I was teamed up with Einar aus Enveldt. Einar had the larger shield and so I was the weapons man and used a double bitted two-handed axe (courtesy of Robear du Bois). For the most part Einar and I manhandled our opponents, a couple we forced off the boat, a couple we blooded. One notable fight was against a team which included Mauice Negra-Khan. They skillfully backed us up until I was up against the "gunnel." We could go no further. Maurice charged and successfully ducked under Einar's shield, but I heard him coming, timed my swing as best I could, and literally flung him across and out of the boat, probably in two pieces would it have been a real weapon. Unfortunately, the Calafians had decided that there could only be a single winner, so having bested all the competition, Einar and I had to square off against each other. I suggested he use a shield and I a weapon, (why change a good combination?) but we decided to go weapon on weapon. It was a two out of three match. Einar drew first blood on our first pass. Einar's normal style was very defensive, so on each of the next two passes, I initiated the attack with a hard charge and Einar obligingly jumped out of the boat two times. Not a typical tourney, but my first tournament win. The prize? A bottle of Irish Mist, (appropriate to the date), which I shared with Einar at the revel. Though there have been subsequent Holmgangs, never again (to my knowledge), with quite this particular format.” – Martin the Temperate

“I was teamed with Robear du Bois. We did pretty well and were only blooded I believe by Martin & Einar.” – Colin of Dublin

“Yes, we did do well. We fought Martin and Einar in the semi-finals. For reasons that are now beyond my comprehension, we had Charles, the small left-hander, as the shield man, and me, the large fighter specializing in brute force, as the swordsman. It sure seems backward now, but we did very well until we met Martin and Einar. I believe Einar quickly pushed Charles overboard, and then knocked me down, falling on my sword arm as we landed. This made it relatively simple for Martin to draw first blood. I think the rules were changed for subsequent Holmgang Tourneys, so it would be less of a wrestling with shields contest, but it was a lot of fun and an interesting change from the standard single elimination lists of the time.” – Robear du Bois

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).