The History of the Barony of the Middle Marches
Added 19 Jan 2009
I am not a professional historian, but I have come to love searching out our place in the scheme of Midrealm things. I know that there are more stories and facts out there, and I hope you will share them with me or give me your point of view on what I have reported. We have been around for almost thirty years and have a rich history, so I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed finding it.
I dedicate this work to those who Dream, for the Middle Marches is the sum of us all. I especially dedicate it to my Cinn, who either drove or navigated the car and who has loved me through it all.
By the hand of Lady Betony ferch Meilyr ap Emrys, Middle Marches Baronial Pursuivant, residing in the March of Tirnewydd, AS XXXIV (1999).
The Beginnings of the Barony
Often, it is the unexpected that bears the most fruit. I know not if someone has quoted that before me, but it is true, nonetheless. A young man with a poet's soul and a flair for the medieval aspects of life went to the Second Tolkein Conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin and there he found "the fledgling Chicago MK" giving a demo on October 31, 1969. Later, he attended the costume party dressed as the Green Knight and knew that he craved more times like these. 1 They were people of like mind and they banded together to create a world within a world where chivalry, pageantry, prowess of arms, agility of mind, and the mastering of the gentler arts really meant something special and was appreciated as viable, rather than archaic. John Leland quickly became Jehan de la Marche and, having arrived home from his trip to lands held by Cariadoc I, was determined to found a group of his own and hold lands from the Crown. One could say that that meeting was the start of the Barony. But was it?
Home to Jehan de la Marche was Castle Marckmont, in the modern city of Bowling Green, Ohio. He was a student at that time at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). He wasted no time and on January 7, 1970, organized the first meeting of the March of the Marshes, the first SCA branch in Ohio. Sad to say, there wasn't a very large attendance, but it was a start. He began corresponding with the national headquarters in the fabled "Kingdom of the Mists" and was quickly granted permission to begin the process of registering the SCA in the State of Ohio as a non-profit organization. As he was under the legal age of twenty-one, Jehan's father was actually the first official SCA representative for Ohio. First mention of the Barony - and remember that, at that time, it was the first branch in any state that automatically became a Barony - was February of 1970. "A Midrealm Book of Lists, Fourth Edition" most likely culled that from the minutes of old Board of Directors (or BoD) meetings. So, that could be a beginning. But was it? 2
It is Count Jehan's opinion that Jamie Foxx, located in what was to become the Cleft Lands, later Cleftlands, actually found the SCA before he did. Orlando Ambrosius' history maintains that Jamie attended his first official event in November of 1970 and was rescued from the side of the road in a wain that had broken down that was also loaded with children. The rescuer was Andrew of Seldom Rest, later Duke Andrew. Jamie also went to the Capitol Province (before it was known as Tree-girt-Sea) and swore personal fealty to Cariadoc I.
The stories about Jamie fall into legend, but the one folk tell most is about Jamie and the giant refuse wain. 3 The details differ sometimes, but the story is essentially the same. Jamie had a broadsword in his hands and took a mighty cut at the metal wain, which he mistook for a dragon, and dented it. The local authorities were not amused, but as Jamie was vouched for as harmless, he was released. Jamie also wrote to the national headquaters with the intention of starting his own group, but did not include his return address, so the Board of Directors could not get in touch with him. By this one small piece of neglect, or oversight if you will, the Barony of the Middle Marches came to Jehan de la Marche and not Jamie Foxx. 4
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