[SCA-AE] Master & Mistress & a view on Land
donald.luby at gmail.com
Thu Apr 20 18:34:50 EDT 2006
On Apr 20, 2006, at 4:10 PM, fridrikr at rochester.rr.com wrote:
> That depends.....
> The Barons, in English history were actually the greatest land
> holders... remember the Baron's Revolt & the Magna Carta... the Dukes &
> Counts (& Princes & Viscounts) tended to be relatives of the Crown and,
> relative to the Barons, held little land & power.
Yes, but because the SCA covers more than just early medieval England,
we can't use that as a basis for our entire award structure. Just look
at later period England, or early medieval France, and it's clear that
there what we style 'Royal Peerages' held more land and power than
Barons (as a general rule), some even being almost independent states
(like Burgundy, Orleans, Lorraine, &c). I'm not familiar enough with
the structures in other countries (even 'normal' ones like Germany,
Italy, Spain, &c), but I'd be willing to bet that they didn't all fall
in line with that of Plantagenet England. So, early on, a choice was
made, and that's what we've been left with.
> In the SCA, however, the power comes from having won Crown, thus the
> Royal Peers rank higher in power (& in the Order of Things) than do
> Barons. Further, in the SCA, we have a seemingly unlimited number of
> Counts, Dukes, Viscounts, & Barons.
All very true. But, we're far more limited in the number of Royal
Peers than Barons - you get at most two per reign (we've actually
totalled 26 in 17 reigns as a kingdom, and 49 in 33 reigns as kingdom
and principality combined, so 1.5 per reign; the number of individuals
who were made Royal Peers is actually significantly smaller, because
Dukes are already Counts, and many of our Counts were also Viscounts -
only 19 distinct individuals made Royal Peers by Æthelmearc in its
entire history of 33 reigns, or less than 0.6 per reign), while we've
had on average 3.5 Court Barons per reign; it would seem logical (to
me, at least) that the rarer an award is, especially when considering
it to be of equal general rank, the more likely it is to be more highly
The most extreme example I can think of is the Jewel, which while by
Law it carries no Precedence whatsoever, is our most highly valued
award because of what it signifies and also because it can only be
given once per reign, and has been given only 20 times in 24 reigns; as
a side note, there have been 41 Landed Barons made since the creation
of the Jewel (33 of which are since we became a kingdom).
> Where this all started out, though, was not where do the Barons walk
> the Royal Peers, but where do the Barons walk wrt the NON-Royal Peers.
> There things are quite a bit murkier. In history, such folk would have
> been, the closest as I can draw the analogy, either Knights or Guild
> Masters/Mistresses. If we are looking at historical precedence, then
> The Landed Barons would have clearly ranked above the Non-Royal Peers.
> However, in the SCA, it's not all that clear.
That's certainly probably true. But it's not how the SCA award
structure was created - IMO if the only 'court' barons that had been
allowed had been retired Landed Barons, and either Barons were Peers,
or 'bestowed' Peers were not really 'Peers' as we view them today at
all, it would all fit together more cleanly. But we have to make do
with the situation we're given, since I doubt any major change to
correct all that is really going to happen at this point.
> That was the discussion I was looking for, I guess. Where do you place
> the Landed Barons wrt the Non-Royal Peers? How about the retired
> Barons? Why do you place the "plain" Court Barons behind the Grants,
> including the Grants Simple (those w/o an Order of High Merit)?
These sorts of questions I can answer more easily, because it comes
down to clean logic and structure - how an award of title is ranked is
determined by what level of arms the award or title itself bears, and
whether those sorts of arms are 'simple' or as part of an other award,
what level of group in the Society grants that award or title, in that
order, and organizing it accordingly.
The rankings of level of arms is Patent, Grant, and Award (not
historical, but it is the way the Society has placed them).
The level of group, as I called it starts with the Society as a whole,
then kingdoms, principalities, and baronies; shires, cantons and
colleges cannot give awards, and thus I did not include them in this
hierarchy. And, any order that confers arms should rank higher than
those arms 'simple', because clearly that order requires more of its
recipient than just receiving the 'simple' arms would.
Therefore, all awards and titles that come with a Patent are at the
top, and those are the Peerages, both Royal and 'bestowed', and
allowing for the irregularity of the Rose (which in some places does
come with a Patent, but is a Peerage regardless). All Peerages are
Society-wide, so there is no conflict there. By Society-wide custom,
of the Peerages, the Royal Peerages rank higher than the 'simple'
peerages, and in the order Duke, Count, Viscount. Royal Patents, even
though they can only be given with a Royal Peerage, are nonetheless
'simple', and thus rank below all of the 'bestowed' Peerages, which
inherently carry a Patent with them.
Next are the Grants. The only Society-wide Grant-level order or title
is the Landed Baron, so it should clearly go first of this group. Here
we happen to believe that a retired Landed Baron is more 'worthy' than
any of the kingdom's Grant-level awards, so it goes next; one could
easily make a case that they go with the 'simple' Grants, since there
is no requirement, at Society or kingdom level, that retired Landed
Barons automatically retain the title Baron, and even then, only if
they have received personal Grants by being a Landed Baron and it's not
tied to the 'office' of Baron (as it is in some kingdoms). Then the
Grant-level awards, and simple Grants.
Of the Awards, the only Society-wide order or title is the Court Baron,
so like the Landed Barons above, it goes at the top of its category;
many places have the custom that it comes with a Grant, but they are
two separate awards, that just happen to be awarded together, and thus
must be treated as separate awards. The fact that its regalia is a
coronet of some style, similar to the Royal peers is not relevant, nor
is the title 'baron' - the level of Arms it bears is. Then, as with
the Grant-level awards, the Awards go kingdom Award-level orders, then
principality, then baronial (some kingdoms allow them, we happen not to
have any), and finally 'simple' Awards.
After all these are the non-armigerous awards and orders, which are not
relevant to the discussion at hand, except to say they follow the same
hierarchical procedures as the different levels of armigerous awards
Does that answer the question of how we arrived at the Order as we did,
or have I completely misunderstood your line of questioning?
> And, as
> an adjunct to that question, are there any Court Barons or Baronesses
> who do not have at least a Grant of Arms?
There are a few (6 currently in Æthelmearc, plus the assorted Coopers,
whose status with regard to Grants was never made clear), plus 4 who
have since received a higher-level award than a 'simple' Grant but did
not have one at the time, and 9 more whose highest aware was Æthelmearc
Grant-level award at the time, and may or may not have been given a
Grant with it if we didn't have those Grant-level awards already
(impossible to tell in hindsight). It turns out that the vast majority
of Court Barons made by Æthelmearc are either retired Landed Barons,
and/or those who've already had a higher-ranking award.
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