Awards are an important part of the SCA. We are a volunteer organization, and the way we are “paid” is by the positive feeling we get by contributing to the SCA, whether at the local level, in the kitchen, as a kingdom officer, etc. Awards are a public “Thank You” or acknowledgement of accomplishments. (Although they don’t take the place of a personal, individual, word or note – so don’t forget to say “Great Event” to an event steward or send a “Loved your Feast” email to a cook!). Awards are also an encouragement to a person to continue in the same vein or direction. Awards are given at the pleasure of the Crown, but the Crown can’t be everywhere, or see the contributions of every member of the populace. The only way They know if a gentle is worthy is if They receive recommendations for that person, recommendations from people such as you.
TYPES of AWARDS
At the first level, and recognized throughout the Knowne World, there’s the AWARD of ARMS. People typically get one within one to four years of joining the SCA, when the’ve shown reasonable interest, become active and contributing members, and look like they are sticking around.
At the highest level, there are the PEERAGES – the Orders of Chivalry, Laurel, and Pelican – which are also recognized throughout the Knowne World. They represent the three main areas of awards: Fighting, Arts & Sciences, and Service, respectively, and carry a PATENT of ARMS.
All kingdoms have awards that fall in between the AWARD of ARMS and the peerages. Usually the first lvel awards give an AWARD of ARMS if the person does not already have one.
Most kingdoms also have a series of GRANT LEVEL awards, giving a GRANT of ARMS with the specific award. A GRANT of ARMS falls between an AWARD of ARMS and a PEERAGE.
All kingdoms have a provision for giving a GRANT of ARMS that’s not attached to another award.
Some kingdoms break up A&S into awards for Arts abd different awards for Sciences. Some break up martial activities between chivalric, rapier, equestrian, and/or archery.
Finally all kingdoms have non-armigerous awards: those that don’t have attached an AWARD of ARMS, GRANT of ARMS, or a PATENT of ARMS.
The peerages are not simply kingdom awards; they are society orders. No peerage outranks any other, as they are all considered on an equal level. That is to say the standards and recognition for the peers are universal throughout the SCA; the only difference is the area of expertise. The three peerages are: the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, andthe Order of the Pelican.
The Order of Chivalry
Better known as knighthood or Mastery of Arms, these Gentles have earned the title of Knight or Master/Mistress of Arms through their fighting prowess, display of courtesy and chivalry, and usually some skill in one of the Arts and Sciences. To be a Knight, one must swear fealty to the Crown of the kingdom during the knighting ceremony. They wear a white belt, symbolizing chivalry’ an unadorned closed loop of chain, symbilizing fealty sworn to the Crown; and often spurs indicating their lineage back to the mounted knights of old, Regardless of gender, they are addressed as “Sir <name>”, though some female knights chose to use the title “Dame”. If when offered a knighthood, one chooses for whatever reason not to swear fealty to the Crown, the gentle can choose to become a Master or Mistress of Arms. They are essentially the same as a knight in most respects, except that they wear a whitebaldric (a belt worn over the shoulder) and they don’t wear the chain. Master of Mistresses of Arms are equal in rank to knights and are addressed as “Master/Mistress <name>”.
The Order of the Laurel
One becomes a Laurel for excellence and expertise in specific Arts & Sciences. These gentles have also spent countless hours researching their craft in order to achieve as accurate a method or appearance as possible, promoting the Arts & Sciences through teaching, and being able to document accurately any project they undertake. They most often wear a medallion adorned with a laurel leaf wreath. They can also wear a circlet of laurel leaves. They are usually addressed as “Master or Mistress <name> and styled with O.L. after their name.
The Order of the Pelican
the pelicans earn their title by virtue of tireless, unwavering service to their kingdoms and the Society. They wear a medallion bearing a mother pelican vulning itself(piercing her breast) to feed her young with her own blood. It is no wonder this emblem has come to represent the Pelicans. They are also entitled to wear what is called a “chapeau”, Like Laurels, they are usually addressed as “Master or Mistress <name> and can identify themselves with O.P. after their names.
PERSONAL AWARDS AND TITLES:
Corpora doesn’t spell out all of the awards that you may know about. Almost all awards are knigdom-specific and if you move from one kingdom to another, where you fit in will be determined by the heralds and any specific kingdom laws and policies. This is rather like trying to transfer university credits from one school to another, not all may transfer the way you would like.
An AWARD of ARMS is universally recognized in the Society. Corpora sets out the requirements and duties for another group of awards called the “PATENT ORDERS” (or sometimes the “bestowed peerages” as opposed to the “Royal Peerage”). According to Corpora, VIII.A.4, there are three: the Chivalry, the Order of the Laurel, and the Order of the Pelican. In certain kingdoms a person can receive a PATENT of ARMS when entering the RYAL PEERAGE or the Order of the Rose. Your kingdom law will specify if a PATENT of ARMS is grated on either of those occasions.
What does Armigerous mean?
It comes from the medieval term armiger meaning a person entitled to bear heraldic arms. In the SCA you will often hear the term armigerous in reference to some awards. Simply stated, these are the awards that grant the honoree the right to bear heraldic arms.
What are the general requirements for receiving a PATENT of ARMS?
There are eight, according to the Corpora. Members of the Chivalry, Laurel and Pelican all receive a PATENT of ARMS and must meet these general requirements. As mentioned, in certain kingdoms a Royal Peer or the Order of the Rose receive a PATENT of ARMS. They too must meet these general requirements. Kingdoms may make additional requirements for any of the Orders.
- Shall have been obedient to the governing documents of the Society and kingdom laws
- Shall have consistently shown respect for the Crown.
- Shall have set an example of courteous and noble behavior suitable to a peer.
- Shall have demonstrated support for the aims and ideals of the Society by being as authentic in dress, equiptment and behavior as within their power.
- Shall have shared their knowledge and skills with others.
- Shall have practised hospitality according to their means and as appropriate.
- Shall have made every effort to practice the skills desirable at a civilized court. This means that they should have some knowledge of a wide range of period forms including, but not limited to: literature, dancing, music, heraldry, chess, combat as practised in the Society.
- Should participate in Society recreations of several aspects of the culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Which Patent Order takes precedence over the other two?
None, the “Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group”. However, The Crown may “establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the knigdom”. (Corpora VIII.A.2)
What are some of the duties of the Chivalry?
- Set an example of courteous an chivalric conduct both on and off the field of honor.
- Respect the Crown, supporting and upholding the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
- Enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
- Ehance the renown and defend the honor of the peer’s Lady or Lord.
- Advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Chivalry.
- For Knights, to bestow the Accolade of Knighthood, either as a sovereign or acting directly for the Sovereign.