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Arts & Sciences Research Paper #15: On the Preservation of Lemons

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-12-01 09:09

Our fifteenth A&S Research Paper comes to us from Edmund Beneyt of the Barony of Endewearde, who demonstrates that the delicious preserved lemons of the Middle East have a very long history indeed! (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

On the Preservation of Lemons

Lemons, preserving. Photo by Aildreda de Tamwurthe.

The preservation of food has been an ongoing struggle against Nature since man first started storing food for later use. There is evidence of the most basic form of preservation being used 14,000 years ago in the Middle East[1], and many different strategies have been discovered.

Pickling, the process of preserving food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in a liquid of pH 4.6 or lower, is in use by most cultures across the globe. The range of pickled foods is astounding, from meats and fish to grains. The only limit on what can be pickled seems to be what is available to pickle.


A Little History
Preparing the Lemons

A Little History
Preserved lemons are an ingredient in North African stews and tagines, especially prevalent in Moroccan and Libyan cooking where they are known as “leems”[2]. Preserved lemon can be used as a flavour intensifier in stews, pot roasts and slow cooked dishes. Within North African cooking, chicken and lamb benefit from having preserved lemon added. Grated or fine chopped it can be added to salads or dressings, julienned it can be served as a snack or as part of an appetizer platter.

Some of the earliest references to the use of preserved lemons point towards a medicinal value. The Indian Ayurvedic cuisine uses the consumption of lemon pickle to remedy stomach disorders[3]; in East African folk medicine lemon pickle is given for excessive growth of the spleen[4].

One of the very earliest proponents of preserved lemons, Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘ [ Ibn Jumai/Jumay] (b ???? d 1198), was a Egyptian-born Jew who went on to serve as physician to An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Saladin the Sultan)[5].

Ibn Jumay is infamous for bringing the dead back to life. While watching a passing funerary procession he saw that the feet of the corpse were upright rather than flat, a sign that life had not left the body. He stepped in and treated the man, reviving him and preventing his being buried alive. The man had suffered a cataleptic fit, a condition that causes muscle seizures and non responsiveness, which could be mistaken for death[6].

He also wrote a minor treatise; On Lemon, it’s Drinking and Use. A medical cookbook, it is the earliest written source that I could find that details the preservation of lemons. Sadly none of the original documents survived past the 12th Century, but thanks to the work of other scholars (Ibn al-Baitar, Compendium) and the great Islamic translation projects the details are available to us[7]. It has been said that the process Ibn Jumay documented has been universally copied since[8].

Take lemons that are fully ripe and of bright yellow color; cut them open without severing the two halves and introduce plenty of fine salt into the split; place the fruits thus prepared in a glass vessel having a wide opening and pour over them more lemon juice until they are completely submerged; now close the vessel and seal it with wax and let it stand for a fortnight in the sun, after which store it away for at least forty days; but if you wait still longer than this before eating them their taste and fragrance will be still more delicious and their action in stimulating the appetite will be stronger.

– Translated into English by Samuel Tolkowsky, “Hesperides: A History of the Culture and Use of Citrus Fruits” 1938 from the original, “On Lemon, it’s Drinking and Use”; Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘, 12th century .

If we take this as a true translation, the process as described here is virtually unchanged in modern cooking. The process of opening the soft inner pulp to salt and then covering them in an acidic liquid forces a process known as fermentation. The outer rinds soften as the inner pulp desiccates leaving a vibrant lemon flavour. For use, they are rinsed, the pulp removed and discarded and the rinds used as required.

The climate in Egypt has daytime temperatures are around the 90-100F levels, so my first thought of oven warming would be impossible due to most modern ovens minimum temperature being in the 160-170F range. The only other option that could provide the required temperature range would be a hot water bath, but that would be prohibitive in terms of cost. I reluctantly decided to update my recipe to a more modern room temperature (70F) processing,

This change would also mean adjusting the fermentation time. The original also has a 54 day timeline, 14 days exposure to high temperatures plus 40 days “store away” (by which I would suggest was in a cold store or pantry). After consulting more modern recipes, it appears that between 30 and 45 days at room temperature will suffice to recreate the same quality of product.

The earliest reference to lemons in a European context would be as decorative trees in Southern Italy circa the first century CE. From there the plant was taken to North Africa, appearing in the 10th C. CE in an Arabic treatise on farming, spreading throughout the Arabic sphere of influence. Christopher Columbus transported lemon seeds to the New World in 1493.[9]

While preserved lemons have a wide usage in period North African and Middle East cooking (it is not unreasonable to expect those who went on Crusade to have encountered dishes that contained preserved lemon), lemons were not much used by Northern Europeans for cooking until post Renaissance.[9][10]

Lemons would have been rare and expensive during the medieval period, available to the influential and rich.[11] England imported much of their lemons from the Azores after cultivation began there in 1494. (A more esoteric use was to rub lemon slices on your lips to deepen the colour, something that apparently does work. There is the apocryphal tale of the basket of lemons given to Anne Boleyn by Henry VIII as a courting gift, the last of which she used to deepen her lips colour just before she went to the Headsman’s block.)

There are recipes that use preserved lemons in late Tudor cooking;

To boyle a Capon larded with lemons:

Take a fair capon and truss him, boyl him by himselfe in faire water with a little small Oat-meal, then take mutton broath and half a pint of white-wine, a bundle of herbs, whole mace, season it with Verjuyce, put marrow, dates, season it with sugar, then take preserved lemons and cut them like lard, and with a larding pin, lard in it, then put the capon in a deep dish, thicken your broth with Almonds and poure it on the capon.”

 – Taken from “A New Book of Cookeire…..”; John Murrell, Printed London 1617.

This recipe repeats through later works including the Compleat Cook with almost no deviation in wording.[12]

Preserved lemons are a versatile and simple condiment that can be produced easily.
What follows is the process I used to recreat Ibn Jumay’s recipe.

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Preparing the Lemons
To prepare 1 Quart Mason Jar of Preserved Lemons

6 Medium sized lemons
2 Tablespoon of natural sea salt per lemon
2 Cups of lemon juice

1 Quart Mason preserving jar with sealing lid
Dish to collect juice while working with the lemons
Boil the Mason jar for 10 minutes, fully immersed, to sterilize it. Allow to cool and air dry.

Modern lemons are sprayed with a layer of protective wax-like material for transportation. Gently scrub lemons under warm running water to remove wax from the surface of the lemon. Use only scrubbing pads/foams that have not been used for cleaning or exposed to any soap as the lemon’s skin will absorb detergents very easily. Once the waxy looks has gone, hand dry with paper towel.

Make two opposite cuts into the lemons over the dish, using the tops and bottom stems as guides. Collect any juice.

Remove the top and bottom stems from the lemons.

Taking one lemon at a time, pinch the fruit from top and bottom to open cuts. Shake and press the salt into the cuts. Once all the cuts are well salted, reform the fruit into it original shape and place to one side. Repeat and collect any excess salt and juice.

Fill the Mason jar with the fruit. Leave a ¼ inch gap between the top of the fruit and the start of the jar neck. In the dish that was used for collecting excess juice and salt, mix in one cup of lemon juice. Pour mixture into the jar up to the neck. Use additional lemon juice if necessary to fill jar to ½ inch below the neck.

Seal the Mason jar, shaking gently to distribute the juice evenly and upending the jar to check for a proper seal.

Store at room temperature for 30-45 days.

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Primary source: 

Ibn Jumay (Abū al-Makārim Hibat Allāh ibn Zayn al-Dīn Ibn Jumay‘) d. 1198, “On Lemon, its Drinking and Use” undated (No copy of the original document has survived.)

Secondary source:

Ibn al-Baitar (Ibn al-Bayṭār al-Mālaqī, Ḍiyāʾ Al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdllāh Ibn
Aḥmad) b. 1197 d. 1248, “Compendium on Simple Medicaments and Foods”, 1240.


1. Nummer, PhD., Brian A. “Historical Origins of Food Preservation”, National Center for
Home Food Preservation, 2002.

2. Herbst, Sharon. Food Lover’s Companion (3rd ed). Hauppage, NY: Barron’s Educational Series Inc, 2001. p. 492.

3. Johari, Harish. Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine: 200 Vegetarian Recipes for Health, Balance, and Longevity. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2000. p. 29-30.

4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Traditional food plants: A resource book for promoting the exploitation and consumption of food plants in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid lands of Eastern Africa. New York: Food & Agriculture Organization, 1988. p. 199.

5. Selin, Helaine, ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer: Dordrecht, 1997. pp. 421–2

6. Ibn Abi Usaybi‘ah. Uyun al-Anba’ fi Tabaqat al-Atibba, tr A. Müller, 2 vols.
Königsberg, 1884.

7. Sonnerman, Toby. Lemon: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books, 2012. p. 36.

8. Kraemer, Joel L. Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds. New York: Penguin Random House, 2010.

9. Morton, Julia F. Lemon in Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami, FL: Julia F. Morton, 1987. pp. 160–168

10. Lind, James. A treatise on the scurvy. Second edition. London: A. Millar, 1757.

11. Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

12. Anonymous. The Compleat Cook. N Brook at the Angel, 1658.

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Filed under: A&S Research Papers, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Arts and Sciences

Court Report: Æthelmearc Æcademy

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-11-30 09:35

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc: the Business of Æthelmearc Æcademy, November, 11, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Nithgaard. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.

Their Majesties called to be attended by Elizabeth von Halstern and Isabelle von Halstern. Her Majesty spoke of the service both of these youth gave to the youth track at the Pennsic War and so inducted both into the Order of the Silver Buccle. Scroll forthcoming.

Elizabeth and Isabelle von Halstern receive Silver Buccles. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Next Their Majesties sought to be attended by Eli Martinson and Jayce Martinson. Their Majesties spoke of the courtesy and service of both of these youth and awarded each with a Silver Buccle. Scrolls by THLady Renata Rouge.

Eli and Jayce Martinson receive Silver Buccles. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

The children of Æthelmearc were then invited forward and were given leave to chase after Eli and Jayce in order to claim a prize from the treasure chest and occupy themselves during the remainder of court.

Lady Aine O’Muirghesan then presented herself and gave her oath of service as she assumed the role of Kingdom Chronicler.

Lady Aine becomes Kingdom Chronicler. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Master Creador Twinedragon approached the Sylvan Thrones and gave Her Majesty a fishing rod and presented to His Majesty a token of esteem.

The Chancellor of the Æcademy, Mistress Alicia Langland, then addressed the populace and announced the next Æcademy in Spring would be in Angel’s Keep, and that she is still looking for a bid from Region 4 for Fall 2017 Æcademy. She also expressed her thanks to the teachers and offered gifts. Lastly, Her Excellency Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope was recognized for her years of service to the Æcademy and was named a Fellow of the Æcademy.

Mistress Alicia addresses the populace. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Sybil of Nithgaard was next called to attend Their Majesties. They spoke of her as a worker and a valued member of her group, and so did name her a Lady and Award her Arms. Scroll by Diane Southwick.

Lady Sybil receives her AoA. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties then had words for Baron Silvester Burchardt. They told of his prowess, and specifically spoke highly of his skill in melee combat. For these qualities They did induct him into the Order of the Golden Alce.  Scroll illuminated by His Excellency Master Caleb Reynolds with calligraphy by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.

Baron Silvester is inducted into the Golden Alce. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Lord Tassim Treseol was brought before Their Majesties. Speaking of his valued service to Their Kingdom, particularly his service in the kitchen, Their Majesties did name him a companion of the Keystone. Scroll by Mistress Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Lord Tassim receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties next wished to be attended by Lord Amano Zenjirou Nakatsune, and before the assembled populace praised him for his service in faithfully tending to the duties of the office of webminister and inducted him into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll forthcoming.

Lord Amano Zenjirou Nakatsune receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

A call went out seeking THLord Madoc Arundel, who presented himself before The Crown. His service as voice herald was vast and difficult to overlook, and so Their Majesties saw it fitting to induct him into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll forthcoming.

THLord Madoc receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Next, Their Majesties called for Lady Elena de la Palma. Their Majesties told of numerous instances of service; as retainer, chatelaine, autocrat, demo organizer, and so felt it just and proper to also name her a companion of the Keystone for these deeds. Scroll illuminated by Lady Vivienne of Yardley and calligraphed by Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen.

Lady Elena receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Lord Cormacc mac Gilla Bridghe was invited to join Their Majesties, who spoke at length of his courtesy and kindness, and recognized these traits by presenting him with a Cornelian. Scroll by Her Excellency Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Lord Cormacc receives a Cornelian. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Seeking to be attended by THLord Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh, he did presented himself before Their Sylvan Majesties. Their Majesties told of his many long years of quiet service and teaching, his kindness and generosity, his contributions as a fencing marshal and ensuring that local events occur, and so were moved to bestow upon him the Æthelmearc Award of Excellence.

THLord Aindreas receives the Award of Excellence. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Having further business with THLord Madoc Arundel, Their Majesties once again called him forward. They recounted his skill and craftsmanship in the research and production of period drinks through his art of brewing and vinting. Recognizing that such skill is rare and when recognized should be properly rewarded, did call for the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and did name THLord Madoc a companion of that Order. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

THLord Madoc is inducted into the Fleur d’Æthelmearc. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Her Majesty then spoke of Her inspiration that day, a Lady whose strength and resolve is unwavering in the face of personal struggle, and bade Lady Wilhelmina Marion Bodnar, known as Mina, to attend, and did present Lady Mina with a Golden Escarbuncle.

Lady Wilhelmina is Queen’s Inspiration and receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties then expressed gratitude for the scribes, wordsmiths, and other artisans who contributed their works and their time for today’s event so that others might be recognized, and Her Majesty presented each with personal tokens.

There being no further business, this Court of Their Majesties was closed.

Faithfully submitted,

Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta,
Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald

You can view the scrolls given at the Æcademy in the slide show below. All photos by Maestro Orlando.

Click to view slideshow.


Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: Æthelmearc Æcademy

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-11-28 19:48

Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of the Æcademy, reports on the doings at the fall session held on November 12, A.S. 51.

No matter whether you were hungry for a smorgasbord of classes or an all-day tuck-in, the recent Æthelmearc AEcademy and War College, hosted by the Shire of Nithgaard, surely had something of interest.

Some of the highlights on the menu included:

  • An all-day scribal workshop on Italian White Vine, a soup-to-nuts series that covered design, gilding, painting, and calligraphy. Some of the students had never held a paintbrush before, yet they left the class with a breathtaking piece-in-progress.

Master Kameshima teaches calligraphy at the Italian White Vine scribal class. Photo by Mistress Alicia.

  • A four-hour hands-on build-your-own-trebuchet class included a field trip outside to see a trebuchet in action.

THLady Rosalia demonstrates the handheld trebuchet. Photo by Mistress Alicia.

  • Two classes on brewing – one for beginners, one for advanced students – were followed in the afternoon by a two-hour roundtable hosted by Lady Elska á Fjárfella. A dozen brewers happily spent time tasting and discussing samples of their craft.
  • Fiber and textile arts classes were so abundant that they nearly filled two entire tracks! Classes on everything from spinning, knitting, and tablet weaving to bookmarks, silk banners, and printed textiles made it difficult to choose which to attend and which to miss.

Mistress Rhiannon teaching her bookmark class. Photo by Mistress Alicia.

  • Youth-friendly classes made learning accessible and fun for children of all ages (these classes even attracted adults unaccompanied by minors!). Young scholars made Italian desserts, played period games, created a Viking pouch, and printed designs on fabric. One of the classes – Period Games for Youth — was taught by Their Highnesses’ pre-teen sons, Douglas and Timothy the Younger.

Kids learning to make marzipan. Photo by Lady Arianna dal Vallone.

  • The large indoor gym provided space all day for small-group and one-on-one instruction in the martial arts. On one side, fencers honed their skills with the blade while on the other, heavy fighters squared off to teach and learn.

For those who craved a smattering of learning, the schedule included topics to tempt almost every taste. Accessories, Embroidery, Food, Literary Arts, Music, Soap-making and more were represented. Make-and-take classes as well as history and service-oriented classes were offered.

Mistress Alfrun teaching spinning. Photo by Mistress Alicia Langland.

Many of the classes had never been offered at Æcademy before. For some teachers, this was their first time teaching at Æcademy; for a few, this was their first-ever teaching experience.

Baron Friderich Swartzwalder’s silk banner class. Photo by Mistress Alicia.

A testament to the excellent offerings on the schedule and to the event staff’s terrific publicity, attendance was nearly double what was expected.  Kudos to the event staff – particularly the kitchen crew – for being so welcoming and accommodating.

Following the end of classes, Their Majesties capped the day with a court that had everyone in stitches. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

Master Creador gifts Her Majesty with a period fishing pole at court. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

We hope you will reserve Saturday, June 17, 2017, and plan to attend the next session of Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College, which will be held in the Shire of Angel’s Keep (central New York / Auburn NY).


Categories: SCA news sites

Mark Your Calendars for C3R in January

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-11-27 15:39

Greetings and a friendly reminder that College of 3 Ravens will be here before you know it!
This year, it will be earlier than normal: January 28th.

I am class coordinator and am looking for classes and teachers.  Please contact me to schedule your class, and include “C3R” in the subject line.
Thank you,
Adelheid Grunewalderin


Her Avian Excellency Sadira and her Barony of Thescorre are pleased to invite you to the College of Three Ravens, which will be in held on January 28th, 2017. The College will take place at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622.

The site will open at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Those present after 9 p.m. will be welcomed as volunteer clean-up crew. Classes will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until at least 4 p.m. The site is handicapped accessible and has ample parking.

We are anticipating a variety of classes. If you have a class that you would like to teach, please contact the Chancellor of Classes, Lady Adelheid Grunewalderin otfridssister at yahoo dot com – please include“C3R” in the subject line.


  • Adult Event Registration: $12
  • Adult Member Discount Event Registration: $7
  • Child, age 5 to 17 Event Registration: $4
  • Child, age 0 to 4 Event Registration: Free
  • Family Cap: $22 (for event registration only)

Event registration includes a sideboard lunch prepared by Lady Marguerite De Neufchasteau (Nancy Weed). For allergies and other food concerns, you may contact her at (315) 947-6968 (please no calls after 10pm) or nancyfuller1964 at yahoo dot com.

Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina is planning a Tudor-era English dinner with the help of the Cauldron Bleu Cooks Guild. For allergies and other food concerns, contact Katja at katja at thescorre dot org. The fee for feast will be $9 for adults and $5 for children. Seating is limited and cannot be guaranteed unless reserved by 1/20/17. (Head cook’s note: Anyone who wishes to play in the kitchen, please feel free to contact me.)

The site is dry (no alcohol is permitted) No flames, open or enclosed, are allowed.

Pre-reservation for this event is always appreciated for planning both the sideboard & feast. Please send reservations to the reservationist/tollner Baroness Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor (Wendy Sardella) 1728 Qualtrough Rd., Rochester, N.Y. 14625 (585) 264-1496. Please do not call after 9 p.m. Checks are to be made payable to SCA NY Inc – Barony of Thescorre. Please include modern name, SCAdian name and membership status for each person to be covered by your payment. Also, indicate if any are minors, and for whom feast reservations are desired. Inclusion of contact info will be invaluable in clarifications. As usual, the only good reservation is a paid reservation.

For further information or questions, please contact the autocrat: Lord Simon Caminante (James Fitch) jamesfitch3 at gmail dot com, (585) 802-2999 (voice or text, calls before 9 am will not be answered by a properly caffineated autocrat) 5315 W Henrietta Rd, Henrietta, NY 14467.

Directions: Take your best route to I-90 (the NYS Thruway), Exit 43 (Route 21). Turn left on Route 21 North. Follow Route 21 6.2 miles to Route 31. Cross Route 31 onto Church Street and turn right into the Church parking lot.

Categories: SCA news sites

Regional Brewers Slake Thirst for a Champion

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2016-11-26 19:49

Submitted by The Honorable Lord Madoc Arundel, Region 2 Representative of the Æthelmearc Brewers Guild: 

The Brewers Guild of Æthelmearc held their annual competition at Bacon and Brewing Bash III on October 22 in the Shire of Hunter’s Home. This is the third iteration of this competition and the second time it has been used to choose a regional champion. Judging was done face-to-face with each contestant, and involved two judges using the current A&S rubric for brewing and vintning (posted on the Guild website). This year, entries were limited to beer/ale, mead, wine, and hard cider. A total of five brewers entered nine beverages for consideration, although only seven of the beverages were eligible for the championship as the other two were submitted by a competitor from outside Region 2.

The overall winner of the competition was Lady Rhiannon filia Catell of the Barony of the Cleftlands with a score of 104/120 for a cinnamon melomel that one judge was heard to proclaim “tasted like Christmas.” The winner of the Region 2 Championship was Baron Rauthbjorn Lothbroke with a score of 96/120 for an aged pyment that had an extraordinarily rich flavor.

The other entries included:

  • Lord Rodrick Longshanks with a hard cider and a strawberry-jalapeno mead
  • Lady Rhiannon filia Catell with a pear-vanilla mead
  • Lady Caoilfionn of the Woods with two different hard ciders
  • Baron Rauthbjorn Lothbroke with a kvass (Russian bread-beer)
  • Lord Hrungnir of Riversedge with a raspberry melomel

Congratulations to the winners, and vivant to all the entrants. Remember – it’s not too late to start brewing for next year.

Categories: SCA news sites

Eastern Results from the September 2016 LoAR

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-11-25 13:12

The Society College of Heralds runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the September 2016 Wreath and Pelican meetings.

EAST acceptances

Alric the Younger. Name.

The byname the younger is found in the Oxford English Dictionary, dated to the 15th century.

Astriðr Sægeirsdottir. Name and device. Azure, two musical notes and a spool of thread Or.

Submitted as Astriðr Sægeirrsdottir, the genitive (possessive) form of Sægeirr is Sægeirs, so we have changed the byname to Sægeirsdottir to register this name.

Beatrice della Rocca. Name.

Nice 15th century Italian name!

Bella di Sicilia. Name.

Both elements are found in “Names of Jews in Rome In the 1550’s” by Yehoshua ben Haim haYerushalmi (, making this a nice 16th century name for a Jewish woman living in Rome!

Brennan MacFergus. Badge. (Fieldless) On a wolf’s pawprint sable a ducal coronet Or.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a pawprint.

Bryniarr Ísólfsson. Name.

Nice 13th century Norse name!

Conn mac Branáin. Name and device. Ermine, six acorns azure.

Nice 12th century Irish Gaelic name!

The submitter has permission to conflict with the badge of Stephan of Silverforge: Quarterly per fess indented azure and argent, six acorns azure.

Nice device!

Endewearde, Barony of. Branch name change from Endeweard, Barony of.

The Old English wearde is only found prior to 1200, but is unattested in Old English place names. Ende was documented in the Letter of Intent as an Old English word, but all of the examples provided were as a Middle English deuterotheme (second element). Examples of “End” as a prototheme (first element) include Thendmoore (1586) and Endmoore (17th century), found in Watts, s.n. Endmoor, and Endegat (1201) and Endegate (1208) found in Ekwall, s.n. Ingate. The Old English -wearde cannot be combined with the Middle English Ende- in the same name phrase.

However, we can construct the barony’s preferred spelling entirely in Middle English. A place named le Wearde is found in the 13th century (‘Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 98’, in Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Volume 3, Edward I; The family name Ende (derived from the toponym atte Ende) is found in the late 14th century (An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk; Compound place names formed from the pattern family name + place name are found in Juliana de Luna’s “Compound Placenames in English” ( Therefore, we are able to register the barony’s preferred form.

The barony’s previous name, Barony of Endeweard, is released.

Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Beacon of Endewearde from Order of the Beacon of Endeweard.

The previous order name, Order of the Beacon of Endeweard, is released.

Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Keystone of Endewearde from Order of the Keystone of Endeweard.

The previous order name, Order of the Keystone of Endeweard, is released.

Endewearde, Barony of. Order name change to Order of the Portcullis of Endewearde from Order of the Portcullis of Endeweard.

The previous order name, Order of the Portcullis of Endeweard, is released.

Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook. Heraldic will.

Upon her demise, Eowyn grants blanket permission to conflict for any names and armory that are not identical to her own.

Erich Guter Muth. Name and device. Azure, a serpent in annulo vorant of its own tail and a chief rayonny argent.

Submitted as Erich Gutermuth, the byname was an undated header form found in Bahlow/Gentry. As commenters were unable to date this element, we have changed the byname to Guter Muth with the submitter’s permission in order to register this name.

Erich Guter Muth. Badge. (Fieldless) A goose volant to sinister gules.

Gyða Úlfsdóttir. Device. Per pale purpure and argent, a sword between two wolves combattant counterchanged.

Please advise the submitter to draw the sword wider so it is easier to identify.

Hedda Bonesetter. Device. Azure, a comet bendwise sinister inverted Or between in bend two bones fracted argent, on the head of the comet a mullet of six points gules.

Ile du Dragon Dormant, Baronnie de l’. Order name Award of Dragons Scale.

In commentary, Siren noted that escama (“scale”, as in scale mail) is used in a 15th century Spanish order name, named after its badge of a circle of scales.

Jean Michel le Vaud. Name and device. Per saltire sable and gules, a wolf rampant argent and in chief a crescent Or.

Leo MacCullan. Name and device. Sable, a lion’s head erased and on a chief argent a mullet of four points in dexter sable.

Leonora of Østgarðr. Holding name and device (see PENDS for name). Per chevron gules and Or, three lions couchant counterchanged.

Submitted under the name Leonora da Ferrara.

Mærhild æt Anestige. Name and device. Lozengy sable and argent, three fig leaves in pall stems conjoined vert, a bordure Or.

Submitted as Mærhild of Anestig, a timely correction to the Letter of Intent noted that the submitter preferred the byname æt Anestige. We are happy to make this change.

Nishi’o Kageme. Name and device. Or, three hexagons gules each charged with a daisy argent and in chief a increscent azure.

Submitted as Nishi’o Kageme, the name inadvertently appeared in the Letter of Intent as Kagame. We have restored it to the submitted form.

There is a step from period practice for the use of hexagons.

Ragnarr bláskegg. Name.

Nice Old Icelandic name!

Simon Talbot. Name and device. Azure, a chevron Or mullety azure betwen three talbots passant Or.

The submitter requested authenticity for Elizabethan England. Both elements are found in London in 1582, so this name meets the submitter’s request.

Nice cant!

Ulf Jagenteufel. Name and device. Gules, a bend per bend nebuly argent and sable between five open books Or.

Ulf is the submitter’s legal given name.

Ulfgeirr Ragnarsson. Badge. (Fieldless) Within and conjoined to the attires of a stag’s head caboshed sable a mullet of four points elongated to base argent.

There is a step from period practice for the use of a mullet elongated to base.

Violet Hughes. Device change. Purpure, a punner argent.

Nice device!


EAST pends

Leonora da Ferrara. Name.

Following the Pelican decision meeting, the question was raised whether this name presumes upon that of Eleanor of Naples, also known as Leonora of Aragon, who was the first Duchess of Ferrara. Therefore, we are pending this name to allow a discussion on this issue.

Ferrara was documented in the Letter of Intent from Florentine Renaissance Resources: Online Tratte of Office Holders 1282-1532, which normalized the place names. The submitted spelling is also found in “Some Names From Giovanni Boccaccio’s Il Decameron” by Giata Magdalena Alberti (2013 KWHSS Proceedings).

Her device is registered under the holding name Leonora of Østgarðr.

This was item 20 on the East letter of June 30, 2016.

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldric submissions, LoAR

Happy Thanksgiving!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-11-24 09:19

Happy Thanksgiving from the Æthelmearc Gazette! May your day be filled with good friends and family, good food, and good cheer.

Categories: SCA news sites

An Announcement From TRH Regarding Pennsic

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-11-23 14:29

Greetings unto Our family of the East
We Prince Ioannes and Princess Honig Von Summerfeldt send our warm regards and our love to all of you. As winter turns, the days shorten, steel rusts, chills turn to ice, and the hearth and home call Us. Rest up my legions. Repair your armor; make strong your family. Care for your loved ones, for We shall call on you for the service and honor of war when the seasons change again.
Yet even now we have taken a few into our service and wish that you hear and know them.

The Pennsic Warlord of the mighty Eastern warriors will be Sir Culann Mac Cianain and his staff will include THL Ryouko’jin Ironskies as Executive Officer and Baron Rory McClellan as Praefectus Fabrum.

The Captain of your Unbelted Champions will be THL Ryouko’jin Ironskies. His regional lieutenants to be announced at Birka

The Rapier General will be announced with staff soon

Thank you everyone for your letters of love and hope for the future
Yours in service,
Princess Honig and Prince Ioannes

Filed under: Announcements, Pennsic Tagged: pennsic 46

On Target: “Ancient Chinese secret”….The Rocket Arrow

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-11-23 11:08

For weeks now, I’ve been studying the rocket arrow and gunpowder. First I must say that much Chinese Warfare in history was written years after the fact, so historical information is shaky. Gunpowder was the first chemical explosive invented somewhere between the early and mid 9th century. The Chinese word for gunpowder is “huo yao xuo yau.” The Chinese wasted little time developing flamethrowers, rockets, bombs, and landmines. Another culture, believed to be Italian, even developed a torpedo rocket.

Here are the rockets that I’ve personally developed:

Parental discretion is advised, keep this away from children! The rocket I made did move and would have gone further if I added more fuel. For safety reasons, I will not be telling anyone what I used for fuel, but it was not gunpowder. A demonstration was held at Archers to the Wald and with the marshals’ and sites’ permission, I’ll be doing demonstrations throughout the upcoming year. The video below was taken at Archers to the Wald by Lady Catalina Iannarella d’Colliano.

This month’s safety tip: again, please do not do this at home. I’ve been studying this and doing tests for months.

Yours in service,

THLord Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

KMoF: New Mask Inspection Policy Clarifications

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-11-22 19:05

By Master Benedict Fergus atte Mede.

I’ve heard some confusion about the new mask inspection policy, and I’d like to clear it up. First of all, what we are doing is adding a step in inspections, not changing the rules. This new inspection procedure should begin immediately. Society policies may change wording to make things more clear at some point in the future, but we have been instructed to implement this change now.

This mask would need to be modified to pass inspection.

The following comes from the Æ rapier policies:

  1. General Requirements:
  2. Prior to every combat, tournament or practice, all combatants shall insure that their equipment is safe, in good working order, and has been inspected by a warranted marshal of Æthelmearc.
  3. Armor Requirements B. Fencing Mask – The front and top of the head must be covered by rigid material to below the jaw line and behind the ears. Standard 12 kg fencing masks meet this standard. Fencing helms meeting this standard are also acceptable and shall be approved on a case-by-case basis. The face must be covered by either 12-kilogram mesh (e.g., a standard fencing mask) or perforated metal which meets the definition of rigid material and has holes no larger than 1/8 inch (3 mm) in diameter and a minimum offset of 3/16 inch (5 mm). Masks and helms must be secured to the fighter so that they cannot be easily removed or dislodged during combat. The combination of a snug fit and the spring-tongue in a conventional fencing mask is not sufficient by itself to secure the mask to the fighter.

This last point: “Masks and helms must be secured to the fighter so that they cannot be easily removed or dislodged during combat. The combination of a snug fit and the spring-tongue in a conventional fencing mask is not sufficient by itself to secure the mask to the fighter” — justifies the necessity for padding or suspension in a standard fencing mask to keep the fencer’s face protected from hard shots. Granted nothing is perfect, but this requirement has been handed down from the Society Earl Marshal, and we do have provisions in our rules to back it up.

Now, I know that this will cause some masks that lack any kind of padding or suspension to be disqualified. My own mask is now disqualified, as a matter of fact.

Here’s what you can do:

First, there are inexpensive masks made with the proper suspension available.

This mask will pass inspection.

Second, some masks may be modified to provide that same suspension or padding. Stitching in fabric, or closed cell foam padding across the upper interior, against the forehead, and along the chin should do the trick.

The point is to provide something to secure the mask on the head so that a hard shot will not dislodge it or allow (to the best of our ability) a fencer’s face to be struck by the mesh when the mask is struck.

I realize that a very hard shot might indeed do this regardless of padding, but the theory is that this procedure should reduce injuries. Again, this is a requirement from the Society Earl Marshal.

This mask also will pass inspection.

Rapier Helmets will see some new inspection procedure soon, but the requirements have not been finalized yet. If you use a helmet (not a fencing mask) you can count on a couple of changes. First of all, you will also be asked to have the interior of your helm inspected before putting it on. If there are any internal protrusions (such as bolts securing a chin strap) these must be padded so that a hard shot will not result in your head getting hit by a bolt or other protrusion.

It is likely that you will need to have a suspension system, or padding to secure the helm as well, but we do not have a final word on how much padding, or what kind of suspension will ultimately be required. This should be cleared up soon, and when it is, you guys will get the information. If you have any questions or concerns please share them.

Thank you, Fergus

Kingdom Marshal of Fence

Categories: SCA news sites

Arts & Sciences and Bardic Championships

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-11-22 10:51

Photograph courtesy of The Honorable Lord Hugh Tauerner

Unto Our beloved populace,

As many of you are aware, this year’s Arts & Sciences and Bardic Championships will be a combined event this year. We write this day to clear up a couple of misconceptions about the combining of these two important events.

  1. We received some extremely good ideas from our Peers and members of our High Orders of Merit during the order meetings at this past year’s Pennsic. During our discussion regarding challenges with bids & the increasing number of Kingdom sponsored events, a suggestion was made to consider at times combining events that complement one another.
  2. While this is something new to Arts and Sciences and Bardic Champions it is not a new concept for the kingdom. In several past years, Equestrian, Thrown Weapons, and Archery have all shared the stage with each other. All of these events have gone smoothly and excellent champions have come out of the combined championships. In Our own Crown Principality of Tir Mara, we recently attended the principality championships which combined Heavy, A&S, and Archery championships. We were able to watch and support each of the champions as they competed and were chosen.
  3. Also please, keep in mind that the breadth of our Kingdom and our Society is growing to include many more various activities both Arts and Martial. This means that number of championships is growing in the kingdom, which We greatly enjoy and are honored to support. Unfortunately, the number of weekends on the calendar are not growing, which has greatly decreased the number of non-Kingdom level events that the King and Queen are able to attend to support the local groups.
  4. We absolutely do not feel that the Bardic nor the A&S champions are any less important than any other champion activity: being Laurels ourselves we know and understand the time, effort, and heart that each and everyone of you put into your entries.

We are working with our current champions on a plan to make this work as smoothly as possible, and we ask for your support on what we know will be a fabulous day. It’s a new idea, but we ask you all to give it a chance. We know that We will have to be flexible and We are asking you to please be ready to do the same. Change is not always a bad thing, many wonderful things have come from change. Among other things, we are excited to enable the people who would have only been able to attend one of these Championships the opportunity to see both.

We are looking forward to the Art & Sciences & Bardic Championships, and seeing and hearing all of the amazing art that you display that day.

We remain,
Yours In Service
Brion Rex Anna Regina

Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, Bardic, champions

How to Run Successful Demos

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-11-21 11:47

By Lady Miklos Magdolna (Kathleen Dehring).

In the SCA, we need to stay focused not only on retention of our membership but also on recruiting new people. Sometimes in group dynamics, we think “Well, hey… we have 15 people, I have played this game with them for the last five years… why do we need anyone new?” Without new people, a group becomes stagnant and members tire of trading officer positions and autocratting duties between such a small number. This leads to people being overloaded, and suddenly you find older members fading away.

By having demonstrations (“demos”) and recruiting new members, the work can be passed around, resulting in less burned-out veteran SCAdians. As a former canton chatelaine, I will share what I have learned about doing SCA demos.

Before you schedule your first demo, look at your group. What is your SCA group’s composition? Is it mostly people working 9-to-5 and/or over three dozen people with small children? Or is it a lot of college-age people with variable schedules? The reason why you need to ask yourself this question is that you probably should not attempt scheduling a demo at 1 pm in an elementary school if 99% of your populace is at work and won’t be able to get time off.

Questions to ask your group

The best way to avoid having to cancel a demo is to ask these questions at an SCA meeting:

  • How many people can do a demo during the day or evening?
  • What is an impossible time to have a demo on a weekday?
  • Which times are best?
  • How often should we hold demos?

In this busy world where there can be an event every weekend, plus sewing circles, dance practices, heavy fighting and archery practices, people will burn out quickly if they have three or four demos a month. Some groups only wish to demo once a month; others twice or three times. It’s also best to agree on bad dates, such as Pennsic war week, the week between the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s, etc. It is also a good idea to ask how on short a notice can your group organize a demo? A week? A month? Twenty-four hours?

Should we charge for the demo?


That is a question best decided by your group. I know that in my canton, if we do a demo at a movie theater, it usually gave us free tickets. That was pretty cool, very visible, and got us media coverage. It made for a great exchange of services. We did demos for some non-profit organizations where we opted for either a greatly reduced fee or none at all. If the event is for the sole purpose of making money (such as a Renaissance fair), or a wedding coordinator or event planner wants to hire your group, then you should receive some compensation for your services. Once again, this sliding fee scale is best determined by your officers and populace.

How to get demo requests?

How do we get demos if no one requests one? Well, most likely no one knows about you. The best way to solve this problem is to find out who is the event coordinators at the local library. If you have a small library, it’s properly the librarian. Send a letter, maybe a few pictures and let them know your group is a non-profit organization dedicated teaching people about the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. They will put the information on file and the next time they have an event such as Chaucer’s birthday party or a Shakespeare week, you may well get a call.

You will want to do the same for local theaters, colleges, and schools. Your letter has to be simple, to the point, and able to give them the basics. It’s also advisable to send informational letters to bookstores and fabric stores. Some fabric stores offer classes on how to make things, so they may want a person to come in chat about what clothing of the Middle Ages looked like, how to work with what patterns are out there, how to select fabrics. Most of the time, people will just want basic Renaissance fair stuff, but occasionally you will encounter some one who genuinely wants to learn how to make good period clothes… that person could be a potential SCA member. Remember, in sending those letters, be very careful you never sell your group as a “Renaissance-fair-in-a-box.”

What is a “Renaissance-fair-in-a-box?”

If you use this phrase, people will assume you are promising your group as entertainment. Many people think we are an extension of a Renaissance fair, with fire-eaters, jugglers, and jousting with horses. If not corrected, this misconception can lead to misunderstanding and a unsatisfactory demo for both parties. In order to avoid this, keep a pad of paper by the telephone and when you are called, ask these questions:

  1. Who are you? If they don’t identify themselves, how can they be reached later?
  2. What is the organization, the date of the desired demo, and amount of time you’re expected to be there? You might want to repeat this back to the caller to verify everything.
  3. What is the location (with cross streets or identifying markers) in order to direct people there? This is important because if the demo falls in another SCA group’s lands, you should direct the person to that group as a matter of courtesy.
  4. What do they expect? If they just want a few craftspeople and a display of fighting weapons, then don’t talk them into fencing, fighting, and dancing. A simple, well-organized demo is better than an elaborate one requiring a ton of people.
  5. Indoors or out? Don’t go into the demo blind; ask ahead of time whether it will be indoors or outside. What will the fighters be expected to fight on? If it’s July and will most likely be 90 degrees out, I suggest talking to the fighters first to see if they are willing to do a demo on asphalt. If it’s a location with a wooden floor, you may have to ask that no one falls over dramatically or goes to their knees in armor.
  6. What facilities will be available? Will we have tables for arts and sciences displays, or does our group need to bring them? Are there showers on-site that the fighter can use after battle?
  1. Use SCA terms they will not understand without also providing an explanation. Words like: garb, seneschal, gold key, chatelaine. Say, “I will need to talk to our seneschal, which is what we call our chapter president.” Or “I am called a chatelaine, it’s our term for the event coordinator or welcome wagon.”
  2. Say derogatory things about other groups, even if they are not SCA. If the person adores the Renaissance fair, reply that while those are a lot of fun, we are not entertainment performers. We recreate or demonstrate. Never let your personal bias creep in to make you sound negative. Be firm on what you can do but never slam roleplaying groups or Renaissance fairs. This person may interpret you as a snob and you may lose an opportunity to hold a demo.
  3. Never commit your group to something right off the bat. Take the information and tell the person you will get back to them.

What if what they want is not what we do?

If they ask for something outside your group’s scope, then politely tell them what your group can offer: a display of medieval arts & sciences crafts, fencing, or heavy fighters. If no one in your group dances, then don’t mention it. Also, if the demo is supposed to occur over several hours, make sure you discuss how long the fighters can fight and how often they’ll need rest breaks.


During the first contact, repeat what you have been told and make sure you understand the person correctly. Let’s say our fictional demo is a Shakespeare week kick-off party at the main library on a Saturday that doesn’t conflict with a major event. They want people in Elizabethan clothes and fencers to do a fighting display in the main entrance with 20-foot tall ceilings and a 25-foot-square roped-off area with a marble floor. Hopefully, they would like someone to talk about life in the age of Queen Elizabeth for children between the ages of eight and 12.

At this time, tell the person you need to talk to your group and you will call them back in a given time frame (week, day, whatever) to confirm. This gives you the time to get on your group’s discussion list/Facebook group/etc. or go to a business meeting to present the demo and ask whether there is interest, how many people can participate, etc. You will need a marshal, authorized fencers, and people with Elizabethan clothes. Does anyone want to do the children’s class? Hopefully, there is a show of hands, and the date is good, and you call the person back and commit.

What to do if there’s no interest

What if the group is lukewarm at best and no one wants to do the demo? To put it simply, call back the person and say you cannot do the demo.

If the demo is just too good to pass up, you might want to check with the baronial chatelaine (if you’re in a canton or shire) or with the chatelaines from nearby baronies to see if recruiting people from those groups will make it possible.

What if they are asking for nothing like what we agreed on?

This why you have your notes of your group’s decision. Refer to what was agreed upon — the time of day, what activities you’re providing. If you arrive at the demo and the person says, “But where’s the live steel demonstration?” you can reply, “I talked to Joan on July 7th and I told her at that time we use rattan in combat. We agreed to three 15-minute displays over a three-hour period.” In the years I organized demos, I rarely had a complaint because when you have your notes as reference, it tends to help people remember things more correctly.

I also suggest that when doing a demo for a Renaissance fair or an event planner, send them a copy in writing. An example would be:

October 3, 2016

Weddings ‘R’ Us

Attn: Tara Lyn Colby

123 Main Street

Anyplace, NY 13902
Ms. Colby,

Thank you for allowing the Society for Creative Anachronism, Shire of Sterlynge Vayle, to organize a demonstration at the Broome County Renaissance Fair. We will be on site by 10:00 am as agreed on February 8, 2016.

We will have two period pavilions in place. From the hours of 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, we will hold one 15-minute set of fighting either with rattan weapons or fencing. We will take an hour lunch break at 12:00 noon. We will have people wandering the fair in clothes of the Middle Ages to contribute ambiance, and we will have a tent with our crafts displayed.

We appreciate your offer of room to camp overnight and use of the gymnasium showers. We understand that there are no ground fires allowed, and we must be careful when setting up our tents to protect the sprinkler system. A groundskeeper will be on-hand to help us.

We also agreed on a fee of $50 to be delivered in a check made out to “SCA – Canton of Edgewater,” to be given to me at the end of the demo on the February 9.


Marge Smith

Event Coordinator for the SCA Shire of Sterlynge Vayle (Chatelaine)

SCA Name: Peg the Alewife

123 Bythway Road

Anyplace, NY 13902

(123) 456-7890

When it’s time for the check, there should be no misunderstanding of amount, time commitments, or just what you agreed to provide.

It’s the day of the demo – now what?

Try to get there ahead of the participants. That way, you can be a traffic manager and get people set up the way they need to go.

It’s also important to interact with whomever you’re doing the demo for and make sure you’re still on the right page. Contact them before, during, and after the demo. If they’re happy, they will tell a few people; if they’re seriously unhappy, they will tell a lot more people.

You also will want to set up a table with SCA information for interested people to take home with them. You also will want a sign-up board so you can e-mail or send information to those folks who sign up on it.

There’s a guy here from the TV or the press

You or the seneschal should talk to them to give them the basic information about the SCA and why you’re there. If people are interested in you, tell them how to contact the SCA. Remember that any time you face coverage by the media, the seneschal needs to be informed (and your media officer, if you have one).


At the end of the demo, be sure to thank all the people who helped, and stick it out to clean up if needed. Follow up with the person who requested the demo to make sure they are happy. Then go home… and hopefully you have made new contacts for your group.

Categories: SCA news sites

The Cheap SCAdian: How to Look Darn Good While Still Paying Your Rent

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-11-20 13:13

By Lady Miklos Magdolna (Kathleen Dehring).

Unlike other historical organizations, the SCA does not have a specific defined time period, rules for historical garments, or the need to approve a participant’s tent, clothing, and accessories to allow entry to an event.

With that said, there are two major schools of thought concerning attendees and the amount of accuracy (“periodness”) any one should be. Those are:

  1. We are a historical organization and every inch of your clothing and camp should be accurate, or
  2. Whatever makes you feel good.

There is a third option which is, I think, a better one: Give people support and allow them a learning curve to explore and discover the culture and era they wish to emulate.

In that vein, this is an overview on achieving a “period” look without ordering expensive garments from a company or spending your whole paycheck on fabric.

  1. Realistically ask yourself what you can spend. Make that your budget and stick to it. What good is there in having costly duponi silk when your electricity is turned off because you didn’t  pay your bill?
  2. Be very realistic about your garment-making abilities. If you can hardly operate a sewing machine, then starting with an Elizabethan gown pattern will just be an exercise in futility and frustration. The SCA has many people who can give advice or even lessons in sewing. Better yet, the Society has many people who will sew you a garment in trade or barter. One of the most popular places to make these trades is on Facebook in the group “SCA Medieval Barter Town.”

If you can sew fairly well and have access to a sewing machine, then the most simple of garments can be made in a weekend and look wonderful. The T tunic dates from the earliest to middle parts of our time period, covering several different centuries and countries. Generally, the tunic was constructed of linen or wool fabric (sometimes silk) with embellishments such as embroidery, narrow works, or beadwork, and contrasting fabrics at the neck, wrists, and hem. Linen generally varies in cost from $10 a yard to $25, and wool likewise.

So, how can an affordable garment be made?

  1. Measure yourself accurately and honestly. The goal is to get enough fabric but not have yards left over.
  2. Pre-wash and dry your fabrics before cutting it. It is important that all shrinkage happen before the pieces are sewn together. This will also alert you if the dye color runs. If working with 100% wool DO NOT wash on hot or use a hot dryer, as a yard can shrink down to a fat quarter of fabric.
  3. When using a pattern, place the pieces on the fabric as close together as possible while allowing for seam allowances. Keep an eye on the layout so that you do not cut some fabrics on the bias or “stretchy” part of the fabric, particularly with wool.
  4. Double-check your pattern placement, especially if the fabric is patterned, so that the design lines up (if you desire it), then boldly cut.
  5. Sewing process and seam binding. (This is another article.)

Where do you get fabric?

The obvious answer is the fabric store (Jo-Anns, etc.). Fortunately, they often have coupons, doorbuster sales, and the beloved clearance section. The prices for wool tend to get better in the summer, while linen (considered a summer fabric) tends to go on sale in the winter. Other venues for purchasing fabric are online stores (such as for linen, for wool, for linen and linen blends, and for silk), resellers like Ebay or Etsy, or, for the truly adventurous, the thrift store can have those materials at a fraction of the cost.

Thrifting involves creativity. There can be bolts of donated fabric, or you may uncover 100% linen curtains and wool blankets. The drawback to employing this method is that there is no guarantee you will find something. Also, the materials may not be the color or amount needed for your project. In another class, bleaching, dying, and pattern stamping will be addressed so you can make more fabrics usable.

Another place to find fabrics is at some Walmarts (although not all sell fabric anymore), and the prices are generally very inexpensive. The issues with this store are the lack of accurate cutting, fabric content labels, and knowledgeable staff who can answer questions. Sometimes you can get a bargain, but more times than not it’s yards of frustration.

Tip: Always look at the fabric content marked normally on the end of the bolt. Remember that the higher the man-made fibers, the less the garment will breathe.  This can elevate body temperature and make the wearer extremely uncomfortable.

How do you identify the type of fabric when there is no fiber content label?

When you are at home, you can do a burn test. However, doing that is out of the question when you’re still in the store or thrift shop! The best you can do there is feel the fabric and determine if it feels like a natural fabric. If possible, pull one thread loose and try to break it. Unnatural/synthetic fibers tend to snap while cottons, linens, and wools tend to stretch or pull apart.

Linen (Flax)

A cellulose fiber, it takes longer to ignite. It is easily extinguished by blowing on it. Other properties are similar to hemp and jute.


A manufactured cellulose fiber. It burns without flame or melting and may flare up. Unless there is a fabric finish, it doesn’t leave any bead. After the flame is removed, it may glow a bit longer than cotton. It smells like burning paper and leaves soft, gray ash. It’s smoke is a little hazardous.


A protein fiber that burns slowly and curls away from the flame. It leaves a dark bead that can be easily crushed. It is self-extinguishing and leaves ash that is a dark, gritty, fine powder. It smells like burned hair or charred meat. It gives out little or no smoke and the fume is not hazardous.


A protein fiber that burns slowly. It sizzles and curls away from flame and may curl back into a fingernail. It leaves beads that are brittle, dark, and easily crushed. It is self-extinguishing and leaves a harsh ash from crushed bead. It emits a strong odor of burning hair or feathers, as well as dark smoke and moderate fume.

Acetate, Triacetate

Protein fibers that burn quickly and can flare even after flame is removed. The bead is hard, brittle, and can’t be crushed. It melts into a very hot bead and drips very dangerously. No ash is left by it and the smell is like hot vinegar or burning pepper. It gives out black smoke and the fume is hazardous.

Nylon, Polyamide

Manufactured fabrics made from petroleum. Due to their fabric finish, they quickly burn and shrink to flame. The beads are hard, grayish, and uncrushable. After flame, they burn slowly and melt. They are self-extinguishing but drip dangerously. Their odor is like celery and they leave no ash but the fume is very hazardous.


A polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products. It burns quickly and shrinks away from flame, but may also flare up. It leaves hard, dark, and round beads. After the flame, it burns slowly and is not always self-extinguishing. It has a slightly sweet chemical odor. It leaves no ash but the  black smoke and fume are hazardous.

Acrylic, Modacrylic, Polyacrylic

Manufactured fabrics from natural gas and petroleum, they flare up at match-touch, shrink from flame, burn rapidly with hot sputtering flame, and drip dangerously. Beads are hard, dark, and with irregular shapes. They continue melting after flame is removed and are self-extinguishing. When burning, they give out a strong acrid, fishy odor. Although no ash is left, their black smoke and fume are hazardous.

Categories: SCA news sites

New and Favorite Categories in 2017 Ice Dragon Pent

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-11-20 08:22

Welcome to the 2017 Ice Dragon Pentathlon!

My name is Jenna MacPherson of Lions Tower and I’m the coordinator for this year’s Ice Dragon A&S Pentathlon. Their Excellencies Rhydderich Hael invite artisans of all levels to bring your works for a day of friendly yet fierce competition on April 8, 2017.

This year we have some new additions to the Pent (outlined below) such as the 5-in-1 category and the special theme prize category. We have added one or two new subcategories and one new main category. We also have returning favorites:  the projects display-only area and the magnificent “failures” display, both hosted by Master Thorpe as in previous years. There is something for everyone.

The following is the list of categories and some general rules for the competition. Over the next few months, information will be forthcoming on the Æthelmearc Group/List, as well as in the Æstel and on the Facebook Page. Questions can be emailed to me.

I am looking forward to seeing the beautiful works of all the artisans!


The list of categories this year is similar to previous years with a couple of additions that I hope will inspire new levels of creativity as well as new avenues of expression for the artisans.

Please note the following requirements:

  1. Virgin Entries – works may not have been entered in any previous
    A&S competitions. ****NOTE RULE CHANGE**** items MAY be placed in
    Non-Judged displays and showcases. (Rule updated Nov. 19, 2016)
  2. No kits.
  3. Proxy entries will be allowed.
  4. Entrants are limited to ONE cross entry of ONE item only into ONE additional category. When cross entering you must supply a set of appropriate documentation to be present on the tables for each category entered.
  5. The Special Prize 5-in-1 category item is not in itself sufficient to enter the Grand Pentathlon. (See further detail posted on this page.)


  • Acc1: Textile
  • Acc2: Non-textile

Decorative items that enhance a person’s appearance (belts, hats, veils, jewelry, gloves, etc.)

ANIMAL ARTS Tools of the trade or accessories made for the use of animals (equestrian, beekeeping, hunting, farming, fishing, etc.)

APPLIED RESEARCH Extremely well researched items too simple or modest to compete fairly in a more traditional category. The score would be split between the research paper and the item, with the paper being worth more than half of the points.


  • Bev1: Beer & Ale
  • Bev2: Wine & Mead
  • Bev3: Cordials
  • Bev4: Other (including non-alcoholic)

A liquid prepared for human consumption.

The one-year stipulation on completion of entries starts at the time the beverage has completed fermentation and sufficiently aged to allow the flavors to meld, as per the recipe. When the entry becomes drinkable, the clock begins.

The documentation should include the details of your process.

Once a beverage has been entered it may not be entered in subsequent years.


  • C-G1: Pottery
  • C-G2: Glasswork
  • C-G3: Stained glass

Items made of ceramics or glass


  • Clo1: Pre-14th century
  • Clo2: Post-14th century

Garments that cover a person’s body.

Since the cut and fit of clothing changed during the 14th century, it is up to the entrant to choose which category they enter items based on 14th century garments.


  • Cul1: Main dish
  • Cul2: Side dish
  • Cul3: Sweets/ subtleties
  • Cul4: Breads

Items prepared for human consumption (beverages excluded)

CURIOSA Unique or unusual entries that don’t fit in any of the traditional categories.

Entries in this category must be approved by pent coordinator.


  • Fib1: Spinning
  • Fib2: Weaving
  • Fib3: Narrow work
  • Fib4: Dyeing
  • Fib5: Knitting, netting, nalbinding, etc.
  • Fib6: Other (felting, fabric printing, etc.)

The arts associated with making yarn/ string or items made from this type of material

HERALDIC DISPLAY Any item embellished or enhanced through the addition of heraldry

HISTORIC COMBAT ***New Category** entries of artistic endeavor showcasing a martial art of SCA period and/or used currently within the Society. The format is limited only by the entrant’s creativity and safety considerations.

SPECIAL NOTE:  No entry will be accepted if the presentation requires a marshal or safety equipment to be present. No active combat (by Society definition) of any type will be allowed.

HOUSEHOLD ARTS Items produced for everyday use in the home. (Toiletries, cosmetics, candles, needles, decor, etc.)

LEATHERWORKING Items made of leather or use of leather as a decorative element


  • Lit1: Research paper
  • Lit2: Musical arrange.& composition
  • Lit3: Poetry & prose

Written entries

Entries in Literary Arts must be received by me ***no later than March 11, 2017***

(See more information on Literary Arts Entries below)


  • Met1: Armor
  • Met2: Domestic
  • Met3: Jewelry

Items made of metal or use of metal as a decorative element

NEEDLEWORK Decorative sewing, embroidery and lace making


  • Perm1: Instrumental
  • Perm2: Vocal

Entries should not exceed 15 minutes and must be performed in the area where the judging is taking place.


  • Perf1: Physical (dance, juggling, etc.)
  • Perf2: Storytelling and Theatrical


  • Scr1: Calligraphy
  • Scr2: Illumination

Items that would be made by a scribe.

Handwritten and/or painted pages based on documents or manuscripts


  • Stu1: Drawing & Printmaking
  • Stu2: Painting
  • Stu3: Bookmaking

Various visual arts that require a specialized set of tools or space to create.

TOYS Items whose primary function is to be played with.

Articles that provide amusement or a way to pass time.


  • Wod1: Construction
  • Wod2: Embellishment
  • Wod3: Turning

Items made of wood or use of wood as a decorative element


  • You1: Ages 3-11
  • You2: Ages 12-17

Youth are not required to enter in these categories. They may choose to have their work judged as an equal to any adult entry in the category appropriate to the materials and/or construction.

SPECIAL PRIZE CATEGORY (new this year and as yet to be named)

The pent coordinator in consultation with Their Excellencies will announce a theme/item/topic do this category. Entries are limited only to the artists interpretation of that theme/topic/item. THE THEME CHOSEN  BY THEIR EXCELLENCIES IS “All Things Welsh.

SPECIAL CATEGORY 5-in-1 Project. Any ONE item that can qualify for entry in a minimum of 5 of the above listed main categories. This item may also be cross entered into ONE main category to count toward the grand Pentathlon Prize.

***Any category or sub-category may be expanded or combined to meet the needs of the entrants and/or judges.***

Entries in Literary Arts must be received electronically or postmarked by *** March 11, 2017 ***

Entries may be sent electronically or via hardcopy in the mail.

If you do not receive a confirmation email that an electronically submitted entry has been received within 24 hours of sending it, contact me.

Please contact me in advance if you are sending hard copy.

My mailing address or answers to any other questions you have about the Pent are available by emailing me.

please watch the Pent website and the Æthelmearc Kingdom calendar for more announcements.

Categories: SCA news sites

Queen Anna’s Birka Garb Challenge

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-11-18 22:21

Unto my beloved populace of the East,

I have thought long and hard about the fashion show challenge for Birka this year. I have received many wonderful suggestions and it has been a very tough decision, but I keep coming back to something I teach all of my apprentices. “Anna’s Rule #1” is:

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

Accessories are what makes a piece of garb into an outfit and every time and place has its own accessories. Shoes, hats, jewelry, bags, belts – leather, pearls, floors, yarn – early period to Elizabethan and everything in between.

So pull out your needles, hammers, thread, beads, wire, metals, leather, whatever you wish to use and get ready to accessorize your favorite garb. Or make something
completely new!

–Anna Regina

Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences Tagged: Arts and Sciences, Birka Garb Challenge, fashion, garb, garb challenge

An Introduction to Destreza

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2016-11-18 18:43




By Lord Alessandro Devereaux.

I mostly write about kenjutsu, the Japanese sword art, but that’s only one of several arts that I practice. Another is the 16th century Spanish rapier style La Verdadera Destreza (literally “true art and skill,” and the image above is my wife and I practicing this style).

A Spanish cup hilt rapier, from Wikimedia.

A note about my background here: I was taught Destreza by a man who learned it while serving in the Army and stationed in Panama. He was taught by a Spanish expatriate living in Panama, who was taught the art in Spain. Assuming that all of this is true, I learned this as a living art, and (other than the few others who were taught by my teacher and the folks I’ve taught myself) I don’t know of anyone else who can say that.

Many people (notably the amazing Puck and Mary Curtis, with their Destreza Translation and Research Project) are attempting to reconstruct the art from the period writings. I’ve read their work, and as much of the period writings as have been translated to English (my Spanish is, shall we say, weak…or, more accurately, completely nonexistent). The principles of what they do are very much the same as what I was taught, but many of the specific techniques are different, and there’s a body of technique around my art that isn’t documented in any of the writings.

So, I thought I’d write a series of articles about Destreza as it was taught to me, for the benefit of anyone else who might be trying to learn. This first article in the series will be about the basic philosophy of Destreza, and how it differs from other similar systems; subsequent articles will look more closely at specific techniques and principles.

The central tenet of Destreza is don’t get hit. That probably seems unsurprising, but it’s actually quite different from other contemporary styles, such as the far-more-common Italian and French styles. To illustrate this, picture a simple attack-defense sequence in each style. In the Italian style, a typical version would be: attacker steps straight in and attacks; defender parries (possibly attempting to hit in a single tempo). The thing to note here is that if the defender misses his parry, he’s hit. He has no backstop.

An equivalent Spanish exchange would be: attacker (who we’re assuming to be Italian, since that’s what Destreza was primarily designed to work against) steps straight in and attacks; defender steps off line and interposes his sword, keeping his point in line but not necessarily attempting to hit in a single tempo. The body movement is the critical thing: as long as the defender gets off the line of the attack, it mostly doesn’t matter how badly he screws up his defense, he isn’t going to get hit regardless. Conversely, if he succeeds in interposing his sword, he’s safe even if he didn’t successfully get off the line in time. Of course, he’s sacrificed some time by stepping – his riposte isn’t going to be as fast as it would be if he stood still – but he’s a great deal safer.

The theory here is to build an impenetrable defense, and wait for the enemy to make a mistake. Of course, we (the Spaniards) are going to do everything possible to encourage that mistake. In particular, by moving offline, we force the enemy to turn to address us, which Italian and French fencers aren’t necessarily used to doing; if there’s a fractional hesitation before they can reestablish the line, we have our opening.

Even once the opening is found, however, our attacks are carefully chosen to maintain the exit line. Given a choice, we won’t attack straight down the enemy’s sword, because if he counterattacked simultaneously we’d both get hit. Double kills are not an acceptable outcome. We’ll nearly always move away from the sword, and preferably cover the line as well to prevent it from following us. Alternatively, we can control the sword as we move in, so that we can attack without risk of being hit.

If, at any point, we feel like we’re not completely in control of the situation, we’ll abort the attack and regain our chosen distance. If an opportunity is risky, says the practitioner of Destreza (diestro), it’s not really an opportunity. We have a strong defense, time is on our side, we can wait for the next one.

This philosophy shapes everything in Destreza. Next time, we’ll look at a few specific techniques, and relate them back to the central tenets. Also, in order to describe the techniques properly we’ll have to introduce the famous Spanish fencing circle, so there will be pretty pictures (or, well, pictures, anyway) next time, I promise.

(See more posts on this subject at Lord Alessandro’s blog, The Martial Traveler.)

Categories: SCA news sites

Server upgrades Saturday, November 19 - Thu, 2016-11-17 21:49

The server will be offline for much of the morning and early afternoon (US Eastern time) on Saturday, 19 November 2016, for operating system upgrades. This will also affect email lists in the domain. (Time window changed)

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Several Changes Announced for Earl Marshallate

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-11-17 11:49

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.

Christopher Seneschal, Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites

A&S, Webminister Q4 Reports Due

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-11-16 16:12

From the Kingdom A&S Minister:

Today is November 16th. As of today, I have received 1 — as in ONE — A&S 4th quarter report. These reports are due by December 1st. (Online report form is here.)

Thank you, Fridrikr

From the Kingdom Webminister: 

Tap, tap, tap on little keys,
Fill out your Webminister report,
Oh, yes please!

Spend a few minutes, find a way,
Quarter 4 is due today! 

The groups below are all okay,
Info was received through survey. 

(Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

Please note these are the only local group reports received (as of 20 minutes ago): are

  • Angel’s Keep
  • BMDL
  • ACG
  • Ballachlagan
  • Coppertree
  • Silva Vulcani
  • Blackstone Mountain
  • Stormsport
  • Wyntersett

The online report form is here

Thank you for your attention!

In service, Amalie

Categories: SCA news sites

Seneschal Q4 Reports Due December 1

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-11-16 14:20

Greetings Local Seneschals:
Please submit copies of your quarterly reports to your Regionals by December 1st. There is a new form available on the Kingdom webpage for this purpose. 

All groups in Region 5 should forward your reports directly to me.  If you reside in Region 5 and would like to be the Regional seneschal, please contact me.

In Service,

Seneschal, Æthelmearc

Categories: SCA news sites