Monday, 28 March 2016

Counted Work Sampler

Lucia de Moranza

Ealdormere Pentathlon A.S. L

Many people are familiar with the embroidery samplers that were very popular and common during the 19th and 20th centuries, done by schoolgirls nearly everywhere. The orderly bands of letters and numbers with neat motifs and careful placement of names and dates to mark the occaision. Samplers have, however been found much earlier than that, dating to the 14th or 15th century. (V&A Earlier samplers are less orderly, spot samplers rather than band samplers, with chunks of embroidery of all kinds, often tossed on wherever there is space. Multicolour threads are quite common, probably using up threads on hand, rather than purchasing special for the piece. It makes each sampler truly a personal piece of doodling and / or remembering for later rather than a show piece as they became in later centuries. Dates and names are very rare, as are alphabets.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Sourdough Bread

Lucia de Moranza 
Ealdormere Pentathlon A.S. L
Figure 1 Sourdough starter (aka Fred)

The basics of bread baking have changed very little from medieval times. In Platina’s De honesta voluptate et valetudine pp. 13-14 (Book 1) written in 1465:
"... Therefore I recommend to anyone who is a baker that he use flour from wheat meal, well ground and then passed through a fine seive to sift it; then put it in a bread pan with warm water, to which has been added salt, after the manner of the people of Ferrari in Italy. After adding the right amount of leaven, keep it in a damp place if you can and let it rise.... The bread should be well baked in an oven, and not on the same day; bread from fresh flour is most nourishing of all, and should be baked slowly." (Gode Cookery)

As the medieval world didn’t have the luxury of scooping yeast out of a jar from the fridge, they relied on wild yeast for leavening. There were two main means of working with wild yeast, either skimming it off the beer process, or encouraging a small portion of dough to ferment, making (Stevens, 2009) a sourdough starter. I chose to experiment with the later, as we’re not a beer brewing household.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Update on Youth Activities

The following update regarding youth activities was posted today to the Kingdom of Ealdormere website:

To the Good People of Ealdormere,

Good news! SCA Inc. has sent us a new procedure (involving a new company) for completing background checks. Those members of our populace that have previously been involved in warranted youth activities (e.g. youth combat marshals) as well as the members of the Privy Council have already begun the process of getting their background checks done. Only those individuals contacted directly by me will be invited to the first round of background checks at this time. Further opportunities for background checks for interested individuals are being discussed and will be communicated to everyone soon. Please remember that any Youth-only activity requires two unrelated adults overseeing the activity with at least one of those adults having successfully completed their background check acknowledged by the SCA Inc. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Robert ap Huw Manuscript, Welsh bardic music, and links to Irish Bardic Music

By Muirenn ingen Morgair

for Kingdom Arts and Sciences, Ealdormere, March 19, 2016.

Photo source: Medieval Mashup

The history of the man and the manuscript

Robert ap Huw lived from 1580 to 1665, and was a harp player born on the island of Anglesey. He is remembered for having illegally copied out a book of Welsh harp music which contained compositions dated to the high middle ages, and possibly before. The majority of this original corpus of cerdd dant harp music has since been lost, leaving a few traces in other manuscripts, but none so complete as what he ‘stole’.1

Robert ap Huw was brought up in the north­western area of Anglesey, an area where traditional Welsh culture was still strong. His grandfather was SiĆ“n Brwynog (1510­62), a highly renowned poet.2 In his 20’s Robert stayed and studied in the Shire of Merioneth, which lies in the north­west of Wales, south of Caernarfon, which was well­populated by traditional poets, harpers and teachers of Classical languages. It was also the heart of patronage for the traditional arts.3 By 1615, Robert had graduated as a pencerdd telyn (teacher in music) He eventually became a harpist at the court of James I (of the King James Bible fame, son of Mary, Queen of Scots).4

Monday, 14 March 2016

April Newsletters Available

The Membership Staff have announced that the April 2016 Kingdom Newsletters are now available to all current Sustaining and International members.

To visit the enewsletter site, please go to to access the newsletters. Your Membership Number is your User ID and unless you have changed it, the password is the word start. 

If you have any questions or difficulties, you should contact Member Services at (800) 789-7486 or