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Baronial Succession

Submitted by William de Cameron on August 29, 2017 - 8:27pm

Greetings, to the people of the Barony of Ildhafn!

As you may be aware, Their Excellencies Rudiger and Alyenora intend to step down as Baron and Baroness of Ildhafn at St Catherine's Faire, on November 25th.



  • Nominations are now open become the next Baron and/or Baroness of Ildhafn.
  • Nominations will close at midnight on the 19th of August.
  • The candidates will have a short period to discuss their ideas with the populace.
  • There will be a poll, from September 2nd to 16th.
  • The Crown expect to announce the successful candidate or candidates to the populace on September the 23rd.
  • The new Baronage will be invested at St Catherine’s Faire on November 25-26th.

Who decides?

The Crown decides who will be the next Baron and/or Baroness of Ildhafn.

They will poll the populace: it's very important to the Crown that we give them as much information as possible, when the time comes, so that They can make a wise and well-informed decision. However, the final decision is always and entirely Theirs.


The Candidates (in no particular order)

The honorable Lord Svartr Ormsson & Lady Maerwynn (Letter of Intent)


Lady Elyna Delynor and Lord Sympkyn of the Moor (Letter of Intent)


From  Their Majesties: "It is the delight of the Crown to acknowledge and accept the nominations of these servants to the populace.  We are pleased to see such worthy candidates nominate for the opportunity to lead the Barony."



You will also have the option of requesting a Vicar.

The option of a vicar is also included to help the Crown assess the true feeling of the populace. A vicar is a temporary caretaker in a barony - they can’t hold court or give out awards, but they fulfil the other functions of the baronage. A vicar may be a good option if you’re not entirely content with any candidates, or if you think the Barony needs more time to reach a good decision.


Questions for the candidates

The populace has been invited to ask questions of the candidates, and the answers will be posted in due course.

Here are some of the questions that have been posed already (click the link to read answers from the candidates):

  1. I would like to ask the candidates if they have any initiatives in
    mind that they will bring to the role.
  2. If you had to pick one goal  for Ildhafn/Cluain to achieve before you
    step down as Baron and Baroness what would it be?
  3. What areas within the Barony do you intend to focus on in your first
    year as Baroness and Baron?
  4. What are your views on the subject of attracting and keeping new
    members in Ildhafn - both in the city and in the canton– how will you
    support both groups in this area? What would your plans be? What problems do you envisage with that?
  5. What is the biggest change that you want to make during your time as
    Baron and Baroness?
  6. What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge as Baroness and
    Baron? How to expect to address this challenge?
  7. Where do you want Ildhafn to be in 5 years time? Where do you want Cluain to be in 5 years time?
  8. How often do you expect to hold court? What do you think makes for a good court?
  9. What portion of the events in Cluain do you expect to attend? Ildhafn
    city? What about Canterbury Faire?
  10. Why do you think Ildhafn should be a Barony, rather than a pair of Shires?


Answers from the Candidates

1. Question: I would like to ask the candidates if they have any initiatives in mind that they will bring to the role.

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

We'll most certainly be encouraging the use of initiative!


New members bring an enthusiasm and fresh eyes to The Barony, fanning our own internal flame and reminding us of the wonders and possibilities we have as a group.  Inspired by Coronation at the Hamilton Gardens, we would like to explore holding a one day event in a public place once a year, alternating between Ildhafn and Cluain and using this to showcase The Barony in a different manner.  With this in mind, we'd like to examine the demo space as we are keen to focus on what has worked previously and fine tune this to create the right hooks to draw people in.  For events like Waldorf School's Medieval Carnival we would encourage actively demonstrating the arts & sciences, rather than having a static stand.  We understand it will be prudent to stagger these types of events so they are fun for members to attend, rather than becoming a chore.  By continuing to grow Ildhafn and Cluain, we provide an opportunity for new people to take on officer roles or running/assisting with events.  This mitigates the risk of officer burn out within The Barony.


Combat in all its forms, is an excellent way to hook newcomers.  Spanning three cities and their surrounds, our biggest challenge is holding viable combat practices and perhaps next is readily available equipment for newcomers.  We will need to look to more than just ourselves to encourage the development of combat.  We know we will need to start with our strengths and will need to look to our officers for guidance for a way forward.  In this we are open to a range of ideas, some our own and others we perhaps have not yet heard.  What we want most, is for us not to lose sight of our passion so new people are encouraged to try their hand at a combat form.   One option we are open to is the possibility/reality of practicing our various types of combat with like-minded groups.  In the end, it may not be a possibility but we need to find ways for our members to be able to practice and enjoy one of the keystone activities of the Society.


The arts and sciences are very strong in our Barony which we are most pleased to see and be a part of.  While interests, knowledge and skills vary, we know such development will only strengthen The Barony.  One area Svartr will also be encouraging is the use of calligraphy and illumination in general and intends to use it in our formal interaction with other groups.  The key for us here is to ensure The Populace can continue to do the things they enjoy, in a setting they enjoy doing it.


We understand some of the challenges facing Ildhafn and Cluain are different and sometimes what will work for one, won't work for the other.  One possibility we'd like to explore is having an occasional joint Council meeting.  We anticipate this would provide the opportunity to have brain storming sessions on issues that are common to both, attracting and holding new members for example!  This would have the benefit of ensuring our officers are not reinventing the wheel or using valuable energy in creating a solution where one might already exist.   This occasional get together might also assist in combating officer fatigue as it would share the load where mutual interests are concerned.


We understand the role of Baron and Baroness is a governance one, and a public one, and as a result Their actions often influence the mood of The Barony.  To this end we are keen to develop intrigue between other parts of the Kingdom, creating a back drop for persona play and development to occur amongst those of The Populace who are interested in this aspect of the SCA.  With this in mind we see ourselves adopting a slightly more formal approach to court, and yes, the level of formality will be tailored to suit the event.


We know there is much Ildhafn and Cluain do well already and we trust this answer gives you a better insight into the initiatives we’re considering for the growth of The Barony as a whole. 

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

We do have an initiative that we'd love to implement, we don't have a fixed name for it yet but it would be a 'moveable champion accolade' for A&S; a unique token which, once won, is kept until the next relevant A&S competition, upon which it would be re-awarded to the most deserving whether that be the same person or a different person. The idea being that only one person holds the 'accolade token' at any given time, unlike various other awards that multiple people have, this is a champion's bragging rights token but it has to be constantly defended, lest it be won by another!

The intention is that it not to be taken seriously enough to cause jealousy, but seriously enough to encourage people to excel themselves.

This concept can, of course, be applied to other disciplines/fields... it would be fun to have something similar for the Heavy Fighters for example.


2. Question: If you had to pick one goal  for Ildhafn/Cluain to achieve before you step down as Baron and Baroness what would it be?

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

We'd really like to see one of the existing Baronial Key Events to be built up into a Kingdomwide "Thing To Be At" Event, to raise the Barony's profile and to get people to want to come here, from all areas of Lochac.

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

If we were to pick one goal before we stepped down, it would be to have a happy and healthy officer pool able to effectively pass on their knowledge to their successors.  If we could help the group get to a space that officers are moving to another role cause they want to be there and reduce the 'officer shuffle', then we would consider that a success.  To accomplish this, membership growth is vital but another area is the development, review and refinement of the resources available to our local officers as we recognise the importance of what they do.



3. Question: What areas within the Barony do you intend to focus on in your first year as Baroness and Baron?

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

An initial Baronial health check - with no leaches! - to make sure we understand how best to tackle recruitment and retention in each group.  This will allow us to catch up and fill any gaps in our knowledge and make any necessary tweaks to our plans as required.


The dynamics of the combative arts and practice opportunities is another area but is a bigger beast to manage.   Knowing we have no heavy combatants currently active in Ildhafn, no fencers in Cluain, no unit combat and no combat archers or siege engineers and limited youth/boffer combat means there are heaps of opportunities to draw people in. While we certainly can't solve this one by ourselves, laying a foundation to move forward in one of these areas will be a key focus. 


Introduce intrigue and game play in court and hone our baronial presence.   We'll cover this a bit more later...


Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

Membership is on everyone's minds it seems. This is definitely a priority. Getting more members goes hand in hand with everything. Revitalising smaller spheres of interest within the hobby - and also sharing the load of administration and organising, which will stave off the burnout factor in existing members.

We want to see the Heavy fighting presence promoted, and try to get all areas of combat more evenly represented. A&S is quite self-driven in our barony, it merely needs guiding and encouraging, whereas we feel Heavy fighting and Rapier fighting would benefit from more active advancement. 
A further thought is that we have been to a few of the Cluain Hastiludes and we believe that the Ildhafn city area would benefit from a similar arrangement, and of course people from all areas would be welcome to attend either or both.

4. Question: What are your views on the subject of attracting and keeping new members in Ildhafn - both in the city and in the canton– how will you support both groups in this area? What would your plans be? What problems do you envisage with that?

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

The obvious answer is for the group to be more visible to the public so that anyone interested knows we exist! 
Our online presence has been promoted recently by the use of MeetUp and we encourage the further use of this, to advertise individual practice sessions as well as events. Facebook is already popular, and there are other networking tools like Neighbourly which we think are worth investigating too.
As our fellow candidates mentioned, the Waikato Waldorf School Faire is a great example of an opportunity for displaying what we do to the public. We were among the first couple of historical tents to attend the Faire many years ago and the 'Village' has steadily grown since... we have also displayed our living history campsite at the Leamington Primary School Spring Faire in Cambridge a couple of years running which was very popular. There are likely to be other opportunities of a similar nature if we go looking for them! Interestingly enough, grinding up various spices with a mortar and pestle proved as fascinating to kids as blades, arrows and music... and the parents enjoyed playing the Identify The Spice game... you never know what will win the 'novelty value' prize, but interactive stuff always gets attention.
There are also things like A&P Shows and Markets that we could show a presence at (we were at the Kowhai Festival in Warkworth a few years ago), as well as bigger things like Armeggedon or University based events. There are history students out there just waiting to be hooked! And we think it's worth making contact with the LARPing community too.
If nothing else there is the option of an informal gathering, in garb, even just a handful of people. We had an impromptu three-person A&S session in garb a few years back by the beach, and practically every person who passed us wanted to know who we were and what we were doing. When Elyna and Katherine of Glastonbury went for a walk with small harps, and in garb, in the public area of the Hamilton Gardens during the Coronation weekend, we were confronted constantly with inquiries and interest. Clearly we need to just get out there in order to get people to talk to us and be ready and willing to engage with them!
In support we offer our attendance at as much as possible. We already try to make every event and we would consider it our duty (and pleasure!) even more if we were to become Baron & Baroness.

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

 When outlining the initiatives earlier we talked about hooks that will draw people in, mini-events and refined demos were some of the ways we consider this could be accomplished.


Cluain has done several demos throughout our time which didn't pull anyone in, Ildhafn may have similar experiences.  We planned and put time and money into demos but they just weren't getting the results.  Therefore, we need to better understand why demos don't really work so we can concentrate on the parts that do.  We also need to know how many members are generated through electronic media, i.e. is it more or less successful than demos? 


We will continue to encourage an environment where newcomers feel empowered to try new things, are at ease, can be curious and feel valued.  When sharing these experiences, it allows them to develop lasting friendships with likeminded people.  All these facets are vital to Ildhafn's and Cluain's success.


We will support the groups by being accessible, enthusiastic and having realistic expectations while bringing a fresh perspective to the Barony.


5. Question: What is the biggest change that you want to make during your time as Baron and Baroness?

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

We are finding this a rather hard question to answer as there are several areas we want to improve but not necessarily change.  So we believe the biggest change will be bringing Cluain and Ildhafn together, to address common issues and prepare a plan of attack that is executed either collaboratively or independently, then if needed, jointly reviewed to determine success.


Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

For the most part we think Their Excellencies Rudiger and Alyenora have maintained a barony that works well and we would like to continue their good work - there isn't necessarily the need for any big change. 

We do feel that it is important that the existing Baronial Key Events should happen regularly, and annually. 
(Notwithstanding a larger conflicting event along the lines of a coronation, naturally...)
By Key Events we mean: St Sebastian's, St John's, St Catherine's, the Bloth, Living History Labour Weekend... we would like to make sure these events happen without fail. It's good that they're spread throughout Cluain and Ildhafn.
There is room for another annual event in the Ildhafn City area - perhaps based around a Heavy tourney.


6. Question: What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge as Baroness and Baron? How to expect to address this challenge?

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

Increasing and maintaining harmony. 
Like any group, we comprise all manner of personalities and we see the job of B&B to promote what we have in common. Our hobby is supposed to be fun, for everyone. Of course, different people have different specific focuses, and respecting all aspects equally is key to a happy and peaceful barony.

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:


Travel, as The Barony is rather spread out and it could be easy at the beginning to do too much and get fatigued.

We know with wise planning and prudent use of technology this will be avoided.



7. Question: Where do you want Ildhafn to be in 5 years time?  Where do you want Cluain to be in 5 years time?

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

Ildhafn City

We have raised a range of themes, opportunities and activities we'd like to explore with the Barony as a whole.  We trust Ildhafn will benefit and build deeper foundations and gain contributing members supported by our efforts. 

If we accomplish this with you all and saw the resurgence of the heavy combatant representing Ildhafn City by that time this would be a most cherished prize.


As above - sorry for being a little succinct here - but while Heavy does have a presence within Cluain having a Baronial fighting unit able to represent our interests in support of Crown would also be a cherished prize.  That said, so too would be authorised fencers within the Canton.

In either case, if we were able to pass on to our successors an even healthier Barony built from the existing foundation with new and more diverse opportunities, with a populace still happy in what they are doing and where we are going as a group, this is where we would like the Barony to be in five years.  How each group will get there may vary as they each have unique things to bring to the table.

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

Still above sea level!

As discussed elsewhere - regular events, larger membership. New members lured into the mix, and a revival of the enthusiasm of old members who may rarely 'play' anymore.



8. Question: How often do you expect to hold court? What do you think makes for a good court?

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

We would like to hold opening and closing court at every garbed event.  The length and degree of formality we go to, will complement the style of event.  If people want more because we are doing an awesome job we will do our best to meet demand. 

One of the key things here for any court is being able to recognise others who have crafted for, bled for, and served the Barony and the Kingdom as there is nothing like the recognition of your friends and peers for your efforts.  Efforts that everyone benefits from.  In our service to the Barony awarding such prowess is, and will be, a privilege.

Here are some other areas we believe make for good Court:

·        Being heard, we can be loud and clear, but we will also look to our heralds to strengthen their input and allow this art to flourish.

·        Baronial Attire, we will be spiffy if we are to represent The Populace and Crown.

·        Humour, this is a matter of taste but we can pull it off, though Svartr has already been warned about his puns by Master  Bartholomew and Their Excellencies  :D

·        Intrigue, we can be cunning, and weasels will be in fear for their tails.  Condottieri and swordsmen of the city were often at the pointy end of many an Italian court.  Wordsmiths, Skalds and Lore-keepers could tell many a saga that a Viking, Dane, Angle or Saxon might partake.  Whichever direction we take we aim to be engaging for all.


We are already having fun robust discussions on how this will play out.  As with any show, some things are better left as a surprise so watch this space…

Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

Shade and plenty of seating make for a good court!
Court should be tailored to the spirit of the specific event. Smaller, single evening events may not need court held at all unless there are particular awards to give out. 
Opening and closing court at multi-day events are useful to allow stewards to address attendees and cover housekeeping aspects (opening) and for acknowledging and praising things that have happened during that event (closing).
And where there are both time and the occasion, a little pomp and ceremony does enhance the fun of the atmosphere that we are aiming to create at bigger events. A bit of performance art or some prearranged dramatics to make things exciting!

9. Question: What portion of the events in Cluain do you expect to attend? Ildhafn city? What about Canterbury Faire?

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:


As many garbed events, and events targeting recruitment as we can.  Attending Council meetings and Hastilude every other month, depending on the timing of them with other events.  Using Skype when we can't make it to Council meetings but need to provide input.

Ildhafn City

As many garbed events and events targeting recruitment as we can.  Attending Ildhafn gatherings every other month depending the timing of them with other events.  Skyping into Council meetings.

Canterbury Faire

We certainly anticipate going, it's a great event, dependent on leave and whether we need to back up any intrigues over on the mainland or further afield.  Other events on our minds are Darton, Festival, Pennsic and Great Northern War to name a few.


Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:


At the moment we try to be at every event, whether in Ildhafn city or Cluain, and we plan to continue to do so. We definitely intend to attend all formal events within the barony.
The less formal, for example Hastilude, or A&S sessions, we would still like to attend semi-regularly at least, real life and finances allowing.
Regarding Canterbury Faire, we would make every effort for at least one, if not both, of us to attend.

10. Question: Why do you think Ildhafn should be a Barony, rather than a pair of Shires?


Answer from Elyna and Sympkin:

Being relatively new to the SCA, we went researching the history of the barony in order to answer this question.

Ildhafn was the tenth out of twelve baronies to form in Lochac. Ildhafn initially formed in 1994 & in 1996 was made a Shire of the Kingdom of Caid, then joined the Kingdom of Lochac in 2003 and was elevated to Barony status. Canton of Cluain was established in 2005. This was interesting, as the question posed here made us think that originally there *were* two shires, but apparently that wasn’t the case.

The smaller population of the Crescent Isles compared to a lot of Lochac (and indeed the Known World) makes us think that generally we are better to clump together in larger groups. However this may only be relevant to completely independant reenactment groups - whereas in the instance of the SCA we are already all under the umbrella of the Kingdom (and indeed the SCA itself), so the potential problem of there being too many ‘different rulesets’ to follow stops being a concern.

In practical terms Cluain and Ildhafn each have their own officers, and are free to therefore drive themselves by way of their own citizens in the direction they choose. Whether or not there is a Baron & Baroness seems not to affect this in the day to day and week to week progression of what happens, as far as practices and training sessions and smaller projects.

It does of course affect whether or not there is Court held at events, and whether Baronial awards can be given, and otherwise interacting with other baronies (issuing challenges, that sort of thing). The Baron and Baroness are also the connection to the Crown as far as communication both ways, and an important function is therefore representing the people’s will to the current monarch.

The question of whether the two groups should be driving themselves in the same direction or not, and whether sharing a Baronial presence will facilitate this, is an interesting one. Many of the foregoing questions have required us to think of the entire barony as a whole, but it is also worthwhile remembering that the Canton of Cluain and Ildhafn City are different in situation and that they each require different things from any leadership/guidance role, be it a Baronial presence, or all the way up to the Crown Itself. In observing this, it has been valuable to be residents of the city (although Elyna grew up in the country!), to attend events in both Ildhafn and Cluain, be aware of the role that our current Excellencies play, and be aware of the differences and priorities of both rural and urban environments.

Answer from Svartr and Maerwynn:

This could be a curly question if you consider the history of the two groups, how the Barony was formed and its current health where compared to other Baronies in the Kingdom.


If we did not have pointy hats to represent the groups, we'd have two groups that could operate independently of each other and grow and change at their own pace, who wouldn't need volunteers to take on the role of B&B and the resulting processes that ensue.  Without a Barony, there would be no Baronial Courts or Awards and the capacity to utilise court to initiate the use of persona, intrigue and inter-Baronial activities would be diminished.


However a Barony brings with it a level of leadership that makes taking ownership for its success real.  With a strong Baron and Baroness both groups gain the benefit of their strategic thinking, planning and oversight.  They would be in a position to see difficulties that are common to both and could bring the Councils together to share the load in providing a resolution and a way forward.  We have thought about this previously and discovered we also love the interplay that a Baronial Court can bring.