Tales of RencesterThis page is dedicated to the history of Rencester. The stories below the outline are left in their original form to preserve the authenticity. (Any former members who are visiting this page are encouraged to add thier story by emailing your name, SCA name, years in Rencester, which office you held if any, and memories and stories relating to the College to firstname.lastname@example.org so we might be able to have a more complete history.)
Prehistory Taken from Evan da Collaureo: "One day in late 1987, when it was raining for about the zillionth weekend in a row, Alys of Foxdale and I looked at each other and said in exasperated chorus, "This place is Rain City!" Pregnant silence as the mental light bulb clicked on... then Alys got up and headed for the bookshelf just as I said "Go get your Old English textbook..." and we looked up the Anglo-Saxon for "Rain City." Thus was the Village of Rencester christened, long before we even had an actual group to name. In the fall of 1989, enter Gwion ap Owen. He wanted very much to start an SCA group, and got about half of his dorm interested in it. Gwion knew what to do on the SCA side of things; I knew how to jump through the hoops on the College side. We set up a more-or-less regular schedule for business meetings. In between them, some minor activities were staged, at first under the auspices of the Science Fiction Club (of which Alys was president) until Rencester got its official College Group Status approved a year later." History. January 1990 - Interbaronial 12th Night. Credentials presented to Baron Tnek and Baroness Tannis. 1990 - Group started by Lord Gwion ap Owen and Duchess Ysabeau Cameron. Gwion as the first Seneschal. Ciaran O'Conaire: Herald. Catriona O'Ceirin: Exchequer. Julian Annabel Urquart: A&S Minister. Torril: Marshal Catriona/Stephen Walerand: Chronicler. The Deluge was named. Fall 1990 - First Rencester Demo. Sunken Gardens. December 1990 - Marinus Winter Revel. Gwion received his Award of Arms. 1991 - Lady Catriona O'Ceirin: Seneschal. Lady Griseldis Faulkner: Herald. Lord Toril Jorvik: Knight Marshal. Stephen Walerand: Chronicler. Celine Doucerain: Minister of Arts and Sciences. Nov 1991 - One blossoming fighter actually killed Sir Tnek during a tournament. (Lady Muireann ni Riordain) December 1991 - Rencester, College of. Name and device. Azure, goutty d'eau, a candle fesswise enflamed at both ends proper atop a candlestick within a laurel wreath Or. Passed. Spring 1992 - Rencester hosted Tir-Y-Don's Baronial Birthday with Michael of Bedford was King then, and I think Seonaid was queen. (Lady Muireann ni Riordain) Rencester had a picnic, just for the local folks. 1993 - Hosted a Scribes' and Heralds' Symposium. 1993-1994 - Lady Muireann ni Riordain: Seneschal. William of Rencester: Exchequer Thomas Lyon of Braemar: MoAS. Tlachtga ni Faoilain: Chronicler. Summer 1993 - Rencester at Pennsic. Fall 1993 - Demo in the Sunken Gardens. Antonio Fioretto became our rapier marshal. (Lady Muireann ni Riordain) Rapier practices started. Held by Antonio Fioretto. Dance practices started. Spring 1994 - First Rencester Faire. Antonio was the autocrat. This was the year that the College came out of incipiency and was granted full status as a group. 1994-1995 - Anne Seville: Deputy Seneschal. Hosted session of Atlantian University. Thomas Lyon of Braemar autocrat. 1994-1996 - Lord Basil Rattenbury: MoAS Rebbah Qaylah bint Aamir: MoL March 1995 - Lady Muireann ni Riordain received her Award of Arms and was also awarded the Swan and Cygnet by Earl Quentin and Countess Cara Marie for her service with the College. Spring 1998 - Informal Picnic in Sunken Gardens. Cosponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club. 1999 - 2000 - Yael bat Boaz: Seneschal. Carolyn Tepolt: Exhequer. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Webminister. Sorcha ingen Dhara mhic Seaichasaigh: Moas. Dave 'Twit' Berry: Scribe. Ersebet Feyerwary: Herald. Hunter Keeton: Chronicler. 2000 - 2001 - Yael bat Boaz: Seneschal. Phoebe Williams: Deputy Seneschal. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Exhequer. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Webminister. Sorcha ingen Dhara mhic Seaichasaigh and Megan Poppe: Moas. Dave 'Twit' Berry: Scribe. Muireadhach Oh Eidneachain: Herald. April 8, 2000 - Rencester Spring Faire in Sunken Gardens. Pennsic 2000 - Yael bat Boaz receives Award of Arms. March 24, 2001 - Rencester Homecoming. Autocrat: Iollann mac a Phearsoin Winner of Scavenger Hunt: Avelyn of Kenningron Heavy Champion: Wulfric Adler Rapier Champion: Gavin of Isefir Food Competition: Tymteousz Konikrad Trivia Contest: Alys of Foxdale Children's Courtesy: Arlen of Berly Cort Children's Champion: Arlen of Berly Cort Rencester Champion: Jean Claude de Calais 2001 - 2002 - Phoebe Williams: Seneschal. Alex Stevens: Exhequer. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Webminister. Avelyn of Kennington: Moas. Dave 'Twit' Berry: Scribe. Muireadhach Oh Eidneachain: Herald. March 2002 - Iollann mac a Phearsoin receives Swan and Cygnet. Phoebe of Isenfir receives Award of Arms. April 2002 - Carolyn of Rencester receives Swan and Cygnet. Rencester Tornement Dæg Rencester Champion: Sebastin Alexander December 2002 - Rencester hosts Unevent. March 2003 - Rencester Celebration of Spring Rencester Champion: Mattaeus du Puy. A&S Competition: Arianwen ferch Llawen (embroidery) Bardic Competition: Aylwin Thorvaldson Poetry Competition: Lady Anne Davis Harwood and Rachel Heavy Champion: Rapier Champion: Dante Di Pietro Habbib the Yak-Boy receives Swan and Cygnet. At the Tir-y-Don Baronial Birthday and Innvestiture: Phoebe of Isenfer receives Swan and Cygnet. Avelyn of Kennington receives Award of Arms. Keelin Mirymuth become barional rapier champion. 2002 - 2003 - Phoebe Williams: Seneschal. Keelin Mirymuth: Exhequer. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Webminister. Megan Gallagher: MoAS. Dave 'Twit' Berry: Scribe. Dave Hoover: Herald. 2003 - 2004 - Rebecca Simmons: Seneschal. Keelin Mirymuth: Exhequer. Iollann mac a Phearsoin: Webminister. Megan Gallagher: MoAS. Marc Lauterbach: Herald. October 2003 - Keelin Mirymuth recieves Coral Brach, Kingdom Arts and Science Award. March 2004 - Rebekah of Samandar receives AoA. Lachlann McQuhollaster receives Coral Brach, Kingdom Arts and Science Award. March 20, 2004 - Rencester Celebration of Spring Rencester Champion: Magdalena la Nadie A&S Competition: Ljufvina Bjornsdottir Bardic Competition: Miureen Fidalma O'Malley Poetry Competition: Ruth Simmons Heavy Champion: Jean Claude de Calais Rapier Champion: John Forneau Keelin Mirymuth receives Swan and Cygnet, Baronial Service Award Watkyn of Kent receives Order of the Whelk, Barional Art and Science Award Rebekah of Samandar receives Swan and Cygnet, Baronial Service Award Maeve MacBradaigh receives Swan and Cygnet, Baronial Service Award Lachlann McQuhollaster inducted into the Academie d'Espee
Lady Muireann ni Riordain. Received 3/15/00.
It just so happens that I am a former seneschal of Rencester. I don't know how much of the history of Rencester you already know, so I'll just do a bit of a brain dump. I joined the College in 1991, when I was a freshman. The group had been started a year or two before by Lord Gwion ap Owen, who is brother to Baroness Caitlyn o'Duirnin (former baroness of Ponte Alto) and Duchess Ysabeau Cameron (former Queen of the East and Atlantia - sadly no longer active but a very cool lady, she has been playing literally since before I was born). Gwion was the first seneschal. When I joined, Lady Catriona O'Ceirin was seneschal - she's no longer active either... she joined the Peace Corps. ;-) The group was still the *incipient* College of Rencester then. Lady Griseldis Faulkner was our herald. She went on to get her renban2's degree at Kalamazoo in Medieval History. Lord Toril Jorvik was our knight marshal for a brief time. Stephen Walerand was our chronicler. Celine Doucerain was our Minister of Arts and Sciences. There were a number of other people whose names I have forgotten. There were a bunch of us newbies that year... my very first event was at Tir-y-Don in November, but I can't remember what the event was. That's where I met Mistress Tannis, and I remember that one of our blossoming fighters actually killed Sir Tnek during the tournament. We were all terribly impressed. ;-) Rencester Singers was practicing fairly regularly, though I didn't join until later.
The spring of the following year (1992) we hosted an event.[Tir-Y-Don's Baronial Birthday] We held feast in Trinkle Hall, and I got tagged to serve high table (we even had real Royalty!). Michael of Bedford was King then, and I think Seonaid was queen. We served pears in custard and wine sauce for dessert (upon tasting it, Stephen proclaimed, "It doesn't suck."). We couldn't use the kitchen there, so we had to use the kitchens in the dorm across the street from the Campus Center (Jefferson) I remember juggling hot dishes all the way back to the feast hall for serving. I don't remember a whole lot else about that event. The year after that we hosted a scribes' and heralds' symposium, in Tucker. In true Rencester fashion, it poured. All day. The bread I bought at Food Lion to serve for lunch was moldy, only two days after I bought it. That was my first go at autocratting an event. It worked out pretty well, despite the bread.
The year after that, I became seneschal. Most of the people who started off the group had graduated by now. We were still getting some new folks each year. William of Rencester was our exchequer (now is the seneschal of the canton of Sudentur). Thomas Lyon of Braemar was our MoAS. Tlachtga ni Faoilain was our chronicler. We continued to do a fall demo in the Sunken Gardens. Antonio Fioretto became our rapier marshal (we no longer had a heavy marshal, due to Lord Toril going off to the Bahamas or somewhere to study archeology). We hosted the first Rencester Faire that spring (1994). Antonio was the autocrat. I painted some scrolls to award to winners of the tournament and competition (pretty awful scrolls they were, too). Contrary to Rencester tradition, the weather was nice. This was the year that the College came out of incipiency and was granted full status as a group.
[We are so lucky that it hadn't rained for weeks! Classes were held in Chancellors (now Tyler) and Tucker, but troll, commons, and some classes were in Washington. That meant *everyone* would have to cross the Sunken Gardens, which is usually the Sunken Swamp in early April -- but not that year. Not that many people noticed the panic going on behind the scenes, which means you were doing a pretty good job.]
The following year was my senior year. A lady whose name I can't remember became my deputy (Anne Seville was her mundane name) and she became seneschal when I graduated. That year we were contacted by Henry Best, who was Chancellor of the Atlantian University at that time. He wanted us to host the next session of University because we had such a lovely picturesque campus, etc. Like the silly people we were, we said, "Sure!" =P This was the most disastrous event we put on, even though it was probably fine for everyone who attended. We were thoroughly unprepared for the children's activities (which I suspect is why you all are being very careful about that now!).
Around the same time is when I got my AoA, at Tir-y-Don's Baronial Birthday event in March of 1995. Thorbrandr and Eorann were on the throne at the time. Now my housemate is squired to Thorbrandr. I was also awarded the Swan and Cygnet by Earl Quentin and Countess Cara Marie for my service with the College. That was a good event.
Received from Evan da Collaureo on 7/19/00.
My name is Evan da Collaureo, and I was around when It All Got Started -- at least as far as Rencester is concerned. I'd love to hear from the other founders if for no other reason than to fill out the history.Prehistory
I joined the SCA in AS 20 or 21 (1986 Gregorian) up in Isenfir, after the Isenfiri helped my choir put on our annual Renaissance Madrigal Dinner. Baroness Miriam Rachel bat Mordecai was there, and we've remained in touch all the way down to the present day.
I finished my renban2's, and moved back to Williamsburg to be with my lady wife, Alys of Foxdale. Lord Cormac macCliuin (spelling mangled, I know) also moved from Isenfir into the area. And we found one SCAdian among the new freshman class that fall, Cwenhere d'Hauteville (now Cynegyth). Four people: one too few to start a group. And that's where it stayed for 2 years, with us traveling to downtown Tir-Y-Don as and when we could.
One day in late 1987, when it was raining for about the zillionth weekend in a row, Alys and I looked at each other and said in exasperated chorus, "This place is Rain City!" Pregnant silence as the mental light bulb clicked on... then Alys got up and headed for the bookshelf just as I said "Go get your Old English textbook..." and we looked up the Anglo-Saxon for "Rain City." Thus was the Village of Rencester christened, long before we even had an actual group to name.The Beginning
In the fall of 1989, enter Gwion ap Owen, scapegrace little brother to Duchess Ysabeau Cameron (twice Queen of the East and once Princess of Atlantia), starting his college career at W&M. He wanted very much to start an SCA group, and got about half of his dorm (Taliaferro) interested in it, including my little sister (by collegiate adoption) Karen, known in the SCA as Griseldis Falkner. Gwion knew what to do on the SCA side of things; I knew how to jump through the hoops on the College side. We set up a more-or-less regular schedule for business meetings. In between them, some minor activities were staged, at first under the auspices of the Science Fiction Club (of which Alys was president) until Rencester got its official College Group Status approved a year later. The one that sticks in my mind most was the showing of Olivier's "Henry V" (this was while Branagh's version was still in the theatres), which involved my pulling more strings than most people knew existed in order to resolve serious technical difficulties.
Of course, at some point we would need to draw up a slate of officers. Gwion was the obvious choice for first seneschal, as he knew what he was doing. His roommate Ciaran O'Conaire was herald, Catriona O'Ceirin handled the exchequer, and Julian Annabel Urquart was the A&S minister. It wasn't until rather later that we settled on a marshal (Torril) and a chronicler (first Catriona, then Stephen Walerand). I designed the boilerplate for an original newsletter, which underwent many changes by various people before becoming _The Deluge_. I still have the very first Deluge in my files, along with a lot of pre-Deluge letters; I'll see if I can get images for the Rencester web site.
We went as a group to Interbaronial 12th Night in January of 1990, and there before Michael and Seonaid (Crown Prince and Princess at the time) presented our credentials to Baron Tnek and Baroness Tannis. We were received with great excitement: I still get a rush from remembEring the VIVATs for the "Would-be College at Rencester!"
We attended several more events en masse that year: University in Caer Mear, Baronial Birthdays for both Tir-Y-Don and Marinus, Autumn Festival in Tir-Y-Don, and the Marinus Winter Revel that December where King Olaf gave Gwion his Award of Arms. For months after, all you had to do to make him blush was address him as "LORD Gwion," with heavy emphasis on that first word.
We also held the Very First Rencester Demo, on Alys' birthday in the fall of 1990, in the Sunken Gardens of course. Many gentles from Tir-Y-Don proper came up and helped us out. That demo got us an article in the Flat Hat, and quite a few new people!
Other highlights of the autumn as reported in the Deluge included the Best Excuse for Not Paying Taxes competition at the Marinus Birthday, where Gwion, Tannis and the Tir-Y-Don seneschal conspired to produce a truly pitiful list of hardships which ended "and we don't even live in your Barony!"; and a silly pentathlon for male-female teams, one of each couple being a fighter. Griseldis won a style-points award for that. She was paired with a fighter, I recall it was Tarn of No City (the Worst Avid Fighter in Atlantia) but Alys says it was Richard something-or-other. One of the five phases of the pentathlon involved the consort facing various obstacles in delivEring the fighter's helm to him/her, the fighter having "forgotten" to put it on before racing off. Griseldis' partner, when their turn came, called out to her "My lady, I've forgotten my helm!" to which she replied "Aye, and you'd forget your head!"What Happened After
In 1991 we again went to the usual events in Tir-Y-Don and Marinus, and got all our paperwork through for official Incipient status. There was considerable officer turnover in the fall, as Catriona became seneschal, Sybyl Lleuwellyn took her place at the exchequer, Celine Doucerain became the A&S minister, and Griseldis Falkner took over as herald. There were at least 8 different activities going on every month, some of them every week. I was busy moving to Stierbach and couldn't attend most of the activities, so with the exception of events I must leave the story to others now.Okay, I've said my piece. Anyone else out there with Tales of Rencester to tell?
Received from Lord Thomas Lyon of Braemar. (Thomas Gideon) on 8/7/00.
I first got involved with Rencester my freshman year (1991). I remember going to the Fall demo that year, encouraged by a couple of friends from Taliafierro, neither of whom ended up joining the SCA. I went to a couple business meetings in the Spring, if I remember right, and even the event in Trinkle, Tir-y-don's Baronial Birthday.
It wasn't until the following year, in the Spring of 1992, that I really got much more involved. Rencester had a picnic, just for the local folks. There I met a distant cousin of mine, by way of my Scottish descent, who really helped get me get jump started in the society: Myles of Falconhold. He'd apparently met some of the other new Rencesters at Twelfth Night that year.
I even met some of the original Rencesters who graduated that following year. I went to Pennsic the Summer of 1993 with Ladies Sybyl and Cynegyth. Griseldis and I are still good friends and I was Celine's deputy the following year. I also remember Toril Jarvik, our sometime marshal and local brewer. He gave me my first mead recipe and oft spoke of wanting to concoct a peanut butter stout.
In the Fall of 1993, I remember going to the first rapier practices held by Antonio Fioretto in the Sunken Gardens. Antonio and I were good friends at the time, one of our favorites jokes was that we were violating the College charter by duelling on campus. We had a goodly handful of people show for practices on a regular basis that year.
I served as deputy MoAS under Celine that year, 1993/1994. She ran a wonderful dance practice--it was in one of the row houses across Jamestown Road from the campus. I am happy to say I was able to keep the dance practices going the following year, 1994/1995, after she graduated, in the basement of the Campus Center. We had excellent turn out, I distinctly remember calling Rufty Tufty with two complete sets of dancers (16 people) at one point. We even had quite a few folks turn out in garb for practices, at the encouragement of myself and my lady.
I was the poor bastard who autocrated the University Murieann mentioned, as well. I recall that I almost decked Henry over some stupid comment he made that I took far too personally. Apparently he felt that not being able to hold all the classes in any one building, rather having to split them across three, was far from acceptable. Henry, however, never had to deal directly with the campus administration to make the reservations--Muireann did most of that front running, as I recall. It wasn't easy, especially for an event the size of University.
Received from Rebbah Qaylah bint Aamir. (Stephanie Smith) on 12/27/00.
Basil and I were the old farts in the group when we were there in 1993-1996 while I was in law school. I cooked my first feast in Renchester, a cold feast where my on site kitchen in Trinkle Hall consisted of some partitions and a few tables. I remember well the much talked about University, especially for a funny incident. Things were getting tense at lunch time and a bunch of us had gone down to The Cheese Shop for lunch. On the way back we stopped in the old campus section to eat, that's when a group of Japanese tourists asked me if they could take a picture. Four girls, and they each insisted on taking separate photos with me, probably not realizing my Italian Ren. was out of date by about 300 yrs from the rest of the colonial section. Renchester Unfair was so cold that the ranger at the boy scout camp caught us in the kitchen between cooking huddling around open stoves for warmth, and just laughed, and I still don't see why Their Excellancies, Otto and Sara wouldn't eat my heraldically decorated strawberry pie. I also think the attendance at dance practice after Thomas graduated was not due to Basil and my great teaching, but for the show that was our arguments about how the dances went, until one of us picked up the manual and shouted to the other...SEE!
Recieved from Suzanne Grobbel on 1/11/01
I was also at Rencester in the Bad Old Days. I joined in the college's 2nd year as Celine Doucerain, and was thereafter MOAS for the College, and received Tir-Y-Don's Swan and Cygnet from Quentin and Cara.
My amusing "founding of Rencester" story is that in the fall of the year the College was founded, I attended a "prospective student weekend" in the fall, where they put us up with the then-freshmen in Taliaferro. I stayed with Liz Rettenmeier (Catriona O'Ceiran). I asked her whether there was an SCA group at or near W&M."A what?" she said.
I explained it.
"No, nothing like that. Never heard of it."
By the next fall, when I actually attended, she was in the thick of it, sitting at the table at Activities Night...and by the following year, she was Seneschal...
These days I am not active in the SCA, but I am flirting with La Belle Compaignie, a 14th century group that includes a number of former Rencester folks (Eric Johnson, founding seneschal; Alex Bradley, Dori Bradley).Glad to see the group is still hanging in there.
Update recieved 4/30/03
Well, i was the one who ran the first dance practices (Thomas Gideon mentions it in his entry); they were held at Wesley House, mainly for the happy combination of easy access from campus, a wooden floor, and the fact that it was free. And somewhere in there i got a Swan and Cygnet, too ('long about running the baronial birthday, which we did on a sort of mini-university plan, with Toril Jarvik running the fighting, myself putting together the workshops, classes, programming, and general stuff, and Christmas Johnson (whose SCA name, if he used one, eludes me entirely) more-or-less coordinating the feast.
The first couple years, under Dori, the Rencester Singers were quite active, but as they did strictly a capella, and there's a really good reason i'm an instrumentalist, i wasn't in on that...
Azami (the SCA household of Duchess Ysabeau Cameron and Earl Laeghaire O'Laverty) really fostered lots of the early Rencester folks, particularly through their SEP [Sweat Expense Person] set-up at Pennsic, which allowed many a poor, starving student to attend Pennsic, eat really well, and most often live under period canvas. The Azami camp was a pretty swell example of the extent to which it was possible to live quite comfortably while keeping as many things as possible in period. Gwion was a member going into it, of course, since Ysabeau was his oldest sister. After my first Pennsic, Ysabeau and Laeghaire invited me to join the household, and eventually the lot included Catriona (Liz), Cynegyth (Dori), and Ceiran (Alex) as well. There are some really good stories to be had from the Azami camps at Pennsic, but they're not purely a Rencester item.