Thursday, August 22, 2013

Additional Peerage Proposal - request for commentary from the BOD

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Additional Peerage Proposal

The 2010 SCA Census showed strong levels of support for an additional peerage among those who responded to the survey. It also showed more support for a Rapier Peerage than for any other new order. Based on this and other feedback from the membership, the Board is considering the establishment of a new peerage and formed the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (APEC) to further explore the form that a new rapier peerage would take, as well as how the new peerage would impact the SCA’s governing documents.

The members of the committee included:
Tommy Conant (Sasha Gregor'evich Vilanov), Kingdom of Trimaris
Braddon Giles (Giles Leabrook), Kingdom of Lochac
Andrew Heinrich (Mateo Montero de Madrid), Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mark Kiel (Marcus Dundee), Kingdom of Trimaris
Matthew Mueller (Brannos O'Irongardail), The Middle Kingdom
Henrik Olsgaard (Henrik of Havn), Kingdom of the West
Matthew Parker (Saito Takauji), Kingdom of Calontir
Michael Perry (Kenric aet Essex), Kingdom of the East
Alissa Pyrich (Alys Mackyntoich), East Kingdom
Jay Rudin (Robin of Gilwell), Kingdom of Ansteorra
Jim Toscano (Giacomo Vincenti di Firenze), Kingdom of Atlantia
Salli Weston (Petranella Fitzallen of Weston), Kingdom of Northshield
William Wilson (Gwylym ab Owain), Kingdom of Atenveldt
Greg Wylie (Laertes McBride), Kingdom of Caid

At the July 2013 Board Meeting, the APEC proposed that the SCA Board of Directors create a new Patent-bearing Peerage Order parallel to the Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican. This Rapier Peerage would be for the related martial arts of rapier and all forms of cut & thrust in the SCA.

The Committee finalized a specific proposal, as well as a discussion of heraldic options, and a discussion of other issues involved. The APEC 7-2013 report recommended the creation of the new Peerage based on the following:

1. The definition of Peerage now accepted by many SCA members is more focused on rewarding excellence in Society activities in general than on the existing scheme of three Peerages.

2. The 2010 SCA Census showed strong levels of support for a peerage among those who responded to the survey. It also showed more support for a Rapier Peerage than for any other new order.

3. Many Rapier fighters have shown elite levels of martial expertise, leadership, service and honor on the Rapier field, comparable with the skills and comportment expected of peers. Many high-level Rapier fighters have already been awarded one of the existing peerages (usually the Pelican or the Laurel) for their contributions specifically to Rapier.

4. Many Crowns have people in their Kingdom that they believe are worthy of a peerage for their skills on the Rapier field, in addition to the other requisite Peerage qualities. They wish to elevate these people.

5. The varied top-level Rapier orders have demonstrated that there is a mission that can best be served by a body of elite Rapier fighters working in tandem with their Crowns. Some terminal-level rapier orders are often prevented from solving those problems because they do not have the imprimatur of a peerage.

6. Rapier has become a flourishing, vibrant and important component of the SCA’s activities, now found in one form or another in all kingdoms. A single SCA-wide Rapier Peerage will improve the practice of Rapier within the Society, thereby benefitting the Society overall.

7. The Rapier community needs a body that can solve problems, represent and maintain high standards, and communicate effectively with the Crown in the way that only peers can do. These problems often cross kingdom lines. There is therefore a strong need for a single SCA-wide order whose members are accepted in all kingdoms as leaders of the Rapier community.

8. Although individual kingdoms have adopted a variety of methods of recognizing top-level Rapier fighters, the existing kingdom-by-kingdom structure is not sufficient to the needs of the Society for the following reasons:

a) Existing armigerous and Grant level kingdom Rapier awards by nature and stature have a more fragile and less formal relationship with the Crown than those found among the peerages. Since not all existing kingdom Rapier awards carry the same degree of rank across kingdoms, this often prevents the Rapier community from addressing issues effectively across the Society.

b) Not all existing kingdom Rapier awards use the same standards for entry; again, this often impedes effective communications and problem-solving across kingdom lines.

The report from APEC also included a discussion of potential name, badge, and regalia for the Rapier Peerage. The related items that the Board of Directors has chosen to forward for broader review are:

1. Name: Order of the Masters of Defense. This name is patterned after the London Masters of Defense, a royally charted guild of teachers of fencing in England. The name is compatible with period naming practices for secular orders and is free of conflict with currently registered items in the SCA Ordinary and Armorial as of June 2013. The title for a member of the new Order would be Master or Mistress of Defense.

2. Badge: Three rapiers interlaced in pall inverted proper. This badge is intended to be representative of the various aspects of weaponry included in the new peerage.

3. Regalia: White or silver livery collar with badge of the Order depended from it. This form of regalia was in fashion throughout the later part of period, roughly contemporaneous with the appearance of swords identifiable as "rapiers." It is gender-neutral, and is intended to be easily visible on the field of combat, much like the regalia of Knights and Masters at Arms. Note that white or silver livery collars without the peerage badge pendant would not be in conflict.

The name and badge would require registration with the College of Arms. Additional heraldic protections, including the reservation of regalia, may also be necessary.

The summary of the required changes to Corpora if the additional peerage is implemented is as follows:

1. The definition of the Peerage in the Glossary would be expanded to include the new Rapier Peerage.

2. Section VIII.A.4 Patents of Arms would be expanded to include a section for the Rapier Peerage.

3. Section VIII.D.4 (Titles) would be amended to include the Rapier Peerage as using the titles Master/Mistress (and all alternative titles for Master/Mistress approved by the College of Heralds).

4. Section IX.C. "Rapier Fighting in the Society" would be removed, because an activity for which a peerage is awarded by the Society can no longer fairly be termed "ancillary." The existing Section IX.C would be replaced with a section that makes explicit that only Chivalric (rattan) combat can be used to select Crowns.

The Board of Directors is soliciting commentary from the membership on this proposal. Comments on this proposal are due by December 1, 2013. Please use the title "Additional Peerage Proposal" in the Subject line.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036

You may also email

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