AEthelmearc Gazette

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Covering the Kingdom of Æthelmearc of the SCA
Updated: 33 min 48 sec ago

Court Report: The Scarlet Guard Inn

Wed, 2017-07-26 12:15

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald with the assistance of Lord Ronin O’Conall at The Scarlet Guard Inn in the Shire of Hornwood on June 10, Anno Societatis LII.

Their Majesties called forth the children present and asked Lord Robert Hazelet to take up the toy chest and lead the children on a merry chase. The children were instructed, once they caught Lord Robert, to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present. Having been given a count of ten, the chase commenced.

Their Majesties invited before Them, the Emissaries from the Kingdom of Meridies in attendance. Baron Griffin, speaking for the group presented gifts to Their Majesties including a reviled hat from the opponents of the Penguins of BMDL currently vying for a Cup from Lord Stanley to the merry hissing of the court.

Their Majesties invited Master Denys the Decadent before Them. Master Denys spoke of his pilgrimage to Scotland and presented Their Majesties with gifts from his travels.

Master Denys presenting a gift to Their Majestes. Photo by Lord Mikus Magellus.

Their Majesties then invited Master Juan Miguel Cezar to bring forth the Marshals of the varied shoots of the Scarlet Guard Inn, who then named those who had bested the fields in the archery competitions of the day.

Master Juan Miguel gives out prizes. Photo by Lord Mikus Magellus.

Their Majesties called for Chebe to present himself before Them. As a skilled archer working with the Hael Hounds, making his own bow and arrows as well as meads and ales, They felt he was a worthy deserving recognition and therefore Awarded him Arms making him a Lord of the court. The Scroll was created by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties called Thalia la Papelone to attend Them. Speaking of her quiet service and continued work with the archery community, They Awarded her Arms, thus making her a Lady of the court. The scroll was illuminated by Mistress Cori Ghora and calligraphed by Mistress Liadain ni Chleirigh na Coille.

Their Majesties called forth Baron Edward Harbinger and Master Juan Miguel. They spoke of the rank of Master Bowman and how it was achieved through dedication to the art of the bow. Their Majesties then called forth Lady Ghaliya bint Yusef. Having attained the rank of Master Bowman, it was Their pleasure to witness this title conferred upon Lady Ghaliya. Furthermore, They felt it right to induct her to the Order of the Golden Alce for her tremendous dedication to the sport. They invited before them Mistress Ysabell Graver and Master Jacapo di Niccolo who presented her with the Golden Alce medallion originally worn by Master Jacapo before Lady Ghaliya’s birth and then worn by Mistress Ysabell. The scroll was created by the hand of THLady Anlaith ingen Trena.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Kathryn Täntzel. Seeing her work as both a seamstress and as a feast cooking assistant along with her creation of archery targets to enliven the hunt, They inducted her into the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll by Mistress Gillian Llwelyn of Ravenspur.

Their Majesties then called forth Lord Cyrus Augur. For his study of period fencing technique and his teaching of this knowledge, They inducted him into the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll by Freiherrin Helena Muetzhasen.

Their Majesties call for Lady Rachaeldis of Swansmere to attend Them. As the Mum to Sylvan Vulcani, she helps in archery, fencing marshalling and bringing lost cousins into the SCA with grace and inspiration. For all this, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll by Lady Felice de Thornton.

Their Majesties thanked Hornwood for hosting the Scarlet Guard Inn as it allows them to showcase the skill of the archers of Aethelmearc and enjoined the populace to take up the bow to strike fear into our enemies at Pennsic War. This day, They advised, They sought to find a new champion for Their court and indeed Master Jacapo di Niccolo had surpassed all this day. Having done so, Their Majesties saw fit to name him Their Archery Champion.

Maestro Jacopo is named Kingdom Archery Champion again. Photo by Lord Mikus Magellus

Their Majesties asked that all scribes who contributed to the scrolls given during the courts today stand and be recognized.

Her Majesty asked Lord Alfonso to attend Her. Her Majesty advised how she was delighted by the archery targets created for the event and was advised Lord Alfonso volunteered to create them all in the two weeks before the event while finalizing all the classes he was teaching at University. This moved Her to name him Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon him the Golden Escarbuncle for his selfless devotion.

Lord Alfonso receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Lord Mikus Magellus.

There being no further business this day, Their Majesties’ court was thus concluded.

Categories: SCA news sites

A Recipe for Pickled Mushrooms

Tue, 2017-07-25 00:09

by THFool Dagonell the Juggler.


From The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Opened (1669)

 Original Text:


Champignons are best, that grow upon gravelly dry rising Grounds. Gather them of the last nights growth; and to preserve them white, it is well to cast them into a pitcher of fair-water, as you gather them: But that is not absolutely necessary, if you will go about dressing them as soon as you come home. Cut the great ones into halves or quarters, seeing carefully there be no worms in them; and peel off their upper skin on the tops: the little ones, peel whole. As you peel them, throw them into a bason of fair-water, which preserves them white.

 Then put them into a pipkin or possnet of Copper (no Iron) and put a very little water to them, and a large proportion of Salt. If you have a pottle of Mushrooms, you may put to them ten or twelve spoonfuls of water, and two or three of Salt. Boil them with pretty quick-fire, and scum them well all the while, taking away a great deal of foulness, that will rise. They will shrink into a very little room.

 When they are sufficiently parboiled to be tender, and well cleansed of their scum, (which will be in about a quarter of an hour,) take them out, and put them into a Colander, that all the moisture may drain from them. In the mean time make your pickle thus: Take a quart of pure sharp white Wine Vinegar (elder-Vinegar is best) put two or three spoonfuls of whole Pepper to it, twenty or thirty Cloves, one Nutmeg quartered, two or three flakes of Mace, three Bay-leaves; (some like Limon-Thyme and Rose-mary; but then it must be a very little of each) boil all these together, till the Vinegar be well impregnated with the Ingredients, which will be in about half an hour. Then take it from the fire, and let it cool.

 When the pickle is quite cold, and the Mushrooms also quite cold, and drained from all moisture: put them into the Liquor (with all the Ingredients in it) which you must be sure, be enough to cover them. In ten or twelve days, they will have taken into them the full taste of the pickle, and will keep very good half a year. If you have much supernatant Liquor, you may parboil more Mushrooms next day, and put them to the first. If you have not gathered at once enough for a dressing, you may keep them all night in water to preserve them white, and gather more the next day, to joyn to them.”


Champignon is the medieval term for white button mushrooms.  “Of last night’s growth” means ones that weren’t there the previous night.  I chickened out and got packages from the grocery store.  Pipkins and Possnets are small cooking pans.  A pottle is an archaic unit of measure equal to a half gallon.  Twenty or thirty cloves???  Um, no.  Just no.  By liquor, he means the pickling liquid, not alcohol. Supernatant liquor is liquid over a solid residue.  I didn’t realize the term was that old!  

One pottle of mushrooms = 1/2 gallon = 1892.7 grams

One package of mushrooms = 12 ounces = 340 grams = ~20% of a pottle


From: Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book (1605)

 Original Text:


Take your Buttons, clean ym with a spunge & put ym in cold water as you clean ym, then put ym dry in a stewpan & shake a handfull of salt over ym, yn stew ym in their own liquor till they are a little tender; then strain ym from ye liquor & put ym upon a cloath to dry till they are quite cold. Make your pickle before you do your Mushrooms, yt it may be quite cold before you put ym in. The pickle must be made with White-Wine, White-Pepper, quarter’d Nutmeg, a Blade of Mace, & a Race of ginger.”

 My translation:

Take your Buttons, clean them with a sponge and put them in cold water as you clean them, then put them dry in a stewpan and shake a handful of salt over them, then stew them in their own liquor till they are a little tender; then strain them from the liquor and put them upon a cloth to dry until they are quite cold. Make your pickle before you do your mushrooms, so it may be quite cold before you put them in. The pickle must be made with white wine, white pepper, quartered nutmeg, a blade of mace, and a race of ginger.


Again, the liquor is not alcohol, but the pickling liquid.  Nutmeg and mace both come from the same plant, Myrstica fragrans.  Nutmeg is the seed, mace is the lace-like peel.  A blade of mace is about 1/6 of the entire peel, so call it about a 1/2 teaspoon.  A race of ginger is one piece of root.  


Modern Redaction using both recipes:

  • 3/4 cup water (12 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 36 oz. fresh mushrooms (3 12-ounce packages)
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 3 whole cloves (not 30!)
  • 1 whole nutmeg, broken (place in baggie, wrap in towel, hit with hammer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered mace
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 small ginger root, peeled and sliced

 In a small saucepan, combine water, salt, and peeled mushrooms.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  It looks like there’s not enough liquid.  You just need enough to keep the mushrooms from scorching until they start to tenderize.  They will give up half their weight as liquid.  When the mushrooms are tender, strain them in a colander over a second saucepan.  Don’t throw away the liquid, it makes a great mushroom broth for homemade soup!  If you use commercial mushrooms, there won’t be any scum to deal with.  In a third saucepan, combine the vinegar, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, mace, bay leaves, and ginger root.  Bring to a boil.  Let everything cool.  Place the mushrooms in a clean jar, pour the pickling liquid over them, and seal.  Let marinate for two weeks.  

Categories: SCA news sites

Royalty Retainers Urgently Needed for Pennsic

Sun, 2017-07-23 15:07

Lady Elena. Photo by Jinx.

Pennsic is shortly upon us, and I am in search of gentles to help attend Their Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle. They will need retainers beginning Thursday of Peace Week and continuing through closing ceremonies on Friday of War Week.

Each shift is an hour long and every willing gentle is welcome – whether you’d like to retain for one hour on one day, or return multiple times over the course of the war. As always, new retainers are very welcome!

If you wish to sign up in advance (really encouraged!), please get in touch with me. I can be reached via Facebook message (Elena de la Palma) or via email.(   You can also sign up by coming to Æthelmearc Royal (at the corner of Brewer’s and St. Lawrence, right next to Pennsic University) at any point during Pennsic – even after the War starts, more hands will always be needed!

And finally, we will need many hands for some of the bigger events like Opening Ceremonies, Æthelmearc Court, the Known World Party, and Closing Ceremonies. Your help will always be welcome – simply come to Æ Royal before the event and let us know you’d like to help!

 Generous Æthelmearc, you have been so gracious in attending Their Majesties these past months. I am humbled with gratitude as I think ahead to Pennsic, and to the many gentles who will give of their time to ensure Their Majesties’ comfort. Truly, there is no place like home!

 Want to get in touch about retaining for Their Majesties at Pennsic?

Elena de la Palma, Head Retainer

Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report: Æthelmearc War Practice

Sat, 2017-07-22 16:28

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of AEthelmearc Herald with the assistance of Lord Arias Beltran del Valle,   Misty Highlands Herald, Master Liam Mac An TSaoir, Sycamore Herald, Drotin Jǫrundr hinn Rotinn, Golden Alce Herald and Master Fridrikr Tomasson, Gullskel Herald at War Practice in the Canton of Steltonwald on May 20, Anno Societatis LII.

The Court of Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle was opened upon the Fencing Field:

As Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, accompanied by Their Heirs, Gareth
and Julianna, observed the fencing melee They asked for the crowd to assemble. They discussed the pride They found in the tremendous forces assembled. They spoke of the joy They had in creating the first of the Masters of Defense and asked the members if they felt there was anyone missing from their rank. The Masters of Defense advised Their Majesties that there was such a lack. So counseled, Their Majesties called forth Emily of Dunvegan and asked she sit vigil and play her prize at a date of Their choosing so that she may be so elevated to this Order. Scroll calligraphed by Isabella Montoya upon wording by Mistress Gabrielle Winter.

At the Court in the Afternoon:

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, accompanied by Their Heirs, Gareth
and Julianna, invited The Baron and Baroness of BMDL, Brandubh and Hilderun, to Their court.

Their Majesties invited Mistress Arianna Winthrope to speak regarding Their Youth Combat Championship. Mistress Arianna advised that there were two Youth who were victorious in their divisions, Fox and Katrina. Their Majesties being so advised did invest both Fox and Katrina as Their Youth Combat Champions. The outgoing Youth Combat Champions, Karl and Timothy of Arindale the Younger, were thanked for their service.

Fox and Katrina invested as Kingdom Champions. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties called forth Evelyn of Stormsport. For her work in helping with pre-cook for feasts, serving feast and especially her assistance with the Queen’s Tea, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Silver Buccle. The scroll by Lady Edena the Red.

Their Majesties also called forth Alva Halfdansdottir. For her work as a List Runner at Crown Tournaments, kitchen assistance and serving at the Queen’s Tea, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Silver Buccle.

Their Majesties called forth the rest of the children present. They asked the children to assist with singing Happy Birthday to someone before Lord Robert MacEwin took the toy chest and ran from the court. The children were instructed to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present.

Their Majesties called Meisteren Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen forth to be serenaded with the appropriate aforementioned song. Upon completion They asked her to remain a moment while the children departed. Once the children had left They asked her take a knee while the Order of the Master of Defense were invited before Their Majesties. Their Majesties advised Meisteren Fredeburg that she should present herself at a future date of Their choosing to sit vigil and play her prize so that she may be inducted into this most noble Order. Scroll calligraphed by Isabella Montoya upon wording by Mistress Gabrielle Winter.

Their Majesties invited to Their court His Majesty, King William of the MidRealm. His Majesty William thanked Their Majesties for a rousing day of fighting and advised that although He will take the field at Pennsic to oppose the armies of Æthelmearc, He yet counts Their Majesties as friends. Their Majesties presented Him with a gift basket in appreciation of His visit.

King William of the Middle. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties invited to Their court His Majesty, King Quilliam of Ealdormere. His Majesty Quilliam remarked on how enjoyed His day and looked forward to clashing with the might of Æthelmearc upon these very fields in the Pennsic War to come. Their Majesties presented Him with a gift basket to return home with and thanked Him for His visit.

Their Majesties gave leave to Their Excellencies of Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands to hold Their court.

Upon the completion of the Baronial court, Their Majesties invited before them Edelvrouw Lisbet de Keukere to discuss the Scarlet Apron competition this day. Edelvrouw Lisbet advised that there was a strong showing of competitors and was pleased to announce the populace choice was La Connectsion Frances and the Winners of the Scarlet Apron were Team Pel/Laurel comprised of Mistress Myfanwy ferch Rhiannon and Master Alastar Scott MacCrummin.

The Scarlet Apron is awarded to Master Alastar and Maistres Myfanwy. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties invited before Them Mistress Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon. Touched by her teaching of the tournament and hospitality in the galleries They rewarded her years of dedication her by adding her to Their Court as a Baroness. They asked Sir Aengus to attend Them so that he might present the Coronet to mark her station. The scroll was a work by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

Their Majesties called forth Baron Friderich Swartzwalder, Kingdom Deputy Earl Marshall for Combat Archery. They asked if he felt it was time to step down from the post he had held with great diligence and he advised that he agreed and had found a suitable replacement in Mistress Zoe Akropolitina. Their Majesties asked Mistress Zoe if she was willing to take on this role and having assented They received her oath of service.

Mistress Zoe swears fealty as Kingdom Combat Archery Marshal. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties next demanded the presence of the Wild Hunt. Countess Elena and Don Po came forward to announce the results of the Wild Hunt throughout the year and bestow gifts upon the winners. In third place was Lord Robert Hawkesworth, second place THLady Gytha Oggsdottir and first place went to Lord Ru Cavorst.

Lord Ru Cavorst collects his prizes as winner of the Wild Hunt. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties called forth Duncan MacCoulagh and Isabella of Steltonwald. For Duncan’s work in the archery community and blacksmithing, Their Majesties Awarded him Arms and made him a Lord of the court. For Isabella’s interest in cooking, help in the kitchens and with whatever tasks need done, Their Majesties Awarded her Arms and made her a Lady of the court. Both scrolls were created by Countess Anna Leigh.

Their Majesties called before Them Jack Falleinwell. His Majesty commented on how He could not help but smile at this gentleman’s name, since as a small lad, the great and intelligent hound Lassie had often been known to call for Him to find a gentle with this very last name. Their Majesties advised that such a man must be mighty indeed and found that his extensive work at the Pennsic Wars did indeed make him a mighty helper for the Pennsic staff and especially mayor. Having been advised of such accomplishments They conferred upon him the title of Lord and Awarded him Arms.

Their Majesties called forth Illyria of Delftwood and for her beautiful work on garb and accessories and her generously donated works for largess and fundraisers They Awarded her Arms making her a Lady of the court. Scroll by Lady Genevote Nau d’Anjou.

Their Majesties called Charlotte Starke to attend Them. For her work in crafting lovely garb and fencing bucklers and her participation in fencing They made her a Lady of the court by Awarding her Arms. Scroll by THLady Mary Elizabeth Clason with wording by Mistress Gabrielle Winter.

Their Majesties called forth Mathias Al Tabai. Because of his helpfulness including willingness to become an exchequer and his fencing acumen, Their Majesties saw fit to make him a Lord of the court with an Award of Arms. Scroll was created by Elspeth of Wormwald with wording by Mistress Gabrielle Winter.

Their Majesties called Salvador Moro de Medici to come before Them. For his skill both on the Heavy and fencing fields and his willingness to teach others, They Awarded unto him Arms, thus making him a Lord of the court. Scroll by THLady Felice de Thornton.

Their Majesties requested Lady Rebekah Whytebull come before Them. Praising her work as tolner, kitchen staff, water bearer and watching the children of the Realm, They noted her gentle and quiet smile was always a staple of her work. Seeing fit to recognize such work for the betterment of the Kingdom, They inducted her into the Order of the Keystone. Scroll was created by Lady Elena Modarovavnuka.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Alysoun of the Debatable Lands. They remarked upon her beautiful work as a scribe, delicious brews, and lovely voice. Knowing her to be an anchor of the Debatable Choir, They found it right to induct her into the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll created by the hand of Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Their Majesties called before Them Lord Theowulf fitz Renault. Remarking upon his regular attendance at musters and notable prowess They adjudged him to be a dedicated fighter and saw fit to induct him into the Order of the Golden Alce. Their Majesties directed him to note that this scroll had been created by the hands of Countess Aidan in the 50th year of the society and while the date was incorrect, They could not in good conscience alter or amend what was likely the last scroll Her Excellency had produced for the court. They enjoined Lord Theowulf to treasure the great gift bestowed upon him.


Their Majesties called forth Lord Nicolo Loredan da Venesia. Noting that he had served for several years as the exchequer of Silva Vulcani and worked diligently as a fencing marshal, They inducted him into the Order of the Keystone. The scroll was by THLady Elyse la Bref.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Takasukasa Riku. They advised They had seen how she was a stalwart of the archery community and a heavy weapons fighter of skill. Such a Samurai, should be given recognition befitting her accomplishments and so They inducted her into the Order of the Golden Alce. The scroll was created by Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria.

Their Majesties invited before them Sir Arnthor inn sterki. For his tireless promotion of heavy weapons fighting and siege weapons, for his work as Regional Army commander, his service as Deputy Warlord and Shire Knight Marshal, Their Majesties inducted him into Their Order of the Keystone. The scroll was limned by Baron Caleb Reynolds and calligraphed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties invited before Them Maestro Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato. They noted how he creates clever thrown weapons targets. They remarked upon his creations such as the Rhydderich Hael gate and the fire ring and box for the Kingdom. Having seen the beautification of Their Kingdom done by his hands, They inducted him into the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll was created by Baroness Rosamund von Glinde.

Their Majesties invited before them Lady Vivienne of Yardley. Their Majesties then called forth the Order of the Fleur d’Aethelmearc to attend Them. Speaking of how the works of art created with pen and brush grace many halls and homes in Their Kingdom and how her ability is recognized throughout the Kingdom, They were moved to induct her into the Order of the Fleur d’Aethelmearc upon this day. The scroll was limned by Master Caoinlean n Seachaidh, also known as Tower, and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Their Majesties called before them Baroness Anna Eisenkopf. Their Majesties advised They had been counseled that an order was missing a member. Their Majesties then called for the Most Noble Order of the Pelican to attend Them. They advised that her work as Mistress of the Lists, at crown tournaments and Pennsic, as well as at smaller events had been seen for many years. Her support for the Thrown Weapons community was known to all. She was never seen idling for an event when hands were needed. For all this, They would have her sit vigil upon a date of her choosing to contemplate induction into the Order of the Pelican. The scroll was by the hand of Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties were asked for a boon from Mistress Morgana bro Morganwg of Ealdomere. She asked that Their Majesties consider Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful as worthy of the Laurel Leaves and peerage for her gifts of song heard throughout the Known World. Assenting to her request, Their Majesties called Brehyres Gwendolyn forth. Accompanied by song as always, she presented herself unto Their Majesties. They asked her if having heard the counsel of her peers and bards, she agreed to proceed. Having her answer They called forth the Most Noble Order of the Laurel to attend Them.

Brehyres Gwendolyn is asked if she will accept elevation to the Laurel. Photo by Lady Aine.

From the Kingdom of the West, the words of Duke Frederick of Holland speaking as a Royal Peer were read by Countess Margerite Eisenwald. From the Kingdom of Ansterorra, Sir Kenneth MacQuarrie of Tombermory speaking for the Order of the Chivalry were read by Count Jehan de la Marche. From the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, speaking for the Order of the Master of Defense, the words of Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta were read by Mistress Illadore de Bedegrayne. From the Kingdom of Trimaris, the words of Master John Lyttleton speaking for the Order of the Pelican, were read by Countess Caryl Olesdattir. From the Kingdom of Ealdormere, Mistress Morgana bro Morganwg spoke finally for the Order of the Laurel. All these bards, accomplished in every aspect of the Society, spoke to the depth of impact that Gwendolyn has had upon the bardic arts throughout the Known World.

With joyful hearts, Their Majesties received this wise council and agreed that Gwendolyn should be recognized as a member of the Order of the Laurel and so elevated her to that noble station with the Laurel leaves to mark her forevermore a peer. A cloak to warm her during bardic circles deep into the night was laid upon her shoulders. The ancestral fruitcake of the Order of the Laurel was presented to her. She was further advised that her name and arms will be added to the book of the Order of the Laurel ennobled in Æthelmearc. There were two scrolls in process of creation, one with words by Master Fridikr being limned by Lady Raven Whiteheart and the other by Lady Emer nic Aidan of Ealdormere.

Their Majesties asked that all scribes who contributed to the scrolls given during the courts today stand and be recognized.

Her Majesty asked Lord Tassin to come before Her. She spoke of how there is a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes and is rarely noticed unless it is not done. Her Majesty was moved to recognize Lord Tassin as Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon him the Golden Escarbuncle because of all he had done to ensure the Kingdom encampment was built from the ground up, including the driving of well over a hundred stakes for the pavilions.

Lord Tassin receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Lady Aine.

There being no further business this day, Their Majesties’ court was thus concluded.​

Categories: SCA news sites

Shire of Hunters Home- Demo Report

Sat, 2017-07-22 16:13

On July 1st, the Shire of Hunters Home met for a day of fighting in Venango County. First we offered a fighting demo for the Utica Festival Days, offering the audience a chance to pick their heroes and receiving free snow cones when their fighters won.

Later that afternoon, the Shire participated in Franklin’s Independence Day Parade, themed “Fairytales and Fantasy”. Franklin may have expected a normal march down their main drag known as Liberty Street, but what they got was a series of fighting bouts, with a melee topping the excitement. The crowds went wild and the fighters made it look good. To top off a great day the Shire won third Place for best presentation!

Maggie Rue

Click to view slideshow.
Categories: SCA news sites

Paladin’s Pantry at Pennsic

Fri, 2017-07-21 19:31


Dear Gentles,

Have you ever found yourself with more to pack at the end of Pennsic then you did when you set out from home, only to find that your vehicle seems to have shrunk? Is your kitchen area full of boxes of cereal, pasta, jars of peanut butter, and jugs of bottled water you can’t remember buying?

Never fear! The annual Paladin’s Pantry Food Drive is here to help by conveying your camp’s extra food and drink to a local food bank. Just drop any unopened foodstuffs or beverages (no alcohol, please) at one of our handy collection points:

  • Æthelmearc Royal (N04) Next to Pennsic University
  • Atlantia Royal (N40) Near the Gothic Abbey
  • Northshield Royal (E02) Across from Soalr Showers
  • Trimaris Royal (W17) Runestone and Great Middle Highway
  • Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands (N10) Central Serengeti
  • Barony of Bhakail (N11) Corner of Brewer’s and Fletcher
  • House Sable Maul (N29) Count Jehan’s Bounty
  • Puffin’s Rock Inn (N01) Next to Great Hall
  • Barony of Blackstone Mountain (E04)
  • Venshavn (E24) Next to Wulfden’s Back Door
  • Clan Blue Feather (E12) Slope of Horde Hill
  • House Akeru Thunder (E17) Hill Road
  • The Lusty Wench Tavern (E17) Across from Chalk Man Pub
  • The Chalk Man Pub (E17) Hill Road and Good Intentions
  • House Finisterre (B09) Far West Side
  • House Iron Lance (W13) Base of Runestone Hill
  • Maison Rive (Merchant Space 23) Across from Cooper’s Store
  • Offices of the Pennsic Independent –Top of Runestone Hill
  • Herald’s Point (Low Road, next to playground)

In addition, this year the program will be collecting used tents, sleeping bags, cots, and rain gear, (especially those in child sizes), which will serve no one in a dumpster, to benefit the homeless.

Exercise your charity, lighten your load, and help members of the community that has made us so welcome over the years!

Please direct any questions to Lord Alexander of Ayr (301.401.2045) or Master Morien MacBain (304.283.5640).

Paladin’s Pantry: We put the “large” in “largesse”!

Categories: SCA news sites

Date Change for Pennsic First Authorizations

Fri, 2017-07-21 08:29

The last date to authorize in heavy combat for Pennsic has been changed to Saturday, July 22, per the Pennsic website here.

You have two more days!

Note: The Æthelmearc Authorizations Clerk, THLady Ursula of Rouen, says if you authorize this weekend, she cannot guarantee that you’ll receive your authorization card before Pennsic, so you should plan to bring the paper copy with you. To speed processing, you can scan your paperwork, including the signed waiver, and email it to her at

Fighters at Pennsic. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Royal Setup and Breakdown

Thu, 2017-07-20 20:20

Aethelmearc Royal encampment, a few years past. Photo credit, Aoife

A call for volunteers from the Æthelmearc War Chamberlain, Master Janos:

It is the end of July. The smell of fresh duct tape and the cursing of people sewing permeates the air… War looms on the horizon. SCAdians across the globe check lists, pack, re-pack and hope that their travel plans will get them all the way to Cooper’s Lake for yet another Pennsic War.

The Kingdom of Æthelmearc will yet again set up its own presence to create a space where meetings can be held, stories can be told, artisans can show off their skills and scribes can teach their techniques. Creating this environment takes some effort; effort made easier when many hands come out to help.

This year, we are continuing a system set up last year that seemed to work very well, minimizing the impact on volunteers’ time while also allowing Æthelmearc Royal to be set up quickly and efficiently. Æthelmearc needs you to help out with the following:

Sunday July 30th
9:30AM to 12:00PM (Noon)

Truck Crew at the Trailer
Needed: 8 Persons (able to lift and carry)

This team meets out at the Æthelmearc Trailer (near the archery field) to offload the big trailer into the box truck that has been rented to shuttle things over to N04 (Royal). We offload the whole trailer; so this team quickly moves items to the truck, and waits while a small team empties the rental truck at N04 and then returns. This process usually takes about three trips and this team is be released at noon.

11:30 AM to 4:30PM

Ground Crew at Æthelmearc Royal
Needed: Many Hands Make Light Work (all skills and abilities)

This team meets at Æthelmearc Royal and sets up the encampment according to an orchestrated plan. Individuals set up pavilions, dig a sump, and finally erect the sheet wall that proudly identifies Æthelmearc’s heart at Pennsic. The Scribal tents, the main gate, meeting tent and other community spaces are created during this time. Refreshments are provided to keep this small army of workers hydrated and this activity will end at 4:30PM, allowing those that need to drive home or finish up things at their home encampments time to do so before supper.

Friday August 11th
10:00AM to 3:00PM

Ground Crew at Æthelmearc Royal
Needed: Many Hands Make Light Work (all skills and abilities)

We undo all the work done at set up, carefully packing and stowing the canvas and walls for another year of time in the trailer. Orchestrated again by a “foreperson” on the ground, items are made ready to be loaded back onto the rental truck to make the trip back to the trailer. As before, refreshments will be provided to keep workers safe. This session often has fewer people show up as there are battles and other morning activities still happening on Friday. Thus we need more folks to show up to this so that the camp can be packed up before people start heading home.

1:30PM to 4:00PM

Truck Crew
Needed: 8 Persons (able to lift and carry)

The encampment having been packed up, needs to be picked up and transported back to the trailer. A small crew rides the truck to assist with loading at Æthelmearc Royal as the rest of the crew waits at the trailer to pack things back away. We are trying to schedule this so that those who have had fought in the morning will have time to grab a bite to eat to help out afterwards.

Æthelmearc needs your help to set up and break down this communal space. If you are able and willing to assist please reach out to Master Janos (, especially if you want to be on the truck crews. You need not pre-register for this, though! Come on by during the ground crew times to assist! Thank you in advance for your help, and we look forward to seeing you in a few weeks. Until then safe journeys!

Categories: SCA news sites

From Their Majesties: the SCA Anti-Harassment Policy

Thu, 2017-07-20 10:21

Their Majesties have made the following announcement regarding the new SCA Anti-Harassment policy:

Unto Æthelmearc do Timothy and Gabrielle send greetings,

By now you are likely at least aware that the Society’s Board of Directors has issued a policy on harassment. While it is a bit broad and vague, We feel it is a necessary thing, and a good first step.

I have heard many voice a concern We share, that of the potential for this policy to be abused.

We would like to try and set those concerns at rest, if possible. In Æthelmearc, our Seneschal is Duke Christopher. It is his responsibility to handle these cases. It has been our experience that he is not prone to rash decisions or snap judgments. Hopefully long before his term is up, this policy has been fleshed out a bit, and he will have written policies for his office that make the chain of escalation one that will permanently set our minds at ease.

This is a good thing, and long overdue.

Timothy and Gabrielle

The policy may be found here: 

The SCA Harassment and Bullying Policy


Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Rocks!

Thu, 2017-07-20 09:07

By Dame Aoife Finn

This summer across the country and around the world, people in random communities are sharing a hide and seek art project with complete and unknown strangers, to delight and support one another. A seemingly simple idea has had far reaching consequences. For some, it is a fun game. For some, an act of mindfulness. One participant just last week posted a message on Facebook telling her story, that she suffered with a chronic pain disorder, and had found a little painted stone in a public place with a simple but direct supportive message. That stone interrupted her thoughts of self-harm. You never know who will find your work, or what it might mean to them.

This whole movement, of leaving painted or decorated rocks for others to find, began in memory of two small girls from Oregon, aged 6 and 11. You can read the story of Anna and Abigail here. But it blossomed from there. My own town, Honesdale, PA, participates in a big way, an estimated 10% of the population following the Facebook page. Towns and cities outside the county began to join in. Soon, people traveling began painting and hiding and moving found rocks to other communities, sometimes many hundreds of miles away as they traveled.

As I watched my little town embrace the larger ideal, the sharing of mutual, anonymous delight and art and love for fellow humans that Love Rocks has become, an idea was born. You see, the issue being expressed in the Love Rocks movement is that love never dies. Perhaps your love is for your art, or for your dog, for your favorite shoes, for your past-times, for your kids or spouse or ancestry. Or maybe your love is for the annual vacation you take at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Pennsylvania every year.

One of the biggest acts of love, for lack of a better phrase, that happens every year, is Pennsic. Volunteers, attendees, and merchants from around the globe all come here, to the sponsoring Kingdom of Æthelmearc, to participate in something they love to do with the people they adore, in ways that are difficult to explain to the world. That’s okay, we do it, we work and volunteer and welcome the world because we love it, too. From no kingdom are there more participants and volunteers than here at Pennsic’s home, Æthelmearc, though it’s often a very close race. Thinking about our hard-working kingdom, often dubbed “The Friendliest Kingdom in the Known World,” the idea of Æthelmearc Rocks was born. If folks can leave Love Rocks in Greece, in Paris, in Africa, and on the Great Wall of China, why not at Pennsic? It’s all about our love of the unique community we purposefully create every year at Cooper’s Lake.

Isabelle and Elizabeth Von Halstern model the Æthelmearc Rocks they created to bring to Pennsic. (Photos courtesy of their mother, Duchess Ilish Von Halstern). Rock-painting will be just one activity available at the always-awesome Æthelmearc Children’s Party on Sunday August 6th in Æthelmearc Royal Encampment, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.

What is Æthelmearc Rocks? It’s two things, actually. It’s an artistic hide and seek game at Pennsic, and it’s a Facebook page dedicated to the game.

Who can play? Anyone who wishes can play. Any age, any interested, any family-friendly message or artwork or sentiment.

How do you play? Anyone who happens upon a decorated rock at Pennsic can relocate that rock, and the hope is that they will be inspired to decorate another rock in family friendly style (children will be playing, too) to hide in whimsical places in plain sight for others to find. Every other part of the game is optional. People are free to keep one or two of their favorite rocks, and should feel free to post selfies with a found rock or hints about new locations. Anyone can create decorated rocks, as many as they want, at any skill level of decoration. Rocks should be placed in public areas only, and should be out of the common footpath to avoid falls. There are no prizes, it’s all about sharing appreciation and art (and bragging rights). For a better description, see the FaceBook page, “Æthelmearc Rocks!

How do you make the Rocks? Rocks may be any easy to carry size, and can be decorated in many different ways from paint to permanent marker to decoupage to incised. You can decorate rocks at home to bring, or paint some at Pennsic while you’re there. Rocks should be weather-resistant enough to stay colorful for the 2 weeks of Pennsic. Many people find acrylic paint an inexpensive medium for their rocks.

We ask two items be included on every rock:

Any skill level of decoration is welcome.

1. As a thank you to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc for hosting Pennsic and its citizens for working so hard every year, please make an Escarbuncle a part of the design in some fashion, large or small. An Escarbuncle looks a lot like an eight armed snowflake (or the Chaos symbol) when big or an asterisk when small. Find an Æthelmearc banner, and you’ll find an Escarbuncle. Other than that, decorate as you wish in some sort of SCA or related historical style, but please keep it PG-13. If you want your rock to live on after Pennsic, a light coat of clear acrylic, polyurethane, or clear nail polish would be a good idea. That rock may travel to other kingdoms!

2. On the back or side of the rock (marker may be easiest), please write “Facebook: Æthelmearc Rocks!” so folks have a chance to look up the game if they don’t know about it and happen upon your decorated treasure. Small rocks may need the word Facebook abbreviated to “FB.”

What happens to the rocks? Most rocks go unsigned, so artists may have posted their works on the FaceBook page as well, hoping to follow their progress from hand to hand. At the end of Pennsic you can leave your rocks in place or take some home. It’s up to you.

These rocks await a clear coat to protect the art from the weather.

Categories: SCA news sites

On Target: Backyard Backstops

Wed, 2017-07-19 11:22

This month, we have a question and answer from Hereward of Richmond. Hereward wrote me about do-it-yourself backstops.

I use four sheets of cardboard and one sheet of Coroplast, a corrugated plastic used for signs. It’s slightly stronger than cardboard and is water resistant. The pictures below show how they go together with zip ties. Note that in this picture there are only three sheets of cardboard, but I found since making this backstop that four is much better.

Remember, glue makes the cardboard harder and less arrow friendly, so you don’t want to use it. Coroplast can be found on most street corners for free because church fish fries, gun bashes, and political signs are never removed after the event. By law, the signs should be removed 10 days after the event, so on the 11th day, if you take them, you’re performing a public service.

Carefully remove the wires from the Coroplast sign before adding it to your cardboard. Then, with a little cutting and artistry, you can have a ninja.

After completing your target, take the sign wires and push them back into the Coroplast at the bottom where the ninja’s legs are. Zip tie everything together and then push the ninja into the ground standing upright.

In the picture below, we have a dark, gloomy scene on the left and a bright, sunny day on the right, both of which are backstops for the ninja.In the video below, I’m shooting a 35 pound bow at full draw at less than 10 yards into the ninja. It stops all the kinetic energy. Even if you have a blow through, the backstops behind the target stop what little energy the arrow has left.

Once again, thank you, Hereward, for the question. Next month, I’ll do even more on backyard backstops.

This month’s safety tip pertains to situations that happen at Pennsic when you have a large number of archers. If people go looking for arrows behind the nets used to stop arrows that miss the targets, they will seem to disappear, so marshals need to be alert. Here’s an example of why this is important.

Note: the arrow in this video was NOT actually fired, it was pushed through the target by hand for the purpose of demonstrating the danger to people hidden behind targets. Obviously, archers should not be firing when someone is standing behind the target.

‘Til next month.

In service,

Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Authorizations Clerk – call for letters of intent

Tue, 2017-07-18 17:03

To the most sylvan Kingdom of Æthelmearc and her most noble populace does your Authorization Clerk send warm greetings! The time has come for my second term in office to come to a close. As such, I am putting a call out for letters of intent for those that might be interested in pursuing the office of Kingdom Authorizations Clerk. I am requesting letters from interested parties to be submitted no later than December 31, 2017. The next term will begin at Kingdom 12th Night in January 2018 (no set date yet) and lasts for two years (01/2018-01/2020).

The office of Authorizations Clerk is a tedious, yet rewarding office. It falls under the Kingdom Earl Marshal and works very closely with all marshals, fighters, fencers, and riders of our ferocious army. On average the office requires between 3-15 hours of work per week, with very serious peaks prior to large events, especially Pennsic. Skills required for the office are primarily Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word, with a healthy dose of people skills and handwriting deciphering thrown in for good measure. The main responsibilities for the office of Authorization Clerk include:

  • Creating and distributing all Æthelmearc authorization cards.
  • Maintaining electronic and paper files of all authorizations (for 4 years).
  • Ensuring that the Kingdom Earl Marshal has access to fighter database if needed
    Reporting to the Kingdom Earl Marshal at regular intervals (quarterly) with copies being forwarded to the Kingdom Marshal of Fence, Chancellor of the Youth Martial Academy, Youth Fencing Provost, and others as requested. This report should include the following: total number of current adult and youth authorizations in the kingdom, number of authorized rattan, number of authorized rapier, number of authorized equestrian, number of authorized youth, any other information upon request.

I am available to discuss any questions you may have about the office via email ( or phone(540-287-1748).

Letters of intent should be sent to the following gentles: Their Royal Hignesses (,, His Grace, Duke Christopher (, Master William Paris ( and myself ( no later than December 31, 2017.


THLady Ursula of Rouen
mka: Danielle M. Duvall

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Blood Drive 2017

Mon, 2017-07-17 16:49

Greeting good gentles of the Known World.

The Pennsic War will soon be upon us, and while we are ‘playing war’ with our friends, many others are fighting one for their lives. Every blood donation is a chance to save a life, so please remember there will be a Red Cross blood drive during Pennsic.

Place: Zion Baptist Church, 148 Curry Road, Slippery Rock, PA
Dates: Friday, August 4th and Monday, August 7th
Times: 10 am to 3:30 pm

The church is within walking distance of the Pennsic site, but the Red Cross will run a shuttle van (leaving from the south end of the battlefield). We encourage you to ride the van so that you arrive with normal pulse and blood and are not turned away from donating!


If you would like to pre-register to donate, volunteer to help, or would just like more information, please contact me by July 27th.

E-mail to:

You can also preregister on-line. Search for blood drives in zip code 16057, select August 4th or 7th, and choose your appointment time. (Note: we are in the process of registering our drive.)

preregister on-line here

Once War is underway, you can sign up at First Aid Point. Walk in’s are welcome, however, the Red Cross bases their staffing on preregistration numbers, so the more people who preregister before War, the more staff we may get.

Identification is now required for all Red Cross Blood donors.
Preferred methods of ID are:

  • American Red Cross donor card
  • Driver’s license
  • State ID
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • INS “green” card
  • A student ID, corporate ID, or credit card is also acceptable if it contains a photo. There is a secondary list of acceptable identification, available at First Aid Point or you can e-mail me.

Together, we can make a difference. So, “Be a Hero, Save a Life at Pennsic War.”

In Service and Thanks,
Baroness Angelique d’Herisson
(mka: Renee LeVeque)
Pennsic Blood Drive Liaison
Middle Kingdom – SCA

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Cannon Fire: Messaging Project Goes Live This Pennsic

Fri, 2017-07-14 14:47

Gentles who expressed interest in the messaging project proposed in the Gazette article Whilst the Cannons Fire: Pennsic and PTSD likely will be pleased to learn about the project’s plans for War in two weeks.

According to project co-organizer Amani Ahmed Mash’al al-Sabti al-Dulaymi on the Facebook group Pennsic Messaging System Progress:

  1. The sign-up will be at Silvertree Souq, merchant spot 98, next to Nordic Trader.
  2. We will have you sign a hold/no-harm form to participate. This will be a simple form releasing any of us from liability in the event that your identity becomes known.
  3. We will only collect names on those forms. The messaging system sign-up will only be a telephone number. I will not need names for the actual system.
  4. We are working on getting volunteers to stand with Signal Corps to post the messages as the cannoneers get signals from the marshals to fire. Our volunteers will stand wherever the Signal Corps wishes, as long as they can see or be informed when to send the SMS. Cannoneers/Signal Corps- please contact me ASAP to work this out.
  5. We have one dedicated person to do data entry, but volunteers who wish to help out, please come to the Souq to sign up or help.
  6. Signs will be posted at the shop and we will advertise in the Pennsic Independent. Any donations or help for that is appreciated.
  7. We have phones and a laptop. However, FYI: the current laptop is not great and a little persnickity. It’s an old Macbook that has been on two deployments, so she’s cranky. We will be using Excel to enter numbers. There will also be a notebook sign-up for new numbers. This notebook will be destroyed via fire at the end of War.
  8. I am trying to acquire a box of earplugs for folks. This seems reasonably possible. They will be available at the Souq. I may charge 25 cents to 50 cents for them, or they may be free. All depends on cost.

This is what we have for now. This is the first year, so there are bound to be hiccups. However, the system we are using has been repeatedly tested and works GREAT! You will get a small “ding-dong” or other sound notification. Nothing crazy, but if you are looking out for this sound you will know to brace yourself or comfort your dog/child/spouse/friend/self.

At the end of Pennsic, I will post a brief AAR on this board and will look forward to the feedback from users on how to improve the system.

(Reported by Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France))

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic Newcomers Pointe Needs Volunteers

Fri, 2017-07-14 14:20

Greetings from the Pennsic Newcomers’ Point Coordinator,

This year, we are coordinating the return of the Newcomers Point, which will be part of the Pennsic Event Resources.

Our goal is to have a place that is open and available to newcomers, where they can feel comfortable and learn more about the event and the SCA in general. Newcomers’ Point will be a set place where Newcomers can come to ask questions or get information about the SCA and/or Pennsic. We will also be able to help Newcomers get involved with their local group after Pennsic.

The Pointe will be will be located under the same tent as the Pennsic Watch (seated at the table, in the shade, with electricity!), and we will need your help staffing the tent. Already Æthelmearc has chosen to sponsor a day, and the Midrealm has too.

Most shifts are still open, and we especially need people during Peace Week. Please email me to volunteer for a shift and help make this a huge success.

  • Sunday, July 30, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Monday, July 31, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Tuesday, August 1, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Thursday, August 3, 2017: 11am – 3pm
  • Friday, August 4, 2017: 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday, August 5, 2017: 10am – 6pm – Sponsored by Æthelmearc
  • Sunday, August 6, 2017: 10am – 6pm – Sponsored by the Midrealm
  • Monday, August 7, 2017: 10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 11am – 4pm
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 11am – 4pm
  • Thursday, August 10, 2017: 11am – 4pm

In Service to the Dream,
Baroness Desiderata Drake, OP
Newcomer Point Coordinator, Pennsic 46

Categories: SCA news sites

After the Writ

Thu, 2017-07-13 14:15

from Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg

photo by Rob Westfall.

It was Pax Interruptus 2002 (and I did look this up in the order of precedence since I mistakenly keep saying it was 14 years ago). James II and Elina II were sitting the Sylvan Thrones. Baroness Katryne of Bakestonden and I were having a conversation outside the hall, trying to justify ditching court. Since we were both Court Baronesses, we finally decided that we would be setting a bad example and snuck into the back. None too soon either, for I was called before Their Majesties.

Queen Elina started talking to me about how I had promised her that I would make some clothing, and that she had now made a decision as to what she wanted me to make. I was surprised and astonished, for I did not feel that this needed to be discussed in court. It really was nobody’s business other than hers and mine. Then she pulled out this bolt of white fabric with Laurel Wreath all over it, and all I am thinking is: “But Your Majesty what are you doing, You are not a Laurel, I cannot make a Laurel dress for you, the Order will be so angry!” No, I did not say it, but these are the words that went thru my head. They are truly burnt into my memory. 

At this point Master Edmund Tregelles, the herald, called in the Order of the Laurel. It still did not hit me until Her Majesty said “I want you to make a dress with this fabric to wear for your vigil.” It slowly started sinking in. “But I am not worthy. I am not ready for this. I cannot accept this. I am not good enough.” Those were my thoughts as I was being escorted from court. 

In the back of court all the Laurels congratulated me and told me they would see me at Pennsic for the elevation. “But I do not know if I can accept this,” I kept saying. Mistress Alison of the Many Isles was asking me if I would accept her help with my ceremony along with my peer? I was belted to Mistress Rose Marian of Edgewater, a Pelican. And I kept saying “I do not know if I will accept this.” Yes, I put those two peers through hell.

I came from Drachenwald where at that time writs were unknown. You were called into court in the morning, sent to vigil and elevated the same afternoon or evening. Your friends and peers had been notified and they had everything ready for you. I did not realize I had the right to have input into my ceremony, so needless to say I concentrated on whether or not I would accept the accolade, and my oath of fealty. Everything else I left up to the two peers. Yes, I did say I would make my own dress and that I would want other artisans to shine for my ceremony. I finally said who I wanted for my worthies IF I accepted and that remained if for a long time. 

I made the two Ladies plan a vigil and a ceremony without knowing if I would say yes or no! Much later I realized how horrible I was. 

While they were jumping through all kinds of hoops for me I was trying to decide whether or not to accept. I wrote to friends back in Drachenwald for advice. And I started planning, embroidering and sewing the dress I would wear IF I were to accept. Many sleepless nights followed and I just could not decide: Am I worthy? Am I good enough to be a Laurel? Am I ready to accept the responsibility of being a Peer. What IS a Peer? What IS expected of me? I received a lot of good advice and quite a few dressings down for my unwillingness to decide from my friends back in the old Kingdom.

It was getting closer and closer to Pennsic. My dress of course was a Cranach German in my colors, red with gold bands and my SCA history and arms embroidered into the bands and guards, including household affiliations and awards. No, there was no Laurel wreath because for one I was not yet elevated and for two I still had not decided. I am sure the two peers were thinking I was a brat and actually not worthy to be elevated!

The decision however I made was: I will finish the dress which other than the embroidery design was an exact replica of a Cranach painting – down to the beading design on the Brustfleck (the decorated band between the two fronts) – and I will show this dress to a mundane artisan friend who will be the judge. If my dress was museum worthy then I was ready to be a Laurel, if not than I would have to improve my skill, and could accept the award. 

Today I know that this last paragraph shows I really did not fully comprehend what it means to be a Peer. It is not just skill; it is also those elusive hard to define Peerlike qualities that make a Peer and I do not think that anyone can understand what they are until they have been a Peer, and even then they are really really hard to define. It has to do with the responsibilities we take on. The Leadership role we accept when becoming a Peer, trying to always be gracious and encouraging, and critical without hurting feelings. The inspiring without taking over, the knowing when to step back and let others take over, the letting non-Peers make mistakes to learn from and helping to guide them in fixing said mistakes, the gentle guidance and helping newcomers and oldtimers on their way to the goals they set for themselves, and many more things that I cannot even start to name.

But back to my story:
I did present my dress to our friend along with the picture of the painting I used as my inspiration. And our friend says: “Elisabeth I am disappointed in you!” My heart dropped, because I really had gotten used to the idea of being a Mistress of the Laurel, I just needed that final stamp of approval that did not seem to be coming. He went on with: “I really expected more from you! Where is your creativity? This is an exact copy, it could be in a museum as a dress from the 1500s Anyone can do that! I expected you to create a new design something spectacular, not a copy!” I started laughing, which upset him and then I explained the whole thing. And he told me of course you must accept the accolade. And you must teach, but do not forget about the Creativity. Thus, my decision was made and I let the two Peers know.

Fast Forward to Pax Interruptus 2017. Again, I am called into court. Again, I am surprised with a writ. Again, I am escorted by an Order out of the court. This time I know a little bit more what is expected and what I am allowed to do. And no I will not put my peer Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and others through the “will she accept or not” hell. Yes, I will accept the accolade. This time I hope I know what is expected of a Peer. I have been one for 15 years. 

However I have a request to all SCAdians who know me or know of me. I would like to hear from you. I would like a report card as to what I did well as a Peer the last 15 years but even more importantly, what I can improve. The date of my elevation will not be until the fall. But I hope that many of you will seek me out in person when you see me or by email (bostonhahn at aol dot com) or whichever way you feel comfortable counseling me. Because I would really like to use the time from now until my elevation to contemplate on what I can improve. For I am here to serve to the best of my ability. And yes, I know I am blunt and straight-forward and at times intimidating. Please believe me, I am working on that, but it is hard to teach an old dog a new trick.

I hope my story gives you a little insight into what happens after the writ and I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Elisabeth Johanna von der Flossenburg


Categories: SCA news sites

Hospitality at Royal Encampment Needs Your Help!

Tue, 2017-07-11 20:24

Æthelmearc Royal encampment, a few years past. Photo by Aoife

Greetings unto the populace of Æthelmearc!

Our names are Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill and Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa, and we have been asked by Their Royal Majesties to take charge of coordinating hospitality at the Æthelmearc Royal encampment for Pennsic XLV.

For those not in the know, hospitality is in charge of the populace pavilion at the AE Royal Encampment where we provide anyone who would like a place to sit, cool/dry off, hydrate, and socialize. We make sure people get answers to their questions, are directed to wherever they need to go in the Royal Encampment, have messages taken, and we accept gifts to the crown.

Due to the popularity, we will be able to recharge small electronics. These are open to anyone who is in the populace pavilion, in a meeting or other business in the encampment, guarding the gate, or working hospitality. You are, of course, responsible for your own devices.

We are looking for volunteers to fill shifts throughout the war. We like to have two people manning the desk during open hours. We always make sure to schedule at least one experienced person in a shift, so if you’re new to hospitality, feel free to sign up, and we’ll get you up to speed in no time.The first day of hospitality is on Sunday, July 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., during which time we will finish setup.

Peace Week shifts are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday, July 31 through Friday, August 4.

War Week shifts are from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, August 5 through Thursday, August 10. We have two shifts in the morning of August 11 to pack up prior to tearing down the royal encampment.Shifts are two hours long.

Hospitality will be closed during Kingdom Court, and adjustments will be made for other activities taking place in the royal encampment or as demand requires it.

If possible, please sign up in advance! We have a total of 108 slots to fill throughout Pennsic to provide the level of hospitality and service we have become known for.

Dubheasa can be reached at this email address. Lasairfhiona can be reached at this email.

If you can’t commit yet to a time, the hospitality schedule book will be at the hospitality desk to sign up in once you get to Pennsic. Of course, early choice means the best times are available.

Thank you very much!

Lady Dubheasa inghean Dubgaill
Lady Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa
Hospitality Coordinators
Categories: SCA news sites

Heronter Pewter Class

Sun, 2017-07-09 21:10

Pewter Class by TH”Fool” Dagonell Juggler

The Shire of Heronter has regular A&S gatherings. For our most recent gathering, Lady Edana the Red came up from Debatable Lands to teach pewter casting.

On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, members of the Shire assembled at the home of THL Keinven Ragnarsdottir and Baron Malcolm Fraser at 10 AM. Fortunately, it was a clear and sunny day, pewter hates rain and high humidity. Everyone had glasses or other eye-protection and paper dust masks were issued to all. Soapstone creates dust easily and it’s not something you want to breathe in. Long hair was tied back and everyone had been instructed to wear long sleeved tops to expose as little skin as possible. We worked outside to not leave stone dust on the furniture. Picnic tables were covered in old towels for easier clean up.

We were each issued a ‘carving kit’, a small Tupperware tub containing a marker (black), a plastic template for drawing circles (quarter and dime sized), a mechanical pencil (red shaft), a carving tool (wooden handle, scraper at one end, point at the other), a dental pick (brass), a crayon (red) a few scraps of paper (blueish due to shadows), a small piece of soapstone (I’ve already started carving mine), a few curls of sandpaper (at base of mechanical pencil) and a coin level (at top of box, on its side). The latter is a small piece of metal mounted to a small scrap of wood.

The first step is to design the badge. It had to be something small enough to fit on a quarter sized coin. The final token will be the mirror image of the drawing, so anything like letters should be done backwards. Geometrics, unless perfectly carved, tend to look a little lopsided. For this step, we used the scraps of paper, the template, and the mechanical pencil. My design can be seen in the picture above, my badge is a slipper charged with a vair bell. (Yes, it’s a pun, work on it!)

The next step is to start carving the mold. Above, Lady Edana demonstrates how to use the plastic template and the carving tool to inscribe a circle on the soapstone mold to about the depth of a quarter. Once the circle has been inscribed into the mold, the coin level is inserted into the groove and gently pulled toward the center of the circle. The small block of wood rides across the face of the stone while the metal point scrapes the coin shape to a uniform depth. Do not force the level, it will leave a groove. Just keep lightly scraping a thin layer at a time until the coin shape is complete. Lady Edana demonstrates using the coin level to Duchess Dorinda. Dorinda’s token design, a cross bottony from her badge, is by her left wrist. In the first photo above, my completed coin shape can be seen on the mold next to the kit. The pile in the center is the soapstone dust from carving the coin and will be brushed out with the paintbrush onto the towel.









Pirate Ginevra (left) watches as (right, front to back) Duchess Dorinda, THL Keinven, and m’lady Apollonia all work on carving their molds

Once the coin blank is complete, the next step is to carve the design onto the coin. Remember that the design is backwards, so letters need to be reversed. The deeper into the mold, the higher the image will be above the coin blank. A single layered design is best for a first attempt, however my design was a vair bell on a slipper, so the slipper was carved into the coin, then the vair bell was carved inside the shoe, deeper into the mold. The small curls of sandpaper are used to smooth out designs and erase tool marks on the mold. To test your carving, Play-doh™ is your friend. Press a small piece into the mold, then gently pull it out by the edges. Shown below, a small piece of red Play-doh™ is pressed into Dorinda’s mold and gently pulled out to reveal the final design. If you are not satisfied with your design, you can continue working on the mold and testing until you are content with the design.

The next step is to create the sprue, the channel that the pewter will be poured through. Lady Maggie Baxter, above uses a large metal file to begin the sprue. Knife cuts will bring the channel up to the design without damaging it. The location of a sprue hole depends on the design. You want the pewter to pour into the entire mold, not rise into the smaller details. If you’re going to have a loop on top of your token, the sprue should probably enter the bottom of the coin.

Next, vent holes are cut into the mold to allow air to escape as the liquid metal enters. Otherwise, air pockets and bubbles will form and the pewter won’t fill the entire mold. For safety considerations, Lady Edana’s assistant did all the pouring. A second piece of soapstone was held against the first, to provide a back to the medallion. The second piece had a cross-hatch design which created a texture on the back.









A metal catch basin to hold the pewter while it cools, a camp stove starter, wire cutters for cutting sprue, and several bars of pewter waiting to be melted. Notice that we are using an ordinary camp stove to heat bricks of pewter in a steel crucible. Pewter has a melting point around 230* Celsius. The exact temperature depends on the specific blend of metals that make up the alloy. The pieces are small enough that they can be held them together in a welder’s gauntlet. If we were doing a larger piece, the mold halves would be tied together and placed on a table. Note that there is another mold on the stove near the burner. A warm mold keeps the pewter liquid for a few moments longer and allows it to flow more easily into small details in the mold.

The pewter solidifies within a minute and the mold is opened. This is Lady Helena’s stylized H and the sprue enters the medallion at the bottom. The medallion is dumped into the metal basin and allowed to cool to the point it can be handled with bare hands. The excess metal that fills the sprue hole, and vent holes, is also called sprue and must be removed with tin snips or wire cutters. The edges of the medallion are then filed or sanded smooth. The cut off sprue, and mis-cast medallions, are simply dropped back into the cauldron to be melted down for the next medallion.

Below we see Duchess Dorinda’s finished pewter tokens. The loop will need to be drilled out on a few of them.









Shown below is a medallion that has both a front and a back. Notice the pins and pinholes in the mold so that the images line up.







Here are the two medallions cast from the mold above, showing the back and front of the completed design.









Shown below is a mold allows you to pour five medallions at once. Again, note the pins and pinholes to make the front and back line up correctly.














Completed tokens from every member of the class.
Left: m’lady Othilia’s candle in an archway, Lady Helena’s stylized H
Center: top; Duchess Dorinda’s cross bottony, l-to-r; THL Keinven’s triquetra, Lady Maggie’s linden leaf, Lady Ginevra’s swan, m’lady Diane’s fret
Right: top; Lady Cigfran’s raven, m’lady Apollonia’s wolf, THFool Dagonell’s vair slipper


Categories: SCA news sites

Important Pennsic Authorization Information

Thu, 2017-07-06 10:12

So, you’re going to Pennsic this year and want to fight or fence? Make sure your paperwork is in order before you leave by following these tips:

  1. Your Primary Authorization must be complete and dated on or before July 19, 2017. A primary authorization is your first authorization in any marshal discipline. Any authorization paperwork for a primary form dated after July 19, 2017 will not be mailed out until Wednesday of War Week to help keep Æthelmearc in compliance with Pennsic rules.
  2. All authorization forms are turned into the Kingdom Authorizations Clerk by July 19, any forms in hand that day will be mailed out by Monday, July 24, 2017. Note: If you miss this cutoff you can keep your paper copy of your authorization form to use at Pennsic. We recommend sending a digital scan or copy of your paperwork to the Authorizations Clerk before leaving for War just in case.
  3. The Authorizations Clerk’s address is THLady Ursula of Rouen, c/o Ms. Danielle M. Duvall, PO Box 661, Shepherdstown, WV  25443. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is never required, but always appreciated.
  4. Please check your card now to see if it has expired or will expire prior to August 13, 2017 and please complete the paperwork for a renewal now. No need to wait until the card is close to expiration.
  5. Keep a copy of your paperwork in a safe place; whether it is a brand new authorization, an additional form, or a renewal, plan to have that paperwork on your person for use at Pennsic in case your card does not make it to you before you leave for vacation.
  6. It’s a good idea to make a copy of your authorization card/paperwork, and photo ID, put in a Ziploc baggie and tape to the back of your shield, or keep in your armor bag. You’ll need these along with your medallion to get inspected at Pennsic.
  7. If you need to reach THLady Ursula regarding your Authorization Card, or if you have any questions her e-mail address is You may also call before 10pm at 540-287-1748. Please do not send Facebook messages as those get lost in the shuffle.

All current authorization forms can always be found on the Kingdom Authorizations Clerk Website.

Rules regarding authorizations and Pennsic can be found on the Pennsic Website.


Categories: SCA news sites

Blanching Almonds in Medieval Cooking

Wed, 2017-07-05 21:27

By Elska á Fjárfelli and THL Fionnghuala inghean Diarmada

Blanching: does it mean soaked, or scalded?

According to the dictionary blanch comes to Middle English by way of the Old French blanchir, from blanc for white, and is of Germanic origin. As a verb, blanching can mean to make white or pale; to bleach by extracting color; to whiten a plant by depriving it of light; to pale from shock, fear or a similar emotion; or to prepare vegetables for freezing or further cooking by briefly immersing in boiling water. In modern English blanch and scald are synonyms, both meaning to boil briefly. [1]

In many medieval recipes, on the other hand, blanching is mentioned in combination with soaking in cold water. So why the difference?

Blanching as a cold water treatment could fit in the medieval preference for white foods. Golden foods, like those colored with saffron, were supposed to ensure happiness, white foods were supposed to achieve purity – and sharp, bitter, and black foodstuffs were to be avoided. [2] Soaking would lighten the color of foods by leaching out part of its colorants (like making tea) to then be disposed of separately, and could be how the technique of blanching got its name.

In the process of making marzipan from almonds, the process also seems to have another function: blanching almonds by soaking slightly hydrates the nuts. With much longer travel time from farm to table, and less ideal storage (no ziplocks or vacuum seals), medieval nuts like almonds were likely to contain less moisture than their modern counterparts and cold water soaking would counteract some of that loss of moisture. This hydration can make a difference in the making of marzipan, as dry crumbly almonds do not tend to stick together as well and would need lots more grinding (and rosewater) than their soaked counterparts. And while our modern almonds are likely to be much fresher, my scalded almonds did not make the sticky marzipan I grew up with either, putting me on this quest to figure out the why.

Sample recipes defining blanching as soaking in cold water:

Le Ménagier de Paris, 14th century:  [3]
“Another porée of new chard […] But still greener and better is that which has been sorted, then washed and cut up very small, then blanched in cold water.”

A book of cookrye. Very necessary for all such as delight therin’, gathered by “AW”, 1591:
“How to make a good Marchpaine. First take a pound of long smal almonds and blanch them in cold water, and dry them as drye as you can, then grinde them small, […]” [4]

Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, 1604: Spurling
“To make french biskit bread: Take one pound of almonds blanched in cold water, beat them verie smale […]”

The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter, 1730: [5]
“To make an Almond Cake. […] next morning rub it through a cource sive blanch 2 pounds of Almonds in cold water beat them with Orenge flower water very fine […]”

Other 17th and 18th century cookbooks mention both scalding and blanching in combination of preparing almonds:

The Queens Closet Opened by W.M., 1655:
“To make Marchpane to Ice and guild and garnish it according to Art. Take Almonds and blanch them out of seething water […]”

The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary; Or, The Accomplish’d Housewifes Companion by John Nott, 1723:
“8. To make Almond Bisket. […] having ready half a Pound of blanched Almonds, in cold water, beat them well […]”
“11. Almond Cakes. Beat a Pound of Almonds blanch’d in cold Water […]”
“19. To Make White Crisp’d Almonds. Scald and blanch your Almonds as before […]”
“29. Another Way. Scald and blanch you Almonds, pound them in a Mortar as before […]”
“109. Blanc-Mangers. Blanch a Pound of sweet Almonds in scalding Water, […]”

There seems to be a predilection in early cookbooks for using the term blanching when indicating the use of cold water, and the term scalding for when hot water is used, (Steinhardt) in the processing of almonds. When both blanching and scalding are mentioned together, blanch could conceivably mean the quenching step of submerging the scalded almonds in cold (iced) water. This usage of the word blanch in connection with a cold water bath is also found in the 1591 A Book of Cookrye in recipes using ingredients other than almonds:

“A Pudding in Egges. Take and boyle your Egges hard, and blanch them, […]”
“How to bake pyes of Calves feet. Take Calves feet and wash them, boyle and blanch the haire of them, […]”

As the modern definition of blanching has come to mean only a brief immersion in boiling water followed by an icewater bath, this could indicate a change of definition of the word blanch from cold water soaking in medieval times to our modern brief boiling water immersion followed by a cold dunk. The varying use of the word blanch in the 18th century Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary by John Nott – sometimes meaning cold water soak, sometimes indicating the quenching step of scalding, and sometimes even scalding alone – seems to support this theory.

Have more recipes? While there are many recipes indicating to blanch or scald your almonds (and vegetables), most do not indicate how. The ones that give more information are in the minority, so if you have one I did not list here please do not hesitate to share. I’d love to see how it fits this pattern!


Adamson, Melitta Weiss. Food in Medieval Times. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.

Day, Ivan. The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter, London, 1730.


Greco, Gina L. & Rose, Christine M. The Good Wife’s Guide: A Medieval Household Book. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.

Nott, John. The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary; Or, The Accomplish’d Housewifes Companion. C. Rivington, 1723.

Spurling, Hilary (1986) Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, Penguin Books.

Waks, Mark & Jane (transcribers) A Book of Cookrye, by A. W., London, 1591. Originally published 1584. STC 24897 — Early English Text microfilms reel 1613:9

W. M., The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable Secrets in Physick, Chirurgery, Preserving, Candying, and Cookery ; as They Were Presented to the Queen, 1655.


[1] Dictionary
[2] Adamson, 199
[3] Greco, 279
[4] Waks
[5] Day
[6] Waks

Categories: SCA news sites