baron and baroness

Royal Etiquette 101

This is a very limited guide, which I wrote a few years ago. It has been requested that it be published again, and that does seem a good idea.  There is much more which could be said, but if you are looking for a basic plan for how to behave at fancy events, this will do.  Hope it is helpful to someone!

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Considering the Royal Visit coming up VERY soon, here are a few words on SCA etiquette…

In the SCA, we have various levels of hierarchy, from Kings, nobles and merchants, right down to those who portray themselves as peasants. We all play at being medieval, and knowing how to behave in a medieval setting is part of that.

Deference towards one’s social superiors was basic to medieval culture. It was very important to understand your place in the hierarchy, and your place was confirmed by the way people behaved towards you. There were many rules and customs about the way people should speak and move in each other’s presence. In essence, it comes down to this – you served those more important than yourself, and expected service from those less important.

The peasant served the lord served the knight served the earl served the duke served the king. There was no shame in serving those higher up than yourself; in fact, it was an honour, and the road to honours.

Nowadays we all feel far more equal to each other, and there is much less formality in our dealings with other people. To recreate medieval life, we have to adjust our modern mindset. We don’t expect everyone to behave perfectly. Just do your best to know the guidelines and observe them as much as you can.

In the SCA, we show respect to the holders of various positions. Some of these have obvious medieval status, such as Baronesses or Kings. Other positions are administrative, such as Seneschals and Reeves. All the people filling these positions are working very hard to make the game better for all of us, and they deserve our respect. However, the ceremonial ranks get extra deference at events, because that enhances the game for everyone.

If you met a real live king, would you jostle him out of the way to get at the food? Certainly not! That would just be rude.

As a newcomer to the SCA, it can be hard to know what is expected, especially if you haven’t been to ‘important’ events before, where formal courts are happening and everyone is on their best behaviour. So, for those who may be a little unsure, here are some basic notes on SCA etiquette…

The King and Queen are top of the heap (followed by the Crown Prince and Princess if they have been chosen). Under them come the landed Barons and Baronesses – that’s Joan and Crispin for Politarchopolis. There are some other levels, but they are much less of an issue.

The King and Queen are addressed as “Your Majesty”, the B&B as “Your Excellency”. Everyone else can generally be addressed as “my Lord” or “my Lady”, and you won’t go too far wrong.

There are conventions about how people behave around the ‘Pointy Hats’ – that’s anyone with a crown or coronet (coronets are like crowns, but less so). Whenever you pass near these people, you should bow or curtsey. When you approach them (or they approach you), curtsey again before conversation begins.

Anywhere there is an official spot set up for the Pointy Hats, bow when you pass it. Even if no one is there! This includes their dinner table – if you are passing within about ten feet of it, bow to the pointy hatted ones. Even if no one is sitting there, bow just the same. (If they are there, be extra polite!) The same goes for thrones, indoors and outdoors.

Remember that Pointy Hats have a lot of work to do at an event – they’re not just standing about looking pretty and receiving curtseys! They have to attend meetings, arrange courts, deal with all kinds of problems while you are having fun. And look good at the same time. And keep their tempers. So…

If Pointy Hats are talking to someone, don’t interrupt – it’s quite likely they are having a vital meeting. Wait and see if it’s okay for you to join the conversation. Pointy Hats usually have various people looking after them at an event – guards, ladies in waiting, chamberlains, pages. If you want to ask something, hand something over, or just socialize, try approaching one of their attendants. The attendants may be able to solve your problem, and will have some idea whether the Pointy Hats have time to talk to you just then.

Give the Pointy Hats precedence – this means they get first go at the food (they probably have people to arrange this). They also go through doors ahead of ordinary folk, and are seated first. It is polite to wait for permission before seating yourself in their presence. It is okay to ask for that permission.

Give them some privacy – if there is a room or a tent set up for their use, keep out unless you are asked in. Find somewhere else to dump your gear. If you are invited in, don’t overstay your welcome. They may need to chat privately with somebody, or just get away from everyone for a short time.

During court, or at the beginning of a meal, everyone will stand until the Pointy Hats are in place. As they pass through the hall, everyone bows. After the Pointy Hats are seated, the populace will be told they can also sit. Likewise at the end of the meal or court, everyone should stand (and bow) while the bigwigs leave the area. During the event, there should be lots of bowing and scraping every time anyone goes near a Pointy Hat – or near their thrones.

It’s not so hard really. Just take note of anyone with a crown or coronet, remember to bow any time you are near them, and give them some space to do their jobs.

In service,

Joan Sutton

 

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Midwinter taxes

Greetings, Politarchopolis!

As Midwinter approaches, the Barony is preparing to play host to the Crown and Kingdom. It is customary to offer taxes to the Royals on such occasions, and in true feudal style, we would like to collect these taxes from among our populace. :)

If you are relatively new to the Society, ‘taxes’ usually take the form of small gifts which the Crown can re-gift at their pleasure. They should be easy to store and transport – not too heavy, not too bulky, not too fragile, non-perishable. They can be any small medieval thing you have made or purchased.

These items need not cost much, but they should be worthwhile gifts. Think about what you would like to receive, if the King or Queen were to give you a thanks token.

Suitable choices include: small items of jewellery, cords (at least 90 cm long, in all colours), lengths of lace or braid, pouches, buckles, calligraphy tools, small books, beads, trinket boxes…there are lots of ideas.

Taxes should be given direct to your Baron and Baroness – if you wish to contribute but don’t see us regularly, message us and something can be arranged.

We have a few weeks before Midwinter, so we look forward to seeing plenty of tax revenue between now and then!

Regards,
Joan and Crispin. 

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Baronial Retinue

starting at Fields of Gold 2013

Champions -

Heavy – Lord Gabriel van Dorne
Fencing – Lord Clement Valentin der Spieler
Archery – Lord Sigmund Spelman

Arts and Sciences – Lady Alexandra Hartshorne

Guards -

Baroness Alesia du Cheval Blanc (Sergeant)
Lady Conciata Delacita Delvecchia
Lord Robin of Ambledune

Attendants -

Mistress Isobel le Bretoun
Violet Fleur
Lady Elisabeth Saunders
Isabella ni Paiden

Art – Arthur
Science – Scientia

As at May 2014:

Champions -

Heavy – Lord Ben the Undecided
Fencing – Don Francois Henri Guyon
Archery – Lord Sigmund Spelman

Arts and Sciences – Lady Alexandra Hartshorne

Guards -

Sir Ysambart Courtin (Sergeant)
Lady Conciata Delacita Delvecchia
Lord Robin of Ambledune

Attendants -

Lady Elisabeth Saunders
Violet Fleur
Jack Argent
Saffiya Fiore de Rabatta (Cup-bearer)

Art -Arthur
Science – Scientia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Notes from the Rapier Championship

On Saturday last (May 24) we were entertained by a rapier tournament, during which we chose Don François Henri Guyon to replace Lord Clement as our Rapier Champion for the next year.

We were joined by Their Highnesses Elizabeth and Cornelius, as well as a goodly number of our populace, and several newcomers. Several people did a wonderful job talking to passers-by about what we were up to in the park, which is much to be commended.

Two courts were held during the afternoon. New Officers were publicly announced, being Lord Gabriel van Dorne (Hospitaller, with thanks to Countess Liadan who preceded him), Lady Iseldis (Chirurgeon) and Lord Fionghuine (Lists).

Sophia van Dorne was thanked for her exemplary service as A&S Officer, and Lady Anne de Tournais was announced as Acting in this position, as Sophia’s replacement is not currently able to take up the office.

The Baroness and sundry others jumped merrily into a Leaf Pile which appeared on the tourney field.

Mistress Isobel retired from the Baronial Retinue.

Baroness Alesia also retired, being replaced by Sir Ysambart Courtin as Sergeant of our Guard.

Jack Argent and Saffiya swore homage and became members of the retinue. Saffiya has the title of Cup-bearer, while Jack is Lord-in-Waiting.

Lord Ben the Undecided received a Burly Griffin for service, and Lord Owen of Torlyon received one for his prowess on the fencing field.

Lord Lorccan Ruadh was the victor of the tournament, following two rounds of tie-breaking melee between the four top contenders.

The day was fine and the company excellent. The gingerbread was also excellent. We thank Lord Clement as steward of the event, and all those who helped him make the afternoon so enjoyable. We look forward to seeing everyone next time!

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Rapier Championship

Greetings unto the populace

Come this Saturday 24th of May to join with their Excellencies, the Baron and Baroness of Politarchopolis for a Quarter Court and Picnic in the park as they choose their next Rapier Champion. There will a Tournament for all of those who wish to display their skill at arms.

The event will open at 12:00 noon and the Tournament will start at 1:30.

…Admission is $5 for members $10 for non members, no booking is required.

Location: Nara Park, Flynn Parade, behind the Hyatt

Contact Clement on clem.avenell@gmail.com if you have any queries.

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Baronial Stickers available

Greetings, Polit!

We have laid in a supply of baronial stickers. They are the same as already sported by a number of vehicles around the Barony.

The stickers cost $3.00 each, and are available directly from your B&B.

We will have them at Ainslie hall this afternoon. Profits will be donated to the baronial coffers.

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Updated Book of Ceremonies

Minor update from the December 2013 version.

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Baronial Retinue – A Guide To Duties

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!

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Baronial Job Descriptions

 Stuff that applies to everyone:

- court positions are envisaged to last about a year, subject to circumstance.

 - essentially, all retainers are there to be helpful to the B&B in any way they can. If you cannot help with a particular task, you can still help by finding someone who can! Retainers add to the court experience by making things run smoothly and by making the B&B look important and organised.

 - be an intermediary between the populace and the B&B – take messages, deliver things. This allows people to access the baronial ear without having to interrupt us directly.

 - confidentiality – simply because you are in attendance, you will probably overhear sensitive information relating to court business or to personal matters. Keep these things private.

 - a number of retainers will be wanted for any court. This could mean only one or two, or lots! Smaller events need fewer attendants. Don’t worry if you are not asked to stand with us every time.

 - if you are among the populace during court, you still have a role to play. Some people around you may be unsure how to ‘play the game’. Lead them gently by your example – standing while the pointy hats enter, sitting only when permission is given, keeping approaches clear, listening quietly during court business, joining in cheers…try to help everyone around you be comfortable and enjoy the pageantry of court.

 - all retainers should be on the lookout for suitable people to recommend to the B&B for reward. You may also be asked to help identify replacements for your job when the time comes.

 - Some court positions have regalia. This should be carried / worn, particularly during court. If you have no regalia, atttend the B&B looking as neat and clean as you can.

 Some more specific expectations:

The Baron and Baroness are the representatives of the Crown: their job is to look regal in public, wear the coronets, provide a ceremonial focus, encourage people to get involved and enjoy themselves. Conduct negotiations with other groups and the Crown. Hand out awards. Organise court business, tokens, documents. Report to Crown, arrange Royal visits to the group.

 Ladies- /Lords-in-Waiting look after the B&B’s general needs: replenish food and drink, fetch and carry, set up for court, tidy B&B before entrances, take notes and keep reminders for later reference. Keep track of regalia and other belongings for the B&B during events. Maintain subtle attendance throughout an event. Make sure there is always someone within easy call when needed. Hold all sorts of stuff ready for use during court. Often seconded to assist visiting royals or B&Bs.

 Guards provide chivalrous martial tone: be available for heavy lifting jobs. Set up tents and thrones, pack / unpack cars and trailers. Provide personal protection and escort to the B&B. Be an example of chivalry and courtesy – escort unaccompanied people into the baronial presence, help up anyone who has been kneeling, find chairs for the weary. Guards are often asked to hold banners or other large display items during court. Often this includes providing light for the herald.

 Champions encourage their art among the populace: among other tasks, they may need to organise an event to choose their replacement, make regalia for the next champion, run competitions or offer advice to the B&B on matters concerning their area of expertise. They are also required to answer any challenges made to the Barony or B&B.

 Heralds are the voice: keep track of court business, make announcements, add pomp by saving the B&B having to speak for themselves.

 Other court positions may be appointed at the whim of the B&B, whether for short-term purposes or as permanent additions.

 

 

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December letter – Town Meeting!

 Baron Crispin and Baroness Joan offer greetings unto their noble and gentle populace of Politarchopolis, wishing that all are kept in good spirits and rude health.

 Of first importance, thanks again to all those who made Fields of Gold the fabulous extravaganza that it was, and who helped us in both large and small ways as we took on the role of being your Baron and Baroness. We are very proud to be here, and hope the Barony will prosper even more than usual during our reign!

 A town meeting has been scheduled for soon after Christmas. The purpose of this meeting (beyond socialising!) is to create a forum for ideas from all members of the Barony, and to assist bot h us and the Officers in planning for the coming year. We aim to help you get more of what you want out of the Society, and with so many different interests and opinions, that takes planning. And participation.

 So, if you have an event idea, if you want to run an event, cook for an event, clean privies at an event…come along. If you want to catch up with people you aren’t necessarily related to, after the family holiday, come along. If you want a say in the shape of future meetings, training sessions, competitons, etcetera…come along! And if you think you might like to take on an officer role, but just need a bit of encouragement, please come along. ;)

 The meeting is planned for Sunday, 5th January, at the Ainslie hall. Please come and join the fun!

 After the Town Meeting, the next items in our official calendar are Twelfth Night in Okewaite, followed by Valentine’s. His Excellency will be travelling to Border War in February. We hope many of you will also be able to enjoy these events.

 Those who attended Yule may have heard talk of our consultation with the Oracle. In her wisdom, she has delivered us a riddle of oaks and rowan trees. We believe we understand her meaning, and intend to make a show of strength at 12th Night. We expect the matter to escalate from there. :)

 In service, this seventeenth day of December,

 Joan and Crispin.

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