Many Wellesley students spent Fall Break visiting other places, but those who remained on campus found themselves visiting another century when the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) staged a medieval tournament on Munger Meadow Saturday afternoon. The Tourney for the Kingdom's Finest, as the event was known, drew over 250 people from across New England to fight, feast, and pay homage to the King and Queen of the East Kingdom.
The SCA is dedicated to learning about the middle ages by recreating them within the limits of fun and safety. Members take on medieval names and personas, pretending to be someone who might have lived in Europe or any culture that had contact with Europe from between roughly 600 and 1600 A.D. Accuracy is encouraged, but there are limits: for example, women are permitted to fight in tournaments, something rare in the real middle ages. The Boston area also has a medieval name, the Barony of Carolingia; Wellesley College is the Borough of Felding. They are in the East Kingdom, which covers New England, some surrounding states, bits of Canada, and Europe. There are twelve SCA kingdoms in all, and the group has an estimated 30,000 official and unofficial participants around the world.
During the afternoon tournaments, the knights, dressed in padded suits of armor, battled using swords made of rattan. Across the field fencers dueled using weapons in both hands, unlike modern fencers. The noncombatants cheered the fighters, played medieval games such as bocce, sorted through the wares of visiting merchants, and enjoyed the sunny (if somewhat cool) day outside.
In the evening, a feast was served to 200 people in Alumnae Hall: bread, butter, stew, honey-lemon tarts, apple salad, and other medieval recipes had been created under the direction of head cook Peter McA'Nulty (called Dhughall in the SCA). Afterward the tables were cleared so that Their Majesties Morguhn and Maurya, King and Queen of the East, might hold court. Many awards for service and talent in the arts were given out. In addition, Barbara, the wife of Baron Sir Patri du Chat Gris, the Baron of Carolingia, was invested with the title of Baroness. This court was followed by dancing, until the clock struck eleven and a host of volunteers began to clean the hall.
This tourney was the first experience in medieval recreation for Meredith Davis '93, a new member of the Felding Medieval Society (whose parent organization is the SCA). "It was weird, but cool," she said. "It was more realistic than I had expected; the costumes, the attitudes, and the behavior seemed accurate."
Jana Asher '92 organized the tournament, and, with the help of many volunteers, the members of the SCA succeeded in sending Wellesley College back a few hundred years - for a little while.
Melissa Honig '90
The Official Felding Transportation Corps* presents...
FELD-TREK brought to you by JQI Productions. Based on an idea by Meriadoc. Screenplay by Radegund von der Feuchtenstadt.
* The Official Felding Transportation Corps was created by Siubhan and Radegund at the December Fools' Event to recognize all the generous gentles who drive Feldings around. Their symbol is a black-and-yellow checkered armband, usually found hanging from the rear-view mirror. Bryan, a.k.a. Colin Ursell, almost outran the cops at 110 mph without even knowing they were following him while driving to an event in Florida.
"On a warm summer's eve, you'd expect Felding to be a place of quiet retreat, but, alas, not on this eve, for in the Great Hall of Tower Court a battle rages - a battle of boffer swords. In the Great Hall, I watch two gentle lords (Conan MacCruimein (Joe Gray) and George Maalouf) battle using tables and benches as stools and obstacles. As they prance around the room, the appropriateness of the setting engulfs me. Isn't this hall, with its high ceilings, heavy-laden chandeliers, large wooden tables and benches, and ornate carvings, so reminiscent of a medieval hall, the perfect place for a medieval duel?"
Provost: Radegund von der Feuchtenstadt
Steward: Emilia Mazzo Novella
Exchequer: Siubhan Gabriela NicCruimein de Pallacho
Chronicler: Cordelia McCulloch