As you are all aware, there has been a great deal of emotional and passionate discussion over the past week regarding the SCA Board of Directors’ decision not to implement a rapier peerage. The confusion over whether or not the BoD was advocating the knighting of fencers added further heat to the SCA community’s concerns.
We would like to share with you what has taken place among the Crowns of the Known World over the past week, and what possibilities We anticipate over the coming weeks and months.
First, we would like to thank David Keen (Master David of Caithness), our Kingdom Ombudsman on the Board, who has done his best to keep Us informed of the Board’s plans and thought processes. The Board has been flooded with letters from gentles all over the Known World, and is well aware of the sense of urgency felt by SCA members regarding resolution of this issue. They will be holding an executive session on Monday, Feb. 2, to discuss possible options. Since they have already rejected the proposal for a rapier-only peerage, that option is not on the table at this time. One of the options they are considering is an Omnibus peerage for all non-rattan martial arts – not only rapier, but also archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, siege, combat archery, etc. If you would like to send your opinions to the Board of Directors, please write to them this week, before the Feb. 2nd Executive Session, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, the Crowns of the Known World have also been discussing the issue. As you might imagine, getting 19 couples from all over North America, Australia, and Europe to come to agreement on a subject this controversial is not an easy task. One thing We are agreed upon is that all endeavors in the Society deserve a path to peerage. There is also a general consensus that if the BoD does not act on this matter very soon, then the Crowns may take the matter into Their own hands.
One of the barriers to knighting rapier fighters is the 1999 Seneschal’s ruling, referenced by the BoD in their announcement of Monday, January 19, barring the knighting of non-rattan fighters. We are hoping that the Board and Society Seneschal will not sanction any Crowns who choose to ignore that ruling. We know how contentious knighting someone for fencing would be, and it is not Our first choice. That said, the Crowns of at least four Kingdoms have indicated that they are prepared to take that step if the Board cannot come to agreement on a solution to this issue. We can only wait and see what the Board chooses to do, continue discussions with the other Crowns, and then make Our own decisions accordingly. We are talking to the Chivalry and White Scarves of Æthelmearc, and may poll them regarding their opinions on this matter since they are the ones who would be most directly affected.
We appreciate thoughtful, impassioned, and courteous discussions of this issue. Know that We are listening and want to find the best solution for all concerned.
Titus Scipio Germanicus and Anna Leigh
King and Queen of Æthelmearc