Friday, 23 October 2020

Bjorn of Nidaros

 Passed October 2020.

Awards of Rank (Foreign)1990-06-16 MK Award of the Purple Fret
Award of Arms1988-11-26 MK
Award of the Chalice's Crystal1990-04-14 

What is the White Bear Fian?

By Maister Colyne Stewart, OP.

Many people ask just what the White Bear Fian is. The answer, not surprisingly, has changed over time.

In the olden days, when Ealdormere was a Principality of the Middle Kingdom, when very few knights or masters-of-arms called our fair land home, a group of fighters banded together to prove their worth off and on the field. Aedan o Kincora and Kaffa Muirath—the first Baron and second Baroness of Septentria—founded the order, though entry into it was not theirs to grant.

To become a fianna, a challenger must present themselves to Their Excellencies Septentria, and make a formal challenge. They must be found worthy by being courteous and well rounded in pursuits. Candidates were (and are) to be able to handle a bow, show some proficiency at either song, story, dance or chess, and must also show some skill in at least one art or science.

If the baron and baroness deem the challenger worthy, then a time and place will be set for the challenger to face a fianna in combat. To gain entry the challenger must defeat a member of the Fian (chosen by the fianna) in two out of three rounds of armoured combat. If the challenger should fail, they are free to challenge again and again. If they succeed, they are inducted into the Fian and made a fianna.

Originally, the Fian was a way for the fighters of our barony to show their worth. To quote Ceallach Cu Meallain, one of the first fianna:

The Fian came into being by the will of many, and finally expressed by Baron Aedan and Baroness Kaffa that honour and dignity on the field and off, should be recognized and fostered. The political mechanism that chooses higher "Society Awards" like the Dragon's Tooth and even the accolade of Chivalry was not adequately recognizing the talents and qualities of Septentrian fighters, archers and scouts. Something was done to counteract this problem. A group based on the Irish Fiana was born. (Ursus #143)

The first round of challenges was held on a summer day in Eoforwic in either AS 24 (1989) or AS 26 (1991). Sources vary on the subject. The first original five members of the Fian were: Sir David Martin Failsworth, Ceallach Cu Meallain, Duke Sir Finnvarr de Taahe, Alasdair of Raasey and Tai Chin Wu.

The Fian was pledged to uphold the honour of the barony, and of combat in general. Ties to the Fian were to come before any other affiliation. Over time this demand for ultimate loyalty to the barony was to loosen, for several reasons. Some members of the Fian moved out of the barony. Indeed, for some, they had no choice but to leave the barony when part of it became the Barony of Ramshaven in AS 29 (1994). Entry to the Fian was eventually opened to anyone who wanted to challenge for entry, as long as they were still found acceptable by the current Baron and Baroness of Septentria. Indeed, during the reign of Baroness Adrielle Kerrec some members of the Kingdom of Calontir successfully gained entry into the Fian. In AS 32 or 33 (1998) Cynred Broccan and Evander MacLachlan would be the last to gain entry for many years.

The fian faded from view, and was almost forgotten. However, in November AS 38 (2003) at the barony’s 25th Anniversary event, Hlaford Streonwald Wulfesbanna became the first new fianna in six years. He was soon followed by four others who were successful in challenging into the Fian.

It is not easy to spot a member of the White Bear Fian, as there is no badge for the order. Rather, each fianna is encouraged to design their own badge incorporating a white bear as one of the charges.

The Fian still strives for excellence both on the field and off, and is always looking for those who wish to test their mettle. The Fian currently will hold the field at any Septentrian event at which they are given the opportunity, to face any and all who would wish to engage in honourable combat, be it to attempt entry into the Fian, or simply to enjoy the battle.

“White Bear Fian Draws New Challengers,” Ursus #134, March XXV (1991), likely written by Finngiall en Face of Wyre.

“A Tradition of Excellence,” Ursus #143, Dec AS XXVI (1991), Ceallach Cu Meallain & Aeden o Kincora.

“The Fian Awakens at Feast of the Bear,” Ursus Vol. 8. No. 10 October 2003, Colyne Stewart.

“The Fian Roars Again,” Ursus Vol 9 No 1 Jan 2004, Colyne Stewart.

“The Fian Roars and Baron Fights Fifty,” The Chronicles of Colyne Stewart 2001-2005(2006), Colyne Stewart.

[Source: White Bear Fian]

The Story of Ramshaven

By Mistress Alyce de Sheppey and THL Dietrich von Sachsen

This is a living document and is current up to mid-October 2020.

…And the Prince looked out across his wide lands.
He saw how the Skrael held fast ‘gainst the East,
How Ben Dunfirth guarded the Inland Sea,
And Rising Waters kept the southern strand.
In the north ran free the wind and wild beast
And Septentria was the heartland’s key;
But the west lay open and free.

“We have no shield to stand guard in the west,”
The Prince said has he gathered his council.
“And so we must therefore send someone forth.
The foe must not see what’s weak from the rest.
We need a strong hand and strong force of will.”
One voice rose there, a voice of noble worth:
“To the west I shall set my berth.”

“I am Cordigan d’Arnot and I will go,
I will take on the unknown and wild.
I and mine will be your strong western hand.”
The Prince said: “Declare this so that all may know,
If they be a man or woman or child,
If you can tame and settle this wild land
You and yours will it ‘ere command.”

And so it was the Company set out:
Cordigan and his Diane by his side.
Fairer was she than new fallen snow,
Like the soft beauty of spring all about.
Well-tempered was she in fairness and pride
To leave old comforts of home and to go
For a future her lord would sow.

The land was fair rich with forest and stream,
And vast pasture for the cattle to graze.
Yet, to tame a land unbroken before
Called for brow’s sweat and for vision and dream.
Land yielded and a strong keep they did raise.
They had two well guiding hands to the fore:
Diane, and Cordigan her lord.

The years passed and the land settled and grew.
In time of gentle peace it prospered well.
But when to war the horns called they rode forth
With shield, with bow, and with ranks of spears true.
It mattered not death, nor heaven, nor hell,
For whenever the prince fought on this earth,
Cordigan the bold proved his worth.

Came the time at last, though none thought it could,
When age finally catches up on the youth.
Cordigan did speak how through peace and war,
A great land was built, well, noble, and good.
Of a strong people with honour and truth
Who stood with pride in their true service sure,
Who kept the west border secure.

“You are Ramshaven! You built this fine land!
Through your brave courage and by your strong arm
You are Ealdormere’s strength, her western shield.
None can break her while you stalwart do stand!
We know you will keep her safe from all harm!
We know you will make her enemies yield!
Only we shall not be her shield.”

So passed on Diane and her Cordigan
Of strong Ramshaven stock they were the first.
Vali and Heithr stood up next to lead.
In peacetimes or when the wars came again,
Through time that saw both, the better and worst
Justice and valour did temper each deed.
Strong they stood in Ealdormere’s need.

The land grew stronger still, crops bountiful.
The ewe lambs frolicked upon fields of green.
The people flourished in richness untold.
Season slipped by, years of linen and wool
And halls rang with the laughter of children,
Wealth in worth more precious even than gold
Until the dark horizon cold.

Vali and Heithr sat within their hall
When came the word from far ice-crusted shore,
Blood imperiled called for strong kindred aid.
Kin cannot be denied when voices call.
Choices came hard when for land love hearts tore.
Deeper roots had duty which must be paid
And choices no longer delayed.

Rising from night fires glowing soft light
Came Martya, child of the strong born new blood.
Amber haired and eyes of gypsy fire bright
Whose words were like wind born of petals of white
By her stood Davin, blades of steel and wood.
Too soon passed they both into the twilight;
Fealty of land passed into the night.

The land then fell silent, its loss to mourn,
For it could not live without one to lead.
The call went out: “Who will lead in their stead?”
Wise council sought far for new leaders born,
The Ram cried out loud for action and deed.
For the love of the land did many feet tread,
Came low-born and came noble bred.

Konrad stood forth, born of the elder time,
Of the old blood, true son of Cordigan.
Strong warrior, and wise, to lead the land.
By his side, though once from far distant clime,
Stood Alyce. Deep for the land her love ran.
Two, bound together by vows, hand in hand.
Two, together, bound to the land.

Fealty of land passed again into light
As grief, past bound, began slowly to heal,
In the fullness of days the land found bright life
And its people remembered of days bright
And in such mem’ry did the old wounds seal
And brought peace to child, to husband and wife
Ramshaven once more was secure and safe.

For many years lead Konrad and Alyce.
They drew strength from the wisdom of the past,
Drew hope from the shining future ahead.
Again the land knew the fullness of peace,
A part of a rich history to last
The tale of those who followed, those who led
And those who would rise in their stead.
In time the mantle they wore grew weighty,
Once more the call for new blood was sent forth.
With heavy hearts were their words then spoken,
A call to come forth, those who were worthy.
In their wisdom they knew growth came from birth,
That the chain forged of old stay unbroken.
The land chose again among men.

One stood forth, a norseman of wide renown.
Land bound he, by bonds of blood and honour.
Sword-strong, world-wise, never standing alone;
Wencendl stood near with golden crown.
They sat and heard words of what came before.
They stood, and would do that which must be done.
For Kolbjorn had the high seat won.

The circlet was passed from father to son,
The land prospered in the slumber of peace.
With birthright secure, Kolbjorn went to the sea,
Raiding far shores as his fathers had done.
Fearful towns’ Danegeld his coffers increased,
Yet generous and giving with spoils was he;
Sharing with kinsmen was his decree.

Their hall was adorned with treasures bright:
Silver and gold and beauteous garments.
The wealth of Ramshaven was well-renowned
No less famed their skill when called forth to fight.
Wencendl watched from the battlements,
Inspiring her lord and her men on the ground,
Whenever the war-horns did sound.

The passage of time marched slowly onwards,
And both lady and lord were themselves bound:
Loyal to the land, yet to their house sworn.
Thus they resolved to seek out from their lords
New stewards of Ramshaven to be found,
Who’d honour the land whose circlet they’d worn:
And responsibility had borne.

From the vastness of the great northern wood -
Land of stony shores where the wolf still bayed wild –
Came two weapon-thanes from their small bright hall,
As bright as their honour, and will to do good
To serve land and people; man, woman, and child,
Spake Penda and Sybilla: “We have answered this call,
And we pledge to serve one and all.”

The lords of the land deliberated for days
The worth of their claim to the barony’s high seats,
In the end they accepted, for these two had impressed.
In promise for that circlet and their people’s praise,
Did the new rulers agree to perform mighty feats.
Thus Sybilla and Penda would set out on quest,
And so grow the shield o’er the West.

“The lands in the south have grown mighty and well,
Bryniau and Der Welfengau are stoutly defended,
But northwards we see but an empty domain.
A wild expanse where honest men fear to dwell,
Let us turn all our labours to this task most splendid:
To construct mighty holds, and plant well the grain,
And we shall raise up worthy thanes.

To that end did the rulers return to their hall,
And Northgaetham grew wealthy, and joyful and bright,
A beacon of welcome and safety for guests;
And good ladies and lords had cause to stand tall
They brought order and peace to the north, as was right,
The sovereigns saw reason that Northgaetham be blessed,
That in their great hall hang its crest.

The people rejoiced – Penda’s quest was at end,
And Sybilla’s as well; for through war and through peace,
Had strengthened the land, and brought all great honour
That was sung by the bards and borne by each friend.
But that cruel mistress Time in her path does not cease.
Sybilla and Penda called the folk to their manor,
For new leaders to take up their banner.

Now the line of brave Cordigan is well-known and famed,
For lords of martial skill, known for courage and daring.
Six generations grasped tightly the warrior’s blade,
But now the seventh bellicose nature constrained.
The newest of stewards were kindly and sharing:
Lucia and Penn through the hall’s grand arcades
Approached; and to the high seats they were bade.

Do not mistake this appellation for one of reproach;
Nor assume that on whose brows the coronets rested
Were lacking in courage or other noble virtues.
Merely the new lords took the peaceful approach,
And to see the land flourish, challenged their people to be tested.
Grand were the tourneys, and new champions came to
The high seats in their fealty due.

The first year they held sway the two did command
Tales of adventures from far and from near;
Traveller’s stories did the bardic muse inspire,
And next year saw poems read and songs sung in the land.
These patrons of bards, Penn and Lucia spread great cheer
And by their example brought new friends to sit by the fire,
To pass the mead-horn round. Much laughter was heard,
For now was hospitality their word.

Ramshaven eagerly embraced the Baronial will,
The western lands unto travellers were kind;
But in the year by her own hand Kaylah was Queen
Did the great plague descend over valley and hill
Fierce and terrible; and thundering blew a mighty wind,
The sickness was sore in the land: felt but unseen.
And once prosperous times now grew lean.

At first the people were afraid, and not without cause
For the shops of the merchants had shelves plain and bare
But their most noble prince and princess lead the way
And they ascended the o thrones without pause
The folk of the Northlands cast out doubt and fear
Connection became Ramshaven’s word; for someday
This pestilence would be driven away.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Emprise of the Ermine Star, 2015

by Maister Colyne Stewart

House Arrochar (of which Mel and I are members) hosted this event which Mel and I ran with the backing of the Canton of Ardchreag. It was a themed event, recreating a pas d'armes style tournament that would have been held in 14th century western Europe. It was all about the pomp. Unfortunately it doesn't look like I kept a written record of the day, but I still have some miscellaneous event information.

From the event flyer:

August 29, 2015

The Emprise is to be a day of high tournament, heraldry and pageantry. We encourage everyone to come dressed as your persona would if going to an important event. Please bring your personal presences, banners, and shades to help add to the ambiance of the day!

There will be a helm show and procession as well as deeds of arms on the armoured combat, rapier and youth combat lists. Feast will be an intimate affair with special removes.
From The History of House Arrochar:
On August 29, the house ran an event (sponsored by the Canton of Ardchreag) called the Emprise of the Ermine Star. It was a day of high tournament, chivalry and heraldry. Sir Nigel led a team of six other tenans that also included HE Berend and THLaird Colyne against all challengers until honour was satisfied. At court, HE Wencenedl was put on vigil for the Order of the Laurel.
A poem I wrote regarding part of the event:
For Helen Grey
By THLaird Colyne Stewart

Amid the rustling banners bold
A tale is told of Korigan
Who fears no one, the wolf red-black,
Who from his pack will never stray.
For Helen Grey he stood the field
With sword and shield, and heavy axe,
To make me wax on honour bought
With how he fought for Helen Grey.

On August 29, 2015, at the Emprise of the Ermine Star, I fought Lord Korigan in a deed of arms. Part of the rules of the list were that if any part of a fighter other than their foot were to touch the ground, they owed a ransom to their opponent. I fell to the ground, and for my ransom Korigan tasked me to write a poem for his wife, Helen Grey.

Written using the aicill rhyme scheme where the final word of one line rhymes with an internal word in the next rhyme.
A second poem written to commemorate the event:
The Hart’s Tale
To my belt-sister, Wencenedl of Rokesburg, the first Arrochar apprentice to be invited to join the Order of the Laurel.
At Emprise gathered hushed host
To listen to the heralds’ toast
As king and baron took their seat
And called the Laurels forth to greet
A hart who wore the ermine star
A student come so very far
“Our Cenedl,” the king decreed
“You will from contract now be freed
At future date, once all agreed.”
And smiled on her where she kneed.
She went then from that honoured place
Accompanied by Kerrec Grace
And heard proclaim the gathered crowd
Who shouted forth their joy so loud.
Until at last the day came ‘round
To hear what answer she had found
Again she came to royal ground
Before the northern monarchs crowned.
“Our lands are lacking”, cried the queen,
Before those gathered on the green,
“We must amend this tragic flaw
And so we read this writ as law
And call on Cenedl the doe
Well known to all for skills she shows
With needle, thread and fabric bright
Compel us to take pen and write,
Induct her into order fair,
The dragonfly with braided hair
And be a Laurel of our lands.
So take now from the royal hands 30
Our document that states thereof
How rich you are in regal love.”
She takes the writ from royal glove
And so my sister soars above.
The Sixth Historie of Ard Chreag contains the followiing:
Year: A.S. XLIX
Event Title: Emprise of the Ermine Star
Date: August 29, 2015
Location: Tyrone Community Centre, 2716 Concession Road 7, Bowmanville, Ontario
House Arrochar (sponsored by the Canton of Ardchreag) presents :
Emprise of the Ermine Star
A day of high tournament, heraldry and pageantry.
The Seventh Chronicle of Eoforwic mentions the event:
As Nigel and Adrielle were reigning, they were unable to reprise the Emprise of the Ermine Star they had hosted the previous year, so the City hosted the Emprise of the Wolf and Bear in its stead. Helena, Nicolaa, Daya, Medb, and Willmar had prepared for some weeks ahead of this by painting banners that would be given to participants who exhibited various virtues. When AElfwyn had been put on vigil for the Order of Chivalry, she selected this day to hold her vigil and elevation, so the Emprise was done with the virtues that pertained most to her in mind. She stood vigil in the small chapel within the walls of the church.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Why do we say wassail?

 By Maister Colyne Stewart, OP

Written during the Year of Plague, October A.S. 55 (2020)

You’ve heard it yelled at court. You’ve heard it thunder across battlefields. It echoes throughout the hallways of the north. Yet, what is “wassail”, and what does it mean?

Let us first look at the act of shouting said word, before we look into the word itself. It is a common practice across the SCA for people to have a cheer that they call out in celebration. Such ritualistic exultations likely date back to the creation of spoken language (with roots in energetic grunts voiced by our ancient Neanderthal ancestors). So it is not surprising to see its use within the SCA. (Indeed, attend a political rally or a sporting event and you will hear modern equivalents.)

The first kingdom in the SCA—the West Kingdom—established the use of the word “Huzzah” as their choice of cheer. According to Merriam Webster, “huzzah” is a cry of acclaim first dated to 1573. Many of the kingdoms that eventually were born out of the West likewise chose to use “huzzah”. Kingdoms descended from the East Kingdom tend to use the word “Vivat” (if cheering an individual) or “Vivant” if cheering a group. (Meaning “live long.”)

Ealdormere is descended from the youngest of the original three kingdoms, tumultuously born of the Dragon of the Middle Kingdom. The Middle chose a cheer that was similar to the West, though different—“Hoobah!” According to Merouda Pendra (Caer Anterth Mawr, Northshield) in a 2006 email archived on Stefan’s Florigelium, the Middle’s use of “hoobah” evolved out of


a couple of venerable and ancient Dukes [sic] trying to encourage some budding belly dancers with shouts of “hubba, hubba!”

This tale is corroborated by the Middle Kingdom’s Wiki, citing two witnesses: Duke Finnvarr de Taahe (who did not participate in the cat-calling), and Duke Merowald de Sylveastan (who did)..

Unlike the descendants of the West and the East, when Ealdormere became first a Territory and then a Kingdom in its own right, the wolf-folk did not elect to keep the cheer of their parent kingdom. (Due to its sexist roots, it is a well and good thing that we did not.) As already mentioned, Ealdormere’s birth was not an easy one (and is remembered as the Time of the Proscription). As noted in The Wolf, the Wilds, and the Will:


When the King of the Dragon Thrones read these letters he felt his kingdom was becoming unstable and crumbling around him and that regionalism was proving detrimental to the kingdom as a whole. Elegil then struck down the idea of regions, by calling his officers (some claim the minimum number of officers necessary) to enact a law, a law which prohibited any geographic area within the kingdom from calling itself a region, or by a regional name, or to choose for itself a champion. This was called the ‘Washroom Curia’ for, as the story goes, the king held the meeting in a privy. (This is disputed by others who say the meeting was held in the king’s kitchens the night before the Passing of the Ice Dragon.) As the king was already planning to attend a different event, the duty to announce this edict to the people of Ealdormere fell to his Prince, Palymar of the Two Baronies, and his Pale Herald, Mistress Graidhne. They brought the northfolk the dire news at Ice Dragon in Rhydderich Hael, in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, where many Ealdormereans were always in attendance. Though the Middle Kingdom Seneschal, the Countess Genevieve, was also present at the event, she was unable to attend this announcement.

Due to how this matter was handled, it seems only natural that when Ealdormere finally gained its independence and was allowed to acknowledge its individuality that it would choose its own cry of exultation. (It is perhaps interesting to note that as of this writing, the Middle Kingdom Wiki has an entry for “Wassail” that does not mention it being Ealdormere’s cheer.)

The people generally given credit for choosing wassail as Ealdormere’s cheer are Baron Aedan o’Kincora and Baroness Caffa Muirath. In an article written for the Ursus #191 (December 1996), Duke Finnvarr de Taahe said:


For some of the more experienced people of our Principality, Aedan and Caffa were the special people who defined our community. For a decade they were the leading lights of what is now Ealdormere and what was then Septentria…


Aedan would occasionally explain that a crowned head in the Society should show himself as someone who was obviously like his followers, but able to do a little more. The tie between leader and follower should not be one between mighty lord and helpless subject, but a heart–to–heart tie between people who are very similar – who both had great potential to do good…


When we decided to build the Region of Ealdormere, Aedan and Caffa were among the leaders doing their part…


When an unjust edict brought Ealdormere down, they put heart into us so that we did not sink into futile bitterness. When the Crown Principality was created, they were there again, with Aedan as Lord Lieutenant – partnered with Baroness Enid as Lady Lieutenant – to lead the last push to the first Crown Tourney.

Finnvarr’s description of Aedan’s ideal of leadership is completely at odds to perceived events leading to the Proscription. Finnvarr recalls (in an email to the author) that Aedan, attending an event which the Middle Kingdom royalty rarely attended, shouted “Wassail!” instead of “Hoobah!” at court as a form of protest. How often Aedan may have used “wassail” in this way is no longer remembered, however, it can be said (in fact it has been, by me, in The Wolf, the Wilds, and the Will) that:


Aedan left an indelible mark upon the new Principality, a mark that is still with us to this day. For the proclamation of Ealdormere’s new status was made at Pennsic War [A.S. 23, 1998], and Prince Reynard, heir to the throne of the Middle Kingdom, came to Aedan’s camp to celebrate. Aedan, who had been named Lord Lieutenant of Ealdormere, toasted the new Principality with a great “Waeshael!” and this was to become the cheer of the northlands for ever after. Around that same fire another Ealdormerean tradition was begot by Septentrians (or so the story goes). Two Eoforings, being John of Slaughterfield and Alistair Kirk of Inness, toasted Prince Reynard as His Lupine Highness. Forever after, this would be how Ealdormereans referred to their Majesties and Highnesses, as that of Lupine.


In Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere, by Dame TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview, she includes the announcement sent by Aedan and Enid to the peoples of the north telling these glad tiding, which they concluded by saying “Wasshael!”

You ask, but what does it mean? “Wes þú hál” (also spelled “wassail” and “wasshael”) is an Anglo-Saxon phrase meaning “be in good health.” (In Old English it is "wæs hál".) In an email to the author, Dame Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles, recalls:


My memory is that Mistress Caffa, Baroness Septentria, proposed it. There were so many early period SCA personas, it fit to have an Anglo Saxon toast (the correct response to “Waeshael” is “Drink Hael!”, as she also taught us.)

Indeed, “wassail” is a kind of toast, which would have been practiced in 12th century England (with roots leading much farther back) that would have included the raising of tankard and glass, the making of well wishes, and rowdy comaradherie.

We see, then, that the cheer is an SCA tradition going back to the early days. We see that Ealdormere chose a unique cheer, as a sign of independence and individuality. We see that the chosen cheer has roots in Anglo-Saxon times, as many of the founders of Ealdormere had early period personas. However, there may have been another reason Aedan and Caffa chose this particular word with its Anglo-Saxon roots. If we turn again to my book:


Though the idea of Ealdormere was now an outlawed thing, still it lived on in the hearts of all the north folk, especially in those who lived in Septentria. Both Aedan and Caffa helped keep the people’s hearts and hopes alive, in the belief that eventually, Ealdormere would be free and recognized. Indeed, Lord Alistair Kirk of Inness points out that this proscription helped formalize the animal totem of Ealdormere. For the term “wolf’s head” means outlaw, and many in the north were proud to be wolf’s heads.

According to Merriam Webster, wolf’s-head is an archaic term for outlawry and for an outlaw derived from


Middle English wolfesheved, from Old English wulfeshēafod, interjection used in wolf-hunting and in pursuing an outlaw, literally, head of a wolf, from wulfes (genitive of wulf wolf) + hēafod head

Did Aedan and Caffa purposely choose a cheer with Anglo-Saxon roots to coincide with the rebellious nature of the wolf imagery being used at the time? Or is this connection a coincidence or flight of fancy of this author? Perhaps some future chronicler will find out for sure.


Boucher, Elyse C. (Merouda Pendry). E-mail dated Sat, 22 Jul 2006 collected in “SCA-cheers-msg.” Stefan’s Florilegium, 15 Nov. 2008. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

Bulman, Jennifer (Enid Aurelia of the Tin Isles). “Re: Wassail.” Message to Todd H. C. Fischer (Colyne Stewart). 25 Sep. 2020. E-mail.

Fellmeth, Aaron X. and Maurice Horwitz. “Caput lupinum,” Guide to Latin in International Law, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Hoobah.” MiddleWiki, Middle Kingdom, 24 Oct. 2020, Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“Huzzah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, nd. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

Inter-Kingdom Anthropology.” An Tir Wiki, Kingdom of An Tir, Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

Manners Around Court and Other Places.” East Kingdom Wiki, East Kingdom, last updated 11 May 2009, Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

Muhlberger, Steven (Finnvarr de Taahe). “Baron Aedan and Baroness Caffa,” Ursus #191, Dec. 1996.

Ibid. “Re: Wassail.” Message to Todd H. C. Fischer (Colyne Stewart). 1 Oct. 2020. E-mail.

Rabinovitch, Shelley TSIVIA (TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview). Our Homeland, Beloved Ealdormere, privately printed, 1998.

“Vivat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, nd. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“Wassail.” Cunnan, Kingdom of Lochac, last updated 14 Jan. 2008. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“Wassail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, nd. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“Wassail.” MiddleWiki, Middle Kingdom, last updated 12 Nov. 2018. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“Wolf's-head.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, nd. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Kaylay the Cheerful wins Crown to become second female fighter to become a Monarch by Right-of-Arms

 This important event happened during the modern year 1999, in which my lady and I are were in the middle of moving our estate from the Barony of Septentria to the Barony of Skraeling Althing. As such, I did not document it at the time, and am making up for that oversight now.

[Source: Instagram]

[Source: Twitter]

[Source: Instagram]

[Source: Tumblr]

Friday, 25 September 2020

This Unique Activity Hasn’t Been Stopped by COVID

Le Mons has also been staying connected through classes and virtual scavenger hunts, inspiring fellow members to research topics and hunt for information online. “All of the Arts and Sciences that we’re doing is in preparation for us being able to get back together, but it’s holding us together at the same time,” he says.

Through racial injustices and the global health crisis, staying connected online has helped Coulson “mentally and spiritually” with “the increasing amount of hopefulness I have for this world in these stressful and turbulent times.”

Fodor's Travel has posted an article on the SCA, with special attention giving to how members have been interacting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

The Fifth Chronicle of Eoforwic



The Great Chronicle of Eoforwic has in the past been written  by numerous scribes:  The first being Etienne de L'Isle, the second being  William of Roncesvalles, the third being Hyrcanos ben Jacob  of Oporto, the fourth being Magnus of Iona.  As  that  fourth account  ends  with the Accession of David and Tangwystl to the Dragon Thrones of the Middle and the final court of Baron Aedan and Baroness Caffa of Septentria, it is mete  that this fifth book begin herein. 


The Chronicle of Eoforwic of Amaury de Hinton Being the sixth Chronicle of that Royal City




This is the sixth of the books of history of the Royal City of Eoforwic. The first was that of Etienne de L'Isle, the second was that of William of Roncesvalles, the third was that of Hyrcanos ben Jacob  of Oporto, the fourth was that of Magnus of Iona, and the fifth was that of Susanna of Leicester, sister to my patroness.  That fifth book concluded with the twentieth anniversary of Eoforwic, and was recorded not long after those events.  Some ten years have passed since those happy days.  Many citizens of the City have dispersed and traveled afar, or are no longer seen.  Others, after a long absence, have been once again seen in the City’s streets, my patroness among them. Newer citizens, having read the first five books, have clamoured to hear what transpired in the ensuing ten years.  And so Magistra Nicolaa, being civic-minded and intensely proud of the City in which she has again come to dwell, persuaded upon me to share the private chronicle that I had kept for many years and often shared with her in the days in which she traveled in southern lands, and longed for tales of her homeland and its people.


The fourth volume of The History of Eoforwic


The fourth volume of

The History of Eoforwic



Being the chronicles of the Royal Burgh

from the first day of the

Crown Principality of Ealdormere,

20 August, Anno Societatis XXIII,

to the last day of Aeden and Kaffa

as first Baron and second Baroness of Septentria,

08 June, Anno Societatis XXVI.


The Third Book of The Chronicle of Eoforwic

The Third Book of
The Chronicle of Eoforwic

A Truly Written Account
of the Events of Moment
in the Canton of Eoforwic
from Earliest Times,
Including the History of the Founding
of the Crown Principality of Ealdormere

Written at the hand of
Hyrcanos ben Jacob Porto of Oporto

Printed with the aid of God in the City of Eoforwic

The Chronicle of Eoforwic of Hyrcanos ben Jacob
Copyright (c) 1989 A.J.S. Nusbacher

With great respect and devotion do I, Hyrcanos the Judge the son of Jacob
Porto of Oporto, present this chronicle to my employer the Lord James
MacAndrews (of glorious name) in honour of his liege lord the Duke
Fionnbarr de Taahe, may he live for many good and long years. Long have I
laboured in its making, and long have I polished the bare innards of my
purse, preparing to honour the remuneration which must surely come.

I have read the past chronicles presented to Duke Fionbarr (may he live for
years that are good and long), that from Etienne de l'Isle, and that from
William of Roncesvalles and Trevarius (the Trierite). I have read the
histories compiled by the great Duke himself into the famous Tales of the
Midrealm Kings. I have read the histories of Orlandus Ambrosius. Now do I
attempt to make a chronicle of Eoforwic which combines a great deal of the
brevity and accuracy which befits a chronicle as well as some of the wonder
and glory which accompanies an history.

The Second Book of the Chronicle of Eoforwic


The Second Book of
the Chronicle of
including the account of
The Barony of Septentria
and a relation of
the early history of

Text copyright 1989 R. Scott Caple and W. Ted Szwejkowski
Illustrations copyright 1992 R. Scott Caple

Here begins the Preface:
This is the second part of the Chronicle of Eoforwic, telling of the
fortunes of its folk and the growth of this Canton in the ways of the Known

It follows the first part of the Chronicle, written by Etienne de l'Isle at
the request of his lord, Duke Finnvarr de Taahe. Of late, the noble Duke
was desirous of a continuance of the Chronicle, and a setting down of the
momentous events that had transpired since the completion of the first part,
 lest they fade from the memory of men. His servant Etienne being then
heavily burdened, Duke Finnvarr entrusted this task to my lord and patron,
Master Robert of Two Cliffs, who in his turn bade me, William of
Roncesvalles, to compose this part of the Chronicle.

Duke Finnvarr's Mug

This ceramic mug was presented to Finnvarr de Taahe, by a new mmeber of the SCA, when Finnvarr was King of the East Kingdom (1973).

It calls Finnvarr the King of Ostgardr which was the new name for the New York area. It also mentions  Myrkewood (the name for the Baltimore-Washington area) where Finnvarr lived at the time.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

SCA Households – A Look Back

SCA households have been many things – a family, a group of friends who like to hang out together, a group of artisans – even a large collective! 

Family History – Tsvetan Arinsson’s Laurel Medallion

This medallion comes with the history of my SCA family. The story begins with Dame Enid Aurelia, first baroness of Skraeling Althing and my own mentor. Though I was never formally part of her household, my best friend (Mistress Etaoin O’Fearghal) was her apprentice, and Ouen atte Thorne was a member of both her household and mine. Tsvetan Arinnson was also one of her apprentices. 

Tsvetan started as a member of Skraeling (now Caldrithig) around 1980. A couple of years later TSvetan moved to Der Welfengau where he became seneschal. He was keen to learn to dance and became apprenticed to Enid, who taught him what she knew – his favourite dance was Sellinger’s Round. He loved to camp and he loved Pennsic; he was one of the first people to teach dance in the barn. He was also quite a good cook (more evidence that he was family). TSvetan put great energy into the SCA. One of his greatest achievements was producing An Evening at Castle Althing, which the canton put on in 1980 or 81 at Carleton U. He arranged the venue, the funding, the props… Enid put together the play, and coordinated the writing, singing and dancing, but it would not have happened without him. 

I first met Tsvetan at an event, possibly in Skraeling Althing, shortly after I moved here. He was very sweet and kind – so kind that when I headed off to my first Pennsic and discovered that my tent and other gear had not arrived (it was being delivered from Trinovantia Nova), I went to him. I knew almost no-one else there, and Tsvetan was the only one I felt brave enough to ask for help. He kindly offered me a place to stay and made me feel welcome. It was a very generous thing to do for someone he barely knew, and I have never forgotten it, even though, in the end, my stuff arrived and I didn’t have to take him up on the offer. 

In the late 1980’s, Tsvetan became very ill and Ouen moved to Guelph to help care for him. The Order of the Laurel had recommended him for elevation and he was officially elevated on January 20, 1990 in Der Welfengau by Ariake and Tadashi. He died a few days later. Tsvetan like to display a bi-coloured pennon, black and yellow, and for many years friends and apprentices had these and brought them to events. The medallion pictured above was made by a member of the order who lived in Ohio and admired Tsvetan’s work. Enid thinks he was also a dance laurel. If you look closely, you can see a little TA at the bottom. The medallion arrived too late for Tsvetan, so Enid kept it in trust for an appropriate moment. When I was elevated in 1999, Enid presented me with the medallion and told the story at my elevation. I have treasured it ever since. It seemed appropriate share my medallion with Xristina when she was elevated at Feast of the Hare. She is now holding it in trust for the next worthy member of the household. 

Mistress Siglinde

[Skraeling Althing Chronicle, February 2015]

The History of the Ealdormere Academy of Defense

 By Lady Jocelyn Roget de Cranewall, Praceptor of the Ealdormere Academy of Defense

The Ealdormere Academy of Defense was founded by Royal Charter on 13 September, A.S. XXXII, during the reign of Prince Edward, and Princess Rylyn, in counsel with their Rapier Champion Lars Eriksson, some fifteen years ago. Loosely based off the historic London Masters of Defense, the Academy is purposefully structured to provide practitioners of the arte of defense with a set of self-guided long range goals. This encourages rapier combatants to expand their personal skills of prowess and explore the historical theory through research. The Academy structure is made up of five ranks, Cadet, Scholar, Free Scholar, Provost and Dean. 

Each rank of the Academy has a number of requirements for advancement to that rank. The requirements have been designed to help combatants grow in their personal practice of the arte and other activities beneficial to the Kingdome of Ealdormere. Between ranks there is a requirement for a time period of one year between each rank. This is to encourage fencers to become dedicated, regardless of their skill level. This Academy is not based on senior members voting for junior members to advance. The emphasis here is on self-improvement, fostering interests beyond rapier play, dedication and fun. 

In keeping with the London Masters of Defence, advancement to higher ranks shall be accompanied by the member seeking advancement (the Prizor) calling a Prize. The Prize is a display of skill in which the Prizor shows his prowess in different weapons forms. The Prizor will fence a number of duels to display his or her skill. When the Prize is completed, if the requirements of the Prize have been met, then the Prizor is invested in the new rank. 

Members of all ranks are highly encouraged to do research into the art of rapier play. There are a number of period manuals by rapier masters available. Also encouraged highly is service to your group, and the members of the fencing community as a whole. Assisting in training and marshalling lightens the load on everybody else, and allows all of us more time to have fun! Not to mention the experience gained, and the relationships forged with other fencers. 

Most of the duties of each rank are presented with the rank. Some are repeated between the ranks to emphasize their importance. There is a duty that applies to us all, fencer and non-fencer. A list of these duties per rank may be found at: 

Today’s Dean prize fight represents achievement of the highest rank in the Ealdormere Academy of Defense. To be considered as eligible to challenge into the rank is a significant accomplishment. A candidate must earn each of the Academy ranks, Cadet, Scholar, Free Scholar, Provost, and Dean, by demonstrating prowess, wearing period armour, demonstrating knowledge of period rapier combat techniques, becoming an active a member of the rapier marshallate, and presenting research projects in an educational forum. The Prizors challenging for the Rank of Dean are HE Giovanni d'Enzinas, Baron of Skraling Althing and THL Gareth Cambell. 

Many thanks are extended to those of you who, having a passion for the arte of Defense, and having travelled to participate, attend and bear witness to this event. Know your presence here is appreciated in joining the Academy in celebration, and providing moral support for these dedicate combatants in their pursuit to achieve their next rank in the academy.

[Skraeling Althing Chronicle, Summer edition, May 2012, A.S. XLVII]

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Defunct Groups in Ealdormere

A number of early SCA groups in the Kingdom of Ealdormere were founded, many of which failed after a few years. The names of many of these groups are recorded in the Chronicles of Eoforwic and the Historia Septentriae, although their mundane locations may not be.

Defunct groups are generally said to have "fallen into ruin"; occasionally, an extant group is said to be "founded on the ruins" of a defunct group which previously existed in their area.

An incomplete list
  • Aron Araf -- Mentioned in the Historia Septentriae as holding their first event in A.S. 14, it was noted as being "cursed", and "fell into ruin" after many years. This canton was established in Stratford, Ontario, later to be replaced by the canton of Ashford-upon-Avon
  • Ashford-upon-Avon
  • Ben Dunfirthshire -- Formed in AS 11.
  • Brennistein Vatn -- This shire formed in  A.S. 43, mergin the shires of Noerlanda and Flaming Sky. It later became the Shire of Ulfhiem in A.S. 54.
  • Caer Draeth -- The Canton of Caer Draeth (Barrie) was found around A.S. 12. It merged with the Canton of Swan's Deep (which had originally split off from it) to form the canton of Beremere (process begun around A.S. 45 and culminating in January A.S. 51).
  • Dubras -- A short-lived canton, Dubras dissolved in A.S. 15, later to be replaced by the Canton of der Welfengau.
  • Greenhithe -- A former incipient canton of Septentria which grew out of Whit's End (located in the City of Oshawa and surrounding area) around 1998. The group was also known as Greenhithe bae the Waeter and Greenhithe by the Water (the later version of the name was registered with the College of Heralds in 2005). The group dissolved in 2007.
  • Flaming Sky -- This shire joined with the shire of Noerlanda to form the Shire of Brennistein Vatn in A.S. 43; which later became the Shire of Ulfhiem in A.S. 54.
  • Harrowgate Heath -- Founded in AS 38, this canton of Skraeling Althing contained the counties of Grenville and Dundas and later the City of Cornwall. The canton disolved in AS 54.
  • Kalendia Formas -- Founded as a shire of Ealdormere in A.S. 12, it dissolved shortly thereafter and was never restarted.
  • Noerlanda -- Founded as a canton in A.S. 10 in the city of Sault Ste. Marie. Notable for hosting the first Feast of the Bear in Septentria. It fell into ruin in the late 1980's and was re-born in 1996. In 1999 they became a shire. The group merged with Shire of Flaming Sky (North By area) to form the Shire of Brennistein Vatn in A.S. 43; which later became the Shire of Ulfhiem in A.S. 54.
  • Pont y Scythe -- Now defunct, it was established in the city of Burlington, in territory now controlled by the Barony of Ben Dunfirth.
  • Roaring Wastes -- Mentioned in the Historia Septentriae as being "to the southwest of Septentria", it was mundanely in the city of Tillsonburg, now lands held by the Shire of Trinovantia Nova.
  • Skraeling Althing -- The canton formed in A.S. 12, and later became the Barony of Skraeling Althing.
  • St. Antonius -- This college was established in A.S. 32 (1998) by Magistra Sciath ingen Chaennaig after she emigrated from An Tir but ceased its activity in A.S 37 (2003).
  • Steinbach -- Founded in A.S. 22 near Stony Creek, Ontario, this canton existed briefly and dissolved. The lands formerly held by this canton are now part of the Barony of Ben Dunfirth.
  • Swan's Deep -- Based in the Penetanguishene-Midland area, it originally split off from the Canton of Caer Draeth in Dec A.S. 37. Later re-merged with Car Draeth to form the canton of Beremere (process begun around A.S. 45 and culminating in January A.S. 51).
  • Westbellford -- Centered on the city of Brantford, Ontario, this canton in the Barony of Ben Dunfirth fell into ruin. In A.S. 53, the Canton of Stórfjǫrðr was built over its remains.
  • Wessexmere -- A short-lived canton, later replaced by the Canton of Bryniau Tywynnog in the Barony of Ramshaven.
  • Whit's End -- Briefly existed in A.S. 32, this group dissolved and reformed later as the Canton of Greenhithe.
[Original text copied from Cunnan, September 17, 2020, and edited by Colyne Stewart.]

Ban on Regions

The Ban on Regions (also known as King Alen's Proscription) was a kingdom law of the Midrealm in force from April A.S. XX to August A.S. XXIII. As recorded in the third and fourth books of the Chronicles of Eoforwic, the creation of Ealdormere as a Principality was a matter of some controversy. In January A.S. XX (1986) the Eoforwic Pursuivant James MacAndrews submitted a proposal to the Dragon Throne, calling for the creation of a regional champion, as the first step towards making Ealdormere a Crown Principality.

King Alen Elegil of the Midrealm responded by calling a hurried meeting with his advisors. The so-called Washroom Curia (it was widely rumoured at the time to have been held in a public restroom at an event) resulted in the issuing of the infamous "Ban on Regions". Published in the April A.S. XX edition of the Pale, this edict attempted to halt the effort toward creating local regions within the Midrealm by forbidding the use of local regional organizations beyond those Shires and Baronies recognized by the Crown. Combined with a change in Kingdom Law raising the requirements for becoming a Principality dramatically, the practical effect of the Ban was merely to alienate the people of Ealdormere by forbidding even the name "Ealdormere" from open use. The region of Northshield was also affected by the Ban, and as Northshield and Ealdormere were Canadian territories in the Midrealm, this added an additional aspect of resentment.

Tellingly, King Alen did not personally deliver the news to his northern subjects, but instead required then-Crown Prince Palymar of the Two Baronies to bear the edict to them at the next major event where many Ealdormerans would be attending. Unfortunately, the next event was the Feast of the Passing of the Ice Dragon in the East Kingdom. So the Midrealm Crown sent its Crown Prince to a foreign kingdom to tell its own subjects something terribly unpopular. The Crown's decision was much-denounced in the Northlands and, on reflection, not facing the populace at home added insult to injury.

Shortly thereafter, James MacAndrews was stripped of the office of Eoforwic Pursuivant by the Dragon Herald Baron Charles O'Connor; while the reasons given were unrelated to his proposal, in Ealdormere it was widely seen as a punitive act done on the orders of King Alen. Rather than discourage the pro-Principality faction, however, these events only strengthened an underground commitment to greater independence from the Midrealm. A number of poems and songs written during and after "the dismal days of silence" illustrate this point, in particular the popular and well-received "Doom of Ealdormere" by Baron Aedan.

Many of the pro-Principality faction at this time began styling themselves "Wolf's-heads", (a euphemism for "outlaws") and thus it was that the now-common symbolism of the northern wolves entered Ealdormerean art.

While the stringent Principality requirements would be slightly eased by King Alen himself in A.S. XXI, the Ban remained in effect until the 17th Pennsic War in A.S. XXIII (1988). At the Midrealm War Court, King Corwin of the Middle granted a charter making Ealdormere a Crown Principality.

The effect of the Ban on Regions is still felt in many Ealdormerean traditions today. The King and Queen of Ealdormere are sometimes styled "Their Lupine Majesties", a reference to the spirit of the wolf which carried Ealdormere through the years of King Alen's Proscription. Musical, poetic and bardic references to the time of the Ban on Regions abound, and Ealdormereans remain fiercely proud and protective of their independence.

Based on information in the Chronicles of Eoforwic and the Historie of Septentria.

[Captured from Cunnan, September 17, 2020.]

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Mini-History of the Shire of Noergate (defunct)

Noergate was a shire located predominantly in the city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It originally formed as a canton in A.S. 18 (1984 or 1985). According to Cunnan, the canton "became defunct away by the mid to late 80s." The shire's webpage states that the "current shire has existed since 1996" (A.S. 30-31), which Cunnan confirms: "Fortunately, however, the canton was reconstituted in 1996."

They became a full status shire in March 1999 (A.S. 33) during the reign of the first Ealdormerian King and Queen, David and Elina.

The group merged with Shire of Flaming Sky (North By, Ontario area) to form the Shire of Brennistein Vatn in A.S. 43; which later became the Shire of Ulfhiem in A.S. 54.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

A Short Tale of Skeldergate's Past

 Uncredited. [archived source]

Gather round, good gentles, if you would hear the history of the College of Skeldergate. This is as near to the full tale as can be obtained, and is the result of much hounding of the good Baroness Ursula na Clan na Rath until her brain revealed the history you are about to read. Many thanks are therefore due her, not only for the account you find here, but also for the critical role she played in the creation of Skeldergate.

In the beginning, Skeldergate was not named Skeldergate, nor was it a College. Rather, it was originally the Canton of Noerlanda. This was in the days before the presence of the Barony of Septentria made itself known, marry, even before the surrounding lands came to be known as Ealdormere. And so, the only neighbouring area to Noerlanda was the Canton of Eoforwic. Alas, despite being host to a few events, Noerlanda failed to thrive. Much rivalry arose between the northerly canton and Eoforwic, and in the end, Noerlanda was disbanded by the Kingdom.

But then, years later, when Michel d'Arques and Kaellyn Mac Dermott of Leinster were Prince and Princess of Ealdormere, did interest spring up once again. A student by the name of Osric Caerfinn na Conchullain, accompanied by his lady, Cualgne, had traveled from Ben Dunfirth (Hamilton) to attend the college where Noerlanda had been born so long ago. He became possessed of a determination to start the group anew, and to this end approached the fair Ursula na Clan na Rath, one of the original Noerlandans, on how to go about this great task. Thus a new group was formed.

On the advice of the local Baron, it was created as a College for the increased flexibility such a title conveyed. As to a name for this new College, it was determined that the name of "Noerlanda", carrying as it did so many old connotations (and not a few of them disadvantageous), was never to be spoken again. And so, the members of the new College hunted far and wide for a suitable name to apply to themselves. Among those considered were Albion, Yorvik and Eboracum, but none of these were to the liking of the intrepid pioneers. Then word came that there was a bridge in the city of York in the old lands of England which went by the name of Skeldergate. This appealed so much to the members of the College that they applied it, after a vote, to themselves. Thus was Skeldergate born.

Skeldergate owed its success to the supreme efforts of its first members. Cualgne played a greatly supportive role, and the group was joined by students of art by the names of Bertram and Archibald Wetherford III, described decisively by Baroness Ursula as "funky". Also among the early members was a gentle by the name of Sigurd the Bard. They all worked hard, despite natural inclinations towards mischievous shenanigans, and started the group off well. The three original officers were Ursula, the seneschal; Osric, the herald; and Archibald, who assumed the tasks of both Minister of Arts and Sciences and Chronicler. In his Chronicler capacity he did put out a newsletter by the name of Skattered Notes.

Not long after, at an Ice Dragon event, Ursula was heard to have spoken the forbidden name of Noerlanda. Accordingly, her fellow members of Skeldergate put her on trial. She was found to be quite guilty and was sentenced to turn around three times, spit in a corridor, swear, and ask for permission to enter again. Most uncomfortable was she with the notion of spitting in a corridor, but it was a deed that had to be done, and so she was readmitted to the College.

The population of Skeldergate had its ups and downs, and so it did not apply for full status immediately. However, its events met with great success. The first Skeldergate event was a Baronial Twelfth Night, and Osric and Cualgne were the autocrats. Next came the Royal University of the Midrealm (RUM), autocratted by Madinia, another success, attracting gentles from far and wide. It was around this time that Hector of the Black Height became the Marshal. His great talent at teaching caused Skeldergate to become known for having fighters of quality. The next event was A Knight in the Country, a dance event, for which the College brought in a laurel from the mundane lands of California. Following that was a Viking Raid on Eoforwic, where Thorbjorn Osis Brandsson and his household were the major Skeldergate force against the Eoforwic group.

In the following year, Skeldergate revived the tradition of "social Sundays", when gentles of the College gather to play games, dance, do projects and talk amongst themselves. These mini-events were based on the group meetings known in the early days of Skeldergate.

Following that, Skeldergate was host to the Midrealm Coronation, where the College's own Thorbjorn Osis Brandsson was (again) crowned King of the Middle Kingdom. This event was a great success, and caused the name of Skeldergate to be known throughout the kingdom.

At the Wassail event in AS XXXIII, Their Majesties David and Elina of Ealdormere announced in Their court that Skeldergate was now full status. Thus the College of Skeldergate was created. Now that this is accomplished, who can say how great Skeldergate may become.

The First Days of Tor Brant

By Lord Duncan Gabh MacLeiod, The Skraeling Althing Chronicle, May 2010

In the very early days of Tor Brant, there were two of us, Lachlan McMallfinn of Egg, and myself. 

He had been involved in the SCA out in An Tir. I had never heard of the group before meeting Lachlan. 

He thought there was a group in Ottawa and eventually we made contact and started attending meetings and fight practices. 

Word started getting around about us and a few friends and acquaintances started to gel. 

Long before we started on any kind of paper work, we needed a name. 

In a flash of inspiration, I grabbed the English-Norwegian dictionary and came up with Enfoldig Avgrunn. Please remember we were just on the military base at this time, so I thought that “Mindless Abyss” was quite appropriate. 

We started having irregular meetings and traveling to a few events. Word came back to us that our original name was a little too self degrading for the Dragon Herald. 

So some of the people knocked their heads together and came up with (sp?)Dalulian Dubh, or the valley of Black Wolves. This got bounced for being (a) too long and (b) sounds like somebody trying to talk with too much oatmeal in their mouth. 

The next name that was fl oated was Dun Claidheamh, but somebody pointed out that our nickname would be Dumb Clam Heads… so Tor Brant was chosen instead. 

By this time the group had put in the paperwork to become an official group. 

That is how the present name and arms for Tor Brant came to be.

The Origins of Feast of the Hare

By Dame TSivia bas Tamara v’Amberview

The Skraeling Althing Chronicle, Fall Edition Page 5 Nov 2010 A.S. XLV 

Back in the mists of time when rocks were still cooling (1977), an intrepid group traveled from Toronto for a long weekend in Ottawa to introduce the city to the SCA. 

Included were the newly crowned Prince Finnvarr, Lady Bolverk, Mistress Gillian d’Uriel (then Olafsdottir), and myself. 

Less than three months later, off I moved to start the Canton of Skraeling Althing. The first “come meet the SCA” meeting at my apartment in Sandy Hill welcomed nearly 50 people. 

As (then) Prince Finnvarr rightly pointed out, a group isn’t a group until it puts on its first event. 

Approximately a year after Skraels started to meet and hold fi ght practice, a full-day event and feast was set up for a local community centre in town. 

One of the biggest tasks was finding a name for the event, and a play on words title was chosen. 

At the time, there was a group in Toronto (where Skeldergate currently sits), called “Noerlanda”. This group sponsored a yearly event called the “Feast of the Bear” (this name will be familiar to many, as the event name was revived many years later by Eoforwic). 

Given that this was Skraeling Althing, featuring the infamous “Bunny Fru-Fru” hare on its arms (from a children’s punny story), we decided to name this first event the “Feast of the HARE” as a nod to the Noerlanda event. 

The first Feast of the Hare was small: approximately 25 sat feast including some visitors from both the Toronto and Hamilton areas. It was a learning experience for all in the fledgling Canton (for instance: cooking the feast for an event in a bachelor apartment which is not near the site is a dad idea!), but a good time was had by all. 

The Feast of the Hare has gone through many permutations and changes over time: it has focused on fighting, the gentle arts, or on fencing; it has featured classes, or arts and sciences displays; it has had first-rate bardic performances, firejugglers, and near eastern dancers, and it has always hosted the court of the Baron and Baroness of the Barony of Skraeling Althing for their annual taxes. 

And so the Feast of the Hare continues as one of the Kingdom of Ealdormere’s longest continually running events, with this November being Feast of the Hare XXXI.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Great Performances: an SCA Bardic Showcase

[Image source: Great Performances: an SCA Bardic Showcase Facebook event]

The Great Performances: an SCA Bardic Showcase ran from Aug 16 to Aug 29, 2020, and was hosted by the SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display group on Facebook. The event description read:

The Goal: To have a wide variety of Bards across the Knowne World entertain everyone with their best performance.

What: Pick what you feel is your very best performance and share it. No Judges, no stress, just beauty. The performances can be period pieces, filks, SCA Historical Tales, original works, or modern pieces that have an SCA feel to them. Entertaining is the key. The genre is up to you. Single performers as well as ensembles are encouraged to participate.

Each performer will receive a coin (see picture) struck by Magister Arion to commemorate their participation in the Showcase.

The Great Performances: An SCA Bardic Showcase will be hosted as an event on
The SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display Facebook page from August 16 to August 29th. Please post a video of your performance in the event page during this time period.

We are asking each performer will also be asked to fill out a brief sign up questionnaire so that we can mail your coin to you at the end of the Showcase. 

On Sep 2, 2020, one of the event's organizers posted the following message to the Kingdom of Ealdormere group on Facebook:

Hello Everyone,

Great Performances: an SCA Bardic Showcase has completed.

I come now to give word fame to the bards of Ealdormere:

Ines De Freitas, Kráku-hallr Gunnarsson (called Seamus), Maister Colyne Stewart, Rufus of Stamford, and Martin Bildner brought honor and glory to your fair Kingdom with their performances. 

They stood proud among 88 performances shared from 18 Kingdoms. The magnitude of the response far outstripped our expectations, and the stunning variety of performances was amazing. There are some very talented performers throughout the Known World, and they wowed us with performances that made us laugh, cry, smile, and want to stand strong until we can all be together again. 

Magister Arion and I want to thank everyone who took the time to perform and share their art in this event. The success of this is owing all to you. As I said before, your response to this was beyond our wildest imagination. You all are amazing! 

If you haven't had a chance to see the performances, they are still available to view. Please go watch them if you can. They are wonderful. 
Lady Fina MacGrioghair