A young gentle who wishes to remain anonymous was asked to write about “community” for her college entry essay. Her story reminds us of why we all love this hobby.
An arrow whizzes past my right ear, and I am thankful to have dodged it. I automatically nock a projectile of my own and select my target, a spear-wielder fifteen feet in front of me. The heat from my helmet draws sweat from my face; my body is weighed down by my armor. Fighters shout all around me, falling in battle, calling targets, and dealing blows. The ruckus of swords on helmets threatens to fill my head. My concentration remains. I focus in on my target and release the string. My arrow flies. The shot yields yet another kill.
I have been participating in combat archery in the Society for Creative Anachronism since I was sixteen, and I have never felt so truly perfect as when I am on the field fighting with my friends. I have done fiber arts in the SCA before, and still do, but it is nothing compared to the allure of combat. There is something magical about being in battle with one’s closest family and friends. We arrive together, armor together, and fight together. No one is in it for himself- it is truly a team effort. The spears and archers need shield carriers to protect them, and the shield carriers need the spears and archers for ranged support. Fighters block strikes for each other and archers time shots with one another to allow reload time. The greatest feeling of community, however, is the discussion after the battles. A combatant is never talking about himself. Conversations always center around what others on the team had done well that round, incredible feats that another has done, and how well the group fought together. Win or lose, neither side is bitter. Sports where enjoyment is valued above ranking are very difficult to come by, but when they are, they are truly magical.
When I am in armor on the field, the fight is all I am concerned about. I can forget about all the stresses at school and home. I can really put myself into the shoes of my persona. I am an archer, a weaver, a servant, and truly in a medieval battle. The excitement and rush of charging into a battle, hearing the clash of swords and shields, and fighting until the death is the greatest experience I could ever ask for. It is frightening to feel the blow of a sword and terrifying to be pushed along in the swarm of the battle charge; it seems real and is such a wonderful feeling to realize at the end that it was all pretend – and even more wonderful once you realize how much fun you were having.
As eccentric of a hobby as it is, I would really be in no other place than on the field in battle with my father, brother, and friends. It is the one place where I truly feel community, and the one place where I can feel genuine excitement without being in any true danger. It is a place where, regardless of the outcome, nothing has changed between me and my opponents. It is a place where I can truly be myself. I often find others asking me if I’m one of those weird people in armor in the park; and every time, without missing a beat, I respond with a proud “Yes, I am”.
THLady Ursula of Rouen, Kingdom Authorizations Clerk
So, you’re going to Pennsic this year and want to fight or fence? Make sure your paperwork is in order before you leave by following these tips:
Your Primary Authorization must be complete and dated on or before July 24, 2016. A primary authorization is your first authorization in any martial discipline. Any authorization paperwork for a primary form dated after July 24, 2016 will not be mailed out until Wednesday of War Week to help keep Æthelmearc in compliance with Pennsic rules.
All authorization forms are turned into the Kingdom Authorizations Clerk by July 17, any forms in hand that day will be mailed out on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Note: This cutoff is before the primary authorization cutoff. If you miss this cutoff you can keep your paper copy of your authorization form to use at Pennsic. We recommend sending a digital scan or copy of your paperwork to the Authorizations Clerk before leaving for War just in case.
The Authorizations Clerk’s address is THLady Ursula of Rouen, c/o Ms. Danielle M. Duvall, PO Box 661, Shepherdstown, WV 25443. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is never required, but always appreciated.
Please check your card now to see if it has expired or will expire prior to August 14, 2016, and please complete the paperwork for a renewal now. No need to wait until the card is close to expiration.
Keep a copy of your paperwork in a safe place; whether it is a brand new authorization, an additional form, or a renewal, plan to have that paperwork on your person for use at Pennsic in case your card does not make it to you before you leave for vacation.
It’s a good idea to make a copy of your authorization card/paperwork, and photo ID, put in a Ziploc baggie and tape to the back of your shield, or keep in your armor bag. You’ll need these along with your medallion to get inspected at Pennsic.
If you need to reach THLady Ursula regarding your Authorization Card, or if you have any questions her e-mail address is email@example.com. You may also call before 10pm at 540-287-1748. Please do not send Facebook messages as those get lost in the shuffle.
This report was compiled by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope with assistance from O’no Kuma, Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile, Master Alaric MacConall, Lady Katheryne Täntzel, Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill, Lady Melodia Beaupel, and Lord Robert Pour Maintenant.
Though the sun played peekaboo through clouds that brought intermittent cold winds and even the occasional tiny snowflake, the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt proved more fun for the folk of Æthelmearc than it did for the French on that fateful day in October, 1415.
The morning started with the Court of the Imperator, Magnus Tindal, in which he bade THLord Morien MacBain set himself on vigil, there to receive the counsel of the peers and populace regarding his elevation to the Order of the Pelicans.
TOYS FOR TOTS TOURNEY
Martial activities began with the Toys for Tots charity tournament organized by Brillo el Dragon for his high school senior project. 15 fighters participated in a bear pit tournament that lasted almost 2 hours, contributing toys and cash to the charity. Sir Vladimir Mechnik, known as Sir Vlad Two Swords, was the victor, but the children who will received Christmas gifts as a result of the tournament will be the true winners.
The Toys for Tots Tourney. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
YOUTH CHAMPION’S TOURNEY
At the same time, Their Excellencies Liam and Constance presided over their Youth Combat Champions’ Tournament, which had five young gentles similarly competing in a bear pit for the right to be named baronial champion.
Their Excellencies address the youth fighters. Photo by Arianna.
In addition to receiving points for winning and losing bouts, the fighters had the opportunity to receive bonus points from the Baron, Baroness, and Marshals for chivalry, sportsmanship, and feats of valor or humor. This resulted in not only many points of honor, but also some entertainingly dramatic deaths and a fair number of quotes from Monty Python. His Majesty stopped by and commended the youth fighters for their prowess and camaraderie. He also bestowed upon the newest youth fighter, Danny, a mug in appreciation of Danny’s skill in the Kingdom Youth Championship Tournament held the previous week at Crown Tournament. In the end, Ulfr, who had just stepped down as kingdom champion a week before, was the winner and named Baronial Youth Champion.
Ulfr vs. Danny in the Baronial Youth Combat Champion’s Tourney. Photo by Arianna.
Once the youth fighters left the field to hold tavern brawl melees at the picnic tables on the other side of the feast hall, the fencers took the list.
For the dozen or so rapier combatants, Lord Cyrus Augur ran a round robin tournament with each round being best of three fights using progressive weapons forms: single sword, sword and parry object (or just sword), and then two weapons. Master Will Parris was the victor.
THLady Fiora vs. Lord Balan. Photo by Arianna.
After the tourney, there were melees, including a free-for-all called Paranoia. Fencers who were killed were out of the melee until the fencer who had killed them was also killed.
Lady Lucia vs. Lord Michael Gladewyne. Photo by Arianna.
After a tasty lunch crafted by Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka and his kitchen crew, the tournament to choose the Debatable Lands Thrown Weapons Champion was hosted by last year’s Baronial Champion, Lord Halldorr Bildr Fintanson. There were 8 competitors vying for this honor, and all knew well the challenge the cold weather presented to the already daunting task. A qualifying round was held, after which 5 throwers were deemed worthy. The championship field included all manner of experience levels, from the most serious and experienced to a first time thrower who picked up knife and axe that day simply to try his hand. A steady hand he proved, for he indeed did qualify and acquit himself nicely.
The competition was a Robin Hood themed throw, and centered on the capture of Will Scarlet.
Thrown weapons participants. Photo by Zyla of Sebastion’s Place.
The competitors included Lady Verena Wittkopf, Baroness Aemilia Soteria, Don Clewin Kupferhelblinc, Karl Kupferhelbelinc (age 6), O’no Kuma, and the first time thrower, Duncan McClough.
There were four targets, with one axe target and three knife targets, two weapons thrown per target. The axe target consisted of a white castle with a double door. Five points were awarded for hitting the door, one point for hitting the castle, and 10 points for hitting either the hinges or the handles of the door.
The second target proved much more challenging. It consisted of a head and shoulder with an inch-wide cloak above and around the shoulders. 10 points were given for sticking your knife in the cloak so as to pin Will Scarlet to the wall for questioning, 5 points for a non-lethal strike to the head or arms, and 1 point for the rest of the target. However, a lethal strike to the head or torso would prove costly, deducting 5 points from your score. There was only one 10 point throw, executed brilliantly by Baroness Aemillia Soteria with a devastating knife to the cloak at the bottom of the neck above the shoulder, pinning her subject quite nicely to the wall.
The third target consisted of a small Baronial shield over the center bullseye, with smaller still round shield targets encircling it. Each competitor was given a shield to strike. Hitting the target at all was worth 1 point, while hitting your chosen shield was 5 points. However, hitting an “ally” shield would deduct 5 points, and hitting the Baronial shield, God forbid, was a devastating deduction of 10 points. This target was the most difficult yet, yielding few points to the competitors, but thankfully no one struck the Barony shield.
The final and ultimately deciding target a “head” placed on the ground with an apple pinned upon the top. Competitors were to knock the apple off the top for 5 points, and doing damage to the apple’s skin would yield 10 points. But doing damage to the head would cost you a deduction of 10 points. This was by far the most challenging target. Not only was there a high risk for a miscue, but the target being on the ground presented a formidable addition challenge, as most throwers don’t practice throwing to ground targets. This point proved out in the end, with most competitors missing the target entirely or flirting dangerously close to damaging the head. In the end, only 2 competitors managed to knock the apple off the head: Duncan and Don Clewin, with Clewin being the only one to actually damage the apple, slicing the upper right portion of the apple clean off. This brilliant throw gave Don Clewin the Championship, with a total of 17 points. Three others tied for second with 11 points.
The throwing proved difficult due to the cold and wind as fingers became numb and knives became slippery and harder to control. However, there was never a complaint or a discouraging word heard by any on the throwing line. Her Excellency, Baroness Constance, marveled at the skill and aptitude of the throwers, especially in the cold conditions!
Congratulations to Don Clewin Kupferhelblinc on his victory. We know you will represent us well throughout the coming year. VIVAT!!
Agincourt was the site of many populace archery shoots:
Lady Katheryne Täntzel ran a youth shoot for French vs English.
Master Alaric MacConnal ran a shield shoot of French vs. English, which was won by Lord Pavel Dudoladov for the English.
THLord Deryk Archer ran a hunt shoot. Ben Nemeth, a promising new archer from the Debatable Lands, took top honors in this shoot.
Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile ran royal rounds, where King Tindal shoot his first ever royal round.
We shot through the rain, snow and sun. In the end, not surprisingly, the English proved victorious on the archery range.
However, the premier archery competition of the day was the Seven Pearls shoot. There were seven stations, jointly designed and marshaled by last year’s champion, Lord Ichikiero Osoroshi, with assistance from Meistari Urho and Maistir Brandubh.
Seven Pearls Archery competition. Photo by Baron Liam macanTsaoire.
Alas, due to the need to reschedule after weather canceled the plan to hold Seven Pearls at Archers to the Wald, only two baronies were able to provide champions to shoot: the Debatable Lands sent Lady Katheryne Täntzel while Delftwood was represented by Baroness Anastasie Delamour. To make the competition more interesting, they invited other archers to fill in for the Baronies not represented, as the Shoots were designed for 7 to compete against one another. Baron Edward Harbinger, Lord Takematsu Yoshitaka, Ben Nemeth, Lord Pavel Dudolodov, and Master Alaric MacConnal filled in for the other groups.
Shooters were awarded points based on their ranking in each end. All archers received between 1 and 7 point for each end of arrows, first place in each end received 7 points, down to last place in each end received 1 point.
The shoot opened with a one-minute timed round where each archer had to shoot 3 arrows each at 20, 30 and 40 yard targets for standard royal round scores.
The second shoot required the archers to remove all 6 pearls from a baronial coronet while shooting en masse.
The third round was a swan shoot at 40 yards, while the fourth was a baronial heraldry shoot, where all archers shot at the heraldry of the other baronies. The winner was the barony with the least hits on its arms, while the barony with the most hits on its arms received the least points.
The fifth shoot was comprised of period targets of a shield and wand, and the sixth was a pearl hunt, with 49 pearls on the target. Only seven were true pearls and worth points, but archers had to shoot all the pearls to find the true pearls.
In the seventh and final challenge round, after working through the range, each archer issued a challenge and all archers had three arrows to answer the challenge.
In the end Lady Katheryne bested Baroness Anastasie to claim the title of Seven Pearls Champion for the Debatable Lands, while Baron Edward proved the victor among the stand-ins.
Much fun was had by the archers on this cold afternoon. Lady Katheryne, Marshal in Charge, wishes to thank the other marshals and also Meistari Urho for providing loaner gear.
The sides were chosen, French (blue) and English (red), with the marshals attempting to make them about even.
First there were a series of gate battles. Access was limited to a nine-foot gate, though the combat archers could fire more freely. The sides took turns being the aggressors with unlimited resurrections against the defenders who had none. Each side was the attacker twice.
After that, there was a series of five open field battles. The French won the first two, the English the final three.
Then a game was played where teams of three non-archers tried to cross an open field while a group of three archers fired at them. If any of the non-archers were ‘killed’ the entire team had to return to the starting line. If one was legged, all were legged.
Finally, the traditional ‘Tavern Brawl’ was held, in which fighters began the melee seated at picnic tables and then jumped into the fight when the marshals called Lay On.
ARTS AND SCIENCES
THLady Sumayya al Ghaziyyah and Lady Astridr Vikaskegg ran the first St. Crispin’s A&S Competition, which is planned to be held annually at Agincourt in the future. There were 25 entries ranging from novices to Laurels and from fiber and costuming to calligraphy and illumination. Entries were judged based on Creativity, Workmanship, Aesthetics, Authenticity, and Complexity. While documentation was considered important, scores for it were only considered in the case of a tie.
Baron Silvester Burchardt won the overall St. Crispin’s Challenge with his piece of brocaded tablet-woven trim.
Brocade tablet weaving by Baron Silvester Burchardt. Photo by Arianna.
Prizes were also given to gentles in categories based on the arts awards they possessed. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope won the Laurel category with a black hours Fleur scroll. In the Journeyman category, for gentles with Fleurs, THLord Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’ie won for his Suoh (Japanese garb). In the Novice category, for gentles with Sycamores, Lady Ceindrich verch Elidir won for her knitted stockings based on an extant pair made for Eleanor of Toledo. In the Tenderfoot category, for gentles with no Arts awards, Lady Abbatissa Dreye de Banneberi won with her sekanjabin.
After the day’s activities wore down, Their Excellencies and His Majest held court, processing in to the Debatable Choir singing the Agincourt Carol.
Baron Liam and Baroness Constance recognized their Youth and Thrown Weapons Champions, as well as the winners of the Seven Pearls Archery and other archery competitions, the A&S competition winners, and the winner of the Toys for Tots tournament, as previously mentioned.
Baron Silvester Burchardt is named winner of the St. Crispin’s A&S Competition. Photo by Arianna.
Brillo el Dragon addresses the Baron and Baroness regarding the Toys for Tots tournament that he organized. Photo by Arianna.
Maistir Brandubh o Donnghaile was called forward as archery marshal and noted that Lord Pavel Dudoladov and Lord Robert Pour Maintenant had achieved the Royal Round rank of Marksman.
Their Excellencies also bestowed awards on the following gentles:
Lord Markus Skalpr Grimsson receives a Blue Silver Comet for his tablet weaving and the authenticity of his fighting accoutrements. Photo by Arianna.
Lord Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka receives a Gold Comet for his service, including building the gate for the Debatable Lands’ Pennsic encampment. Photo by Arianna.
Lord Robert Pour Maintenant receives a Gold Comet for his service as a heavy weapons marshal at practices and events. Photo by Arianna.
Their Excellencies then called for Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter, presenting him with a scroll commemorating the Green Comet that had been given to him at Pennsic, and also asked him to convey the Toys for Tots tourney winner scroll and likewise a belated Green Comet scroll to Sir Vladimir Mechnik, who had left the event before court.
Sir Thorgrim receives his Green Comet scroll and scrolls for Sir Vlad. Photo by Arianna.
Finally, Their Excellencies had words with the Imperator, Magnus Tindal, regarding their plans to invade their neighboring Shire of King’s Crossing at the Shire’s upcoming Birthday B(r)all on November 7th in order to retake the lands “stolen” from the Barony-Marche many years ago. His Majesty, after expressing some concern, decided the invasion might be justified and granted Their Excellencies leave to execute this plan.
Imperator Tindal addresses the Baron and Baroness about their planned invasion of King’s Crossing. Photo by Arianna.
Baronial Court closed, and Kingdom Court commenced. A record of the doings at that Court may be found here.
After court, gentles retired to a splendid feast cooked by Meesteress Odriana vander Brughe and her crew, then wound the evening down with bardic activities and good fellowship. Those who stayed overnight in the cabins on the site were treated to a breakfast of bagels and yummy feast leftovers Sunday morning.
Congratulations to the Autocrats, Baron Liam, Baroness Constance, and Lady Isabel, for another fine Agincourt event.
Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope recently sat down with Duchess Tessa the Huntress to discuss the Omnibus Martial Peerage Movement.
Many SCA members were concerned when the Society’s Board of Directors decided at their January meeting not to create the Rapier Peerage that so many people were expecting. A lot of letters were written and many discussions were held on social media about what people thought the BoD should do going forward. One of the options a fair number of gentles suggested was an omnibus martial peerage to cover all of the non-rattan martial arts.
When the BoD surprised everyone by reversing course at their Feb. 2nd meeting and creating the Order of Defence, many people in the other non-rattan martial arts communities, while happy for their friends in rapier, were deeply disappointed that they were once again left out. A few decided to take action, and formed the Martial Peerage Facebook group as a way to organize support for an omnibus martial peerage. The leader in this effort is Æthelmearc’s Earl Marshal, Duchess Tessa the Huntress.
Duchess Tessa joined the SCA in the Canton of Cydllain Downs (Columbia, SC), in the Kingdom of Atlantia, in 1983. She said, “Combat archery and history are what drew me in. I’ve done heavy fighting, helped to start target archery in the southern part of Atlantia, and participated in the first equestrian games in Atlantia in 1985.” She moved to Æthelmearc in A.S. XXXII (1998).
Duchess Tessa in action, photo courtesy of Her Grace.
In 2002, Her Grace became the first Society Deputy Earl Marshal for Combat Archery. In that position, Duchess Tessa reached out to all of the Kingdoms’ archery communities, working with them to create testing procedures, spread the practice of Combat Archery throughout the kingdoms, and standardized combat archery rules across the society. Her Grace was elevated to the Pelican for that work in A.S. XLII. She became Earl Marshal of Æthelmearc in January of A.S. XLVI.
Interspersed with her work in Combat Archery, Her Grace managed to find time to reign as Queen of Æthelmearc three times with her husband, Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn. She remembers, “When I was Queen last time, there were people in our kingdom who I felt were peers, but because their martial skill was not a rattan weapons form, they didn’t fit in the Chivalry. We tried to see if they could fit in the Laurel. and it became clear that they could for their research, but not for martial skill alone. This meant we had people in several martial communities who we couldn’t recognize [with a peerage]. I felt that was wrong. Since then, I have talked to a lot of people and realized that many people in those communities felt that their activities weren’t as appreciated as others, since their best couldn’t be recognized as peers.”
Sir Jon FitzRauf, photo courtesy of Sir Jon.
Her Grace pointed out that the idea for an omnibus peerage is not new. She explained, “Sir Jon FitzRauf [of the West Kingdom], former Archery Marshal of the Society, wrote the first proposal for an omnibus martial peerage back in 1999. He formed a group to work with him on it, open to anyone. It started with combat archery and target archery, but as he talked to people he realized there were other communities in the same boat, so his proposal grew to include all non-rattan martial activities. That proposal got no response from the BoD, but he has continued working on it and refining it, resubmitting new proposals four more times.”
After the BoD’s announcement of the new Order of Defence, Duchess Tessa said, “When I read the letter from the BOD, it upset me a great deal. I had hoped they would see the big picture and create something that included all martial activities. The part about other martial areas not having the community the fencers did – I believe they could have chosen their words more carefully, and perhaps they didn’t understand how it would affect those of us who do those other martial activities. In my opinion, it said that we weren’t worthy, that we didn’t have the numbers or the community to deserve equal recognition. That disappointed me.”
Her Grace said that, after sleeping on it, “I decided that it was time that I stepped up and helped to make the change that I wanted to see. So, I made a post on my Facebook page and tried to reach out to people in each martial community and across the Society. One of the first people I reached out to was Sir Jon. He started this movement and I wanted him to work with me, if he could. I’ve gotten to meet him, he’s an awesome person. He was thrilled that I had picked up the banner and was running with it. He thanked me for inviting him.”
Tessa decided to create a Facebook group.
She started with Sir Jon and about a dozen people in Æthelmearc, and then reached out to 20 more people in other kingdoms. She still has connections throughout the Society in the archery and CA communities, and others in the initial group had connections with equestrian, thrown weapons, and siege. Her Grace tagged someone in each kingdom, told them what she was doing and why, and asked them to spread the word. Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin set up a link for people to join the group, which the initial members shared. “The first day we had over 100 people. It spread so much quicker than I anticipated, because so many people helped.”
By the third day, the group had members in all 19 Kingdoms of the Society, and it has continued to grow from there. As of the writing of this article, the Martial Peerage Facebook group has over 780 members.
With such a large group, how does Tessa keep the discussions organized and productive? “We have a set mission: an omnibus peerage. We told everyone to keep it polite. At about 400 members we hit growing pains and I couldn’t keep up with all of the different threads, so I asked for suggestions and decided to make topic threads. It made a huge difference, helping to organize the conversations.”
Early on, Mistress Tiercelin created the group’s symbol, a Gothic capital “O” for Omnibus in gold on a purple background. Tessa said it’s been a big hit, noting that “People rally to symbols.” Tiercelin commented, “People were asking for something they could use to show support for the omnibus peerage – not the heraldic badge that will eventually be approved, but just a symbol to show that they are in favor of the creation of the new peerage. It started with a simple O, but then I added symbols for each of our activities. We have a horse for the equestrians, an arrow for the archers, arrow/horse combo for mounted archery, catapult for siege, and axe for thrown weapons.” A few of those symbols are shown here:
Images by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin.
Tiercelin notes, “So far we have seen the O being used as a Facebook profile picture, a smaller PicBadge on a regular profile picture, and in many forms of belt favors, tokens, brooches, and even earrings. The King and Queen of the East sported arm favors with the O at a recent event. We will have wooden pins available at Ice Dragon [in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael on March 21st] with the various versions; stop by the Equestrian Encampment to pick one up.”
When asked how the group plans to make its case to the Board, Duchess Tessa said, “[One of the things] we have focused on is participation numbers and collecting data on existing awards for our martial activities, trying to show depth and breath.” Master Dirk Edward of Frisia from the Middle Kingdom helped compile the following statistics on current participation among all martial arts in the Society across all of the kingdoms:
9,324 heavy weapons fighters
3, 859 rapier fighters
8,212 target archers
1,349 thrown weapons
2,454 combat archers
This comes to a total of 13,998 participants in the martial areas that would be covered by the omnibus peerage. Her Grace admits that there is some overlap in people who participate in more than one area, but said these are conservative numbers for target and thrown weapons, and there are still three kingdoms that haven’t reported.
She also noted that “In the past 5 years, all of our martial activities have gained people [except] the heavy community, which has lost participants.” When asked if she thought this is because the Society is aging and heavy weapons combat is hard on the body, Tessa agreed that was possible. She also thinks that in the past few years movies [like Brave and The Hunger Games] have greatly boosted archery numbers.
When asked what she thought the primary objections to an omnibus martial peerage are, Tessa said, “A lot of people mistakenly believe this is about people wanting to get a peerage for themselves. I think at least 3/4 of the people who are in the Martial Peerage Facebook group either don’t want a peerage for themselves or think they will never reach that level, but want to see those they respect and look up to recognized. In my opinion, it’s more about equal acceptance.”
As a result of the group’s discussions, a proposal is being crafted that will be sent to the Board in early March for consideration at their April meeting. While it is still a work in progress that is being developed by a steering committee comprised of people from each kingdom, here are some of its key elements:
Martial endeavors other than rattan and rapier have been in the Society for decades. They contribute to the SCA, bring in new people, and make the organization richer. Their numbers mirror the heavy community and are growing every year.
Everyone who is a peer deserves to be recognized as one, no matter what martial activity they do.
To ensure this, the group proposes that the SCA Board of Directors create an omnibus peerage for all martial activities that fall under the Society Earl Marshal except for rattan and fencing, since they are already recognized by existing peerages. Any new martial arts would be added to this order in the future.
This peerage would follow the Laurel model of incorporating all activities on equal footing together. The group has discussed creating rubrics on how to judge someone in a different martial activity.
The group is working on proposals for a name and heraldry. Current name candidates include the Order of the Valiance, the Order of the Chimera, and the Order of the Hunt.
Duchess Tessa plans to attend the April BoD meeting, which will be held in Covington, KY on April 18, and says she will do her best to get other members of the group to go, too. She knows this issue is not likely to be decided quickly, but says, “My plan is to present our proposal to the BOD and see what feedback we get from them. I believe the BOD would like to get this resolved, and if they don’t like part of the proposal, they will let us know and may create a committee to look into it. Several kingdoms already have omnibus Grant or AoA level awards for martial activities [like Æthelmearc’s Golden Alce], and I see this following a similar path.”
Duchess Tessa, photo courtesy of Her Grace.
Her Grace says she has been impressed with how well the group has been working together. “Sir Jon has worked with dozens of people on this for years. He should be recognized for his vision and hard work. The Facebook group has the numbers and growth it has because of the people like him who are part of it. They have inspired me. This effort would have no chance of success if we weren’t all working together. I have also been touched by those people who don’t do these activities but have stepped forward to support us. I just want to thank them, too.”
In closing, Duchess Tessa said, “I think it’s important that everyone feels they are welcome in the SCA and that their work and their activity is appreciated. As a Society, we need to make certain those members who have mastered the skills in these martial activities and are peers in every other way can be recognized appropriately as the peers that they are.”
From Sir Jon FitzRauf:
“I first started working on the idea of peerage recognition for the non-rattan martial activities (NRMA) back in 1999. I formed a Yahoo group of like-minded Society members and we put together the first proposal to create a new peerage that would allow recognition of those that excel in the martial activities that were not covered by the Chivalry, the Laurel, or the Pelican. That was presented to the BoD in 2000 and turned down by them.
I have continued working toward this idea for the last fifteen years. Because I believed that there are outstanding individuals that excel in the skills of these activities and who have the required peerage level qualifications who are unable to be recognized for these skills by the Crowns that would wish to do so. Since there is no current peerage that is open to them this excellence, the Crowns are unable to recognize them properly.
The BoD’s recent creation of the Order of the Masters of Defence finally allows the Crowns to recognize the outstanding rapier and cut and thrust participants. Nevertheless, it still left the other non-rattan martial activities without a deserved means of peerage level recognition. However, the discussion brought about by its creation did create further interest and support in the recognition of the NRMA across the Society.
The current Omnibus Peerage Proposal being put forth by Duchess Tessa and our group is based in part on my previous submissions to the BoD. If accepted, it will allow the Crowns to recognize those that are deserving. It will also allow the recognition of any future martial activities that would be recognized by the Marshalate without the BoD having to repeat this entire process again for each new activity.
I strongly suggest that everyone read the Omnibus Proposal and send a letter of support to the BoD.
I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have worked so hard toward obtaining peerage recognition for the NRMA for the last fifteen years. Their efforts and your support may finally make this possible.