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The Ninth Year

Anniversary Tourney -- Barony of the Isles
May 27, 1974

Held at the Francisco Torres, Goleta, CA as part of the Medievalcon. Maihe McFergy was the Champion of the Isles. Robert of Westmarch won the Baroness’ Favor. Revels followed at Martin the Temperate’s home.

“In addition to the heavy weapons lists, an informal series of challenges occurred in the light weapons category, though not called that at that time. Robert of Westmarch and I, as well as several others, dueled in the hallways, stairways and dorm rooms with rapier and dagger. (Epee and stubbed Saber fencing blades mounted, respectively, with rapier and main gauche style fencing guards.) This attracted more general attention from the mundanes than the heavy weapons fighting, I suspect because UCSB had a strong fencing squad at that time.” – Martin the Temperate

“Medievalcon at Francisco Torres - this was the name of the dormitory complex at UC Santa Barabara's satellite campus at Goleta. It was rented out during the summer to various groups for conferences and events. There were several fighting demos, and as these were usually in confined spaces (I remember poolside and in one of the meeting rooms) they were staged to give the impression of a fight and minimal armor was required. I have a photograph of myself fighting in one of the indoor shows wearing no body armor at all and only a barrel helm, hockey gloves, and tunic (but doubtless had grieves and one of Westermark's first thighplates - which resembled cellulite in steel). A bunch of us in armor would stand around and the announcer/marshall would call out pairs of combatants who would go at it lightly until any kind of a clean hit occurred. As this was to be showy and not confuse the audience with subtleties of blow-counting, the recipient of the first hit went down.” – Brian Dritar an Con

[Westermark’s first thigh plates] “This should be “Westmarch’s” (this is a reference to Robert of Westmarch who made serviceable - but not particularly beautiful – “munition grade” leg armour – Andrew has a pair of his lower leg sets.” – Henrik of Havn
“The main gauches used in fencing were broken foil blades that were re-forged to create a flared, blunt tip. The blade was mounted with Italian foil quillions and standard grip and pommel. This was then secured against two layers of stiff leather, covered with carpet, and the inevitable duct tape. Recognizing the potential danger, we fencers used only short, underpowered thrusts with this weapon. I think Henrik later found used butcher's gloves made out of fine mail and some of us adopted these to enable legitimate sword grabbing. Other fencing variables that were adopted over the years were rapier and flashlight at night, and sword and cloak.
     “Speaking of fencing, in 1976 a load of us in costume were permitted on the Golden Hinde when she was docked in San Francisco. The ship had just finished playing The Blarney Cock in "Swashbuckler" with Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones and Genevieve Bujold and was on display for tourists. William Allen (one of the avid fencers in those days) had been volunteering as maintenance crew on the Hinde and was able to get us on for free on afternoon, and we had one of the best damn, free for all, swordfights ever. We were cut and thrust all over the upper decks of the Hinde and even below on the gun deck (and believe me, fine technique goes all to hell when you cannot stand upright without clouting your noggin and are cramped by oak beams to your left and a cannon to your right. Henrik (naturally) even climbed to the main top crow's nest and slid down a rope to the poop deck ala Errol Flynn.
     “Other recollections of Medievalcon - Bern Bellower playing guitar and singing ribald Irish songs poolside and costume competition and we all wore our best medievals (my brass scale and leather hauberk). We were sitting at dinner in restaurant type booths - which is pretty incongruous if you think about it) when Bern Bellower came racing in, excitedly proclaiming "There's a ninja outside!” We all swooped out and there indeed was a dark, menacing figure armed with katana, wakizashi, and throwing spikes and stars. This was the first appearance of a ninja at any SCA event that I recall and we thought it was just the coolest thing ever. It was, of course, Henrik.” – Brian Dritar an Con
“Ah yes, or should I say - Ah so! The shiriken - they were fun to play with. I am reminded of the time when Countess Elasaid was living in Marin County up here in the Mists while she was a student at the College of Marin. For a time she was living in San Rafael in an old Victorian House which had been turned into a small apartment building with various single bed – place was really run down and dilapidated. Finally all the other tenants had vacated the building – since the owner notified the tenants that the building would be demolished in a few weeks and Elasaid was the only one left. The local Province held one or two practice sessions there in the downstairs living room/dining room area. There was no furniture, only wooden floor, walls and ceiling. So we tricking target throwing for accuracy, sticking the shiriken all over the place. The stars stuck at each throw, while knives and spikes were much harder to get to strike point first. It was a kick.” – Henrik of Havn
“There was a curious "Lord of the Rings" game/re-enactment where a bunch of people went out into a large field of scrub in front of the Torres and did the whole Ring thing in a couple of hours. I remember vividly one fellow out in the field shouting directions "Ringbearer, to your left. Orcs!" It seemed pretty silly at the time and it still does.” – Brian Dritar an Con

“On reading Brian's response and his mention of sitting at booths at dinner, I'm reminded of an early Isles event (was it this one?) where Bjo of Griffin (Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani) had the hiccups and couldn't get rid of them. Kathe von Munchausen got everyone's attention, asked Bjo to stand, announced that Bjo had the hick-ups and that she would now perform (hiccup) for us, which of course cured her. Most original hiccup cure I've ever seen, before or since.” – Martin the Temperate

“The tourney was held immediately after Medievalcon, on the afternoon when more sane members of the convention were packing up and leaving. I believe that was the occasion when I discovered that the Isles Earl Marshall, David the Iron Livered, was actually an old schoolmate of mine from high school (I went to high school in Santa Barbara, as well as pretty much growing up there).
     “The revel afterwards was distinguished by a mass skinny (or nearly) dipping in Martin's family's pool (it was the 70s, after all) and a late-into-the-evening revel which included a belly-dancing performance by my lady Luise. Several of us northerners then stayed over at Martin's in the poolhouse preparatory to leaving for home the next morning. For some reason I was outside the poolhouse, perhaps talking to Martin, when Renfield showed up to recover something left behind in the poolhouse. Inside, various members of the assembled soon-to-be-sleepers were giggling and laughing at something Bern Bellower was doing/instigating/perpetuating (not sure, as I said, I was outside). Renfield came out saying, "Sounds like a standard SCA dormitory." I think this was the MedievalCon where Luise and I won "Best of Show" in the costume contest on the strength of showing up in different costumes every three hours or so. The costume closet was at its best in those days, while Luise was turning them out and attrition hadn't reduced the quantity and quality – and we still fit into them.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who dreams of fitting into some of the rigs still sitting in the closet.

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).