So you have been asked to join the Baronial retinue? What will be expected of you as a member of the court?
At the most basic level, the task of the retinue is to help the B&B do their job as smoothly as possible. This applies mostly during events, but also at other times when help may occasionally be required. The secondary role of the retinue is that, simply by looking good and being attentive, they add to the glamour of the B&B and of the occasion.
At events, the B&B’s duties are public and ceremonial – they have to hold court, sit in state at tourneys, be present at the high table during feasts, and maintain gracious poise while dealing with all kinds of officials and supplicants. These tasks are time-consuming. Their retinue should take the brunt of everyday chores, leaving the B&B free to concentrate on creating pomp and ceremony.
Some ways in which you can help are:
- Before an event, check if the B&B need help with anything – sewing, preparing gifts or tokens, transporting things on the day.
- When they arrive at an event, help unload baggage.
- Fetch and carry things.
- Set up tents, move thrones.
- Keep their gear together, and tell them where important items have been put.
- Help them dress if required.
- Keep a list of things to be done, people to be interviewed, items given or received, any work which needs to be remembered later.
- Protect them from wind, sun, rain and cold.
- Make sure food and drink is brought to them.
- Set up your own chairs behind them, keeping out of the way yet within easy reach.
- Help pack up after events.
At a Feast:
- Check who is to sit at the high table, and be the messenger to arrange this.
- Set up feasting gear for the B&B and their guests, in plenty of time.
- Keep one attendant nearby throughout the feast in case something is needed.
- Wash and return their dishes. It’s nice to do this for everyone on the high table.
- Double-check nothing is left behind during packup.
For a Court:
- Set up the thrones and a small table – the scene should look good from the audience, and leave space behind the thrones for people to move around.
- Keep cool drinks, tokens, documents, gifts etc ready to be used.
- Untangle any token cords before court begins, and keep them untangled.
- Know which tokens are which, and hand over the correct one.
- Offer occasional drinks if the court is long. Remember the herald as well.
- Take charge of any items the B&B have finished with.
- Be quick to help up people who have been kneeling.
- Someone should keep notes for later reference – who presented what, which awards were given, important information of any kind.
- Courts can be long, and you will have to stand throughout. Wear comfortable shoes, visit the privy beforehand.
- If you are unable to attend court, let the B&B know in good time.
Do your best, and remember to have fun as well!