|The Shire of Evercleare
by Richard A. Edwards and Kathy Allen
The clash of sword on shield. The snapping of pennants
in the breeze as they fly above medieval pavillions. The courteous speech
of lords and ladies dressed in their medieval finery. Where might you see
such a sight? Why, right here in Thurston County! Olympia is home of the
Shire of Evercleare, the local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
The Society (SCA) is a volunteer group dedicated to research, education,
and reenactment of the middle ages.
Members of the SCA research "personas" or characters,
they portray during SCA events. There are historical guidelines for developing
a name, historical location, and cultural mannerisms. The diversity of
the medieval cultures allows French knights, English yeomen, Welsh archers,
Moravian heralds, and Viking housecarls, all in the same group.
The characters gather at events throughout "The Known
World", as that part of the world which has SCA chapters is called. The
Known World is divided into several kingdoms. The Northwest region is called
the Kingdom of An Tir. Within each kingdom are many shires, colleges, cantons,
and baronies. The Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey area is designated as the
Shire of Evercleare (named in the same tradition as Greenland).
Events can be many things; workshops on correct costuming,
fight practices for improving abilities with sword, ax or mace, feasts
and revels, and full-scale tournaments. Evercleare holds three major events
a year. The first weekend in May they hold Mayfaire, which brings merchants
and artisans together at Summit Lake. The fair also includes a tournament-at-arms
with SCA fighting in full armor with wooden weapons. During the summer,
the shire holds a Summer feast of several courses designed in the medieval
manner. December finds the Shire members gathering to celebrate the Yule
season at a Winter feast complete with the traditions of the Yule Log.
SCA fighting is an attempt to recreate the flavor of tournaments
and to practice the skills involved in the martial arts as practiced in
the European Middle Ages. SCA fighters are armored according to safety
regulations, which include steel helmets, body padding, and leather or
scale armor. Their weapons, which range from broadsword to great ax, are
made of rattan, a pliable wood of the bamboo family (solid instead of hollow).
The fights are not choreographed and are true tests of the skill of the
opponents. Blows are judged by the contestants as to severity and location.
A sufficient blow to a limb results in that limb not being used by the
fighter for the duration of the combat. A fierce blow to a vital area results
in the loss of the match. Combat between two armored fighters is both fast
|Recommended Magazine 2(7): 28 (May 1986)