Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere: How Did Ealdormere Come To Be?

How Did Ealdormere Come To Be?:

After some years went by, the Canton of Skraeling Althing grew to be large and strong in her own right. Consultation with Aedan na Kincorra and Caffa Muiriath, Second Baron and Baroness Septentria, proved that it was time for the East-most bastion of Midrealm Might (Skraeling Althing) to hike on the position of Second Barony. And so the Barony of Skraeling Althing was born, with Enid Aurelia invested as Founding Baroness.

This separation, amicable and good for all in the area, soon highlighted some stressful issues. The majority of fighters were in Septentria, while Skraeling Althing was better known for its artisans. As time went on, friction began to develop. The Seneschale for Canadian Midrealm groups at the

time was Dame TSivia bas Tamara, who felt that some way to re-unite the two Baronies emotionally could help close this widening gap. It was TSivia who came up with the concept of the Region, covering all groups in "Ontario", during her tenure as Seneschale. Her working title for the area was "Argenterre'', a cobbled-together term for "Silver Lands". Duke Sir Finnvarr de Taahe penned the following excellent essay, on the suggested names for the Region, and the rationale of each name. After much voting, Ealdorrnere was born in her own right, as a Region. And there was much rejoicing!


by Finnvarr de Taahe

I believe that Ontario has a great future in the SCA--as a principality, perhaps even as a kingdom some day. But He have a ways to go before we reach that goal. There are both practical and symbolic steps that have to be taken. I have been thinking about symbolism lately, and want to share my conclusions.

First, we have to stop thinking of ourselves as a region. A region is a bureaucratic subdivision. To hear that one is part of a region does not stir the blood. One is not loyal to a region, and one is not expected to be. A region is a simple matter of geographical and administrative convenience. If we are ever going to be more than that, we have to have a more positive image of ourselves. We should not be content to be a haphazard collection of cantons and shires within the Middle Kingdom. Rather, we should think of ourselves as a pays, as the French say it, or a folkland, the Anglo-Saxon term. Both of these period words mean a lot more than region: they are what medieval people called a country that could be taken seriously, lands that were the homeland of a distinct people with an identity and customs of their own. There are other words that mean the same thing, and perhaps someone Hill come up with a better term. But until they do, I will use the term folkland, and hope people will understand what I mean by it.

Next, we have to have a better name for our folkland than "Ontario." That name is taken: It designates the most populous province of the twentieth century nation of Canada. Whatever else you may think of Ontario as a name or a place, it is not medieval.

Now picking a name for a folkland is a serious matter. Some duke cannot simply say, "Until someone comes up with a better name, I will call the folkland X .•• " All the people of the folkland deserve a chance to discuss the name, to offer suggestions, and to express their opinions on proposed names. Then the name that is finally decided on will have some meaning to everyone. The name will be our identity, both for ourselves and I for the rest of the SCA. To get the discussion rolling, I have listed below four names that have been talked about recently. Each of them has its proponents, and all are well-thought-out attempts to express the character of the folkland. Of course this is not an exclusive list. Many people, some whole groups, have not been heard from at all. I hope those of you who like none of the suggestions below will come up with some of your own.

Argenterre. (French, pron. ar-:han-tear). This proposed name means "silver land" and the relevance of that designation is obvious. Those who favor Argenterre argue that French is a particularly appropriate name for the folkland, as it is a language actually spoken here. There is one possible problem in that Argenterre is not a normal French construction, and thus may be questioned on grounds of authenticity. Thus Pays d'Argent or Terre d'Argent might be worth considering as alternatives. (See remarks on pays above.)

Lagan Mor. (Irish, pro. lah'-gahn-more'). Lagan means "lake district" and Mor means "great ." Thus the name as a whole means "Great Lake-District." The geographical appropriateness of the name is obvious. The folkland does contain many lakes, and it is the Great Lakes in particular that keep our land from being simply another undistinguishable par of the continent. The name is also rather euphonious, and unlike many Irish names is easy to spell.

Managored. (Welsh, pro. mahn '- ah - gor '- ed ) Competing for the affections of the Celts is this name, which means "a clearing in the woods ) ." It is appropriate because our folk1and (at least the populous part) was cut out of a great forest and still sits on the edge of the wood. I have to admit that this is my favorite: If I am feeling early medieval, I can imagine Managored as a lost kingdom of the British heroic age; if I am feeling late medieval, it sounds like a place that Percival passed through on the Quest for the Holy Grail.

Ealdormere. (Old English, pro. el '- der – mee) Ealdormere means "old lake," and so this is another geographical name. The terrain and geology of our folkland is the oldest on earth; and the lakes are major features. Like the two previous names, it is a northern European name. Many of our personas are northern ones, and so a good number might feel comfortable living in Ealdormere.

I certainly hope that other names will be suggested. For those who are interested, here are some considerations that should guide your efforts. Any name will have to pass the scrutiny of the College of Arms. Thus it must be in a real language, grammatically correct, and not in conflict with any well-known period or current placename. Also, a name must be reasonably easy for modern tongues to handle. It must be able to survive repetition without being mangled out of recognition or becoming obscene or absurd. Finally, the name must mean something to us. It has to have resonance; it should be something we can be proud of. When we have such a name we will be one important step closer to being a real community, instead of merely a potential one.

Searching for ways to give Ealdormere an identity, it was decided by the Nobles of the Two Baronies and the Shire that a Regional Championship tournament would be held as part of the Eoforwic Decennial, July 20 A.S. XX (1985 C.E.). The selection of who could fight, and the requirements for entry, were selected with the future of a Principality in the minds of the Baron and Baronesses. This is an excerpt from a letter by Mistress Caffa Muiriath, Baroness Septentria, 28 October, 1984, discussing the rationale for an Ealdorrnere Champion and Consort:

..."In the interest of harmony at home and in the kingdom I think we need to define clearly why we want to have a champion. I think that many in this region feel we have already a regional character that is growing and demanding to be defined and demonstrated. We feel a sense of pride in our accomplishments, and most important, kinship.

At the same time we have and are taking part in the history of the Middle Kingdom. As a baroness I represent both my people and the Crown.

A regional champion cannot in any way be seen to partake in the power of the Crown or to replace or usurp any custom in the Kingdom. Rather, we should seek to enrich our Kingdom by adding to it our own customs.

The champion and consort should be regarded in an experimental light as persons who in the spirit of service, have won the right to represent us and our people as symbols of the qualities we all strive for in our region.

If run properly, this tourney could allow the great number of people in our region who rarely, if ever travel out of Canada, to participate in some of the best traditions of our Kingdom with our own regional flavour.

If we are agreed to try this, we should get moving so we will have time to get input from everyone and time to prepare. I If it should turn out that this experiment is not well received or is before its time there is no shame in having made the attempt."

Duke Finnvarr de Taahe Kt.
Nov. 1, 1984

Greetings to all good folk of the Region of Ealdormere: On May 26th of this year, the regional officers, the peers, and the branch seneschals of this region, at the invitation of its seneschal Lady Ragni Dzintara of Amberhall, met in a Moot in the Canton of Eoforwic to discuss the future of the S.C.A. in our province. It was decided then that steps should be taken to prepare Ealdormere to become, eventually, a principality.

It was suggested that one such step should be the institution of a Championship Tournament, at which a Champion of Ealdormere and a Champion's Consort would be chosen. The Champion and the Consort would represent the region as a whole. There are precedents for this elsewhere in the Society. Calontir, before it qualified as a principality, held two tournaments a year where a Warlord was selected to be the symbolic head of Calontir, and the idea was a success there. The Moot agreed with this plan and asked an Honorable Committee consisting of Baroness Enid, Baron Aedan, Baroness Kaffa, Duke Finnvarr, and Sir Mordain to make plans for the first Championship Tournament. This has now been done. Following are the plans as they now stand:

By decision of the Moot, the first Championship Tournament of Ealdormere will be held at Eoforwic Decennial in July, A.S. XX (1985).

The clear sense of the Moot was that our Champion and Consort should be truly representative of the best of Ealdormere. The Moot wished the Champion to be selected by single combat in a tourney, in line with ancient Society tradition, but did not want the Championship to be seen simply as a prize in a prize tourney. There was also a desire that the Consort should clearly be a person of substance in the Society, and not simply the lard or lady of the Champion. Ideally the entrants in the tourney would be people who could demonstrate both active participation in the peaceful arts and a record of service, as well an ability to fight in the lists. Their prospective consorts would be people of similar accomplishments. Therefore, the Honorable Committee has enacted the following requirements for entry (explanatory comments are included):

I. Eligibility

1. All competitors in the lists must have been residents of Ealdormere for at least six months, or have been long term residents in the past. They must also intend to reside here for the length of their term of service.

Everyone who competes should have a basic understanding of the region and its people, if he or she is going to represent it. The term of service for the first Champion and Consort will be approximately one year.

2. All competitors must be members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

Note that sustaining membership is not required; family or associate membership will suffice. Membership in the S.C.A. Inc. shows support for the Society as a whole in a practical way a practical way, and is required of all officers. Although Champion will not be an official title, it will be a responsible position and the holder will have to be someone of a wider than local vision. When in the future we have Princes and Princesses of our own, they will be required to be members.

3. All competitors must be armigerous.

Since awards of arms are granted by the Crown on the basis of local recommendations, the possession of one means that a person has served the Society long enough and well enough to be put forward by his or her .peers to the Crown, as a person worthy of public recognition. If there are worthy people in a branch who have not been so recognized, the people of the branch should do something about it. If by chance there are, by the time of the tournament, worthy people who are not armigerous, there will be an appeal procedure, outlined below, I

4. All who would compete for the championship must enter one serious entry in the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Competition, and if possible, display that entry on the day of the tourney.

The intent of this rule is to secure a Champion who has an appreciation of the place of the peaceful arts in the Society. It is not an attempt to make artistic competition a part of the selection process; neither is it meant to restrict the tourney to practicing artists. It is felt, however, that the regional sections of the Arts and Science: competition for the past two years have been occasions of a fruitful meeting of minds among artists and scientist. Any would-be competitor in the Championship Tourney who attends and takes part in the Arts become acquainted with will by that alone in Ealdormere. Those who feel that they cannot work with their hands will be reassured to know that many categories in the Arts and Sciences Competition do not require one to make anything. Anyone who simply cannot attend in person can enter in absentia, although the Committee feels that this would be less than ideal.

5. All competitors must have a prospective consort to fight for who also fulfills the first four criteria.

Consort means partner. The Champion's Consort will have heavy responsibilities, and will be as much a representative of and example to Ealdormere as the Champion. Therefore he or she should be a worthy member of the Society, and meet the same qualifications.

II. Entering the Lists

1. All who wish to compete shall submit a letter of intent to the Honorable Committee by May 1, A.S. XX (1985) stating a desire to enter the Championship Tourney. The letter shall state why the competitor feels himself or herself worthy of the Championship; citing whatever artistic and service accomplishments are relevant. The letter should also name the person for whom the competitor wishes to fight, and his or her worthy accomplishments.

2. Those who wish to compete must make a similar verbal declaration in the court of the Barony of Septentria or the Barony of Skraeling Althing before May 1, A.S. XX, and be prepared to repeat the declaration before the assembled populace on the day of the tourney.

The intent of this rule is to impress the seriousness of the competition on the entrants, their prospective consorts, and the people as a whole. The declarations on the day, we hope, will be a solemn and impressive aspect of the occasion. Letters of intent should be sent to Duke Finnvarr: [contact information removed].

3. A list of approved entrants will be published by June 1, A.S. XX (1985).

Anyone who feels that he or she has been unjustly left off the list may appeal. The procedure will be outlined below.

4. All competitors in the lists will be expected to wear armor of a pleasing and authentic appearance.

Perhaps this rule is unnecessary; it will, however, be enforced.

III. Appeal Procedure

If a person feels that he or she has been unjustly excluded from taking part in the Championship Tourney, he or she may appeal to the Honorable Committee, provided that twelve good folk of Ealdormere state in writing and in person that they feel the appelant's cause is a good one. The twelve should be residents of Ealdormere, and ideally armigerous members of the S.C.A., Inc. The Honorable Committee has the power to make a final decision, based on whether the appelant’s participation would be in the spirit of the above regulations.

The appeal procedure is based on period English and Scandinavian custom, where the standing of a person in a law suit was in part dependent on how much support he could muster from responsible members of the community.

Note Well: The Champion and Consort of Ealdormere will have no official standing within the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc. They will not be the equivalent of a Prince and  Princess , and will have no power to make laws or edicts.

1. The Champion and Consort of Ealdormere will be symbols of the unity of the region, and of its commitment to the ideals of the Society for Creative Anachronism. They will have a special responsibility to manifest the chivalry, graciousness, and hospitality that we all strive for.

2. The Champion and Consort will not hold courts, but will have honored places in the courts of the Baronies.

3. The Champion and Consort will have seats in the Moot of Ealdormere.

4. The Champion and Consort will eat free at feasts within the Region.

5. In wartime the Champion will be numbered among the Captains of Ealdormere.

6. The Champion and Consort will preside over the tourney of their successors.

7. The first Champion and Consort of Ealdormere will serve until the summer of A.S. XXI (I986). Thereafter the term of service will be set by the Champion and Consort in consultation with the Moot.

 The selection of our first Champion and Consort is a very important occasion. It is, for Ealdormere, one more step toward full maturity in the Society. We hope that both those who hope to compete and those who do not will participate in this process in a serious but also enthusiastic spirit.

For Ealdormere and the Honorable Committee,
Duke Finnvarr de Taahe


 "If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;"

Decennial Tourney Schedule

10:00 am List table opens for waivers

11:00 am Opening ceremonies, Tourney begins

6:00 pm Feast begins

11:30 pm Site closes

How to Find the Event

Eoforwic Decennial will be held in our traditional summer site, University College Quad, at the University of Toronto. The feast will be in Strachan Hall, Trinity College, an easy walk north of the Quad. Both sites are unusually medieval and quite beautiful. We suggest that you come early to find a convenient parking spot.

Historical Display

A commemorative display of pictures and relics of the history of Eoforwic, Septentria, and Ealdormere will be exhibited at the feast site from 2:00 p.m. See weapons captured at the Peasants' Revolt! Gasp in horror at armour from A.S. X! See Who Was Who in Eoforwic!

Feast Information

This will be an excellent feast, cooked by Lady Ragni and the Culinary Guild. Feast reservations should be sent to: [contact information removed] $10 (Can.) until July 10. $12 afterward (if available).

Reservations must be accompanied by payment. Make out cheques to SCA-Eoforwic.

>>Both the day site and feast hall are DRY. Appropriate beverages will be served at feast.<<


Accomodations are very limited. We will try to oblige if you contact us in advance. Call the Monica at [contact information removed].

*          *          *

And so it was on a lovely sunny day as the breezes tossed hair and banners, that the First Regional I Champion of Ealdorrnere was chosen by right of arms. The honour went to Yog of Ben Duniirth, fighting for the gracious Lady Hannorah O'Neill. Mistress Mortraeth Colwyn had executed striking collars to be worn by the Champion and his Consort (aided by Master Sylard of Eagleshaven and other artisans, as indicated in the Collars of Ealdormere appendix), which were placed around the necks of the victor and his lady by the Baronage of Ealdorrnere. The moment was sweet, but there were 

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