As part of our on-going series of Kingdom Officer profiles (see below), the Gazette interviewed Duke Christopher Rawlyns, the Kingdom Seneschal.
Christopher Rawlyns. I’m a mid 14th century English Knight serving Edward of Woodstock, who many of you will know as the Black Prince.
How did you become interested in becoming Seneschal?
Mistress Cori [the previous Kingdom Seneschal] asked me. I figured I could do the job, as I had been Earl Marshal and had three reigns as King, so I had a pretty decent idea of how the Kingdom ran. I also had a good working knowledge of the SCA governing documents.
What exactly do Seneschals do? What does the Kingdom Seneschal do?
Seneschals are basically the chapter presidents in the eyes of the Corporate side of the SCA. The Kingdom Seneschal oversees the local and regional Seneschals and works with the Crown to maintain Law and assure that the Kingdom operates within the Governing Documents of the Society. The Seneschal also works very closely with the Exchequer to assure that Society and Kingdom financial policy are followed.
Do you have a general philosophy about how you do your job?
In general, I tend to be a minimalist. I would prefer that I never be involved in any aspects of operations of local groups. However, that is sometimes unavoidable. I would prefer to help people problem-solve on their own rather than “fixing” problems when they get to my desk.
Who are your deputies, and what are their roles?
I have deputy seneschals for each region, as well as a Law and Policy Deputy. They are responsible for each of the regions of the Kingdom in the case of the Regional Deputies. The Law and Policy Deputy keeps track of changes to Law and Policy that are made at Curias. [ed. note: The Curia Regis is a meeting held by the Crown at least once per Reign, for the purpose of conducting the Kingdom’s business.]
What is the Æthelmearc Kingdom Seneschal’s role for Pennsic?
The Æthelmearc Seneschal is part of the Pennsic Seneschal Group for the Seneschals of Æthelmearc, the East and the Middle work to formulate the policy within which the Pennsic War functions. The host kingdom Seneschal is the ultimate legal authority for Pennsic. The role of the Æthelmearc Seneschal is unique here. At Pennsic 47 (2018) the Seneschal of Æthelmearc will be the Seneschal of both the host and sponsoring Kingdoms as Pennsic takes place on Æthelmearc land. Also, the Æthelmearc Seneschal is the only Seneschal who may remove Society sanction from the event, as Pennsic takes place in this Kingdom.
How would someone get involved in the seneschalate? Why would they want to?
If you are interested in being a seneschal, I would suggest that you speak to your local seneschal. They are often looking for deputies who may eventually replace them when they step down.
Being a seneschal is simply another means of serving the society. Most of this service is to the “non-game” side of the Society though. Nonetheless, it is vital to the functioning of the Society. It is service that is often done “behind the scenes”, although, at Kingdom events such as Crown and Coronation, the Kingdom Seneschal often has a very visible role in the proceedings.
What is an example of something you think the general populace should know, but don’t?
Most issues should be solved on a local level by the people who understand them the best.
Are there any changes coming?
We are going to start taking an in-depth look at the zip codes that belong to each group within the Kingdom. Before the end of my term, I would like each group to have a definitive set of zip codes that clearly belong to that group. It is my goal to resolve any “shared” zip codes within this Kingdom. Local seneschals should look for upcoming emails about this from their regional. Ideally they should also dust off their zip code list as we will soon be asking for them.
Articles in our Officer Profile series:
- Kingdom Historian
- Silver Buccle Herald
- Ministers of Arts & Sciences
- Kingdom Authorizations Clerk
- Kingdom Chatelaine
- Kingdom Signet Backlog Deputy
- Kingdom Seneschal