SCA news sites

Greetings From the New EK MoL

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-03-08 15:34

It was with much gratitude for the amazing work done by Mistress Sabina Lutrell that I assumed the office of East Kingdom MoL on Saturday at the Black Rose Ball.

I am looking forward to working with the Martial, Marshal, and MoL communities in the coming years and welcome any comments or suggestions that any of you have for making the office work for you and for the fighters and fencers of the East. You can reach me through the Kingdom MoL Email account or speak to me in person at the upcoming Coronation or Crown Tournament events.

You can now download new copies of the various authorization-related forms from the EK MoL website at your convenience.  I encourage anyone with blank authorization forms in their possession to destroy them or alter them to show the new address.

All new completed forms should be sent to:

PO Box 1168
Westbrook, ME 04098

As I stepped up, I left the office of Northern Regional MoL vacant and I am actively looking for volunteers or suggestions of people to take over that position. The position of Central Region Deputy MoL is also vacant and I am actively recruiting for that position as well.

I am very pleased that THL Andreiko Eferiev has agreed to remain in his position as Deputy Kingdom Minister of Lists and am looking forward to working with him and the regional deputies, Baroness Ellesbeth Donofrey and Lady Matilda Fossoway,  to continue to uphold the excellent standard of service to the East set by my predecessor.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all MoLs that annual reports are due.  You can file your annual report by filling out this form on the East Kingdom MoL website.

I am very grateful for the warm welcome that I have received so far from the Martial and MoL communities.

Warm Regards, Baroness Mylisant Grey, OP
East Kingdom Minister of Lists
Filed under: Announcements Tagged: MoL

Kingdom Ministers of Arts & Sciences Seek Successor

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-03-08 11:34

Master Fridrikr Tomasson and Mistress Orianna Fridrikskona, Kingdom Ministers of Arts and Sciences

We will be formally calling for résumés and applications for Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences in the next Æstel.

Our term ends in January, 2018, but we would like to have our replacement in place by Pennsic, if at all possible. If you are considering applying for the job and want to know our thoughts on the job, please contact us

In service, Fridrikr & Orianna

See the Æthelmearc A&S policies here.


Categories: SCA news sites

10 New Youtube Videos for Medieval Lovers - Volume 2 - Mon, 2017-03-06 22:06
We found 10 more new videos on Youtube about the Middle Ages.

Rediscovered: Medieval Books at Birkbeck 

This video introduces University of London - Birkbeck's small collection of four medieval books: three fifteenth-century manuscripts and one printed book. The books had been forgotten, and unstudied, for many years, until they were rediscovered in late 2015. The books are very different: a French book of hours, an Italian book of statutes, an Italian book of classical wisdom, and a Venetian printed book of the history of the Trojan War. Professor Anthony Bale and Dr Isabel Davis talk about the books' story and introduce some aspects of the books' iconography and meaning.


Friendships from a Medieval Perspective

Anotenella Liuzzo Scorpo at the University of Lincoln spends 60 seconds to talk about friendships in the Middle Ages.


Pisa: The city at the end of fourteenth century 

A 3D reconstruction of Pisa by Professor Michele Berretta of the University of Bologna.


Transformations of the Knight's Hall at Häme Castle 

Created by the University of Turku, Transformations of the Knights’ Hall is an augmented reality application located in the Häme Castle in Finland. It is designed as a museum guide experience describing the changes in one of the castle’s halls during past centuries. According to research the Knights’ Hall has assumed several different roles during its history: the residence of the head of the castle was there in the late medieval times, then around 18th century it has been used as a granary when the whole castle was decayed into a mere depot, and in the 19th and 20th centuries the castle acted as a prison. After 1950s the prison period ended and the castle was renovated. The hall got its present appearance, where remains of some of the old structures can still be seen.


Lutherfestdagene: The Reformation - a curse for church art? 

A debate held at the conference on The Reformation and the Arts Around the North Sea, organized by the University Museum of Bergen and Bjørgvin diocese. The participants are Professor Andrew Spicer (Oxford), Associate Professor Henning Laugerud (University of Bergen) and Henrik von Achen (Bergen University Museum).


The Wealth of Anglo Saxon Mercia 

The foundation of the power of Mercia - the dominant power of Anglo Saxon England - was its access to wealth. Their vast reserves of land in the fertile English Midlands and Mercian control of the Port of London funded the war bands which allowed the Kingdom to become the dominant power. This wealth is seen in the famous Staffordshire Hoard. Historian and Author, Dr John Hunt, describes this rise to power in his book Warriors, Warlords and Saints: The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia.


Staffordshire Hoard at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery 

More Anglo-Saxon with this video promoting the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.


University College Dublin Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture: Making, Understanding, Storytelling 

Fly over some of the work being done by University College Dublin to understand the archaeology of Ireland.


Project Runway Medieval Style 

So cute! Grahamwood Kindergarten CLUE students created medieval style garments for our very own Project Runway Medieval Style.


Alfred the Great: I'll Make Anglo-Saxons Of You King 

Alfred sings to his army about why they really need to get better if they're going to defeat the Danes. The students of the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic department of Cambridge University hold their Yule Play every year. To see more of their medieval-themed songs and sketches, check out their Youtube channel.


Click here to see our first set of medieval videos

Categories: History, SCA news sites

From the Chancellor of the Exchequer

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-03-06 08:09

From the Chancellor of the Exchequer:

The term of office for the East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer will expire in June 2017.  Applications are now being accepted for this office.  The initial term for this office is two years.  There is the option to request an additional two terms at one year each.   Please note that I am NOT going to be requesting the last additional term.  Having served 3 years in this office, I now need to place my attention elsewhere.


Applicant letters of intent, resumes and questions are to be sent to these three addresses/offices.

Kingdom Exchequer

Kingdom Seneschal

Their Majesties and Their Highnesses


The duties and requirements of the office include:

  • Managing SCA assets.
  • Maintain current membership in the SCA for the duration of the time in office.
  • Serve as a member on financial councils.
  • Is responsible directly to the Crown, but also reports to the Society Exchequer.
  • Will disburse funds in accordance with East Kingdom and Society Financial Policies.
  • Safeguards and maintains records of the monies of the Kingdom and supervises the finances of the Kingdom.
  • Receives monies allocated by East Kingdom Law or donated.
  • Disburses the monies of the Kingdom in accordance with East Kingdom Law.
  • Makes a report of the Kingdom finances on a quarterly basis to The Crown and Kingdom Seneschal.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Archivist.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Chamberlain.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Kingdom Pennsic Steward.
  • Is responsible for maintaining the financial records of the kingdom, supervising the finances of the kingdom, and assembling financial reports and submitting them to the Society Chancellor of the Exchequer in a timely fashion.

Additional descriptions, expectations and or detailed requirements of this office can be found in CORPORA & SCA governing documents, Society Financial Policy, EK-LAW and East Kingdom Financial Policy.


In service,

Maestra Ignacia la Ciega, East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer



Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Exchequer, kingdom officers

Officer Interview – Kingdom Siege Marshal

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-03-04 19:09

THL Rosalia Iuliana Andre, photo by Karen Guth

In our continuing series of the Gazette’s Officer Interviews, THL Rosalia Iuliana Andre answered the following questions regarding her involvement in the SCA, the siege program and her thoughts on  siege activities in the Kingdom.

How long have you been in the SCA and what was your first event? 

I joined the SCA in the summer of 2003 when I started at the University of Pittsburgh. My first event was the Coronation of Henri. It didn’t take long to get involved in the College of Cour d’Or where I held both the office of Chatelaine and then Seneschal while I was at university.

What has made you stay? 

I came to recreate medieval activities. I stayed for the people. So many of my current friends within and outside the Society came from those first few years.

How did you become interested in siege activities and then became the Kingdom Siege Officer? 

I fully blame His Excellency Sir Maghnus de Cnoc an Iora for a harebrained idea of building an arbalest and His Grace Christopher Rawlyns for encouraging my interest in siege. We began with one engine, fairly quickly growing to a battery of three, with a crew of more than a dozen. Recently we added a human powered trebuchet to the mix. I enjoy the effectiveness and the challenge of siege and want to help more people try it out. When the call for letters to the office came out several years ago, I knew that I could really take on that goal and introduce more people to siege.

What is the role of the Kingdom Officer for Siege? 

This office is responsible for warranting siege marshals, collecting information about siege activities in the kingdom and passing them on to the Society Deputy for Siege, making sure that Æthelmearc is not in conflict to updates to the siege rules from the Society Deputy for Siege, sharing those updates, and promoting siege activities in the kingdom. The Kingdom Siege Marshal also rotates as the Pennsic Siege Marshal in Charge.

Do you have a general philosophy about your job? 

Keep it fun! There are always going to be tedious aspects to any job, but make sure to still have fun doing it.

How would someone get involved in Siege activities? 

Start by finding an event that has siege activities, and talk to the people with the siege engines. We always love to talk about what we do. Can’t find an event? Email me and we can brainstorm ways to get you connected with people near you. (She can be contacted at )

What is an example of something you think the general populace should know about Siege, but don’t? 

Many people think that siege only serves to support fighters in battles. Recently, at Pennsic especially, there have been Siege and Combat Archery only battles. They provide an entirely different challenge! Some of the scenarios require precision, accuracy and finesse, while others demand speed and mobility. They’re great fun!

Æthelmearc Siege at Pennsic

Where do you see the Siege program going in the SCA or the kingdom – Are there any changes coming? 

We recently started a Siege Marshal in Training sequence for gentles interested in becoming a marshal but not necessarily having the experience of being an engineer. It’s challenging to grow a marshal community without a solid core of marshals. I also want to encourage a youth tabletop siege component, but am still working out what that would look like.

What is the best part about Siege activities in the SCA?

Bridge battles are the BEST! Also, fighters don’t usually call “light” when they’ve been hit. (They usually call us some other things…)

Anything else that you think people should know? 

This fun fact: The official title of Æthelmearc’s Kingdom Siege Marshal is the Brigadier of Siege Weapons.

Siege Photo from website

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Website Transfer Alert

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 16:29

Greetings unto Æthelmearc from your Webminister, Lady Amalie,

The time has come for our Kingdom Website to transfer to a new home on the Internet.

We are projecting the website transfer will take place next week sometime after Tuesday, March 7. This could start as soon as Wednesday, March 8. We want to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible so we are working on having all hands on-deck from our web-related officers and the our new webhost company.

What will be affected:

– The Kingdom Webpage will be down at this time.
– Any sites that are hosted on the Kingdom Server will be down at this time.
– All Kingdom Email Forwards and any group/officer site related email forwards will be down at this time.
– The Kingdom File server will not be accessible at this time.

What is not affected:

– All webforms will be accessible if you have the direct link. (If you need the direct link, please let me know and I can get the link to you.)
– The Kingdom Announcement and Discussion lists will be active and working.

What people need to know about Kingdom/Group/Officer sites:

– All information was backed up 3 weeks ago on our end. Another backup will occur before the switch takes place. Please do your own backup as well.
– Passwords/logins to Cpanels, and other hosted sites, should remain the same.
– All email forwards will transfer to the new server as they are currently configured. They will be active when the domain servers update. (This could be up to 48 hours after the switch, but most likely will not take that long.)

Good stuff that will come of this server switch:

– The Kingdom email issue will be resolved. There will no longer be issues with Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Live, MSN, or Outlook email addresses for forwarding (or elsewise).
– There will be an improvement in website loading speed.
– Bandwidth issues, that have not happened often but have been seen recently, will no longer happen.

If you have any questions or concerns, please message me on Facebook at Peri Nelson-Sukert or email me.

Thank you very much (in advance) for your patience and your support.

In service to Æthelmearc,
Lady Amalie Reinhardt
AE Webminister

Categories: SCA news sites

Arts & Sciences Research Paper #17: Early Quilting and Patchwork: A Short Introduction

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 11:21

Our seventeenth A&S Research Paper comes to us from Mistress Sarah Davies of the Barony of Bergental, who introduces us to the surprising world of historical quilting, where we discover some familiar friends and some quite unfamiliar new ones! (Prospective future contributors, please check out our original Call for Papers.)

Early Quilting and Patchwork: A Short Introduction

Silk quilt by Mistress Sarah Davies. Photo by Master Henry McQueen.

The word “quilt” summons a host of images:

  • Thrifty pioneer housewives cutting up worn clothing to piece elaborate patchworks for their families.
  • Album quilts raffled off for a worthy cause.
  • Wholecloth petticoats worn by colonial dames who danced with George Washington, then carefully preserved in a museum.
  • Brightly colored feed sack quilts during the Depression.
  • Community quilts telling the story of a town from its founding to the Bicentennial.
  • Inexpensive versions of patchwork quilts sold in department stores for families wanting that “country look” in the bedroom.
  • Cherished art quilts hanging in museums or going for high prices at auction.

The popular image of the quilt is of the quilt is modern, calico, and as all-American as an apple pie.  If the word “medieval” ever comes up, it’s because someone made a Game of Thrones quilt with appliqued dire wolves in the border.

The problem with this familiar stereotype is thatit doesn’t begin to reflect reality.  Patchwork and applique may be most associated the United States, but quilts themselves are anything but modern. Quilted carpets were prized on the steppes of Central Asia, quilted garments padded Crusader mail and protected Elizabethan fencers, quilted coverlets graced Tudor bed chambers, and quilted heraldic tapestries hung in Hungarian throne rooms. The evidence is scattered and sometimes hard to recognize, but quilting and patchwork were hardly alien to medieval Europe.

The Earliest European Examples
Quilted Armor
Domestic Quilting and Patchwork
A Cloth of Honor and a Pillow
Later Developments
Henry VIII: Quilt Owner
SCA Uses

Further Reading
Where to Examine Historical Quilting Firsthand


“Quilt” and “patchwork” are so strongly associated that most people think that a quilt must be patchwork, and a patchwork must be a quilt.  Not only is this not true, it confuses two very different types of needlework.  A more accurate description would be as follows:

  • Quilting is a type of padded embroidery that takes two layers of fabric sandwiched with padding of some sort, then stitched together in a decorative pattern.  The word derives from the Latin culcita, a padded mattress similar to a modern futon.  Equivalents in European languages include  coltra (Italian), colcha (Spanish and Portuguese), coite  (French, later superseded by courtepointe), and culte (the Netherlands).
  • Patchwork or piecing is a type of sewing that takes several different types and colors of cloth, cuts them into geometric pieces, and stitches them back together in a decorative. Most are lined to protect the seams, but they do not need to be padded or quilted.
  • Patchwork quilts are quilted bedcovers consisting of a pieced upper layer, an inner padding, and a plain backing held together by geometric or decorative stitching.

Most early quilts were whole cloth (non-pieced), usually of fine linen or imported silk.  The first tantalizing hints of what might be medieval patchwork date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with one surviving artifact that might have been both pieced and quilted.  Even then, it’s not at all clear that this item was intended for a bed, as evidence suggests it was more likely intended as a cloth of honor for a royal throne room.

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The first known quilted object is a quilted linen carpet dating from around the first century of the Common Era.  It was found in a Siberian cave tomb, and the central motifs (primarily animals, with abstract spirals on the borders) are wool appliques stitched into place with couched cording on the raw edges, while the background is diamond quilted in a coarse running stitch.

Whether the Siberians developed quilting on their own or learned it from outsiders, its advantages in such a cold climate are obvious: warmth without bulk, strength without stiffness, and easily adapted to multiple uses.  It was also unusual enough that it could be traded for luxury goods along the Silk Road and other trade routes running across Central Asia down to the Mediterranean trade ports.

This seems to be exactly what happened.  The next known quilted objects were both trade goods, and were both found in archaeological digs.  One, a quilted slipper that seems to have been cut down from a larger object (a bed quilt or carpet), was actually found in a rubbish tip along the Silk Road.  It was likely made around the eighth or ninth centuries CE, and is a very typical “Turkish slipper” with a low vamp and tilted toe.  It is of linen padded with cotton or linen tow, backed with more linen, and quilted in the backstitch with coarse linen thread.  It was almost certainly intended for indoor wear, as the sole is made from the same quilted item as the rest of the slipper.

The other early quilted object, a quilted wool funeral pall dating from the fifth or sixth centuries, is more problematic.  It was found in a Merovingian tomb in the 1990’s, and unlike the slipper, it seems to have been made in Europe, or at least for the European market; it is of wool, not linen, and is quilted with cotton thread and stuffed with cotton thread, both imported from Egypt.  Without further examples, we can only speculate as to its origins, but the pall’s existence, and the use of expensive imported materials in its construction, suggests that there might have been a quilting industry, at least on a small scale, either somewhere in the Mediterranean Basin or perhaps in Merovingian France itself. Without further examples, we can only speculate.

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The Earliest European Examples

Unfortunately, there is almost no evidence of quilting anywhere near the West for the next several hundred years.  There are a handful of references in tax records to silk quilts being sent by the bale to local rulers, but these are exclusively Asian.  There is only one written reference to a quilt in a European record and one painting showing what might be a pieced or quilted item, with no physical evidence until the early fourteenth century.

The written reference is a French poem from the 12th century, La Lai del Desire. This little chivalric romance, only a few hundred lines long, includes a description of a bridal bed covered with a “quilt of two sorts of silk cloth in a checkboard pattern, well made and rich: “Sur un bon lit s’ert apulé / La coilte fu a eschekers / De deus pailles ben fais e chers”. (Lais inédits des XIIe et XIIIe siècles, ed. Francoise Michel, Paris, 1836: 18-19.) The word coite is used so casually that it’s clear that the author simply assumed that his audience, wealthy, sophisticated, and used to the very best, would not need to be told what a coite was, or how it was made.

The painting, by the school of the Italian artist Cimabue, is more intriguing.  Dating from around 1275-1300, this small, elegant panel painting shows the Madonna and Child seated on a low couch, flanked by Saints Peter and John the Baptist while two sweet-faced angels hold up a piece of fabric behind the Madonna as a sort of floating cloth of honor.  The cloth of honor, which is so strikingly different from the usual brocade or cloth of gold seen in such paintings, was hailed by art historian Roberto Longhi as a “stupendous, decorative invention,” and it’s not hard to see why.  Black and white gyronny patterns alternate with blocks of red in what is almost certainly an attempt at showing a patchwork cloth of alternating red brocade and black and white pinwheels.  Whether this cloth was actually quilted is not clear, as the greenish highlights on the red are probably intended to depict a brocade pattern and not stitching.  However, it’s very clear that something that we’d call a patchwork quilt was not out of the question in the SCA period.

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist, Saint Peter, and Two Angels c. 1290. National Gallery of Art. Samuel H. Kress Collection 1952.5.60.

As tempting as it is to conclude that the little Cimabue painting indicates a thriving patchwork and/or quilting industry in the late thirteenth century, however, there is still no definitive evidence for this.  Spanish silk weavers, steeped in the Moorish decorative tradition of geometric patterns, produced magnificent brocades that bear such a strong resemblance to patchwork that least one quilt historian assumed that a brocade cope from the 1200’s was patchwork.  The same may well apply to a mid-fourteenth century fresco by Florentine artist Taddeo Gaddi of The Marriage of the Virgin.  This homely scene, which includes a groomsman giving St. Joseph a congratulatory slap on the back, shows a geometric textile of red, green, orange and white hanging from a roof…and though it certainly looks like a quilt, and could easily be a quilt, it could just as easily be a piece of Spanish brocade.

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Quilted Armor

Fortunately for historians and SCAdians alike, more definite evidence for both quilting and patchwork begins to appear around the year 1300.   Professional armors specializing in quilted gambesons and other forms of padded armor begin to crop up in court records.  The French court had a “courtepointier,” or quiltmaker, while a few decades later someone known only as “Niccolo de la Coltra” worked in Padua as ‘the master of quilts.” These professional quiltmakers were far from unique; professional quilt and quilted armor guilds were active in Bologna, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Genoa by the fourteenth century, often in association with cotton guilds. Southern France was another center of the European quilting industry, particularly whole cloth white quilts.

The primary product of these quilted armorers were closely fitted padded armor intended to be worn on the upper body, either over or in place of steel armor.  They were known as jacks, arming doublets, coat armor, jupons, aketons, or haketons depending on area and period, and their construction was strictly regulated.  One Italian guild required that jupons be padded with linen or cotton tow to the depth of three fingers’ breadths on the shoulders and two fingers’ breadths upon the torso for maximum protection. Aristocratic versions were often made of rich fabrics such as heavy velvets or silk brocades, then padded so heavily in the chest that their wearers were compared to greyhounds.  Less exalted versions, made of linen padded with cotton or wool, were lighter, cheaper alternatives to metal armor, so they became a popular option for foot soldiers, sappers, or archers. There were even jacks where small steel plates were sewn inside the padding, then layered with more cushioning for extra protection.

Several such pieces have survived, most in surprisingly good condition.  The most famous include the “Black Prince’s jupon” in Canterbury Cathedral, the coat armor of Charles VI in Chartres, the doublet of Charles de Blois in Lyon, and a curious German tunic that layers linen, padding, and small steel rings for extra protection.  Less famous but arguably more interesting is the Rothwell Jack, a rare piece of armor worn by a common foot soldier or archer.  Unlike its aristocratic kin, the Rothwell Jack is so crudely made that it was probably thrown together on short notice, either by a sailmaker or possibly its original owner.  Its materials, over twenty layers of raw wool and coarse linen stitched together heavy linen thread, are equally humble, and again indicate that it was made by a non-professional.  Although local historians long claimed that the Jack belonged to John of Gaunt, it almost certainly belonged to one of his archers, as the right armscye is all but worn away while the left is largely intact.

Quilted armor disappeared late in the SCA period thanks to the invention of firearms, as quilted armor was useless against a bullet or other small projectile.  However, protective garments of quilted linen were still popular among court tennis players, as in a 16th century painting by Francesco Becaruzzi, while quilted doublets of leather lined with silk were used as fencing jackets by the wealthy.

There is also an abundance of artistic evidence for quilted clothing and armor during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  The best known is Hans Memling’s The Chasse of St. Ursula, but there are several funerary sculptures, particularly in Germany and Switzerland, showing knights wearing quilted gambesons or jacks.  There is also a tiny Italian ivory of The Flight into Egypt showing St. Joseph wearing a quilted tunic that might have begun as coat armor, although it equally could show a peasant tunic quilted for warmth.

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Domestic Quilting and Patchwork

There is less somewhat less physical evidence for domestic quilting during the early Middle Ages, while aside from La Lai del Desir, there is nothing in writing about patchwork until a French memoir of 1507.  However, there are a handful of extant quilts and two pieces of patchwork that hint at a much richer tradition that has been lost to war, wear, and time.

The oldest known actual whole cloth European quilts are three trapunto, or stuffed quilts from Italy.   Two, the so-called Guicciardini quilts, were probably made for a Florentine wedding in the 1390’s (and may have originally been a wallhanging), while a third seems to have been an actual coverlet.  All are made with the same materials (linen top and back, cotton padding, linen thread) and with the same technique (dark brown backstitched outlines on the decorative motifs, running stitch on the backgrounds).  The iconography and the motifs are so similar that these items were all but certainly made in the same workshop, while the designs and the captions on the Guicciardini quilts are in an otherwise rare Sicilian dialect.

The Tristan Quilt (detail). Victorian and Albert Museum, Museum no. 1391-1904.

The Guicciardini quilts, one in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, one in the Museo di Bargello in Florence, have been the subject of scholarly controversy for nearly a century.  They seem to have been made for a wedding between two powerful Florentine families around 1394, but whether they were originally a set of two quilts for two beds, one quilt for an enormous ceremonial bed, or a huge wallhanging is not known.  Some scholars, notably Arthurian specialist R.S. Loomis and quilt historian Susan Young, believe they were designed as a set, but recent analysis by Sarah Randles indicates that they were probably one huge piece that was cut apart and reassembled into two quilts for reasons that made sense at the time.  The piece in the Bargello belonged to Guicciardini descendants as late as the 1920’s, while the section in the Victoria & Albert was acquired around the turn of the twentieth century.  The iconography, a Sicilian retelling of the story of Tristan and Isolde depicted in large squares similar to the panels on a modern comic book, seems strangely inappropriate for a wedding gift, especially if the quilt(s) was indeed intended for use on the bridal bed.

Less well known is the third quilt, which was owned by the Pianetti family.  This piece, only half of which was extant when it was last photographed, once again showed Tristan and Isolde, only in central medallion surrounded by heavily stuffed fleur-de-lis.  The border shows allegorical figures feasting in vineyards and gardens, but there are no captions so the meaning is not clear.  It was last seen in 1938 and has vanished without a trace, leading to the tragic but unavoidable conclusion that it might have been lost during the massive destruction of World War II a few years later.

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A Cloth of Honor and a Pillow

Quilt historians assumed for decades that the Guicciardini and Pianetti quilts were the only surviving medieval quilts.  However, a startling discovery around 2000 in Budapest challenges this assumption.  Archaeologists excavating the old Tekeli Palace found a silk textile depicting the arms of the Arpad and Angevin dynasties encased in mud at the bottom of a rubbish shaft.  The Anjou Textile, as it is now known, was wet-cleaned and disinfected by conservators to remove mud and bacteria, then examined for clues to its construction and original purpose.  The mudball had been found alongside coins dating between 1390 and 1427, while physical analysis of the actual cloth indicated that it was at least a few decades older than the coins.

The Anjou Textile. Budapest History Museum.

Close examination revealed that this textile was pieced and appliqued in red, white, blue, and golden silk, while its age indicated that it was likely made not long after the Cimabue painting with the patchwork cloth of honor.  Stitch patterns on the cloth and a few bits of cotton padding and linen thread clinging to the wrong side clearly indicated that the Anjou Textile had originally been quilted in a diamond pattern at least twenty or thirty years before the Sicilian whole cloth quilts.

Most striking of all, Hungarian court records from the reign of King Charles Robert reference a large order of red, white, and blue silk from Italy, while the king’s Great Seal of 1331 clearly shows a patchwork cloth of honor that is all but identical to the Anjou Textile.  As unlikely as it may seem, the evidence indicates that there is a strong possibility that the Anjou Textile was pieced and quilted no later than 1331, and probably about ten years earlier.

As important as the Anjou Textile, it is not the most elaborate piece of early patchwork.  That honor must go to the Impruneta Cushion, one of the most remarkable surviving pieces of early needlework, regardless of technique.

This small pillow, only one foot square, was found in an Italian tomb in 1947.  The little town of Impruneta, about fifteen kilometers south of Florence, had been bombed in 1944 during the Allied advance up the Italian peninsula.  It wasn’t until 1947 that the town had the money to check on the tomb of its fifteenth century bishop, Antonio degli Agli, which had been knocked open when bombs struck the pilgrimage church of Santa Maria dell’Impruneta.

Bishop Agli himself had suffered little damage during the attack, but the most significant find in his tomb was the tiny cushion that had been placed under his head by his grieving niece, Deinara, when he died in 1477.  The cushion, which seems to have been one of the bishop’s favorite possessions, turned out to be not a simple pillow but a dazzling piece of early patchwork, with elaborate star and checkerboard patterns on the front and a simple but striking geometric pattern on the back.

The Impruneta Cushion, with the back also visible. Photo by Sailko, under Creative Commons licensing.

Analysis by an early conservator known only as “Signor Clignon,” supplemented by a thorough conservation/stabilization by the Tuscan state conservation agency in 1990, revealed that no fewer than thirty different types of silk lampas, brocade, damask, satin, and velvet were used to piece the front of the cushion.  The actual pieces ranged in size from approximately 1.5 inches to perhaps a quarter inch square, and were so finely and accurately stitched that conservators speculated the makers used stiff paper or pasteboard to stabilize the shapes during construction.  The seams, which had been repaired at some point during Bishop Agli’s lifetime, were all reinforced with couched cording.  The back of the cushion was pieced of inch square pieces of wool arranged in concentric squares.  This not only produced a noticeable sense of movement, but is all but identical to the modern patchwork pattern known as Trip Around the World.  Just as on the front, the seams on the back were reinforced with couched cording.

Italian scholars believe that the cushion was made between 1425 and 1455, as it was clearly used before being put in Bishop Agli’s tomb.  As carbon dating would require destroying a large section of the cushion itself, it is not possible to give a more precise date unless Agli family records surface mentioning the cushion.

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Later Developments

The Renaissance brought increased trade with the Eastern countries where quilting originated. The Ottoman Empire had a native tradition of quilted bedcovers and caftans; surviving examples from the courts of 16th and 17th century sovereigns such as Suleiman the Magnificent and Selim the Grim are worked in the running stitch on silk broadcloth and brocade, lined with cotton to get around the Qu’ranic prohibition against silk garments.  Court etiquette dictated that clothing be presented to foreign ambassadors, so it is possible that European diplomats posted to Constantinople returned with quilted caftans in their baggage.

This was the time when European countries established colonies and trading posts in Asia. India had a strong native quilting tradition and quickly began producing export work in cotton and silk (the very word calico, later the name of the favorite quilting cotton, is derived from Calcutta). Portugal in particular imported “pintadoe quilts” from its Indian possessions, as well as palampores and unquilted spreads that were later worked up into “colchas” on the Iberian peninsula. Several of these Indian/Bengali quilts have survived, including one in the collection of Hardwick Hall in England, almost a dozen in the Museum of Antique Arts in Lisbon, and a half-circle cape in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Indo-Portuguese Quilted Cape. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number 23.203.1.

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Henry VIII: Quilt Owner

By the sixteenth century, silk and linen quilts were quite popular in wealthy households throughout Europe.  Among the best examples of this is the 1547 death inventory of England monarch Henry VIII.

Henry VIII’s inventory provides a unique look at quilts in aristocratic households.  He owned over one hundred quilts and quilted coverlets, including two quilts assigned to his bath, sixty “holland” quilts of fine linen for bedding, and approximately forty quilts of various types of silk.  One of the quilts, a green sarcenet coverlet worked in roses, pomegranates, and fleurs-de-lis, may have dated from early in Henry’s marriage to his first queen, Catherine of Aragon, or even been part of her trousseau when she married his brother Arthur.  Other quilts were “payned” (pieced) in color combinations such as purple and white, green and white, and five or six colors such as tawny, green, yellow, blue, crimson, and white.  There were even two “quiltes of canvase to cover cartes,” presumably part of the equipment used to move the royal household on Henry’s frequent progresses.

Many of these quilts likely either Indian imports or European copies of expensive Indo-Portuguese work, such as the Indo-Portuguese silk quilts, but the “holland” quilts of fine linen stuffed with wool were likely made in Northern Europe.  Four or five of these would be used as actual bedclothes, while a silk quilt, often very elaborately worked with metal or silk threads, would be used as a bedspread.

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SCA Uses

There are several uses for quilts and quilted objects in the SCA. The most obvious, and common, is armor. Although quilting was used for both gambesons and jacks, padded linen jacks cannot be made list legal. However, a finely quilted jack would look spectacular in court. A better choice for a heavy weapons fighter would be a gambeson or a quilted tunic worn over armor in cold weather. The only caution would be to use only cotton batts – synthetic batts do not breathe, and armor made from them could cause a fighter to overheat and suffer a heat stroke. Most pre-quilted fabric is made with polyester batts and should be avoided for this reason.

Another good choice would be quilted bedding, either pillows or bed quilts.  Most fabric stores offer basic quilting classes, by either hand or machine. Machine quilting is obviously not period, but it’s possible to quilt a whole quilt in a day by machine. Virtually all modern quilts are made of cotton broadcloth or calico – again, not period, but washable, cheap, and very practical for camping. And Indian bedspreads are so close to palampores that a quilted version would make a fine addition to any campsite.

One warning: quilting is addictive. The calicos used for modern quilting are among the most beautiful cottons being made today, and who can resist beautiful fabrics? So don’t be surprised if what begins as a single gambeson, or a way to use up scraps, turns into a full blown obsession!

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Further Reading

Colby, Averil. Quilting. HarperCollins, 1972.

Evans, Lisa. ‘”The Same Counterpoincte Beinge Olde and Worene’: The Mystery of Henry VIII ‘s Green Quilt”, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4, Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, eds. Boydell Press, 2008.

—. “Anomaly or Sole Survivor? The Impruneta Cushion and Early Italian ‘Patchwork'”, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 8, Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, eds. Boydell Press, 2012.

Von Gwinner, Schnuppe. The History of the Patchwork Quilt Origins: Traditions and Symbols of a Textile Art. Schiffer Publishing, 2007.

Where to Examine Historical Quilting Firsthand

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia
Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts
International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Nebraska
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
Shelburne Museum in Vermont
Victoria & Albert Museum in London

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

Lady Adelyn Idesborne Invites You to the Tournament of the White Hart

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-03-03 00:33

Hello, and may I extend my sincerest welcome to all who are planning on attending the 20th Anniversary Tournament of the White Hart! For those of you who may not know me, I am Adelyn and I am the 20th Lady of the White Hart.  I would like to share with you some of the reasons why this tournament is so special to me, and why I hope that you will give it the opportunity to be special to you, as well.

As you may be aware, my husband, Lord Christian Goldenlok, fought for my honor last year, and through populace vote we were selected to be this year’s Lord and Lady of the White Hart. I was beyond honored, and very sentimental about this wonderful election. To truly explain why, we must go back in time…

Lord Christian and Lady Adelyn, the 20th Lord and Lady of the White Hart

It all started when I was very young, long before I had even met Christian Goldenlok. I grew up with a great love of literature. According to my mother, I started reading when I was only about 3 years old. I really don’t even remember learning how to read, but I do remember reading everything I could get my hands on. Tales of chivalrous knights and adventurous young heroines quickly became my favorite, and as my ability to read often outstripped the age-appropriate materials available to me, my mother soon turned to her friend Joy, who reviewed children’s and young adult novels for magazines. She introduced me to the Alanna of Tortall series—a series of four books by Tamora Peirce where an 11-year-old girl defies her father and convinces her twin brother to trade places with her so that she can go to the capital to be trained in being a knight. From the moment my eyes touched the first page, I was enthralled. From that moment on, I dreamed that I too could find a way to get wrapped in the adventures of a medieval world, where I could dress in armor and fight, or dress is silks and be wooed, or learn the methodical teachings of sewing or weaving or leather-working.

As time elapsed, I continued to read, and enjoyed my time spent in those fictional worlds, but always wanted more. When I was about 13, I had to write and illustrate my own children’s book for a school project.  I wrote about a 13-year-old girl who got sucked through a time-warp and spent the rest of her days in Medieval England. I continued to get older, and continued to dream of an adventurous life—I thought about going to a Renaissance Faire, but was disappointed with the idea that I and so many others would just be dressed in blue jeans and sweaters; it just wouldn’t feel real.

Then, one day almost 10 years after my 13-year-old self wrote that book, I was talking with a new friend I had made at church, a man who would become my husband. He was telling me about a group that got together once a week, dressed in real armor, and for-real beat each other. I was intrigued (and also very shy). I went for four weeks in a row, with a book in hand. I sat in the corner, “reading” my book, and watching the fighters before I really worked up the courage to start talking to people. It was several more weeks before I got the nerve to ask to try on a set of loaner armor to try my hand at armored combat.

It was so much fun! I couldn’t believe the joy that small group of heavy fighters brought to my life. It was around this time Christian asked me to be his girlfriend. It was only a month after we started dating that he said he wanted to take me to an event—a tournament. I was scared. I told him I wasn’t ready to fight in a tournament. He laughed and said I didn’t have to. It was a laid back tournament, one where there was a lady’s gallery, and a lot of people just watched the fighters.  He said he wouldn’t fight so that he wouldn’t leave my side.  My next concern—I didn’t have anything to wear. Christian had already thought of that. He had already spoken with Lady Barbaia of Sable Maul, who had agreed to lend me some garb.

We were going. I was so thrilled.  I was impressed that this new man in my life had put so much thought into taking me to my first SCA event, my first real medieval adventure. We showed up at the Cabell County 4-H Camp, and from the moment I entered my first SCA site I was transported. Not only was being in this place a dream come true, it was a pretty damn romantic first event, as well.

Let’s fast forward again to last year.  Lord Christian and I were now engaged and were returning to the Tournament of the White Hart, the anniversary of our first event together, and my first event.  This time he was fighting for my honor. I had come out of my shell enough to talk to approximately eight people instead of two. At the tournament’s culmination, the White Hart populace voiced their inspiration and named us the Lord and Lady of the White Hart!

I was so humbled and so honored because White Hart is so special to me. White Hart was a celebration of the way Christian and I had grown in our love for each other. It was also a celebration of the way our love had grown for our friends new and old in the SCA and the society in general. White Hart was also a celebration of the way we had grown as individuals. In short, the Tournament of the White Hart means so much to me because it is always a celebration. It isn’t just a celebration of prowess, it’s a celebration of chivalry, honor, inspiration, and above all, of love and of growth. It isn’t just a celebration of the love we have for our consorts, it is a celebration of ideal love. To me, it will always be the best and truest representation of what chivalry and honor in medieval times is supposed to be.

I believe this year will prove to be another wonderful year at White Hart. For me, it will mean my first White Hart with my new husband.  It will mean another year of growth and love to be celebrated. Not to mention, it is the 20th anniversary of the event, and I have some inside information about the amazing things that the autocrat and feastocrat have been doing. It’s going to be epic. White Hart is hosted by the Shire of Port Oasis, in Huntington, WV.  The amazing Autocrat of this year’s Tournament is Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria. Lady Astridr Vigaskegg will be in charge of the incredible feast to follow the tournament. I can’t wait to be able to indulge in the feast!

It will also be a time of great celebration for Christian and me, because not only will I be serving as the Lady of White Hart, I will also be doing so while pregnant with our first child! We have been waiting patiently to publicly share the news, and thought that advertising for White Hart would be the perfect opportunity!

Baby Goldenlok!

In closing, I invite you to come celebrate with us. Join Christian and me as we celebrate with each of you as the Lord and Lady of the White Hart. Join us in celebrating each other. Join us at White Hart to celebrate growth. Join us at White Hart.



Categories: SCA news sites

Of Boiling and Seething: A reevaluation of the common cooking terms in connection with brewing

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2017-03-02 10:45

By Unnr in elska á Fjárfella (Susan Verberg, 2017) of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc.

Recreating medieval brews in our modern times is a fun and tasty way to connect to our historic past. Unfortunately, having a deeper understanding about the chemistry involved in fermentation does not necessarily translate into an easier interpretation of medieval recipes. Our modern brewing methods and sanitary measures evolved, and the language and terminology used in brewing changed over the years as well. The arcane language of early medieval recipes often makes modern interpretations approximations at best, and modern brewers with their own interpretation of the same recipe make variations which sometimes differ slightly and sometimes differ quite a lot. For instance, in my own work to recreate two mead recipes, numbers 9 and 10 in V: Goud Kokery which is part of the 14th century manuscript Curye on Inglysch, I initially used the editors’ suggestions on how to interpret recipe 10 To make fyn meade & poynaunt. After half a dozen or so mediocre variations, and a deepening puzzlement on the sequence of steps in the recipe, I realized the editors’ interpretation has practical issues. Expecting something was off with the technique, instead of tweaking the recipe to make it fit our modern conceptions, I delved deeper into the practices used during our time of study to track down where it went off track.

The first step was to look into the source of the fermentable sugars in mead – the honey – which at the same time located the source for fermenting yeast. Medieval honey would have been available in different states and different grades. The highest grade honey was life honey, which is the honey that drips out first without any assistance and is highly regarded both in brewing and in medicine. Life honey is honey which is completely untreated, and held in such high esteem that in medieval Dutch cooking and brewing recipes it had its own term: ‘zeem’. The translation for ‘zeem’ is given as ‘ongepijnde honing’, unhurt or unprocessed honey and also as ‘maagden honing’, or virgin honey. Unfortunately, true to medieval practice, the word is used interchangeably for life honey and high quality processed honey, and it is up to the reader to interpret which ingredient is meant. (openlaszlo) What makes life honey so special, and literally alive, is that even though honey is antibacterial, it is a welcome host for osmophillic yeast strains like Saccharomyces rouxii, Sacharomyces var. osmophilus and Sacharomyces bisporus var. mellis. (Rasmussen, 21)

Osmophillic yeast is able to thrive in highly concentrated sugar solutions, and is best for the fermentation of honey solutions with sugar concentrations above 15%, but generally does not produce alcohol as well as the common beer and wine yeasts. If sugar concentrations are below 15%, the wine and beer yeast varieties of Sacharomyces cerevisiae are the best choice for optimally fermenting honey. (Rasmussen, 21) When processing life honey temperatures exceeding 154 º Fahrenheit / 68 º Celsius (Hagen, 148) will kill ambient yeast and heating honey to facilitate flow often does not produce life honey. Also, like the term ‘zeem’, the term ‘life honey’ is sometimes used for true honey that is alive and will start fermentation, and sometimes for honey of the best quality. If the life honey asked for in a recipe is to be truly boiled, then it does not need to be alive honey and you should not sacrifice your labor-intensive honey-yeast starter to literally emulate the medieval recipe. One thing to keep in mind when fermenting with osmophillic yeast: as the starting sugar concentration or density is high, it will have a slow start, especially compared to pitching modern concentrated yeast.

Processed honey is graded depending on how it is removed from the comb: with unprocessed life honey being first grade, second grade is what would easily be leaked out and strained when breaking up or crushing the comb cell structure (equivalent to our centrifugally-extracted honey), third grade is extracted by washing the leaked combs in heated water whereby the leftover and crystallized honey dissolves but the wax is not melted, and then a waste grade is created by squeezing the washed combs with a twisted bag press to get the last little bits of liquid out (often used for servant grade). This is not recommended by the Reverend Charles Butler, who warns in his 1609 beekeeping treatise Feminine Monarchie: “& some (which is worse) doe violently presse it out. But by these means they shal have no fine & pure raw hony, howsoever afterward they handle it.

Leaking can be facilitated with heat, and as long as the radiant temperature is kept below 154 º F the ambient yeast will survive. Leaked honey is used in recipes calling for volumes or weights. Honey from different bio-regions or different seasons (a wet spring, a dry fall, etc) can have different sugar concentrations, and when using volumes or weights, can lead to slight differences in sugar concentration, as the Digby recipe Mr. Pierce’s Excellent White Metheglin confirms “When it is blood-warm, put the honey to it, about one part, to four of water; but because this doth not determine the proportions exactly (for some honey will make it stronger then other) you must do that by bearing up an Egge”.

Washing can be facilitated by agitation by hand, which also keeps the water temperature in check to make sure it is not hot enough to melt wax (upwards of 144 ºF or 62 ºC). Coincidentally, if honeycomb is warmed enough to dissolve the sugars but not enough to melt the wax, the ambient yeast is able to survive to start fermentation. As the sugar concentration of washed honey is unknown – not enough honey will make weak mead which spoils much quicker, while too much honey can inhibit yeast growth giving competitors a chance – it is advisable to use a hydrometer to check gravity (the amount of sugar in solution); either with a modern glass hydrometer, or with the egg float test, which basically does the same thing but with a renaissance flair.

A honey solution made by boiling scraped honeycomb. The swirls are from particulated bees wax. The position of the egg showing about 20 mm or the size of a medieval groat coin above the surface indicates enough dissolved sugars for a circa 12% alcohol mead.

The next step is to look into the cooking process: how exactly did the honey become must. Many medieval recipes advise to boil the must. Since the source of medieval water is most often rather suspect, up to the point of deadly, this is not per se a bad thing. For the flavor of the honey, it would be better to boil the water first, and add the honey when it is blood-warm to then start fermentation. Alcohol’s preservative properties combined with the antibacterial effect of honey makes for a safe product to drink, much safer than surface water, even without boiling. According to Feminine Monarchie, heating above temperatures which would hurt the skin “The best way is to put it into an oven after the batch is forth, but not before you can abide to hold your hand upon the bottome, for feare of overheating the hony” is known to damage the honey. Maybe, even though in cooking recipes the word ‘boil’ is most often meant as a roiling boil, in brewing it might mean the process of cooking? Unless refermentation during warm weather is meant, to confuse the matter even more! As Hugh Platt in his 1594 Jewell House of Art and Nature complains “If any sweete Wines happen to reboile in the hot part of the Summer, as manie Vinteners to their great losse have oftentimes felt”.

The word ‘seethe’ or ‘seething’ is even vaguer. Does it mean simmering, or being at a boil but not bubbling? Or does it mean the process of heating, which could be anything from above room temperature to near boiling? For instance, the recipe To Make Mede in the 14th CE Curye on Inglysch cookbook uses both ‘boil’ and ‘seethe’& thanne take that forseid combis & sethe hem in clene water, & boile hem wel” but after all that the combs should still be intact enough to be pressed out “After presse out thereof as myche as though may”. This indicates the water temperature did not actually exceed 144° F or 62 ºC and melt the wax. Thus instead of translating the following quote to “take the previously mentioned combs & simmer them in clean water, & boil them well”, should it perhaps be “take the previously mentioned combs & heat them in clean water, & cook them well”? Since the latter interpretation matches the Feminine Monarchie’s technique “set it in some vessel over a soft fire, and stil keep your hand in the vessel stirring about the honie and the wax, and opening the wax piece-meale until the hony and not the wax shal be molten,” and it makes sense, I think this would be the correct interpretation. And as ambient yeast survives heating to 154 ºF /68 ºC this would mean the must is still viable for spontaneous fermentation, without the need for adding barm or lees from a previous batch.

Back to the two recipes, interpretations of the translation is re-evaluated. The reason I work with both recipes is that recipe 10 looks back to recipe 9, even more so in the re-evaluation than I initially had thought.

The two original recipes and the proposed alternate interpretations:

9 To make mede.

Take hony combis & put hem into a greet vessel & ley thereynne grete stickis, & ley the weight theron til it be runne out as myche as it wole; & this is called liif hony. & thanne take that forseid combis & sethe hem in clene water, & boile hem wel. After presse out thereof as myche as though may & caste it into another vessel into hoot water, & sethe it wel & scome it wel, & do therto a quarte of liif hony. & thanne lete it stone a fewe dayes wel stoppid, & tis is good drinke.    (Hieatt & Butler, 150)

Literal Translation:

9 To make mead.

Take honey combs, and put them into a big vessel & lay in there big sticks, & lay the weight on it until it runs out as much as it would; & this is called life honey. & then take those mentioned combs & simmer them in clean water, & boil it well. After press out of it as much as you can & cast it into another vessel into hot water, & heat it well, & scum it well, & do thereto a quart of life honey. & then let it stand a few days well closed up, & this is a good drink.

If the honey combs are literally simmered and boiled, the wax will melt into the sugar solution. Interestingly, while the combs are quite bulky in their solid state, once they are melted within the sugar solution there is not a whole lot left. In one of my experiments, the combs were boiled in clean water and poured through a cheesecloth filter while hot, and in another experiment the combs were boiled, the must was cooled down first, and then poured through a cheesecloth filter. Filtering the waxy must while hot particulized the hot wax, which then solidified in tiny particles which mostly stayed suspended in the must. During fermentation a thin film of wax particles formed on the surface, which created quite a nice surface protection. After bottling, the wax particles would form a haze around the neck of the bottle (shake well before pouring) and while sipping there was a distinct sensation of lip balm around the lips. Many of these issues were negated by filtering the wax must after cooling it down, though the sensation of lipbalm never completely went away. For the amount of wax comb that went into the must and the insignificant amount that was recovered during filtering, the indication is that most stayed in solution with the sugars. Boiling the wax to dilute the honey does not coincide with the available information (as in, there should be comb structure left to be pressed) plus, the wax adds a significant (although not unpleasant) taste to the must.

Boiling the wax comb and honey to make the must. From the 4 scraped frames of honey comb only about an inch worth of black gook was recovered. Most of the bright yellow wax disappeared during the boil.

Current Interpretation:

9 To make mead.

Take honey combs, and put them into a big vessel & lay in there big sticks, & lay the weight on it [of the combs] until it runs out as much as it would; & this is called life honey. & then take those mentioned combs & heat them in clean water [not hotter than your hands can take], & cook it well. After press out of it [the combs] as much as you can & cast it [the liquid] into another vessel into hot water, & heat it well, & scum it well, & do thereto a quart of life honey. & then let it stand a few days well closed up, & this is a good drink.

The second recipe:

10 To make fyn meade & poynaunt.

Take xx galouns of the forseid pomys soden in iii galouns of fyn wort, & i galoun of liif hony & sethe hem wel & scome hem wel til thei be cleer enowgh; & put therto iii penyworth of poudir of peper & i penyworth of poudir of clowis & lete it boile wel togydere. & whanne it is coold put it into the vessel into the tunnynge up of the forseid mede; put it therto, & close it wel as it is aboue said.    (Hieatt & Butler, 150)

Literal Translation:

10 To make fine mead & poignant.

Take 20 gallons of the previously mentioned pomys cooked in 3 gallons of fine wort, & take 1 gallon of life honey & simmer it well & scum it well until it is clear enough; & add to it 3 pennyworth powder of pepper & 1 pennyworth powder of cloves & let it boil well together. & when it is cold put it into the vessel of the barreled up previously mentioned mead; add it to it, & close it well as it is said before.

The suggestions by Hieatt & Butler are as follows:

The word ‘pomys’ translates as apples (p. 207). [This exact word only shows up once as part of V: Goud Kokery; variants from other recipes are ‘poumes’ and ‘pommys’ which both refer to a softened apple dish.]

The ‘forseyd pomys sodden’ evidently refers to a recipe the scribe has omitted (p. 150)

Fyne meade and poynaunt V 10, spiced mead. Despite the initial directions, no recipe calling for cooked apples actually occurs in the vicinity of this one. The quantity of spices called for would work out to something like 2 oz. of pepper and ¼ oz of cloves: this would not make a very spicy drink, considering the 34 [edit 24] gallons of other ingredients. (p. 188)

The immediate issue with recipe 10 is the translation of the word ‘pomys’. From its similarity to the word ‘pommys’ it seems self evident it would refer to apples (linguistically via the French word ‘pomme’ for apple). The word ‘pomys’ in modern times could translate to ‘pomace’ or apple pressings, the apple solids left over from the making of cider, or apple juice. To my best knowledge, the word ‘pomace’ is never used for the juice, always for the leftover solids from pressing, so I am inclined to forgo the option of it meaning juice, or the must from recipe 9.

Another issue is the meaning of the word ‘tunnynge’, which I’d like to address first. The word ‘tunnynge’ can be interpreted as either a measurement (a ‘tun’ or a barrel of 252 or 265 gallons, a defined unit of volume in the 14th century) or an action (tunning). My first trial used the tun as a measurement and found that it adds too much volume to the amount of honey & malt for a proper ferment. The recipe instructs “put it into the vessel into the tunnynge up of the forseid mede” which at first reads like it barrels up twice: “put it into the vessel into the tun of the previously mentioned mead”. My current interpretation is “put it into the vessel into the tunned up previously mentioned mead”, or, use a transporting vessel (see image below) to move the wort/must and add it back “put it therto” into the barrel of the mead made with recipe 9. This would indicate recipe 10 is not a stand alone recipe, but instead uses the mead made in recipe 9 to make something else, called fyne meade and poynaunt. This would basically make a braggot, except instead of adding honey & spices to ale to re-ferment (as a typical period braggot), it adds wort (malt) and spices to mead (akin to a modern braggot, or malted mead).

“The Brewer” by Jan Luyken (1649-1712). The vessel mentioned in the recipe could be used to transport from the boiling vat to the fermenting tun or barrel.


Back to the pomys. Hieatt & Buttler assume “the ‘forseyd pomys sodden’ evidently refers to a recipe the scribe has omitted” as “despite the initial directions, no recipe calling for cooked apples actually occurs in the vicinity of this one”. When the directions in recipe 10 are interpreted as if ‘pomys’ meant apple, to make a spiced apple wine sweetened with honey and wort/malt, the ratio of solid apples and fermentable sugars to liquid does not seem to add up. To properly ferment a certain amount of apple solids, it would need to be at least submerged, which combined with the direction to cook it “soden in iii galouns of fyn wort” makes for apple sauce consistency. If enough water is added to create an acceptable cooked apple wort the amount of fermentable sugars is too low for a proper ferment, and if the water ratio is balanced for a proper short mead ferment, the must is so dense it is difficult to get a good ferment (and have liquid left over at the end, the apple solids suck it up like a sponge). This recipe had a tendency for the apple sauce to create a pancake at the surface which then would get pushed up by fermentation gasses, straight out through the airlock, which necessitated stirring the must back down every other hour or so until primary fermentation slowed down. In other words, the recipe does not make sense, it does not work well, and the resulting brew would spoil prematurely on a regular base, indicating an unbalanced recipe. Combined with the interpretation that recipe 10 could be a back ferment of recipe 9, similar to a modern braggot, it puts the translation of ‘pomys’ to apple in serious question.

Before fermentation (L) and after fermentation (R). One quart of apple solids added to one gallon of water, with appropriate honey and malt. Cooking made the apple fall apart and most of the available liquid became absorbed.

What could be meant instead? If “the forseid pomys sodden” is to be taken literally as something cooked from the previous recipe, then let’s look back to see what fits. The bulk honey from recipe 9 does not come from leaked honey but from washed out wax comb: “& thanne take that forseid combis & sethe hem in clene water, & boile hem wel”.  When the alternate interpretation for ‘seething’ and ‘boiling’ is used, the directions to “heat them in clean water, & cook them well” would generate left over wax combs, which are then “presse out thereof as myche as though may”. If the alternate interpretation is not used, and the must is literally simmered and cooked, then the wax would have melted and there’d be nothing left to be pressed, strongly indicating lower temperatures than the melting point of wax. The wax comb from recipe 9 is both cooked and pressed it would fit the description of “the forseid pomys sodden” of recipe 10 perfectly (Magnus).

Current Interpretation:

10 To make fine mead & poignant.

Take 20 gallons of the previously mentioned pomys [the squeezed combs of recipe 9] cooked in 3 gallons of fine wort, & take 1 gallon of life honey & heat it well [below 154 ºF, and the ambient yeast will survive] & scum it well until it is clear enough; & add to it 3 pennyworth powder of pepper & 1 pennyworth powder of cloves & let it cook well together. & when it is cold put it into the vessel of the barreled up previously mentioned mead [add it back into the barrel the 20 gallons came out off]; add it to it, & close it well as it is said before.

Twenty gallons of pressed comb cooked in 3 gallons of malt seems like a too small ratio of solid to liquid. Unexpectedly, I found from experience that boiling comb in a sugar solution does not generate a significant amount of melted wax and as the combs are probably also somewhat wet, even after manual pressing, they could conceivably have some crystallized honey remnants left to add to the must. When the combs are boiled in the wort/must, the scum floats to the top, just like with clarifying honey, and has to be removed “scome hem wel til thei be cleer inowgh” at the same time. And while Hieatt & Butler thought the small quantity of pepper and cloves “would not make a very spicy drink”, adding boiled wax combs to the mix significantly changes the taste of the mead (mead made with honey in which wax has been boiled has a very distinctive spicy, earthy taste).


The translation of the two Curye on Inglysch mead recipes by Hieatt & Butler, even though not completely understood, theoretically makes sense. It took some dedicated experimental archaeology, so to speak, to come to the conclusion that the modern interpretation did not add up and a different way of thinking was needed. Instead of looking at individual recipes as singular snippets, sometimes it’s necessary to see a recipe within a broader historical context. For example, the cooking technique called “blanching” historically meant soaking in cold water until the almond skins came off, while in modern times it means pouring boiling water over them until the almond skins come off. While the end result seems the same, almonds soaked with the modern method tends to make dry crumbly marzipan, while cold soaked almonds makes great sticky marzipan, just like grandma used to make. I learned not to assume just because a word or technique had a modern equivalent, it therefore historically meant the same. While seething and boiling might actually mean simmering and boiling in one recipe, when dealing with brewing recipes, I now tend to double-check (Is there wax involved? What happens to the life honey?). When emulating a historic recipe, I look for similar recipes and check if there are nuances to the techniques and ingredients used; it might explain something I did not even realize might be questionable. And just because something was written down eight hundred years ago does not make it infallible: people make mistakes, especially with the older texts, the artisans were not the scribes; translators made errors, as recipes would be translated and republished (no medieval copyright), and some people are just better brewers than others.

When interpreted within a broader context, the two Curye on Inglysch mead recipes work surprisingly well and work well together. Recipe 9 makes good basic mead and includes detailed albeit cryptic information on the processing of the comb, which is omitted by many later period mead recipes. For now – until new information presents itself – recipe 10 seems to be meant as an addition to a barrel of mead made with recipe 9, to back sweeten and spice up mead with boiled beeswax comb, for just that special occasion. And who’d have thought that…

Want to read more? Check out my (newly updated) brewing paper Of Hony, a collection of Mediaeval Brewing Recipes, listing 46 period mead recipes, on at:


Butler, Charles. The Feminine Monarchie. 1609. Oxford: 1623. Transcription by Susan Verberg.

Digby, Kenelme. The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Knight Opened, 1669

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened. Anne MacDonell (ed.), 2005

Hagen, Ann. A Second Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food and Drink: Production and Distribution. Norfolk, UK: Anglo-Saxon Books, 1995.

Hieatt, Constance B. & Butler, Sharon (ed). Curye on Inglysch, English culinary manuscripts of the 14th century (including the Forme of Cury). Early English Text Society. London: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Private communication with Peter Olson (East Kingdom brewing Laurel lærifaðir Magnus hvalmagi).

Rasmussen, S.C. The Quest for Aqua Vitae. SpringerBriefs in History of Chemistry, 2014.

Verberg, Susan. Of Honey, a Collection of Mediaeval Brewing Recipes. 2017.



Protz, Roger. The Ale Trail. Eric Dobby Publishing, 1995, p. 30

All photography © by Susan Verberg.

Categories: SCA news sites

Pen vs. Sword Needs Teachers!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-03-01 22:28

Pen vs. Sword is rapidly approaching (March 25) and we NEED teachers!!  Right now I have 8 confirmed classes on the scribal side.  Fencers, are you going to let the Pen win this year??

If you would like to teach a class, any class that can be somehow connected to either the rapier arts or the scribal arts, PLEASE contact me!  I’m on Facebook at Moniczka Poznanska, or you can email me.

(See the event announcement here. The Facebook event page is here.)

There may be bribes, there might be chocolate involved.

With many thanks in advance,
Moniczka Poznanska
Class Coordinator
Shire of Angels Keep!!

(Come to the Keep.  We have cookies!)

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Arts & Sciences Special Deputies Named

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2017-03-01 17:16

Greetings all from the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White.

You all may remember how impressed I was with this past year’s King’s and Queen’s A&S Champion’s Competition. Mistress Elysabeth Underhill and Master Magnus Hvalmagi organized an activity highly praised by the entrants and judges alike.

We want to build on their success as we plan for future A&S Champion’s Competitions. We also want to take advantage of what worked at the Kingdom competition and make it easy for other groups to use throughout the year.

To those ends, Mistress Elysabeth and Master Magnus have agreed to work with me as Kingdom A&S Special Deputies.

In particular, their roles will be to:

1. Refine the judging rubric and publish this spring
2. Refine the competition rules and publish this spring
3. Run the next King’s and Queen’s A&S Champion’s Competition, including registering entrants and organizing judges

If you are interested in helping with any of these tasks please contact them. They will be gathering feedback from the populace as well as recent A&S Champion’s Competition judges and entrants.

Our goals are:

1. Set expectations early for the next competition
2. Help artisans plan in advance and understand those expectations
3. Train more judges
4. Build consistency

We hope this will make the process easier and more enjoyable. We also think that this fosters learning and teaching throughout the year in addition to the competition.

These roles and goals are specific to the administrative aspects of the competition. The Champions will be chosen by the Royalty in the manner of their choosing.

We will be working together with Lady Sofya Gianetta di Trieste, Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences, and Lady Raziya bint Rusa, King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to their roles representing the Kingdom, they will advise and assist the A&S Office in these administrative tasks associated with the competition.

Your Servant to Command,


Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences Tagged: a&s, a&s champions, A&S champs, Arts and Sciences, champions

2017 Scribal Tour, Coming This Year to A Group Near You!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-02-28 23:31

A photo from the Visconti workshop at AEdult Swim, the first stop on the 2017 Scribal Tour. A second Visconti workshop will be held in Sylvan Glen March 18.

Tour Dates:

March 4 – Thescorre, Squashed Bug

March 18 – Sylvan Glen, Visconti

April 23 – Rhyderrich Hael, Celtic

June 17 – Angel’s Keep, Anne of Britany

August 6 to 9 – Pennsic, Armenian

August TBD – Thescorre, Visconti

September TBD – central PA, High French

October TBD – western PA, Celtic

For more information, or to register, please email Mistress Antoinette.

Join the Facebook Scribal Tour page.

Categories: SCA news sites

In Memoriam, Lord Argus Erikson

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2017-02-28 09:26

Lord Argus Erikson, aka Argus of the Seven Hills, passed on unexpectedly on February 1, 2017. His passing leaves a hole in the fabric of the Barony of Stonemarche.  Usually one starts this sort of article with a summary of the person’s awards and offices. Doing that doesn’t do Argus justice.

He received his Award of Arms from Balfar and Luna in 2000. He served Stonemarche as Chatelaine for several years.

Eventually he handed off the formal office, and writing the reports to someone else, but he never really stopped being a Chatelaine. As I scanned the social media in the first day or two after we heard the news, the one thing I saw repeated over and over was the sentiment that he’d been one of the first people the writer met when they came to an event in Stonemarche as a nervous newcomer, and he welcomed them. He made them feel like they belonged there, and were genuinely wanted.

That, at its core, is what a Chatelaine does. You can read guides to SCA life, you can watch videos and look at web sites about the SCA and how to get started, but it’s the personal touch that really makes you want to stay. He made people welcome as naturally as breathing. His legacy to Stonemarche, and to the SCA as a whole, is all those people who came, felt welcome, and stayed to become part of the fabric of the group.

It wasn’t just when you were new either. His face lit up any time he saw a friend, whether he’d just seen you the week before, or it had been a year. I don’t think I ever ran into him at an event without getting a big smile of welcome and hug.

He did lots of other things in the SCA too – he fought heavy list, he fenced, and he loved to sing and tell stories.  He wrote SCA filks, and loved a good party. He was a familiar sight at bardic circles with his gigantic beer stein, claiming “The wife said I could only have one drink, so it’s a big one.” It wasn’t true, but it made a good ice breaker.  It got people to laugh, and he loved that.

He was Father Christmas at more than one Baronial Yule. I think he was “Uncle Argus” to half the children of the Barony.  And he was always there to lend a hand when something needed doing at an event.

The funeral was held on Thurs. Feb. 9, but an informal memorial is planned for Palio in Stonemarche in June, for his SCA friends to share memories and bid him farewell.

The formal obituary is available on-line here:

This In Memoriam was written by Mistress A’isha bint Jamil.



Filed under: In Memoriam Tagged: In Memoriam, Stonemarche

Dress Your Best this weekend: Dayboard, Schedule

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-02-27 19:52

We will be having a clothing lending library at the event. Please bring any
books you think others might be interested in looking at. We are hoping to
have a scanner and printer set up so people use.

Dayboard menu:

  • Pea soup (V,GF)
  • Ham (GF)
  • Sausage (GF)
  • Bread & butter (VEG,D)
  • Cheeses (VEG,D,GF)
  • Eggs (VEG,GF)
  • Hummus (V,GF)
  • Veggies (V,GF)
  • Pickles, olives (V)
  • Honey goat cheese (VEG,D,GF)
  • Horse radish goat cheese (VEG,D,GF)
  • Fruits (V,GF)

Please contact Hrólfr á Fjárfelli with any food concerns–


  • 10am Event opens
  • 11am Fencing starts
  • 12 Heavy Fighting starts
  • 12 Dayboard
  • 12 to 2 Photo Booth will be open – Please come get your picture taken in all
    your finery!!
  • 2 Fashion Show
  • 4 Awards ceremony
  • 6 everyone must be out or they can help move all the dining hall tables

Come fight and fence once again in a medieval Great Hall. Show off your finery in our fashion show. Join us for a day of enjoyment at Risley Hall.

Please join the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn on March 4, 2017 at Risley Hall (536 Thurston Ave, Ithaca NY 14850) for Dress Your Best. There will be fencing and heavy fighting, but most excitingly a fashion show with prizes! Come take the stage and compete for prizes for things such as best overall, best persona, best accessory. And of course we don’t want to leave out they fighters so there will be prizes for things such as best heavy kit and fanciest fencer! We are also hoping for a class or two on personas and making garb.

Site opens at 10 am and will close at 6pm. Autocrat is Gytha Oggsdottir.

  • Adult Event Registration: $13
  • Adult Member Discount (or Adult Student Discount) Event Registration: $8
  • Teen Event Registration (13-17): $4
  • Youth (0-12): Free

Make checks payable to SCA NY Inc -Dominion of Myrkfaelinn

Please join us in our gorgeous medieval surroundings Dressed your Best!!

Facebook event page is here.

Categories: SCA news sites

An Evening of Fine Food & Dance: Menu

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-02-27 19:18

Interested in an evening of dancing and a delectable Spanish meal this weekend?

Baroness Oddkatla Jonsdottir shares below her menu for Nithgaard’s An Evening of Fine Food & Dance, an event that runs from 4 p.m. to midnight this Saturday evening, March 4, with dance masters from around the kingdom.

See the event announcement here. The Facebook event page is here.

First Course

  • An assortment of Spanish cheeses
  • Bread & butter
  • Membrillo (quince paste) (from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry)
  • Roasted red peppers, garlic & basil, marinated in olive oil
  • Clarea De Aqua (honey water) (from Libre del Coch Ruperto de Nola)

Second Course

  • Armored hen (Libre del Coch Ruperto de Nola)
  • Potatje de porrada (leek pottage) (Libre del Coch Ruperto de Nola)
  • Golden sops (Libre del Coch Ruperto de Nola)

Third Course

  • Pork Belly with French mustard and apples
  • Chickpeas and honey with pomegranate (A Drizzle of Honey)
  • Couscous

Fourth Course

  • Stuffing lamb with cheese (An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry)
  • Fresh [green] beans (An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry)
  • Macrones in almond milk with cheese (An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry)

Fifth Course

  • Recipe for honeyed rice (rice pudding) (An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, trans. Charles Perry)
  • Pottage called peach (Libre del Coch Ruperto de Nola)

Categories: SCA news sites

Ædult Swim II: Fighting with Social Anxiety

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2017-02-26 20:54

By Duke Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn, originally posted on Facebook

Photo of Duke Malcolm at last year’s AEdult Swim by Ursus.

I have read more than a few comments about anxiety and concerns by folks asking for fights, and I’d like to address that a wee bit. Let’s start with me sharing something that I don’t often share: I suffer from social anxiety. I don’t say that lightly as it’s one of those things that I just don’t talk about, but in this instance I think it’s important as it sets the tone for what I think I plan to say next. Just walking in the door to something like Ædult Swim is a non-minor victory for me. People I do not know intimidate me, and I never feel comfortable initiating a conversation. Ever.

So, I only say that to set the tone for making suggestions, and most of these suggestions apply to any situation, although in an environment like Ædult Swim or practices, even more so.

Primarily, remember why you are there. This is not Crown or a proving ground. Yes, there are times you see some of those Duke-types go at each other like it is, but believe me, they aren’t. They’re having fun, they’re playing, they’re testing each other and themselves. They are Duke-practicing. They are doing the same thing you are, they’re learning new things. It might not be obvious, but that’s what’s happening. It’s the same thing for you: you have nothing to prove except to yourself. Learn. Pick something that you need to know, and work on it. Or, and this is where the anxiety part comes in, ask someone to help you with that.

Fighters go to things like Æ-Swim to learn from resources that are not normally available. You can’t often get to spend time fighting someone from Lochac and the Midrealm and Caid all back to back. That usually only happens at major wars when there are a thousand other things going on. Practice is just that- practice. People expect to fight. The only reason people get turned down is because someone is waiting for someone else to finish arming and come out. And then, they’re likely to be willing to fight you next.

While I can only say this about myself, in conversations with fellow fighters of my level I feel confident that this next bit applies nearly universally: I love all my fights. At Æ-Swim II, I fought all level of fighters, from those fighting their first few months to those who have forgotten more than I will ever learn. I never.. EVER.. had the thought that “Gee, I wish I didn’t fight this person.” I was glad for each and every moment. For me, seeing the eyes light up as a newer fighter starts to see something gel is a thrill. Just as it’s exciting to see that look of “I got ya” in the eyes of the Superduke. At practice, every fight I teach, every fight I learn, every fight I practice. That no-ego, no-worries free exchange of knowledge is the beauty of Æ-Swim and practices.

And, for those of use who do suffer from anxiety, it is an opportunity to practice something else: courage. If you struggle with it, you get to practice enduring. You can practice your public skills and add that to your fight. With every encounter, and every moment, you take yet another step toward controlling the anxiety rather than allowing it to control you. I am not going to tell you to “not be afraid,” because that’s just not possible. I’ll tell you to go ahead and be afraid, be anxious, but do it anyway. That makes you stronger. Trust me on this one.

Lastly, let me give you this: you are a gift. You are a gift to yourself, and you are a gift to those who know you. If you are skilled, then learn more, push more, and share your skill. If you are learning, keep learning, and give the gift of practice to everyone you meet. While you may find some very few who do not accept your gift, they will be few and far between.

When you are at a practice, at a pick-up field, or something like Æ-Swim… grab that opportunity. Be the fighter, and go fight. Go learn. And if you see some chucklehead standing on the field by her- or himself, then go acquaint them with your friendship and ask for a dance. You got this.


Categories: SCA news sites

Officer Interview – Æthelmearc Kingdom Equestrian Officer

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-02-25 20:09

THL Aaliz de Gant

This is another installment of the Gazette’s Officer Interviews. This installment introduces the current Kingdom Equestrian Officer, THL Aaliz de Gant who answered the following questions regarding her involvement in the SCA, the equestrian program and her thoughts on equestrian activities in the Kingdom.

How long have you been in the SCA and what was your first event?

My first event was Pennsic 29. I started getting more involved in a local group after Pennsic 30 though.

What has made you stay?

The people – I have friends that became family. I can’t imagine life without them.

How did you become interested in equestrian activities and become the Equestrian Officer?

I’d been part of a couple households that were pretty much fighting households.  When they fell apart as households sometimes do, I found myself at loose ends right around the time a demo came up for equestrian activities.  I authorized at that event and was thrilled to be able to combine my SCA life and my horses. It is not every day I can manage to combine my expensive and all consuming hobbies.

What is the role of the Kingdom Officer for Equestrian?

Bringing policy from the Society Equestrian Officer to the Kingdom, setting and ensuring rules and policies are being followed within the kingdom, encouraging involvement, refereeing squabbles should they arise, warranting marshals, conducting marshal training, and generally being involved and attending events.

Do you have a general philosophy about your job?

I think that I should be able to prepare people to get involved in equestrian events if they express interest. I think the people within the program should “own” their program.

How would someone get involved in equestrian activities?

Talk to me or to any of the equestrians and we would be more than happy to discuss how to get you involved. If you don’t have a horse and simply want to be around them, we always need ground crew at events. If you have horses, we’d love to have you involved. If you want to start something in your area, talk to us and we’ll try to see what we can do.

What is an example of something you think the general populace should know about horses, but don’t?

This is harder — I’ve had horses my whole life so I’m never quite sure what people do and don’t know. But I think one of the hardest things to understand about equestrian is that there are two of us that have to work together – the rider and the horse. If either of us is having a bad day, it’s going to be a lot more obvious than in other disciplines. The best rider in the field isn’t always the one that will come out on top because horses have a mind of their own. You can practice hard, then have your horse decide on that day that it’s afraid of equipment that he/she has seen a thousand times. But the more practiced a horse/rider combo are the more they understand each other and the less you’ll see cues going on, in general.  When both horse and rider work together it makes it look like what they are doing is effortless.

Where do you see the Equestrian program going in the SCA or the kingdom – Are there any changes coming?

Society wise, there is a lot of encouragement and interest for more jousting. We have a couple of people in Æthelmearc who are very interested in jousting and they are working towards getting more of it in our Kingdom.

What is the best part about equestrian activities in the SCA?

A sword in one hand and reins in the other and people that think it’s just as incredible as you do.

THL Aaliz fighting Mistress Arabella on horseback.

Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report – The Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2017-02-24 17:17

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Marcus & Margerite, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, accompanied by Their Heir, Prince Timothy: the Business of The Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins, February 11, Anno Societatis LI, in the Barony of Delftwood. As recorded by Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.

In the morning their Majesties invited their Excellency’s Delftwood to join Them in Their court.

Baroness Helena Mutzhasen was called before Their Majesties, who spoke at length of Her Excellency’s artistry in millinery and clothing of Germany, and so the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc was summoned and Her Excellency was named a companion of that order. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova. Embroidered scroll by Meisterrin Felicity Fluβmüllnerin, Lady Margaret Grace, Countess Caryl Olesdatter, Herrin Saskia Feldmeyrin, and Fela Fluβmüllnerin with words by Freiherr Fridrich Fluβmüllnerin and Meisterrin Felicity Flu βmüllnerin.


Next, Master Diego Munoz de Castilla and Don Corwin Montgomery approached the Throne and presented Her Majesty with a pictorial representation of the lineage of the White Scarf starting with Tivar Moondragon. They showed Her Majesty the branch of the tree representing those subjects from the kingdom of Æthelmearc. However, Their Majesty’s Jewel Herald spoke and noted that the representation was heraldically incorrect as he is a member of that line and there is heraldry displayed of one who is not a white scarf of that line. To settle this matter, Her Majesty called for the Order of the White Scarf to confirm, and invited the Ladies of the Rose and Garnet to also attend. The Order did affirm that there was indeed heraldry displayed of one who is not a member of the Order, and so Lord Michael Gladwyne was called forward and inducted into the Order of the White Scarf in recognition of his prowess and his contributions to the rapier community of Æthelmearc. And thus, the error was made correct.  Scroll by Baroness Helena Mutzhasen.

THL Ruslan Voronov was called to attend Their Majesties, and then the Order of Chivalry was summoned forward. Their Majesties inquired whether his lordship was prepared to sit this day in vigil in contemplation of joining the Order of Chivalry, to which he responded that he was. However, there was one last piece of business to attend to and so Sir Óláfr þorvarðarson came forward and took back his squire’s belt from Ruslan and released him from his service so that he might sit vigil unencumbered. That business being concluded, Their Majesties released THL Ruslan into the care of the Order of Chivalry to escort him to vigil.

Court suspended.

In the evening their Majesties invited Their Excellency’s Delftwood to join Them in Their court.

Their Majesties called forward all children and then sent them off in pursuit of the toy chest of treasures so that they might be occupied during the remainder of court.

Their Majesties then gave leave to Their Excellency’s Delftwood to hold their baronial court.

Earl Yngvar the Dismal, Countess Caryl Olesdatter, Master John Michael Thorpe, THL Fionnghuala inghean Diarmada, and Baroness Beatrix Krieger were invited into court. Her Majesty spoke of a recent trip to the East Kingdom in which several challenges befell Her visit, and these gentles came forward and provided various forms of assistance to Her. So for these acts of kindness, Her Majesty presented each with a personal token of appreciation.

Katharina von Bamberg was awarded arms in absentia. Scroll by Mistress Graidhne ni Ruaidh.









Snorri sketi Bjornnson was awarded arms in absentia. Scroll by His Excellency Master Caleb Reynolds.









Lady Adelheid Grünewalderin was awarded a Keystone in absentia. Scroll by Baroness Helena Mutzhasen.









Lady Ragna Feilan was called forward and inducted into the Order of the Sycamore for her cooking and Viking food research, and for winning the Iron Chef competition. Scroll by His Excellency Master Caleb Reynolds.









Next, Ráðúlfr Eiríksson was invited into court and inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce and awarded arms for his prowess upon the field. Scroll by Baroness Barbary Rose of Endless Hills with words by Don Po Silvertop the Rogue.









Their Majesties then called for Ulfr Thorbjarnarson and inducted him into the Order of the Golden Alce and awarded him arms for his prowess, honor, and cunning upon the field. Scroll by THL Padraig O’Branduibh.









Her Majesty then called for Sir Óláfr þorvarðarson and spoke of his generosity, and specifically spoke of the children’s treasure chest he constructed when the call for help went out. And so, She named Sir Óláfr Her inspiration and awarded him a Golden Escarbuncle.

THL Ruslan Voronov was next called before the Throne. Their Majesties asked if, after having received council today, he would join the Order of Chivalry, and Ruslan answered in the affirmative. Their Majesties then called for Their Order of Chivalry to join Them. Duke James Ahearn then arose as a royal peer and spoke of Ruslan’s willingness to give of himself to others. He stated that to be a noble one must act nobly, and that Ruslan has done that. By letter, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay spoke for the Order of Defence and told of how Ruslan’s booming voice can be heard above the din and how he uses that voice to teach, to serve, and to grow others. Countess Isabeau de l’Isle spoke for the Order of the Laurel of how excellence takes you beyond simple curiosity, but to passion; and that passion leads to practice, and that practice leads to growth. Countess Caryl Olesdatter spoke for the Order of the Pelican of Ruslan’s current service as champion of the Roses and how he is a beacon for others to follow. For the Order of Chivalry, Count Robin Wallace told of Ruslan’s humility, his striving, his leading and teaching of the art of combat. Sir Óláfr þorvarðarson also spoke of Ruslan’s ability to speak truth from the heart because he has gone through dark times and walked the gauntlet himself. Having heard these words of Their peers, Their Majesties were then moved to induct Ruslan into the Order of Chivalry and had him adorned with spurs, a belt of white belonging to Duke Morgunn Sheridan, a cloak, and a chain. His Majesty then knighted Ruslan, and Their Majesties received his oath. Scroll forthcoming.

Lastly, Their Majesties thanked all those scribes and artisans who had contributed works throughout Their reign so that the work and skill of others might be recognized, and Her Majesty offered tokens of appreciation and offered scribal supplies.

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

Faithfully submitted,

Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta

Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald

Categories: SCA news sites

Travel Fund to Benefit from Sales of The Dream Atlas

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-02-24 13:03

The Dream Atlas is a map of the Known World inspired by the 14th century Catalan Atlas and created as a fundraiser for Their Highnesses to use toward travel expenses and Eastern Hospitality for foreign royalty. This Atlas is now available for purchase. The map shows all twenty of the current kingdoms, as well as many baronies, shires and sites of large annual events.

In addition to providing geographical reference, there are annotations about each kingdom designed to help travelers better understand various regions. These notes come from conversations with the people who dwell in each land and provide only a small taste of much larger cultures.

Researched and drawn by Lady Christiana Crane, The Dream Atlas is designed to be an opportunity for people to learn about their neighbors, regardless of kingdom. It makes an attractive piece of art for the home or office, however adventurous pilgrims may instead choose to fold their map and use it to record their own travels, turning the Atlas into a living journal.

Maps are 24”x36” black and white prints and are $35 including shipping. These can be ordered through the website until April 3, 2017.

There is also an extremely small number of limited-edition, full color hand painted originals of the map done on acid free paper available for $1000 each. Details regarding availability and delivery time are available by contacting TheDreamAtlas (at) crossroadgames (dot) com.

To learn more about The Dream Atlas, or to order yours, go to

Filed under: Announcements Tagged: for sale, fundraiser, Fundraising, Ioannes and Honig, Travel Fund

Teachers Sought for Novice Schola

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2017-02-24 05:09

On March 11th, the Barony of Bergental (Springfield, MA) will celebrate its 25th birthday by holding a Novice Schola, with classes and activities for one and all.

The class scheduler, Mistress Barbeta Kyrkeland, is still looking for teachers to teach classes in the following categories:

  • A&S (particularly scribal, woodworking, leatherworking, lampworking, blacksmithing, beer-making, metalworking, etc.)
  • Martial
  • Cooking & Food
  • History
  • SCA Life
  • Music & Dance
  • Garb (particularly looking for a simple tunic class)
  • Youth 10-16
  • Youth 6-9
  • children 1-5

If you are available to teach at thsi event, please contact Mistress Barbeta

Filed under: Events Tagged: Bergental, classes, novice, novice classes, novice schola, teachers