The Gazette asked Duke Christopher Rawlyns, Kingdom Seneschal, to answer a few questions about the new Earl Marshal changes.
photo by Master Thorpe
Please describe the overall structural changes that have been made to the Marshalate.
Prior to the change in the marshallate structure, the Earl Marshal had always been an experienced heavy weapons fighter, as the main job of the EM was to oversee rattan combat. Now we have added two positions. A Heavy Weapons Marshal has been added whose job will be to oversee rattan combat within the Kingdom. We have also added a Pennsic Marshal. This person will rotate through the marshallate structure at Pennsic over a three year period, with their last year in the job as Marshal in Charge of Pennsic.
What do you want this structural change to accomplish? What problem do you believe it solves, and/or what new opportunities does it offer?
This change will allow marshals of other disciplines to serve as Earl Marshal. A knowledge of rattan combat will be useful for sure, but, you will not need to be a senior rattan marshal to be the EM. This should allow for a broader pool of applicants for the EM job. It also allows the EM to be more of an administrator and have better oversight of all of the marshal disciplines as they will not have to concentrate that much effort on rattan combat. The addition of the Pennsic Marshal will allow that individual to focus solely on this rather time-consuming position.
Are there other Kingdoms who use this model? If so, do you have information on what their experience with it has been?
The Society Marshal’s office has been restructured in this manner and our neighbors in The Kingdom of Atlantia adopted this structure a few years ago. I have not heard of any difficulties as a result of this change.
How will this new structure interact with the Society Earl Marshal’s office differently from in the past? Ultimately, the EM is responsible for the oversight of all martial activity in the Kingdom. This is no different than it has been in the past. Anyone participating in any martial endeavor should not notice any change in how they go about their chosen activities.
The Gazette interviewed William Parris, OD, our new Earl Marshal.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the martial disciplines. I am a second generation member of the Society, and I have spent my whole life amongst the incredibly active inhabitants of my local Barony, the BMDL. I started fencing over ten years ago, and have enjoyed diving fully into not only the fencing community, but the Kingdom as a whole. I was cadeted to Don Christian de Launey and squired to His Grace, Sir Christopher Rawlins. Over the course of several reigns, I was able to witness all the effort necessary in the management of local groups, Kingdoms, and even the Society. I have enjoyed participating in archery, thrown weapons, armored combat, and, of course, fencing. I have entered Queen’s Rapier Championships and Crown Tournaments, hosted martial scholas, and participated in wars, both foreign and domestic. With the introduction of the Order of Defence, I have been looking for ways for the Order to serve in greater capacities, and the newly remodeled position of the Earl Marshal seemed like a perfect chance.
Why were the changes made to the Earl Marshal position? The Earl Marshal has, traditionally, been the senior Armored Combat marshal. They oversaw the other disciplines through their Kingdom deputies. In an effort to create a more consistent mechanic, the EM will now adopt a more purely administrative role, with each martial discipline, now including Armored Combat, being represented by a kingdom deputy. I will serve as liaison between each of those positions and the Society Earl Marshal, as well as coordinator for the implementation of new policies. Each discipline will be allowed to exercise as much independence as possible, enabling those with the most experience to serve as guides. I will, of course, remain as active as possible in each activity, to better serve as support to those kingdom marshals.
Will the Heavy Weapons Marshal position take on the traditional duties of the Earl Marshal? How will the position be different? The Armored Combat Marshal will adopt many of the roles that had previously been assigned to the Earl Marshal. This will include revisions of policy, gathering of reports, and serving as a senior marshal for Crown Tournaments.
The Pennsic Marshal position is something new. What specifically will the person be doing?
Pennsic is a constantly evolving culture, and its governance requires great experience and focused attention. As Æthelmearc adopts greater degrees of responsibilities at Pennsic, the Pennsic Marshal will serve as the chief coordinator of our efforts. Development and management of battlefield activities is no easy task, and it will require a deft touch. I have great faith in our Kingdom’s ability to carry a lion’s share of the burden in providing a efficient and safe atmosphere for the citizens of Pennsic.
How much autonomy do the individual chief marshals have in the Kingdom? While I have participated in many of the martial activities, I recognize a great wealth of experience beyond my own. One of my primary duties will be enabling the Kingdom Marshals to conduct their duties as freely as possible. I have no interest in telling any of them how to perform their tasks, and I feel the Kingdom will benefit from their individual passions for their offices.
What do you think the most positive aspect of this change will be? This change in the role of the Earl Marshal sets precedent for leaders of any discipline to assume the office. All activities will enjoy full attention and support, along with the opportunity to serve the Kingdom in such a capacity. I am humbled to be a part of the change.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Accepting the responsibilities of becoming a marshal is a sacrifice, and I am deeply grateful to every marshal in the Kingdom. The great office of the Earl Marshal is made great by the untiring efforts of those willing to run inspections, host tournaments, marshal the lines, and complete the paperwork that allows the Kingdom and Society to continue preserving the magic that has drawn each of us in. I am grateful to the Kingdom Marshals and especially to Her Grace, Tessa and His Grace, Maynard for stepping forward and accepting the challenge of their new roles. If my term as Earl Marshal is to be well regarded, it is upon their shoulders that accolade should fall.
Unto the Subjects of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, especially those who are martially inclined, Greetings from Duke Christopher, Seneschal.
The office of Earl Marshal will turn over at Twelfth Night. This office is going to undergo some changes. Traditionally, the Earl Marshal has been a heavy weapons marshal with significant experience marshaling the Lists and Wars. The position is going to be modified somewhat.
The idea is to have the EM be an administrator and less of a marshal. Thus, the primary quality of the successful applicant for this job will be that of an organized, capable administrator. The ideal candidate will have familiarity with a number of the martial disciplines, but, need not necessarily be an expert in any one of them. The EM will supervise the chief marshals of each of the martial disciplines, such as rapier, siege, archery, etc. as happens now.
A heavy weapons marshal will be added who will serve as the senior marshal for rattan combat. This person will be on the same level of the organizational flowchart as the senior marshals of the other martial disciplines. If the EM does not have sufficient rattan combat experience to serve as the marshal in charge of Crown, the heavy weapons marshal will then serve in that capacity. A Pennsic Marshal will also be appointed. This person will serve a three-year term which will culminate with them serving as Marshal 1 at Pennsic. Further details on this position will follow.
A deadline of November 1st was set for applications for Earl Marshal. There are no letters for this position at this time. At this time I would like to call for letters for anyone interest in serving as Earl Marshal. I would also ask for letters for the Heavy Weapons marshal. The successful candidate here will have several years experience as a heavy weapons marshal and be comfortable marshaling everything from local tournaments to Crown Lists.
If you have interest in any of these positions, please submit your letter to me and Duchess Tessa, the KEM. Courtesy copies should go to the Crown and Heirs as well. I would ask that letters be submitted by December 1st.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Just about every Shire, Canton, and Barony in Æthelmearc has a website, as do many other groups like the scribes, heralds, and marshals. Many have useful resources, interesting information, or fun photos or stories. Here are some highlights:
Barony of Thescorre: known as the “Industrious Barony of Thescorre,” their website includes a wonderful manual on how to present various types of demos, many aimed at school children. Three gentles from Thescorre, Mistress Daedra McBeth a Gryphon, Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf, and Lady Cerridwyn of Raventree, call themselves the Academic Demo & Educational Presentations Team (or ADEPT). Their manual covers all kinds of demos that the SCA can present, including Displays, Bardic Circles, Talk Panels, and “Taking a Persona to School.” The ADEPT Handbook can be downloaded as a single file or viewed by section on the baronial website.
Barony of Delftwood: The Barony known for its Windmill has a beautifully designed recruiting brochure that does a great job of explaining what the Society is and does. They also have a page called A&S Handouts that includes articles on various topics like “Turnshoes” by Sir Óláfr Þorvarðarson, “Plying Your Homespun Yarn” by Lady Genevieve de Chaumont, and many articles on costuming by Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin.
Shire of Coppertree: this shire, located east of Delftwood, has a storied past and is populated by many notable peers of the realm. Speaking of stories, on the shire website there’s a humorous one about the origins of the name of their Shire herald, the Red Squid Pursuivant.
Shire of Sylvan Glen: The southeastern-most shire in the Kingdom has a wonderful page for the Sylvan Glen Scriptorium with an enormous array of useful information for scribes, including links to sites with period manuscripts, or instructional materials on how to paint in various styles or do various calligraphic hands, as well as line drawings that can be used to create scroll blanks.
Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands: the Meetings & Activities page has links to separate pages for each of the regular activities offered in the Barony – not just when and where practices and workshops are held, but photos and detailed information including things like videos of choir performances, information on how to build youth combat armor and weapons, and links to related websites on heraldic resources or scribal standards from the baronial signet.
Kingdom of Æthelmearc: of course the Kingdom website has all kinds of useful information, including the Kingdom calendar, lists of Kingdom officers and royalty, links to local groups, and contacts for polling orders and mailing lists. But to my mind the most useful page is the Online Award Recommendation Form. If you know people who are doing great things for your group, whether in martial arts, service, or as artisans, then you should recommend them for appropriate awards. You don’t have to possess an award to recommend someone for it.
Æthelmearc Heralds: before you write that award recommendation, check the Order of Precedence on the Kingdom’s College of Heralds website to see what awards the person already has. Under Tools and Links, you can find a link to the Awards of Æthelmearc which can help you understand which awards to recommend your friends for. The Roll of Arms is a great place to find the registered names and Arms of the citizens of AEthelmearc, so if you’re handy with needle and thread and want to give a friend a gift, consider making them a banner using the image on the roll of arms!
Æthelmearc Rapier Combat: you can read the Kingdom Rapier rules, see a list of the White Scarfs of Æthelmearc and learn about the history of the order, find out who the past Kingdom Rapier Champions are all the way back to the founding of the Kingdom, and access links to all things rapier-related.
Æthelmearc Earl Marshal: for links to all things martial, whether heavy weapons, rapier, thrown weapons, target and combat archery, equestrian, youth combat, or siege, this is your best starting place.
Æthelmearc Archery Scores: want to see your current Royal Round average, learn how to run an IKAC, or find out who the Grandmaster Bowmen of the Kingdom are? This is your site. It’s actually a “child” site under an SCA-wide archery site, but the scores for Æthelmearc are maintained by the Kingdom Archery Scorekeeper.
Æthelmearc College of Bards: this site lists bards from all over the Kingdom, the history of bardic arts in Æthelmearc, lyrics and audio files of original songs about our Kingdom, and links to sites of bardic interest.
Æthelmearc College of Scribes: this site offers an array of resources for calligraphers and illuminators, including a list of current scribes, links to resources for scribes, the policies of the Kingdom Signet, and the Red Book that provides guidelines, advice, and scroll wordings for scribes.
Map of Æthelmearc: this site superimposes a map of Æthelmearc on a map of the U.S. You can zoom in and click an area on the map to see a pop-up window listing the name of the Shire, Canton, or Barony in that area, along with its region and a link to its website, if available.