SCA news sites

Æthelmearc’s Response

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2014-12-14 10:05

Their Highnesses, Timothy and Gabrielle, of Æthelmearc have sent a message to their kingdom about the challenge that Æthelmearc faces from the East Kingdom and the Midrealm.  Their words can be found here at the  Æthelmearc Gazette.

Filed under: Pennsic

Captured News from the East

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2014-12-14 08:02

Amid rumours of War, one of our Æthelmearc scouts has discovered the following document penned by the Prince of the East. Our Highnesses, Timothy and Gabrielle have already called for aid from within our Kingdom as you all saw yesterday, and we remain confident that the populace of this Sylvan Kingdom will prevail. The Æthelmearc Gazette will keep you posted should any other nefarious plans be discovered.

Read the message here.

Categories: SCA news sites

Stolen Bow and Quiver

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-13 20:20

Stolen bow and quiver:

My friend Sue’s traditional bow and hand tooled leather quiver were stolen from her car in the Tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT) on December 5. Please keep your eyes out for it on Craigslist and shops/flea markets, etc. She is devastated.

The missing bow is a recurve barebow, 64 inches, Osage and coco-bola wood. It has the name “Susan” plus “custom made by R. King” written on it. Possibly a 29 pound bow. The quiver is hand-engraved tooled leather and had 10 arrows in it (5 Easton Carbon one 1000s with pink feathers and 5 with yellow feathers). Again, please keep your eyes open for it. Thanks!

If you hear/see anything please e-mail:

Categories: SCA news sites

Sistine Chapel visitors to be limited to 6 million per year - Sat, 2014-12-13 16:37

In order to protect its precious frescoes, the Vatican has announced that it will restrict visitors to the Sistine Chapel to 6 million each year. Experts say that dust, sweat and carbon dioxide from up to 20,000 tourists a day pose a major threat to Michelangelo’s masterpiece. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Heavy Weapons Practice in the Shire of Hartstone

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-13 15:30

Unto the noble populace of the mighty Kingdom of Æthelmearc,

Greetings to you all. For those who do not know me, I am THLady Beatrix “Bea” Krieger, Squire to Earl Yngvar the Dismal, and First Lieutenant to the Regional Commander of Myrkfaels, THLord Thorsol Solinagua. I am writing to you today to announce a change in the schedule to the regular heavy weapons practice in the Shire of Hartstone, and cordially invite every fighter in Aethelmearc to please take part.

The point of this change is to help improve fighters throughout the region and build up good melee combatants, good single fighters, and competence in various forms, good tournament warriors, and good barrier fighters.

Every practice will begin at around 6-6:30pm on Friday evenings (at one of our local places, currently at the Elks Lodge in Hornell, New York) with about an hour to an hour and a half long session of warm ups and pickups. At about 7-7:30pm, we will do one of the following:

First Friday of the month-Melee practice.

Second Friday of the month-Barrier fighting.

Third Friday of the month-the Hartstone Round Robin Tournament.

Fourth Friday of the month-Funny weapons or odd weapons or different forms practice (if there is a form you never use, want to learn, or just want to try, this is the time to bring all your toys and try them out).

If there is a fifth Friday practice in that month (as there is in January), we will do whatever floats your boat type practice (barriers, melee, open practice, etc.) and just see what people feel like doing.

Each practice will have about an hour to an hour and a half of this format fighting, and then a session of teaching, pickups, and discussion, followed by a drink at the Elks Lodge around 9:15, and dinner at Paddy’s Pub at about 9:45pm (if you want food, we must be in Paddy’s before 10pm).

Newbies are very much encouraged on attending, and private lessons with fighters will be happening as well as the other main portions of the formatted practice. If we can, I’d like to get marshals present to do authorizations if need be.

This format for these practices will begin on January 2nd, 2015, the first practice of the new year, at the Hornell Elks Lodge, 60 Broadway Mall, Hornell New York 14843. Please use the back door to enter (be prepared to climb stairs to get in).

I hope this format will entice fighters to attend practices beyond their borders, and fight new people. I plan on traveling within my region and (if I am able) beyond, and learning all I can in the coming new year. I hope to see many of you in the next few months at practice.

In your service,

THLady Beatrix Krieger

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic News

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-13 14:36

Unto the Citizens of Æthelmearc do their Highnesses, Timothy and Gabrielle send greetings,
Long and loud have we sung the praises of Glorious Æthelmearc. Her beautiful views. Her wonderful people. Her sumptuous feasts. Her talented artisans. Her skilled fencers, mighty fighters and deadly archers. Our neighbors have noticed, and are no longer content merely to settle their differences on our lands; now they have decided to join forces and divide up Æthelmearc amongst themselves! The East and the Middle have announced their intentions this very day. We have a mere seven months to ready our forces and defend our lands. Their Majesties, Her Highness and I will try and rally the Known World to our cause, and ask you all to aid us in the defense of our home. This will of course be done in the joyous spirit of friendship that Pennsic and the Society is always about.

As always, we serve,
Timothy and Gabrielle

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Message from the Prince

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-13 14:00

His Highness, Crown Prince Darius, called Omega asked the Gazette to share the following with the populace.

As some of you may know, Her Highness and I are very good friends with Their Highnesses Ragnvaldr and Arabella of the Midrealm. We have been getting along so famously that we have decided it is about time we were actually neighbors. To this end, we will be taking over Aethelmearc. The lands gained will of course be divided equally between the parties involved.

Filed under: Pennsic

New Southern Region Rapier Deputy Announced

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2014-12-12 17:30
Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings.    I am pleased to announce that the new Southern Regional Rapier Deputy will be Baroness Engracia de Madrigal.  Again, I would like to thank Don Griffith Davion for his service in this position.  Please join me in welcoming Baroness Engracia to her new position, and I encourage all of you to help make her transition a smooth one.    In Service,      Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East
Filed under: Fencing, Official Notices Tagged: fencing

3D scanning used to study medieval teeth - Fri, 2014-12-12 12:39

Researchers from around the world may benefit from a study of the molars of 22 individuals unearthed during excavation of Periplatz cemetery in Berlin. The remains, dating from between 1200 to c.1600 CE, were analyzed using "3D printing technology to complement strontium isotope analysis in order to better understand the ancient residents of Berlin."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Websites for Digitized Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2014-12-12 06:46

Both aspiring and experienced scribes can learn a lot from looking at actual period manuscripts. Every day more and more medieval books are digitized and made available online, and many websites offer the ability to zoom in and see fine detail close up. Here are some wonderful sites for seeing a wide array of medieval and renaissance manuscripts that can provide scribal inspiration for years to come.

The British Library site offers not only complete manuscripts, but also detailed information on the time, place, artistic style, and provenance of each manuscript, along with a very robust search function that lets you narrow your results with great precision. Want to find Arabic medical manuscripts from 1000-1100, or Italian Books of Hours dating to the early 15th century? This is your site.

British Library Manuscript collection

DMMapp is the granddaddy of manuscript sites. It offers a map of the world with links to specific libraries’ or museums’ collections. Click a link to browse the selected location’s offerings. Bonus: it’s also the home of the “Sexy Codicology” Blog, with a link to their Facebook page. Its weakness is that each site is distinct and separate, so there’s no way to search all of them by keyword from DMMapp. The quality and ease of navigation of the sites is also highly variable.

Digitized Medieval Manuscripts site

The Getty Museum recently made many of its books available as free PDF downloads, including several about its collection of medieval manuscripts. Examples include Elizabeth C. Teviotdale’s “The Stammheim Missal” and “Flemish Manuscript Painting in Context: Recent Research,” edited by Elizabeth Morrison and Thomas Kren.

Medieval Writing has a huge amount of information about medieval paleography (the study of writing) including snippets of calligraphy from many different manuscripts. Use its Index of Scripts to take a guided tour of styles ranging from 4th century Roman to 16th century Humanistic. One of its best features is the ability to mouse over samples from period manuscripts and see the words printed in modern text as shown below, which is tremendously helpful in figuring out unusual or hard-to-read letter forms.

The Medieval Writing site shows you the words when you mouse over the calligraphed text

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, like the Getty, offers some of its books on medieval art as free downloads. Use the search categories on the left to narrow the list of options. Examples include “The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry” by Timothy Bates Husband, and “The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500–1200” by the Museum.

The National Library of Wales has a small collection, but it’s one of the few places to find Welsh manuscripts like the Book of Llandaff, the Laws of Hywel Dda, and the Black Book of Carmarthen, which is one of the earliest manuscripts written in Welsh.

Trinity College of Dublin has a number of period manuscripts, but none more famous than the magnificent Book of Kells; a portion of folio 2r is shown below zoomed in close. Use the “By Dates” search feature to find manuscripts at Trinity College dating to SCA period.

Closeup of a page from the Book of Kells, housed at the Trinity College of Dublin

The Vatican Library recently announced that they will be vastly expanding their collection of digital manuscripts over the next few years, so this is a space to watch! Use its Advanced Search feature to search by elements like Beginning and Ending dates, though navigation is a little clunky and sometimes frustrating. When you find a manuscript, click the book icon next to its name to see the actual pages. Clicking the manuscript’s name displays a very brief description of the manuscript including its date, size, and name.

Is there a site for scribal inspiration that you love which isn’t on our list? Post a link in the comments!

- Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Getty Museum to return Byzantine manuscript - Thu, 2014-12-11 16:23

In 1960, a rare, 12th century Byzantine manuscript was stolen from the Dionysiou Monastery in Mount Athos. The Getty Museum in California purchased the codex in 1983 and will now restore it to its rightful place in Greece. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

SCA Membership & Marketplace Now Open - Thu, 2014-12-11 11:11

In an announcement from the SCA Board of Directors, it was reported that Membership and Marketplace portals are now open.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Hastings 2016 to offer "more action than a Hollywood blockbuster" - Thu, 2014-12-11 06:12

Mark your calendars. Re-enactors will return to Battle Abbey on 14 October 2016 for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

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Categories: SCA news sites

What lies beneath? - Wed, 2014-12-10 23:21

Museum conservationists never know what they might discovered under layers of paint and grime. What lies beneath the surface is the subject of a new display at London's National Portrait Gallery which reveals, for the first time, some of the conservationists' findings.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Event Announcement and Call for Classes, College of Three Ravens

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:34

Illumination by Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn


The Avian and Industrious Barony of Thescorre is pleased to again announce that the College of Three Ravens will be in held on February 21st, 2015. The College will take place at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY  14622. The site will open at 9:00am and close at 9:00pm. Those present after 9:00 pm may be pressed into clean-up duties! Classes will begin at 10:00am and continue until at least 4:00pm. The site is handicapped accessible and has ample parking.
We are anticipating a pleasing variety of classes. If you have a class that you would like to teach, please contact the Chancellor of Classes, Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona Please see her call for classes, below.

With your paid reservation, please include “C3R” in the subject line.
The adult site fee of $7 includes a sideboard lunch (children under eighteen – $4, children under 5 – free). A family cap of $22 for the *site fees only* will be in effect. A $5 non-member surcharge must be collected at the door for adults without proof of membership. The site is dry, no alcohol permitted. No flames – open or enclosed are allowed.

Lady Elen Woderose speaks with Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn, the autocrat of College of Three Ravens 2014. Photo credit, Lord Simon Peregrin (Bob Wheeler).


A sideboard lunch will be prepared by Baroness Mistress Sadira bint Saleem-(315-524-9823) A Tour Across Europe feast will be prepared by Baroness Nuzah bint Saleem-(585 615 0398 with assistance from Lady Elzbieta and Lord Andrew. Please contact Baroness Nuzah by 1/31/15 with dietary restrictions. Adult feast is $9 (children under eighteen – $5, children under 5 – free). Feast seating is limited to 85. Feast reservation cannot be guaranteed unless reserved by 2/15/15.

Pre-reservation for this event is always appreciated for planning both the sideboard & feast. Please send reservations to the reservationist/tollner ­­­­­­­­­­­­ THL Otelia d’Alsace ( Esther Heller, 1355 Walworth-Penfield Rd, Walworth NY 14568 Checks are to be made payable to SCA NY Inc – Barony of Thescorre. Please do include modern name, SCAdian name & membership number (where appropriate) for each person to be covered by your payment. Also, indicate if any are minors, and for whom feast reservations are desired. Inclusion of contact info will be invaluable in clarifications. Please remember that the only good reservation is a paid reservation.

For further information or questions, please contact the autocrat: Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn (Margaret Wilcox) at or 585-414-3748 before 8:30 pm.

At the 2013 College of Three Ravens, the feast featured this delicious dessert sideboard. Photo Credit, Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn.


Call for Classes

Unto the Good Gentles of Aethelmearc does Lady Kaðlin Sigvaldakona send Greetings!

As Chancellor of Classes for the upcoming College of Three Ravens event in the Industrious Barony of Thescorre, I am humbly requesting for gentles to share their knowledge and skills by signing up to teach a class (or two)!  This day of teaching and learning will be on February 21, 2015 at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622.

Please use the following format when supplying information:

 SCA Name: (as you wish it to appear in the class listings)

E-mail address:
Class Name:
Class Description:

Class Format: (lecture, round-table, hands-on, etc)
Length of Class: (one 50 min block or two 50 min blocks)

Handouts provided: (yes/no)

Participant Fees: (if any)

Class Limits/Restrictions: (# of participants, no children, children with supervision, etc.)
Room/equipment requirements: (table space, access to sink, use of projector, etc )

Preferred teaching time: (am, pm, either)

Please send emails to with ‘C3R’ in the subject line.


Yours in service,

Lady Kaðlin Sigvaldakona

Chancellor of Classes

College of Three Ravens, 2015



Categories: SCA news sites

Registration closes soon for TMS Bladesmithing Competition - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:05

Registration for the TMS Bladesmithing Competition will close December 15, 2014. The TMS 2015 Annual Meeting and Exhibition will take place March 15-19 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Delftwood Regional Fight Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 17:33

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

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

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

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

Categories: SCA news sites

East Kingdom Seneschal Seeking Chair for 50th Year Anniversary Display

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 17:20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Service,
Eleanor, Baroness Flame
The Middle Kingdom

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: SCA 50 Year, volunteers

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

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 14:11

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

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

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

(See announcement at

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

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

A lady’s feast, courtesy of


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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Bronwyn: Two things—

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—submitted by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina

Categories: SCA news sites

East Kingdom Regional Rapier Practice

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed under: Fencing Tagged: fencing, regional practice