The History of the Barony of the Middle Marches
Added 19 Jan 2009
Spring is always a time for new beginnings and so it was in 1972 when Baron Jehan moved to the Land of the Tyger and soon became its Prince. Here was a pretty pass! What to do? There had never been such a happening in the Kingdom before and it was not as though Baron Jehan would not be returning to the Midrealm oftimes to see his family and friends. It was decided then, that Jehan should remain Baron and a Vicar should administrate the Barony on his behalf. King Andrew I of Seldom Rest sat himself down and thought on his choice of Vicar. It was natural that he should choose himself to be Vicar as his abode was there in the Marches and he knew what passed within the border of the Marches. And so the Barony passed several years under a Vicar's stewardship. 12 Eventually, that also changed.
Even before Andrew of Seldom Rest became the premier Knight of the Barony of the Middle Marches, he was a force with which to be reckoned. To this day, he bears the arms, "Or, a dragonfly displayed gules" and the badge, a cant upon his name, of "Gules, on a bend Or, a selle sable, a dome vert, and a rest azure."
A Hun to the blood and bone, he stands six feet tall. A disabling accident has taken the spring from his step and some of his vitality, but he is still an imposing sight to behold. It is easy to see from his older portraits, that some might have thought that bulk somewhat less than muscle. They found out to their sorrow, the strength that was his to wield if they fought him in the lists. He may have been rough and somewhat unpolished at first, but it did not take him long to acquire the veneer of civilization and then a good working knowledge of it. Much is written of him in the histories of Ambrosius and Duke Finnvarr, open them if you would know more of this man in a Kingdom's setting. Andrew was always fond of schtick, either planned or impromptu, especially being a member of the Brotherhood of H.A.M.M.S. I know not about the actual acronym; it is self-explanatory. Everday matters concering the Barony such as paperwork was something he did himself. More important matters he forwarded to Baron Jehan. He did not recall anything specific in the latter category. He is remembered of one Baronial award that was given for service called "The March Hare." This was also known as the "Marsh Hare," but "March" is the better-known term. March Hares did the "Bunny Hop" when inducting a new member. Some of the members have included Duke Andrew as "Lepus Maximus," Duke Talymar, Duchess Anne de Fountaine, Vicountess Nige of Cleftlands, Baron Galen de Renyard, and Neandir of the Flame. This award has been inactive for many, many years. A newsletter was published by the same name, but I have not come by any copies. 13
The Marches continued to grow in population during Anne and Andrew's second reign. During my delving into his personal files, it's easy to see that these two gentles were extremely busy helping new groups as far away as Kentucky, dealing with other matters in the Society, progressing about the Kingdom, winning Pennsic II and also dealing with a private, modern life that included children. No doubt, this was one contributing factor to choosing a new Baron for the Middle Marches. Laws were being enacted, ceremonies were being created to handle many kinds of situations, and so it was time to move forward.
A New Baron
Lord Galen de Renyard was elevated to the rank of Baron on the fifth day of May in AS XIII (1979) by King Laurelen Darksbane and Queen Ithriliel of Silverlake. As he was residing in Dernehealde at the time, it became the Baronial Seat for awhile. It was a smaller Middle Marches than previous as Cleftlands had become a Barony in its own right about a year before. A Norman, Galen was the sole survivor of the massacre of his family at their chateau. He made his way to England around 1350 and became a page so that he would eventually be trained for Knighthood. He was granted the arms of "Vert, a log proper embedded therein an axe bendwise sinister Or." In June of 1979, a lady of impeccable lineage, wit, and beauty, named Eleanor of Alnwick, caught both the Baron's eye and his heart at the Baronial Encounter at the March of Iron Demons. Her arms are "Sable, on a fountain, a swan naiant argent." Not long after they met, Baron Galen contracted to marry his lady and make her his Baroness, but found an impediment - she was the subject of another Barony and needed permission from her Baron to wed and be elevated! However, Galen was quite certain permission would be granted since he had ceded lands to Baron Lorimer in the first place to form the Barony of Flaming Gryphon and had a treaty with him. The happy day arrived on June 21, 1980 when the pair received permission to wed and were married and Eleanor raised to Baroness by King Talymar I. All in good fun, King Talymar demanded first rights, but, ever the gentleman; he only smiled and kissed Eleanor's hand. 14
Good Gentle, should you take the time to read the old copies of "The Vigil," you will note that there is a great deal of Baronial activity in the administration of Galen and Eleanor. They travelled a great deal, helping and teaching where they might, and the Populace thought well of this energetic pair, giving them many gifts and much regalia. They retired the "Order of the March Hare" and created new awards to show deserved recognition of their subjects. These awards are still given today.
Baronial Awards Created by Baron Galen & Baroness Eleanor
The Order of the Watchful Tower is the Baronial service award and was registered in December of 1980. It is blazoned, "Fieldless, in saltire a battle-axe and a sword inverted proper, and overall a tower gules, portalled argent."
The Order of the Golden Affodille is given by the Baroness for chivalry on and off the field. It also was registered in December of 1980, but was updated to The Order of the Golden Affodil in 1987. It is blazoned, "Fieldless, two swords inverted in saltire surmounted by a daffodil (Narcissus pseudo-narcissus), slipped and leaved proper." This award was reblazoned in June 2002, and again in April 2006. The corrected blazon is: (Fieldless) Two swords inverted in saltire surmounted by a daffodil bell to dexter Or slipped and leaved vert.
The Arts & Sciences Baronial award is the Order of the Gilded Reed, "Fieldless, in saltire a quill pen argent and a sword inverted proper surmounted by a recorder Or." It was registered in November of 1983.
The Order of the Golden Pheon has a checkered history. It is the award given for Archery achievement. It was used for quite some time before finding out that it was in conflict with an award in the Outlands. In September of AS XXIII, it was sent with the blessing of the Dragon Herald to Laurel with the blazon, "Fieldless, two arrows inverted in saltire proper, overall a pheon inverted Or." It was pended until May of the next year because the blazon and the emblazon did not agree and Laurel wished to give time to the Barony to either resubmit with all items agreeing or to try something else. I have checked the LoAR for a full year after that date and have found nothing concerning this award. At this time, I know not if it is a "Lost Sheep" or the submission was canceled.
A Roll of Names for each of these awards will appear at the end of this history. Dates have been left off as many entries had no dates. That can be amended later, perhaps.
Third Baron & Baroness Middle Marches
A few months short of their tenth anniversary as Baron and Baroness of the Middle Marches, Galen and Eleanor stepped down and retired to private life in a most comfortable abode. In a personal, and very enjoyable interview with them, they told me they were quite insistant that Sir Thomas ap Llewellyn and his lady wife, Mistress Margaret von dem Shwartzwald, should become Baron and Baroness. Their determination made it fait accompli and so it was done in February of 1989 at the first RUM session in Ohio. At that time, Margaret was very great with child so it was fortuitous that the RUM was held in Tirnewydd. Soon after, she was delivered of a daughter, Katie. 15 Again, "The Vigil's" aid in seeing that this couple and their new daughter did a great deal for this Barony. As they travelled its still vast territory, Thomas held fast to his Knight's Oath and Mistress Margaret to her Laurel's to teach and promote the growth of what they did. Thomas loves to blow glass and Margaret is still doing wonderful things in the fiber arts. They gave a great deal of time and thought and effort at fostering a Baronial identity among it's far-flung groups and always encouraged the participation of the Populace in all SCA pursuits. I have read their words when they were troubled or happy or excited about many things. The first real Court I ever did was for them. They were so mellow and I was just scared out of my wits I would do a bad job. I calmed down after a bit and did well. Without the presence and participation these last ten years of this Welsh Knight and his Pearl of the Black Forest, the Barony would have been a much poorer place.
New Growing Pangs
It has been about two years since the shires, cantons, and marches to the North wanted to form their own Barony. There was a great deal of discussion about it from just about everyone and the Crown granted their wish. As of November of 1998, the split-off was accomplished and Barony Brendoken was created. The process for choosing a new Baron and Baroness had already begun as it was learned that Thomas and Margaret wished to step down and so six pairs of candidates and one single person made their intentions and qualifications known in order for the polling process to begin. Gwyntarian, Alderford, Thistle, and Three Towers had left the Middle Marches to form the new Barony. Falcon's Quarry became an independent Shire. The Middle Marches retained Dernehealde, Mugmort, Tirnewydd, Caer Frig, and the Incipient Shires of Gleann Iarainn and Windreach. Red Spears had already formed a new Barony and the March of the Marshes, as well as Hrodgeirsfjord, fall within its boundaries. Once again are we diminished, but still the Barony is vast. 16
Fourth Baron & Baroness Middle Marches
Another polling process winnowed down to three candidates (possibly two pairs and the single, it was not divulged in general) and these were sent to King Dag and Queen Elayna that They might choose the successor/s. After considerable time and thought, Their Majesties chose Sir Dilan Mac AnTsaier and his wife, Lady Una Winifreed Berry to be the new Baron and Baroness. As of this writing, the Investiture will be July 17, AS XXXIV at Melee in the March, the Return to Clontarf, in the March of Tirnewydd, presided over by Their Majesties, King Ragnvaldr and Queen Arabella.
As the historians of old, I have done my best to be accurate and to find as much information as I could. Like them, I have not been able to travel as much as I should have liked and have been dependant on the memories and recordings of others. I am honored to have compiled this history of the Barony of the Middle Marches and will add to it as time and Fortune allows, but I know that it is a living entity and its history will continue long after I am dust. I charge the wordsmith of that future time to do our legacy justice. Long live the Barony of the Middle Marches!
Lady Betony ferch Meilyr ap Emrys
Baronial Pursuivant July AS XXXIV
While residing in the Marche of Tirnewydd
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