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Court Rolls, April 18, AS XXXIX (2005)
On April 18, AS XXXIX (2005), Ardchreag carried out its second manorial court. Each person wishing to participate brought with them a certain number of dry goods. For each item of dry goods they received one token with which they would be able to pay fines and bribes during the court. The amount of dry goods brought was up to each participant, and all goods brought went towards the canton’s baronial taxes (to raise the baron’s weight in food to be donated to a food bank at Feast of the Bear in November.
Unlike in the previous court, this time jurors could make charges as well as be charged themselves. They also sometimes acted as pledges.
The court scribe records the following persons as in attendance:
Corwyn Galbraith, Lord of the Manor
Marion FitzWilliam, Lady of the Manor
Berend van der Eych, flesh and fowl taster, member of the White Tithing
Colyne Stewart, ale taster, member of the White Tithing
Eirik Andersen, juror, village alderman, member of the White Tithing
Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust, juror, member of the Green Tithing
Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, member of the Green tithing
Naja Kesali Orekh, bailiff, member of the White Tithing
Nicolaa de Bracton, visiting dignitary from Citie of Eoforwic
Siegfried Brandbeorn, Hayward, village alderman, member of the Green tithing
Tarian verch Gadarn, beadle, member of the Green Tithing
Þorfinna gráfeldr, juror, member of the White Tithing
Wat of Sarum, ale taster, member of the Green Tithing
Also, Adelaide (Teach) van der Eych, Rhiannon van der Eych, and baby Ethan.
The lord and lady of the manor, and the jurors, sat at one end of the room on a dais representing the court. All others in attendance sat about the other three sides, leaving the centre of the room open. Someone wishing to lay a charge would respectfully step before the court and state their accusation. The accused would then step forward as well. Both would be instructed to gather pledges and between one and two minutes were allowed for this. During this time much money changed hands as pledges were bought, silences ensured and officials bribed. (Any bribe to a juror went right into the beadle’s money jar.)
Both sides then presented their stories, and all pledges were allowed to speak. Rebuttals were allowed, though the court could stop them at any time. The court then discussed the testimony and settled on a verdict. Generally, if the defendant was found guilty they—and all their pledges—were fined. As well, generally, if the defendant was found innocent, the plaintiff and all their pledges were fined. There were of course cases where both sides were fined or only certain people on both or either side.
The charges and their results are below:
Colyne Stewart, ale taster, did accuse Wulfgang Donnerfaust of failing to pay chevage (a tax to move outside of the lord’s manor). Colyne said that his very absence proved the charge was true, and that his absence meant he was negligent in his duty as Chief Pledge of the White tithing. Though the bailiff, Naja Kesali, and Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust tried to argue that Wulfgang was merely engaged in espionage in Trinovantia Nova on the lord’s behalf, he was found guilty. His estate (in the person of Jean-Margaret) was fined three gold.
Wat of Sarum, ale taster, charged Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, with stealing some of his ale, and having unseemly revels at their home. For pledge, Wat secured Siegfried Brandbeorn, Hayward and village alderman. For her defense, Mahault enlists Berend van der Eych, flesh and fowl taster, Naja Kesali, bailiff, and Colyne Stewart, ale taster. They allege that Wat’s missing ale was in fact consumed by him, and further that he had left his ale under a bird’s nest to be fouled. At this point Wat accuses Mahault of witchcraft! First Naja, then Colyne and Berend all throw themselves on the mercy of the court and admit that Mahault is a witch and had ensorcelled them to give testimony on her behalf. Nicolaa de Bracton, emissary from the Citie of Eoforwic, speaks as an expert witness having spent much time with the Dominicans. She is adept at spotting witches and assures the court that Mahault could very well be a witch. It is pointed out that Mahault spends much time with her horse and has many cats (having in fact recently acquired a third). Also, wearing her low-cut bodice revealed to all that she had a strange mark on her chest1. Siegfried alleged that she had for a time turned him into a dog (though he had gotten better). All this evidence weighed heavily upon Mahault, who was found guilty of stealing Wat’s ale and had to pay one gold. Further she was fined one gold for throwing revels to which the lord had not been invited, one gold for practicing witchcraft, one gold per person she had ensorcelled. Her case was then sent to the church court for further prosecution. Wat was charged one gold for leaving his ale under a bird’s nest.2
Þorfinna gráfeldr, juror, charged Mahault and Berend van der Eych with harbouring a suspicious stranger. As pledge she brought Nicolaa de Bracton, emissary from Eoforwic, Wat of Sarum, ale taster, and Colyne Stewart, ale taster. In their defense the Van der Eychs brought Siegfried Brandbeorn, Hayward and village alderman. Wat claims that this stranger, William Donovan, was scouting the lord’s manor in anticipation of an invasion by a large household to the south, and Nicolaa says that on her travels she has seen this household and knows that they are indeed mighty. Siegfried as a knight then speaks on behalf of William Donovan and this household in his capacity as an expert on military matters, saying that Donovan and the house are friends to the lord and his manor. In fact, the head of the household is king of the Middle Kingdom, and is therefore above reproach. When asked is William Donovan paid chevage when he moved to the south, it was pointed out that this tax would have been paid to the citie council of Eoforwic. The jurors, their pockets suspiciously jingling, find Berend and Mahault innocent. The lord also says that he found the paperwork showing that William Donovan had indeed paid his chevage, though he had now lost said paperwork. Þorfinna, Wat and Colyne are all fined one token for bringing forward a false charge. However, Siegfried is also fined. He is fined one gold for giving false statement (for the king he had spoken of had ion fact died two days early, his son now being king of the Middle). Also, he is fined one token for eating the lord’s paperwork regarding William Donovan’s chevage while transformed into a dog. The lord’s beadle, Tarian verch Gadarn, then says that the lord should be fined for loosing paperwork. Scowling, the lord fines the beadle for creating a disturbance in court and tells her to retake her seat.
Naja Kesali Orekh and Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust allege that, while at Lady Mary’s, they overheard Eirik Andersen and Siegfried Brandbeorn plotting to overthrow the lord of the manor! For their defense, Siegfried and Eirik call on Berend van der Eych, flesh and fowl taster, Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, Colyne Stewart, ale taster, and Wat of Sarum, ale taster. Eirik and Siegfried assert that they were indeed plotting, but their coup was aimed at the lands of Rising Waters, to increase the size of the lord’s manor. Eirik says that he never saw Naja or Jean-Margaret nearby at the event, so for them to overhear their words they would have had to use witchcraft! Wat then accuses Naja—a Rus—of being a gypsy! Naja and Jean-Margaret counter that Eirik is a witch, as he has a device that steals people’s images and places them on paper. In horror, Wat leaves Eirik’s side and goes over to Naja and Jean-Margaret. The court finds Eirik and Siegfried guilty and charges them each one gold. They also send Eirik’s case up to the church court. They also find Naja guilty of witchcraft and fine her one gold. However, she has no more money and casts the evil eye on al present and fled the room!
As the court slowly came to order, Naja’s sister Ivanna the Oblivious—a member of the Russian Orthodox Church—arrived.
Irritated at Wat of Sarum’s head knuckling, the lord fines him six gold.
Tarian verch Gadarn, beadle, accuses Berend of sabotage in the name of vanity. She alleges that Berend taught her how to make mead for entry in the Annual Ulrich von der See Memorial Mead Competition, and that he sabotaged her batch. The lady of the court speaks on Berend’s behalf, saying that sometimes a sound brewer will just have helpless pupils, intimating that she herself is such an inept pupil of the lord of the manor. Tarian calls on Wat of Sarum, ale taster, Ivanna the Oblivious and Mahault van der Eych, brook looker. Wat asks how someone as talented as Tarian could make such bad mead as she displayed at the Competition. Mahault says that she was also taught by Berend, using the same supplies he provided, and that her batch also turned out foul. Ivanna says she heard Berend tell Tarian that her batch was fine for entry, which was patiently false. Mahault says that Berend sabotaged their mead because of the sin of pride, as he is the usual winner of the competition. Berend is found guilty and fined one gold. He is also fined one gold for being a braggart and one gold for wasting honey. Tarian is fined one gold for not paying an apprenticing tax. The lady of the manor is fined two gold by the lord for rubbing salt in his old wounds.
Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, charges Colyne Stewart, ale taster, with poaching fish from the lord’s pond. As pledges Mahault provides Berend van der Eych, flesh and fowl taster, Ivanna the Oblivious and Siegfried Brandbeorn, Hayward and village alderman. Colyne calls on eirik Andersen, juror and village alderman, and Wat of Sarum, fellow ale taster. Colyne says that he did not poach any fish as he does not eat fish at all. When Mahault asks if he does not eat fish on Friday, he replies that he fasts on Fridays. As proof of his fasting Wat points out the four stone in weight Colyne had recently lost, and Eirik tells of a Friday recently past where Colyne sent his meal back to the kitchen rather than eating it. However, Berend, Ivanna and Siegfried proof that he often breaks his fasts on Fridays and that fasting or not, that does not explain why they all saw him poaching fish. Colyne is fined seven gold!
Eirik Andersen, juror and village alderman, on behalf of Sir Evander MacLachlan, then charges Colyne Stewart, ale taster, with being a lazy lay-about squire for not having fought in over two months. Eirik brings forth Berend van der Eych, flesh and fowl taster, Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, Nicolaa de Bracton, emissary of Eoforwic, Tarian verch Gadarn, beadle, and Þorfinna gráfeldr, juror. Colyne presents Ivanna the Oblivious, Siegfried Brandbeorn, Hayward and village alderman, and Wat of Sarum, ale taster. Before anyone can speak, Þorfinna reveals that’s he was bribed to speak against her husband, and gives the bribe money to the court. The Van der Eychs both also admit being bribed and change sides. Nicolaa then says that she is used to corruption, being from Eoforwic, and pulls her testimony completely. Siegfried asks Eirik if he believes strongly in the knight-squire relationship. Eirik answers that he does, so Siegfried tells him to drop the case.3 Eirik does so, and is fined one gold for wasting the court’s time. However, Colyne is also fined one gold for being lazy.
Mahault van der Eych, brook looker, then asks that her sentence for stealing a lamb from the previous court be overturned as she had only been holding on to it to use in a stew for this year’s Snowed Inn feast. The jury decides that the meat in the stew could have been anything and is fined one gold for wasting the court’s time.
Jean-Margaret then pays her chevage as she will likely soon be moving to Trinovantia Nova.
Court was then concluded. All the remaining tokens were collected and counted to give a rough count of the number of dry good collected (as each item was worth one coin). It was discovered that 154 coins had been used throughout the court’s proceedings, meaning that roughly 154 items for the canton’s taxes to the barony had been raised.
- Her military tattoo.
- This whole case, devised by Siegfried, is a parody of the witch trial from Blackadder. Nicolaa was playing the part of the Witchfinder Pursuivant.
- Eirik is soon to become Siegfried’s squire.
On June 7, 2004, Ardchreag acted out a manorial court. Each person wishing to participate brought with them a certain number of gold coins (loonies). The amount of money brought was up to each participant, and should not be any more than they would be willing to have donated to the canton. (This exercise was, in part, a fundraiser for the canton after all.)
In attendance that night were:
Corwyn Galbraith, Lord of the Manor
Domhnail Galbraith, Lady of the Manor
Colyne Stewart, juror, member of the Green Tithing, Yeoman of the White Arrow, member of the Cliffguard
Keelyn, juror, member of the White Tithing, member of the Cliffguard
Naja Kesali, juror, member of the Green Tithing, Yeoman of the White Arrow
Yosho, reeve, member of the White Tithing, member of the Cliffguard
Thomas, beadle, member of the Green Tithing
Wulfgang Donnerfaust, Chief Pledge of the White Tithing, member of the Cliffguard
Lina Carville, member of the White Tithing
Pierre, representative of the Royal Court
Thorfinna gra’feldr, woodward, member of the Green Tithing, Yeoman of the White Arrow, member of the Cliffguard
Iolanda de Albornoz, Yeoman of the White Arrow
Wat of Sarum, Chief Pledge of the Green Tithing
Eirik Andersen, village alderman, member of the Green Tithing
Mahault van der Eych, ale taster, member of the Green Tithing, member of the Cliffguard
Berend van der Eych, ale taster, member of the White Tithing, member of the Cliffguard
Tarian verch Gadarn, ale taster, member of the White Tithing
Sof’ia Bardeva, ale taster, member of the White Tithing
Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust, member of the White Tithing
Siegfried Brandbeorn, village alderman
The lord and lady of the manor, and the jurors sat at one end of the room representing the court. One of the jurors also acted as the clerk, writing down the charges, the results of the case, and the fines. All others in attendance sat about the other three sides, leaving the centre of the room open. Someone wishing to lay a charge would respectfully step before the court and state their accusation. The accused would then step forward as well. Both would be instructed to gather pledges and between one and two minutes were allowed for this. During this time much money changed hands as pledges were bought, silences ensured and officials bribed. (Any bribe to a juror went right into the beadle’s money jar.)
Both sides then presented their stories, and all pledges were allowed to speak. Rebuttals were allowed, though the court could stop them at any time. The court then discussed the testimony and settled on a verdict. Generally, if the defendent was found guilty they—and all their pledges—were fined. As well, generally, if the defendent was found innocent, the plaintiff and all their pledges were fined. There were of course cases where both sides were fined, or only certain people on both or either side.
Most of the cases brought forth were entirely facestious (such as Berend’s tryst with Tarian) whilst others (like the wandering lamb) were based on fact. Anyone thinking of running such a manorial court themselves may want to consider which charges to allow and disallow before hand so as not to possibly upset someone (some might not find the idea of being charged as a fornicatrix funny, not even in jest).
The charges and their results are below:
Wat of Sarum, Chief Pledge of the Green Tithing, charged Berend van der Eych with reeping some of his grain. As pledges, Wat presented Sof’ia Bardeva, an ale taster, and Mahault, also an ale taster and ‘the much abused wife’ of Berend. In his defence, Berend called on yet another ale taster, Tarian verch Gadarn. Wat alleged that he arose late one morning, after a night spent at a tavern, to find that Berend had reaped some of his grain. Berend, who said that while he was being charged with stealing grain was obviuosly the victim of Wat stealing his wife, successfully argued that Wat was a drunken sot, and by Tarian’s testimony proved this. Berend was found innocent, and Wat was fined one gold piece for bringing a false charge before the court, plus another gold coin for improper management of his field. He was fined a further gold coin for pointing in a threatening manner at one of the jurors.
Iolanda de Albornoz, a Yeoman of the White Arrow, claiming to be the village forester, charged Eirik Andersen, a village alderman, with killing a deer. As pledges she brought Lina Carville and Thomas the beadle. Eirik’s pledges were Thorfinna, the village woodward, and Wat of Sarum, Chief Pledge of the Green Tithing. Iolanda claimed that she had found a dead deer in the woods, and believed that Eirik had slain it, as Lina had seen Eirik walking near the area where the deer was found, and Thomas had overheard him speaking of venison. However, Eirik proved his innocence through Thorfinna, who was the real forester for the village (being its woodward). The deer, she said, had died of natural causes, and Eirik, acting as her deputy, was in the area as he was going to fetch a cart to bring it to the lord’s manorial officers. Upon his return however, the deer was gone. The matter of the deer’s whereabouts was not solved. When Thorfinna was asked why she had not reported this dead deer to the reeve or beadle, the reeve agreed with her that reports were due later that very evening. Iolanda was fined one gold piece for bringing a false charge before the court, and a further gold piece for usurping another’s village appointment.
Mahault van der Eych charged her husband, Berend van der Eych, with creating a fornicatrix of the unmarried and pregnant Tarin verch Gadarn. As pledges Mahault presented Wulfgang Donnerfaust, the Chief Pledge of the White Tithing, Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust, Sof’ia Bardeva the ale taster and Wat of Sarum, Chief Pledge of the Green Tithing. Tarian brought Eirik Andersen, village alderman, whilst Berend brought forth Yosho the reeve. This case got very convoluted as many accusations were thrown. In a surprise testimony, Yosho revealed that Tarian’s unborn child was his own, not Berend’s (and he quickly paid the beadle a marriage tax). Berend was therefore found innocent of creating a fornicatrix of Tarian. However, many women present had apparently been beset by him after having been in his cups, and he paid one gold piece for every one present who so accused him. Also, Eirik Andersen was remanded to the Royal Court for later trial for having—by his own admission—given Tarian cod liver oil, which is an abortive.
Thorfinna gra’feldr, the woodward, charged the Donnerfaust family with poaching a lamb, and the van der Eych family for concealing it. As pledges Thorfinna presented Tarian verch Gadarn, ale taster, Wat of Sarum, chief Pledge of the Green Tithing, Eirik Andersen, village alderman, and Thomas the beadle. The defendents presented Sof’ia Bardeva, ale taster, Iolanda de Albornoz, Yeoman of the White Arrow, Lina Carville, and Siegfried Brandbeorn, village alderman. As with the previous case, many extra charges were leveled by pledges against each other, the plaintiff and the accused. In this case everyone was charged with one gold coin. The defendents were charged as three seperate stories of how the lamb came to be in their possession were presented by them as truth. However, the plaintiff was also charged for not having already seized the lamb. (Plus, charging both sides, with so many pledges, brought much extra revenue into the lord’s coffer.)
A representative of the Royal Court, Pierre, then announced that he had been authorized on behalf of the Crown to prosecute a case of murder. Sof’ia Bardeva, ale taster, charged Wulfgang Donnerfaust, Chief Pledge of the White Tithing, with murder, having killed her husband, Francisco Deceasi. Sof’ia’s pledges were Mahault van der Eych, ale taster, and Lina Carville. Wulfgang’s pledges were Wat of Sarum, Chief Pledge of the Green Tithing, Thorfinna gra’feldr, woodward, Yosho the reeve and Jean-Margaret Donnerfaust. The court heard how Wulfgang had allegedly slain Francisco by stabbing him in the back with a knife, and later bragging of the dead and of the strength of his arm. His pledges countered that Francisco was indeed still alive, as he had been seen recently, and that Sof’ia herself had been heard plotting his death. The court asked if a death tax had been paid on Francisco and was told that it had been paid. And, as Francisco was not present to prove that he was indeed alive, Wulfgang was found guilty and sentanced to be hung by the neck until dead. The Crown seized his land and goods (all his remaining gold coins) and in its magnamity, donated them back to the lord and lady of the manor. Sof’ia then had to pay an inheritance tax on her land. (This also meant that Wulfgang could not participate as a pledge in the last case of the night, as his village persona was now dead.)
Thomas the beadle charged Eirik Andersen, village alderman, with not doing his share of the reaping. As pledge Thomas presented Yosho the reeve. For his pledge, Eirik presented Thorfinna gra’feldr, woodward. Thomas and Yosho alleged that Eirik had not done his share of the reaping, and that he had attempted to bribe Yosho to keep the matter out of court. Yosho presented the alleged bribe money to the court and gave it into the care of the beadle. Thorfinna and Eirik countered that as a Viking, Eirik lived on a boat in the lord’s harbour, and did not own land, and therefore could not reap. Instead, he paid a yearly tax in lieu of that service. The money that the reeve alleged was a bribe was in fact Eirik’s tax money. The lord and lady of the manor, worried over apparent corruption in their officers, stepped forward and said that Eirik was innocent, and Thomas and Yosho had to pay a fine of one gold coin for corruption.
Before the court could be closed, Pierre, on behalf of the Crown, after hearing so much perjury that day, ordered everyone to pay further fines to the manor (in effect, any gold coins they still had on their person).
The canton then decided that the court was so much fun that it should be held twice a year. To facilitate this, it was agreed that the canton appointments should be shuffled so that those dynamics will change for next time. Likely Ardchreag will continue with its manorial courts in late October and May (around the times when the hallmote and frankpledge courts would have been held).
All in all the experiment was a great success. Everyone had fun and over one hundred dollars was raised to help defray canton event costs.
Colyne Stewart, Oct AS XXXVII
Today is the 2nd anniversary of the Glowering of Crispinus (Oct 25, AS
XXXV), a moment that was immortalized in the immortal play ‘Henry the V I
am, I am” by the immortal Chreagger playwright Stephen of the Ink Stained
Fingers. To celebrate this fine holiday I would like to take this
opportunity to quote from Stephen’s work:
The St. Crispinus’ Day speech:
“O that we had a holiday
upon this day, an excuse for sloth,
a reason not to work.”
“What ho, my lord, if I must call you so,
do you rail for reasons?
If we are wont to sloth, then we will do so,
and if we are asked to work we shall decline.
By the Turtle of the Cliffs I care not for gold,
but for the frothy amber of a pint
I may be inspired to raise my pick or hoe,
but once quaffed the lethargy returns
and tool sinks to the earth.
I tire, lord, if I must call you so,
of kings and laws when fun I want
and if the want of fun is sin
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, horror, ask not for work or law.
By the aardvark, I do not care for your rewards
You think the scroll an honour
(and mayhap it is) but an honour bought how?
With work? With toil? With blind following of laws?
Nay, I have no stomach for this fight
and shall depart these sylvan shores
to pay my passage home with coin
raised through foolery.
This day I leave you, my work done,
and this day may be a holiday
for call it the feast of St. Crispinus
for he (or she) that wakes this day may
take their break from toil
to travel to a local pub
and raise a glass of ale or stoat
and toast the memory of me,
the glowering jester of Ardchreag.
Blow the foam, sip the mead,
Sample from the finest brews:
Guinness, Rickard’s, Whitbread, Bass,
These are my pantheon.
Do not forget to take some time
for fun, by gods, for fun and folly.
Frolic on the cliffs, our home,
work as work ye must,
but on this day I have named for me
take the time for thyself
drink and be merry, hold thy cup high,
and exclaim while speech remains with you,
“To our leisure we give thanks,
Upon this St. Crispinus’ Day!”
(Please note: This is a work of fiction, based on Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech in Henry V. It is written purely in fun and in remembrance of Crispinus Spellar, who plays our game no more. Today really is St. Crispin’s Day. And as true coincidences go, in the original speech, a man is mentioned by the name of Talbot, which is Crispinus’ real last name.)
Laird Colyne Stewart, Jan AS XL (2006)
For many a year I’ve lived on the Cliffs
In Ardchreag I roam
In this land of emerald and argent
I have made my home
I’ve toiled with the woodward in the flora
And worn the Cliffguard horn
I’ve bent a bow with the yeomen
To defend where I was born
I’ve sailed in the Red Arrow
As a sailor and marine
I’ve fought down at Pennsic
My blood is white and green
I’ve ridden with the cavalry
Charging ‘cross the glen
I’ve even been a pirate
Without the Widow’s ken
I’ve lived in the bogs and the forests
In the hills and in the dales
In the border forts I’ve lingered
Drinking local ales
I’ve done the holy pilgrimage
To all of Crispy’s shrines
I’ve drunk with the green bison
And seen the turtles flyin’
I have been to foreign lands
To the south and to the east
They all have their glamour, lured
Their traditions and their feasts
But for the cliffs of white and red
Where tall trees grow so green
My heart calls out, my soul it yearns
For Ardchreag my home
Ardchreag the emerald land
The arrows are my heart
Ardchreag, the cliffs so grand
The arrows are my hear