SCA-Awards-art - 7/15/12
"AoA’s, Barons, and Laurels: Who’s who in the SCA " by Lady Alison Wodehalle.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
AoA’s, Barons, and Laurels: Who’s who in the SCA
by Lady Alison Wodehalle
Like many other types of organizations, the SCA tries to recognize people who exemplify the ideals of our society, and who show great talent, and so we have a system of awards. Awards are not quickly attained, they occur when what you have been doing is noticed by the people around you. It is not like the system in boy or girl scouts, where you have a set of tasks to accomplish and then you will have "earned" the award. Rather, in the SCA we like to see the test of time. "Is this who this person really is?", "Will they continue to contribute in the future?"
There are Kingdom level awards, as well as Baronial level awards. Regardless of where your award was given it will always go with you, should you move to another area. We will describe the awards given within the East Kingdom, but if you live in the East and know people with other awards, ask them about it, perhaps they come from a Barony in the East, or perhaps from another Kingdom, where they received that award.
All Kingdom level awards are given at the discretion of the reigning King and Queen. All members in the East Kingdom are permitted to recommend someone for an award, even if you yourself have not received that award. All that is involved is to write a letter or an email to the King and Queen, or to the Prince and Princess (if it is close to coronation), and explain why the candidate is worthy of the award you are making the recommendation for. The email addresses are available on the EK web site. Some of the awards that may be given are for "polling orders", which means that the people who have already received that award are polled to see if they agree that the candidate is worthy of the award. The results of the polling are sent to the Crown (King and Queen) who then make the final decision.
In the East Kingdom, most awards are accompanied by a scroll, individually illuminated and calligraphed by the Scribes of our Kingdom. These scrolls can be really beautiful, with great attention paid to the persona of the recipient particularly for scrolls of higher level awards.
Awards, which are Society wide, are awards which are given in all kingdoms and are known by the same name.
AoA "Award of Arms," Most people in the Society will receive this award, and it is often the first award a person receives, although for many, this may be their only award. This confers the title of Lord or Lady with a capital "L." What is needed to be recommended for this award is a commitment to being a good member of the Society. You regularly attend events and meetings, as you are able to. When you are at events or meetings you are generally helpful, by volunteering to do some of the tasks that need done. This is very important because we are almost entirely a volunteer-run organization. Most people receive this award after a few years in the SCA, some wait longer, some receive it more quickly.
Peerage level awards: These awards are the highest level that can be given in the Society. These are also polling orders, giving advice to the Crown as to the suitability of candidates for the order. There are three awards that are peerage level awards in all kingdoms All of these three peerages, the Chivalry, the Laurels, the Pelicans, have certain requirements in common. They are to be seen as an example for the Society of "courteous and noble behavior suitable to a peer of the realm." They share their knowledge and skills, and have practiced hospitality, according to their means. "They will have learned and practice those skills worthy of a civilized court, including but not limited to literature, dance, heraldry, chess, and combat."
The Chivalry: This is the knighthood and the Masters at Arms. The persons chosen for the Chivalry have shown skill at arms, have shown the qualities of the peerage, and have shown chivalrous behavior both on and off the field. The candidate chooses whether to be a Knight or a Master at Arms, the difference being the Knight must swear fealty to the crown, the Master at Arms may chose to, but does not have to swear fealty. A Knight is addressed as Sir, and a Master at Arms is addressed as Master or Mistress. The Knight may wear a white belt and a gold chain (which represents fealty), and the Master may wear a white baldric.
The Order of the Laurel: This is the peerage order for those who attained a level of excellence in skill and/or knowledge in some area of A&S, which is above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society. Again they must have the qualities of a peer of the realm, as stated above. They are expected to set an example in behavior, and to share knowledge and skills. They may choose to swear fealty. They are addressed as Master or Mistress. Their insignia is a Laurel Wreath.
The Order of the Pelican: This is the peerage order for those who have given service that is above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society. They must have the qualities of a peer of the realm, set an example, and share knowledge and skill. They may choose to swear fealty to the Crown. They are addressed as Master or Mistress. Their insignia is a Pelican in its Piety (which is pelican piercing its breast to feed its young).
There are two other peerages in the East Kingdom, but they are given for the specific task of having served as a king or queen. Kings and Queens, when they step down from office become Royal peers, and the consort of the monarch as they leave office is eligible to become a member of the Order of the Rose, which is a polling order in the East. In the same sense as the other peerage orders, they are a "peer of the realm."
Barons and Baronesses: The last Society wide award that you should be aware of is the title of Baron and Baroness. There are two types of title in the SCA. There are "landed" and "court" Barons and Baronesses. A "landed" Baron/ess means that this person is the ceremonial head of a Barony within the realm. They are installed by the Crown to serve the Kingdom, and the populace of that Barony. The other type is a "court" Baron/ess. This person has had the honor of having the noble title of baron bestowed upon them by the Crown (usually for a great amount of service). They are not "landed", and do not oversee a barony. A Baron/ess is addressed as "your Excellency" regardless of whether they are landed or not.
Now that we have discussed the various awards, you might want to know forms of address and how to recognize some of those people.
King and Queen: address as "your Majesty" and bow or curtsey (show reverence for your sovereign). They are entitled to display the heraldry of the kingdom. They may wear coronets of the Eastern Crown (Blue Tygers).
Prince and Princess: Address as "your Highness". Bow or curtsey to show reverence. They are entitled to display the heraldry of the heirs to the throne of the East, and to wear the coronets of the heirs.
Dukes and Duchesses: Address as "your Grace". Entitled to wear a coronet with strawberry leaves.
Counts and Countesses: Address as "your Excellency". Entitled to wear a coronet that is embattled (looks like the top of a tower).
Peers of the Realm: Address as Master or Mistress (some ladies prefer Dame). Insignia depends on which peerage, see peerages above.
Barons and Baronesses: Address as "your Excellency". Regalia includes a coronet of six jewels (which are most often pearls).
AoA: Address as Lady or Lord. In some kingdoms entitles bearer to wear a simple circlet, the East has no sumptuary laws however, so wearing a circlet does not signify this award.
The form of address "m’lady" or "m’lord" is always appropriate if you are unsure of the person’s status, and as everyone in the SCA is assumed to be at least minor nobility, it is always an appropriate form of address.
When this was written, Lady Alison was the East Kingdom Chatelaine.
Copyright 2012 by Alison Choyce. <Greenfaere at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.