The Chatelaine Handbook has been reformatted for the web. In cases of conflict with printed versions of material presented in these pages, the conflict will be decided in favor of the printed version.
Download a printable version:
Approved by Society, Kingdom and Media Relations: February 2008
Information compiled under the Kingdom Chatelaine, Victoria de Sauvignon
Thank you too all who have shared your information and given assistance in preparing this handbook.
Table of Contents
- Administrative Considerations
- Media Relations
- Deputy Chatelaine
- Regional Deputy Chatelaine
- Local Branch Officers
II Practical Consideration
Acclimating the Newcomer (information for newcomer packets)
- What the SCA Is
- What the SCA Is Not
- What does that Mean
- Practical Stuff
- Officer Who’s Who
- Dressing the Part
- Kingdom Level Awards
- Sumptuary Laws of the SCA
VI Gold Key
- Newcomer Information
- Local Branch Chatelaine Quarterly Report Form
- Local Branch Chatelaine Domesday Report Form
- Agreement to Serve as Local Branch Chatelaine
- Agreement to Serve as Deputy or Regional Deputy
- E-mail permission form
I. Office of Chatelaine
Enhance SCA participation and experience for newcomers.
Current SCA Membership
A letter of intent is to be sent to the Kingdom Seneschal if you are interested in obtaining this office. It is up to the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown to grant this office
The Calontir Kingdom Chatelaine is responsible for organizing and assisting the deputies and local group chatelaines in welcoming new members to the Society and to provide current and reliable information for people interested in finding out about the SCA in accordance to the Corpora and Kingdom Law.
Assist and coordinate in the development and growth of groups within the Kingdom in accordance with Corpora and Kingdom Law
Provide current information to assist local groups in conducting effective recruiting and mentoring programs in assisting local Chatelaines to manage and maintain growth within their local groups
Be visible, available and approachable
Maintain a positive rapport with group Chatelaines and the Society as a whole
Maintain a current and working network system with other officers in local groups and throughout the Kingdom for better informational resources and referral system to assist in meeting the needs and interests of local group officers and newcomers
Keep officers and deputies motivated through networking, and event get-togethers
Maintain the Chatelaine website and ensure information there is correct and current
Maintain an updated list of local chatelaines and their contact information and a current list of groups in our Kingdom. If local chatelaine positions are not filled, try to motivate the Seneschal of that group to fill the office for if that office is not filled, the local Seneschal is responsible to get reports to you
The term for Kingdom Chatelaine is two years.
You are responsible for the office-related activities and for your deputies and local chatelaines.
You are responsible for making monthly letters from this office to the Kingdom Chronicler for the Mews.
Maintain current records and reports on all progress and information concerning the office of chatelaine on a local level and a Kingdom level. Records must be kept for three years.
You agree to follow the proper hierarchy of the office.
The office of Kingdom Chatelaine is a lesser office under the direction of the Kingdom Seneschal.
There are funds available for the office of Kingdom Chatelaine through the Kingdom Exchequer.
You are responsible for quarterly reporting to the Kingdom Seneschal and the Society Chatelaine. See the following section:
Quarterly and Domesday reports from the Kingdom office of Chatelaine are compiled from the information obtained by the groups of our Kingdom. These reports are sent to the Society Chatelaine and the Kingdom Seneschal.
Kingdom Reports are due: March 1 ( Domesday and 1st quarter) June 1 (2nd quarter) September 1 (3rd quarter) December 1 (4th quarter)
You must have any and all information given out to the public approved through the Media Relations Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal before it is distributed. Corpora law is listed below. Please contact our Kingdom Media Relations officer for questions.
If the media contacts your group for the purpose of doing a story or other media presentation, this needs to be reported to the media office. For example, if a reporter/photographer shows up at a demo or fight practice unannounced, then the chatelaine and/or seneschal of the group should talk to them, following the guidelines set forth in the media policy regarding image we want to project, topics/words to avoid, etc. Photographers and videographers should also be informed that any participant may decline to be photographed.
Following this type of contact, a brief report should be emailed to the Kingdom Media Officer for information and possible follow up, if required. An incident report form is listed below.
If there is a period of time between when the group is contacted and when the media attends the event, then the Kingdom Media Officer should be contacted in that interim. That way, the Kingdom Officer can provide the local group with Society press materials and rules for film crews, as well as making provisions to attend or appoint an appropriate spokesperson for the event.
If the group wishes to contact the media and invite them to an event, this must be approved through the Kingdom Media Office ahead of time. This will give the Kingdom Media Office time to provide local representatives with the appropriate press materials, or to prepare event specific materials if required, as well as making provisions to attend or appoint an appropriate spokesperson for the event.
For example, if a group is planning an event with a particular theme or a special feature (e.g., authentic 16th Century Turkish Feast, Norse poetry competition) then the Media Office can work with the group to send targeted press releases to local media, and plan to attend the event and distribute information which will include the appropriate local contact information.
In this case, no local incident report would need to be filed after the event, as the Kingdom Media Officer would already be involved. However, if there is follow up contact after the event, this should be reported as in number 1.
Guidelines for interacting with the media at an event or demo:
- All media contact should be handled by the seneschal or designated representative. Designated representatives should be articulate and conform to the image delineated in the Society Media Relations policy. NOTE: If the Kingdom media officer is on site for the event, he or she is by default, in charge of all media contact, and should be prepared with all appropriate press materials. The Kingdom media officer can choose to delegate or share these responsibilities with a suitable local representative.
- When the media arrives, the designated representative should be waiting to the greet them. Introduce yourself, using modern names, and give them a brief introduction to the Society. Give them the prepared press materials (either the general press release or a targeted one if it has been created). Include local contact and meeting information with this information. If the media is from television, please have on hand the Society rules for film crews.
- If the media has been invited to an event, it is the responsibility of the seneschal and event steward to make certain that the event staff is briefed in advance and knows who the designated media contact for the event will be. Conversely, if the Kingdom Media Officer is in attendance, he or she should alert the event staff of their presence and preparedness to handle the media. It is also a good idea to alert any royalty attending the event that the media are expected.
- Guide the press through their interactions. Focus on positive aspects of the Society and use caution in what you say, using the press materials and media policy as a guide for talking points and topics/words to avoid. Remember, anyone can be misquoted.
- Stress safety. This can be done in discussions — by explanation that SCA combat is a martial art form which requires training and skill, and has strictly monitored equipment standards, and routine safety inspections for all participants. This can also be done in practice, by making sure that all spectators, whether media or general public, are protected from any combat areas.
- It is also a good idea to stress the courtesy and chivalry aspects of the SCA. One of the best ways to do this is by treating the media, and demo spectators, as courteously as we strive to treat one another.
National Media: If any national media outlet, such as a cable television channel, news program, prime time television show, or filmmaker, contacts a local group, they should NEVER be dealt with at a local level. These contacts should be referred to the Kingdom Media Officer immediately, and will more than likely be dealt with at a Society level.
Community Calendars: Many local media outlets, either television or newspaper, have a free calendar for listing community events, either in the paper itself or on its website. There are also some local community-oriented events sites which are not attached to any particular media outlet. If the group wishes to place this sort of announcement for a demo, as a way of attracting greater attendance from the public, this is permissible with courtesy notification to the Kingdom Media Officer. However, it is not recommended to place such announcements for events. If too many people respond to the announcement, a large number of spectators looking to be entertained could easily overload the capacity of the event site or disrupt the event schedule.
Sample announcement is below:
Who: Society for Creative Anachronism, Shire/Barony/March of XYZ
What: Demo at the Spring Art Fair
Where: (recommend you include the entire mailing address, including zip code for the location)
When: Contact for More Information: (Phone and/or email of seneschal/ chatelaine), local and Society web addresses
You should include a brief explanation of the Society, such as: Do you dream of being an armored knight locked in combat armed with sword and shield or a dashing swordsman wielding a rapier in a duel? Come realize your dream with the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international not-for-profit living history organization dedicated to bringing the Middle Ages and Renaissance to life through research andreenactment.
Most outlets accept requests for this type of announcement via regular mail, email, or fax. Contact the Community Editor or Assignment Editor to determine how they prefer to receive announcements. If via email, it is best to use the words — Community Announcement or Community Calendar Listing in the subject line so it will get forwarded to the correct person and less likely to get caught in company Spam filters. In this case, the Kingdom Media Officer should be alerted that the group is going to place this type of announcement. A copy of the announcement, as well as a list of where it will be posted, should be copied to the Kingdom officer at the time it is sent to the calendars. That way, the office can be prepared should any media contact occur as a result of these listings. If you are planning to list an event on the calendars, please clear this with your Kingdom Media Office first (or seneschal if there is not a media officer).
The Internet: With the preponderance of internet photo and video websites (e.g. YouTube, MySpace), more and more people are posting pictures and video of Society-related activities to these sites. While it is not the intention of this office to limit this type of expression, it is an arena where good sense needs to prevail. Think before you post. If the material is your own, fine. If the material is copyrighted, and you do not hold the copyright, don’t post it unless you obtain written permission from the copyright holder to do so. (Please note: televised newscasts ARE copyrighted material, the copyright being held by either the station or the network.) This includes placing copyrighted music with your own pictures or video. As it stands now, the person responsible for posting the pictures or video is the one who is responsible for obtaining permission, and is the one legally liable if material is used without permission.
At the current time, the Internet is something of the ‘Wild West’, as far as guidelines and regulation are concerned. However, this topic is heating up with Congress and the FCC. Copyright holders have successfully sued web sites which used their materials without permission.
Overall, when it comes to media interaction, the rule of thumb is “when in doubt, don’t.” If there is any question on how to handle a media contact, refer the question to the Kingdom Media Officer/Kingdom Seneschal for a ruling.
Sample Incident Report:
Incident Report — _________ Kingdom Media — Group Name
Initial Contact Date:
Contact Person: (Include name and contact information for any media person who contacts you. That way the Kingdom Media Officer can follow up with them directly if necessary)
Description of Incident:
Submitted by: (Include your complete contact information, so the Kingdom Media Officer can follow up if more information is required)
Deputy Chatelaine: Qualifications: current SCA membership
A letter of intent is to be sent to the Kingdom Chatelaine
Support the Kingdom Chatelaine in any tasks deemed appropriate
Learn duties of the Kingdom Chatelaine
Emergency replacement for Kingdom Chatelaine if required
Agree to and sign a service agreement
You are responsible for quarterly and Domesday reports for your assigned area
Regional Deputy Chatelaines: Qualifications: current SCA membership
A letter of intent sent to the Kingdom Chatelaine
Support local chatelaines in promoting growth in the assigned geographical areas
Report to the Kingdom Chatelaine when issues arise in accordance with the local chatelaines of their assigned geographical areas
Responsible for quarterly and domesday reports for their assigned area
Agree to and sign a service agreement
Local Branch Officers: Qualifications: current SCA membership
A letter of intent is sent to the Kingdom Chatelaine
Assist the group in welcoming new members
Be active and be seen
Encourage new members in learning the ways of the group and the SCA by attending events and demos and local get-togethers
Support the local group in promoting growth
Provide current information to newcomers which has been approved by the Kingdom Chatelaine and Media Relations Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal, before being distributed
Maintain contact with newcomers
Set up mentoring programs to assist newcomers in their learning and adventure into the SCA
Help organize demonstrations for recruitment along with the local Seneschal
Ensure there is Gold Key available for newcomers. (In some groups it is your responsibility to care for and maintain the gold key. Check with your local Seneschal)
Report to their assigned Deputy Chatelaine and or Kingdom Chatelaine
Responsible for quarterly and domesday reports being in on time with correct information Reports due: February 15, (Domesday and 4th quarter) May 15 (1st quarter) August 15 (2nd quarter) November 15 (3rd quarter)
Agree to and sign a service agreement
Local Branch Officers
Please see Chapter 7, Documents and Forms
II. Practical Consideration
If you are lucky, you will have a good chatelaine/castellan to help see to the bulk of your recruitment. However, everyone in your branch, and especially its officers, is responsible for seeing to it that prospective new members are made to feel welcome. Here are some general guidelines on how to recruit new members to the SCA.
Before you begin looking for new members, make sure you have flyers or other sources of information to hand out to any and all people who ask for it. This must include phone numbers and, if possible, email addresses of contact people; a mailing address for the group (this can be a P.O. box your group rents if you don’t want to put a member’s home address on the handout); and a description of who and what the SCA is. All flyers and newcomer packet content must be approved by the Kingdom Chatelaine and the Media Relations Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal before being distributed. However, you needn’t re-invent the wheel—these officers have flyers and handouts you can use, simply changing the information that’s specific to your group.
Hold meetings and fighter practices in a public place, such as a park or community center. If people can’t find you, they can’t become members. Also, participate in local fairs, celebrations, malls, grand openings, theatrical events, student orientations at colleges, concerts, etc. Be sure that your group is welcome and invited to all of these events and that the event itself is one you are willing to be associated.
Be Seen Being Spiffy
We get used to seeing duct tape, last year’s garb with the holes in it, and rusty or carpet armor. But, is this the image we want to portray to the public? Remind your group that they are in public trying to impress people and request that they look as good as possible.
Hang banners, make tabards, and invite the musicians to practice before and after meetings.
Hide as much as the modern stuff as possible.
Discourage black cloaks, specific religious regalia, and any other items which might frighten away newcomers or give a negative impression of the SCA here in the rather conservative heartland of the country.
Always remember to leave any site you use cleaner than you found it. Nothing will ruin public relations faster than leaving a mess.
Be Seen Being Helpful
Do demonstrations for libraries, scout groups, retirement communities, and other organizations that would enjoy what you have to show them. Volunteer for your local public television fundraiser and get them to give you some air time in exchange. Adopt a section of highway to clean up (and clean it up frequently and well). Make your group a respected and respectable part of the community.Remember to get your media packet from the Media Relations Deputy to the Kingdom Seneschal.
Be Seen in Print
Make sure your meetings are listed in the local or college newspaper in the activities and announcements section. Make it clear that newcomers are welcome. Get the local paper to do a story on you—an event in your community can be newsworthy for many smaller newspapers. Contact the Kingdom Seneschal’s Media Relations Representative for pre-written press releases to help with making sure the paper gets the story right.
Be Seen Everywhere
Put up posters and arts and sciences displays wherever you can get the space. Some good places to try are libraries, game stores, community art centers and student unions. Make sure that in all cases you include an explanation of what the SCA is and how to contact the local group. Remember to get permission to post any material.
Ask your local library if you can place informational bookmarks in books that would be of interest to SCA members. If your group doesn’t have a web page, find someone who’s willing to help put one together...and keep it current! At the very least, make sure that your group’s contact information is up to date on the Kingdom web page.
Retaining New Members—A List of “Do’s”
All your hard work may be for naught if those people who seem interested never come to a meeting, or worse, attempt to join but are ignored or discouraged. This section contains some guidelines on how to get new people involved and make them feel welcome.
If you get names and phone numbers or email addresses of interested people at a recruitment demonstration or other occasion, contact them! Do it soon!
Hold Orientation Meetings
Offer new members specific times when they will feel welcome. Have a newcomer-oriented meeting once a month or directly after recruitment drives and demos. Let interested people know when and where these will be and assure them that they will not be the only newcomers. Mail or email them directions, offer them rides, and do anything else you can think of to make it easy for them to get there.
Involve Established Members
Get the established members of your group involved. Invite them to the newcomers’ meetings, ask them to teach a class or demonstrate a skill. Have a get-to-know-us revel (in modern clothes) so that new and established members can meet each other in a relaxed environment.
Hand Out Newcomer’s Packets
The Kingdom Chatelaine can help you put together a newcomer’s packet if your group doesn’t already have one. In your newcomer’s packet, include all the information you think a new member will need so that they are not overwhelmed by it all. Make sure you include a membership application. If your budget will not allow printing a newcomer’s packet, purchase a copy or two of the Known World Handbook from the Stock Clerk and put them out at meetings for newcomers to peruse. While the Known World Handbook is rather out of date, it still contains a lot of good basic information for new folks.
Organize a Mentoring Program
Some groups have people who do this automatically. Find those friendly people and ask them to take newcomers under their wing for a few months. It is a great help to have someone specific to go to for direction, assistance, and answers to questions. Make sure you choose your mentors carefully and try to match them with compatible newcomers.
Encourage New People to Attend an Event
Get the new members to an event and make sure they are prepared for it. The events are what make the SCA special, not the local meetings and fighter practices. Help them find rides or riders, and crash space if needed, as well as making sure they have appropriate garb and feast gear, either of their own or borrowed.
Offer Interesting Activities
Cater to the interests of the new members. If you were trying to recruit artisans, realize that they will probably not be interested in the finer points of fighting with a shield. New members will not just transfer their interests to the SCA to fill the niche you need without active encouragement from you. Make sure there are activities at your local meetings and events that they will enjoy.
Work together with your groups MOAS and plan specific organized get togethers such as sewing night, persona and heraldic night, arts and science night, pot luck period cooking night, anything of specific interest to the skills of your group which might assist newcomers in getting ready and acclimated for their SCA experience. Try to do this at least once a month to keep people interested and learning new skills. Contact neighboring groups to help pique interests and introduce skills from others as well as building alliances.
Give New Members a job
Give the new members a job and make sure they know that you appreciate them for doing it. Ask them to help with the pre-cooking for an event, or get them to teach the group a skill they know from their other experiences that applies to the SCA.
Retaining New Members—A List of “don’ts”
The SCA may be a very different experience for your newcomers. This section includes a list of some of the things that can scare newcomers away—things to avoid or de-emphasize.
Lecturing: There is a lot to learn to understand the SCA. don’t try to get them to absorb it all at once. Explain important things simply and let them ask questions that interest them.
Jargon: We use a lot of words that will not make sense to newcomers. Provide them with a glossary and try to explain words as you go along. Avoid the words “newby” and “mundane” as they can be insulting. “Newcomer” and “modern” work just as well.
Flirting: Flirting with the opposite sex is fun, but many new people will see a serious come-on in something that was meant to be innocuous or flattering. Encourage your established members to be polite and friendly, but not over-enthusiastic.
Boredom and being ignored: Make sure that you know who is new and get them involved as soon as you can. Show them what the fun things are. Make sure lots of people know who the newcomers are and what they are interested in. And make sure you include the new members in discussions—often people feel ignored when everyone around them is talking to old friends and not to them.
Shyness: Many people are very shy and need to be drawn out. An SCA meeting can be a scary place, and newcomers need someone patient and friendly to break the ice. don’t assume that because you spent five minutes talking to them and things seemed to go well, they are now able to meet people on their own.
“Odd ducks:” You know who they are. Every group seems to have at least one member who is exceptionally odd, pushy, or scary in some way. They may have an agenda to push and can give newcomers an entirely skewed impression of the SCA. They may also be valuable members of the group who are interesting to get to know once the newcomer is comfortable with the SCA. You probably will not be able to keep this person away from your new members, but you should be prepared for damage control and debriefing. At the very least, let your new people know that the SCA is far more than one person’s view.
When New People Choose Not to Participate
Some people will never become long-term members. Remember that the SCA is not a hobby that will appeal to everyone, and respect the wishes of those who choose not to participate. If new members do leave your group, try to find out why and ask if there was anything that could have been done to hold their interest. Let them know that they are always welcome, and that the SCA is a hobby that they can put as much or as little time into as they wish. In any case, if someone chooses not to participate, let them go gracefully and leave them with the best impression that you can.
III. Acclimating the Newcomer
(Information to be used in newcomer packets)
What the SCA Is
Learning by Doing
The SCA is a group of people interested in the study and re-creation of the Middle Ages. It is much more than a study group. We learn by doing. For example, rather than simply reading about the armor of the period, we read about it, look at surviving examples, consult with others, and then attempt to learn the medieval techniques by actually making armor. We then take it a step further---we take our creation onto a field of battle and use it for protection in armored combat. The same is true of clothing, needlework, leatherwork, carpentry, cooking, etc. If it was done in the Middle Ages, chances are good that someone in the SCA does it!
The Chivalric Ideal
The ideals of medieval society were based on honor, chivalry and courtly behavior. These are the ideals emphasized in the tales of King Arthur. However, history tells us that these concepts were more frequently ideals to strive toward rather than actual practice. The SCA is filled with people who hold the ideals dear.
Our system of combat, for example, is based on the honor system. There are no referees to determine a winner or loser. A person who has been struck a blow which would have disabled him or her had the weapon been real, declares that he or she has lost. In other words, it is up to the honor of the combatants to determine the outcome of the fight.
In the SCA, you will find a great many people who wish to lend a hand simply because it makes them happy to do so. This is one means of adhering to the “code of chivalry” talked about in the tales of King Arthur; help those in need.
Everyone in the SCA is considered to be “of gentle birth” because most people wouldn’t find being a peasant very much fun! People will refer to each other as “my lady” or “my lord” instead of “hey, you”. Treating others with kindness, courtesy, and respect is emphasized in the SCA.
To Learn About Ourselves, and to Have Fun
In the SCA, you get to leave the 21st century world behind for a couple of hours or a few days. You are known mainly by the name you choose for yourself and by your actions within the organization. Rather than being Tom, a graduate student, you can be Gunnar, a Viking who owns a ship and sails the sea in search of adventure. Rather than being Jennifer, a secretary, you can be Elizabeth, a 14th Century daughter of a wealthy noble. We step into the lives of the people we create; people who could have existed during the Middle Ages. In doing so, we tend to learn about ourselves, our dreams, our hopes and our ideals.
Within the SCA, you get to meet a large number of people from all walks of life. SCA people include students, factory workers, physicians, teachers, lawyers, professional athletes, secretaries, homemakers, military personnel, children, senior citizens…’tis a very diverse group!
This diverse group of people share common interests in the Middle Ages. We come together to re-create the best parts of the time period—the arts, culture, combat and festivities. One cannot help but learn about medieval life along with the way. The main goal is to enjoy ourselves while learning. Who can not have fun while spending time with a group of friends singing and telling tales of glory, feasting, shooting archery, engaging in combat on the field of honor, and admiring each others’ crafts?
What the SCA Is Not
The SCA’s period of interest is the Middle Ages from about the time of the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance (600AD-1600AD). This spans about a thousand years or so of history. The areas of interest are Europe, although we also include any culture which had regular contact with Europe during this time period, most notably the Middle and Far East.
If your area and time period of interest lies outside these bounds, do not despair! There are other organizations available which may be more suited for you. Of course, you are certainly welcome to try out our organization and see if you develop an interest in our time periods!
History Instead of Fantasy
The SCA focuses on historical re-creation. Although we each adopt a persona—a name and personal background which could have existed in the Middle Ages—we do it to give us a basis for historical research and re-creation. This gives the workings of the SCA an element of imagination; we require that the persona be plausible within the context of history.
In other words, your persona can certainly be that of a Viking, noblewoman, courtier, swordsman, traveling trader, crusader, or even a Middle-Eastern dancer traveling through Europe. It many not be that of an elf, vampire, goddess, alien, or other character from fantasy or science fiction.
Equal Opportunities Instead of Restrictions
The Middle Ages were unfortunately a period in history which men and women were not equal, society was strongly stratified according to the socioeconomic class into which a person was born, and religious intolerance abounded. The SCA does NOT recreate these aspects of the Middle Ages.
Both men and women have equal opportunity to participate in any of the activities. On the field of combat, men and women fight each other or side by side. Similarly there are no divisions according to gender on the archery field. It is also not at all unusual for a man to take up cooking, embroidery, sewing or any of the other crafts which would have traditionally be though of as “women’s work”. At the same time, women frequently make armor, do leatherwork, craft weapons, and do other things which traditionally were though to be the province of men.
We do have titles and ranks in the SCA, which are awarded by our King and Queen. The highest honor is to become a Peer of the Realm. Anyone can achieve this honor (or any of the other honors) through consistent hard work and demonstration of chivalric behavior within the SCA, no matter what the person’s position outside of the organization.
In order to avoid misperceptions by the general public about “the people in the funny clothes” and the conflicts which can arise from religious differences, our organization’s governing documents specifically forbid practicing any sort of religion at our functions in such a way that others will be inadvertently included. This means that you’re of course welcome to observe your own religion in the privacy of your own encampment, but that religious activities are never a part of our meetings, functions, or events. You may choose the persona of a nun or monk, but you may not attempt to preach or “convert” a person while participating in SCA activities.
Part of the beauty of the SCA is that our members are from a diverse body of nationalities, ethnic origins, religions, abilities, disabilities, socioeconomic statuses, professions, personal philosophies and ages. Discrimination is against our ideals, and we enjoy the diversity which comes with such a broad base. We enjoy being able to meet, share a common interest, and become friends with so may different people.
What does that mean?
Most specialized groups of people have their own jargon, and the SCA is no exception. Here are a few definitions of some terms which you will hear frequently.
Persona: Your persona is the person you are while you’re participating in SCA activities. Your persona is someone who could have lived in the Middle Ages, but didn’t. You get to choose a name like a “stage name” to be known by in the SCA. Some people develop an entire persona background, tied in with historical events.
Event: This is a gathering of SCA folk. It usually involves a tournament, arts and sciences competitions, archery and a feast.
Site: The place where the events take place. There may be a day site where the main activities take place and a feast site where the feast takes place in the evening.
Dry, wet, discreetly wet, or damp site: Some sites allow the use of alcoholic beverages, and some do not. A dry site allows no alcohol. A wet site permits the use of alcohol as allowed by state law. A discreetly wet site means that although the site owners usually do not allow alcohol, they are extending us special permission to do so and have requested that we take all empties home with us. A damp site allows beer, wine and mead only.
Troll: This is where you check in and pay your site and feast fees at an event. There will be paperwork to sign. If you have a membership, don’t forget to bring your card.
Autocrat: The autocrat is the person in charge of coordinating the event. Some groups use the term event steward.
___o crat: The ending from the term autocrat has found its way into other areas. In general it means the person in charge of “ .“ For instance feast o crat would be in charge of coordinating the feast.
Crash Space: Some SCA people will allow out of town SCA people attending an event to stay in their homes. The place in which you stay is called the crash space.
Populace: All SCA people or all SCA people of a group in the SCA.
Garb: The word “garb” is used for Medieval- style clothing.
Modern: We use it to mean something or someone who is not in the SCA. For instance you have garb and your modern clothes. You have a SCA name and a modern name(your given name).
Feast Gear: This is eating-ware which is medieval in style. Generally consists of plate, cup, tankard or goblet, bowl, silverware.
Arts and Sciences: These are the period arts and crafts in which people participate. The types of arts and sciences are many and vary greatly. If it was done in the Middle Ages, chance are good that someone in the SCA knows how to do it!
Period: The word “period” means “within the time period covered by the SCA” This is about the time of the fall of the Roman Empire through the Renaissance (approx 600 AD to 1600 AD). Sometimes period is used as an adjective as in “that dress is very period.”
SCAdian: The term used for a person who is in the SCA. (ska-de- un)
Kingdom: The Kingdom is the regional division of the SCA. Our Kingdom is called Calontir, and it consists of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and a piece of Arkansas. It is ruled by a King and Queen.
Barony: A barony is a large group on the local level. It is managed by a Baron and Baroness, who speak for the King and Queen in Their absence.
Court: The King and Queen may hold a formal Court in which They give awards to people who have displayed great skill or given great service. They also conduct other business during Court.
How do I become a member?
Being a paid member of the SCA is easy. Membership forms are available online at www.sca.org and one can join the SCA from that web site. Or, you can request a membership form from the group’s seneschal. If you are currently financially unable to become a paid member, you are as welcome to participate as is a paid member. Anyone who participates is considered to be a member. All that is required is that you make a reasonable attempt at wearing clothing, which is in the style of the Middle Ages whenever you attend a SCA.
How much does it cost to join?
We do not require any dues or fees. However, we encourage you to become a paid member of the SCA. The cost to be a paid member is minimal. There is also a family discount available. If you are a paid member, you get a monthly newsletter. Having a membership decreases the paperwork you must fill out when signing in at events. You will also not have to pay the non-member surcharge at events if you are a member. Finally, paid membership is required of anyone who wishes to hold an office or participate in Crown Tournament.
What’s garb and where do I get it?
“Garb” is the term we use for medieval-style clothing. The simplest garb, a tunic, a pair of pants or a very long tunic used as a gown is common. The complexity increases to highly decorated Tudor or Elizabethan period clothing.
The Shire has some garb which you may borrow for a short time so that you can “dress the part” right away. The best way to get garb of your own is to either make it or to commission someone to make it for you. Check with your local group for assistance.
What is a populace meeting?
A populace meeting is a monthly meeting in which the Officers report to the populace and upcoming activities are discussed. The meeting usually lasts for about an hour or so.
What’s an event and how much does it cost?
Events are really the central part of the SCA. Events are hosted by SCA groups and are held on the weekends. You can find an event somewhere in the region (called the Kingdom) almost every weekend. An event usually includes tournaments, a feast, arts and sciences competitions and archery. In the evening after the event, we often get together informally for a “post revel.”
There is usually a fee to participate. There are minimal fees for an event, which are used to help the hosting group pay the owners of the site for its use. If you choose to eat at the feast, there is usually an additional fee for this. Fees vary widely according to the type, duration and operating costs involved in the event.
Where do I stay if I go to an event?
Some events have camping space available. If camping is not available, you can either book a hotel or find “crash space”. SCA people frequently open their homes to other SCA people attending an event and provide them with a guest room, sofa, or floor space on which to put a sleeping bag. If the announcement of the event lists someone to ask for “crash space coordinator”, you may contact this person for arrangements. Many people choose not to stay overnight at an event but instead just for the day. This is called “day tripping.”
What should I bring to my first event?
Wearing garb is strongly encouraged. Beyond that, bring whatever personal items you would usually use over the course of a day or weekend, such as a lawn chair, sunscreen or straw hat, water, or blanket to set upon. If you plan to eat feast, you will need “feast gear” which is a plate, bowl, cut and silverware which looks medieval in style.
Officer Who’s Who
Seneschal: The Seneschal is the officer in charge of ensuring all regulations of the SCA Inc., are fulfilled and takes care of all legal matters. Assists other officers in the discharge of their duties, and reports regularly to the Kingdom Seneshcal about the status of the group.
Chatelaine/Castellan: Is a deputy to the Seneschal, greets new members, answers their questions, and assists them as necessary. Often maintains Gold Key, which is a supply of garb which may be loaned to newer members.
Herald: The Herald offers assistance to folks wishing to select a persona name , a device and makes sure that your name and device are different from everyone else’s. The Heralds can also organize business for Court and speaks for the Crown or Coronet. Finally, the Herald is in charge of making announcements.
Minister of Arts and Sciences: This officer organizes and supervises competitions, displays, and learning seminars. The MOAS can also tell you who may be able to help you learn a specific art or craft.
Exchequer: The Exchequer is the treasurer of the group that handles all money matters and balances the checkbook.
Chronicler: The Chronicler is responsible for the group’s newsletter and often times is the historian for the group.
Marshal Fighter / Archery/ Equestrian: The Marshal is in charge of ensuring the combat is conducted safely, and he also organizes regular fighter, archery and thrown weapons practices. The Marshal assists those who wish to learn about combat in each specific field of fighting, archery or equestrian activities.
Minister of Youth: The MOY is responsible for providing entertainment and guidance to the children at events and meetings. The MOY is NOT a babysitter.
Chirurgeon: The Chirurgeon is responsible for the first aid at events. Training through the Kingdom Chirurgeon is required for this position.
Webminister: The Web Minister is in charge of the one list and ensuring that the Web Site is kept current.
Dressing the Part
One of our few requirements is that everyone attending our functions wear a reasonable attempt at Middle Ages-style clothing. The easiest garb to make is a T tunic and a pair of pants or a simple gown. This clothing was appropriate for everyday wear throughout much of the Middle Ages.
Fabric: Cotton is best.
a. For a T tunic you need enough to go from mid-thigh over your shoulder and back down to mid-thigh, plus about a half yard. Depending on your size, this will probably be about 2 1/2 yards to 3 1/2 yards
b. For a gown, you need enough to go from the top of your foot, over your shoulder and back down to the floor, plus about a half yard. Depending on your size, this will probably be about 3 1/2 yards to 4 1/2 yards
Thread which matches your fabric
A loose fitting T- shirt to use as a pattern
A pair of scissors
A few pins
You will need something to mark your fabric If you choose a dark color fabric, chalk will work. If you choose a light color use a fabric marking pen or a pencil
A sewing machine, unless you want to hand sew
An iron and ironing board
To make your garb follow these simple steps:
Wash your fabric in hot water with laundry soap and 1/2 cup vinegar to set the color and shrink the material. Dry it on the hottest heat allowed by the fabric
Fold your fabric into fourths
Iron your fabric
Fold your T shirt in half lengthwise
Lay your t shirt on the fabric and draw your patterns as shown in Figure A. As you draw, add at least an inch more than you think you need to make room for the seem
Cut along your line
Open up your cut tunic
Fold neckline down 1/4 inch press flat
Fold neckline down 1/4 inch a second time, press flat. This finishes the seam
Sew along the neckline
Fold your tunic in half so that it is inside out pin it, and sew along the sides
You must now hem the sleeves and bottom hem line. To make a hem fold the very edge of the fabric up then over again. Iron.
Pin and sew so that everything stays in place
Clip the edges around the underarm close to the sewn line, be careful not to cut the threads.
Turn your tunic right side out
You are done
Kingdom Level Awards
|Order Level||Martial Arts||Arts and Sciences||Service|
|Hierarchal listing for the awards of the Kingdom of Calontir.|
|Grant of Arms (GOA)||Fighting
|Award of Arms (AOA)||Fighting
Golden Calon Swan
Peer: A member of one of the Greater orders (Chivalry, Laurel, and Pelican ), or where Kingdom law so specifies a former ruler of a Kingdom or Principality. The latter group is often referred to as “Royal Peers” to distinguish them from the members of the Great Orders. Each Peer receives a patent of Arms.
Grant of Arms: An award carrying greater precedence than a simple Award of Arms, given at the pleasure of the Crown. Grants were originally created to honor successful Kingdom officers, but many Kingdoms have used Grant-level Arms to add to the dignity of other awards and orders.
Award of Arms: The first level of award that conveys rank and status in the SCA, giving the holder the right to bear heraldic Arms and to use the title Lord or Lady. Given at the pleasure of the Crown, that is, for whatever reasons the reigning King and Queen find sufficient. It generally follows a couple of years of participation and service.. It has been noted to take as little as a weekend (for a newcomer who chose to clean the privies instead of retreating to the bushes like everyone else, at dawn of the second day of his first event), and as long as eight years (for a lady who blended so well with the life of the Kingdom that no one stopped to wonder whether she had an award or not.
Award recommendations: How one goes about being noticed in the SCA is of course by being active. But another way for one to receive awards is through award recommendations that are given by one’s group members and or peers. If you feel that an individual is doing a good job, working hard, and providing a service to your group, the Kingdom and or the SCA, you can place an award recommendation to the Crown by sending a recommendation form in the mail, or by going to the Calontir website and filling out a recommendation form there.
Sumptuary Laws of the SCA
(Things that can be worn only by people who have earned the right to do so)
In the SCA, there are certain bits of apparel that symbolize something about the wearer. Usually they symbolize something the person has earned: a title, or office. Most of these items have basis in the medieval sumptuary laws, although there were many more of these laws than we have now. A list of most of these laws and traditions follow. If you avoid wearing these things described below, you can avoid many misunderstandings and hard feelings.
Belts can be made from cloth, leather, metals, rope, (etc.) or a combination of these materials. The color of the belt may have a special meaning. Unless you have been given one of these titles in the SCA, which would allow you to wear the colors listed below, you should not wear a belt of these colors. Other colors are fine to wear. Belts with patterns may contain these colors, but beware: a white belt with a baby blue pattern may look like a solid white belt from a short distance.
White: the wearer is a knight
Red: the wearer is a squire
Yellow: the wearer is a prot#233;g#233;
Green: the wearer is an apprentice
Spurs are reserved for Knights in Calontir as well as in many Kingdoms. In other Kingdoms, gold spurs are reserved for Knights and silver spurs for their squires.
Unadorned chains are reserved for Knights in Calontir. Anyone can wear chains with things hanging from them. In other Kingdoms, gold unadorned chains are for Knights, while silver ones are for their squires.
Crowns, coronets and circlets:
You can not wear a crown or coronet unless you are a King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Count, Countess, Duke, Duchess, Baron or Baroness. In Calontir, you may wear a metal circlet if it is no wider than one half inch and if there are no projections above or below it. Anyone may wear a cloth or leather circlet (sometimes called a torse). Other Kingdoms have different laws or customs about circlets.
A baldric is a sash of cloth or leather that is worn diagonally across the body from a shoulder to the opposite hip. Baldrics symbolize various ranks and offices which are too numerous to mention here. The simplest solution for a new-comer is just to avoid wearing a baldric.
Coat of Arms:
A coat of arms is a picture often in the shape of a shield that is used as a picture representation of a name. There is a coat of arms that represents Calontir, one that represents the King and Queen, one that represents each barony, etc. Individual people can have coats of arms too. You may see them displayed on garments or on banners or on just about anything. Every coat of arms must be different from every other one. A coat of arms is called a device until you get an award of arms from the King and Queen. To get a device, talk to a herald. They can help you design one that fits all the rules of heraldry and is different from all the others. You should not wear a coat of arms or device that you are not entitled to wear.
Ermine is a fur that comes from a little white animal with a dark tip on its tail (like Dalmatian fur). In Calontir only Peers (Knights, Laurels, and Pelicans) are allowed to wear this fur. Anyone can wear other types of fur.
The purpose for demonstrations is to get your group and the SCA visible to the community and recruit newcomers.
As a Chatelaine it is your responsibility to work with the Seneschal to get these demonstrations organized, coordinated and prepared.
The use of colorful banners, flyers, and posters are very helpful.
Remember to get everyone involved and in their “best” attire to set a good example of what the SCA has to offer.
After a demonstration or display, be sure to follow up with anyone who has shown interest.
Send a thank you note to anyone who has allowed your group to hold the demonstration or display.
Thank those who participated in the demonstration.
Remember to keep good report with the community.
There are many opportunities for you to have demonstrations in your community. Listed below are some ideas of where you might hold demonstrations and or displays. Use this list to get you started, then come up with your own ideas!
Displays and Demonstrations
Library display cases (use library books to enhance your display)
Business display cases, especially those selling supplies or books relevant to the display
College student union display cases
Needle work, fabric, hobby, gaming and craft establishments
Malls and grand openings of new businesses
Theatres showing medieval-type movies
Local news stations and newspapers
Boy and/or Girl Scout events and or meetings
Other clubs and youth groups
Parades, festivals, fairs and other community events
Schools and/or college history classes
Parks and recreation areas
Local new stations and newspapers
**Remember to contact the Media Relations Deputy of the Seneschal to ensure the information you are putting out to the public is within the guidelines.
A demo (“demonstration”) is an organized educational effort to teach and/or display activities of medieval interest in general, and SCA interest in particular, to the general public. They are the primary way of introducing and finding new recruits for the SCA. However, not all demos are the type that results in new members. An elementary school demo is fun, but the likelihood of recruiting new members is low. A university or Renaissance Fair demo is more likely to attract new members, but does not necessarily contain the educational information of a school demo. Both are important, and a group should find a balance between them.
In order to be covered by SCA insurance, demos must be approved by the sponsoring group’s Seneschal and the branch may restrict who may represent them to the public. Restricting participation should be done with extreme caution and care. A demo may also be an “event” if it meets the requirements for an event as outlined in Corpora. At any demo, a paid SCA member must be present and in charge of the demo.
Demos where there are no combat-related activities do not require waivers unless they are held as part of an SCA “event.” Therefore, if there is no combat, and the demo is not held at an SCA event, waivers are not required. Waivers may be completed individually, or a roster waiver may be used. It is not required that spectators at demos sign waivers, as long as they don’t become participants.
As with all martial activities, an authorized marshal of whatever forms are being displayed must be present if there is fighting at a demo. SCA combatants must be authorized in that weapons’ form/style in order to perform at the demo.
Demo organizers should pay particular attention to site/host restrictions regarding SCA and live steel weapons. In general it is not a good idea to allow the general public to handle live steel weapons at a demo and live steel weapons must never be left unattended. SCA weapons (non-live steel) must not be left unattended and in plain sight and access of the public. (They may be stored unattended in tents, trucks, etc.)
Since observers of SCA demos are generally not familiar with SCA combat activities, special care for safety must be taken. Boundary ropes are strongly recommended, and sufficient safety personnel must be provided to ensure safety of combatants and observers.
A member of the SCA may not hit a member of the public with any weapon regardless of whether the member of the public is in armor and gives consent. Adult members of the public who wish to try armored combat should be referred to the nearest SCA group for instruction. (Note: target archery is not considered a “combat-related activity,” and so waivers need not be signed for that activity, but be certain that all appropriate safety procedures are taught and followed.)
With specific safety restrictions, supervised children age 12 and under may hit an armored SCA fighter with foam weapons only, not rattan weapons. Waivers are not needed from the parents of children who take part in “fight-a-knight” activities. Minimum safety standards include keeping unarmored observers at least 10 feet away from the armored fighter and child. Individual Kingdoms may make more restrictive policies.
Whenever a demo is done with children present, a minimum of two unrelated adults must also be in attendance at that demo. “Children” refers to anyone under the age of legal majority.
No one may bring weapons of any kind onto the grounds of a school without prior knowledge and consent of the school officials.
There is no SCA policy that prohibits an SCA group from charging a “demo” fee to the organization requesting the demo. However, most groups accept donations rather than charging a set fee. With either a donation or a “demo” fee, all monies should be in the form of a check, payable to the “SCA, Inc., [group name]. Under no circumstances should an individual receive cash or a check made out to them personally. SCA site fees may not be charged at a demo unless the demo is held as part of an SCA event.
Assuming appropriate safety precautions are in place, and with any necessary instruction, participation is a highly effective method of educating the demo guests—and fun for both the SCA member and guest.
When your group holds an event, it is your responsibility to get the information out to the community. See Media Guidelines. You may want to refer back to this. If it is for a community calendar then it falls under Chatelain. If it is for purposes of publicity and an article, then it falls under Media.
Contact your local newspaper, put up posters and flyers. Get the word out!
At the event itself, it is your responsibility to be prepared for newcomers.
Have flyers, and contact information for those who may be interested.
Make yourself visible.
Greet people and invite them to participate. You might want to have volunteers to help you walk around with newcomers and acclimate them to the SCA environment and to answer questions.
VI. Gold Key
Gold Key is clothing and feast gear that is available for newcomers to borrow.
In some groups it is your responsibility to maintain and keep the gold key. Check with your Seneschal to see if this is your duty.
It is a good idea to have t tunics of various sizes for men, women and children. Goblets, tankards, plates, bowls and silverware are also good items to have available for newcomers to enhance their experience.
If you find your group does not have a gold key, you might want to start one. It is important to assist newcomers in feeling comfortable and help them with clothing suitable for their SCA experience.
don’t be afraid to ask for help in getting gold key together. Ask members of your group if they have any garb or material to donate. Talk with your MOAS to organize a sewing night to help get garb made. If money is needed, talk with your Seneschal. It’s okay to ask for help!