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Rhydderich Hael Celebrates 12th Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2015-01-08 07:49

The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael celebrated their annual Twelfth Night this past Tuesday, January 6th, which ironically occurred on 12th Night. The celebration was held at the Elks Club of Lancaster, where the Barony holds its officer meetings and practices. Some fifty members of the Hael were in attendance for a night of friendship, gifts, food and good cheer. A good time was had by all.

That concludes the version my Communications professor from back in the day would have liked. My Business communications professor would have been nodding her head in agreement, but all the while my Marketing professor would have been shouting, “Sell the sizzle man, sell the sizzle.” And as usual I stared blankly into the abyss and grinned that mischievous grin that panics my wife and thrills those who know me better. You took the time to click on this link. You deserve better than just the traditional answering of the standard seven “W”s.

What do I love about Baronial 12th Night? It’s all about the Barony baby. Now, I loved being your Happy Go-Lucky Get Down Tonight Kingdom Chronicler, and getting to see and report what was going on all over these most awesome Sylvan Lands, but my heart is in the Hael. The most common phrase I used for two years was that I looked forward to spending more time involved in the Hael. I love yelling out “Hael Yeah!” I love heralding my Baron and Baroness in to large courts. I love Ice Dragon. I love the Green and Black and most of all I love the people and my friends there. Baronial 12th Night is that night that we all get together and break bread and enjoy each others’ company without every one running all over the place being official. This is the core of a Hael 12th Night.

At how many events do you really get to spend significant amounts of time with all your friends? In the Hael the average local event is spent with every one running in different directions to various competitions, meetings, event tasks and work, work, work. After a full day of that, where you rarely get to see everyone, you then have to do break down, while everyone else leaves the event as fast as they can. Sometimes I think they hold Court to keep 75% of the people from leaving after their activity is done, and that Feast helps keep the other 40% that didn’t leave right after Court and the other 10% are still there at the end to help clean up. I like 12th Night because I get to hang out for three hours with everyone.

I remember when the Barony shifted the format of the usual Monthly Officer Slash Business Meeting from focusing on the officers to focusing on food and cheer. If you want to introduce a new person to the SCA do not invite them to an Officer Slash Business Meeting, as they may want to slash something else ten minutes in. Opt for the food and cheer every time. It’s been over ten years sine this celebration replaced the traditional meeting and it has been a success ever since.

Rhydderich Hael Twelfth Night was announced to start at six thirty. Now many of you may be saying that if proper “SCA-dian Time” is applied the celebration might have doors open at six, but start time might actually be closer to seven. Do not be fooled. Always remember to “never get involved in a land war in Asia” and “SCA-dian time is always trumped by potluck”. I was running a little late, by about 12 minutes. Coincidence? I think not. Fate has a funny way of amusing me, or at least it gives me the opportunity to laugh when I would rather cry.

I walked into a well-attended hall and placed my two packages of warm fried chicken on the nearly full five tables lined up end to end to hold the celebratory bounty. Being a veteran of such things I did do a quick look at the table to see the flow of the types of food from appetizers to desserts and then parallel parked the chicken in front of a row crock pots and pizza\wing boxes. When over fifty people stock a potluck, the diversity is most awesome. Who ever brought the box of tacos, you are a genius. That box was empty in no time as were the two boxes of fried chicken I brought. You can’t go wrong with fried chicken at a potluck.

Having set up my food contribution, I took care of the next important Baronial 12th Night task. I went to the bar and bought a pitcher of pop and a pitcher of beer and a number of glasses. 12th Night is all about sharing. Beverages taken care of, I joined my fellow Haelies for food, drink and laughs. The room was packed. People love a good local get together that involves food. If you want to enhance the cameraderie and well-being of your local group, do not underestimate the power of the potluck. I suggest you have them quarterly and outlaw all practicing, meetings and projects. Save those for other times.

There is a not a strict agenda to the evening. In early days, a quick meeting was held immediately with all officers called upon by the Seneschal and then quickly declining to give reports as to get to the celebration as fast as possible, Imagine a Seneschal standing in between a grand pot luck buffet and a room full of people looking past him hungrily. Seeing that most Seneschals do have good survival instinct to make up for the insanity that led them to wanting such an office, ours realized that they should get themselves out of the line of fire and allow the Barony to eat first. Not only that, but our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh was wise enough to announce the Buffet was open while standing at a safe distance. Not that such an announcement was necessary, as the first container had been opened maybe 12 minutes before. Yes, he may have been operating on SCA-dian time by announcing potluck open, but he that was trumped 12 minutes before. Why? Because “Put Luck always trumps SCA-dian time”

Gift giving began after the first servings. I was late to the line so I was happily eating, drinking and laughing, as I am prone to do while fellow members of the Hael were delivering little gifts. The tradition of bringing a little gift goes back beyond my being a member. I did not know about it my first year which was a bit embarrassing as people handed me candies, candles, tea bags, knick knacks and the like and I didn’t have anything to return in exchange. Lesson learned. It’s a joy to watch people wander about like merchants opening their small sacks to distribute the treasures to others.. All in all it is fun and light-hearted. Things get tough when people give larger gifts. That still takes me by surprise and I am never prepared. I have received some very well thought out little gifts over the years. Some of my favorites are tree ornaments. I enjoy decorating the tree and having great memories of my SCA-dian friends who gave them to us at 12th Night.

Eventually, a short business meeting was held. Our Seneschal Padraig O’Branduibh continued to show his wisdom by acknowledging that a meeting should happen, but that Baron Carolus and Baroness Isolda were still handing out gifts to guards, retainers and Champions so he decided the meeting could wait. And we did, which allowed for some more gifts, seconds on main courses and runs at the ever-growing dessert table. I knew Their Excellencies wanted to distribute these gifts while the recipients were still in the hall. You don’t want to make your Baron and Baroness have to track down people at a years’ worth of practices and events to hand out stockings full of now stale or wrinkled 12th Night joy.

Business was kept to a minimum with Padraig calling for some event bids including a small event called “Ice Dragon” and mentioning that Baronial elections would be coming soon. Many of us shook in fear and then comforted ourselves with drink and pastry. The Baron and Baroness thanked everyone for all the help they have received over the last two years and welcomed people to run for their office as they are in their last year. They also presented nice gifts to officers who had finished their terms over the past year. The gifts were so nice many current officers tried to quit. They were informed no gifts for quitters and kept their offices begrudgingly. The Baron and Baroness also reminded everyone of the on-going tradition of the “It’s your 1st Event” token given by the B-n-B. The person who receives this token because it is their first event then gives it to whomever they felt was the most helpful to them at said event. The meeting ended quickly without much incident other than the comical scolding of an imaginary heckler fictionally hidden behind a non-imaginary screen. Let it be noted that since everyone was giddy from food, beverage, gifts and good company that Padraig could mention “Ice Dragon bids” and “Elections” without risk of people fleeing the hall in sheer terror.

Eating, drinking and good cheer continued until the time limit on use of the room expired. Reports seen on trendy social networking sites supported allegations of a good time had by all. In conclusion, no one was hurt by Rollos being hurled about the hall as trivia prizes and I look forward to using the Pink Himalayan Sea Salt that “Not So Evil” Jill gifted me as well as the home made Polish Pastry Zosia gave me. Till Next 12th Night my friends, “Hael Yeah”

~submitted by That Guy Phil



Categories: SCA news sites

Boston time capsule from 1795 (and 1855) opened

History Blog - Wed, 2015-01-07 23:20

The time capsule excavated out of the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston last month was opened on Tuesday in front of dignitaries and press at the Museum of Fine Arts. Before the assembled audience including members of the press, Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, MFA conservator Pam Hatchfield and Michael Comeau, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Archives, carefully pried open the lid of the 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 x 1-1/2″ box against the fitting backdrop of Thomas Sully’s monumental 1819 painting of George Washington and his ragtag army crossing the frozen Delaware River, The Passage of the Delaware, in the museum’s Art of Americas wing.

The collection, originally in a cowhide pouch, was first placed at the cornerstone by then-Governor of Massachusetts Samuel Adams, silversmith patriot Paul Revere and militia Colonel William Scollay at the dedication of the building in 1795. It was rediscovered during repair work on the Statehouse foundations in 1855 after which officials added a few pieces of their own before sealing the artifacts in a new metal box that was mortared into the underside of the cornerstone.

Technically, it’s not a time capsule because they are deliberately intended to be reopened at some point in the future. This was a foundational offering, part of an ancient tradition of depositing ritually significant objects under new buildings. The original deposit was made at the culmination of a Masonic ceremony celebrating the laying of the cornerstone held on July 4th, 1795. That’s why Paul Revere and William Scollay were so prominently involved: Revere was the “Most Worshipful Grand Master” and Scollay the “Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master” of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Governor Adams invited the Grand Lodge to perform the cornerstone ceremony, a traditional Masonic ritual that has been performed for hundreds of years, one of only two Masonic rituals that is performed in public (the other is a funeral).

The massive granite cornerstone was transported in a procession from the Old State House to the site of the new one on a wagon drawn by 15 white horses, one for each of the states in the Union. When it arrived, a troop of fusiliers gave a 15-gun salute and Governor Adams, Paul Revere and William Scollay lay the pouch between two sheets of lead under the cornerstone. Adams declared the building to be constructed upon this stone should be “fixed, unimpaired, in full vigor, till time shall be no more” and Revere gave a supermasonic speech linking the foundation of the new statehouse to the founding of the nation.

Worshipful Brethren, I congratulate you on this auspicious day: — when the Arts and Sciences are establishing themselves in our happy Country, a Country distinguished from the rest of the World, by being a Government of Laws. — Where Liberty has found a Safe and Secure abode, — and where her Sons are determined to support and protect her.

Brethren, we are called this day by our Venerable + patriotic Governor, his Excellency Samuel Adams, to Assist him in laying the Corner Stone of a Building to be erected for the use of the Legislature and Executive branches of Government of this Commonwealth. May we my Brethren, so Square our Actions thro life as to shew to the World of Mankind, that we mean to live within the Compass of Good Citizens that we wish to Stand upon a Level with them that when we part we may be admitted into that Temple where Reigns Silence & peace.

When the artifacts were recovered and reburied in 1855, the Grand Master of the Lodge was asked to do the honors again.

The metal box has been in the MFA laboratory for the past three weeks being examined with non-invasive techniques so conservators had an idea of what to expect when they opened it. X-rays revealed that, as expected, there were coins, a metal plaque and papers inside. X-ray fluorescence determined that the box itself was not copper but rather brass, as are all eight of the screws keeping the capsule shut.

Pam Hatchfield, who had spent six hours on her back in the snow chiseling out the box from the cornerstone, then had more chiseling to do. She removed chunks of plaster from the top of the box and carefully dug away at the plaster around the heads of the screws. A little solvent was applied to help loosen the screws as well. Hatchfield turned her attention to the lead solder sealing the edges of the lid to the box, chiseling it away so the box would actually be openable at the press conference.

When the lid was removed, the first artifacts they found were five folded newspapers from the 19th century. Under them were 23 silver and copper coins dating from 1652 to 1855, a copper medal depicting George Washington, a title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records, a number of calling cards, the seal of the Commonwealth and lastly, a silver plaque inscribed by Paul Revere marking the cornerstone ceremony that still has visible fingerprints on it.

(The 1652 coin is a rare and significant pine tree schilling which may not have been minted in 1652. John Hull and Robert Sanderson established the Boston mint in 1652 by permission of the General Court of Massachusetts and continued to strike pine tree schillings until 1682, but every coin no matter what the production year was stamped with the 1652 date. Some say this was done to commemorate the founding of the first mint in Massachusetts. Others think it was a tricksy way of giving them plausible deniability should the monarch, restored to the throne after the interregnum of the Protectorate, take issue with his colony minting its own currency without his permission. “Oh these coins? Oh yeah those were struck during the late unpleasantness. Nothing to see here, Your Majesty.”)

The artifacts and brass box will go on display at the museum after conservation, but only for a short time. The objects will be returned to the cornerstone. Officials haven’t decided yet whether they’ll add yet another round of mementos to the box. Space is tight in there and Governor Patrick said at the opening that he didn’t want to “taint” the historical nature of the capsule with modern geegaws.

There’s a nice video of the excavation, X-ray and conservator Pam Hatchfield getting the box opened here. Fair warning: it autoplays. Below is film of the entire opening:

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Award Recommendations for Their Highnesses

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-07 16:11

From Their Highnesses:


Greetings to the Populace of the East! We will be putting together our first set of pollings. The deadline for recommendations will be February 1, with the plan to have those sent out mid-February and therefore ending Mid-March. Our second polling deadline will be the week after Coronation. We only intend to send out two pollings for our reign so please plan accordingly. The award recommendation system has been inconsistent so please submit via the system but also email it to Princess@eastkingdom.org Remember award recommendations should include the full SCA name of the individual, why they are deserving of the award, any pertinent details necessary for a scroll should we decide to move forward with awarding the individual, at least two potential events for the award and the name and email address of a contact person. Please also remember that if the person is in fealty (squired, apprenticed or proteged to a Peer) to check with the Peer prior to writing them in for any award.

Non-polling award recommendations still go to Their Majesties at this time.

Feel free to share with other Orders/lists. Thank you!

In Service to the East,

Prince Omega and Princess Etheldreda

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tir Mara Resident Needed on Council of the Exchequer

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-07 11:34

From the Kingdom Exchequer:

Financial Council of the Exchequer:   There is a most immediate need is for a Tir Mara resident on the Council of the Exchequer.     The main criteria for these positions is that you must live in the region you would be representing.  The initial term on the council is two years.  This position entails reviewing financial matters that come before the kingdom.  The council approves the annual Kingdom and Officer budgets, changes to kingdom financial policy, and other kingdom expenditures that are not covered in the annual budgets.

Applicant letters and questions should be sent to exchequer@eastkingdom.org.

In Service,

Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,

East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer


Filed under: Law and Policy

Call for Resumes: Experimental Deputy to Kingdom Rapier Marshal

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-01-07 11:32
Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings,    To start off the new year I am calling for resumes for my Experimental Deputy.  This deputy would be responsible for coordinating all the wacky ideas people talk about and seeing if any of them can actually be put into use in a safe and fun manner.  I will be leaning heavily on this Deputy for the Rapier Spear discussion and any experimentation that might take place with it, as well as a host of other ideas floating around.  If you would like to be considered for this position, please send your SCA resume to me at the Kingdom Rapier Marshal e-mail on the EK Website.      In Service,      Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East
Filed under: Fencing

Richard III burial timetable and appeal for funds

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2015-01-07 10:50

As the reburial of King Richard III approaches, the city of Leicester, England and Leicester Cathedral prepare for the festivities by calling on the locals to help with fundraising. The diocese has raised only UK£1.9m of the £2.5m cost of the celebration.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Mark Twain plaque stolen from his grave

History Blog - Tue, 2015-01-06 23:10

A bronze plaque bearing a profile of Mark Twain has been stolen from a monument on his grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, upstate New York. The missing plaque was reported to cemetery authorities by a visitor to the grave over the holidays. It’s not clear when exactly it was stolen, but it was sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The culprit had to use a ladder to reach the one foot square plaque, so it wasn’t a random vandal, and it’s unlikely to have been stolen just for its scrap value because the plaque right below it depicting Ossip Gabrilowitsch, husband of Twain’s daughter Clara, is still in place.

Mark Twain died in 1910 and was buried in his wife Olivia Langdon’s family plot in her hometown of Elmira. The 12-foot granite monument was commissioned in 1937 by Clara to honor her father and husband. Swedish immigrant and Elmira resident Ernfred Anderson designed the piece after Clara was impressed by a bust he had made of her father. The height of the marker is a deliberate reference to the great author. Twelve feet is two fathoms, the safe depth for a steamboat. Riverboat leadsmen on the Mississippi in the 1850s would call out “mark twain” to alert the crew they were in safe waters. The young Samuel Clemens trained as a pilot aboard a steamboat on the Mighty Mississip from 1857 to 1859 and continued to pilot a riverboat until the Civil War broke out in 1861. He first signed the pen name Mark Twain to an 1863 article for the Territorial Enterprise, a newspaper in Virginia City, Nevada.

Woodlawn workers did a thorough search of the cemetery grounds and adjoining woods looking for the plaque, but there was no sign of it. The Elmira community has rallied around the cause, offering reward money for any information leading to the recovery of the plaque. If worst comes to worst, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes has pledged to donated up to $10,000 to replace the plaque. Rare bookseller and Mark Twain expert Kevin MacDonnell has offered the use of a plaster cast of Twain made by Ernfred Anderson to make a new mold for a replacement. It wouldn’t be the same as the missing piece, however, so local artist Denny Smith is working with Anderson’s family to locate the original plaster cast he used to make the bronze plaque.

Next, a foundry and a bronze artist will have to be selected. Also, the replacement plaque will need to be given a patina to match what is already on the Gabrilowitsch plaque so they look similar, she said. Finally, a decision will need to be made on who will install the plaque, she said.

“What’s been wonderful has been the community outpouring,” Hayden said. “Also, the Community Foundation is interested in the future in working with the Friends of Woodlawn to investigate the possibility of installing a security device to see that this doesn’t happen again.”

The cemetery hasn’t given up on getting the original plaque back. They’re asking for anyone who might have information on the theft to contact the Elmira Police Department at (607) 271-HALT or (607) 737-5626.

While we’re on the subject of Mark Twain-related monuments, I have to recommend the outstanding Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, where Mark, Olivia and their children lived from 1874 until money troubles forced them to move to Europe in 1891. Twain still loved the Gothic Revival masterpiece most of all, even though he never lived there again. It’s gorgeous inside and out.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Some Fun Æthelmearc Websites

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-06 17:20

Just about every Shire, Canton, and Barony in Æthelmearc has a website, as do many other groups like the scribes, heralds, and marshals. Many have useful resources, interesting information, or fun photos or stories. Here are some highlights:

Barony of Thescorre: known as the “Industrious Barony of Thescorre,” their website includes a wonderful manual on how to present various types of demos, many aimed at school children. Three gentles from Thescorre, Mistress Daedra McBeth a Gryphon, Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf, and Lady Cerridwyn of Raventree, call themselves the Academic Demo & Educational Presentations Team (or ADEPT). Their manual covers all kinds of demos that the SCA can present, including Displays, Bardic Circles, Talk Panels, and “Taking a Persona to School.” The ADEPT Handbook can be downloaded as a single file or viewed by section on the baronial website.

Barony of Delftwood: The Barony known for its Windmill has a beautifully designed recruiting brochure that does a great job of explaining what the Society is and does. They also have a page called A&S Handouts that includes articles on various topics like “Turnshoes” by Sir Óláfr Þorvarðarson, “Plying Your Homespun Yarn” by Lady Genevieve de Chaumont, and many articles on costuming by  Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin.

Shire of Coppertree: this shire, located east of Delftwood, has a storied past and is populated by many notable peers of the realm. Speaking of stories, on the shire website there’s a humorous one about the origins of the name of their Shire herald, the Red Squid Pursuivant.

Shire of Sylvan Glen: The southeastern-most shire in the Kingdom has a wonderful page for the Sylvan Glen Scriptorium with an enormous array of useful information for scribes, including links to sites with period manuscripts, or instructional materials on how to paint in various styles or do various calligraphic hands, as well as line drawings that can be used to create scroll blanks.

Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands: the Meetings & Activities page has links to separate pages for each of the regular activities offered in the Barony – not just when and where practices and workshops are held, but photos and detailed information including things like videos of choir performances, information on how to build youth combat armor and weapons, and links to related websites on heraldic resources or scribal standards from the baronial signet.

Shire of King’s Crossing: their website includes something every new Scadian needs: a Lexicon called “Good Grief, what do they mean by that?” This article explains the mysteries of words like Chirurgeon, Seneschal, Porta-castle and Troll Booth.

Kingdom of Æthelmearc: of course the Kingdom website has all kinds of useful information, including the Kingdom calendar, lists of Kingdom officers and royalty, links to local groups, and contacts for polling orders and mailing lists. But to my mind the most useful page is the Online Award Recommendation Form. If you know people who are doing great things for your group, whether in martial arts, service, or as artisans, then you should recommend them for appropriate awards. You don’t have to possess an award to recommend someone for it.

Æthelmearc Heralds: before you write that award recommendation, check the Order of Precedence on the Kingdom’s College of Heralds website to see what awards the person already has. Under Tools and Links, you can find a link to the Awards of Æthelmearc which can help you understand which awards to recommend your friends for. The Roll of Arms is a great place to find the registered names and Arms of the citizens of AEthelmearc, so if you’re handy with needle and thread and want to give a friend a gift, consider making them a banner using the image on the roll of arms!

Æthelmearc Rapier Combat: you can read the Kingdom Rapier rules, see a list of the White Scarfs of Æthelmearc and learn about the history of the order, find out who the past Kingdom Rapier Champions are all the way back to the founding of the Kingdom, and access links to all things rapier-related.

Æthelmearc Earl Marshal: for links to all things martial, whether heavy weapons, rapier, thrown weapons, target and combat archery, equestrian, youth combat, or siege, this is your best starting place.

Æthelmearc Archery Scores: want to see your current Royal Round average, learn how to run an IKAC, or find out who the Grandmaster Bowmen of the Kingdom are? This is your site. It’s actually a “child” site under an SCA-wide archery site, but the scores for Æthelmearc are maintained by the Kingdom Archery Scorekeeper.

Æthelmearc College of Bards: this site lists bards from all over the Kingdom, the history of bardic arts in Æthelmearc, lyrics and audio files of original songs about our Kingdom, and links to sites of bardic interest.

Æthelmearc College of Scribes: this site offers an array of resources for calligraphers and illuminators, including a list of current scribes, links to resources for scribes, the policies of the Kingdom Signet, and the Red Book that provides guidelines, advice, and scroll wordings for scribes.

Map of Æthelmearc: this site superimposes a map of Æthelmearc on a map of the U.S. You can zoom in and click an area on the map to see a pop-up window listing the name of the Shire, Canton, or Barony in that area, along with its region and a link to its website, if available.

submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Sad Tidings: THLord Ambrosius filius Merlinus

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-01-06 09:17

photo of Merlin by Karen Mensch DeMichiei

If you have ever visited the archery range at Pennsic, the Honorable Lord Ambrosius filius Merlinus, called Merlin, was hard to miss. A wiry man with a graying ponytail and beard who looked decades younger than his 80+ years, he was a fixture on archery ranges throughout the SCA, but especially at the Pennsic War. Despite being wheelchair-bound, he went everywhere and did more than many Scadians half his age.

THL Merlin passed away on Sunday, January 4th, at 9:50pm at home in the care of his friends. He was a very active member of the Shire of Eastwatch, located in northeastern Ohio near the Barony of Cleftlands, serving as Deputy Seneschal and Archery Marshal for the Shire as well as Northern Oaken Regional Archery Marshal. Merlin was also a member of House Draigcalon.

Much honored by the Midrealm, he was the recipient of the Order of the Dragon’s Heart and the Purple Fret for service, the Greenwood Company and the Dragon’s Barb for skill and service in archery, and the Silver Oak for arts and sciences. He was a Dragon Archer (roughly equivalent to Grandmaster Bowman in Æthelmearc) with a Royal Round average of 107, and a marshal who spent countless hours on the range inspecting equipment and training adults and children. He also built arrows and period bows that experienced archers say are worth every penny they paid him and more. THLord Lochlainn mac Faoláin Bháin of the Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep comments, “I have the honor of owning the last bow he built. Thank you, Merlin, for getting me on my way to a period kit.”

Master Dirk Edward of Frisia of the Shire of Rivenvale (in northeastern Ohio) said, “Merlin became an important member of our archery community, a skilled artisan and mentor, dedicated and hardworking. His loss will be felt for some time by many people throughout the SCA.”

Merlin and Gandalfr at Pennsic 39, photo by Jo-Ann Sheffer

Lady Siri Toivosdottir of the Barony of Roaring Wastes (Detroit) remembers, “Merlin taught my then-11-year-old son, Gandalfr, how to shoot a bow at Pennsic 39. On Gandalfr’s second day of Pennsic Archery after lessons with Merlin, he shot a tight cluster and Merlin kicked him off the kids’ range. He went on to hit the center target in the clout (100 yards away), and the nose on the third advancing man target.”

Master Denys the Decadent recalls, “Merlin was a tireless worker at the Archery Tent at Pennsic, inspecting, instructing, and sharing his knowledge. He had a tremendous determination to shoot – he did not let his physical limitations stop him. His legacy [and] his energy promoting archery will continue. ”

Despite his age and disabilities, THLord Merlin was tremendously strong. Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill pulled arrows from the target for Merlin at an archery muster in the Debatable Lands last spring. “His bow was so heavy, it was like a bazooka. Those arrows were buried so deep in the target I had a really tough time getting them out.” Sir Ariella of Thornbury remembers that at that same muster, which was held at her castle in northern Debatable Lands, “He was the only person ever to lift himself up the spiral staircase with his arms alone to shoot from the parapets. We will really miss him at our Archery musters.”

In addition to his skills as an archer, Merlin was also quite a good cook. Mistress Alexandra dei Campagnella, who lived in the Midrealm before moving to Æthelmearc, says “Every Pennsic, he would stop at Midrealm Royal and drop off a cheesecake for their Majesties. They always raved about his cooking. He was all smiles when he would give them the treat and they would spend a lot of time bragging on his skill in baking as well as archery.”

There will be no funeral. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

-Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Letters reveal mysterious final illness of Oscar Wilde’s wife

History Blog - Mon, 2015-01-05 23:32

Constance Lloyd, wife of Oscar Wilde and mother of his two sons, was just 39 years old when she died. It was a botched gynecological operation that claimed her life, but for ten years before that she had suffered from a neurological disorder that hasn’t been identified. Now Merlin Holland, son of Constance and Oscar’s youngest son Vyvyan, has found key evidence in some of her private letters to her brother Otho.

Constance was an accomplished woman in her own right. She was a published author of children’s books and an advocate for dress reform and women’s rights. After the disaster of Wilde’s 1895 criminal libel action against John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, father of his feckless idiot of a lover Alfred Douglas, for accusing him of sodomy and Wilde’s subsequent conviction and imprisonment for homosexual acts, Constance took the kids, changed their last name to Holland, and fled to the continent. They wound up in a small town outside Genoa, a location that would prove fateful since it put her in close proximity to Italian obstetrician and gynecologist Luigi Maria Bossi.

Luigi Maria Bossi was appointed to the first professorship of gynecology in Italy in 1887. He invented a four-pronged dilator to dilate the cervix and speed up delivery in women with eclampsia and other dangerous conditions. The Bossi uterine dilator was an effective device, dilating the cervix in a matter of minutes and giving patients a chance to survive and heal from complications that were often fatal to mother and infant without having to risk surgery, infection and permanent damage to the reproductive organs.

He also opened an ob/gyn clinic in Genoa that reserved half the beds for poor women in labour, was vociferously opposed to the then-common idea that uterine cancer was contagious and advocated that women with tuberculosis not be compelled to terminate their pregnancies. He founded two gynecology and obstetrics journals, one for doctors and one for midwives.

So he wasn’t a total quack, but he had … issues. In 1918 he was suspended from practice at the Institute for Gynecology and Obstetrics of the University of Genoa for two years over a question of “moral character,” which, considering that the next year he would be murdered by the husband of one of his patients, seems likely to have been a grossly unethical personal relationship with a patient (or several patients). Most relevant to his treatment of Constance Lloyd, Bossi was a dedicated proponent of the theory that women’s nervous problems — symptoms including tremors, aches and pains, fainting spells, shortness of breath, fatigue — were caused by their lady parts. Her “neuralgia,” mobility problems, exhaustion and all the rest were symptoms of uterine disorder and the cure for it was to be found in her reproductive organs.

That old hysteria chestnut had plagued Western medicine since Hippocrates first babbled about wandering uteri in the 5th century B.C., but it really took off with the rise of medical gynecology in the second half of the 19th century. The invention of the vibrator to cure hysteria through orgasm was a benign result of this misunderstanding of anatomy and psychology, but there were plenty of monstrous approaches attempted as well, a flurry of medical professionals removing ovaries and uteruses and then congratulating themselves on having “fixed” hysterical symptoms like dysmenhorrea (painful menstruation).

Bossi believed that at least half of all female suicides were of gynecological origin, that suicide was somehow tied to menstruation, and that surgical interventions on the uterus and ovaries could cure the symptoms of hysteria. He persisted in his beliefs long after most of the ob/gyn community had abandoned hysteria to the province of psychiatry, publishing his theories in a German medical journal in 1911. The response was almost unanimous condemnation from gynecologists and psychiatrists. They considered the idea that the uterus was responsible for mental illness medically unfounded and socially dangerous since it would encourage families of mentally ill women to push them into needless gynecological surgery to avoid the madhouse. Only one prominent gynecologist, 84-year-old German gynecology professor Bernhard Schultze (who had for years been an advocate for gynecological surgery on inmates of insane asylums), supported him. Bossi wrote a book on hysteria and gynecology in 1917; it was the last gasp of this ugly chapter in medical history.

The tide turned conclusively against the physiological hysteria theory thanks to painfully obvious studies published in the first couple of years of the 20th century. (It turns out, men had those exact same symptoms too, and they didn’t have any ovaries and uteruses to excise.) That was too late for Constance Lloyd. By the time she sought treatment from Bossi in late 1895, she was having severe difficulty walking. Bossi thought the cause of her mobility issues was a bladder prolapse that he could repair surgically, leaving her right as rain within six weeks. The operation took place in December of 1895. It didn’t work. In April of 1896, Constance declared herself “lamer than ever” and sought alternative therapies — galvanism, hot baths — from a doctor in Heidelberg.

All these therapeutic manoeuvres failed, and by October, 1896, in addition to the persistent lameness of her leg, a tremor appeared in her right arm. This so disrupted her handwriting that she was eventually forced to use a typewriter. “I am tired of doctors and no doctor finding out what to do with me,” she lamented. Moreover, she suffered protracted and excruciating headaches as well as extreme fatigue brought on by the mildest exertion. This was observed by her brother who, in July, 1897, noted that after only a few minutes’ walk to the station she collapsed on the road from exhaustion and had to be dragged to safety. And, if this was not enough, she developed a left facial palsy towards the end of her life.

According to the unpublished correspondence of Constance and her brother, her 9-year illness was characterised by widespread pains, right leg weakness, tremor of the right arm, profound fatigue, and a left facial paralysis. For the first 7 years the clinical picture was dominated by intermittent acute episodes followed by extended periods of recovery; in the last 2 years her disability became permanent with gradual deterioration. A likely diagnosis is multiple sclerosis of the relapsing-remitting type that subsequently developed into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

MS had been identified as a distinct disease and named in 1868 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. (Coincidentally, Charcot had some crazy ideas about hysteria too. He thought it was an inherited neurological disorder centered in the ovaries, uncurable but treatable with pressure on the ovary or ovariectomy and observable through hypnosis. Before his death in 1893 he would come to accept that hysteria was psychological in nature rather than neurological.) Multiple sclerosis was described in detail in an important neurology text by Sir William Gowers in 1888, but in the 1890s it still wasn’t widely known in the general medical profession.

In 1898, a desperate Constance returned to Bossi. This time he proposed that the culprit of her genitourinary and mobility problems was a uterine fibroid. She had surgery to remove the putative fibroid on April 2nd, 1898.

On the third or fourth postoperative day, Constance developed intractable vomiting. Profoundly dehydrated and in the absence of intravenous fluids, she grew progressively weaker, lapsed into unconsciousness, and died on April 7, 1898. This sequence of events suggests that she could have developed severe paralytic ileus, either as a direct result of the surgery or secondary to intra-abdominal sepsis.

Multiple sclerosis is associated with genitourinary symptoms in about two-thirds of female patients. It is conceivable, in Constance’s case, that the apparent pressure effects on the bladder (supposedly due to a fibroid) were really a manifestation of multiple sclerosis.


Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic 44 Pre-registration Website is Live

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-05 19:30

The Pennsic 44 pre-registration system opened for business January 1, 2015.

Mailed registration closes May 25, online paid registration closes June 17, and online UNpaid registration closes July 10.

Visit the Pennsic War website or the Pennsic Registration Office page for more information.

Filed under: Events, Pennsic Tagged: pre-registration, registration

The Æthelmearc A&S Rubrics Project

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-05 19:00

More than ten years ago, Fridrikr Tomasson took a training course on Educative Assessments at the University of Rochester. At that time, he was introduced to the idea of Authentic Assessment, which may be defined as a tool for judging a student’s achievement in multiple subjects through performance on a “real-life” project that incorporates knowledge of many different subjects. Instead of a pen-and-paper test, a student plans and executes a project. As an example, in a middle school assessment, a student or group of students, might be asked to plan and make a vegetable garden, operate the garden for a season, and sell their produce. The project would show their knowledge of math, science, language arts, and, perhaps, art, as well as team work and communications. The group would then be judged by a set of criteria that they would know ahead of time (aka, a rubric) which would describe what their work would look like at a variety of skill levels, from beginner to expert.

When working on this class, Fridrikr began to realize that in the SCA we do Authentic Assessment much of time, when we make clothing, cook meals, build furniture or boxes or armor, etc. This was the spark which caused him to propose using rubrics for judging to the Pentathlon Coordinator for the Festival of the Ice Dragon. She accepted and that was the beginning of the A&S Rubrics Project.

Fast forward ten-plus years to 2015. Today, the project still exists, under new leadership. The purpose has changed, too. The project’s goal now is to develop rubrics that can be used throughout Æthelmearc and beyond, primarily as a teaching and learning tool. Their use as a judging tool is secondary. With that in mind, the new project coordinator, THLady Beatrice de Winter, has developed an ambitious plan for writing and revising the Æthelmearc Arts and Sciences Rubrics. Speaking of the project, she said, “I ultimately hope to make the rubrics more useful to the artisan who wishes to further evolve his or her skills within a particular field. For those who are just beginning, as well as those who are advanced, the rubrics are meant to help provide a road map for improvement. Even for those who have “Mastered” an art, there is always room for improvement or advancement.”

When speaking of the educational aspect, she said, “Ideally, I’d like to see [the rubrics] used in classes as a teaching tool as often as possible such that a teacher/mentor can help evaluate a student’s progress in order to illustrate what kinds of things need to be done in order to reach the next level and then help them understand how to achieve this goal.”

The A&S Rubrics project will be an on-going interest of the incoming Kingdom A&S Ministers, Baron Fridrikr and Baroness Orianna. They have said that they hope to see the rubrics being used throughout the Kingdom and, perhaps, in other Kingdoms as well. With THLady Beatrice’s permission, we present the structure of the rubrics project here, for the first time. Just as the rubrics are always a work in progress, so to the rubrics project will undoubtedly change over time. For now, however, the guidelines for the rubrics project are as follows:

1. All Official Æthelmearc Kingdom rubrics shall be considered property of the Æthelmearc A&S Minister’s Office, not of any one individual or group of individuals. They shall be free for any group or person to utilize.

2. A small subset of the A&S rubrics (no more than 5-6) will be selected to be reviewed, potentially updated, or newly created, every two years by the A&S Rubrics Deputy along with other trusted members of the A&S community at his/her discretion. At any time anyone is welcome to make suggestions as to which rubrics will be reviewed or created, but the final decision ultimately resides with the A&S Rubrics Deputy.

3. The topics selected to be reviewed/potentially updated/newly created will be posted on the A&S website on or as close to April 1 of the beginning of that cycle.

4. At any time, anyone from the A&S community is welcome to request to work on a particular rubric when it’s time, but preference will be given to those who have the most knowledge of the subject in question.

5. Each rubric needing updates/creation will be assigned to a person or persons for review/potential update/creation by the A&S Rubric Deputy with consultation from trusted members of the A&S community, but the final decision resides with the A&S Rubrics Deputy.

6. As part of this assignment, the person(s) assigned to review/update the particular rubric must consult with at least 2-3 other members of the A&S community who specialize in the topic in question.

7. The assignee(s) will have one year from the date they are given the assignment in which to work on the review/update/creation of the assigned rubric.

8. Once the person(s) assigned to review/update the particular rubric in have completed their review/modifications/creation, it shall be returned to the A&S Rubrics Deputy along with a list of the additional members of the A&S community who were consulted for input.

9. The Assistant to the A&S Rubrics Deputy shall regularly follow up with each person(s) assigned to a rubric in order to monitor the status of the process and communicate this information to the A&S Rubrics Deputy.

10. Once the A&S Rubrics Deputy receives the rubric, he/she shall have up to one month to review it for basic grammar, spelling, and overall general rubric syntax and make adjustments as needed. He or she shall consult with the assignee(s) if any significant changes must be made.

11. Once the rubric seems acceptable to both the A&S Rubrics Deputy and the assignee(s), a draft will be made available publicly for a period of one month. During this time, notification will be made indicating that any members of the society who wish to do so are requested to provide commentary.

12. All comments will be reviewed by the A&S Rubrics Deputy and considered for change/inclusion where applicable. At the end of the comment period, the comments will be frozen.

13. Based on the public commentary, the A&S Rubrics Deputy will consider whether further modifications are required and consult the original assignee(s) as well as the other members who had previously been consulted, along with other trusted members of the A&S community before the rubric is finalized. If necessary he/she will return it to the original assignee(s) for modification.

14. Based on this feedback, the A&S Rubrics Deputy will finalize the final draft of the rubric in question and publish it on the A&S web site on or as close to April 1 two years after the cycle began as possible.

This project will require the sharing of knowledge and ideas of many people. If you want to participate, please contact THL Beatrice at her e-mail <cende at buffalo dot edu>.

Categories: SCA news sites

Another Anglo-Saxon Hoard Found

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-05 17:30

King Canute

King AEthelred

On December 21, Paul Coleman, a member of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club, discovered a hoard of 5,251 coins. They were buried in a lead bucket in a field near Aylesbury. The coins include specimens dating to the 11th century, and an observer reported that they are in very good “almost uncirculated” condition; many bear the likenesses of King Æthelred the Unready and King Canute.

Read the BBC News Report of January 2, 2015 or today’s UK Daily Mail Report.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: coins, hoard

Schedule for EK Twelfth Night & Carillion Investiture

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-05 15:55

Overall Schedule:
10:00 – Site Opens
11:00 – Embroidery Class
11:30 – Dayboard
12:00 – First Court
12:30 – Athena’s Thimble Meeting & Panel
1:00 – Viking Wire Weaving Class
1:00 – Gaming Contest
1:30 – Southern Region Herald’s Meeting
2:00 – Children’s Activity
2:30 – Baronial Arm Wrestling Tourney
3:00 – Second Court
5:00 – Feast

Details and Activities:
The Barony of Carillion invites one and all to a wonderful celebration! Rejoice in their Majesties Twelfth Night festivities! Revel in our baronial birthday celebrations. Join us in welcoming our new Baron and Baroness at their investiture!!

A fun filled day is being planned. There will be a gaming competition with prizes for young and old. A wonderful Arts & Sciences competition and display. Children’s activities are being planned. Plans are being made for a heraldic consulting table. There is space for merchants and entertainers are always welcome!

Baronial A&S Challenge:
Bells, Pearls and Period Birds! All gentles are invited to create something for our challenge. There will also be an A&S display for any who wish to display instead of compete. There may also be classes – info to follow!

Athena’s Thimble Activities:
This upcoming EK 12th Night is the 30th anniversary of the official founding of the guild! The original petition was presented to TRMs Hanno and Kunnegunda at 12th Night in AS XIX. Come celebrate the works of art created by the guild members. There will be a display of old and new works as well as a possible challenge. Paneling opportunities may also be available. For information please contact Guild Mistress: Mistress Briony of Chatham

Gaming for Gemstones:
Run by Lord Mithgiladan the Herald
Alquerques: Battlefield tactics on the table top.
My Lords and Ladies, Gamers all! Come play for gemstones. Alquerques was brought to western Europe by returning Crusaders, and is the grandfather to “Draughts”, called “Checkers” in this modern world. But in addition to a challenging game, Alquerques is a study in forming and moving blocks and formations on a field. Can you move your pieces to advantage? Can you trap your foe into unfortunate moves or even to refuse a jump?
The competition will be three 30 minute rounds. The winner will be that person who has captured the most of their foe’s pieces in all their games.
If you do not know how to play this game, learn here: Alquerques
The winner will be awarded a pair of faceted gemstones in Carillion’s gold and black!
A 29.8 Ct. Oval Cut Black Tourmaline
A 14.7 Ct. Fine Emerald Golden Yellow Citrine

A fundraiser will be held to benefit the Children’s Fete for Pennsic!

There will be a light dayboard prepared by Baroness Mary the Hun
Lady Anna of Carillion will prepare a sumptuous feast!!

First Remove
Savory Toasted Cheese
Seasonal Fruit
Cheese Wheel

Second Remove
Mushroom Pie
Heathen Cakes

Third Remove
Cucumber Salad
Root Vegetables
Egg Noodles with Butter

Fourth Remove
Yeast Cake with Blueberries
Yeast Cake with Plums
Yeast Cake with Cheese
Drunken Apples

The full official event announcement can be seen here: Twelfth Night

Filed under: Events Tagged: Carillion, Twelfth Night

"One of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" unearthed near Dumfriesshire

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-01-05 09:39

September 2014 was a great month for British metal detector enthusiast Derek McLennan. The retired businessman discovered "one of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" in a field in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. (photos)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Curia of Titus and Anna Leigh is Scheduled!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-01-05 08:14

From the Kingdom Seneschal’s office:

The First Curia of Titus and Anna Leigh – Agenda

There will be a short Curia at Twelfth Night January 10, 2015 at 9:00am in ACG. Curia is opened by the King’s Herald opening Court. This allows us to make any required declarations immediately instead of repeating them later in another Court.

A. WRITTEN Officer Reports ONLY – Please have them to Their Majesties, Their Highnesses, and me by the event. They will be published on the web site and other electronic venues.

B. Kingdom Budget for 2015

C. Changes to Kingdom Financial Policy – second presentation. The initial presentation of the changes to the Financial Policy was at the Curia of Tindal and Etain this past summer. We then had several months for public comment. After this second presentation at Curia, the updated Financial Policy will be signed off by the Financial Committee and sent to the Board of Directors for ratification. This extended ratification process is in place because Kingdom Financial Policy is Society Policy and is higher in precedent than Kingdom Law.

D. Announcement of changes to Seneschal Policy:

The lead time for soliciting resumes will be moved from 6 months to 15 months before the current Seneschal steps down. The choice will be made by the Royalty seated one year prior to the change, so as to allow for an extended training time for the new Seneschal. This brings practice into line with the Exchequer’s Office.

Seneschal Policy, as all Officer Policy, is not required to go before Curia. As this is a major change to the way we currently do things, we are announcing it now and again at Curia in order to get feedback OUTSIDE Curia both in person, and via email and other communication venues before a final decision is made.

E. Change to Kingdom Law :

Their Majesties wish to change the deadline for Crown Letters of Intent from 1 month postmarked or hand delivered to Coronation postmarked or hand delivered. It cuts off a week lead time. We are putting this out ahead of time to try to get some of the discussion done before Twelfth Night as our time for Curia is very limited.


III-600 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)

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 postmarked, e- mailed, or hand-delivered to the Crown no later than 30 days prior to the Crown Tournament. ***The Kingdom Seneschal shall verify eligibility as defined in the Bylaws and Corpora.

***Letters of intent must be postmarked, e- mailed, or hand-delivered to the Crown no later than the Coronation immediately prior to the Crown Tournament.***

Categories: SCA news sites

Oliver Cromwell’s burial plate sells for $116,719

History Blog - Sun, 2015-01-04 23:46

A gilt copper plate that was placed over Oliver Cromwell’s chest when he was laid to rest in his coffin sold at a Sotheby’s auction last month for £74,500 ($116,719), six times its pre-sale estimate of £8,000 – £12,000. Bidding started at the low estimate and rapidly increased in increments of thousands. The hammer price was £60,000 (the rest of the cost is the buyer’s premium) and the buyer, who was in the room, is anonymous.

The plaque is 6.5″ by 5.5″ and is engraved on both sides. The front is engraved with the coat of arms of the Protectorate — the flags of England, Scotland, Ireland with Cromwell’s personal arms, an argent lion rampant borrowed from the arms of his ancestors the Princes of Powys, on an inescutcheon in the center, a crowned English lion supporting the left and the Welsh red dragon (a replacement for the Scottish unicorn James I had placed on the Royal Arms) supporting the right — and the motto “Pax quaeritur bello,” meaning “Peace is sought by war.” The inscription on the back gives Cromwell’s vital statistics: “Oliver Protector of the Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland. Born 25 April year 1599. Inaugurated 16 December 1653. Died 3 September year 1658. Here he lies.”

He didn’t lie there for long. After his death from malarial fever, Cromwell’s body was embalmed and put in a lead anthropoid coffin which was sealed and then placed in an elaborately decorated wooden coffin. The coffin and an effigy of the Lord Protector dressed in velvet, gold lace and ermin accessorized with the Imperial crown, orb and scepter, lay in state at Somerset House from September 20th until early November. The funeral procession took place on November 23rd, but he had already been quietly interred at Westminster Abbey two weeks earlier because his body was poorly embalmed and the stench had become problematic two months after his death. After enough pomp and ceremony to rival any royal funeral (Cromwell’s was in fact modeled after the funerary ceremonies of James I), Cromwell was officially buried in a vault in the Henry VII Lady Chapel.

Less than two years later, Charles I’s son was restored to the throne. Although on August 29th, 1660, the Cavalier Parliament passed the Indemnity and Oblivion Act pardoning almost everyone involved in the execution of Charles I, the 59 signatories of the king’s death warrant were specifically exempt from Charles II’s mercy. That fall, 10 of the regicides still living were tried, convicted and executed. The penalty for High Treason was to be hanged, drawn and quartered; ie, the condemned were tied to a horse and dragged to the gallows where they were hanged until almost dead, then disemboweled, castrated, beheaded and their bodies cut into four sections.

On December 4th, Parliament passed a bill of attainder posthumously declaring Oliver Cromwell, his son-in-law Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw, president of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I, guilty of High Treason. Bradshaw had died a month after Cromwell and was buried the day before him. Ireton had been dead and buried for nine years. All three were interred in the same chapel at Westminster Abbey. Parliament ordered the bodies exhumed and on January 30th, the 12th anniversary of Charles I’s execution, the corpses were dragged in their coffins to the west London execution site of Tyburn where their shrouded bodies were hanged. After hanging for an hour, the corpses were taken down, decapitated and the bodies tossed in a pit beneath the gallows. The heads were placed on 20-foot spikes in front of Westminster Hall where Charles I’s trial had taken place.

It was during this ugly process that the coffin plate was taken. It was “found in a leaden canister, lying on the breast of the corpse” by James Norfolke, Serjeant-at-Arms to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who had been tasked with exhuming the regicides’ bodies. He helped himself to the plaque and it remained in his family for hundreds of years until it was acquired by the Harcourt family in the 19th century. The sellers have chosen to remain anonymous so we don’t know if it’s been with the Harcourts since then or sold to another party at some point.

Either way, the plaque has had a much easier ride than Cromwell’s head. It stayed on its spike at Westminster Hall for close to 30 years. There are differing reports on what happened to it — blown down in a storm, surreptitiously removed in the dark of night — and the relic went underground until 1710 when it went on display at Claudius Du Puy’s private museum of curiosities in London. After Du Puy’s death, it passed through at least three more hands, including the Hughes brothers who again put it on macabre display, before being purchased by Josiah Henry Wilkinson in 1814. The Wilkinsons kept it in a velvet lined box, whipping it out for house guests to gasp over, for generations until Horace Wilkinson gave it to Cambridge University’s Sidney Sussex College, Cromwell’s alma mater, for proper burial in 1960. The burial was kept secret until 1962 and the exact location has never been revealed.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Lady Silence de Cherbourg and Family Welcome New Baby

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-01-04 19:36

Lady Silence de Cherbourg (Carson Grey Lutchansky) and her husband Nathan, along with big brother Adrian, welcomed a baby boy on New Year’s Day in the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands.

Parker Avery Lutchansky weighed 8lbs, and was 20″long. Mother and baby are home and doing great.

Congratulations to Lady Silence, Nathan, and Adrian, and welcome Parker!

- submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Remains of "witch girl" found in Italy

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2015-01-04 14:03

In early medieval Italy, "burying the dead facedown was a way to prevent the impure soul threatening the living,” says anthropologist Elena Dellù. This might explain the remains of a teenage girl discovered recently at the complex of San Calocero in Albenga, Italy. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Digitized Freer|Sackler collections up and running

History Blog - Sat, 2015-01-03 23:29

As promised, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s digitized collections went live on January 1st, 2015. The new website is called Open F|S and is populated with high resolution images of the museums’ 40,000 works of Asian art. You can search by keyword or browse by object type, topic, name, culture, place, date and whether it’s currently on display.

Just to take the database for a quick spin, I did a keyword search for “peacock” because I am thoroughly obsessed by the Peacock Room, originally a dining/Chinese porcelain display room in the London home of shipping magnate Frederick R. Leyland that was lavishly decorated by James McNeill Whistler in 1876-7. The entire room was purchased in 1904 by future museum founder Charles Lang Freer who had it installed in his Detroit home. It was moved to the new Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., after Freer’s death in 1919. All that moving wasn’t good for the room. Attempts to repair structural damage in the late 1940s neglected much of Whistler’s work, leaving colors darkened and patterns obscured. The room was returned to its early splendour by a punctilious cleaning and conservation in 1993 and is now on display in all its glory.

The Peacock Room exhibition page has a nice image gallery, but the photographs are too small to feast upon the details to my satisfaction. Those dark days are over now. The Open F|S entry on the Peacock Room has four huge pictures that you can click on to zoom in or that you can download.

The peacock search results pointed me to a wealth of other beautiful objects. The textiles are particularly fantastic to view in high resolution because you can see the details of the stitching and fabric, like in this late 18th century painting on silk by Mori Sosen. I also love seeing ceramics, like this gazelle vessel made in 12th-14th century Syria that is part of Freer’s ceramic collection on display in the Peacock Room, in extreme close-up because the cracks and flakes give you a whole new perspective on the glazing and design.

If you plan to enjoy this resource for browsing or to make art work of your own using the Freer and Sackler collection images, consider signing up as a beta tester. They are looking people willing and eager to go down the rabbit holes of this vast digital wonderland and report back on any issues. So far I’ve encountered a couple of minor weirdnesses — the zoom feature cutting the picture in half, difficulty clicking between the different Peacock Room images — but they were quickly resolved by refreshing. The only actual feature that I reported as questionable is that you can zoom past the native resolution which gives you a close-up view of a lot of pixellated, blurry edges. I think the zoom should max out at the highest res. Beta testers will also be given early access to future closed test versions of Open F|S which sounds like good clean fun to me.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History