Words for Alys Mackyntoich’s Writ for the Laurel

Alys Writ Scroll

Calligraphy by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng; Photo by Countess Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain

So I’m driving home from an event in Havre des Glaces (Quebec City, QC) to home (Bhakail, Philadelphia, PA), and I see an email requesting words for a scroll. I’m pretty sure I turned colorless and was both thrilled and terrified. The person who the scroll text was for, is someone I look up to in the SCA, and someone who is getting the award for precisely what I was being asked to create, in addition to her research on onomastics.

So, of course I took the gig, and planned to write words as soon as I finished my 11.5 hour drive home… instead I passed out and woke up the next morning, got to digging for sources, and within a few hours had written this and sent it off to the amazing scribe that penned the words:

The which day, regarding the articles proposed by our lord King and our lady Queen touching the dispatch of their herald named in the conduct sent by their Order of the Laurel, Peers of this Realm, to pass towards them to treat, commune, contract, and conclude upon the inclusion of Their Majesties’ herald into the aforesaid order, forevermore, and until the end of all times, and likewise to commune, treat, conclude, and contract upon induction of the said herald, and on behalf of their Majesties; the Peers of the articles, after they had heard their Majesty’s mind in that behalf, having consideration of the adversity of times bygone and of the dangerous appearance of vacancy at the present time and similarly to come, have concluded that one ample commission be made and sent with the aforesaid herald that is to appear at Their Majesties’ Bardic Championship for taking, treating, and concluding of inclusion into the Order of the Laurel, forevermore, and until the end of all times, and similarly another commission be made to the said herald to commune, treat, conclude, and contract the said induction with such restrictions and conditions as shall be given to her by Their Majesties, with the advice of the Peers to be chosen by Them thereto, and as they devise to produce the same again before the lords of articles, that they may consult thereupon, of which the tenor follows:

The instructions to the herald to be sent to the Order of the Laurel for contracting of inclusion and induction, be extended at large

In the first, the arrangement be made at length answering the Order of the Laurel’s writings, the writings of the other three estates of this realm, and all others in short and brief sent since then shall be devised.

Item, the commission for contracting the said induction being amply conceived and read to the Order of the Laurel or its commissioners, it is supposed they will desire certain points and security for keeping the said contract, to the which it shall be answered by the said herald and shall be desired by her for the part of the East as follows after:

And first, if it is asked on the King and Queen of the East’s behalf that their herald, Alys Mackyntoich, be delivered to them to be kept until the completing of the said induction, it is to be answered that it is a right high and right great inconvenience to the realm of the East to grant thereof for such reasons and causes as the herald has heard declared by the Crown of the East and as she can show particularly by herself, not believing that the Crown of the East’s majesty is of such high wisdom that she will never deface the same; therefore, it cannot be granted by reason, but that her nobility may remain and be kept in Their presence until such time as she may be able to complete induction.

Item, in case it shall happen that the said Order should become engrossed in their passion for the said inclusion and induction of the said herald, it shall be answered with the most noble and virtuous replies as to generously reflect on the wisdom, majesty, honor, and privilege of the Crown of the East.

Item, it is thought expedient that the induction be perpetually contracted between the Crown and the Order after the form of tradition to be taken with the proviso.

Edward Rex        Thyra Regina


Of course, I didn’t just create those words out of nothingness, not for someone who is being inducted into the Laurelate for her period wordsmithing. Nope, I needed to use one of her own sources to craft the text, because that’s some Herald-Class shenanigans to pull on a fellow herald. So, I went to the records of the Parliament of Scotland from the 16th Century, because that also happens to fit in with Alys’ persona, and be one of the sources I’ve seen her refer to most often in discussion about cool texts.

So I did some digging, somewhat at random, somewhat based on the fact that I wanted something from the Mary Queen of Scots time, and I settled on the 13 March 1543 Commission: Instructions to the Scottish Ambassadors with the English Concerning Peace and the Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots. Its a hefty text, so I won’t post it here, but I’ve put a link below, with more commentary from me to follow.

The Original Document from Scottish Parliament in Modern English

So, I had a fantastic skeleton in this document to work with, and I set about filling in the fleshy-bits. First things first, it had to be from the King & Queen of the East, and not a chancellor, and it had to concern Alys’ joining of the Laurelate. Easy-peasy. Fill-in King and Queen bits, and then come up with two different terms about making Alys a Laurel… because this document is dealing with creating peace AND the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots. So, I went with inclusion into the order and induction, referring to two separate things: A) Alys is not currently a member of the Laurel, and needs to figure out where she will fit in the Laurelate, there aren’t a lot of Heraldic Laurels out there to begin with, either, so this is an uncommon thing; B) Alys isn’t going to be “elevated” per-say, since she is already a Peer and has her Patent from her Pelican circa 15 years ago, so elevation didn’t sit right with me here, so I went with induction, because protocols are important, and Peerage ceremonies often have a level of planning beyond the norm, so I felt that would tie in with some of the bits about marriage.

That took care of the big introduction to the much shorter, more intense “Items” in the instruction list provided by Their Majesties. I decided on only three points, because 1) I was already being really mean to a scribe, it was Monday and this scroll was going out on Saturday 2) People throughout the Medieval and Renaissance Periods were obsessed with three’s, especially Catholics, and the Scots were definitely Catholics, and 3) I was given an amazing third point when I was having trouble finding one (note: crowd-sourcing is usually the answer on how to find inspiration, its occasionally also the answer you’re looking for).

So first, we discuss how people need to be brief, which is no way meant to be ironic in this scroll text at all. Nope, not at all.

Then we get to the items, the first is about how Alys isn’t required to go on Vigil, since she is already a Peer. I really liked this bit from the original text, and this was the only way I could see to modify it and keep it in, I unintendedly started up a dialogue about vigils for second Peerages, but really, it was just a way for me to keep some sweet 16th century text in this document.

The second item, was the last one created, it was crowd-sourced as, “Item: she can not run away screaming and must submit herself to the Laurel when we chant ‘one of us! one of us!'” Which was given entirely in jest, but provided the inspiration for both the second item:

Item, in case it shall happen that the said Order should become engrossed in their passion for the said inclusion and induction of the said herald, it shall be answered with the most noble and virtuous replies as to generously reflect on the wisdom, majesty, honor, and privilege of the Crown of the East.

Finally, a bit at the end taken from the original source and modified to state that these changes should be made permanent when they happen, and it even included a cool word: proviso which is a cool way of notating a condition attached to an agreement from the original text.

Finally, because I was rushing to get this text out, and because I was giggling quite a bit about it, I thought it would be fun to include a “translation” of the text, to be shown to Alys afterwards. Instead, my faithful carpool partner happened to be heralding, and happened to read the text that said, “Do not read.” It was hopefully well received and not too out of line. I’ve included it here, as it’s made its way out into the wide world:

Translation: King Edward & Queen Thyra have exchanged words with the Order of the Laurel. Both Their Majesties and the Order believe that Mistress Alys should be inducted into the Order of the Laurel. Their Majesties wish for Alys to come to Bardic Champions to address this issue. Their Majesties have carefully provided instructions for Their Herald:

Communicate effectively, thoroughly, and briefly.

Item, Alys is already a Peer, and therefore is not required to be sent on vigil at the event.

Item, Alys cannot run away screaming and should probably considering submitting herself to the Laurelate when they chant “One of us! One of us!”

Item, we should probably make this thing permanent.

In the end, I’m very thankful for the opportunity I was given to write this text for a friend who has taught me a lot about creating period-appropriate scroll texts, and is the largest inspiration behind how I create my scroll texts. It was an honor and a privilege in the truest sense of both words.

The only major regret I have about this text is not having the time to have translated it into 16th century Scots, or at least give it some quality 16th-century spelling, but time was of the essence.

Many thanks to both Eleanor and Caoilfhionn for sharing their arts to enhance my blog.

This entry was posted in Scroll Text. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s