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Delftwood Regional Fight Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:33

Delftwood Regional Fight Practice
Sunday, December 14 from 12pm to 5pm

Location: Rockefeller United Methodist Church
350 Nottingham Rd, Syracuse, New York 13210

Join the Barony of Delftwood and members of the Order of the Chivalry for the Delftwood Regional Fight Practice as they host the Æthelmearc Army. There will be plenty of fighting for participants as well as the opportunity to get pointers from the deep end of the pool.

Syr Stefan Ulfkelsson, Æthelmearc’s Warlord, will also be leading a series of melees. Come bring your A game and leave your excuses at home. This is one practice you don’t want to miss!

Categories: SCA news sites

East Kingdom Seneschal Seeking Chair for 50th Year Anniversary Display

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:20

Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia, East Kingdom Seneschal, is looking for someone to head up the East Kingdom Display at the 50th Year Anniversary celebration. This should be someone who has an interest in the pageantry and history of the East, as well as the ability to work with a multi-kingdom group to make the 50th Year celebration shine. The following letter is from the coordinator of the display chairs, and details what is expected from the chair and the Kingdom display. Please contact Dueña Mercedes with questions or to express your interest in the position.

To the Great Kingdom of the East does Eleanor, Baroness of the Flame, in the esteemed Kingdom of the Middle send greetings!

The 50th Anniversary of the Society for Creative Anachronism is upon us! “50 Year” will be celebrated in the Middle Kingdom in the State of Indiana, at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds & Conference Complex from June 16th to June 27th, 2016.

I have the pleasure of working as the Archivist for the event, alongside THL Elizabethe Alles, who is the Chair of Historic Displays, to ensure that all Kingdoms are represented at this most noble function!

We are asking that each Kingdom designate a Chair who will head your particular Kingdom’s display. This person will work directly with me in coordinating their displays, including the acquisition and collection of items if needed. If a representative cannot be on site for the event, any and all items can be sent to me and volunteers will set up the display. While these are static displays, having members of the Kingdoms on-hand to answer questions and tell stories is highly encouraged.

Each Kingdom will be allotted a 20-24’ (length) x 8’ (Depth) space located in the Hendricks Power Exposition Hall.

We are asking that all displays include the following:
o A banner or sign displaying the name of the Kingdom
o A large Kingdom device displaying the arms of the Kingdom
o King and Queen Lineage on a large easily readable display
o Pictures or items that are a part of the Kingdom’s history (example: coronets, gowns, casting molds from important items, mantles, old armor, new armor etc.)
o A 10 minute video on the history and traditions of the Kingdom (Please keep videos positive and uplifting, use proper SCA photo release forms and send digital copies of forms to Kelly Magill at

Recommended but not required:
o Any written Kingdom histories
o Peerage Lineage
o Displays of Kingdom traditions
o Kingdom songs recorded or written for viewing and listening
o Lists and depictions of Kingdom level awards
o Maps of territories, baronies, shires etc.
o All the things that make your Kingdom unique!!

Though the event is a year and a half away we want to ensure each Kingdom is represented in the best way possible. Display Chairs should be chosen by February 28th 2015 in order to facilitate communication and provide time to plan and gather the materials needed for this project. A common information sharing webpage will be created when all Chairs have been identified.

I look forward to working with the Kingdom Display Chairs for all Kingdoms, and will assist in any way I can to make sure that all displays are successful.

In Service,
Eleanor, Baroness Flame
The Middle Kingdom

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: SCA 50 Year, volunteers

Q&A: Savor the Food at Twelfth Night—No Waiting!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 15:11

Looking forward to showing off your latest court garb at Æ Twelfth Night, but not to once again standing in line for an hour at lunch?
Tired of bringing food for your children to eat because they don’t usually like what’s offered at dinner?
Planning on not signing up for onboard because you want to get on the road earlier in the evening?

We think Kingdom Twelfth Night should be the high point in the feasting year. We want this one to be extra special.

If you’ve read the event announcement for the kingdom celebration on January 10th in the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, you may have noticed that the group has several different plans in mind for the day’s food—plans that it hopes will address these common concerns and make the dining experience far more relaxed and enjoyable.

(See announcement at

The autocrat (Mistress Alicia Langland) and head cook (Baroness Bronwyn MacFhionghuin) graciously agreed to chat about these plans with The Gazette: [Editorial clarifications are in brackets]

Q: The dinner plan for Kingdom Twelfth Night is different from the standard feast service at most Æthelmearc events (a two- or three-course meal served at night). Please explain your plan and what inspired it?

A lady’s feast, courtesy of


A: Bronwyn: We’re offering two feast options, which is one or three meals. The first meal [at lunchtime] is provided to all those attending and is included in the site fee. The second and third meals [mid-afternoon and early evening] have an additional fee and will be served approximately two to two-and-a-half hours apart.

Alicia: ACG’s cooks often provide so much food that our feast guests complain they’ve run out of room (in their stomachs) before they run out of dishes! To combat this, we decided to borrow an idea from a Thescorre Twelfth Night feast many years ago — to serve the feast throughout the day, with time to socialize, participate in activities, and digest between each course. Because not every SCAdian wants to — or is able to — stay for all three courses, I decided to offer two pricing options. The first course would be included in the site fee and thus provided to all, and the second and third courses would be available for an additional fee for those who wish.

Bronwyn: The original idea came from Master Gille. Also, from my point of view doing tablesetting research, big elaborate meals did not take place in the evening by candlelight. When you look at the lists of items needed for a historical feast in various account books, there was a heck of a lot of food prepared. Now, did they eat it all at one sitting? It takes time to prepare, make, and serve all that.

So…why not create a day for the kingdom for everyone to go out & have a grand day dressed in their finery, socializing, eating, being festive, happy & relaxed. That’s how we created an event where one of the big showcases is the feast.

Alicia: One big benefit of serving the three courses separately will be evident at the end of the day. Typically, feasts are served late afternoon/early evening and can last up to two hours, depending on the number of courses served. By this point, folks are generally anxious to get on the road and don’t care to linger for dancing. By serving two of our three courses earlier in the day, we’ll have only one course remaining to serve later, which means there will be plenty of time for dancing. Or, if folks don’t wish to remain, they’ll be able to get started on their homeward journey sooner.

Q: In addition to earlier, spaced-out dinner timing, you’re also planning to serve lunch “family style” (a table’s worth of food served to each table, as is common at dinner) rather than offer the standard stand-in-line sideboard. Why did you decide to serve lunch that way?

A: Bronwyn: Two things—

  1. The layout of the facilities — we designed the rooms for sit-down meals.
  2. This is the Kingdom’s big holiday party. We want people to have an enjoyable time and feel festive. Think sitting down to holiday dinner with your family (for those that celebrate that way) or dressing up for a night out & going out to dinner.

Alicia: One of the things we enjoy most about events is socializing with friends. At lunch, this can be hard to do, either because there is no set time for lunch and thus everyone eats catch-as-catch-can or because there’s not enough space at tables for larger groups to be seated together.

In the SCA, lunches tend to be served in a modern style.
With our Twelfth Night feast, everyone gets to enjoy at least one course based on period recipes, served in a way that will allow plenty of time for socializing with friends at your table.

Detail of three servers from King Arthur and his Knights at the Round Table, from Walter Map, Le Livre des vertueux faix de plusiers nobles chevaliers, Rouen 1488, courtesy of


When we hosted Timothy and Gabrielle’s Coronation, it took almost an hour for all of our guests to be served lunch (buffet-style). (I think we had over 300 attendees.) That’s just too much time waiting. And with all the activities we have planned for Twelfth Night, we’d rather our guests spent their time having fun than waiting on line.

Q: You’re also preparing a feast specifically for children. How is that different from the adult meal?

A: Bronwyn: That is my protégé’s idea, Lady Macaah Sitt al Galb. She tried this out at our Shire birthday event and it was a great success. Her own children are picky eaters, so she looks for children-friendly medieval recipes (using her children as taste testers) and creates a menu that also becomes an instructional coloring book.

The food is milder in flavor and subtly differs from food they would normally eat. The meal is very interactive; the menu doesn’t overwhelm the children’s appetites and it gives them the chance to play with subtle teaching. It is definitely geared to the younger child or the smaller appetite. We actually have a few pre-teen/teen girls here in ACG who are not adventurous eaters. Last time, they assisted Macaah with the younger children, as well as eating with them. (Also, prior to the feast, there will be a butter making class where the children will make the butter for their meal.)
A plus here is parents do not have to pay for an adult feast seat when their child may only eat bread, butter, and carrots.

Alicia: One thing I love about the children’s feast is that it introduces children to period food… which they will enjoy eating! (How many times have we heard adults say they don’t like period food? If we win them over when they’re young, these young diners might be more open to eating at feasts when they’re adults.)

Another plus is that since children participating in the children’s feast will be seated at a special table, this frees up those spaces for other guests at the other tables. It also means we’re not serving adult-size portions to someone who’s unlikely to eat it all. This is more economical and efficient.
The children’s feast menu is:

  • First course: cheese, spiced applesauce, rolls with butter
  • Second course: meatballs, Parmesan noodles, honeyed carrots
  • Third course: Fruit, “Food for Angels” (a cream cheese dip), and of course King’s Cake… with the chance to get the “bean” and be King of the day!

I would like to note that the children’s feast is limited to 12 children, aged five to 12. [Children who are not signed up for the special children’s feast table can be signed up for the regular feast, sitting with their parents and eating the normal feast with them.]

Q: You’re also offering pre-seating registration for dinner. Please explain how that will work?

A: Alicia: As an autocrat, one of my biggest headaches has been the feast seating chart. I’ve had guests come to me in tears because they couldn’t sit with their friends at feast because someone forgot to sign them up on the seating chart and all the seats at the table were filled.

Most feast-goers don’t understand what goes into table portioning in the kitchen. Tables often end up not being filled or being over-filled, which means folks are either served too much or too little food.

In addition, people might mistakenly be signed up a two different tables. People who pay to eat on-board sometimes don’t sign up on the feast chart, making it difficult to determine how many on-board spots are available for waiting-list folks to fill.  Sometimes, people sign up, but their names are illegible, making it hard to tell if everyone who’s on-board actually has a seat. Large groups might wait so long to sign up that there aren’t enough spaces at any one table for them to sit together …. The list of problems goes on and on.

I wanted to find a way to avoid some of these issues. Pre-seating is one part of the overall plan. This fall, in a post to the Æthelmearc listserve, Her Grace Dorinda mentioned that Stormsport wanted to try pre-seating at its event. Afterward the event, I wrote to her and asked how it went. Based on her comments, I decided it was worth trying at Twelfth Night.

Here’s how pre-seating will work at Twelfth Night (I hope!):

When they send their reservation, guests should include names of and payment for everyone in the group (up to 12). Prior to the event, the reservations clerk will print the pre-seated names on the seating chart. When pre-registered guests troll in, they will be given a sticker to place on the chart. (This will help event staff identify which seats are “unclaimed” prior to serving the first course.) Guests must place their sticker on the chart prior to the start of the first course in order to keep their seat.
By pre-seating folks, we can hopefully avoid the problems I mentioned. It should save our guests time because they won’t have to search for a table that can accommodate them and their friends. I’m hoping folks will take advantage of this opportunity.

Illumination from Les Tres Riche Heures – the Duc de Berry at feast, courtesy of


Q: Has your group tried any of these meal ideas before at your events and, if so, how did they work out?

A: Bronwyn: We did the children’s feast before. It was very well received by the children as well as their parents.

Alicia: At Timothy and Gabrielle’s Coronation feast, we had a server — wearing a spiffy shire tabard — assigned to each table. Having assigned servers worked out really well, and I thought was much more classy than the typical all-call for someone from each table. At a pre-arranged signal, the servers came back to the serving table, received instructions about what to say when they served the dishes, and then took the dishes to their assigned table. At that point, the servers were free to sit with their friends and enjoy the meal. (They were responsible for periodically checking with their assigned table to refill beverage pitchers and returning emptied dishes to the kitchen for washing.)

Q: For cooks in other groups who may want to try out these ideas, what kind of scheduling or planning concerns have you had to address to accomplish these?

A: Bronwyn: So far we have had to work the schedule to give enough time to eat as well as have the other activities throughout the day. We also need more servers than usual, since the feast will take place in two rooms and have two shifts of servers at lunch. Plus, we also need to provide washing stations twice for the three meals. In addition, there will be two sign-up boards for seating, as well as two different site tokens.

Alicia: Logistically, a LOT of planning went into this event! Starting with the projected attendance (between 200 to 250), I needed to make sure there would be enough seats for everyone to be served at the same time. I used a scale drawing to experiment with various layouts to find what would work best. (It is much easier to move rectangles in a computer screen than to lug tables about!)

As for the head cook’s job at this event, serving three separate courses — with a different cook heading up each course — has added additional levels of complexity. To manage this, Dame Bronwyn is tasked with the job of ensuring continuity among the three cooks and their courses. Unlike head cooks for most feasts, she will not plan a menu, shop for ingredients, or prepare dishes. What she will do is manage the kitchen, to make sure it runs efficiently and that the cooks have what they need.

Q: One potential issue I foresee is that, for a normal sideboard, the lunch cook only needs one or two table’s worth of serving equipment. However, since you’re serving eight portions to each table, you’ll need enough serving equipment for each table, just as you will hours later for dinner.

A: Bronwyn: Correct, plus the first meal serves the largest amount of diners. So, we will be washing dishes, pots, etc. three times. That means we’ll need more serving-ware than we normally would for a first course. But we will have a longer time to accomplish the washing-up. And the second and third courses will be served to a limited number of guests, so there will be fewer dishes to wash after these courses. Also, the recipes we chose are not too elaborate in prep or execution, so that will keep the kitchen moving. Finally, we will bus the great hall tables between courses to keep them tidy.

Q: You’re planning to serve the feast in two rooms at the same time? What inspired that decision and how do you envision that will work out?

A: Bronwyn: The front room will be the Æthelmearc Winter Market. We are designing the room to look like an outdoor medieval winter market complete with merchants, a tavern, and a dining area (think: beer garden). We hope the choice of decor will give that feeling.

Traveling through the market, you will see the entrance to the great hall. This is where the diners partaking of the three meals will be. Royalty will be here as well as the children’s feast. We hope the decor in this room will provide the ambiance of a great hall adorned for the winter holiday.

Alicia: We are fortunate to have a site with two large banquet rooms. Based on my layout experiments, I determined that, to accommodate everyone comfortably, we needed to seat people in both rooms.

From this came the idea for the “Great Hall” and the “Marketplace.” Those diners who pay the additional fee for the second and third Courses will be served in the “Great Hall” and will receive a hand-cast pewter feast token. Those who pay only the site fee will be served in the “Marketplace”; their site token will be more rustic.

Seating in two different rooms is not common in the SCA and will involve extra planning as well as lots of pre-event publicity so folks aren’t so baffled when they arrive.

When they troll in, guests will be given a color-coded sticker with their name on it to place on the seating chart. The stickers for those eating only the first course will be a different color from those who pay to enjoy the second and third courses. They will then place their stickers on the seating chart that is color-coded to match their sticker.

To emphasize the differences between the two rooms, the decoration and layout will be very different. The Great Hall will be more open and formal, with High Table and the Great Throne at one end. The Marketplace will be bustling with activity throughout the day, with merchants lining two sides of the room and a Tasters’ Tavern, with potables supplied by the Æthelmearc Brewers’ Guild, at one end. We hope musicians, jugglers, and bards will add to the lively atmosphere in this room. In the center of it all will be the tables for our guests. A masked ball with live music will round out the day’s festivities.

In addition to the activities going on in the marketplace, court and bardic activities will be take place in the auditorium on the second floor. A vigil, children’s activities, and dancing instruction for the masked ball will be held in the basement. Trying to schedule all of these activities plus three separate sit-down services has been quite a challenge!

All of this is made possible by the hard work of a number of people and a LOT of communication. I am extremely grateful to the event staff, who have worked so hard to make this event happen.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add about the event?

A: Alicia:  We think Kingdom Twelfth Night should be the high point in the feasting year. We want this one to be extra special.

Although ACG is centrally located in the Kingdom (four hours from almost everywhere) and conveniently located at the nexus of two major interstates, many folks think it’s too far to travel to.

Hopefully, with the promise of a delicious feast, the Tasters’ Tavern, merchants, an amazing auditorium for bardic activities, and a masked ball, folks will find something to entice them to come!

I feel very lucky that our cooks (and shire members) are willing to try something new. I just hope it works the way I’ve planned it in my head!

—submitted by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina

Categories: SCA news sites

East Kingdom Regional Rapier Practice

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 12:51

War is once again behind us, and though the fertile mantle of the East Kingdom will soon be covered in snow, it’s the perfect time for its fencers, soldiers, and duelists to bare polished steel and mind their deadly art. Another war is always around the bend, and preparation is paramount to victory!

To keep the East Kingdom rapier army’s skills sharp and improve unit cohesion, the Barony of Carolingia will be hosting an EK Regional Fencing Practice on Sunday, January 4th. At the practice, fencers will get a chance to work on their melee skills both with their household/local fencing unit, and with the kingdom army at large. There’ll also be time for single bouting, and a tournament taking place is also a strong possibility.

There will also be a class or two for fencers to learn from. Parties interested in teaching a fencing class (be it for single or melee), should contact Lord Remy Delemontagne de Gascogne, Captain of the Carolingian Caliver Company with their class title and agenda.

When: Sunday, January 4th from 12-5pm
Where: Cambridge War Memorial (1640 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138), Barony of Carolingia
Cost: $5 entrance fee that goes to the school for maintenance
Other notes: Street parking is free on Sundays and folks can park in the Harvard Vanguard parking lot across the street. Please wear non-marking footwear. Because this is a practice, non-authorized fencers are allowed to participate.
Practice website
FB Event page

Can’t make it to the EK Regional Rapier Practice? Have no fear! Carolingia hosts a monthly melee practice at the War Memorial, open to all who want to work on their melee techniques. Here are the upcoming melee practice dates (more dates added monthly).

December: Sunday the 14th from 2pm-5pm
January: (REGIONAL PRACTICE): Sunday the 4th from 12pm-5pm
February: Sunday the 15th from 2-5pm
(Dates subject to change, but hopefully not)

Any questions, thoughts, or concerns should be directed to Lord Remy.

Filed under: Fencing Tagged: fencing, regional practice

Blackstone Mountain Welcomes Its Newest Member

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:31

Congratulations to Lady Astridr Vigaskegg (Kelly West), Seneschale of the Barony of Blackstone Mountain, and THLord Darian Valskr (Jesse Denton) on the birth of a healthy baby girl.

Elora Nicole Denton was born at 5:04 pm on Dec 9th, 2014. She weighs 8lbs 3oz.

Lady Astridr says, “She has Jesse’s curly hair and my strong lungs, and she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. My mom and Jesse were with me all day, and both Elora and I are doing fine.”

Welcome Elora! – photo by Reva Schoonover (Astridr’s mom)

- submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Twelfth Night – January 10, A.S. xlix (2015)

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2014-12-09 17:00

Frivolity! Foolishness! and Fun! are the order of the day at Æthelmearc Twelfth Night, hosted by the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, on Saturday, January 10, 2015. Be you brewer or bard, dancer or diner, gamester or juggler, we hope you will find much to amuse you!

The day will be jam-packed with plenty to do:

  • Two Courts
  • Vigil of THLord Tigernach mac Cathail, as he contemplates joining the Order of the Pelican
  • Kingdom Bardic Championship
  • Bardic Showcase (for those wishing to perform but not compete)
  • Feasting!  (Savor the full three-course meal or enjoy just the first course.)
  • Tasters’ Tavern**
  • Brewing Competition (judged by actual brewers!) **
  • Brewers’ Roundtable **
  • Dancing Instruction
  • Masked Ball with LIVE MUSIC (instruction sessions will be held during the day)
  • Gaming
  • Kingdom Gifts Display
  • Scroll Blank Challenge
  • Kingdom Historian’s Display
  • Shopping!
  • Much schmoozing!!

Please note that only pre-paid reservations postmarked ON or BEFORE December 15, 2014 will be guaranteed on-board space.  Even if you only want to eat the first course, mailing your reservation by Monday, December 15 allows you to take advantage of the Early Bird reservation discount and SAVE $$$$!

** This site allows alcohol and is BYOB. Please respect the legal drinking age, which in Pennsylvania is 21, and drink responsibly. Anyone found serving alcohol to those under 21 or publicly intoxicated will be asked to leave immediately with no refund.

For details about these activities, the site, or the schedule, please visit

To see photos of this GORGEOUS site — including its 600-seat auditorium — go to

Like us on Facebook!  Tell everyone you’re planning to attend!  See who else is coming!  Updates and teasers will be posted here regularly:

Image courtesy of

The official event announcement can be found in the Kingdom Newsletter, The Æstel. This unofficial event announcement is being printed as a courtesy to the autocrat, and the Gazette is not liable for any changes to the event or event listing.


Categories: SCA news sites

The Reign of King Jehan de la Marche

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2014-12-09 16:33

King Jehan de la Marche, wearing the ancient crown of the East. The crown had a Velcro attachment so it could be resized for each wearer.

The Gazette asked Count Jehan de la Marche, eighth King of the East, for memories of some of his early SCA experiences. This is the second installment he sent, which covered his memories of his reign. 

The next event I recall was my coronation, which was also the next Crown Tourney, which was supposed to be the tradition at the time, though observed irregularly. (I believe it fell in late September or early October 1972.) It was held on a site in Beyond the Mountain which was basically an unmown field –the owner of the site had told the autocrat that it would be mowed in advance of the event, but it was not, so the field was covered in grass two or three feet high. Oddly enough, I have no distinct recollection of the moment that Cariadoc put the crown on my head, though I know the ceremony was very simple by later standards. I believe we used a version of the Archenlandish oath from C. S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy (”This is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s famine in the land, as must be sometimes, to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your kingdom.”) However, that belief is based on what I recall of the practice of the time, not direct memory of hearing it. The one moment I distinctly recall is that when I kissed my queen after crowning her, her crown fell off.

A recent photo of Count Jehan de la Marche

There was also the episode of the Queen’s Piper. Sometime before the coronation, I was walking through Wolsey Hall at Yale and heard a man playing a bagpipe alone in an empty auditorium. I had invited him to the coronation, and since there was already a King’s Piper (Sir Eyolf) I appointed this one (whose name I do not recall), the Queen’s Piper, whereupon Lauryon said “All right, now play.” Someone said “The queen has issued her first command,” and he played.

I recall asking Duke Cariadoc and Duke Akbar to serve as my guards. We had a lot of byplay in those days over our personas’ religions (nowadays it might be more sensitive). I said approximately that although I was a Christian king I had found Saracen dukes very reliable.

There was a very small crown tourney –I believe there were five fighters entered (the minimum under SCA law at the time) and I asked Duke Akbar to enter so we would have even numbers for the first round. He did and ended by winning the crown, defeating Sir Finnvarr de Taahe, who had lately moved to the East from the Middle Kingdom (Barony of North Woods).

The next event I recall was a tourney in the Barony of Myrkwood (Baltimore), then led by Begum Sita of Oudh. The main point I remember was the tourney destroyed four swords (all those available in the barony at the time). I believe Middle-trained fighters tended to hit harder than Eastern ones (on average) –there were some exceptions, such as Shlomo and Garanhir. Sir Finnvarr and I met in the final, and I won. I believe one of the other fighters was Alain du Rocher.

I believe the next event was the Carolingian Yule Revel –the ancestor of the masked ball, though I am not sure it was masked at that time. All I recollect distinctly was that there was some elegant dancing and that I ended the event (or at least the formal part) with a quotation from Shakespeare “Our revels now are ended.”

During my reign, I did issue the first code of laws for the East Kingdom, all or nearly all of which have since been superseded. They included an attempt to have a representative of the Crown in each group to encourage communication –which was never implemented –and a law advocating (as it could not be required) that subjects who could not attend the wars should contribute to the costs of those who served (scutage). Although this was never enforceable, and has not been law for many years, I was told lately that one lady in the East still abided by it and contributed to her friends’ costs of going to war. My recollection is that I circulated these laws by postal mail (there being no email in those days) rather than discussing them in a live council.

I also reorganized the kingdom order of merit – as I understand the situation (it was before my time), Duke Akbar in one of his earlier reigns had created the Order of the Silver Crescent, and then Shogun Rakkurai had created an equivalent Order of the Golden Dragon . I merged the two orders into the one Order of the Silver Crescent (all members of the Golden Dragon becoming members of the SIlver Crescent). At that time, I believe that order was the only order beneath peerage level in the kingdom.

The last major event of my reign was Twelfth Night held in the Barony of Myrkwood. My queen Lauryon was unable to attend due to illness, and so I asked Countess Abrizhade al-Medina O.L. (who had been queen to Franz von Blickend-Lichten, second king of the Middle) to serve as my ceremonial consort, which she graciously did.

The guests at the event included members of the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia (later Markland) who contributed considerably to the liveliness of the occasion. Two of them staged a mock dagger fight (with steel daggers) and rolled around my feet as I was sitting at the feast. There was also an episode I never fully understood in which I remarked my drink tasted odd and one of the MMMM shouted “The king has been poisoned.” I am not sure whether someone had actually put something in the drink or it was just an improvised response.

More seriously, I did (as I mentioned before) knight Asbjorn the Fairhaired, chiefly for his valor at the First Pennsic War. Since he was squire to Duke (at the time Prince) Akbar, I asked Akbar if he would prefer to actually dub Asbjorn, but he replied that he wished me to do it, so I did. This was the only peerage granted in my reign.

Afterward I did crown Akbar as king (his third and last reign), and his lady Duchess Khadijah was crowned queen. Oddly enough, I do not recall the ceremony at all. There was no ceremony making me a count –I think the title was only developed a little later, though Atenveldt had Crown Barons and I believe Franz von Blickend-Lichten had been made a baron after serving as king of the Middle.

I do remember that the next morning El of the Two Knives asked me how it felt to be a duke, and I replied I was not a duke as I had only been king once. In fact, I never became a duke –I sometimes like to say “I only made one mistake” –though in fact I fought hard in several later crowns


Filed under: History, Interviews Tagged: History

Steltonwald Costuming Symposium – December 6, A.S. xlix

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2014-12-09 09:20

About three dozen gentles gathered in the Canton of Steltonwald for an unusual event last Saturday. It featured classes with names like “Corset Making,” “The Dofuku — a Casual Men’s Japanese Jacket” and “Period Smocking,” but the most unusual thing about it was that it was held in modern dress.

Lady Teresa Alvarez

The event was the brainchild of Lady Teresa Alvarez, who is apprenticed to Mistress Cassadoria Finniala and considers herself a student of historical costuming. Fourteen years ago she suggested to some friends that they hold something a little bigger and more formal than the weekly sewing circle, so they ran a costuming symposium. Then, as Teresa put it, “life happened” and she didn’t get back to the idea until the summer of 2013, when some friends suggested she revive the symposium. Last fall’s symposium was a big hit, so Teresa was persuaded to host the event again this year.

Why modern dress for attendees? Teresa said she’s just more comfortable in modern clothes, but also that she felt it would be less of a distraction if teachers and students weren’t in garb. Several attendees chimed in that some of the peers and other long-time members are less intimidating in modern clothes – they felt more at ease asking questions of their friend Chadd than they might of Duke Christopher Rawlyns (who taught a class on his reconstruction of the Jupon of the Black Prince).

In addition, to keep the event easy to run and informal, attendees were treated to doughnuts from a local bakery when they arrived, and takeout Chinese food for lunch.

The array of ten classes focused on clothing and needlework. Some were presentations of research while others were hands-on practice that permitted students to take home patterns or embroidery. Here are just a few samples:

Elizabethan buttons made in Countess Aidan’s class

Countess Aidan ni Leir taught a a class on making Elizabethan thread buttons from wooden beads. Participants spent about an hour learning the stitches and making their own buttons. These buttons are documented in hundreds of portraits and many extant garments in England and the continent. The ribbed buttons, shown here, are made from 12mm wooden beads with pearl cotton thread wrapped around them.

THLady Marguerite d’Honfleur presented an overview of the clothes owned by Queen Eléanore of France, wife of King François I, including an analysis of the types of fabric, weaving, and colors used in those clothes. Her presentation was based on an inventory the Queen’s gowns, kirtles, farthingales, and petticoats taken in 1532. Attendees learned that most of the Queen’s gowns and kirtles were red or black, probably because those dyes were expensive and showed off the wealth of the Royalty. Many were lined or edged in fur, including loup-cerviers, or lynx, another costly element. THL Marguerite also introduced her students to French terms like toile d’or frisée (cloth of gold with loops of gold thread or wire forming a pile on the surface of the brocade) and drap de soie (silk fabric).

Mistress Ysabel’s class on drafting sleeve patterns from “The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant”

Mistress Ysabel Graver walked participants through the process of drafting a sleeve pattern from The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant. Ysabel explained that it starts with a bodice that fits properly so the armscye is correctly positioned and shaped for the sleeve. Students spent two hours learning the concepts, measuring each other, and then drafting their patterns, with Mistress Ysabel offering examples of her own gowns with correct and incorrect sleeve placements.

Lady Rivka bat Daniyel provided students with information on how to research period uses of embroidery to match their personas, including methods for searching online. She recommended that students seek out academic articles or well-known museums like the Victoria and Albert and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Afterward, she guided students through some embroidery stitches.

Lady Rivka’s embroidery class

Countess Elena’s appliqué class

Countess Elena d’Artois displayed an array of appliquéd clothing and discussed the uses of appliqué in period, from ecclesiastical furnishings and vestments to heraldic display and decorated clothing. She then gave each participant an item to hand appliqué, explaining how to couch pearl cotton thread around the edges of the decorative cloth pieces to affix them to the backing fabric.


Duke Christopher explains his research on the Jupon of the Black Prince

In Duke Christopher Rawlyns’ class, he displayed his recreations of the Jupon of the Black Prince of England, who died in 1376, and discussed the history and construction of the garment. The original jupon (a kind of arming jacket) is on display in Canterbury Cathedral beside the Prince’s crypt, along with his helm, shield, gauntlets, and sword scabbard (the sword itself is missing, rumored to have been stolen by Oliver Cromwell). His Grace based his research in part on an examination of the jupon by the famed costume researcher Janet Arnold, done in 1985 and published in 1993. He reviewed some of the controversies surrounding the garment, including what the padding was made from (he concluded it was cotton, which was costly but available in the late 14th c.) and whether it originally had long or short sleeves. After making and wearing one of these jackets in combat he noted that it experienced stress at the armscye, resulting in the jacket sometimes ripping at that point. He attributed that structural failure to his elbow cops being affixed to the exterior of the sleeve, and twisting the fabric as he threw sword blows. Christopher examined multiple period manuscripts showing military men in such garments, and concluded that unlike Scadians, 14th c. knights probably wore their armor under the jacket rather than over it.

Lady Teresa fitting a bodice on Queen Anna Leigh

To cap off the day, Lady Teresa taught a class in how to do fittings on European garments, with assistance from Mistress Cassadoria. Teresa demonstrated fitting techniques on Her Majesty Queen Anna Leigh, for whom Teresa is sewing a new gown for 12th Night in the German style. Teresa emphasized the importance of making the initial adjustments to bodice patterns first at the shoulder, and then at the sides. She also addressed how to handle fit issues relating to the kind of fashion fabric being used – for example, how to keep wool or linen from stretching. After her class, she asked if people had fun at the event, to which the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

Creating duct tape body doubles

Other classes offered included Corset Making, taught by Lady Madeleine de l’Este, Period Smocking, taught by Mistress Ts’vee’a bas Tseepora, An Overview of Japanese Costuming, from Loom to Garment, by Magariki Katsuichi no Koredono-sama, and The Dofuku — a Casual Men’s Japanese Jacket taught by Lady Hara Kikumatsu.

In addition to the formal classes, two workshops were available throughout the day: Mistress Alessandra d’Avignon helped participants create duct tape body doubles, while Lady Teresa taught period hand sewing techniques.

When asked if she wants to make any changes to the Symposium next year, Teresa said she might implement a suggestion from Mistress Aoibheil of Dun Holen to hold a fabric swap. She would also encourage merchants to attend, especially those selling goods relating to costuming. In addition, Teresa plans to put the word out to prospective teachers earlier in the hopes of attracting new classes, though she wants to keep the event “small enough to still be cozy.”

-submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

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