SCA Names: Duke Sir Timothy of Arindale and Duchess Gabrielle van Nijenrode (Currently TRM Æthelmearc)
Years in the SCA:
Timothy: 37, Gabrielle: 30
How did you find out about the SCA?
Timothy: Through my Dungeons & Dragons group.
Gabrielle: I had been very active in local theater. My favorite role was Guenevere in “Camelot”, actually I was cast as Guenevere in three different productions. In the 1988 production, our costumer connected with a local Scadian, Max Von Halstern, who brought Haus Von Halstern in to do a demo for our cast. It was amazing! I could play my favorite role forever.
Timothy: The Incipient Shire of Arindale, Atlantia. My first event was a social that the Barony of Storvik in Atlantia hosted in Laurel, MD.
Gabrielle: The Barony of Settmour Swamp, East. My first event was 12th Night in An Dubhaigeainn. I borrowed my favorite gown from the Camelot production a few months earlier, it was pink velvet and had a zipper up the back.
What are your personnas and why?
Timothy: Early 15thc. Swiss, via a Living History Group, I planned on presenting at Military Through the Ages.
Gabrielle: Early 15thc. Dutch. My heritage is Dutch, my last name comes from a Castle Nijenrode in Holland that is vaguely connected to my ancestry.
Do you have any group or household affiliations?
Our Household is the Duchy of Arindale
Timothy is a self-employed Controls Engineer. Gabrielle is a stay at home mother. We have six children age 13-23 who all have grown up in the Society and have been active in Archery, Heavy weapons, Combat Archery, Rapier and Youth Fighting over the years. Our eldest started her interest in Fiber Arts via the SCA and still enjoys that very much, although as our children have gone to college and then graduated and moved away, it has been harder for them to participate. This past Pennsic was the first time in 24 years that they could not all come, and they have brought numerous friends along over the years.
Obviously martial arts for Timothy, but some more unusual things that he has done that people might not know about are: he has tatted lace, he sewed a pair of hosen and made leather boots, he is a decent juggler, he has a Manche from the East for Bronze casting, he is very interested in early period firearms and currently is working on Investment casting.
Gabrielle has done a lot of sewing over the years, a necessity with six children who kept outgrowing their garb and a necessity due to keeping up the infrastructure of a fairly large household. Now that children are starting to leave the house, she hopes to get back to blackwork embroidery which went by the wayside when the sixth child was born. She shoots a crossbow decently and was an alternate on the East Pennsic Archers one year when living there. In her early days she was a heavy fighter with Haus von Halstern.
What was your first official “job” in the SCA?
The only local office that Timothy has not held is Exchequer. He has autocratted, feastocratted and was Earl Marshal of the East for a time, but he considers himself more of an “ideas guy”.
Gabrielle was Chronicler for her Barony in the East for several years and was Kingdom Archivist for ten years before moving to AEthelmearc.
When you each started in the SCA what goals did you have?
Timothy: I had been very active in the Boy Scouts and probably still would be to this day, had I not discovered as a 15-year-old that I could go to camping events with the SCA and girls would be there.
Gabrielle: As mentioned earlier, I loved playing Guenevere in Camelot: the costuming, romance, honor and chivalry and magic, and the SCA was a way to play it forever. You would never have to strike the set at the end of the show, you never had to put all the costumes away, and the friendships you made would be your friends for a lifetime, not just be over at the end of the production.
Timothy: To refine my jewelry making skills, primarily in investment casting. Get good enough as a fighter to win Burka in the East.
Gabrielle: To continue to encourage new people to get involved
When you joined the SCA did you ever imagine you would serve as King and Queen one day?
What was the most intimidating thing either of you has encountered in the SCA?
Timothy: Fighting Atlantian Dukes in my youth
Gabrielle: In the East, I was being fought for in Crown tournament by a friend, and as was my routine, baked cookies to bring to the event as it was an opportunity to share them and meet people. I offered cookies to the gentle who was fighting for me and the Duchess he was chatting with, and she chastised me with “That would be Your Grace!” I was so embarrassed, all I had said was, “Would you like some cookies?” My fighter was awarded the Shield of Chivalry in that Crown but obviously he didn’t learn any chivalry from that Duchess. The experience reinforced to me the importance of always being kind to everyone.
Balancing family and SCA is a constant challenge. As our children have grown, they have developed their own interests and rightly count on us to attend their concerts and recitals and competitions, etc., and when we need to be in two places at the same time, family usually comes first. The most enjoyable: Timothy fighting for Gabrielle in a tournament, for both of us.
What advice would you give to a new person in the SCA?
Try everything the SCA has to offer, there is something for everyone.
If a new person came to you and said, “there is no chance I could ever be King or Queen”, what would you tell them?
Timothy: Calligraphy and Illumination
Gabrielle: Ten years ago, I bought a harp and took lessons for a year. Then we moved and life got way too complicated to find a teacher and keep up with lessons and practice. I still plan to get back to it, but wouldn’t it be nice to just wake up one morning and be able to play it the way I want to be able to play?
You have obviously been recognized with many awards and titles over the years; tell us which of these you cherish the most and why.
Timothy: My Knighthood
Gabrielle: My Award of Arms, it was so exciting to be called up in court and it meant that I had been accepted by this amazing group of people
Gabrielle: I’ve always thought that it would be great if Kingdoms owned centrally located sites that could be developed and used long term by the populace. I understand there are many complications with doing that, but it would solve some problems and give us all a feeling of having our own permanent home.
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