The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. The organization is divided into 19 large regional groups called “Kingdoms”, and has over 30,000 members world-wide. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.
The Barony of Ramshaven is located in southwestern Ontario, encompassing the area roughly north of the 401 and west of Highway 25, including the cities of Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Stratford. We are one of five active baronies in the Kingdom of Ealdormere, which is composed of the Province of Ontario, excluding Essex County (Windsor) and the city of Thunder Bay. There are two active sub-groups within Ramshaven: the Canton of Bryniau Tywynogg (KW) and the Canton of Welfengau (Guelph)
How To Get Started And Meetings
The best place to get started is to attend a meeting or fight practice. Der Welfengau's meeting/practice night is Tuesday and Bryniau Tywynogg's meeting/practice night is Thursday. Meetings are casual and we don't usually dress in medieval clothes unless we are holding a “mini-event” (a kind of potluck and social). Meeting nights generally consist of short business followed by fight practice and socializing. Some people bring projects they are working on, while others just like to hang out and talk with friends. This is a good place to meet the people of the Barony in a casual setting. For more information, read this Guide for Beginners
Your First Event
When many people think of the SCA, they think of people in costume, fighters battling, feasts and dancing, which is a decent description of what goes on at a typical SCA event. Since the SCA seeks to re-creates aspects of medieval and renaissance life, we study life as it was for real people. It's a hands-on approach to history and different aspects interest different people. An event is a chance for people to show off what they've made or learned: clothing, cooking, music, fighting, etc. Because the event is only a part of what the SCA is for members, there is a continuity which can seem confusing if you've never been to one before. But don't worry; there will be plenty of people happy to answer any questions you have.
The only requirements for attending an event are that you make an honest attempt to dress in pre-17th clothing (or “garb”), you pay the entrance fee (for non-members, there is a small surcharge) and you conduct yourself courteously. It's generally also a good idea to bring your own dishes (“feast gear”) or at least a non-modern-looking cup or mug, and if the event is outdoors, something to sit on. The Chatelaine has available a limited amount of garb and equipment that can be borrowed for events, called “Gold Key”. Please contact them in advance to insure they have a size that would fit you or the equipment that you need. For more information, read this Guide for Beginners
What's This About Fighting?
The most visible part of many events are the martial activities. Many SCA members seek to recreate the armoured chivalric combat of the Middle Ages using replica armour and weapons made of rattan that have the balance and feel of historical originals, but not the leathal effect. This known as “armoured combat” or “heavy weapons.” Other members practice Renaissance-style fencing, using blunted rapiers. To take part in either activity, you must have the proper equipment, be familiar with the SCA's rules for combat, and be authorized by a Marshal.
Who Are the People in Crowns?
Like much of medieval Europe, SCA kingdoms have a system of rank. Everyone is presumed to be a minor noble when they start (although some choose to portray a peasant persona), but all titles must be earned either by knowledge, skill or deed. Those wearing crowns or coronets are personas of high rank. There is a king & queen (chosen by tournament twice a year), as well as “royal peers” (those who have served as king or queen before) and barons & baronesses (who serve as liaisons between a barony and the crown). In addition there are knights and other peers of the realm. For more information, read this Guide for Beginners
Terms You Should Know
Medieval/Renaissance Clothing worn at events.
Any point in time between the years 600 and 1600 AD, the time frame that the SCA operates within.
A character that might have lived in the SCA period that a member pretends to be at events; personas can be very simple or quite complex, it's up to the person. At the very least, most SCA members use an alternate “persona name” at events, a name that would have been used by a person in period.
Gate (or Troll)
The place when you check in at an event, pay the fee and fill out any necessary forms.
Dinner, usually served in the feast hall at events. There is generally a separate fee, space is limited, and pre-registration is often required, although a limited number of seats may be available for sale at the gate the morning of an event.
The place were tournaments take place. It will be clearly marked and roped off.
A referee for tournaments who insures the Rules of the List are followed.
An instruction called by the Marshals for everyone to stop. Failure to do so may result in someone being injured.
This is the standard form of address when “in persona” if you do not know a person's actual rank or title.