Thursday, December 18, 2008

Castelburn Treaty with Jack Frost Morris

At the Black Swan Revel a Treaty was signed between Castelburn and the Jack Frost Morris:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

School of Defense

At the Black Swan Revel, Lord Emilio di Battista proposed a School of Defense:

To the people of the Canton of Castelburn and the College of St Kessog do I,
Lord Emilio di Battista - Journeyman of the Lochac Royal Guild of Defense,
Champion of Defense for the Barony of Southron Gaard, Lord of Villa Silviati
and Guardsman for Their Excellencies Batholemew and kathrine, Baron and
Baroness of Southron Gaard, do I send walm greetings.

It has been almost one full year since I first journeyed to the colder
climes of the highlands of Southron Gaard in order to teach those among you
who wish to know the mysteries of the arte of defense. In that time what I
have seen has brought me much pleasure. Your fencers have proven to be hardy
and diligent, learning and improving without a teacher nearby. These
qualities are much desired by teachers of any arte and they move me to make
the bond between us stronger.

As such I will now name as my students those lords or ladies who desire it,
and form a School of Defense that they might study the arte and science of
fence under my tutelage. I ask that those who wish to be known as part of
the school, be that as a fencer, a herald, a bringer of food and drink or in
any other manner, now to rise.

Several gentles rise.

I make to you you these commitments as your teacher:
- That I will visit the highlands every two months, as God and my Lady
allow, and bring with me new knowledge.
- That I will assist you in study of the Masters of the arte and ensure you
pass the test and trials of the kingdom marshalette.
- That I will listen to your needs and fulfill them as best I may.
- That I will be sparing with the rod if your diligence wavers
- and finally, I give this commitment with the knowledge that with some
small measure of aid soon you will not require a teacher.

In return I ask that while you are a member of the school you turn your mind
to these principals:
- Be disciplined in your training (we talked about the rod earlier).
- Enjoy the arte and engage all activities with a light and jovial heart.
- Strive for excellence.
- Be mindful of your words and actions, as at stake is both my honour and
that of your peers.

If you feel you can abide by these principals please indicate so now.

Several gentles make indications.

Excellent. I Herby name you my students and members of the School of the
Southern Star. (name provisional)
Dedication, Enjoyment, Excellence. (motto provisional)

Long live the highlands of Southron Gaard!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Black Swan Revel : 6th December

The Back Bays Hall, beside Hooper's Inlet on Otago Peninsula, was the picturesque setting for Castleburn's Second Black Swan Revel. Master Christopher and Lady Clare, candidates for the Barony of the Southron Gaard, were honoured guests. Activities included Archery, Rapier, Music, Dancing, Feasting and a Mummer's play.
A treaty was signed between Gawain, Seneschal of Castelburn, and Karenza, representing the Jack Frost Morris Dancing Group.
Pictures of the event can be seen here.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wonkas of the World Unite


It's been some time since I've contributed some work to the list, so I
thought I'd share this short confectionary-themed piece. The style is very
loose alliterative (fourish stressed syllables per line, with alliteration
attached); late period alliterative poetry (such as existed) was less
strict in its demands than the early period stuff. Not even a caesura!

Wonkas of the World Unite

This cruellest of Credit Crunchies has claimed
Sparkles and Snifters, both sweet and honourable.
The Moro tomorrow, or the mutinous Bounties,
Might, with the Minties or Mars Bars, be next.
Where?s the right to a Rollo or red-coated Jaffas?
Is it the final farewell for the Fruit Burst?
The passing of Pinkies or Pineapple Lumps,
Untimely and tragic, would be terrible blows;
The weeping and wailing if Wine Gums died out
Would be life?s great calamity, lead-laden sorrow.
Arm up with ammo should Almonds be axed,
Lace up your liquorice, release all your sugar,
A crisis of chocolaty confidence is nigh:
Keep these tufty-faced toffs from our toffees!


Mielikko (aka Finnr of St Kessog)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Castelburn rapier comes of age

Castelburn rapier has recently passed something of a milestone as we can now boast our very first shattered sword! The glorious event occurred during a particularly fierce and brutal practice session on Friday 31 October (also Halloween, spookily enough). Hearty congratulations to Ranulf Ironlegs, inaugural recipient of Castelburn's (strictly unofficial and utterly unauthorised) combat award, the Companion of the Broken Rapier, or COBR for short. Ranulf's opponent at the time was removed from the field in a state of near-terminal astonishment and is currently undergoing intensive counselling. We feel this shows the world at large that rapier at Castelburn is progressing fast, if not in skill, then at the very least in raw enthusiasm and martial vigour. Questions are being asked about the quality of swords purveyed by a certain high-ranking officer from Another Group, whose identity will remain concealed for fear of retribution. Watch this space...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Knights Templar sojourn at the village of Castleburn

It was a mild and moonlit night at the village of Castleburn. Three figures came into view, bearing stout staves and either clad in tartan or not, and stumbled towards the candlelit gates. “Halt,” cried Gawain, brave gatekeeper-for-the-day. The strangers identified themselves as three Knights Templar, exiled by the Pope and travelling homewards from the crusades. The town’s mayor, Ignatius, looking very swanky in his fine brown velvet robe and jingly chain, invited them to enter. After they had quaffed some cider and had their wounds healed, they partook of some refreshments and their leader regaled the wide-eyed villages with news from their travels. Refreshed from supping, the Knights were sufficiently enlivened to trip their heels with the villagers, until the darkness came down upon them. Toasts were haled to Venus, Jupiter and the Moon, and then quaffing resumed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Templars Visit Castelburn

The 13th of October was the date in 1307 on which the Pope and King Philip IV of France raided the Knights Templar across Europe. This is reputed to be the origin of the Friday 13th superstition.
Photos by David O Kane.

A report from Templar Asaka:

It was this date in 1307 that the Pope and the King conspired to the downfall of the Templars.

We are in the lineage of these fine folk, so a meeting with the Society for Creative Anachronism was arranged.
We were challenged, who comes to Castleburn? I answered that we were technically Outlaws by now, and would they listen to our take?
Well received food and drink awaited us. I told them all we were running from the Papal denouncement and were told to reveal as much of the Templar knowledge as we knew least it become lost again forever.
We gifted the folk of Castleburn with a fine Graal and gave it to the safe keeping of Bro Gawain.Some esoteric ideas on the Chalice were given.
Further feasting and tales of the east , before the pipes lead us in some olde dances. I took the bodran and began to dance with the pipes as the 6 dancers paired off in a series of great dances.
Several toasts to the planetes in the sky were made as the sun set, Venus, Jupiter and the Moon. Pan was called again. Boy this made the wind get going blowing the many old trees around.
Some more tales around the "fire" with pipes and other wind instruments before we took our leave least we incur the wrath of the King and Pope upon the village.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Images of the Ball with Baron Emrys

To complement Lady Fridda's most excellent entry, here are a few images of the ball - and a short vid of us dancing.
The photos are of Lady Maeve receiving her Award of Arms from Baron Emrys, and of her beautiful award certificate. The video was made by Constance on my camera and is of the 'Knowne Worlde Parvane' . Sorry about the poor lighting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Castelburn Bal

A quartet of early music enthusiasts played on drum, pipes, recorder, viol and spinet at the Castelburn Bal last evening. The company danced with enthusiasm and a measure of gusto and there was a tasty supper to follow by candlelight and the colourful Castelburn banners.

Our trusty supervisor of the kitchen received from the hand of the newly invested Baron of Ildhafn her award of arms entitling her to add the title “ Lady” before her name in recognition of the goodlie service given to the Canton, the Barony and thus, The Kingdom. The populace much admired the splendid calligraphy on the Award granted by Their Majesties. An award richly deserved by the now Lady Maeve, a treasure among cooks. Huzzah !

We were honoured to be among the first to attend Court held by His Excellency The Honourable Don Emrys Tudor.

Fridda of Castelburn

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

St Kessog Combat on YouTube

Thanks to Wynflaed :

Domenico vs Meilikko

Lady Eydis vs Meilikko

Domenico fights heavy with the Baron

From the Baron and Baroness

Bartholomew and katherine to the good people of Southron Gaard,
Castelburn and St Kessog, greetings,

We have just returned from St Kessog's Fimbulwinter III encampment
and, true to its predecessors, it was a weekend of balmy spring
weather, relaxation, new faces and much learning in the martial and
arts areas.

We congratulate the stewarding and cooking team for looking after
everyone so well; it was the kind of event where everyone pitches in
to help which is enjoyable in and of itself, but the behind-the-
scenes work is always very significant.

It was our pleasure in Court to award a Tour d'Or to Lady Eyd?s of St
Kessog and Ignatius of Castelburn. Each is the Seneschal of their
group and both have made great efforts to lead and inspire their
populace, to their benefit and that of the Barony as a whole.

Finally, the super-boffer championship was held as always, and won
this year by Domenico of St Kessog against stern competition from
highlanders and lowlanders alike.

We look forward to seeing our doughty highlanders at future events --
huzzah to all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fimbulwinter 2008

This weekend just passed was Fimbulwinter - the winter encampment of the college of St Kessog (the Otago Uni branch of SCA). The Fimbulwinter is the name for a winter which is the 'worst in living memory' when Loki, the god of mischief, supposedly escapes from restraint and sails across the sea in a boat made from dead men's fingernails to wreak havoc on the land. I'm sure I have this completely wrong, btw, and am more than happy to stand corrected. Thankfully, Fimbulwinter has never lived up to its name and the weather was, again, gorgeous.
We were at Berwick Camp, which is about 30-40 mins south of Dunedin. Despite being relatively close, it feels nicely isolated, and is secluded and quiet - other than birds and cicadas, of course. It is set in a little valley, which made for great acoustics as the clash of our shields resounded against the hills....

Here is Berwick camp:


Friday night was fairly casual as folks drifted in, nested, then settled around the fire to chat and play games. Medieval/Renaissance charades was popular, with the added categories of people, buildings and painting.

The organised programme kicked off on Saturday, with sessions on rapier and archery.


Lessons continued into the afternoon. There was also a session on SCA 10, some dancing, and lots of feast prep.


The Italian themed feast was delicious. First course was chicken and pomegranate sauce, biscotti, bread and salad. Second course was beef cooked in wine, broccoli, carrot, mushrooms, rice, and the fabulous 'lozenge' (sp?) - otherwise known as 'Roman macaroni', made with lasagne pasta but with a cheese and sugar filling. I'm sure I've made it sound disgusting, but trust me, it is fatally delicious. Desert was pears in wine, with squares of flaky pastry (think baklava but with cinnamon sugar instead of honey), and 'snow' which was cream with rose water and sugar.

During the feast, the Baron and Baroness held court. They awarded a Tour d'Or to Ignatius and Lady Eydis, and a bardic prize to Mielikko.


The main event of Sunday was the 'superboffer tournament' - a chance to thump each other with relative abandon. I had to prepare lunch but took the chance to dress up fierce and beat up the Baroness and Baron's lovely daughter. After many bouts, Domenico was declared the victor.


After further repast - mostly deja vu food - all the superheroes turned back into their normal selves and dispersed back from whence they had come...

If your desire for gratuitous photography is not yet sated, more can be seen here:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ribald Latin live onstage!

Binge-drinking, rampant sex, problem gambling and very loud singing: a particularly torrid night at Dunedin Casino? Illegal student partying in darkest Castle St? No: this is in fact a fairly accurate description of a recent concert at Dunedin Town Hall, attended by a discerning audience of Dunedin's most morally upright arts lovers.

On 9 August, the Southern Sinfonia and no fewer than three choirs performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in all its glorious strangeness. Dunedin medievalists may recall Olim lacus colueram, the song sung by a roasted swan, which Carol and I recited at our last Christmas revel. At the concert, it was given a wonderfully creepy rendition by tenor John Murray. Other highlights included lovely countertenor singing by the baritone, Jared Holt; some wildly inappropriate lines sung by the Children's Chorus ("Cupid thus everywhere seized by desire/Young men and women are rightly coupled"); and the famously rousing ode to Fortune, the capricious presiding goddess of this work. Thanks to a very useful book recommended to me by Mistress Katherina, I was able to check up on the pronunciation of the Latin in the performance, which was indeed accurate for a thirteenth-century German text.

Carmina Burana is based on a collection of poems thought to have been written by the goliards, described in the programme notes as "vagrant monks" (and we are not unfamiliar with that particular species. I think you all know who I'm referring to). Carl Orff discovered the poems in 1935 and seized the opportunity to set them to "a music more closely related to speech and gesture and situation." For this performance, the stage was packed with well over 200 instrumentalists and singers, including our much-appreciated spinet player, Alan Edwards, who sang with Dunedin City Choir. Luckily, the hall itself was equally crowded, and the nearly full house responded to the performance with great enthusiasm.

It was fantastic to see how exciting such odd source material can be when it is handled well. These poems could easily have languished in an archive, or a little-read scholarly edition of medieval poetry. Instead, they have been given a new lease of life thanks to Orff's talent and imagination: a very inspiring and highly successful piece of creative anachronism.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August "From the Tower"

The August issue of FTT is now on-line

Included in this issue:

- two dances for the upcoming Florentine Ball
- "the Wearing of the Garb"
- event information for the Collegium and Ball
- details regarding the St Crispin's Event
- Caidan Scroll Project

as well as the regular features such as officer
columns, Baronial classifieds, Mind Your Manners
and council minutes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Monarchs and revised Kingdom Law

Bartholomew, Baron of Southron Gaard to the populace, greetings,

Be it known that just over a week ago in the Barony of Aneala, King
Berenger and Queen Bethan yielded the Throne of Lochac to Their
Majesties King Siridean and Queen Siban, whose likeness may be found

Their Majesties will be visiting our neighbours for the Bal d'Argent
and Ildhafn Baronial Investiture, to be held in Ildhafn in September.
Therefore please remember to forward to Them any recommendations you
may have been planning to write.

Be it also known that at Midwinter Coronation, a great many changes
to Kingdom Law were promulgated and first of one particular new award
- the Pride of Lochac (a household award) -- was granted.

The new Book of Kingdom Law may be found here:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Congratualtions to Mielikko

Oy-YouLot Oi-YouLot
(Which was how I started announcements at CollegeWar.)
We started with the forming of alliances for the war.

I gave a long long speech including reference to the relic I produced
from my pouch (a sprig of leafy greenness which sprouted forth from St
Aldhelm's staff having taken root during a similarly long sermon he
gave) and refered to a seriese of communications to and fro between
myself and your first Sen, about the possibility of the war being over
who is the coldest group in Lochac (Whereupon you lot got snowed in for
a week) and both of us fighting for the Blue and yellow (though I said
you were yellow and blue and we were blue and yellow - there is always
next year in Stormhold as St Bartholemew are running ) So St Kessog were
allied to St Aldhelm and the other colleges St Malachy, St Guildas the
Wise, St Bartholemew and St Heironemus (who were also absent but sent
entries) against St Ursula (boo) and St Augustine (also boo).

Your College entry
a Sonnet about Queen Bethan (an ex Ursulan)
by lord Mielikko

was read by Lord Anton de Stott and was

and I am not refering to the warm fireside we sat around while listening
-5deg outside.

The sonnet won first place in the written poem competition.
Can someone send me an address to where I can forward an event token and
A&S first prize button (instead of tassle) ?

Well Done Mielikko.
3 Chears for Mielikko
Winner of the bardic competition
Hip Hip
Gabrielle of the Marshes

Sonnet in Praise of the Queen

In Praise of Bethan

Behold our Faerie Queen of southern lands,
More regal than the jewels of star-lit crown
Her throne so fair endures while Lochac stands;
Across the seas her beauty births renown.
Her wisdom turns most bitter strife to peace,
Yet master is this maid with singing bow:
In battle-storm her aim will never cease
To fell bold knights and bring stout foemen low.
The might of badger-folk is at her call
The strong of Brockwood strive at her behest
While gallant huntsmen thunder round her hall
In fabled song of fateful vulpine quest.
When six-month summer draws to final close
This Kingdom shall long mourn this queenly rose.

(Sonnet type: Shakesperian. Fourteen line iambic pentameter with rhyme
scheme ababcdcdefefgg).


Persona Development

From the Baroness:

Greetings good gentles,
There was some interest at Stuff Night last night, as part of Lady
Veronica's most excellently thorough discourse on heraldry, on the nature of
persona and how to go about shaping that.
I can throughly recommend as a very thought-provoking introduction, the
Who Are You? The Art of Persona Development, by Lady Arnora Dunestan

Available from:

It's a really good look at how to approach persona play, from the very
beginnings of thinking about when and where and who you are right through to
considering all manner of details of your period life.
Don't feel you have to do it all, by any means, but one of the things that
having a persona story can do is provide some direction for A&S projects,
both small and large.
Something as simple as finding out what coins you would have used can be fun,
as well as giving you a greater sense of connection to a period time andplace.
Check it out -- and remember, it's fun!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Mielikko's Mid-afternoon Reflections

The Dunedin Public Library was running a little event to encourage poetry
among the public, by providing a little bit of card to submit a poem on
(the idea being that you put the card in a box, so that this weekend it
will appear on a 'poetry curtain'). I took one of the cards to work with
me, and ended up writing the following sonnet on it. Basically, it's a
description of the view from an ODT window at 4:30 p.m. on a typical
Dunedin day in late June/early July.

Mid-afternoon Reflections

Beyond grey battlements and towers' frown
The sleepy winter sun has bade farewell
While night-time rides to claim its starry crown
And interregnum twilight casts its spell.
The wafting currents, land of flags and gulls,
Invade and harry hapless city street:
They pillage inbetween the briefest lulls
And pounce upon the prey they chance to meet.
So far above, the madman's brush-stroke clouds
Are scattered 'cross the sky like battle-slain:
So tugged and torn, these shreds of tomb-grey shrouds,
These phantoms of some long-forgotten rain.
While desk is lit with glint of dusky gleam,
My mind's ablaze with fiery sparks of dream.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From Wynflaed's Blog - Castleburn's Cockatrice Weekend June '08

Finally something to brighten the Bleak Midwinter! Castleburn's Midwinter Festival, Cockatrice, was held in Dunedin city this year to take advantage of/participate in the Dunedin Festivities. This was great for me, as it meant it was cheap to attend, I didn't have to travel, and I could just potter along to things as suited.
Events began on Friday night, with a 'A Midwinter Feast of Medieval and Renaissance Delights": a concert in the crypt of St Pauls'. A lot of people put in a big effort and there was also a sizeable turnout of paying public, which was good to see.
Saturday there were classes all day, which I mostly did not attend as I'd been along when they were first run at Canterbury Faire. I did, however, attend Lord Tristram's Gregorian Chant Class, to learn the Latin song we'd be performing in the lantern parade.
After classes was an encore performance of the puppet play of Dr Faustus, again very well attended. I reprised my cameo as Lechery - and it was just amazing how many boys came up to talk to me afterwards...

Then we headed down to assemble for the lantern parade. I took my chances while we were milling around to take some pics of other groups who would be performing in the parade. The giant lanterns are always a highlight, but there were stilt walkers, dancers, all sorts.

The parade itself was a success as far as I could tell - I was squinting at my songsheet in the dark the whole time while trying not to trip over or run into the person in front of me. After the fireworks had finished, we went off to feast. Another delicious meal in lovely company. The highlights were the 'roast peacock' and an encore performance of the Cockatrice shadow play. I reprised Constance's song 'The Wearing of the Garb'.

On Sunday we met at St Lees for rapier and heavy fighting. I stood by to tend to the slain, but alas, there were none. Ignatius authorised in rapier, and Lady Eydis got started in heavy, which was exciting.

From Wynflaed's Blog - Castleburn's St Patricks Weekend March '08

Just got back from Castleburn's most excellent St Patrick's weekend camp. We went for Friday night-Sunday early afternoon to Waianakarua - about 50 mins north or Dunedin and 15 mins out of Oamaru. The campsite was based around what I guess was once a big old homestead, but now houses the main camp facilities (kitchen,dining etc) and then there were other prefab bunkrooms/shower blocks dotted round the site.

Here is the main house:

The site was really lovely - trees around the main house and then a big paddock near a river. Only 10 of us actually stayed the whole time which meant we just about each had a bunkroom to ourselves. I know some people still had trouble sleeping on the bedwetter-protected plastic mattresses but I slept pretty well both nights which was a pleasant surprise.

Friday was mostly setting up and mucking around. After soup and rolls we had some dancing outside (by the light of some braziers - too dark to take photos) culminating, naturally, in a period performance of the 'Time Warp'; and an Irish joke telling session that was pretty appalling. Here is our jester, Giome, looking horrifyingly jocund:

On Saturday morning we had the 'hunt for the last serpent in Ireland' in the 'leprechaun forest'. Alisdair found the serpent. Here he is looking smug:

The rest of us found clues and small treasures. After getting fed up with skidding down the hillside in my superslippy leather shoes, I was directed to find a silver four leaf clover necklace that I am most chuffed with. Other people found chocolate coins, a pin cushion, a trinket box and other such bits and pieces.

Midday Saturday we had a most excellent picnic down by the river. Here are pics of the repast and the picnickers.

After lunch we were entertained by a most superlative puppet show of Dr Faustus:

Once upon a time there was a learned man called Dr Faustus. He had conquered all conventional fields of knowledge and considered taking up magic. Here the good angel is trying to encourage him to give up the idea while the bad angel is egging him on.

He decides to go for it and summons up a devil, Mephistopholes, with whom he signs a contract - Mephistopholes will supply him with everything he wants for a specified time after which he will have to surrender up his soul. Here he is with Mephistopholes and with the devil wife he is offered.

Lucifer shows up (the big red guy in the background of the next shot) and the seven deadly sins are paraded for Faustus's entertainment. Here Constance is being pride and waving her fan, Emilio is ready to be wrath with his case of rapiers, and Wynflaed in her mask was Lechery - oh the unjust typecasting! Then Dr Faustus rides around the world on his dragon.

Then he gets Mephistopholes to make him invisible so he can go to Rome and play a naughty joke on the Pope. Here is the Pope and the legates. The joke goes wrong and Dr F kills the Pope and then is cursed by these monks (he is under his invisibility cloak - think Harry Potter).

Around about this time Dr F's time runs out and the devils come and take him to hell.

After the puppets, people practiced fencing and archery while I did some embroidery and waited patiently for them to injure each other - but ah, it was not to be.

All the while, our most magnificent cook, Margret, was preparing the feast. She takes dressing up to a whole new level. Here are a couple of her outfits:

Apparently the long overdresses with gaping holes at the sides were called 'The Gates of Hell'. Gotta get me one of those, sounds like a vital accessory for Lechery anywhere... I

Anyway, we had a most excellent and 'high proportion of green' feast:

After dinner we had songs - including a very clever one written by Constance to the tune of 'The Wearing of the Green'.

Historically authentic garb is worn in SCA
I planned to make a stunning gown and show it off today
No more cotton, no synthetics, silk and linen are for me
For garb should mingle elegance with authenticity.

I went to all the fabric shops, I searched all over town
And bought expensive fabric for a grand Renaissance gown
But I spilled my cup of coffee, and it left an ugly stain
Alas for my Venetian gown with sweeping skirt and train

So I made a linen tunic - it wasn't very grand
But at least it was authentic, for I sewed it all by hand
But I used last summer's pattern, and I've put some kilos on
So the tunic didn't fit me when I came to try it on

I still had scraps of fabric so I made a Tudor hat
But when I wasn't looking it was eaten by the cat
No more fabric, no more money - I was tearing out my hair
I couldn't face St Patrick's Day with no new garb to wear

Then up popped a leprechaun who said "Why this distress?"
You already have authentic garb beneath your modern dress
Come, lay aside your needle, and let your spirits lift
Medieval girls wore skin like yours beneath the linen shift."

As you see, my dress is cotton, my shift's sewn by machine
But the layer beneath's authentic, although it can't be seen
It was good enough in time gone by, it's good enough for me
Skin was worn by every body in every century.