AEthelmearc Gazette

Syndicate content The Æthelmearc Gazette
Covering the Kingdom of Æthelmearc of the SCA
Updated: 27 min 36 sec ago

Happy Æthelmearc Day!

2 hours 42 min ago

Earl Yngvar with an Æthelmearc procession

Happy Æthelmearc Day!

Twenty years ago today, Yngvar and Caryl became the first King & Queen of Kingdom of Aethelmearc.

Video of the Coronation can be found here, courtesy of Rowena Dhonnchaidh.

Want to learn more about the history of our Sylvan Kingdom? The Æthelmearc Historian’s website can be found here.

Ad Gloriam Æthelmearc!

Categories: SCA news sites

Event Report: Cast Iron Chef III (at Shoot in the Wildwood)

Tue, 2017-09-19 20:01

By Elska á Fjárfelli, of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn (Susan Verberg)

Come for the pointy projectiles! Stay for the fabulous food!

Accurately described by co-organizer THL Lijsbet de Keukere, Delftwood hosted its third annual Cast Iron Chef Cooking Tournament on September 3 as part of the barony’s archery event A Shoot in the Wildwood.

The cooking trench at Cast Iron Chef cooking tourney III, with in the foreground the oven Algirdas scratch built.  All photography by Elska.

Each year brings a new challenge, and this year Lijsbet and Lord Sebastian Mora challenged the archers to shoot their best royal round on behalf of the cooks for first pick of their coveted Mystery Baskets. The baskets varied in theme, each one contained high-quality, valuable ingredients… and all had to be used in some way or another to create the best three-dish meal.

To supplement the Mystery Basket, the pantry had been bountifully stocked with pantry staples common for the average medieval household: beans, grains, common garden vegetables, simple dairy products, and foraged goods.

With these building blocks the teams, consisting of no more than a head cook, one assistant, and one archer, were charged to make a plausibly medieval meal over the communal open fire for the judges to sample. Following the format of the past three years, all tournament cooking had to be done on site during the designated tournament time of three hours, and no food brought in from off site could be used. While most cooks brought their own copious amounts of cast iron cook wares, for the cook in sudden need loaner pots & pans were available. Occasionally, the judges would make their rounds, and even though they were not supposed to direct, it was totally fine to ask questions…

While I tried my best to compile as complete a picture as possible, I was distracted by cooking, and the Book of Faces wasn’t as enlightening as hoped… my advanced apologies to anyone I might have missed!

And without further ado, let’s introduce our cast iron teams!

Kiera and her menu.

Kiera MacLeod had archer Edward Harbinger shoot her the East Kingdom Basket, which included barley, asparagus, rosewater, cherries, turnips, and rump roast.

Ciaran & Wynn’s meal.

Algirdas and Aldanza.

Ciaran & Wynn choose the Butcher’s Basket, which included an intriguing collection of pork necks, pork hocks, and chuck steak.

Meadbh and Elska’s menu.

Meadbh ni Clerigh, assisted by me, had her daughter Mary of Hartford shoot us the Sweet & Savory Basket;  Mary shot the overall highest score. This basket included walnuts, dried figs, dried prunes, dried apricots, dried dates, and dried cherries with chuck steak.

Matheus & Katherine’s entry.

Matheus Hundamaðr, assisted by Katharine Thorne, had archer Snorri sketi Bjornsson shoot them the Perrote Basket. This basket included parsnips, lentils, chickpeas, turnips, chives, peach sauce, and pork shoulder.

Thirteen-year-old Morgan Littlejohn, assisted by her father Fearghus macEoin Littlejohn, had archer Siobhan shoot them the Farmer’s Basket. This basket included gruyere, parmesan, turnips, leeks, celeriac, apples, pears, asparagus, and chicken.

Algirdas Wolfus, assisted by Aldanza Wolfus, had archer Robert of Furness shoot them the Delftwood Basket. This basket included eggs, apples, olive oil, honey mustard, dates, and chicken.


Fearghus and Morgan.

While the highest scoring archer gave her team first pick of the Mystery Baskets, the organizers then threw in a nice curve ball by reversing the order of who went shopping first in the Pantry! Did I overhear one cook thank his archer for having been a lousy shot…?

What did we end up making?

Matheus & Katharine made a “Norse Meal in Miklagård” with a menu of:

  • Grikkland Grautr: a pottage of red lentils, rice, chickpea, parsnips, onion, garlic, butter, cumin, and celery seed, garnished with shaved radish and chives.
  • Pork in the way of Serkland: pork, rubbed with rosemary infused olive oil, crushed long pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, seared then stewed with verjuice and dried figs, finished with fresh figs.
  • Sœtrbröd: whole wheat and ground walnut pancake, spiced with mace, nutmeg, and ginger, topped with peach preserves, butter, cooked apricots, and roasted walnuts.

The menu of Morgan & Fearghus included:

  • Chicken and vegetable stew.
  • Stuffed roasted apples and pears, decorated with edible flowers.
  • Asparagus with parmesan.

Algirdas & Aldanza’s menu offered, with little flags following the French style:

  • Vegetable and cheese egg tart.
  • Apple and carrot salad (garnished with fig and almonds).
  • Chicken bruet with mustard sauce in a leaf of egg.
  • Sage water.
  • Date and apple tart.

Meadbh & Elska made a 14th century Anglo-Saxon meal with:

  • Kidney and Steak stew with dates and apricots.
  • Savory custard pie with eggs, soft cheese, pears, dates and almonds
  • Barley with raisins and shaved almonds.
  • Cherry and almond pie.
  • Bread pudding with dates and figs.
  • Sage water for hand washing.

Ciaran & Wynn’s hearty menu was:

  • Pig knuckle and barley pottage.
  • Pork hock pottage.
  • Grilled vegetables & steak.
  • Rehomogenized milk.

Finally, Kiera’s menu included:

  • Grilled chicken with cherry sauce
  • Chicken & barley pottage
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Marzipan-filled dates.

The winners of the third Cast Iron Chef cooking competition, with the competition organizers.

In the end? We were all so excited and hungry for our own food that we were waiting for the judges to move along, so we could go enjoy ourselves! And not just us, there were quite a few bystanders with empty plates, waiting for the word to dig in…

For me, this was the first time cooking multiple dishes over open fire, and am I glad I brought all my cast iron pots & pans, we used every single one! It was a wonderful experience, not competitive at all. There was many a time where someone exclaimed for some sugar/cinnamon/flour and it would instantly appear from another cook’s station. We loaned out gear as needed and kept and eye on all that was cooking. I do not think I would have done anything different, and hope to be able to participate again next year! Thank you, Lijsbet and Sebastian for organizing, again, this wonderful event. A big thank you to all the volunteers and donors of wonderful foodstuffs, thanks to you the pantry was glorious! Thank you to our judges for your constructive help and feedback. It made for a most wonderful outdoor experience. All in all, I hardly even noticed the rain.

And now for the results we’ve all been waiting for…

While being able to make something wonderful out of pig’s knuckles and hocks is a worthy deed indeed, the Baroness felt she was most impressed by 13-year-old Morgan and her third time entering this competition successfully, thereby Morgan  and her dad Fearghus were the Baroness’s pick.

Playing to the crowd by bringing Delftwood and Kingdom regalia – and choosing the Delftwood Basket – the Baron was not able to overcome all this Delftwood splendor and picked team Algirdas & Aldanza Wolfus as the Baron’s choice. But don’t think that was all! Algirdas built a completely functional on-site oven as well, and the two of them walked away victorious as the Ultimate Cast Iron Chefs! Vivat!

For many more pictures of the A.S.52 Cast Iron Chef, see John Michael Thorpe’s photos here and JJ Art and Photography’s here.


For more information about this awesome Tournament, see here.



Categories: SCA news sites

Celebrating 20 Years: We are the Escarbuncle

Fri, 2017-09-15 14:50

Noble Cousins, I bid you greetings and extend an invitation to celebrate the Birth of our Kingdom and the choosing of our next Heirs.

The Celebration of Æthlemearc‘s Twentieth Anniversary and Fall Crown Tournament will be held on the 7th of October 2017 at All Saints Camp (110 All Saints Rd, Emlenton, PA 16373). The Autocrats are THL Muirgheal inghean Dubhghaill and Lady Elena de la Palma; a fantastic lunch will be prepared by Mistress Illadore de Bedagrayne and a sumptuous feast will be prepared by THL Ottilige van Rappoltsweiler.

Activities will include Our Crown Tournament, an arts and science display, equestrian activities, fencing, a grand ball, archery, a history display, thrown weapons, a heraldic consult table, youth fighting, a bardic circle, a heavy weapon’s torchlight tournament, a choir performance, atl-atl, brewers playtime, and cut and thrust! Not to mention the food!

Site is Wet. Service Animals only, please (excepting equines). Open flame is approved.

The Adult Event Registration will be $21.00.
Adult Member Discount Event Registration will be $16.00.
Children 0-5 Free; age 6-17 free.
A lavish Saturday lunch is included in the event registration.
Feast is an additional $10.00 per person, all ages.

Last day to Pre-Register is September 23, 2017.

Cabin space is limited to 100 people and will be first come first serve; reservation for this will be $5.00/adult per night, all youth ages 0-17 free. Tent camping is available and free to all.  All reservations can be sent to THL Hara Kikumatsu (

Make checks payable to SCA PA, Inc. – Debatable Lands. The Head Tollner for this event is THL Hara Kikumatsu ( Send all pre-registrations to her at Sharon Booth, 1105 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232.

Find more information here.

Yours in Service,
THL Muirgheal inghean Dubhghaill

Categories: SCA news sites

Hurricane Relief Donations Accepted at Upcoming Events

Thu, 2017-09-14 13:16

Greetings to the kind and generous people of Æthelmearc!

As you know, two hurricanes in quick succession have devastated major areas of the U.S. Many of our SCA cousins in Ansteorra (Texas & Oklahoma) and Trimaris (Florida) have suffered heartbreaking losses.

While there are numerous real-world charities to which you can send your donations (and many of you probably already have), we ask that you consider also specifically helping members of the Society.

SCA members have, no doubt, lost items specific to our hobby like garb, armor, pavilions, and scrolls, but right now what they need most is cash to help them rebuild and repair their homes, and replace destroyed vehicles, furniture, and clothing. SCA-specific donations can come  later, once the flood and wind damage has been repaired and people’s lives are no longer so disrupted.

A donation box will be available at the troll table at Coronation this weekend in Ballachlagan. Please consider bringing a little extra cash to give to those in need. With the blessing of Their Majesties, I have been communicating with the Disaster Relief Coordinator in Ansteorra, and this week I reached out to the Disaster Relief Coordinator in Trimaris, though they are still taking stock of things since it’s only been a few days and almost the entire Kingdom was affected. The proceeds of the donation box will be split between the two kingdoms’ disaster relief funds.

Not going to Coronation? Donation boxes will also be available at Agincourt and Crown Tourney/20 Year as well.

Note that these must be private donations from individuals, not from SCA groups. If your group has an SCA bank account and would like to donate some of those funds to hurricane relief efforts, please contact the Kingdom Exchequer, Master Tofi, for guidance.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Vivat Trimaris!  Vivat Ansteorra!

Categories: SCA news sites

ATTN: Coronation Location Change

Mon, 2017-09-11 07:54


The site for the Coronation of Gareth and Juliana has been moved to Warwood Middle School, 150 Viking Dr, Wheeling, WV 26003. (This is the same site that was used for The Donnan Party.)

If you need a map, please go to the Æ website and click on the event. There is a Google Map under the event announcement.

All other event details will be the same.

Thank you.

In service,
Æ Webminister

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Archery Champion’s Tournament at Agincourt

Thu, 2017-09-07 18:15

Master Jacopo at the spring Archery Champion’s shoot. Photo by Lord Mikus Magellus.

On September 23rd at the Agincourt event in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, the competition to choose the Archery Champion of Their Highnesses, Gareth and Juliana, will take place.

Master Jacopo di Niccolo, the outgoing Kingdom Archery Champion, announced that the championship will be open to all with no qualifier. A single elimination tourney will be held to reduce the competitors to a final group. The targets will be changed and then the single elimination shoot will continue until only the Champion remains.

All interested archers must be signed in by noon on Saturday. The signup list will be available at the troll table. All competing archers should be at the field by 12:30 and ready to begin shooting at 1 pm.

Categories: SCA news sites

Please Donate Drinking Vessels for Newcomers

Wed, 2017-09-06 21:52

Greetings to the citizens of our Sylvan Lands!

Coronation will soon be upon us, and with it, a wonderful opportunity to support those who are new to our hobby. Our next King and Queen, Gareth and Juliana, would like to give each newcomer a drinking vessel (mug, goblet, cup, etc.) during Royal Courts as a way to welcome them to the Society. Will you help Them in this endeavor?

Donations do not need to be new but should be in good condition and serviceable as feast gear.

Please contact THLady Antoinette de Lorraine ( with any questions.

Have a donation? Feel free to bring it to an event or mail it to:

Lady McKenna Henderson, Largess Coordinator for TRH Gareth & Juliana
Andrea Peters, 14 Miller Run Road, Burton, WV 26562


THLady Antoinette de Lorraine
Ashley Green, 1111 Ave G, Danville Pa 17821

Thank you for helping us keep the dream alive one moment at a time.

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Youth Champions’ Tourney at Agincourt

Wed, 2017-09-06 10:39

Youth fighters, arm yourselves and prepare!

On September 23rd at the Agincourt event in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, Their Highnesses Gareth and Juliana will choose Their Youth Combat Champions based on their chivalry, courtesy, and prowess.  There will be anywhere from one to three champions depending on the number of combatants in each division.

The list opens at 9:30 am for inspections and authorizations, with the tournament starting at 10 am. Youth fighters who are not yet authorized are encouraged to arrive early so they can complete their authorization bouts.

After the tournament, if time permits, there will be melees and practice with adult sparring partners.

Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Youth Combat Champions receive a tabard of office which they wear for the duration of their term, then pass on to the next Youth Champions, who will be chosen in the spring. They may process into Court with the King and Queen at events but are not required to stand in Courts unless they wish to do so. The champions’ names are added to the list of Kingdom Youth Combat Champions on the Kingdom Youth Combat website.

For more information about youth combat in Æthelmearc, visit the Kingdom Youth Combat Website.

Please direct any questions to the Kingdom Youth Combat Marshal, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Fox and Katrina, the current Kingdom Youth Champions. Photos by Arianna.


Categories: SCA news sites

Help Wanted!

Tue, 2017-09-05 17:16

The Gazette is looking for a few new daily editors. Join a great team of people and help us manage the most popular media site in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc!

What are you looking for?
We are looking for people who are available 2-3 days per month (our crack scheduler, Baron Magnus, does a monthly roster for the editors, taking into consideration everyone’s availability for the month). You need to have access to the internet, be on Facebook, and have the ability to edit articles and announcements. Access to photo editing software is a plus. We use WordPress for the blog, and have a good tutorial available for new editors.

On your editing day, you go through the in-box, edit and put up any articles there, check for corporate or officer announcements, and check the drafts section to see what is in the queue.

When we started, we had editors with specific coverage areas (cooking, different regions of the Kingdom, martial arts, etc.) but that’s changed – you can solicit articles on any topic, and we all cover the general news equally. Anything contentious gets discussed on our private FB page before being posted.

Do I need to have a title or rank to be an editor?
Absolutely not.

How do I apply?
Send a letter (you can attach your SCA and mundane resumes if you’d like) to the Gazette email at Tell us about yourself and why you would like to be a Gazette editor. We’d love to hear from you!

Categories: SCA news sites

The AEthelmearc 300!!!

Sat, 2017-09-02 14:04

Greetings unto the Populace of AEthelmearc from Master Anias Fenne! As the memories of War begin to fade, and the weather begins to turn cooler, let us not let our learned skills fade or our fire and passion for the fight begin to cool and sputter as well. As such, I am announcing the beginning of a Kingdom wide, long, tournament series designed to test your mettle, prowess, and persistence. I introduce to you…. The AEthelmearc 300!!!

Per the rules listed below, the shortest time that this tournament series can take will be over the course of two years, with the possibility of it being longer. There will be copious prizes awarded over the course of the series, with the ultimate final prize to be more than worth the effort! So please join in and test your self against the best this kingdom has to offer.

The first leg will be held at the approaching Harvest Raid in the Shire of Heronter on Sept. 30th. The more participants we have, the better the prizes, and First prize for this leg will be a handmade steel buckler crafted by myself! So come, join us, and let us work together as a kingdom to test each other and hone our prowess!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Aethelmearc 300 (AE300) is an on-going rapier tournament series to be hosted three times a year at various events through out the Kingdom of AEthelmearc. Each leg of the tournament lasts until the first person reaches fifty points or the allotted time has elapsed. All fighting will immediately cease at that time. There will be significant prizes awarded for each individual leg of the series, with the number of prizes dependant on the number of fighters.

The AEthelmearc 300 will end when one fighter emerges from the list with three hundred points. There will be prizes for the top several finishers in the overall standings, and the top prize has yet to be officially confirmed… but let me assure you, it will be a prize worth fighting for!


  1. The tournament must have a minimum of six fighters to be held.
  2. There will be one list per 8 fighters.
  3. There will be one prize awarded for each list in the leg of the tournament series.
  4. Chivalric behavior is expected at all times during the tournament. MIC has the right to remove a fighter from a leg of the tournament for infractions of the rules.
  5. A win is 1 point. No points for losing.
  6. Winner holds the list until defeated or a double kills occurs.
  7. Wounds are retained.
  8. Double kills = no points and both fighters retire from the list.
  9. All defeats will be reported to the MOL immediately before returning to the queue.
  10. Knocking down list ropes, poles, etc. more than twice is a loss.

If no fighter reaches 50 points at an event there is no winner and no prize is given. Points will still be tallied and added to any previous points earned.

Any questions or comments may be directed to the AEthelmearc 300 Coordinator: Master Anias Fenne at:

Categories: SCA news sites

Cast Iron Chef Competition Needs Volunteers

Fri, 2017-09-01 18:04

Greetings from the Cast Iron Chef coordinators!

Every year, we rely on many hands to keep the tournament running smoothly, and this year is no different. If you are so inclined, we are looking for volunteers to assist us with the following tasks:

  • Setting up the pantry shelter, judges’ area, and wash station (preferably done Friday evening)
  • Digging the fire trench (preferably Friday evening, but Saturday morning/afternoon is fine, too)
  • Building the initial fire for cooking (Sunday morning)
  • Running fire wood when we get low (Sunday)
  • Putting pantry items out on shelves (Sunday morning)
  • Monitoring the water cooler to make sure it stays full (Sunday)

The event is scheduled for Shoot in the Wildwood, September 1 @ 5:00 pm – September 4 @ 11:00 am, in the Barony of Delftwood.

Please let me and/or Sebastian know if you think you can help us out in any way to get the tournament ready for our cooks. Thank you so much in advance!

THL Lijsbet

Categories: SCA news sites

Dark Ages Skola: Classes, Adult & Youth A&S

Thu, 2017-08-31 23:26

Was your Pennsic schedule so jam-packed that you couldn’t get to as many classes as you’d have liked?

If so, set aside Saturday, September 23, and plan to attend the Dark Ages Skóla, hosted by the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn.

What have we planned thus far?

  • TWO keynote speakers:  The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life,  by Algirdas Wolthus and Dismantling Musiaphobia: learning to approach museum collections with confidence, by Patrikia Maria Agrissa Sgourina.
  • lunch by Hrolfr á Fjárfelli and Algirdas Wolthus; we’re aiming for mostly period and definitely yummy, as always!
  • hands-on cooking classes as well as make-and-take clothing and accessories classes
  • classes geared for beginners as well as experienced artisans

Current class list is:


  • “The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life” — by Algirdas Wolthus. Algirdas has been active in the SCA since the 1980s, resident in Myrkfaelinn for the majority of that time. Mundanely, Scott D. Stull is a Ph.D. archaeologist with a focus on medieval western Europe. He has presented on the built environment of medieval Europe at national and international conferences. He is also an experimental archaeologist, replicating medieval ceramics, food, and drink including mead.
  • “Dismantling Musiaphobia: learning to approach museum collections with confidence” — by Patrikia Maria Agrissa Sgourina. Maria, herself a life-long stitcher, is interested in embroidery styles that span the centuries, from early- to late-period. She received her Laurel in 2004 for her research, especially in Byzantine and Sassanid clothing and culture before the year 1000 CE.
  • The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life
  • Bone Pins of the Viking Age
  • Brocaded Tablet Weaving
  • Combalot: A Brief Look at Early Period Combs
  • Dark Ages Manuscript Illuminations
  • Dark Ages Shields
  • Fiber Prep for Handspinners & Felters
  • Inshoku – Food and Food Culture of Early Japan
  • Isho – Clothing the Nobility in Early Japan
  • What the Irish Ate.
  • The Irish Bardic Tradition.
  • Irish Illumination.
  • Irish Calligraphy.
  • Medieval Dairy Products
  • Poetry from Njal’s Saga.
  • Roman Fibula make and take.
  • Dress like a Roman.
  • Spin like the Romans & their Allies
  • The Settlement of Iceland.
  • Support Spindling
  • Survey of Norse Women’s Aprons
  • Skjoldehamn Hood and Dark Ages Embroidery
  • Tarsoly – the Rus Belt Pouch
  • Thorsberg Trousers: Pants that Last!
  • Thorsberg Trousers: Make-and-Take
  • Viking Period Swords
  • Viking Quivers from Hedeby
  • Viking Treasure Necklaces and Women’s “Bling”
  • Vinegaroon – Never Dye Leather Again!

And more classes keep being added!

Several classes, including the Skjoldehamn Hood and Dark Ages Embroidery, the Thorsberg Trousers: Make-and-Take, and the Viking Treasure Necklaces and Women’s Bling are “make and take” classes;  if you want to learn to make your own creations while enjoying experienced guidance, now is your change!

To help our teachers coming from close, and afar, Myrkfaelinn will host a silent auction to split between the Dominions’ coffers and a Teacher’s Travel Fund.

The Dark Ages Skóla will be hosting an A&S Display and Youth A&S Tournament. With only three more weeks to go, it is time to shrug off that Pennsic glow and start on your next best project!

The Youth A&S Tournament will be held in the common room. Please drop off your entry and documentation in the morning for display during the day. At the end of the afternoon, before the Silent Auction, please join your entry to show & tell the judges, followed by a most anticipated pick of (donated) gift.

The Dark Age A&S Display will also be held in the common room. Please drop off and display in the morning, to pick up at closing. We would love to see your Dark Age inspired (work-in-progress) projects (half page documentation appreciated), but honestly, anything goes!

Additional information about the event can be found on the Kingdom website as well as on Facebook.

The event is at a new event site: First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca, 315 N. Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.

 Hope to see you there! THL Elska á Fjárfelli

Categories: SCA news sites

From Their Highnesses Regarding Crown Tourney

Tue, 2017-08-29 10:46

Our Kingdom will soon need heirs.

As per kingdom law listed below, anyone wishing to enter Crown Tournament must submit the information requested below, 30 days prior to Crown Tournament.

Our Crown Tournament takes place on October 7, 2017. That means we must have received your letter of intent by no later than September 8, 2017. We hope to have a strong list with many strong and noble champions fighting to honor those they find inspiration in. There are no special weapon or shield requirements.

Letters of Intent can be sent by email to and, or by snail mail to:

Samuel and Debra Cale
915 Johnson Ave.
Bridgeport, WV 26330

TRH Gareth and Juliana

Article III: CROWN
Entrants in this section of Law are defined as the combatant and consort entering Crown Tournament.
All entrants in the Crown Tournament must be members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
All entrants in the Crown Tournament must be 18 years of age or older as of the date of Crown Tournament.
The withdrawal of either entrant from the Crown Lists shall automatically eliminate both from that Tournament, except as provided below in paragraph III -1100. Either may withdraw at any point in the Tournament by notifying the Minister of the Lists.
In order to be eligible to fight or be fought for in Crown Tournament, a person must be a subject (as defined in Corpora) of Æthelmearc for one year immediately prior to Crown Tournament and be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of participation in Æthelmearc during that period. The Crown may waive the above requirements if the entrants are subjects of the Kingdom and able to demonstrate to the Crown’s satisfaction by their own words or by recommendation of peers of the Kingdom that they have sufficient familiarity with Kingdom Law and customs and an acceptable level of participation.
Letters of intent must be sent to the Crown.They must include the following elements for both entrants:

  • SCA names
  • Legal names
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • E-mail addresses
  • Proofs of membership
  • Age (proof to be supplied at Crown Tournament)
  • Proof of current authorization for Combatants

To facilitate complete letters of intent, a form is available on the Kingdom website as well as from the Crown and the Seneschal on request. Prospective entrants are encouraged but not required to use this form to ensure a complete letter. Letters of Intent must be mailed, e-mailed, or hand-delivered to the Crown no later than 30 days prior to the Crown.

The Laws of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, September 25th, 2016

The Kingdom Seneschal shall verify eligibility as defined in the Bylaws and Corpora.
No person shall enter the Crown Tournament without intending an honorable attempt to compete for the Crown.At the discretion of the Royalty whose Crown it is, the Kingdom Officers who administer Crown may step aside and have their emergency deputy administer the Tourney, so they may enter. In the event a Kingdom Officer should win Crown, the Law regarding Emergency Deputies and office succession will apply.
The entrants must be acceptable to the Crown or Their representatives.
No person fighting in or being fought for in Crown Tournament may administer the Crown Tournament.
Any two people may champion each other in the Crown Lists (hereinafter referred to as a combatant couple) so long as neither is championed by any other person.
If one member of a combatant couple is removed from the Crown Lists for marshallate infractions or any infractions of the Rules of the Lists, both members are ineligible to continue in that Crown Tournament. If one member of a combatant couple voluntarily withdraws as a combatant in the Lists, the MOL and Marshal will confer with the withdrawing member to determine if they are also withdrawing as consort or if the other member may continue in the Lists. If the participant withdraws both as fighter and consort, both shall be ineligible to continue in that Crown Tournament.
The preferred method of Crown Tournament is a double-elimination format.
The winner of the Crown Tournament and the winner’s consort become the new Heirs to the Throne of Æthelmearc. They are each entitled to the Title of Crown Prince or Crown Princess, as appropriate to the individual’s persona.
Upon ascending to the Throne, They may rightfully be acknowledged as Monarch and Consort with alternate Titles as appropriate to the dignity of the Throne.

Categories: SCA news sites

Aid for Ansteorran victims of Hurricane Harvey

Mon, 2017-08-28 16:45

The Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Kingdom of Ansteorra has provided the following information regarding donations to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Greetings from Ansteorra!

As everyone knows, we have been visited by Hurricane Harvey. It has ravaged our coastline and many of our Baronies and Shires in that group have taken over 20” of rain with more on the way. Many people have evacuated, and some are still in the process of being evacuated. It will be some time before we know the full extent of the damage Harvey has left.

At this point, we are going to limit donations to gift cards, cash, and PayPal donations. Once people have returned to their homes and begun to assess the damage, we will begin to start a list (physical and Amazon wish-type) of “stuff” that needs to be replaced, but we will only do that once the rain has stopped, Harvey has left, and they have a place to put it.

The only monies in the PayPal account are relief funds. Any cash received will be added to the PayPal account for accounting/accountability purposes. It is not an SCA-affiliated account, nor are the donations tax deductible. All monies need to be given by individuals to help those who want to help those affected. All donations will be used to help the affected, and any excess money (after the tornado, we split all monies equitably, and I foresee this being the same situation with no excess) will be given equally to Red Cross, Salvation Army, TX Food Bank, and the Humane Society.

We could also use gift cards to help fill immediate needs and help with clean-up. The best gift cards are Generic Visa/MC, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, HEB, PetCo, and other big box stores.

Donations can be sent to the PayPal address

Mail (and gift card) donations can be sent to me:
Brandy Merrell
629 Unbridled Lane
Keller, TX 76248

I will send them on to where they will be most helpful.

Anyone can feel free to contact me for more information or clarification:

In Service,
Lady Marion inghean ui Ruanadha
DRC Ansteorra

Categories: SCA news sites

A Scribal Journey to a Medieval Monastery

Fri, 2017-08-25 14:26

A Class at Pax Interruptus, by THL Mairghread Stoibheard inghean ui Choinne

A solemn large bell tolls the monks, dressed in clothing unchanged since the 11th century, in from the wheat and rye fields to the handcrafted field stone abbey church. The monastery is called the Abbey of the Genesee, home to the famous “Monk’s Bread” bakery and is located in somewhat of a time warp on a beautiful hilltop above the Genesee River a mere 14 miles from the event site for Pax Interruptus in the Barony of Thescorre.

Gemlike windows of colored glass, icons in the Russian period style, and libraries with an assortment of references on iconography, calligraphy and illumination are a few of the aspects of the monastery eagerly observed by a group of seven gentles attending Pax Interruptus on July 8, A.S. 52.

The Schedule
The schedule for the excursion led by THL Mairghread Stoibheard inghean ui Choinne included:

10: 40 am (after morning court) Depart for Abbey – meet at cook’s tent

11:00 Brother Anthony to give a short talk on the hand sign language still in use at the Abbey for communicating during the “Grand Silence” (omitted due to a later departure)

11:15  Attend Sext (optional) – this is a service where Gregorian Chant is sung by the monks in antiphonal/response mode with the congregation using a psalter that is a copy of hand calligraphed original.  The psalter is for sale at the Abbey book store. (omitted due to a later departure)

11:30 View life sized icon in reception room

11:30 Visit gift ship including the book store and calligraphy and illuminations on display and sold there (you can also purchase Monk’s Bread made at the Abbey for cost and many other baked goods made at the Abbey and products of various Trappist abbeys as well. (Credit cards and checks are accepted)

12:15 View illuminated heraldry in the narthex, review the use of the psalter, view stained glass, solid limestone altar and additional icon in the Abbey church

12:30 lunch – Eat in front of the abbey residence wing – by the pond or in the shade.

1:00 View the life size high-quality reproductions of the medieval manuscripts such as “The Crusaders’ Bible” or ”Morgan Picture Bible” or the “Maciejowski Bible” or the “Shah ‘Abbas Bible” at Bethlehem House

Many thanks to the autocrat, Lady Marguerite III de Neufchâtel, and the Cooks’ Co-ordinator, Baroness  Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina, and her staff for preparing lunches ahead for the side trip.

The Icons and Illumination References
In the reception area, we were greeted by a stunning, larger than life icon of a saint. The abbey has several icons including one in the church near the tabernacle depicting Mary with the infant Jesus comforting her face with his hand. It is in the style of the icon shown at left named “The Comfort and Consolation of the Theotokos“  from the monastery on Mt. Athos in Greece.

During our last stop at Bethlehem Retreat House in the west library, we were able to view the book “The Treasures of the Monastery of St. Catherine’s“ that included many icons and mosaics as wells as ornate gold mitres (clerical hats) and chalices.

In addition, there were folios of several life size, very high quality reproductions from the “The Crusaders’ Bible” with faux gold gilding. This bible is also known as the ”Morgan Picture Bible” or the “Maciejowski Bible” or the “Shah ‘Abbas Bible”. Several full size folios from “The Book of Kells” were also viewed. The Kells images show how parchment was stitched onto damaged corners to repair certain pages. One of our participants, Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa, explained that these are printers’ samples.

The library includes many historical and some period and primary source references about the monastic movements of St. Bernard and associated art and practices.

The Garb or Habit
It was interesting to observe the garb or “habit” of the porter. The porter is the monk who is permitted to interact with visitors in the reception area since this is a cloistered abbey. The white wool T-Tunic and brown wool tabard with leather belt and sandals are unchanged from the 11th century as shown in this painting Life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux by Joerg Breu the Elder from 1500 C.B.E.

It is common to see the habits worn by the monks mended with darning. Belts and sandals are apt to be quite worn as the Trappists take a lifelong vow of poverty.

The Heraldry
In the narthex leading to the abbey church, the abbey heraldry hangs on the stone wall accompanied by the following description:

“The abbey is signified by the crozier [at top]. The blue and white Marian [signifying Mary] colors indicate that the abbey is dedicated to Mary as is the entire Cistercian of the Strict [or Trappist] Order.

In heraldry, a river is symbolized by a wavy silver band. Here it symbolizes the Genesee River Valley where the abbey is located. The golden wavy lines on each side express golden banks, derived from the Seneca Indian name for the Genesee River Valley.

Three Indian arrowheads on the river recall the Seneca Indians who made the Genesee River Valley their home. They call themselves Tshotinondawage, people of the mountains. The arrowhead are red to further represent  the Seneca Indians and are turned upwards in the militant position to signify defense of their homeland. Above and below is the crescent, a symbol of Our Lady [Mary].                         “

Note that heraldically, a bend from upper left to lower right symbolizes an unmarried male.

The Psalter Calligraphy
The psalter, which is for sale in the shop was copied out by hand at the Abbey. The original was done using India ink with a #2.5 or #3 pen in an unclassified hand, taking four hundred hours over a period of ten months starting in February 1974. It suggests the individual character and is appropriate to the meditative recital in Gregorian Chant of some of the 150 psalms each day in seven different short services (the Divine Office) and underlines the peace and silence the monks seek in prayer.

Meredith Parsons Lillich, Department of Fine Arts, Syracuse University, wrote ”This handsome, austere, Cistercian Psalter was written by one monk over a period of nearly a year. In that time his letter forms gradually and imperceptibly changed, by slight and unconscious refinements. A comparison of his opening pages with his final verses of Psalm 150 would lead a professional paleographer, without hesitation, to attribute the hand to two different scribes. All the rules of the paleographic analysis are broken, since even the most distinctive letters (g, a) have changed in their shapes.  The script of this Cistercian Psalter is thus, in itself, a creation which is orderly, disciplined and unified, yet intricate, complex and growing.”

Calligraphy, Illumination, Baked Goods and Other Shop Wares
Many of the gentles of Thescorre, Delftwood, and the Hael have eaten “Monk’s Bread” baked at this monastery their entire life. Originally all Mink’s Bread was produced here, but due to expansion, now only locally distributed and on-line sales are baked at the abbey bakery on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. The cost of the bread at the abbey store is reduced by almost 40 percent from grocery store prices. Other Trappist wares are offered including cookies and fruit cakes prepared at the abbey bakery. Micro greens from the cloister garden were also available the day of our visit.

In addition to the extensive book store, illuminations/icons, and calligraphed and illuminated cards and prints of icons are for sale. These artworks were created by a SUNY Geneseo alumni and artist, Minhhang K. Huynh. Minhhang was raised in Vietnam in the Buddhist tradition. She began studying tempera techniques such as fresco and wood panel and crucifix painting in Sienna, Italy in 1994.  Through her work on sacred paintings in the medieval tradition, she became a spiritual student of Rev. Father John Eudes Bamberger, who was abbot of the monastery at the time (He is now one of the handful of brothers who live in hermitages on the west side of River Rd.)

The Architechure and Site
The abbey buildings were begun in 1951 when several monks were sent from the motherhouse, Gethsemani, near Louisville, Ky. to establish the foundation on one-thousand acres of land donated to the Order. The buildings are of post and beam construction with walls of fieldstones mined from the land.

Even the stained glass windows are re-purposed glass.The main door faces east as in the tradition in Western and many Eastern monasteries.

Many of the charter members were WWII veterans who sought the solitude of a simpler lifestyle and opportunity to better the world through their works after their harrowing combat experiences. The bread made at the abbey is donated to many local charities.  Local hunters can be given permission to hunt on the land on the east side of River Rd. which includes part of the Genesee Greenway trail leading to the Genesee River.

Members of our party observed the simple wooden crosses of the cemetery and heard the peals of the great outdoor bell that tolls the times for “Office” in the cloistered enclosure as cars pulled in and out of the parking lot. Similar to the SCA, the abbey is a blend of the modern and mundane with the charm and authenticity of medieval culture carefully preserved and practiced.

This class was not able to get to the abbey in time to hear a talk on the hand sign language still in use at the abbey, or hear the Gregorian chant of a service, but there is interest from Delftwood and Thescorre in a repeat excursion. Anyone can visit the abbey between 2:00 am and 7:00 pm each day of the year.

Although our group ranged from those reared in the Catholic and various protestant and new age traditions, and agnostics, as well as those who have merely been on a personal spiritual journey, all agreed that we left more peaceful, enriched and inspired.



Categories: SCA news sites

Alum Feces–An Unusual Medieval Ingredient

Tue, 2017-08-22 00:32

By THL Elska á Fjárfelli (Susan Verberg)

In period known as alumen faecis, alom de fece, lume di fecca, and lume de fezza, alum feces is an often-mentioned medieval chemical ingredient which, surprisingly, has nothing to do with alum.

Naturally occurring winestone from white wine, untreated. All photos by THL Elska.

Alum of lees (alumen faecis) is potassium carbonate and made by burning the sediments of wine, called lees. During the fermentation of grape juice harmless crystalline deposits separate in wine as crude tartar and are deposited in wine casks. These deposits consist mostly of tartar, the potassium salt of tartaric acid,[1] with small amounts of cream of tartar and of pulp debris, dead yeast, and tannins; impurities which contaminate the potassium tartrate. Tartrates separate from new wines because they are less soluble in alcohol than in non-alcoholic grape juice. Approximately half of the tartrate soluble in grape juice is insoluble in wine, and in white wines the sediment can look alarmingly like shards of glass.[2] Crude tartar was well known during our time of study and is used as an ingredient in many books of secrets dealing with medicinal recipes, fabric cleaning, dyeing, etc.

Unfortunately, while recipes using the ingredients are plenty, instructions on acquiring and purifying chemical ingredients including tartar and its derivatives are rare, up until the late 17th to 18th century as attested by the 1842 A Dispensatory “the pure salt was first prepared during the last [18th] century, and its constitution was unknown [before].”

My impression is that the craftspeople worked things out very well by trial and error, but did not know why certain combinations worked. This could show in the inclusion of superfluous items, ingredients with no apparent use. For instance, juice of celandine has no cleaning properties as far as modern chemistry is aware.

The addition of specific combinations of ingredients (chemicals) would react with each other (chemistry) to create a new ingredient, which would significantly boost the workings of the recipe but without the craftsman knowing why it worked more effectively. For instance, the combination of alum feces (potassium carbonate) with crude tartar (dipotassium tartrate) would chemically react and precipitate cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate), a more effective stain cleaner than tartar itself. While it is not difficult to crystallize cream of tartar out of crude tartar and use as a straight ingredient, the question is: were the medieval craftsmen aware of this chemical and did they find it easier to produced it in situ, or did they use the round-about way as they did not know, aside from, this works?

From working with soap recipes, I had come across the mentions of tartar, alum feces, and alum catini multiple times, and as part of my soap research I wanted to learn how to make these from scratch. While it took me about two years to find a reference to alum feces (at a Pennsic workshop on laundry; I later tracked down the bibliography) that identified it as the burnt lees of wine, I only recently found the final piece of the puzzle.

Alum feces and alum catini are often mentioned in the same context in similar or the same recipes. I assumed them to be of a similar background and when I found that alum feces was burnt tartar I made a leap and assumed alum catini to be the ashes of burnt cream of tartar. It made sense at the time!

Unfortunately, after doing lots of digging into the chemistry of tartar and finding out that ashing tartar and cream of tartar ends up with the same chemical (but they might not have known that! my little devil went…) I finally found a reference in the wonderful book The Art of Dyeing in the History of Mankind which translates “alum catini” (and mentions quite a number of other alums which are also not, technically, alum) as soda, or soda ash. This makes perfect sense, as alum feces actually is potash…
With my background in soap making I could have anticipated this, but it never even occurred to me. What I did wonder about is why I did not find any mention to soda ash in any of my medieval soap recipes… Now, not only did I solve one small mystery of identification, I actually ended up solving a much larger one on technique.

[For more background & chemistry on Tartrates, please check my Ice Dragon documentation here.]

The word alumen faecis occurs in many books of secrets written in the 16th century on chemical technology and is described as the burnt remains of tartar, indicating potassium carbonate. An exact translation of this word would mean the dregs or refuse of alum. In the French The secrets of the master Alexis of Piemont it appears as “alum de fece”; in the English Alexis as “alumen fecis,” and, of course, in the German Alexis as “alun de feta.” Cesalpino, the well-known authority of the 16th century in his De Metallicis, Rome, 1596, says, “Alumen faecis, quae fex vini est combusta” or “Alumen faecis is the dregs of wine that is burned.” Gargiolli in L’Arte Della Seta in Florence, 1868, says of allume di feccia that “Cotesto allume non e altro che cenera cavata dale vinacce bruciate” – “This alum is nothing other that the ashes derived from burnt wine lees.”[3]

The word “tartar” comes to English via Medieval Latin from the Medieval Greek tartaron.[4] This crude form of tartar, also known as winestone, argol, and beeswing, is collected and purified to produce the white, odorless acidic powder known as cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate. As a food additive, tartar shares the E number E336 with cream of tartar, which does not help the confusion between dipotassium tartrate (tartar) and potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar).[5] Alum feces or potassium carbonate can be made by igniting and ashing tartrates (natural winestone or commercial cream of tartar) to produce pearl ash. This salt (alkali) of tartar was deemed stronger than almost any that is obtained from other matters.[6]

Potash could also be purified by baking it in a kiln or oven until all the carbon impurities are burned off, which would also resulting in pearl ash (sometimes called fly ash, as it easily blows away). The same technique works to make alum catini by ashing calcined marine plants in a kiln … or you could buy a box of washing soda, which is also pure sodium carbonate. The production of potash and pearl ash from wood were of such importance to Britain that these commodities could not be exported by the American Colonies to ports outside of the British Realm.[7] High-quality potassium carbonate was used in glass making, soap making, fiber cleaning, and dyeing and as a medicinal ingredient. Tartrates were used in fiber cleaning & dyeing and as a medicinal ingredient.

The different chemicals made from natural winestone:

  • Winestone is crude tartar.
  • Refined crude tartar becomes tartar or argol (dipotassium tartrate).
  • Refined tartar becomes cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate).
  • Burnt tartar & cream of tartar become alum feces (potassium carbonate)

In cleaning solutions and recipes, tartrates and carbonates have specific functions:

  • Tartrates are buffering agents. Tartar (sometimes in the form of wine lees), was a common ingredient in both lye-based and non-lye-based cleaning solutions. Tartar’s acidic qualities somewhat neutralize the harshness of an alkaline solution,[8] which greatly helps protein-based fabrics like woolen cloth.
  • Tartrates are acidic, and act as sequestrants. As well as providing buffering action, the acidity of tartar and cream of tartar makes these substances useful in removing inorganic stains. They have some ability to act as sequestrants,[9] by interrupting the oxidation of metals, making it possible to dissolve and removing metal and iron oxidation. It is taken from the Latin word “sequestrare” meaning to remove from use.[10] Cream of tartar is an effective and still in use household remedy against iron stains and fruit stains on linen.
  • Carbonates are alkalis. In solution with water carbonates (CO3) react to produce hydroxides (OH); for instance potassium carbonate (K2CO3) plus water (H2O) produces potassium hydroxide (KOH), which is alkaline. Alkaline solutions are common cleaning agent of the 15th and 16th centuries. Alkalis are best at removing stains of a fatty nature and some proteins. When applied to grease and oil stains, the saponification that occurs is an additional aid to stain removal.[11] Alkaline solutions were also made from boiling potash (including hearth ashes), a common source of potassium carbonates, but depending on the quality of the source is often significantly less pure (due to incomplete burn) than burnt tartar, or alum feces.

To make Tartar

“… as well as its property of not being soluble in water without much difficulty: for a very great quantity of water is requisite to keep the crystals of tartar in solution; and it must moreover be boiling hot; otherwise as soon as it cools most of the tartar dissolved in it separates from the liquor, and falls to the bottom in the form of a white powder” From the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1771.

From the information given in the above text, among others, I choose to boil the winestone and let it cool down to re-crystallize the tartar out of the suspension.

The Process:
Rinse and dry crude tartar. My tartar came from a local wine maker (Barry Family Cellars) and comes from white wine (which is why it is uncolored). It smells weird. The crude tartar is added to water. It only dissolves during the boiling stage of water and settles back out of solution when the water cools down.

The refined tartar settles out of solution in a fine powder and as a sludge can easily be dried.
When using red wine winestone, this stage would be done multiple times while decanting the water which would contain most of the colorants and tannins.

I assumed it would crystallize to the sides, given the text by Lémery from 1686 below:
“Boil in a great deal of water what quantity of white Tartar you please, until it be all dissolved; pass the liquor hot through Hippocrates his Sleeve, into an earthen vessel, and evaporate about half of it: set the vessel in a cool place two or three days, & you’l find little Crystals on the sides, which you are to separate; evaporate again half the liquor that remains, and remit the vessel to the Cellar as before, there will shoot out new Crystals: continue doing thus, until you have gotten all your Tartar , dry the Crystals in the Sun, and keep them for use.”[12]

This did not happen. I did not filter the hot liquid but let it cool down on its own, as indicated by the more recent texts. I wonder if the little crystals indicated are cream of tartar instead of straight tartar, as cream of tartar will keep appearing at each new boil until the liquid is exhausted.

The dried sludge is broken off and powdered in a fine mortar and sieved.
The resulting white powder is tartar, or potassium tartrate.

To make Alumen faecis

The crude tartar is calcined over open fire (propane burner) in a fireproof vessel in a well-ventilated area (sunroom) into charcoal. Iron was indicated to be able to withstand the heat, but because I enjoy my cast iron I choose to use a pyroceramic corningware dish (Pyrex would shatter). Calcining creates lots of smoke while the organic contaminants and volatile gasses are burned off.

Then the black charcoaled winestone is put on an iron dish (pizza plate) into the oven and ashed using the self-cleaning cycle. This worked really well (and I was very glad I did the calcining outdoors as we do not have an outdoor vent on our oven).

The powder is then filtered and stored in a jar. As mentioned in the 1686 A course of chemistry, if these ashes are dissolved or lixiviated in water, and then evaporated, another salt will appear, which will have become hygroscopic, or draw moisture from the air: “Break the Retort which served you for distillation of Tartar, and take the black mass you find in it; Calcine it until it becomes white, then put it into a great deal of hot water, and make a Lixivium, filtrate it, and pour it into a glass, or earthen vessel, evaporate in a sand-heat all the water, and there will remain a white salt, which is called the Alkali Salt of Tartar.

If you expose for some days in a Cellar this Salt of Tartar in a wide glass vessel, it will dissolve into a liquor that is improperly called Oil of Tartar per Deliquium.”[13] What this indicates is that the ashes of tartar, or the potassium carbonate, dissolved in water reacted to form potassium hydroxide, which when evaporated will re-crystallize, but will also be hygroscopic (pull moisture from the air, as soap makers know from experience hydroxide is wont to do!).

Following are two period recipes which include tartar and alum feces. For more samples, please see my Ice Dragon documentation.

From T bouck va wonder (The Book of Wonders), anonymous, 1513: this recipe would make an all-purpose cleaning soap ball. The rock alum would act as a mild deodorant and acidic buffer, the tartar would help buffer the alkaline soap and help remove mineral stains, the egg would help disperse trapped dirt (and help with sticking the dry powders to the hard Spanish soap). I am not familiar with waterlily rhizomes in specific, but know of similar plants which are saponaria (soap plants) and would act as a wetting agent to help the soap penetrate the fabric deeper so more debris can be rinsed away.

32. To make soap, that, purifies all sorts of stains, whatever they might be.
Take rock alum, lees [tartar] one pound and make this in a powder, rhizomes of flames or waterlilies of Florence, pulverized a half pound, a fresh egg, two pounds and a half of spanish soap, stomp the previously mentioned powders with the egg and the soap, and make little balles thereof. And if you think the egg was not enough, take as many as you like, or as you think is enough, to make the previously mentioned. And if you want to take on the stain, take clean water, and soak and wash the mentioned stain of both sides of the sheet, and rub with the mentioned ball, and sheet on sheet; that done, wash the dirtiness out with fresh water, and wring the sheet to get rid of the fat, and wash the sheet again with fresh water, and it will stay clean.

From Allerley Mackel (All Kinds of Spots) by Peter Jordanim, 1532: This recipe describes not only the use of tartar in a cleaning solution, but also a method by which cream of tartar was obtained for use in cleaning. When alum feces (potash or pearlash; potassium carbonate) is combined with crude tartar (tartaric acid) in a liquid solution, cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is precipitated. Some precipitation occurs naturally during the winemaking process, but collecting the tartar-rich solid leftovers during winemaking and adding them to a solution of potassium hydroxide (lye, or potassium carbonate mixed with water) allows for a much greater amount of pure cream of tartar to be created. (Leed) And once again just about all available cleaning materials are then mixed together. This combinations should form a concentrated emulsion containing solvents to hold fats and waxes in solution (the campfor and oxgall), tartrates to help remove mineral stains, and absorbents to help remove embedded dirt (the alum with the dragon’s blood would form an aluminum resinate which would give some viscosity to the mix).[14]

3. Another way
Six ounces alum feces, four ounces crude tartar, two ounces alum, one half quent [1/4 scruple or a dragme] camphor, one half quent dragon’s blood, grind all together to a fine powder and mix well, then take six ounces ox gall and six “bucklin” of clear water, put all together in a kettle, let boil to remove a third of the volume, then strain through a piece of cloth. Whenever you cannot get the ox gall or the camphor the water itself is strong enough. For use take a new piece of woolen cloth, moisten it with the water, and rub the spot or stain with it. When the piece of cloth becomes dry, moisten it again with the water and rub until the spot has disappeared; thereupon take warm water and wash the place where the stain has been. But for white cloth take the same water and add some soap, distill it, and work as before.

[Winestone donated by my friend Ian Barry of Barry Family Cellars.]

For a complete bibliography, more background, more photos, and how to make cream of tarter, you can download my documentation here.





[3] Edelstein, Sidney M. (1964) The Allerley Matkel (1532) Technology and Culture, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Summer, 1964). The Johns Hopkins University Press. p.313



[6] (1771) Encyclopedia Brittanica. Vol. II. Edinburgh: Colin Macfarquhar, Society of Gentlemen in Scotland.

[7] Ellis, Marietta (2015?) Colonial Soapmaking – Its History and Techniques. Spadét.

[8] Leed, Drea (2006) “Ye Shall Have It Clean”. Medieval Clothing and Textiles, Vol 2, the Boydell Press, NY.

[9 Leed


[11] Leed

[12] Lémery, Nicolas & Harris, Walter (1686) A course of chemistry. London: R.N. for Walter Kettilby, p.433

[13] Lémery, 433

[14] Edelstein 1964


Categories: SCA news sites

Melee Madness in the Barony of Endless Hills – Court Report

Sun, 2017-08-20 15:17

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of AEthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of AEthelmearc Herald with the assistance of Countess Margerite Eisenwald and Maestro Orlando di Bene del Vinta at Melee Madness in the Barony of Endless Hills on June 3, Anno Societatis LII.

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, invited The Baron and Baroness of Endless Hills, Verdi Stephan and Fiona to Their court.

Their Majesties asked the Equestrians who participated in the Kingdom Equestrian Championship to come forth. They thanked them all, noting that for many this was the first event they attended and Their Majesties were greatly impressed with the horsemanship displayed. They were especially thankful for the opportunity the equestrians afforded Their son, Timothy the Younger to ride in the procession.

Their Majesties advised the court that while there were many participants who excelled, the Kingdom needed a Champion and thus They invited Mistress Ysebeau Tiercelin to stand as King’s Champion and Kingdom Equestrian Champion. They also invited Master Tiernach MacCaithal to stand as Queen’s Champion.









Their Majesties called forth Ashley of Endless Hills. For her work in helping in the kitchen, retaining, with set up and tear down, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Silver Buccle. Scroll by Lady Jinx.

Their Majesties called forth the rest of the children present and asked Lord Nicolo to give the toy chest fleet feet. The children were instructed to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present. Having been given a count of ten, Lord Nicolo fled the court with the children fast behind.

Their Majesties gave leave to Their Excellencies of Endless Hills to hold Their court.

Upon the completion of the Baronial court, Her Majesty spoke of the honor and grace of the fencers who fought this day and how she was impressed by all the contenders. Knowing that there could be but one who would be called upon to be Her Champion, She invited before Her Master Clewin Kupfenhelblinc to stand as her Queen’s Rapier Champion. Her Majesty then called Lord Durante de Caravaggio forth and divested him of the regalia of the Queen’s Champion and thanked him for his service to both Coutness Marguerite and Herself. She invested Master Clewin with the regalia of his office and asked him to join the court as Her Champion.

Before dismissing Lord Durante, Her Majesty invited Countess Marguerite to join Her in the next business of the court. The Countess spoke movingly of the service Lord Durante had provided to her and was pleased to be part of the court during this moment. Her Majesty then Granted Arms to Durante and awarded him the Queen’s Order of Excellence for his faithful service to Her predecessor. To mark his new station, a circlet was placed upon his brow, gifted by Her Excellency. Scroll was limned by an unknown artist, words and calligraphy by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties called forth Helena Kobot. Noting that she was working diligently on her fencing, had started making her own garb and was always helpful at events, They were moved to make her a Lady of the court by Award of Arms. Scroll by THLady Máirghréad Stí­obhard inghean uí­ Choinne.

Their Majesties called Vincenzo of Endless Hills. Gratified to see such a hardworking young man willing to take on the tasks of adulthood within the Society, They felt it only proper he be given the rank and station of an adult. Therefore for his work retaining, setting up and tearing down at events, helping autocrats and head cooks alike, They Awarded him Arms and made him a Lord of the court. Scroll by Baroness Fiona the Prepared.

Their Majesties called forth Eustacious di Mecina. Because of he is a person who is seen everywhere helping in tasks great and small and always with a joyful and enthusiastic smile, Their Majesties saw fit to make him a Lord of the court and Awarded him Arms.

Their Majesties asked Their Excellencies to convey an award for Them since it was known that the Gentle in question would not be in Their presence to be given the award by Their Hands and charged Their Excellencies to carry this missive to him at Their next opportunity. Their Majesties then had Lord Leo the Ronin added to the Order of the Keystone for his great endeavors in creating an online presence for the Barony of Endless Hills and his work as both Chronicler and Web Minister. Scroll by Baroness Barbary Rose.

Their Majesties called for Lord Alayn Pyett to attend Them. For his works of art as Blacksmith, wood carver and weaver, They inducted him to the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds and Sir Murdoch Bayne.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Kolfina Jodisdottir. Knowing her to be skilled with rapier and bow, and dedicated to building her skills by rigorous practice many nights a week, They were moved to induct her to the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds and Sir Murdoch Bayne.

Their Majesties called Lady Valgeror inn rosti to attend Them. A fencer who has chosen and researched the form of Destresa fencing, she has overcome obstacles to become a force to be reckoned with upon the field and so They inducted her to Their Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Lady Kolfina Jodisdottir.

Their Majesties called forth Lady AEsa Hegulfsdottir. Knowing that she has served her Barony as Archery Champion, has been a heavy weapons fighter and is skilled with the bow, Their Majesties were moved to make her a Companion of the Order of the Golden Alce. Sir Murdoch presented her with the Golden Alce medallion passed down through the members of the order in her household. Scroll by Sir Murdoch Bayne.

Their Majesties advised that it is Their right and privilege to give recognition long overlooked. They called forth Lord Kenrick of Endless Hills and inducted him to the Order of the Golden Alce for his skill in heavy weapons fighting, his continued teaching of the combat arts and his service as Baronial Champion for Heavy Weapons combat. Scroll was limned by an unknown artist and calligraphed by Mistress Euriol of Lothian.

Their Majesties invited before them Dame Kateryna ty Isaf. Their Majesties then called forth the Order of the Fleur d’Aethelmearc to attend Them. Speaking of how delighted They were to recognize her gift for feeding Their Realm both delicious and well researched feasts and how They were looking forward to yet another such feast this day, They were moved to induct her into the Order of the Fleur d’Aethelmearc upon this day. The scroll was by Sir Murdoch Bayne, wordsmithing by Lord Gregory Hillson.

Their Majesties called before them Lady Antionette DeLorraine. Their Majesties advised They having asked Their Order of the Millrind for counsel regarding gentles in the Realm deserving inclusion in that order, one name did rise to Their attention that They felt needed to be done immediately. Their Majesties then called for the Order of the Millrind to attend Them. They advised that for her work as Seneschal, Autocrat and many times serving as Retainer, They were moved to induct her to the Order of the Millrind and grant her arms. The scroll is a work in progress by THLady Alianora Bronhulle.

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

Her Majesty asked Don Po Silvertop to attend Her. Her Majesty was moved to recognize Don Po as Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon him the Golden Escarbuncle for not only his prowess on the fencing field, but also the joy he brings to his bouts and instills in others.

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

– The Heralds and Signet would like to thank all the scribes who contributed to the day. If you worked on a specific scroll and were not attributed, please contact the Jewel Herald at to have the court report amended.​​​

Categories: SCA news sites

Half-Timber Malt House

Fri, 2017-08-18 14:31

The following article was submitted to the Gazette by THL Madoc Arundel, who displayed his Malt House reproduction project at this year’s Ice Dragon Pentathlon:

Historical Background

The malting of grain – converting complex starches into simple sugars – is necessary for the grain to be used in the production of alcoholic beverage. While early malting was crude and rudimentary, experience and innovation improved the process over time. By the middle ages, Europeans were producing malted grain in industrial sized batches. This advancement necessitated the move of the malting process from the campfire and kitchen to an industrial sized building or cavern known as a malting house.

As the process has not changed much in two millennia, so has the structure of a malting house remained similar. Archaeologists have uncovered sites in Great Britain and on the European continent of malting houses dating back as far as the Roman occupation. In general, these malting houses consisted of a grain storage area, a soaking pit, a growing floor, and a kiln. Variations existed; but the linear design of the malting house did not change. A very early version of a malting setup in Roman occupied Bavaria in the second century talks about the layout:

Within an oblong set of stone foundations are arranged—clockwise—a deep well; a water-tight basin at ground level; a kiln with a fire pit and a flue; and a stone-ringed fire place, about 3 feet in diameter. The probable date of the site, according to Dr. Andreas Boos, chief archaeologist at the Regensburg Historical Museum and keeper of the pavilion’s key, is the last quarter of the second century AD, when Regensburg was called Castra Regina, the largest Roman military camp in what is now Bavaria.[1]

While the layout is slightly different in this description of an early Irish archaeological site, the functional portions of the facility meet similar criteria to the Bavarian site:

The kiln consisted of a stone-lined bowl and T-shaped flue as well as a possible stoke hole, and measured 5.75m northeast–southwest and 5.9m northwest–southeast… A significant amount of sprouting barley was also recovered from within the kiln which prompted archaeobotanist Sarah Cobain, to suggest that the kiln might have been involved in the process of malting grain. Malting however requires the prolonged soaking of grain and brewing requires the steeping of malted grain in warm water. A large, sub-rectangular stone and mortar-lined pit was located c. 40m to the south-east of the T-shaped kiln. It measured 3m in length, 2.2m in width and 1.05m in depth.[2]

Illustration courtesy of the Great Dunmow Maltings restoration project

The Barley Store: A loft used for dry storage of the grain to be malted. Barley was delivered in sacks through a loading door at wagon height.[3] The store was at one end of the malting house with access to a street for the wagons. Underneath Nottingham, there are several cave complexes that were used in lieu of malting houses. In these locations, grain was delivered through a cave entrance and stored in a dry bin adjacent to a well or cistern.[4]

The Steeping Pit: A watertight room, a well, a cistern, or a large vat. Generally, the pit would be adjacent or immediately below the barley store, with a chute or trap for transferring the dry grain. The following is a description of a steeping pit at an archaeological site in Balbriggen, Ireland:

A large, sub-rectangular stone and mortar-lined pit was located c. 40m to the south-east of the T-shaped kiln. It measured 3m in length, 2.2m in width and 1.05m in depth. The lining consisted of mortared stone with a thick layer of compact lime and sand based mortar along the base. The stone lining within the pit suggests it was meant to retain liquid. It is likely to be associated with two further sub-rectangular pits uncovered in the immediate vicinity. Both possessed a lime mortar base but no stone or mortar on the sides.[5]

This is a more generic description of the function of the steeping pit, describing the exothermic reaction that assists with the germination process:

The grain was first soaked in a steeping pit or cistern for a day or more. This was constructed of brick or stone, and was sometimes lined with lead. It was rectangular and no more than 40 inches deep. Soon after being covered with water, the grain began to swell and increase its bulk by approximately 25 percent. The cistern was then drained and the grain transferred to another vessel called a couch…[6]

The Couch: A holding bin for barley between the steeping pit and the growing floor. Grain never spent more than a day in the couch. Although numerous archaeological references refer to the couch as the next step, the purpose was to enable a tax assessor to determine the volume of grain to properly assess the Malt Tax. Since the Malt Tax in England ran from 1697 to 1880[7], and there are no references to the couch in continental archaeological records, it is not likely that the couch was a necessary part of the malting process.[8]

The Growing Floor: This was the largest single area, since a great deal of space was needed to spread the grain to various depths. The growing floor was longer than it was wide, as the grain would be moved along the floor towards the kiln as the germination process advanced – new grains in one end and older grains out the other. The wet grain would be spread out, the depth dictated by temperature, but sufficiently deep to encourage vegetation. It was turned at intervals of a few hours to achieve even growth and assure that all grains had equal access to ambient air.[9] The temperature and humidity levels were partially controlled by ventilation using slatted windows, and partially controlled by thinning out the depth of the grain layer.[10] The ceiling was relatively low – six feet or so – to enable more stable temperatures throughout the room. “The flagged stone floor would serve excellently to first heap and then spread the steeped barley on, and with the low-roofed hall to keep down the temperature and prevent the malt being spoiled.”[11]

Drying was either done in the sun or in a kiln, each had its advantages. Sun-drying produced the cleanest tasting malt, but was, of course, dependent upon good weather, and the acrospire might continue to grow to the point where it consumed all the grain’s nutrients, making it useless for brewing.[12]

The Kiln: At times referred to as a grain oven, malt oven, drying kiln, or grain dryer, the kiln has three purposes: dry out the grain, stop the growth process, and caramelize the sugars.[13] The kiln is made up of a drying floor, fire box (consisting of a fire hole and a heat sink), and vent. The fire box had to allow for a gradual increase in the size and strength of the fire, since low heat was required to dry the grain while higher heat was necessary for caramelization. This was accomplished through a stoke hole in the side allowing for placement of additional fuel or for the fire tender to move hot coals around as necessary.[14] Special care had to be taken to avoid roasting the grain, which destroys the enzymes rendering the malt unsuitable for mashing.[15] The heat sink consists of sheets of metal, porcelain, or ceramic arranged to dissipate the heat and spread it more evenly across the underside of the grain bed.[16], [17]

The early furnace was a simple fire basket with a cast-iron sheet above it to disperse the heat. Hornbeam coppice wood was often used as a fuel in Hertfordshire as it produced an intense heat and was said to ‘burn like a candle.’ Later good quality anthracite became the fuel of choice since it creates hardly any smoke.[18]

The Baking and Brew House, Bolton Castle, Yorkshire c. 1379. Sketch courtesy of Jamie Olivers

The barley was moved onto the drying floor (above the fire box), and raked to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches.[19]

Because moist grain spoils quickly in storage, the Regensburg maltsters dried it in the kiln. The kiln walls have a narrow ledge that probably supported a floor made of organic material. An open fire pit and a praefurnium (a work area for stoking the fire) are in front of a covered flue that sent hot air into a hypocaustum (a heat chamber) under the kiln floor.[20]

The drying floor was porous to allow heat and air to circulate through and around the grain. A solid floor would heat up just fine, but would result in simply creating hot, wet grain.[21] The weave had to be tight enough to avoid the grain falling through. “The drying floor was originally a horse-hair carpet but later wire mesh, perforated tiles or iron plates were used. This floor was approximately twelve feet above the furnace.”[22] This distance was necessary to allow for the heat and airflow to reach the barley while preventing or minimizing the risk of a grain fire.

Photograph courtesy of Travis Rupp, University of Colorado Boulder

In 1978, the ruins of a malt house in what is now Regensburg, Germany show us a typical construct for such buildings in the first millennium.

Within an oblong set of stone foundations are arranged—clockwise—a deep well; a water-tight basin at ground level; a kiln with a fire pit and a flue; and a stone-ringed fire place, about 3 feet in diameter. The probable date of the site, according to Dr. Andreas Boos, chief archaeologist at the Regensburg Historical Museum and keeper of the pavilion’s key, is the last quarter of the second century AD, when Regensburg was called Castra Regina, the largest Roman military camp in what is now Bavaria.[23]

Photos and corresponding artist’s renditions courtesy of the German Beer Institute

In this example, we see the foundation which includes access to the fire pit (bottom pictures) for the kiln and the drying floor, and what is presumably the drying area (top pictures.) The drying floor would have been made of porous material, most likely woven straw or flax. The kiln, the oven and the cistern (seen in the near corner of the bottom left) are all made from stone or hardened clay.

The upper level would have been made of contemporary materials.[24] A half-timber or all-wood construction would have been lighter, easier to build, and fully functional. In the artist’s rendition (upper right picture), we see a smooth and level ‘capping’ of the stone structure, which would have been appropriate for a wood framed upper level. For this reason, I chose to make my model using a stone and mortar base with a half-timber upper level. Additionally, the Roman architectural style known as Opus Craticium involves…

…squared timber uprights or arrectaria (8 -12 cm thick) were combined with horizontal transversaria (6 – 8 cm) to form panels measuring between 50 and 80 cm. These were then infilled with concrete and rubble. To provide stability the main structure of the house was also supported by piers of brick and blockwork.[25]

This type of design, with masonry on the ground floor and half-timber on subsequent stories, extended into the construction of non-commercial buildings and homes during the 15th century.[26]

Half-timber construction was very popular in both the countryside and city in Germany in the middle ages and later. The frame of the building was made of timber, usually oak. The timbers were morticed and pegged together. Triangular bracing was used to give additional support. The spaces between the timbers were filled with waddle and daub, brick, stones or plaster. The timber remained visible both inside and outside the building.[27]

Diagram from Jackson’s “The Half-Timber House”

There are heavy timbers placed at strategic locations along a wall, followed with bracing in horizontal, vertical, or diagonal configurations. The gaps between the framing timbers and the bracing timbers is filled with non-load bearing material as a barrier against the elements.[28] The result is a less expensive option than full timber construction, and at times a pleasing aesthetic.[29]

These constructions have walls of granite stone with regular masonry in the corners and major parts. The half timbers with earth found in this region are not used for building the whole floor, which is common practice in other regions in Galacia, but only for small parts of the building which also support the roof structure. The structural wooden frame is made of a weak main skeleton of wooden pillars from the sleeper beam to the roof beam, reinforced half-height with other horizontal pieces.[30]

Timber construction

So then he will begin to chop; now it does not take many hours with an ax, squaring up the trunk of a tree, to learn that it is easier to make one’s timbers large than small. It is as much, if not more, bother to get out a thin plank, than it is a great stick; and so he will save time and use the big timbers. With their great size and strength, he may well space them some distance apart, and fill in between with something or other not so hard to make as planks. For this purpose, he will use a mortar or ‘daub’ made of lime and straw, or clay and twigs, or anything that will stick and harden, and reasonably resist the weather, which is not rigorous or one that makes great demands on building materials. As a groundwork for lathing for this plaster he will weave willow twigs together and make a groove in the sides of his timber to take the ends and make a tighter bond between the filling and the beams, so that if the timber does shrink away there will not be an open crack straight through the wall. Then if he plasters the inside of the wall all over he will be as snug as possible. He may make it a more substantial wall by using as a filling brickbats, small stones or what-not, and covering the whole with plaster.[31]

Graphic courtesy of Tony Graham ( showing interwoven sticks

For the corner posts a baulk was used, cut near the foot of the tree to get the beginning of the sweeping curve where it runs out into the roots. These sticks were turned upside down and the curved end formed the bracket to support the girt for the over-hanging second story, while the crooked branches were used for the curved struts and braces.[32]

In early southern Germany, connecting joints between the frame and the intermediate timbers were most commonly lap joints[33], while later designs increasingly used tenons.[34] Like modern design, windows were framed between a sill and a lintel.[35]

Sketch courtesy of Olivier Aymard (

Photo courtesy of Jerzy Gorecki ( illustrates completed structure

The Project

Madoc working on the project’s walls.

I created the ground level using a mix of construction mortar and garden gravel. The upper level is constructed of green birch. I used greenwood, as it is likely that was the form used in period construction. As the wood shrinks, the joints tighten contributing to the stability of the structure. The corner joints are half-lap horizontal joins with vertical mortise and tenon posts. Each of the intermediate uprights is mortised into the horizontal beams. While the tenons were cut using a power tool, the mortises were done by drilling an initial hole with a bit and brace, and squaring the hole with a ¼-inch chisel. The documentation above shows that the tenons were pinned with wooden pegs. However, because of the scale of this model, I used metal pins instead.

Detail of the mortises

The half-timber fill is aggregated plaster over lath. One panel is lathed with woven willow twigs, as was common in period, to demonstrate the concept. Due to the thickness of the walls, the lath was applied in a series of three coats, allowing each application to completely dry and cure before applying the subsequent coat. Each layer was scored with a three-pronged stick to ensure that subsequent applications would adhere properly.

Wall detail

Soaking pit construction

The soaking pit is constructed of the same mortar and gravel mix as the ground floor wall. The interior of the pit is lined with clay to ensure that it is watertight. The fire pit and heat sink are constructed of clay lined with cut fire brick for safety. I needed the insulation the fire brick provides as protection from scorching that would otherwise be provided by lack of proximity in a full-size malt house. The chimney is constructed of baked clay. While the period examples I have found were constructed of brick, the size of the model precluded that option. Baked clay is a reasonable alternative to actual brick.

The following pictures show the construction of the fire pit and illustrate its use:

Fire pit floor and vent to heat sink in layout

Forming the fire pit cylinder








Fire pit and heat sink before encasing the pit

Heat venting into the heat sink





Flames from the fire pit come though the chimney – note the glow emanating from the stoke hole


Completed Project. Photo courtesy of Elska a Fjarfelli (Susan Verberg)


123RF – Royalty Free Digital Content (n.d.) Retrieved 30 January 2017, from

Adam, Jean-Pierre (1994). Roman building: materials and techniques. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Ailey, Chris (2004). “Bishop’s Stortford’s Malting Industry.” Bishop’s Stortford and Thorley: A History and Guide. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Blanck, Maggie (2005). “German House and Barns – Exteriors.” Retrieved 31 January 2017, from

Cawley, Laurence (25 June 2008). “Medieval maltings found at famous brewer.” East Anglian Daily Times.

Clark, Christine (1998). The British Malting Industry Since 1830. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Clements, Peter & Michael (n.d.) “House of the Opus Cracitium”, AD79: Destruction and Re-discovery. Retrieved 31 January 2017, from

Craven, Jackie (2016). “What is ‘Half-Timbered’ Construction? Medieval Tree Houses Expose Their Timbers.” About Home. Retrieved 1 February 2017, from

Dineley, Merrin (13 September 2014). “Grain dryers, malt kilns & ‘malting ovens’.” Ancient Malt & Ale. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Dornbusch, Horst (1998). Prost! The Story of German Beer. Boulder: Brewers Publications.

Dornbusch, Horst (1 May 2004). “The World’s Oldest Malt and Brew House.” All About Beer, 25:2.

Duffy, P., Cobain, S. and Kavanagh, H. (2014). “From Skill to Skill: evidence for medieval brewing at Balbriggan.” Journal of Irish Archaeology, XXII: 59-76.

“Fancy a pint? Northampton’s first malting kiln.” Museum of London Archaeology (8 October 2015). Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Friedman, Donald (). The Investigation of Buildings. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Hagen, Karl (1995). “The Economics of Medieval English Brewing.” Unpublished. Presented at the 1995 conference of the Medieval Association of the Pacific. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Harris, Richard (1993). Discovering Timber-framed Buildings (3rd ed.) London: Shire Publications.

Harrison, William (1577). A Description of England. London: Walter Scott.

“How Malt is Made” (2005). The Great Dunmow Maltings Preservation Trust. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

“How they tax common luxuries in England.” New York Times, 26 February 1865.

Howard, Wendy, Kirsten Bedigan, and Ben Jervis (2015). Food and Drink in Archaeology 4: University of Exeter Post-Graduate Conference 2010. London: Prospect Books.

Jackson, Allen W. (1912). The Half-Timber House: Its Origin, Design, Modern Plan, and Construction. New York: McBride, Nast & Company.

Kavanagh, H. and Bailey, F. (2010). Final Report of Archaeological Excavation of Development at Folkstown Great or Clonard, Area 2/3 08E054, Balbriggan, County Dublin. Unpublished final excavation report prepared for IAC Ltd.

Lomax, Scott C. (2013). Nottingham: The Buried Past of a Historic City Revealed. Barnsley: Pen and Sword.

“Medieval Malting Oven Unearthed in Northampton.” Archaeology News Network (23 August 2014). Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Mileto, C., F. Vegas, L. García Soriano, & V. Cristini (2014). Earthen Architecture: Past, Present and Future. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Nicola (2012). “Beer Caves Redux.” Edible Geography. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

“Second medieval malting oven discovered in Northampton.” BBC News (10 September 2014).  Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Sygrave, Jon (2004). “From medieval malt house to 20th century pub: excavations at 9–11 Poplar High Street, London E14.” London Archaeologist, Spring 2004, pp. 215-222.

Trent & Peak Archaeology (2010). “Malt Kilns.” Nottingham Caves Survey, a project of the York Archaeological Trust. Retrieved 9 May 2016 from

Whitaker, Alan (2006). Brewers in Hertfordshire: A Historical Gazetteer. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.

World Heritage Encyclopedia (n.d.) Timber Framing. Retrieved 1 February 2017, from

Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association (1900). The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, Volume XV. Leeds: John Whitehead & Son.


[1] Dornbusch, 2004

[2] Duffy, Cobain, and Kavanagh, pp. 74-5

[3] Great Dunmow Maltings Preservation Trust

[4] Nicola

[5] Duffy, Cobain, and Kavanagh, pp. 63-4

[6] Commissioners of Inquiry, pp. 24-5

[7] Clark, p. 24

[8] The New York Times

[9] Whitaker, pg. 11

[10] Whitaker, pg. 12

[11] Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Society, pg. 396

[12] Hagen

[13] Great Dunmow Maltings Preservation Trust

[14] Nicola

[15] Museum of London Archaeology

[16] Great Dunmow Maltings Preservation Trust

[17] Sygrave, pp. 218-9

[18] Whitaker, pg. 12

[19] Commissioners of Inquiry, pg. 27

[20] Dornbusch, 2004

[21] Dineley

[22] Whitaker, pg. 12

[23] Dornbusch, 2004

[24] Lomax, chapter on Medieval Houses

[25] Clements

[26] Craven

[27] Blanck

[28] Friedman, pg. 59

[29] 123RF

[30] Mileto et al, pg. 141

[31] Jackson, pp. 13-14

[32] Jackson, pg. 14

[33] Master Eadweard Boisewright, “The half-lap with sill and a tenon into the half-lap joint.”

[34] World Heritage Encyclopedia

[35] Adams, pg. 239

Categories: SCA news sites

Pennsic: A&S War Point Competition

Thu, 2017-08-17 23:45

Master Cynwyl MacDaire’s Hand-carved horn with silver embellishment

By THL Elska á Fjárfelli (Susan Verberg)

Lord Otto Boese’s 13th century Magyar (Hungarian) archery kit. All photos by THL Elska.

For the Arts & Sciences portion of the Pennsic War Point this year, last year’s participant Mistress Fredeburg selected and organized this year’s contingent of Æthelmearc artisans.

Lady Shirin of Susa’s Canon page from the Armenian Gospels of Gladzor

As in previous years, each side could choose 12 entrants consisting of five Laurels and seven non-Laurels.

But this year, different from previous years, the item to be displayed could not have been entered in any previous A&S competitions, making this competition quite the last-minute challenge for our artisans.

Master Robert of Sugar Grove’s “bench for His Excellency”

To preserve anonymity performance entries were also not allowed, as were cooking entries for public health safety.

While in previous years only awarded artisans (Sycamore or higher) could vote, this year all Pennsic attendees could participate. Each person wishing to vote for their A&S Champions of choice would be given three beans to place in any of the entrants’ cups. At the end of the competitions the beans would be counted and scored for a winner-take-all for the 2 War Points.

Lord Hrólfr á Fjárfelli’s weaving broken diamond twill fabric to create a Viking-age apron dress

Although our side did not win, the results were very, very close with a difference of only 82 points from over a total of 1,800 votes cast. The quality of entries was incredible and I think our Æthelmearc artisans deserve a big thank you for giving it all they had!

Our artisans were:

  • Master Robert of Sugar Grove
  • Master Cynwyl MacDaire
  • Lord Hrólfr á Fjárfelli
  • Lord Otto Boese
  • Lady Shirin of Susa

Thank you Mistress Fredeburg for organizing such an amazing team, and thank you Lady Shirin for stepping in at the last minute when one of our allies had an artisan drop out.

Categories: SCA news sites

An Interview with Prince Gareth and Princess Juliana

Wed, 2017-08-16 23:51

On September 16th in the Shire of Ballachlagan, Prince Gareth and Princess Juliana will be crowned King and Queen of Æthelmearc. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope interviewed the Prince and Princess to help you learn more about them and their plans for their upcoming reign.

Please tell us about Your personae.

Gareth: When I joined the SCA, I wanted to be a Scotsman of the 2nd Crusade, which was in the 12th century. That’s why I chose Gareth as my name. Since then, I’ve become interested in Roman history as well as early Greek history from around 400 BC.

Juliana: My name is 14th century English but shortly after I chose it I became interested in Viking culture. Because of Gareth, I  frequently wear Roman garb, but I’m not tied to any one time or place.

What do You do in the real world?

G: I’m a Methodist minister, which is why I sometimes have to leave events on Saturday night to be home in time to work on Sunday mornings.

J: I’m a high school science teacher, mostly teaching biology.

What sort of things have You done in the SCA?

G: I’ve been in the SCA for 21 years; Pennsic 46 was my 20th War. As many people know, I’m primarily an armorer, but I also enjoy woodworking, leatherworking, making jewelry, and doing scrolls including some in etched copper. I’m a heavy weapons marshal, former thrown weapons marshal, and recently I’ve been training to become a rapier marshal. I joined the SCA in Blackstone Mountain where I served as Knight Marshal before moving to Misty Highlands.

J: I’ve been in the SCA for 16 years. I received my Laurel in fiber arts, specifically Norse and brocade tablet weaving. My Fleur was for embroidery and Norse garb. I also enjoy making scrolls, though I think I’m a better illuminator than calligrapher. In addition, I’ve been a heavy fighter, a thrown weapons marshal, done combat archery, and autocrated events. Between us, Gareth and I have held most of the offices in our Shire of Misty Highlands over the years.

What are some of Your goals for Your reign?

We’d like to encourage the arts, which are really important to us. For example, we’ve been very impressed with the efforts of the artisans making us garb under the supervision of Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von Flossenberg. She’s gathered artisans from a variety of disciplines to make us multiple sets of clothing, and we plan to recognize their work by announcing their names in court at each event.

We’d also like to see more newcomer growth. We encourage people to help newcomers in as many ways as they can. Our household, Sable Maul, was built on new people, and we make a practice of providing the things they need, like garb and armor.

We would love to see as many people as possible to attend Gulf Wars. Gareth first attended Gulf Wars because King Henri gave an inspiring speech about the camaraderie and great deeds to be done there, and he’s been back most years since. Camping together at Gulf Wars with people from throughout Æthelmearc fostered a greater sense of unity and family than we get camping as separate shires, baronies, and households at events like Pennsic. In addition, the more people we bring to Gulf Wars, the more we build our Kingdom’s renown. Gulf Wars is very different from Pennsic. It feels more like a true medieval village, with a lot of permanent structures that help provide an immersive experience not only for the martially inclined, but also artisans and performers at the Green Dragon Inn, equestrian, falconry, and other cool things.

This year at Gulf Wars there will be a Crusader theme, which is right up Gareth’s alley. There will also be a Viking Deed battle with Danes vs. Saxons, like the Battle of Hastings at Pennsic, where Sir Marek will be the commander of the Danes. Fighters are requested to bring gifts; Gareth will be making arm rings to give away. Each participant is expected to bring “loot” in proportion to their rank, so we’ll need to have a lot of gifts. And of course it gives Gareth an excuse to make yet another new set of armor, not that he needs an excuse….

We also plan to travel extensively, though living on the southern edge of the Kingdom will make for some long trips. It’s about 12 hours from Misty Highlands to Coppertree, for example.

What would You like the populace to do to help You during Your reign?

Our website has information about the events we’re attending, and we welcome any type of assistance from the populace, most especially award recommendations.

We want people to think about the experienced SCA members who helped them when they first joined, and then “pay it forward” to new people joining now. The SCA can sometimes have too much headbutting and worrying over getting “cookies.” Let’s focus on having fun and helping each other. Being gracious to others is a gift you give yourself.


Categories: SCA news sites