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Stefan's Florilegium


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Parlement-art - 5/24/96

Ealdomere Nobles' Guide To Parlament.

NOTE: See also the files: SCA-hist1-msg, Eald-hist-msg, SCA-stories1-msg,
East-hist-msg, Middle-hist-msg, you-know-msg, Baronial-Lead-art.


This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: nusbache@epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)
Subject: A Ceremonial Guide
Organization: University of Toronto - Nifty Stuff Division
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1993 01:16:47 GMT

I've been leafing through the SCA directory on my hard drive, and I
have tripped over some interesting bits which I thought the folks on
this net might enjoy reading. Here is one such bit.


Excerpts from the Ceremonial for Ealdormere

Including a precis of the


Book Tax Paid at Eoforwick

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Censor Librorum Arcdcs. Eboraci

Available for Purchase from the Publisher
For the reasonable Sum of Half a Dollar

Printed at Eoforwick

This guide is excerpted from the Ceremonial for Ealdormere, and
contains some of the philosophy and general remarks on the form
and function of the parlements of Ealdormere. It will be an aid
in attending parlement at investitures of new Princes and
Princesses of Ealdormere as well as in planning variations on the
parlement theme, including bribery and favouritism. For full
details of these ceremonies and their complete forms, consult the
Ceremonial for Ealdormere.

Non-nobles must not feel excluded from parlement. Nobility is an
estate to which newer gentles in the SCA must aspire and for
which one must labour, and sitting behind the bar of court is no
shame. There are certain jobs in parlement, furthermore, which
are reserved for gentry, and there is much honour to be gained
from these services.



The Ealdormere Ceremonial endeavours to preserve the dramatic
spirit of the SCA court, while at the same time attempting to
introduce a level of intimacy that is lacking in SCA ceremonial
in general. In particular, the fact that courts have generally
been held in a very adversarial, divided situation have created a
distance between the royal personages and the noble personages in
the hall. It is hardly surprising, given that the assembled
courtiers are treated like groundlings, that the assembled
nobility of a kingdom are referred to as "the populace".

It is not inappropriate to refer to a court as a "forum" for
contact between the ruler and his nobles. There were various
formats in which mediaeval rulers interacted with their co-rulers
in the "court", and over the centuries the court had different
forms. To distill it down to the bare essentials, there are
three meanings to the word court. One is the sense of the king
and his retinue. That court is a travelling court that descends
on his nobles' castles like a plague of locusts, eating
everything in sight. The second is the sense of the occasion
when the court was in one place and accessible. Michaelmas
court, for instance, or Christmas Court was a time when nobles
were given the opportunity (or the summons) to appear at their
overlord's side. The last is the most formal court of all, the
court of justice or the parlement, where the king or his nobles
met to hear cases, matters of fiscal policy or bills of

The Prince and Princess are the boss in any court proceeding.
The herald is only the Master of Ceremonies, and what the boss
says goes. This is subject to the strictures of authenticity,
custom and law. The enhancement of communication between the
Princes and the nobles and gentry of Ealdormere is of paramount

All language in this document is gender-reversible.

For the purposes of Ealdormere ceremonies, an Herald is anyone so
deputed by the Prince or the Princess on the advice of the
Trillium Herald. It does not necessarily imply a formally
rostered herald, nor does it imply the rank of Herald as opposed
to pursuivant. Just so the term Barons of the Exchequer does not
imply court baronage.

Ordinary Courts
The Ealdormere Ceremonial describes, in addition to parlements an
Ordinary Court, designed for ordinary SCA events. This sort of
court will be held at feast or on the fighting field.


The formal court scenes of the SCA loosely resemble two sorts of
court occasions: parlements and church ceremonies. Both involve
seated participation, very formal circumstances and awesome
consequences. For a few selected courts a year (including
investiture), the parlement form is proper. Other business of
the Prince and Princess ought to be conducted at Ordinary Court.

A parlement is an important meeting of the prince and his nobles.
Important meetings of nobles with royal sanction can also be
parlements as can important meetings of judges (though the
English got round the noble vs. judge problem by saying that
anyone on a judicial bench is considered a lord). Important
meetings of nobles without royal sanction are called "plots".
Parlements also acted as courts of appeal, and a nobleman could
only be tried in a parlement (by his peers). Anything with great
significance ought to happen in a parlement, since everyone who
is anyone is there.

The term "parlement" herein, and indeed in period, refers to a
sort of court. A parlement called by the Prince of Ealdormere is
a formal court and not a legislative body. No bills of
legislation may be brought--all legislation is made by Orders in
Council per SCA and kingdom law. No voting is in order in a
parlement--only acclimation. A parlement has no corporate or
institutional authority. Note that the spelling "parliament", so
evocative of the parliaments at Westminster and Ottawa is
deliberately not used here. A parlement of Ealdormere is not a
substitute for a Moot of Ealdormere as an expression of the vox
populi. Since a parlement is a proper court, however, new
principality laws may be announced in a parlement.

Summons of Parliament for Investiture
The parlement of Ealdormere is not intended to be summoned at
every event. Provision is made for conducting ordinary court
during feasts and on the tourney field. The parlement is
designed to be summoned at the very most five times in a year
(Twelfth Night or other winter event, coronet tournaments and
investiture), but need only be summoned twice a year.

Parlement must properly be summoned for Investiture. Care should
be taken to arrange that the King and Queen of the Middle be
present, or that a proper Lieutenant be arranged. The Crown
Prince and Princess of the Middle are the preferred Lieutenants.

The Summons
If the Prince decides to call a parlement, a summons should go
out to all nobles in the principality, via the baronial and
principality newsletters. The date and time of the Parlement as
well as the place should be clearly set forth as well as the main
reason for the summons (to discuss our succession, for instance).
The summons must be obeyed "on pain of our displeasure". Royal
displeasure is, of course, a changeable thing, and if you have to
work that weekend nobody's going to hold it agin you. The form
of summons is set out below.

Seating will be after the English pattern. The Prince occupies
a chair of estate at the head of a rectangular hall, directly in
the centre of the wall. To either side of the Prince, running
the greater length of the hall, are rows of benches or chairs.
Where the benches end is a line or bar. Beyond the bar of the
house are as many chairs or rows as necessary to seat nobles from
outside Ealdormere as well as the gentlemen and gentlewomen.
Nobles (and their friends and retainers) sit in the side benches,
with the highest ranking (if they so desire) sitting closest to
the Prince, and in the front benches. Space should be left
behind the benches so that nobles can slip in and out to answer
calls of nature and such like. On a chair to the Prince's right
sits the Princess. On a bench to the Prince's left sit the
Marshal and the Barons of the Exchequer (except at a Court of
Claims, when they sit before a vacant throne). On benches
directly before the prince sit his clerks, preferably with desks.
At the Bar of the Court stands a Sergeant at Arms holding the
Sword of Estate. Note that there is a rectangular space open in
the midst of the court, the "well of the court". Here stands the

The Front Benches to the Prince's right are for the Officers of
State for Ealdormere, for Middle Kingdom Officers of State who
are also Ealdormere nobles, for Lords Mayor of cities and for any
bishops. The Front Benches on the Prince's left are for Dukes,
Earls, Viscounts and Barons. If the King of the Middle is in
attendance at a Parlement of Ealdormere, he sits in the centre
seat, and the Prince directly to his right. If the Queen of the
Middle is present, she sits directly to the King's left. If the
Crown Prince or Princess of the Middle is present, they sits at
the upper end of the left Front Bench. The Heir and Heiress of
the Principality sit at the upper end of the left Front Bench,
just down from the Crown Prince and Princess. Should the front
benches overflow, the above nobles may be accomodated on the
second bench. Should the front benches not be filled, any
Ealdormere nobles may fill the lower end. Middle Kingdom Great
Officers and visiting royalty may be accomodated on a bench just
outside of the Bar of Court.

Officers of the Court
The officers of the court are as follows: the Herald, the Clerk
of the Signet, the Clerk of Chancery, the Sergeants at Arms and
the Sergeants at Law. Officers of the Court are seated within
the well of the court, except the herald and the Sergeant at
Arms, who stand. Although there is a place marked on the diagram
for the herald; he need not keep to that spot, nor need anyone
speaking from the well of the court.

The Bench
The Bench to the left of the Prince is occupied by the Marshal of
Ealdormere, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and any other
officers of the Exchequer present, who are called the Barons of
the Exchequer. In a Court of Claims these are the judges, and
they are here to offer counsel to the Prince.

Entrance is made in procession, with first the Officers of the
Court, and then any front benchers who wish, preceding the
Prince. Ladies in Waiting and Gentlemen of the Chamber follow
the Prince and Princess and attend wherever the Prince's Lord
Chamberlain wants them to. Should the Prince desire a few
guards they accompany the Ladies and Gentlemen in waiting. The
Herald notifies the Clerk of Chancery of the date and place of
the court, and everyone sits down. The business of the day is
then conducted after the forms set out below in the specific
ceremonial section.

At the close of business for a parlement, the Prince declares the
parlement closed, and he processes out, followed by the front
benchers and then by the officers of the court. If there will be
parlementary sessions both for coronet tourney court and for
investiture (some weeks later), then the parlement can be
prorogued for the appropriate length of time, and no new summons
need be issued.


Rather than be seen to touch money, the Prince and Princess may
accept gratuities and payments through the clerks of chancery and
the signet. Should a noble desire a royal favour, passport or
letter, he need only make his request from the well of the court
(or within the Presence at an Ordinary Court), and drop his
donation off with a clerk on his way out. Should a gentleman or
gentlewoman desire same in a parlement, they may be called by the
herald to the bar, and there they may request and make their
payment to the Sergeant at Arms; though in ordinary court they
may approach the presence. All such funds are turned over to the
Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Prince's own Lord Privy Purse
as desired by the donor.

Favourites are beckoned to sit near the Prince and Princess in
ordinary court, or to sit at the upper ends of the benches in
parlement, or in the front rows of extraordinary court.


1. Regular Summons (individual)
This is for a noble who has newly moved to Ealdormere, or has
returned after a long absence.

Unto our right trusty and well-beloved cousin (for a Duke: the
High and Mighty Prince) the noble Lord {A}, of {Place} doth the
Prince of Ealdormere send his Greetings. Know that we are minded
to meet with our nobles in parlement on the {X} day of {X} in the
Year of the Society {XX} in order to discuss our succession.
Your Lordship (Grace) is summoned to attend on pain of our royal

2. Regular Summons (general)
This is for publication in the Principality and baronial
newsletters with the announcement for Coronet Tournament and

Unto all to whom these presents shall come, Greetings. Know that
we are minded to meet with our nobles in parlement on the {X} day
of {X} in the Year of the Society {XX} in order to discuss our
succession. All the noble men and women of Ealdormere are
summoned to attend on pain of our royal displeasure.

3. First Summons
This is issued along with a Middle Kingdom Award of Arms.

Unto our right trusty and well-beloved cousin the noble Lord {A},
of {Place} doth the Prince of Ealdormere send his Greetings. It
has come to our attention that your lordship has been enobled by
the King of the Middle. In addition to the other
responsibilities and duties attendant upon elevation to this
rank, know that when from time to time we are minded to meet with
our nobles in parlement your Lordship is commanded to attend on
pain of our royal displeasure.


1. Fealty
Fealty is expected only of tenants-in-chief of the Prince. To
claim to be tenant-in-chief is to claim not to be subject to any
other baron or peer. Like the other oaths sworn in Investiture
ceremony, this is a variable oath, and may be sworn by whatever
the jurant holds proper.
The jurant places his hands between the Prince's
I {Name}, {Office, peerage or tenancy}, do swear this my
fealty to my lord the Prince of Ealdormere and to his lady
the Princess of Ealdormere (for a baron: and my homage for
the lands of {tenancy}), and to uphold the Laws and
Ordonnances of Ealdormere, to serve the Prince and Princess
in council and in war.
The Prince replies:
This do we hear and never forget, nor fail to reward that
which is given: Fealty with love, service with honour and
oathbreaking with vengeance (and we confirm unto your
Lordship [Grace] the fief of {tenancy}).

2. Oath to Uphold
Since an office is not military service, nor is it given in
return for a fief, there is no need to swear fealty or homage in
return for an office. Instead, the following Oath to Uphold is
sworn at Investiture. Since this is no oath of fealty, there is
no reason for an officer of the Principality not to swear the
oath unless he is, for example, a Quaker.

I here swear by my body that I will uphold the rightful and
lawful Prince of Ealdormere with faithful service in council
and defence of might and main. I swear that I will ensure
that the lawful will of the Prince be done and that of his
lawful successors so long as I hold mine office.
The Prince replies:
This do we hear and never forget, nor fail to reward that
which is given: Loyalty with love, service with honour and
oathbreaking with vengeance; and we confirm unto your
Lordship [Grace] the office of {office}.
Since this oath is sworn to every Prince at Investiture or in
Ordinary Court shortly thereafter, there is no need for a formal
investiture of officers in court. A new Principality officer may
be noted in the roll of honour in Ordinary Court, and the oath
may be sworn at a convenient Sitting in State. Release from this
oath will rarely be necessary, except on a noble's departing the
Principality. In that case, release may be begged and granted at
a Sitting in State.


The Officers of the Court are appointed by their superior
officer, with a term running from Spring investiture to Spring
investiture. There is no limit to the number appointed, so that
if an appointed officer is unable to attend a court an additional
officer may be appointed, to serve as well until the next Spring.
Sergeants at Law and at Arms carry their titles in perpetuity
unless they are resigned. Thus it is important that such
Sergeants not be created gratuitously.

A. The Clerk of Chancery
The Clerk of Chancery is a deputy of the Trillium Herald. The
Clerk of Chancery is charged with inscribing the Scroll of
Honour, with recording therein the appropriate records of honour
and oaths sworn in respect to the Succession.

B. The Clerk of the Signet
Responsible to the Lord Privy Seal, the Clerk of the Signet is
charged with providing the herald and the Clerk of Chancery with
award scrolls at court.

C. The Sergeants at Law
The Sergeants at Law are responsible to the Marshal of
Ealdormere. They are charged with supervising the legality of
the succession. Should the Prince or his justices sit in justice
or equity, the Sergeants at Law are charged to argue the case.

D. The Sergeants at Arms
The Sergeant at Arms is responsible to the Marshal of Ealdormere.
He (or they) are charged with keeping order in court, and in a
parlement they are the keepers of the bar of the house. The
Prince's Sword of Estate is carried at a parlement by a Sergeant
at Arms.


A Moot of Ealdormere may be called according to the ancient
customs of the Principality. It is conducted by whichever
officer the Prince shall appoint, or by the Prince himself. The
conducting officer shall be responsible that it be conducted in a
fair and orderly manner. No protocol is applied to Moots of


In Latin the Prince of Ealdormere is Princeps Eldormari. The
Princess is Principissa Ealdormari. The King of the Middle is
Rex Mediterranei or Rex Medii. The Queen of the Middle is Regina
Mediterranei or Regina Medii. "A.S." abbreviates "Anno

Nobles of Ealdormere are referred to by the Prince and Princess
as "our right trusty and well beloved cousin the noble Lord X",
which can be abbreviated to "the Lord X". Dukes are "the High
and Mighty Prince the Duke X", or just "the Duke X".


The Marshal of Ealdormere convenes a Court of Claims of
Ealdormere at his pleasure. Sitting in court are the Marshal and
the Barons of the Exchequer.

The Court of Claims is ended with the arrival of the King of the
Middle and his retinue. All rise.

The King of the Middle (or his Lieutenant; accompanied by
gentlemen and ladies in waiting)
The Queen of the Middle (or her Lieutenant; accompanied by
gentlemen and ladies in waiting)
The Prince and Princess of Ealdormere (accompanied by gentlemen
and ladies in waiting)
The Marshal of Ealdormere (armed and carrying his baton and
accompanied by a Sergeant at Arms bearing a sheathed Sword
of Estate) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ealdormere
(bearing a ceremonial purse).
The Trillium Herald of Ealdormere (bearing his staff of office
and the Prince's arms)
The Great Officers of Estate of Ealdormere
The Officers of the Court
An Herald (bearing his staff of office and the arms of his
The Heir and Heiress of the Principality (accompanied by
gentlemen and ladies in waiting)
The Front Benches of Parliament

The King welcomes the assembled nobles.

The New Prince is presented to the Court.

Oaths are sworn to establish that the New Prince is rightful heir
to Ealdormere. The Sergeants at Law are consulted.

The Siege of the Principality is given over to the King.

The herald begs the king, on behalf of the nobles assembled, to
confer the Estate of Prince of Ealdormere on the New Prince.

The Court of Claims and the Herald admonish the New Prince and he
swears an Oath on his sword.

The New Prince swears his fealty to the King. In token of the
fealty the New Prince gives the king a garb of barley. In
similar token the King gives the New Prince a glove. The King
invests the New Prince with the insignia of his new Estate.

The New Prince begs that his lady be made Princess of Ealdormere

The New Princess swears an oath and her fealty. The Queen
invests the New Princess with the insignia of her new Estate.
The Marshal of Ealdormere demands the acclimation of the
assembled nobles.

Oaths of fealty and oaths to uphold the New Prince are sworn.
The Old Prince is created a Viscount and his lady a Viscountess,
should such be necessary. The New Prince's Champion is created,
as is the New Princess's champion. Other matters are discussed.
Those who ought to be ennobled are ennobled.

The Roll of Honour is raised so that the assembled nobles and
others may view it.

The parlement is closed.

To my knowledge, a parlement of Ealdormere was convened only once: to
invest the first Prince.

<the end>

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Copyright © Mark S. Harris (Lord Stefan li Rous)
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